Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

August 22, 2017 by  
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Donald Trump’s administration appears determined to sweep away federal efforts to address climate change . The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the administration would disband the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment , a group comprised of academics, officials, and representatives from corporations. Committee chair Richard Moss said the risky move could hurt the economic prospects of the next generation. The charter for the 15-person advisory panel, established in 2015 for the National Climate Assessment , expired over the weekend on Sunday. On Friday, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ben Friedman told the committee chair they wouldn’t be renewing the panel. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ The National Climate Assessment is supposed to come out every four years in accordance with a 1990 law calling for the assessment, but has only come out three times since. The next assessment is scheduled for 2018. The Washington Post reported the Trump administration has been going over the Climate Science Special Report, which is crucial to the next National Climate Assessment. Scientists from 13 federal agencies said in the special report that human activity likely led to a global temperature increase from 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1951 and 2010. NOAA communications director Julie Roberts told The Washington Post in an email that the move to disband the panel “does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.” But the advisory panel’s job was to help translate National Climate Assessment findings into guidance for officials in both the public and private sectors, so the decision could leave state officials with little guidance on how to consider climate change in infrastructure . Seattle mayor Ed Murray said the move is “…an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Via The Washington Post Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Derek Liang on Unsplash

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Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

‘Trump Forest’ plants trees to offset president’s climate ignorance

August 15, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is notorious for his ignorance on climate change . So instead of sitting by while his administration harms the planet, a British climate scientist, American PhD candidate, and French and Kiwi sustainable hat company founder decided to take action. They started Trump Forest to encourage people to plant trees , and have seen a huge response: so far hundreds of people around the world have pledged 130,999 trees . “Where ignorance grows trees” is the tagline of the Trump Forest project. Dan Price, Jeff Willis, and Adrien Taylor initiated the project in March of this year in New Zealand with a contribution of 1,000 native trees from Taylor’s company Offcut (which plants a tree for every cap sold). From there, hundreds of people in places as far-flung as Malawi, Japan, and the United States pledged to plant trees too. Related: Meet the teen planting 150 trees for every person on Earth Trump Forest isn’t after money, according to their website. Instead, they hope people will pay for and plant trees where they live in the name of America’s president, or donate to charity Eden Reforestation Projects . Taylor told the BBC of Trump, “Only a small percentage of the world voted him in, but we all have to deal with the consequences of his climate ignorance.” The organizers told the BBC they would need to plant a forest as big as Kentucky to offset Trump’s policies. They also estimated they’d need to offset 650 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025 to make up for the actions of America’s commander-in-chief – that’s over 100 billion new trees. They think it’s feasible. Wouldn’t a forest named after Trump just bolster his already large ego? The organizers say people have complained about that, but they’d prefer if the president got on board. Taylor told the BBC, “We kind of want him to love the forest; this is his forest after all. We would love it if he tweeted about it.” Price said, “All we’re trying to do is pick up the slack he created and do the work for him.” If you want to get involved, you can check out the project here . + Trump Forest Via BBC Images via Pixabay and Ozark Drones on Unsplash

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‘Trump Forest’ plants trees to offset president’s climate ignorance

