Trump nominates BP oil spill lawyer as DOJ environmental attorney

June 8, 2017 by  
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Who better to stand for the environment than a lawyer who represented BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy? At least, that appears to be President Donald Trump’s logic. This week he nominated Jeffrey Bossert Clark , who has consistently worked against climate action , for the role of Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources at the Department of Justice . Clark is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C. Over his career he’s challenged the scientific basis of climate policies , according to InsideClimateNews. His career is littered with work against the environment, not for it. He successfully defended BP after Louisiana parishes challenged the company over their multi-billion settlement of claims over Deepwater Horizon. But representing BP after America’s worst oil spill is just part of it. Related: Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding Clark represented the United States Chamber of Commerce in lawsuits attacking the government’s power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions . He’s argued in court multiple times it’s inappropriate to form government policies based on scientific consensus given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change . InsideClimateNews said Clark was prominently involved in challenges from industry to the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding offering a scientific basis for efforts to regulate greenhouse gases . Natural Resources Defense Council Director of the Climate & Clean Air Program David Doniger said of Clark, “He has a long history of opposing climate action for corporate and ideological clients. I would expect that history would require him to recuse himself from cases as over the Clean Power Plan , where he filed an amicus brief against the rule.” In the George W. Bush administration Clark served as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department, from 2001 to 2005. Senate confirmation is required for him to serve in the Trump administration . Via InsideClimateNews Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump nominates BP oil spill lawyer as DOJ environmental attorney

Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels

June 7, 2017 by  
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For all of the crazy concepts that people have come up with for Trump’s border wall , Trump’s own design might just be the most surprising of all. The climate change-Denier-in-Chief recently pitched to congressional Republicans the idea of building a renewable power-generating border wall covered in solar panels. According to Trump, the barriers would be “beautiful structures” that will pay for themselves. When Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement , he claimed that it would somehow continue to be the greenest country in the world. According to Axios , Trump intends to do that by proposing a border wall that will generate clean energy. The energy that will be generated by the wall will be used to pay for itself. Related: Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall Trump pictures the wall as a 50-foot high structure covered in solar panels . Realistically, a solar wall along the southern border has a lot of logistical challenges, though it could be possible to build a one that pays for itself. During the meeting, Trump told congressional representatives that they could talk about the solar wall as long as they mentioned that it was his idea (it wasn’t). While this latest concept may be an improvement on the border wall in general, talking about the wall is really just a distraction from the conversation about whether or not there should be a wall at all. On the bright side, at least we know now that Trump thinks solar is a viable and cost-effective technology for government projects, right? Via GTM Images via Gleason Partners and Flickr

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Trump actually wants to build a border wall covered in solar panels

Giant glass orb in Paris is wrapped with a rotating solar sail that follows the sun

June 7, 2017 by  
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Architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines teamed up to create the stunning, solar-powered Seine Musicale located on Seguin Island in Paris. The shimmering glass globe is framed within by Ban’s beloved timber , and its exterior is wrapped with a massive solar panel “sail” that rotates around the building to follow the sun. Located in Paris’ Boulogne-Billancourt suburb, the urban project is part of Jean Nouvel’s Island Master Plan for Seguin Island . The multi-use building comprises a concert seating hall with a capacity of 4,000, a classical music hall that seats 1,150, along with various rehearsal and recording rooms. Additionally, the building is surrounded by ample green space for visitors and practicing musicians. Related: Elliptical Music Pavilion in Austria is made from locally-sourced silver fir Although the exterior is clad in glass panels, that doesn’t mean that timber-loving Ban has forsaken his green building material of choice. The hexagonal globe frame, including the building’s beehive ceiling, is made out of timber. However, the star feature of the design is undoubtedly the massive triangular sail covered in solar panels. The sail will constantly rotate, following the path of the sun in order to provide the building with optimal solar energy throughout the day. The large covering also acts as a solar shield for the building’s all-glass Grand Foyer. A spokesperson from Shigeru Ban Architects explained that the building’s design was carefully crafted to fit into Nouvel’s urban plan for the area, hopefully becoming an eco-friendly icon for the developing area, “This environmentally friendly sail will ultimately become a new identity for the complex. It is expected to become a new symbol as the western gate into Paris.” + Shigeru Ban + Jean de Gastines Via Arch Daily Photographs via Luc Boegly & Sergio Grazia

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Giant glass orb in Paris is wrapped with a rotating solar sail that follows the sun

BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

June 1, 2017 by  
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During a highly anticipated speech at the Rose Garden, climate denier President Donald Trump announced that the United States of America will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement secured under Barack Obama’s leadership. President Trump stated that the accord was “bad” and poorly negotiated by the Obama administration, and that he “is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first.” Part of Trump’s speech read, ”The Paris Accord is a BAD deal for Americans, and the President’s action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first. The accord was negotiated poorly by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy.” Before the announcement was officially made, Donald Trump was cited by The Daily Best telling congressional staffers on a conference call that he is withdrawing from the Paris accord. Energy policy adviser for the White House, Michael Catanzaro, confirmed that “the United States is getting out of the Paris agreement.” Catanzaro added that Trump “will be open to and will immediately be looking for a better deal.” Reportedly, the Trump administration will follow steps for withdrawal laid out in the agreement. In total, says Catanzaro, removing the U.S. from the deal will take four years. “But we’re going to make very clear to the world that we’re not going to be abiding by what the previous administration agreed to,” he said. Despite the fact that countries such as Costa Rica run on 100% renewable energy and Denmark once generated 400% of the power it needs from wind turbines , the Trump administration remains resistant to transitioning the U.S. to run on renewable energy resources. This is because President Trump, a businessman, believes that energy sourced from fossil fuels is the solution to making America great again – and he thinks climate change is a “hoax” invented by the Chinese . Related: China says they’ll stay in the Paris Agreement – with or without Trump At the time of its signing, 195 countries, including the United States, pledged to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change in order to prevent global catastrophes which may result from rising temperatures. President Barack Obama committed America to a goal of lowering emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The broad aim was to increase these cuts over time. With the United States exiting the Paris Agreement, carbon emissions are likely to increase, potentially propelling global disasters resulting from rising sea levels , severe weather conditions, and increased temperatures. On a positive note, China and the European Union are prepared to publicly recommit to the agreement with or without the United States. Also, Trump cannot technically withdraw from the agreement until November of 2019. Finally, many U.S.-based companies, including Apple , have ambitious goals to run on 100% clean energy in the near future. With support from educated consumers, the U.S. may reach its previously contracted emissions goal with or without the President’s support. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Wikimedia Creative Commons

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BREAKING: Trump announces U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement

White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement

May 31, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is set to withdraw from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement , according to several news outlets. It appears he’ll stick with his ill-advised campaign promise after all, and favor nationalist voices like that of Steve Bannon against the more moderate tones of his daughter Ivanka Trump. Even oil and gas companies like Shell and ExxonMobil called for America to stay in the deal. The move will likely mean the United States loses their footing as a global leader in the fight against climate change – but that’s not the worst of it. At a moment when decisive action against climate change has never been more crucial, the leader of one of the planet’s most influential countries could yank the nation out of the hard-fought, historic Paris deal praised as a victory for the entire world. Axios reported according to “two sources with direct knowledge of the decision,” Trump will withdraw from the agreement. That report is backed up by other news outlets such as Politico, which spoke with whom they referred to as a White House official. Related: G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US On Trump’s recent trip abroad, numerous world leaders and Pope Francis entreated the United States to stay in the deal. Trump’s Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also wanted America to stay on board with the deal. Axios reports 22 Republican Senators wrote a letter, however, that helped sway Trump’s mind against the accord. Supposedly for the past week the president has been telling people close to him that he intended to yank America out of the deal, even though he refused to share his intentions with G7 leaders. Working with a small team, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is working out how the US will pull out of the agreement, according to Axios. A formal withdrawal could take around three years. Such a drastic move from Trump could weaken the Paris Agreement, as the United States is the world’s second biggest carbon polluter. Via Axios and Politico Images via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Flickr and Jim Mattis on Flickr

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White House official says Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement

G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US

May 29, 2017 by  
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The rest of the world is beginning to count the United States out of the climate change battle, if a recent statement after the 2017 Group of Seven (G7) summit is any indication. The G7 leaders met late last week in Taormina, Italy, and naturally climate change was on the agenda. But in a rather blunt statement, they said America “is not in a position to join the consensus” on the Paris Agreement and one of the biggest challenges humanity faces today. Leaders from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the European Union met at the G7 summit to discuss what they described as their citizens’ greatest concerns, which ranged from trade to the global economy to gender equality to climate change. The statement released after the summit declared the leaders committed to strengthening energy security and harnessing economic opportunities stemming from clean energy . The leaders also reaffirmed their dedication to the Paris Agreement – that is, all did but President Donald Trump . Related: China, Canada, EU join forces on climate action – without Trump The statement reads, “The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics. Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.” There were mixed feelings over the results of the G7 summit. Trump called it an “tremendously productive meeting.” Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said they were satisfied after the meeting but was open about disagreements with the United States: “We do not disguise this division. It emerged very clearly in our conversations.” Recently elected President of France Emmanuel Macron seemed optimistic, saying he was certain Trump would support the agreement after conversations at the summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t seem as hopeful. She told reporters, “The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying. There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.” Via Reuters Images via G7 Italy 2017 on Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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G7 leaders openly say climate change consensus does not include US

