Fact-checking Trump’s State of the Union speech on energy and climate change

January 31, 2018 by  
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Last night, President Donald Trump took to the podium to address a nation historically divided, framing his speech as a call for unity. Despite an advertised unified front, the specific details of Trump’s speech hewed closely to the partisan positions of the Republican Party while his trademark loose relationship with facts and truth revealed itself throughout the address. Trump focused his speech on the economy, energy, and immigration, with a brief shout-out to his long-promised, still-undeveloped infrastructure plan. Read on to learn more about what was said and left unsaid (like how climate change is impacting the US) in the President’s speech. Trump’s economy – and reputation – took a hit from the devastating hurricane and wildfire season in 2017. “To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else — we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together,” said Trump on the same day that his Administration announced that it is ending food and water aid to Puerto Rico. “If we’re giving free water and food, that means that families are not going to supermarkets to buy,” FEMA’s director in Puerto Rico Alejandro De La Campa told NPR . “It is affecting the economy of Puerto Rico.” Still, some communities do not feel ready to go without FEMA food and water aid. “There are some municipalities that may not need the help anymore, because they’ve got nearly 100 percent of their energy and water back,” Morovis Mayor Carmen Maldonado told NPR . “Ours is not so lucky.” Related: Trump bewilders scientists, says ice caps are “setting records” While it is not possible to say with any certainty that any particular extreme weather event is caused by climate change, the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is precisely what scientists expect in a rapidly warming world. The historic flooding in Houston during Hurricane Harvey broke the all-time record daily rainfall accumulations on both August 26 and 27. It seems likely that this record will be broken soon enough as the planet’s climate continues to be drastically altered. To avoid the worst, the United States must rapidly transition to a clean energy economy. Unfortunately, Trump infamously withdrew the United States from the landmark Paris agreement, an international effort spearheaded by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, and has pursued anti-environmentalist policies at seemingly every turn. Related: Trump’s 30% solar tariffs could kill thousands of jobs and harm industry growth Trump became President in part because of his economic call to arms to defend manufacturing workers and coal miners. “Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States — something we have not seen for decades,” said Trump, disregarding the fact that automotive employment is actually lower than it was a year ago . “We have ended the war on American energy — and we have ended the war on beautiful, clean coal,” Trump boasted. “We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world.” Related: US CO2 emissions declined during Trump’s first year as president In fact, the United States still is a net importer of energy, though it is expected to become a net exporter in the 2020s as a result of long-term trends that, you guessed it, developed under President Barack Obama. More importantly, coal is not clean. Efficient clean-coal technology has not yet been developed, though the fossil fuel seems likely to fade away anyways as competition from natural gas and renewable energy becomes more pronounced. Meanwhile, coal miner deaths in the United States nearly doubled in Trump’s first year in office. Related: Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues Trump at times seemed to be describing a very different country than the one he now leads. “A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land,” said Trump, reflecting on the early days of his presidency. Optimistic we are not. As of early January 2018, 69% of Americans believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Although this is consistent with numbers seen during the second Obama Administration and earlier in the Trump Administration, it is a far cry from widespread optimism. This strong pessimism regarding the country’s future comes at a time when a majority of Americans are now optimistic about the economy. Related: $30M contract canceled by FEMA after supplies to Puerto Rico fail to arrive Finally, Trump spoke about the hottest issue on Capitol Hill right now: immigration. When the President explained his plans to limit legal immigration to the United States, he was greeted with boos and hisses. Immigration to the United States has proven to be an important ingredient in the country’s economic success. More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants to the United States. Studies have shown that immigration has resulted in a net positive economic impact in the United States, with negative impacts of immigration most felt by native-born adults without a high school education. In light of Trump’s push to limit legal immigration and deport Dreamers (undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children), business and tech interests have responded with opposition. It remains to be seen whether industry opposition can persuade Congress to protect their Dreamer employees. Absent from Trump’s speech: any mention of the sprawling Trump-Russia investigation which has consumed his presidency. At least Trump did not mimic Nixon, who urged the nation to end the Watergate investigation during his 1974 State of the Union Address . Seven months later, President Nixon resigned from the office in shame. + The White House

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Fact-checking Trump’s State of the Union speech on energy and climate change

Will the world’s 9 biggest seafood companies help save the oceans?

June 19, 2017 by  
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Cargill, Thai Union Group among “keystone companies” with about $30 billion in revenue pledging to fight illegal fishing, plastic pollution and climate change.

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Will the world’s 9 biggest seafood companies help save the oceans?

Will the world’s 9 biggest seafood companies help save the oceans?

June 19, 2017 by  
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Cargill, Thai Union Group among “keystone companies” with about $30 billion in revenue pledging to fight illegal fishing, plastic pollution and climate change.

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Will the world’s 9 biggest seafood companies help save the oceans?