Trump waives dozens of environmental laws to speed construction of his wall

August 3, 2017 by  
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An anonymous official revealed two weeks ago that Trump intends to decimate the “crown jewel” of the national refuge system in order to build his border wall. Now, the Department of Homeland Security has announced it would disregard dozens of environmental rules in order to rush construction, which could start as soon as January. Workers have already been on site to prepare for building. The government is allowed to waive environmental requirements in order to build infrastructure, including skirting the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. In order to avoid dealing with private land owners, Trump’s wall is slated to start in the Santa Ana refuge, and while building in any refuge would be awful for the environment, the Sant Ana refuge is particularly devastating because it is home to the endangered ocelot, jaguar and jaguarondi. It is also one of the most cherished bird refuges in the US. “The lower Rio Grande is a national treasure for birds,” said Michael J. Parr, President of American Bird Conservancy . Related: “Crown jewel” wildlife refuge to be decimated as Trump starts building border wall Funding for the wall has already been approved by the House and now it is heading to the Senate for approval. It includes a provision for rebuilding the wall in San Diego, which was built just a decade ago. “Replacing the San Diego border wall only a decade after it was built shows that the border wall has always been stupid, ineffective and incredibly expensive,” Brian Segee, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity said. “Trump’s border wall would compound this travesty by dividing and destroying more communities, wildlife and wild places.” Meanwhile, one of the most incredible bird watching refuges in the US stands to be split in half by the wall unless the Senate is convinced to kill funding. Via Grist Images via Flickr , Wikimedia and Wikimedia

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Trump waives dozens of environmental laws to speed construction of his wall

My three wishes for America

August 1, 2017 by  
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Can climate change become the defining characteristic of the next (yes, next) president of the United States?

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My three wishes for America

Pence vows America will put boots on the face of Mars in near future

July 7, 2017 by  
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During a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, Vice President Pence made a bold promise that in the near future, the United States of America will send astronauts to both the moon and Mars. Now the chair of the National Space Council — which was revived this last Friday – Pence explained that new, ambitious goals will ensure America becomes a leader in space exploration  once again. “Here from this bridge to space, our nation will return to the moon and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,” said Pence. He then applauded the space organization’s efforts to make “science fiction ‘science fact.” Pence made sure to pay homage to Donald Trump, as well, who he referred to as a “champion” who will “usher in a new era” of American space leadership. According to CNN , Pence then noted the importance of space exploration for American national security interests. He also reaffirmed President Trump’s desire, which was revealed during his inaugural address in January, for the US to “unlock the mysteries of space.” He said, “I can assure you that under President Donald Trump , American security will be as dominant in the heavens as we are here on Earth.” Plans to reconvene the National Space Council before the end of summer were also shared. Reportedly, the Council will be comprised of many experts who are sourced from government agencies, such as the military , private industries, and academic institutions to enhance the present space policy. Related: NASA unveils 6 prototypical deep space human habitats for Mars and beyond Originally established in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, the National Space Council was discontinued in 1993. One individual pleased with President Trump’s executive order to revive the Council is NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot. Said Lightfoot, “The establishment of the council is another demonstration of the Trump administration’s deep interest in our work, and a testament to the importance of space exploration to our economy, our nation, and the planet as a whole.” Support from the White House is undoubtedly a positive achievement for the NASA, which already has plans to send humans — specifically teachers, farmers, and engineers — to Mars by 2030. With the revival of the National Space Council and a renewed vigor to investigate the “final frontier,” America may very well become a leader in space exploration. Via CNN Images via  Schriever Air Force Base , Pixabay

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Pence vows America will put boots on the face of Mars in near future

Stephen Hawking says Trump’s Paris decision could induce irreversible climate change

July 4, 2017 by  
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Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking could very well be the world’s most famous scientist. He’s also one of the more outspoken ones, and recently talked with the BBC on his views about President Donald Trump and his potentially disastrous decision to yank America out of the 2015 Paris Agreement . Not one to mince words, Hawking warned of the consequences of such a choice: irreversible climate change . Hawking described climate change as one of the greatest dangers humanity faces today. But he said we still have time to prevent it if we take action. Trump’s utter lack of climate action is worrying for the entire planet and future generations, according to the scientist. Related: Stephen Hawking: Humans must leave Earth within 100 years to survive Hawking told the BBC, “We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus , with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.” Climate change could one day transform Earth into a hothouse planet. Hawking said Trump’s denial of the phenomenon “will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet.” The BBC said the renowned scientist was pessimistic about our ability to solve our environmental dilemmas, and our future might only be safeguarded by leaving the planet. He said, “I fear evolution has inbuilt greed and aggression to the human genome. There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space .” Hawking recently said in the BBC documentary Expedition New Earth we have to colonize Mars within the next 100 years if we want to survive. Via the BBC Images via Lwp Kommunikáció on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Stephen Hawking says Trump’s Paris decision could induce irreversible climate change

