Week 13

The Headlines

Ozone Review Could Be Part of Larger Energy Policy Overhaul

April 12, 2017 | Bloomberg BNA

The EPA in its court filing seeking the delay had indicated that it is taking a look at the ozone standards to determine whether the regulation is subject to a March 28 executive order that instructed the agency to review any existing rules that could “potentially burden” domestic energy production ( Murray Energy Corp. v. EPA, D.C. Cir., No. 15-1385, 4/11/17 ).

EPA emerges as major target after Trump solicits policy advice from industry

April 16, 2017 | The Washington Post

The NFIB has suggested a raft of changes, including one that would designate the Commerce Department — instead of the State Department — as the agency in charge of approving pipelines and other projects that cross borders. The federation says the lead agency should have “commercial expertise and an interest in encouraging business.”

White House cancels meeting to decide stance on climate pact

April 18, 2017 | ABC News

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blamed the postponement of the meeting on scheduling conflicts among advisers who were expected to attend. Some of them, she said, wanted to accompany the president on his trip to Wisconsin on Tuesday, and the White House decided to reschedule its internal climate talks.

EPA seeks delay over rule curbing coal plants’ toxic pollution

April 18, 2017 | The Washington Post

The rule on mercury and other air toxins, known as the MATS rule, has been the subject of litigation for years. While the Supreme Court initially required EPA to do a more thorough cost-benefit analysis of the measure, it allowed the new standards to take effect in 2012. Under the rule, coal and oil-fired utilities had to install pollution controls that put them on par with the 12 percent cleanest facilities in their sector.

EPA plans to offer buyouts as part of Trump push to shrink workforce

April 19, 2017 | The Washington Post

O’Grady said for the Trump administration to try to get rid of thousands of employees using the same approach would prove “exorbitantly expensive.” In addition, he said it would amount to “the utter destruction of the U.S. EPA.”

Trump wants to make it easier to drill in national parks. We mapped the 42 parks at risk.

April 20, 2017 | Vox

But now, under the Trump administration, those safeguards are at risk of being watered down or repealed, shifting the burden to protect national parks to environmental watchdogs. And 30 additional national parks with split estate situations could be opened for drilling in the future.

Changes to Energy Dept. websites downplay renewables as a replacement for fossil fuels

April 21, 2017 | The Washington Post

Together, the changes collectively downplay the climate benefits of each form of technology and distance the agency from the idea that they might be used to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, instead emphasizing their economic advantages. It’s a move that’s well in line with the Trump administration’s generally dismissive attitude toward the issue of climate change.


In Other Congressional News…

This Time Congress Is Not Helping Trump Destroy the Planet

April 10, 2017 | Mother Jones

The bill to overturn a methane regulation for public lands that has been long disliked by the oil and gas industry has stalled in the Senate. A number of moderate and Western state Republican senators have worried about the implications of permanently restricting the Interior Department’s ability to regulate methane emissions.


State Response 

Northwest EPA worker blasts new boss in resignation

April 10, 2017 | Seattle Pi

“You will continue to undermine your credibility and integrity with EPA staff, and the majority of the public, if you continue to question this basic science on climate change.”


A Look Back

What Trump’s Surprise Victory Could Mean for Science

November 9, 2016 | Scientific American

The biggest issue is that scientists simply don’t know what Trump is going to do. Trump has changed his mind on plenty of matters; he’s maintained few constants besides wanting to cut spending, keep out immigrants and burn fossil fuels. We don’t know if he’ll cut science spending, and we know he’s interested in a stronger private company presence in some fields, like space exploration.  Scientists have already begun tweeting about their worry that these budget cuts will hit their fields of research via the NIH or NSF.

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Analysis 6

This week was a rough one, so far as environmental-climate policy in America goes.

At a time when our international allies are urging us in the U.S. to keep true to our Paris Climate promises — which is starting to look altogether unclear — the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scott Pruitt visited a coal mine in Pennsylvania and basically said: “Your jobs are coming back.”

What’s more, President Trump and his environmental-climate wonks are ‘reconsidering’ an Obama-era rule that impacts regulating toxic wastewater emissions from coal-fired power plants (coal power plants detrimentally impact climate change, not to mention public health) while also backing off from a city-smog rule.

What else is at stake here with this administration and its ‘War on Climate’ anyhow?

I introduced Christopher McGrory Klyza’s and David J. Sousa’s book on “American Environmental Politics: Beyond Gridlock” (2012) in the second week’s analysis — all the way back when the Congressional Review Act was just starting to wreck havoc on late-term Obama rules and regulations.