Casa Pjaro de Plata offers stunning views of the Costa Rican jungle

May 29, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous house nestled amidst the Costa Rican jungle offers panoramic views of its lush natural surroundings. Architect John Osborne of OS Arquitectura designed Casa Pájaro de Plata (which translates to ‘Silver Bird House’) to resemble a bird in flight. The house has a simple shape and it sits on a promontory surrounded by a lush jungle. The architects combined natural stone with white marble and wood to create a variety of warm spaces that allow the owners to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. These beautiful photos by Fernando Alda capture serenity of the location and the house. Related: Tropical solar-powered home boasts spectacular views of the ocean and jungle The white marble terrace features an infinity pool that seems to flow into the surrounding tree tops. Open-plan spaces dominate the interior, with wooden elements appearing throughout the house – including in the bathrooms and a pathway that leads through the woods to a viewing platform . + OS Arquitectura Photos by Fernando Alda

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Casa Pjaro de Plata offers stunning views of the Costa Rican jungle

China, Canada, EU join forces on climate action – without Trump

May 25, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump still hasn’t made up his mind on whether he’ll keep the United States part of the 2015 Paris agreement , even though everyone from the Vatican to ExxonMobil have called for America to stick with the deal. But China , Canada , and the European Union (EU) aren’t going to sit around and wait for him to make his decision. They’ve formed a pact for continued climate action regardless of where the Trump administration stands. Officials from the two countries and the EU met in Berlin on Tuesday. China’s special envoy on climate change Xie Zhenhua, Canada environment minister Catherine McKenna, and EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete talked about climate leadership and how to keep momentum going should Trump yank America out of the agreement. They’ve also planned a meeting at the ministerial level backing the agreement for September. Related: World officials entreat Trump to stay in Paris agreement According to Bloomberg, the new pact is a signal that Trump and America will become detached from other nations on the planet. Since the historic deal was signed by nearly 200 countries, only the United States has indicated they may leave the agreement. At the recent Petersberg Climate Dialog, McKenna said, “It’s very important that we continue the shared programs on climate change. There is a need to bring together key players.” She said Canada, China, and the EU are in a good position to gather other countries together for talks on how to move forward. Xie said China has been questioned recently on what they’ll do about the Paris agreement as Trump dithers over whether to keep the United States in the deal or not; he said China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, will stick to their word, and “all signatories should stick to it instead of walking away.” Via Bloomberg Images via Catherine McKenna on Twitter and Wikimedia Commons

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China, Canada, EU join forces on climate action – without Trump

Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

May 24, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump is still trying to take a swing at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The White House’s most recent budget proposal, released yesterday, would cut money for environmental cleanup, clean air , and water programs. And thousands of people could lose their jobs as the number of full-time employees drops from 15,416 to 11,611 . The recent Trump budget proposal lowers EPA funding to $5.65 billion. If that still sounds like a hefty sum, consider what the EPA won’t be able to do with this slashed budget: restore areas like the Great Lakes and Puget Sound and run a lead risk-reduction program. They also won’t have as much money for climate change research, environmental justice efforts, or radon detection programs. The White House proposal also just about halves categorical grants which help states and local areas address water and air quality. Related: Trump saved a toxic pesticide – and then it poisoned a bunch of farmworkers EPA administrator Scott Pruitt stood behind Trump’s drastic cuts; the agency put out a statement praising the returned “focus to core statutory mission,” which we guess means dirty air and polluted water for all. Pruitt even decided to say Trump’s “budget respects the American taxpayer.” This praise comes even though the proposed budget would reduce funding for Pruitt’s Superfund cleanup program – which he’s listed as a priority – by almost one third. Toxic accidents or industrial activity have polluted these Superfund sites, many of which, according to The Guardian , are close to low-income or minority communities. National Association of Clean Air Agencies executive director S. William Becker said he was astounded the administration didn’t change much from their initial March budget proposal, even after bipartisan opposition from Congress. Lawmakers recently reached a deal for government funding through September that cuts the EPA’s budget by around one percent. In a statement on the recent proposal, Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said, “This isn’t a budget – it’s a road map for the President, EPA Administrator Pruitt, and polluters to see that millions of Americans drink dirtier water, breathe more polluted air, and don’t have enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives.” Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

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Trump budget proposes 31% cut to EPA funding

An uncertain future for environmental justice

May 24, 2017 by  
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Early indications are that policy retrenchment on hazardous waste facilities and Superfund sites will run deep under the Trump administration.

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