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Lawson becomes chancellor - attacks miners, sells coal, oil and gas

Ecologist - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 23:00
Lawson becomes chancellor - attacks miners, sells coal, oil and gas Channel Comment Louise Gill 14th August 2019 Teaser Media
Categories: H. Green News

Judge Halts Seismic Testing Permits During Shutdown

EcoWatch - 1 hour 50 min ago


Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.

The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.

Although Judge Richard Gergel of the U.S. District Court in South Carolina granted the stay on Friday, at the same time, he effectively halted federal workers from moving forward on any oil-drilling matters until the government re-opens and is funded, as the Southern Environmental Law Center explained in a celebratory press release.

"The government was trying to have its cake and eat it too, and we're pleased the Court did not allow that to happen," said Laura Cantral, executive director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, one of the groups suing to stop seismic blasting in the Atlantic, in the press release. "This is an issue of critical importance to the coast, and one that must be handled openly, transparently, and fairly. This ruling will allow that to happen, and that is good for all concerned."

Environmentalists have been angered about the federal government giving Big Oil a bye during the shutdown, after the Department of Interior recalled Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) workers to continue permitting onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling and testing.

But as Gergel wrote in his order: "The Court hereby enjoins the federal defendants, BOEM, and any other federal agency or entity from taking action to promulgate permits, otherwise approve, or take any other official action regarding the pending permit applications for oil and gas surveys in the Atlantic."

Freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), who introduced a bill that puts a 10-year moratorium on drilling off the Atlantic Coast and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, celebrated the ruling.

"I applaud the decision of the federal court to block the Trump Administration from issuing permits to conduct seismic testing during this government shutdown. As I have said before, any step towards offshore drilling is a step in the wrong direction," he said in a press release.

However, he urged for a more "permanent solution to the threat of dangerous and unwanted offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting."

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is motioning to join a federal lawsuit that opposes the Trump administration's plans to conduct seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic coast.

"Practically, that means the case over the seismic permits will be on hold for the duration of the shutdown plus as many as 18 additional days to hear Wilson's motion to intervene," the Southern Environmental Law Center said.

Categories: H. Green News

DiCaprio-Funded Study: Staying Below 1.5ºC is Totally Possible

EcoWatch - 3 hours 43 min ago


Climate change has been called the biggest challenge of our time. Last year, scientists with the United Nations said we basically have 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5ºC to avoid planetary catastrophe.

Amid a backdrop of rising global carbon emissions, there's a real case for pessimism. However, many scientists are hopeful of a way out.

Now, a new climate model shows that we can achieve and even beat the 1.5ºC threshold by transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and implementing natural climate solutions.

The "One Earth Climate Model"—presented Monday at the World Economic Forum in Davos—is a compilation of two years of research by scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the German Aerospace Center and the University of Melbourne. The research was funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

"With the pace of urgent climate warnings now increasing, it's clear that our planet cannot wait for meaningful action," actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio said in a press release for the study. "This ambitious and necessary pathway shows that a transition to 100 percent renewable energy and strong measures to protect and restore our natural ecosystems, taken together, can deliver a more stable climate within a single generation."

Using state-of-the-art computer modeling, the researchers present a pathway of how each unique region in the world can stay below 1.5ºC using currently available resources and technologies.

One Earth Climate Model

Karl Burkart, the director of Innovation, Media & Technology at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation delved deeper into the new study:

Some have doubted that a transition to 100 percent renewables is even possible. To explore the potential, the scientists at UTS created the most sophisticated computer model of the world's electrical grids to date—with 10 regional and 72 sub-regional energy grids modeled in hourly increments to the year 2050 along with a comprehensive assessment of available renewable resources like wind and solar, minerals required for manufacturing of components, and configurations for meeting projected energy demand and storage most efficiently for all sectors over the next 30 years.

The researchers focused their study on six major energy and conservation measures to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, including advancement in renewables and energy storage; improvements in energy efficiency; major global electrification; re-purposing the existing fossil fuels-based infrastructure; a just transition from fossil fuels jobs to ones in renewable energy; and forest reforestation.

University of Technology, Sydney

"The main barrier is neither technical nor economic—it's political," lead author Sven Teske, research director at the UTS's Sydney's Institute for Sustainable Futures, told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Teske added "it's not too late" to limit global warming to 1.5ºC, the lower target of the Paris climate agreement.