The latest reprint of the book — 2012 — takes an overly optimistic tone, to say the very least. Convinced that Obama’s presidency would somehow further establish more progressive environmental building blocks in his second term, the authors end their second-edition analysis with a chapter titled: “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same.”

In this epilogue of a chapter, Klyza and Sousa re-examine all of the case studies presented throughout their analysis, namely the contentious ‘Roadless Rule’, the Reagan-Bush/Clinton-to-Clinton/Bush transfers of ‘environmental protection’ powers, and project how the path of environmental policy will extend in the foreseeable future. Klyza and Sousa contend that, despite consistent and increasing gridlock in the U.S. Congress, American environmental policy will still find itself moving towards this (arguably true) ‘green shift’ in favor of greater conservation, a framework that the authors charted from the ‘golden era’ of American environmental politics in the 1960s and 70s.

“When it comes to U.S. environmental policy, however,” the authors write in their ending chapter, drama over the last six years has been “largely lacking” (p. 285).

I wonder what — or if — the authors would publish in 2018, another six years after the second edition hit the shelves, full of Obama-inspired climate optimism.

Are they still as hopeful as they were five years ago, now that we’re almost five months in Trump’s climate change is a ‘waste of your money’ term? Could Klyza and Sousa have predicted such a shift in tone from Obama’s to Trump’s climate agenda? Will they offer any ideas for future mitigation and adaptation — not of climate change, merely, but of Trump’s butchering of recent environmental policy gains?

In 2012, the 2011 House of Representatives was quoted as “the most anti-environmental in our nation’s history” by the League of Conservation Voters (p. 294). Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential candidate during Obama’s re-election year, quite candidly proposed abolishing the EPA, while Herman Cain called the EPA “out of control. The EPA has gone wild.” (p. 288).

Was all this hatred for the EPA manifested in the last election? Have ultra-conservative, right-wing Republicans really sat on their heels and waited to unleash their angst against an agency that, with its slim-pickings budget, will now include 24/7 security for its controversial leader?

Klyza and Sousa (2012) are right to point out that “environmental policy in many areas has been remarkably unstable despite the stability of the basic statutory frameworks governing pollution, conservation, and natural resources” (p. 281) — just look through the last week’s headlines and you’ll get the idea.

As alarming as recent trends have been, not all of these ideas (e.g., fossil fuels in the White House, EPA is unnecessary and a horrible burden) are new.

What I’m finding, with all this historical literature I’m reading, is that our current ‘manifest destiny’ is just a bigger, better re-hash of old Republican moves, used in the presidencies before the Obama era.

President Bush put a few controversial picks in open natural resources slots, namely Mark Rey, “once a leading lobbyist for the timber industry, in charge of forest policy at the Agriculture Department, and Steven Griles, a lobbyist for coal and oil interests, in charge of BLM [Bureau of Land Management] lands, wildlife refuges, national monuments, and national parks at the Department of the Interior” (p. 268).

Why do all the industry lobbyists get a leg in with recent Republican presidents? Surely, there has to be more qualified scientists in this country, who have actually studied natural resource conservation in a rigorous and balance-bias academic setting, and who could more justly serve in these positions of great federal power, over their fossil-fuel counterparts?

Perhaps, the overhead question I keep coming back to is: What will it take to give climate change issues more salience with this country’s citizens? The authors write about the lack of environmental policy questions in the 2006 election debates (p. 263) — and we arguably had the same issue 10 years later!

The notion that “few politician will risk proclaiming they are anti-green” I believe is a false one in today’s anti-regulatory environment — or at least an unfounded one, given current trends in Congress and in policy advancements overall in the last three months.

We’re a nation divided. Divided by cities and countryside. Divided by pocket change and empty pockets. Divided by race. Divided by gender. Divided by ‘progressive’ green thinking and the coal ‘lords of yesterday’.

The contours of our common environment is what unites us all. How can we, the United States of America, find common ground on our common ground?

Week 12

The Headlines

What’s at Stake in Trump’s Proposed E.P.A. Cuts

April 10, 2017 | The New York Times

The exact science behind, and health consequences of, a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupters remains unsettled. With the proposed cuts to research at the E.P.A., it could stay that way.

The budget eliminates a $6 million research and screening effort targeting the chemicals, which are found widely in pesticides, plastics, shampoos and cosmetics, cash register receipts, food can linings and other products. The chemicals have been linked to breast cancer in women and hypospadias, a birth defect in boys.

