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- Tue Aug 20, 2019 - How Trump's ESA rollback threatens polar bears
The changes announced Monday to the Endangered Species Act are going to vastly reduce the protections granted to wildlife in this country. But parsing the convoluted legal language is complicated and can result in dry, oversimplified explanations.
I wanted to drive home how harmful these new regulations are going to be and hopefully, in the process, get us all as worked up as we should be about the rampant destruction they're going to wreak. To do this, I've turned to a proven strategy: I picked something cute and cuddly that everyone loves and set out to write about that.
Then things got complicated.
One of the Trump administration's most prominent claims about the new regulations is that they won't alter existing protections for listed species:
\'The ESA directs that determinations to add or remove a species from the lists of threatened or endangered species be based solely on the best available scientific and commercial information, and these will remain the only criteri
- Tue Aug 20, 2019 - Greenland: At the bottom of a glacier, scientists find troubling signs
On one of the hottest days this summer, locals in the tiny village of Kulusuk, Greenland, heard what sounded like an explosion. It turned out to be a soccer field's worth of ice breaking off a glacier more than five miles away.
Greenland lost 12.5 billion tons of ice to melting on August 2, the largest single-day loss in recorded history and another stark reminder of the climate crisis.
Kulusuk is also base camp for NASA's OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) program. OMG scientists traveled to the world's biggest island this year after a heatwave scorched the United States and Europe, smashing temperature records and triggering the mass melting of its ice sheet.
NASA oceanographer Josh Willis and his team are investigating how the ice is being attacked not only by rising air temperatures but also by the warming ocean, which is eating it away from underneath.
A remodeled World War II DC-3 plane, now called Basler BT-57, takes a group of OMG researchers around the coast of Greenla
- Tue Aug 20, 2019 - Trump's rollback of auto pollution rules shows signs of disarray
The White House, blindsided by a pact between California and four automakers to oppose President Trump's auto emissions rollbacks, has mounted an effort to prevent any more companies from joining the other side.
Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors were all summoned by a senior Trump adviser to a White House meeting last month where he pressed them to stand by the president's own initiative, according to four people familiar with the talks.
But even as the White House was working to do this, it was losing ground. Yet another company, Mercedes-Benz, is preparing to join the four automakers already in the California agreement --- Honda, Ford, Volkswagen and BMW --- according to two people familiar with the German company's plans.
Mr. Trump, described by three people as enraged by California's deal, has demanded that his staff members step up the pace to complete his plan. His proposal, however, is directly at odds with the wishes of many automakers, which fear that the aggre
- Tue Aug 20, 2019 - Canada announces $175 million for new conservation projects
Indigenous-led initiatives in Clayoquot Sound and the Sacred Headwaters region are among 68 conservation projects across Canada to receive $175 million in new federal funding, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced in Victoria on Monday at an oceanside event crashed by a dozen shouting protesters.
McKenna also announced an additional $4.3 million for 49 projects to protect species at risk of extinction, including a project in the district of Oak Bay to support the recovery of 14 at-risk plant species in Uplands Park, such as the rare bearded owl-clover and water-plantain buttercup.
\'We have a biodiversity crisis and we're losing species --- animals, nature, plants,\' McKenna told reporters, local politicians and dignitaries who included former long-time federal environment minister David Anderson.
The minister said 67 conservation projects --- including 27 initiatives to create new Indigenous protected and conserved areas --- will be supported through the Canada Natur
- Mon Aug 19, 2019 - America's mega-emitters are starting to close
When the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona shuts down later this year, it will be one of the largest carbon emitters to ever close in American history.
The giant coal plant on Arizona's high desert emitted almost 135 million metric tons of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2017, according to an E+E News review of federal figures.
Its average annual emissions over that period are roughly equivalent to what 3.3 million passenger cars would pump into the atmosphere in a single year. Of all the coal plants to be retired in the United States in recent years, none has emitted more.