11-year-old boy invents device to save children from dying in hot cars

July 4, 2017 by  
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Children dying in overheated cars is one of those preventable tragedies that just shouldn’t happen, and an 11-year-old boy in Texas decided to do something about it. Bishop Curry heard about a six-month-old who died in his hometown after being left inside a hot vehicle. A few hours later he had come up with his initial design for Oasis, a cooling device he hopes will one day save lives. Oasis started as a design for a fan that could be placed on a headrest. When the interior temperature of a car reached a certain level, the fan would immediately switch on to blow cool air on a child in a car seat. Curry’s father, Bishop Curry IV, told CBS News the device draws on GPS technology to determine when the vehicle is stopped. “It then detects if a child is in that car seat, and if the car is heating up. If all of those things are taking place it blows cold air on the child through an internal cooling system.” Related: 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5 But 11-year-old Bishop also wanted to include a means for the child to be rescued in his design. If the fan does turn on, an antenna in Oasis will use Wi-Fi to notify the parents. Should they fail to respond, the device will then inform local authorities, using GPS to provide the child’s location. Curry IV is an engineer with Toyota , and has pitched the idea to the company. They were super impressed, so they footed the bill to send both father and son to a conference to pitch the idea to car seat manufacturers. Several have indicated interest, and Curry IV started a GoFundMe campaign earlier this year to raise money for legal and manufacturing fees. He recently posted an update saying they’ve turned in paperwork to the United States Patent and Trademark Office and are waiting to hear back. So far the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $45,000 of a $20,000 goal. You can donate here . + Help Bishop End Hot Car Deaths on GoFundMe Via Bishop B. Curry IV on GoFundMe and CBS News Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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11-year-old boy invents device to save children from dying in hot cars

Trump approves new pipeline that will go right under the US-Mexico wall

June 30, 2017 by  
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As if President Trump’s promise to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border wasn’t controversial enough, he recently approved the construction of a new pipeline destined to go “right under” the dividing landmark. The New Burgos Pipeline will carry up to 108,000 barrels of refined petroleum products each day between McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. A joint venture between NuStar Energy LP and PMI, the project has, unsurprisingly, drawn plenty of criticism from environmental groups. According to The Hill , Trump remarked on the New Burgos Pipeline on Thursday at the Department of Energy’s “Unleashing American Energy” event. “[The pipeline] will further boost American energy exports, and that will go right under the wall, right?” said Trump, glancing at his cabinet for confirmation. “We have to dig down a little deeper under that section,” he added. President Mike Pence, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, Energy Sec. Rick Perry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt also joined the President on stage. Though President Trump’s 17-minute speech focused on America’s “ energy dominance,” he failed to mention the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Not even once did he mention his infamous “solar” border wall proposal . Rather, he paid homage to “clean, beautiful coal” and celebrated the newly approved pipeline. As EcoWatch points out, Trump also dismissed concerns about fossil fuels , calling them “a big beautiful myth.” In his speech, Trump also mentioned the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, falsely stating that no opposition exists to their development. Noticeably perturbed by the new development, David Turnbull, campaigns director at Oil Change International , said: “The ‘energy dominance’ tagline should be called out for what it is: another manifestation of the president’s misogynistic, hyper-masculine, abusive outlook on the world. It reveals an attitude toward our environment and energy policy that would destroy communities and our climate in order to feed his own desire to feel powerful over others.” “Want to know what Trump’s idea of energy dominance looks like? Look no further than his crony cabinet,” Turnbull continued. “Thanks to this administration, Washington is more dominated by Big Oil, Gas and Coal executives and their shills than ever—and they’re having their way with American democracy. Someone should put the leash back on Donald Trump, while the rest of us keep working to make America the leader it needs to be in renewable energy innovation and job creation.” Related: Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels Tim Donaghy, Greenpeace USA’s senior research specialist, had similar sentiments. He said, “People in this country demanded that President Obama protect public lands and waters from offshore oil and gas development, and communities from Alaska to South Carolina will do it again. Research shows that expanding offshore oil drilling will lead to increased global greenhouse gas emissions and higher costs that will be borne by Americans for decades to come.” In response to the news, Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch , asked local governments to invest in clean energy development. She said, ”A better vision for American energy exists, but it isn’t coming from the White House. Climate leadership and the transition to renewable energy will come from the local and state level, and we must continue to pressure elected officials around the country to commit to a transition to a clean energy future, starting now.” Via The Hill , EcoWatch Images via Sky News , Pixabay