Ending the program, which would result in the loss of nine jobs, would curtail the agency’s ability to review medical data and work with environmental lawyers to fashion an agency response.

Emerging nations urge rich countries to honour climate finance pledges – statement

April 11, 2017 | Reuters

At a media briefing after the Tuesday meeting, South Africa’s deputy minister of environmental affairs, Barbara Thompson, said recent changes in U.S. policy were “of major concern”.

But “the position of the U.S. is still very unclear to us”, she said, adding “we believe there are different views within the U.S. administration” on this issue.

Trump’s climate demands roil U.S. allies

April 11, 2017 | Politico

After a tense back-and-forth at the meeting in Rome on Monday, the G-7 energy ministers — including representatives from Canada, Great Britain and several European Union countries — wound up scuttling the statement altogether.

April 11, 2017 | The Washington Post

“We are thankful to the court for granting our motion to postpone oral argument,” EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an email. “In light of President Trump’s pro-growth agenda, EPA continues to carefully review the broad implications of the 2015 ozone standard and ensure that we are supporting American jobs and protecting human health and the environment.”

Trump’s EPA is seeking a 24/7 security detail for its new leader

April 12, 2017 | The Washington Post

“I think it’s prudent given the continuing activities by the left to foment hatred and the reported hostility within the agency from some unprofessional activists,” Ebell said at the time.

Scott Pruitt Faces Anger From Right Over E.P.A. Finding He Won’t Fight

April 12, 2017 | The New York Times

But now a growing chorus of critics on the other end of the political spectrum say Mr. Pruitt has not gone far enough. In particular, they are angry that he has refused to challenge a landmark agency determination known as the endangerment finding, which provides the legal basis for Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan and other global warming policies.

These critics say that Mr. Pruitt is hacking only at the branches of current climate policy. They want him to pull it out by the roots.

Trump administration halts Obama-era rule aimed at curbing toxic wastewater from coal plants

April 13, 2017 | The Washington Post

That group [Sierra Club] and others noted that power plants represent the largest industrial source of toxic wastewater pollution in the country and that more than a third of coal plants discharge wastewater within five miles of a downstream community’s drinking water intake. They also argued that the Obama administration’s rule was based on years of peer-reviewed studies, input from health experts and a mountain of public comments.

EPA head tells coal miners ‘regulatory assault is over’

April 13, 2017 | The Sentinel [Pennsylvania]

[But] Even coal company executives have publicly expressed doubts that rolling back regulations will stem the coal industry’s decline. Coal mining now accounts for fewer than 75,000 U.S. jobs.

EPA Chief Pruitt: U.S. Should ‘Exit’ Paris Climate Agreement

April 13, 2017 | InsideClimate News

“Paris is something we need to look at closely. It’s something we need to exit in my opinion,” Pruitt said in an interview on the Fox & Friends morning news program.

“It’s a bad deal for America,” he said. “It’s an ‘America second, third or fourth’ kind of approach.”


State Response

Trump’s attacks on environment unites 4 ex-N.J. governors | Editorial

April 8, 2017 | NJ.Com

Whitman has joined forces with Brendan Byrne (governor from 1974 to 1982), Thomas Kean (1982 to 1990) and James Florio (1990 to 1994) to urge the state’s congressional delegation to stand firm against the proposed EPA cuts and layoffs.

Chicago Is Pledging To Lead The Nation In Renewable Energy

April 9, 2017 | The Chicagoist

All buildings operated by the city—including government buildings, Chicago Public Schools, park district buildings, Chicago Housing Authority spaces, and community colleges—will be powered 100 percent through renewable energy, the mayor and other city officials announced on Sunday. Emanuel made the announcement on the roof of Shedd Aquarium, which right now sports more than 900 solar panels.

Solar hits big, brief milestone in California

April 10, 2017 | The San Francisco Chronicle

Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 11, almost 40 percent of the electricity flowing across the ISO grid came from large-scale solar power plants, a record. California has enough big solar facilities to generate up to 9.8 gigawatts of electricity, nearly the output of 10 nuclear reactors.

Portland commits to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050

April 10, 2017 | The Register-Guard [Oregon]

Monday’s announcement from Mayor Ted Wheeler and County Chair Deborah Kafoury places the Portland-metro region alongside 25 other cities that have committed to 100-percent renewables. Nearly 90 major U.S. companies also have committed.

