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- Thu Jul 11, 2019 - Trump downplayed his love of coal. It's because he needs Florida
President Donald Trump loves to tout his support of \'beautiful, clean coal.\' Or at least he used to. He didn't mention it once during his Monday speech on the administration's environmental record.
In the televised speech from the White House East Room, Trump finally acknowledged climate change, although not directly. The president talked about emissions --- but never mentioned the words \'climate change.\' The address reportedly came after some of his close advisers worried the president's record on the environment would hurt his shot at re-election.
Not only have GOP voters become increasingly invested in solutions to climate change, but global warming and climate action have impacted states that Trump hopes to carry in 2020. He made clear, too, that he'll focus his efforts on one in particular.
\'In some ways you could be arguing that Trump's re-election campaign is really a Florida-first strategy,\' said Ford O'Connell, a Republican campaign strategist who worked on the McCain
- Thu Jul 11, 2019 - New Orleans braces for a one-two weather punch
The 2019 hurricane season has barely begun, and a troubling storm is already brewing. Heavy rains paralyzed New Orleans on Wednesday, with as much as ten inches falling in just a few hours, and the National Weather Service declared a \'flash flood emergency.\' This is just the beginning of what could be a truly awful week of weather.
On Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center issued a storm surge watch and a tropical storm watch for coastal Louisiana, forecasting the ongoing thunderstorms to eventually develop into a hurricane which would be named Barry and make landfall sometime on Saturday. The National Weather Service (NWS) office in New Orleans has begun circulating hurricane preparedness tips, and the NWS' Twitter account said---in a since-deleted tweet---that the approaching storm \'gets us thinking about what we can be doing TODAY to get ready for the big one.\'
The storm's timing is unique: In 168 years of hurricane records, a July hurricane in Louisiana has only hap
- Thu Jul 11, 2019 - How GE missed the opportunity to be a clean energy giant
In late June 2019, General Electric announced it would close a California gas plant 20 years ahead of schedule. The Inland Empire Energy Center in California, the company said, was \'uneconomical to support further\' in part because of outdated technology.
But California's aggressive clean energy goals and commitment to using renewable energy was also a key determinant in GE's decision to take the plant offline. What's more, the closure is not just a hiccup in GE's energy plans, but is just one small piece of the American giant's substantial stumble on clean energy in recent years.
The company has lost hundreds of billions of dollars of investor money in just two years as its stock has plummeted. And a new report claims the downturn is in large part because the company failed to pay attention to the rise of clean energy.
\'You don't necessarily think of GE as an energy company,\' says Kathy Hipple, a financial analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (I
- Thu Jul 11, 2019 - Alaska chokes on wildfires as heat waves dry out the Arctic
Under the choking black smoke from the bog and forest fires in Siberia and Alaska, it can feel like the Earth itself is burning. The normally moist, black organic peat soil and lush forests have been drying, and when they catch fire, they burn relentlessly.
Global warming has been thawing tundra and drying vast stretches of the far-northern boreal forests, and it also has spurred more thunderstorms with lightning, which triggered many of the fires burning in Alaska this year, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the International Arctic Research Center who closely tracks Alaskan and Arctic extreme weather.
So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 1.2 million acres in Alaska, making it one of the state's three biggest fire years on record to this date, with high fire danger expected to persist in the weeks ahead.
Several studies, as well as ongoing satellite monitoring, show that fires are spreading farther north into the Arctic, burning more intensely
- Wed Jul 10, 2019 - Device could bring both solar power and clean water to millions
A device that can produce electricity from sunlight while simultaneously purifying water has been produced by researchers, an invention they say could solve two problems in one stroke.
The researchers say the device is not only a source of green energy but also offers an alternative to current technologies for purifying water. These, they add, often consume large amounts of electricity and require infrastructure beyond the reach of many communities that lack basic access to safe drinking water -- a situation thought to affect more than 780 million people worldwide.
\'These people spend a collective 200m hours a day fetching water from distant sources,\' said Prof Peng Wang, a co-author of the research from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.
With solar farms often located in arid regions, the device could provide clean water where it is needed most. What is more, the team say it could be used in a backyard or on an industrial scale.