The Navajo Generating Station isn't alone. It's among a new wave of super-polluters headed for the scrap heap. Bruce Mansfield, a massive coal plant in Pennsylvania, emitted nearly 123 million tons between 2010 and 2017. It, too, will be retired by year's end.
And in western Kentucky, the Paradise plant emitted some 102 million tons of carbon over that period. The Tennessee Valley Authority closed two
- Mon Aug 19, 2019 - The colonizers have turned their eyes to Greenland
Thursday afternoon, a curious item appeared in the pages of The Wall Street Journal. President Donald Trump, either as a joke or entirely seriously, is apparently weighing the prospect of the United States federal government purchasing Greenland.
This specific move is not unprecedented. Harry Truman waved $100 million in front of Denmark in 1946, and the State Department opened (and then closed) an inquiry into buying Greenland and Iceland in 1867. Be it Greenland or another part of the globe, the concept is, quite obviously, not a new one for the United States, or any major colonizing power; as a matter of fact, 'buying,' occupying, and poisoning land that does not truly belong to them is, historically, kind of their thing.
For its part, the Greenland government was understandably curt in its response:
Because Mr. Art Of The Deal is the one floating at the center of this massively inane proposal, there is a bit of innate humor baked into the story. But taking a step back f
- Mon Aug 19, 2019 - Global warming is already here. Denying it is unforgivable.
GLOBAL WARMING is already here, striking substantial regions of the United States with increasing severity. That is the upshot of an exhaustive Post investigation in which Steven Mufson, Chris Mooney, Juliet Eilperin and John Muyskens analyzed decades of local temperature records and identified a variety of hot spots where warming has proceeded more quickly.
\'A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark,\' The Post found. An increase of 2 degrees Celsius --- 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit --- is a temperature threshold that scientists warn the world, on average, should not surpass. \'Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans --- 34 million people --- are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.\'
- Mon Aug 19, 2019 - Could floating farms be the future?
A herd of cows is living on a floating farm in the middle of Europe's busiest port of Rotterdam.
The animals are part of an experiment to produce food more sustainably, and closer to people.
Peter van Wingerden, founder of Beladon, told BBC Radio 5 Live: \'No matter how much rain falls, no matter how high sea level goes, we can always produce our life-essential, healthy food.\'
- Wed Aug 14, 2019 - Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.
SERGEY ZIMOV, AN ecologist by training, tossed a woolly mammoth bone on the pile. He was squatting in mud along the cool, wide Kolyma River, below a towering cliff of crumbling earth. It was summer in eastern Siberia, far above the Arctic Circle, in that part of Russia that's closer to Alaska than to Moscow. There wasn't a speck of frost or snow in sight. Yet at this cliff, called Duvanny Yar, the Kolyma had chewed through and exposed what lies beneath: a layer of frozen ground, or permafrost, that is hundreds of feet deep---and warming fast.
Twigs, other plant matter, and Ice Age animal parts---bison jaws, horse femurs, mammoth bones---spilled onto a beach that sucked at Zimov's boots. \'I love Duvanny Yar,\' he said as he yanked fossils from the muck. \'It is like a book. Each page is a story about the history of nature.\'
Across nine million square miles at the top of the planet, climate change is writing a new chapter. Arctic permafrost isn't thawing gradually, as scientists once
- Wed Aug 14, 2019 - Global warming is worsening China's pollution problems
Efforts to curb air pollution in China, a country already facing dire health impacts from high levels of soot and smog, will likely become increasingly difficult as the planet warms, a new study shows.
Increased heat waves and more periods of stagnant air resulting from global warming will worsen existing air pollution across much of China, the scientists concluded. This presents a heightened challenge for a country already choking on airborne pollutants that cause more than 1 million premature deaths there each year.
\'For Chinese policy makers working to improve current air quality and protect public health, our finding is a daunting conclusion, and one that underscores the need to tackle the challenges of both climate change mitigation and air quality at the same time,\' the authors wrote in the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
China's government has been working to reduce emissions since a public outcry began several years ago o