Fla. makes case for climate research at Mar-a-Lago’s doorstep

April 11, 2017 | E&E News

“What do we do about it?” [Nelson] asked. “Well, first, we need to be clear about the facts that are presented to the public and fight against the political censorship of our climate scientists and their data,” Nelson said. “If a doctor were barred from using the word cancer, he or she can’t do his job. And the same is true of the scientists and the work that they do to understand and educate the public about the Earth’s increasing fever.”

CT, NY Petition EPA To Limit Air Pollution From Rust Belt Coal Plants

April 13, 2017 | WSHU Public Radio

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says the state has the highest level of ozone in the Northeast, due in large part to interstate pollution that comes from coal-fired power plants in states likes Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Okla. bill targets ‘existing scientific theories’

April 13, 2017 | E&E News

The legislation comes amid a national climate change education controversy. Earlier this year, the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that denies mainstream climate science, shipped 25,000 books and DVDs rejecting the human role in global warming to public schools across the country. The institute aims to send about 200,000 copies of the book, titled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” with the goal of getting the materials into the hands of every science teacher in the country.


A Look Back

Trump Preparing Order to Expand Offshore Oil Drilling

 April 6, 2017 | Bloomberg

“The administration can stare all day at the statute Obama used to protect large parts of the Arctic and Atlantic, but they won’t find a syllable allowing Trump to revoke those protections. Neither will the courts,” said Niel Lawrence, Alaska director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Week 11

The Headlines

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’

March 29, 2017 | Politico

A supervisor at the Energy Department’s international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction” or “Paris Agreement” in written memos, briefings or other written communication, sources have told POLITICO.

EPA chief says Paris climate agreement ‘bad deal’ for U.S.

April 2, 2017 | Reuters

“To demonstrate the leadership that we have shown on this issue with China and India and other nations is very important and discussions should ensue,” Pruitt said on Fox News Sunday, “but what Paris represents is a bad deal for this country.”

Trump Plan to Slash EPA Budget Goes Even Deeper, New Memo Shows

April 3, 2017 | InsideClimate News

The memo repeatedly portrays climate as outside the agency’s “core statutory requirements.” That’s a radical change from the Obama administration’s last EPA budget proposal, which called greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation “the issue of highest importance facing the agency.”

U.S. coal companies ask Trump to stick with Paris climate deal

April 4, 2017 | Reuters

In Cloud Peak’s view, staying in the agreement and trying to encourage “a more balanced, reasonable and appropriate path forward” on fossil fuel technologies among signatories to the accord seems like a reasonable stance, said Cloud Peak’s vice president of government affairs, Richard Reavey.

U.S. would slash EPA vehicle testing budget under Trump plan

April 4, 2017 | Reuters

The proposal, which would also cut 168 out of 304 full-time jobs, seeks to partially fund current operations by boosting fees automakers and engine manufacturers pay for testing. An EPA official confirmed the document’s authenticity.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s claim that ‘clean coal’ helped reduce carbon emissions

April 5, 2017 | The Washington Post

Pruitt said additional regulation is unnecessary because carbon emissions have already been reduced to pre-1994 levels. He attributed the decline to a host of nonregulatory efforts, including the ability for factories to use technology to “burn coal in clean fashion.”

Trump declares end to ‘war on coal,’ but utilities aren’t listening

April 5, 2017 | Reuters

The utilities gave many reasons, mainly economic: Natural gas – coal’s top competitor – is cheap and abundant; solar and wind power costs are falling; state environmental laws remain in place; and Trump’s regulatory rollback may not survive legal challenges.

U.S. land agency website drops hiking photo to give coal top billing

April 6, 2017 | Reuters

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, an avid hunter and angler from coal-producing Montana, who rode to his first day of work on a horse named Tonto, approved a $22 million coal lease in central Utah last month.


In Other News…

Even Fox News slams EPA chief’s climate denial: ‘All kinds of studies contradict you’

April 2, 2017 | ThinkProgress [with Fox News video]

“What if, in fact, the earth is warming, what if it is causing dramatic climate change and we as humans through carbon emissions are contributing to it? Simple question, what if you are wrong?”


State Response

New York, other states take on Trump over energy efficiency

April 3, 2017 | Reuters

Ten Democratic attorneys general, plus New York City and a Pennsylvania regulator, on Monday notified Energy Secretary Rick Perry of their plan to sue in 60 days for stalling proposed standards for air compressors, commercial boilers, portable air conditioners, power supplies, and walk-in coolers and freezers.