\'Having a s
- Wed Jul 10, 2019 - Plastic has a big carbon footprint --- but that isn't the whole story
Plastic waste gets a lot of attention when photos of dead whales with stomachs full of plastic bags hit the news. Pieces of plastic also litter cities, and tiny plastic particles are even floating in the air.
Largely overlooked is how making plastic in the first place affects the environment, especially global warming. Plastic actually has a big carbon footprint, but so do many of the alternatives to plastic. And that's what makes replacing plastic a problem without a clear solution.
Plastic is just a form of fossil fuel. Your plastic water bottle, your grocery bag, your foam tray full of cucumbers ... they're all made from oil or natural gas. It takes lots of energy to make that happen.
\'The real story of plastics' impact on the environment begins at the wellheads where it comes out of the ground,\' says Carroll Muffett, head of the Center for International Environmental Law. \'And it never, ever stops.\'
The center, also known as CIEL, has gathered global data on how much cl
- Wed Jul 10, 2019 - Food for thought
Dieters know the expression, \'Watch what you eat.\'
But apparently, on a global scale, it applies to everyone.
Turns out what we eat actually can be measured in emissions as well as pounds.
An engineer at the University of Michigan's Center for Sustainable Systems is one of several researchers who published a paper in \'Environmental Research Letters\' that looks at how much variability there is in the greenhouse gas emissions of American diets.
In fact, 46% of the total emissions from food came from the diets of just one-fifth of the population. According to the study, mostly that's because those people eat a lot more meat than the others, especially methane-spewing beef. Animal protein jacks up emissions for the top consumers, while the ecologically minded folks at the bottom consume more plant proteins.
Suddenly, the \'Eat More Kale\' push here in Vermont has some new legs.
\'I don't think any of us really had a strong sense of how distributed the greenhouse gas emission
- Wed Jul 10, 2019 - Microbes in the Tundras could blow the roof off global warming with their emissions
While many parts of the world are experiencing global warming in different ways, there is an overall rise in the Earth's temperature. Both the planet's ice-capped poles are melting, causing a sea-level rise. The increasing warmth in these regions is causing palpable changes in the animals and plants that live in these areas.
In a new study, researchers studying the Alaskan tundras said that global warming could cause microbes living in the soil of this region to release more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Considering that half the carbon in the world (twice as much as the carbon levels in the atmosphere) is stored under the planet's frozen soil, the consequences of having all this carbon released into the atmosphere would be disastrous.
Microbes react quickly to slight changes like warming over the span of a few years.
\'We saw that microbial communities respond quite rapidly -- within four or five years -- to even modest levels of warming,\' Kostas T Konstant
- Tue Jul 9, 2019 - Health groups sue over Trump rollback of Obama-era emissions rule
Two major health organizations on Monday sued the Trump administration over its rollback of an Obama-era rule on power plant emissions.
The American Lung Association and the American Public Health Association are challenging President Trump's newly unveiled American Clean Energy (ACE) rule, the administration's replacement for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
Critics have widely panned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Trump for introducing a rule opponents say will do little to reduce pollution from power plants.
\'In repealing the Clean Power Plan and adopting the ACE rule, EPA abdicates its legal duties and obligations to protect public health under the Clean Air Act, which is why we are challenging these actions,\' the two groups said in a statement Monday.
\'EPA has legal authority and obligation under the Clean Air Act to protect and preserve public health and welfare, including by regulating carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants
- Tue Jul 9, 2019 - Trump is desperately trying to spin his abysmal environmental record
President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, slashed Obama-era emissions regulations, stocked his administration with former fossil fuel lobbyists, and categorically dismissed the notion that climate change is an existential threat.
But none of that prevented the president from declaring in a White House address Monday that he had \'set the new global standard for environmental protections.\'
Trump, eschewing talk of addressing the climate crisis, focused on how he wants \'the cleanest air\' and \'crystal clean water,\' as well as his decision to remove the U.S. from the \'unfair, ineffective, and very expensive\' Paris accord. Though the Trump administration has long claimed that the United States has the cleanest air and water in the world, this is far from true. According to the 2018 Environmental Performance Index, the U.S. ranked 10th of 180 countries in air quality, and 29th in water and sanitation.
The thrust of Trump's message was that the best