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Trump approves new pipeline that will go right under the US-Mexico wall

Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban

June 28, 2017 by  
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If anyone is still hoping the Donald Trump administration will put the environment before industries, new reports should put that to rest. Back in March the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided they wouldn’t ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos , a big cash cow for Dow Chemical that’s also been shown to harm children’s brains in health studies, including an EPA review. But apparently there was no chance the EPA would prioritize children above businesses. The Associated Press (AP) recently learned EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met privately with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris shortly before the decision to not ban the pesticide . Polluting industries champion Pruitt met with Liveris on March 9 for around half an hour in Houston, according to Pruitt’s schedule. EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman said they were “briefly introduced” and did not talk about chlorpyrifos. But 20 days later the EPA announced they wouldn’t ban that brain development-interfering pesticide after all. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers Scientists have repeatedly shown chlorpyrifos can have a negative impact on child brain development, according to Gizmodo. EPA scientists also said even in small doses the chemical can interfere with child brain development – and they also said levels of the chemical found in food were higher than what would be deemed safe. As if that wasn’t enough, federal scientists found chlorpyrifos – along with two other chemicals Dow manufactures, diazinon and malathion – are harmful for nearly 1,800 endangered or critically endangered species. And the AP found out lawyers representing Dow and two other pesticide-manufacturing companies sent letters to the EPA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Department of Commerce requesting they set aside those study results as they were “fundamentally flawed.” In 2016 Dow Chemical spent over $13.6 million on lobbying. They sell around five million pounds of chlorpyrifos in the United States every year. They also donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration festivities, although Dow’s director of public affairs Rachelle Schikorra told the AP the idea the donation was meant to influence decisions is “completely off the mark.” Guess they gave that $1 million donation out of the goodness of their hearts then. Via the Associated Press ( 1 , 2 ), Gizmodo , and Vanity Fair Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO before denying pesticide ban

Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule

June 28, 2017 by  
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In the battle of Trump vs the environment, the latter is definitely losing. Regulations giving the federal government better ability to protect our precious streams and wetlands were essentially killed yesterday after Trump’s EPA took the first step in repealing the Clean Water Rule set into motion by Obama in 2015. The rule would have protected the navigable waterways and  drinking water of 1 in 3 Americans. Oil ally Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, said: “We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses.” However, the Rule was passed in 2015 specifically to address regulatory certainty. Before the Rule, the federal government’s ability to regulate pollution in certain waters was unclear. Related: EPA chief says carbon dioxide is not a ‘primary contributor’ to global warming The Clean Water Rule was put in place to help clarify those convoluted regulations that inadequately protected the nation’s waterways. The Obama administration put the regulation in place after 1,200 peer reviewed studies were completed, and recommendations were formed to protect the country’s waterways from pollution. But industry chafed at the regulation, claiming it was onerous, and it was put on hold after 13 states sued the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump ordered the EPA to review the rule, calling it, in his typically eloquent style, “horrible, horrible” and a “massive power grab.” Via ThinkProgress images via Unsplash and Gage Skidmore  

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