EPA Should Not Be Allowed to Dodge Clean Power Plan Ruling, Cities and States Tell Court

April 6, 2017 | InsideClimate News

The brief even made a veiled threat that if the courts ultimately rule that states have no recourse under the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2, they might fall back on a tactic that worked for them in the past: suing polluters under common law for the “nuisance” of intense storms, rising seas and damage to public health.


NEW SECTION: Indigenous Response

Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises

April 1, 2017 | The New York Times

But some of the largest tribes in the United States derive their budgets from the very fossil fuels that Mr. Trump has pledged to promote, including the Navajo in the Southwest and the Osage in Oklahoma, as well as smaller tribes like the Southern Ute in Colorado. And the Crow are among several Indian nations looking to the president’s promises to nix Obama-era coal rules, pull back on regulations, or approve new oil and gas wells to help them lift their economies and wrest control from a federal bureaucracy they have often seen as burdensome.


A Look Back

I am an Arctic researcher. Donald Trump is deleting my citations

March 28, 2017 | The Guardian Opinion

From Philadelphia to Toronto, hackers raced against the clock to protect crucial datasets before they disappeared. Volunteers tried tirelessly to save what they could, but the federal government is a massive warehouse of information. Some data was bound to get left behind.

Analysis 5

It’s getting more and more difficult to remain optimistic for the future of American climate policy under Trump in these bi-weekly analyses.

After the debacle that emerged as our nation’s future for federal funding — science in general saw significant cuts, global climate change research was gutted completely — President Trump made moves to eradicate any shred of President Obama’s climate legacy, as it has come to be known. Probably just for the sake of it being Obama’s.

How can the pendulum swing this far away from all the ‘progress’ on climate consensus in just 74 days?

We went from having a president who protected the most square kilometers of ocean ecosystem EVER, to a president who has just promised to bring back coal jobs to miners in the Appalachian states — and who has had deleted the words ‘climate change mitigation’ from the State Department website.

President Obama pledged to bring renewable energy technologies up to speed, to compete with other global markets like China and India, on the quest for reduced emissions, improved air quality, and combating increasingly concerning climate change. President Trump proclaimed the revival of clean coal just 5 days ago, and I can scarcely breathe.

I imagine the coal miners, if they aren’t suffering from medical complications already, will scarcely be able to breathe in a few short years, too.

That’s a morbid thought, I know, but it’s true.

Public health officials (and laymen alike) already know the disastrous effects of coal mining on the human body — and that’s completely discounting the impacts of mountaintop removal and underground, by-hand mining on the surrounding ecosystems. There’s that saying ‘the canary in the coal mine’ for a good reason.

But it’s more than just coal mining, Clean Power Plan erasure, public health and ecosystem impacts … it’s the fact that the rest of America’s legislative power is on Trump’s ‘side’ — when there shouldn’t even be sides in the first place.

This is about the future live-ability of our beloved, shared planet, and we’ve turned it into a congressional shouting match, not to mention a presidential prerogative when really it should be up to the people whose lives are going to (have to) change.

The “social cost” of carbon has also been silenced by Trump in the past week. As with the budget cuts of last month, government spending and inflation, I guess, is to blame for America’s current abhorrence to Obama’s terms as president. Deregulation of the fossil-fuel industry, in the form of relaxed fracking and methane-capture rules, and an elimination of federal funding for scientific research has been Trump’s legacy on climate policy, thus far. Moving away from government to corporate, industry interests seems to be the way of Trump; as a businessman himself, this trend makes sense.

But he’s also taking the American people with him on this decry of government as ‘problem only.’ Sounds like the state of affairs a few decades prior: “By the late 1970s, most of America was convinced that government was the issue. It was effective simple politics and bad analysis [emphasis added]” (Madrick, p. 5).

Jeff Madrick, author of “The Case for Big Government” (2009), which I introduced as a text to examine in the last analysis, argues that it’s government’s “management of change is what is critical” to winning over the hearts and minds of its citizens — not the complete defunding and defacing of it.

“Without an active government, a nation cannot respond adequately to its times. If it does not respond to new conditions, both economic growth and the ability to retain the nation’s values will suffer. … The lesson is that pragmatic government should prevail over any categorical or typically ideological dismissal of the uses of government … If what we think of as big government is necessary to manage change, and in a complex society it may well be, then we should pursue it actively and positively, and make it function well [emphasis added]” (p. 8)

I definitely see truth to this analysis. Times are a’changing, especially in regards to energy policies and state diplomacy in the wake of increasing threats to livelihood from climate change all around the world.