Obama’s final State of the Union smacks down climate deniers with awesome Sputnik analogy

January 13, 2016 by  
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In his final State of the Union address to Congress and the American people on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama looked beyond his two terms in the White House to a future where climate deniers will be “pretty lonely” as the United States leads the world in accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy economy. The following quote sums up his most candid speech to date: “Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon.” Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of Obama’s final State of the Union smacks down climate deniers with awesome Sputnik analogy

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Obama’s final State of the Union smacks down climate deniers with awesome Sputnik analogy

Obama plans to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against drilling and exploration

January 27, 2015 by  
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As President Obama put it in his State of the Union address, he has “no more campaigns left to run.” Therefore it looks like he is using his remaining time in office to make as much of a difference as possible. Amongst his final efforts are plans to keep potential drilling and exploitation out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. Read the rest of Obama plans to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against drilling and exploration Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , Arctic , Arctic National Wildlife Refuge , arctic sanctuary , department of the interior , nature reserve , president obama , U.S. Department of the Interior , Wildlife

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Obama plans to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against drilling and exploration

Food Waste Fuels Vertical Farming in Chicago

April 10, 2014 by  
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The Windy City is turning into a hotbed of sustainable urban agriculture. Entrepreneur John Edel is transforming The Plant , a 1920s era meatpacking facility in Chicago’s industrial Back of the Yards neighborhood (next to the Union Stockyards) into a net zero vertical farming operation fueled by food waste. And a huge part of that transformation involves a giant anaerobic digester that converts food waste into biogas to power and heat the four-story, 93,500 square foot red brick warehouse. Read the rest of Food Waste Fuels Vertical Farming in Chicago Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anaerobic digester , Back of the Yards , chicago , food waste , John Edel , the plant , vertical farming

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Food Waste Fuels Vertical Farming in Chicago

Magnificent Gabled School Shows Great Design Doesn’t Have to be Expensive in London

April 10, 2014 by  
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This magnificent gabled structure serves as an activities center and crèche for the  Wilberforce Primary School in Westminster, London. But it used to be nothing more than a dimly lit portakabin. Designed by  Jonathan Tuckey Design , the timber-lined gatehouse features three skylights that provide both abundant natural daylight and ventilation. Best of all, the building was put together on a limited budget, which just goes to show – great design doesn’t have to be expensive. Read the rest of Magnificent Gabled School Shows Great Design Doesn’t Have to be Expensive in London Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: corrugated fibre-cement panels , cradle-to-cradle , gabled school gatehouse , Jonathan Tuckey Design , low-cost education buildings , low-cost renovation of a school gatehouse , school community center , school gatehouse made from timber , school renovation in London , Wilberforce Primary School

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Magnificent Gabled School Shows Great Design Doesn’t Have to be Expensive in London

Floating East River Pool Inches Closer to Reality with Mini Float Lab

April 10, 2014 by  
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The team behind the + Pool , a floating pool proposed for the East River, has launched a mini version of their design to test its water filtering abilities. Called the Float Lab, the model will be tested in the Hudson River and if all goes well, the + Pool team hopes to upgrade to a large-scale iteration this summer. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: + pool , arup , Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory , CUNY , eco design , floating East River Pool , green design , hudson river park trust , Olollo , Persak & Wurmfeld , Pier 40 , River Project , riverkeeper , sustainable design

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Floating East River Pool Inches Closer to Reality with Mini Float Lab

The Caribbean’s Coral Reefs Could Soon Be Extinct

September 11, 2012 by  
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature has released a report saying that the Caribbean’s iconic reefs are in sharp decline, with live coral coverage down to an average of just eight percent. Shockingly, due to overfishing, pollution, disease and bleaching caused by rising global temperatures, that is down 50% from what it was in the 1970s. The non-governmental organization unveiled the information at an international environmental conference in Korea where they said that time was “running out” for the region, and that stringent safeguards were needed. The report also stated that the coral destruction was worse in certain areas than others. However some parts of the reef including the Dutch islands of the southern Caribbean and the British territory of the Cayman Islands still have up to 30% cover in places. The rapid decline in coral growth was described as “critical” as with so little growth of live coral, the reefs are in danger of utter devastation. Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine and polar programme at the IUCN, said: “The major causes of coral decline are well known. Looking forward, there is an urgent need to immediately and drastically reduce all human impacts [if coral reefs] are to survive in the decades to come.” The picture for the world’s coral reefs is a bleak one with scientists from the World Resources Institute predicting that by 2050 virtually all of the world’s coral reefs would be in danger. In the Caribbean, it is estimated that 75% of the coral reefs were in danger along with 95% of those in South-East Asia. If you are planning on snorkeling in the near future and don’t wish to harm the reefs, it is important to note the following steps: (1) Remember that coral is alive; don’t step on or touch it and avoid stirring up sediment nearby; (2) don’t disturb or harass marine life; and (3) don’t remove marine life from its natural habitat or shells — and don’t buy souvenirs made from coral! + International Union for Conservation of Nature Via Wanderlust Lead Image: Beautiful view of sea life photo via Shutterstock Other Images: Sharife and Jim Bahn

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The Caribbean’s Coral Reefs Could Soon Be Extinct

Green For All Promotes a More Sustainable State of the Union

January 24, 2012 by  
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Oakland-based Green For All unveiled "A Plan to Keep America First" today, a four-point course of action it claims will put people back to work.

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