As a nation that emits its (more than, I would forcefully argue) fair share of greenhouse gas emissions, we as the United States of America must be diligent in our quest to lead the rest of the world in clean(er) technologies for energy capture/storage, as well as build resilience in our communities for projected changes — or someone else will replace us in the starting line-up.

China has already come out in dismay against Trump’s proposed budget cuts to climate change resilience and associated research. We risk our legitimacy as a ‘freedom flung’ nation, and as a mover-and-shaker of the world for good if we let these issues go down the drain (like all that rising sea water on the East Coast…).

But, maybe that’s not what ‘America’ wants. Maybe America just wants to better itself, make itself ‘great again’.

But what if that’s not all we all want to do?

Week 10

The Headlines

The State Dept. Rewrote Its Climate Change Page

March 23, 2017 | Climate Central

“Deleted from the text was: “The United States is taking a leading role by advancing an ever-expanding suite of measures at home and abroad.” Also stricken were references to mitigation efforts and other mentions of leading on climate change.”

Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record

March 28, 2017 | The Washington Post

“So, for the president, even if he would like to revoke the Clean Power Plan, he doesn’t have legal authority to do that,” said Jeffrey Holmstead, a partner at the Bracewell law firm who opposes the Obama-era rule. Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President George W. Bush, said he thinks the agency can justify reversing the regulation. But “they have to justify why they have changed,” he added.

Trump promised to bring back coal jobs. That promise ‘will not be kept,’ experts say.

March 29, 2017 | The Washington Post

“In this shaky financial environment, coal companies are struggling. Two of the largest, Contura and Arch Coal, emerged from bankruptcy only recently, and another giant, Peabody Energy, recently filed a reorganization plan for its path out of bankruptcy, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.”

Trump’s war on climate policy is also a war on public health

March 29, 2017 | Vox

“The Clean Power Plan, in other words, has been a big win for health. According to the EPA, cutting exposure to particle pollution in the order the CPP does would have averted up to 3,600 premature deaths, 90,000 asthma attacks in children, and 1,700 heart attacks each year.”

Climate change: China calls US ‘selfish’ after Trump seeks to bring back coal

March 30, 2017 | The Guardian

“No matter how hard Beijing tries, it won’t be able to take on all the responsibilities that Washington refuses to take. …Washington is supposed to take the lead in the global fight against climate change but the Trump administration could be the first to ditch the agreement, which is disappointing.”


In Other Congressional News…

Republican sceptics call climate change hearing that massively backfires as expert witness calls for carbon tax

March 30, 2017 | The Independent

“The witness panel does not really represent the vast majority of climate scientists,” she said. “We’d need 96 more Dr Manns.”


State Response

California Upholds Auto Emissions Standards, Setting Up Face-Off With Trump

March 24, 2017 | The New York Times

“California can write its own standards because of a longstanding waiver granted under the Clean Air Act, giving the state — the country’s biggest auto market — major sway over the auto industry. Twelve other states, including New York and Pennsylvania, as well as Washington, D.C., follow California’s standards, a coalition that covers more than 130 million residents and more than a third of the vehicle market in the United States.”

March 27, 2017 | The Guardian

“New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has said warming temperatures are costing the state “not only in dollars but already in lives”, his Florida counterpart, Rick Scott, will be forever saddled by reports that he banned public servants from uttering the words “climate change”.”

A building boom and climate change create an even hotter, drier Phoenix

March 27, 2017 | The Los Angeles Times

“Last month, amid reports that Trump may attempt to withdraw the United States from the historic Paris climate accord, the city moved in the opposite direction: It adopted a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels — after exceeding its previous goal of 15%.”

What President Trump’s emissions order means for SoCal

March 28, 2017 | KPCC

“It’s a blue state phenomenon,” said Dr. David Victor, a professor of international relations and director of UC San Diego’s Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. “The coasts have been moving into lower emissions, more renewable energy, more expensive energy for a long time.”


A Look (To The Side)

‘Climate change is real’: companies challenge Trump’s reversal of policy

March 29, 2017 | The Guardian

“We’re disappointed the administration has decided to roll back climate regulations such as the clean power plan and others,” Edward Hoover, senior manager of Corporate Communications for Mars, told the Guardian. “Corporations can’t do it alone. Governments play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change on our economy.”

Vatican says Trump risks losing climate change leadership to China

March 30, 2017 | Reuters

“We as a Church, are full of hope that (Trump’s positions) will change,” Turkson said, adding that he hoped “the president realizes that there sometimes can be dissonance between reality and things said during a campaign”.