The estimated to cost of the proposal is approximately $1.7 trillion per year, which is quite the sum but "pales in comparison" to the $5 trillion a year that governments currently provide to the fossil fuels industry, the press release noted.

Categories: H. Green News

MLK Would Have Been an Environmental Leader, Too

EcoWatch - 5 hours 10 min ago


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and actions continue to resonate on the 90th anniversary of his birth.

As the country honors the life and legacy of the iconic civil rights leader today, we are reminded that the social justice and the climate movements are deeply connected.

Environmentalism isn't just about saving the whales and saying no to plastics—it's also about ensuring clean water, air and land for all.

Atmospheric sciences professor Marshall Shepherd argues in a Forbes opinion piece that if Dr. King were alive today, he would have been an environmental advocate.

"Dr. King, like most great humanitarians, fought for anyone facing injustice. He likely would have been an activist for the planet once he saw who was most vulnerable," Shepherd wrote.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Assessment released a study last year that found that low-income populations and people of color are disproportionately exposed to air pollution.

"Those in poverty had 1.35 times higher burden than did the overall population," the report said, "and non-Whites had 1.28 times higher burden. Blacks, specifically, had 1.54 times higher burden than did the overall population."

Additionally, the most recent U.S. National Climate Assessment found that these communities will suffer the most from Earth's rapidly rising temperatures.

"People who are already vulnerable, including lower-income and other marginalized communities, have lower capacity to prepare for and cope with extreme weather and climate-related events and are expected to experience greater impacts," the authors wrote.

Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and lead-struck Flint, Michigan, for instance, brought the issue of "environmental racism" to the forefront. The term is used to describe how poverty and segregation has forced many black citizens and other racial minorities to live in heavily industrialized and polluted areas with dilapidated or aging civil infrastructure—factors that could lead to poor health outcomes, compromised education, loss of livelihoods and even loss of life, according to the NAACP.

That's why our some of our elected leaders are pushing the "Green New Deal" to update the nation's infrastructure and to transition the country's grid away from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy.

"By moving to 100 percent clean energy and putting justice first, we can limit global warming while creating green-collar jobs in every community, and building a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable society," Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va) and Reverend Leo Woodbury, a pastor of Kingdom Living Temple, wrote in a joint op-ed for The Hill.

"We need a new era of climate justice, and the communities most affected by climate change must have prominent seats at the table as we usher in this new era. All Americans deserve to share in the benefits of clean energy, including lower utility bills, access to well-paying, green-collar jobs, and healthier air and water," McEachin and Woodbury wrote.

Citing the immemorial words of Dr. King, they concluded: "All life is interrelated, and we are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of identity. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

Categories: H. Green News

Climate Change Leading to Fatal Bird Conflicts

EcoWatch - 5 hours 51 min ago


By Marlene Cimons

Most Europeans know the great tit as an adorable, likeable yellow-and-black songbird that shows up to their feeders in the winter. But there may be one thing they don't know. That cute, fluffy bird can be a relentless killer.

The great tit's aggression can emerge in gruesome ways when it feels threatened by the pied flycatcher, a bird that spends most of the year in Africa, but migrates to Europe in the spring to breed. When flycatchers arrive at their European breeding grounds, they head for great tit territory, knowing that great tits—being year-round European residents—know the best nesting sites.

"They want to breed at a high-quality site, so taking over a great tit nest is an ideal shortcut to a high-quality breeding site," said biologist Jelmer Samplonius, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who studied their interactions for his doctoral thesis at the University of Groningen. "However, this can go horribly wrong, because if the great tit is home, or comes home while the pied flycatcher tries to take over, the pied flycatcher will pay dearly—with its life in some cases."

Usually, flycatchers breed a couple of weeks after great tits, but lately, nasty clashes between these natural enemies are accelerating, because of an overlap in their breeding periods due to climate change.

Jelmer Samplonius holds a pied flycatcher. Rob Buiter / Current Biology

Pied flycatchers produce offspring when there is an abundance of caterpillars, their preferred food. Caterpillars are most bountiful when the first leaves appear on trees, and trees are leafing sooner because climate change is causing spring to arrive earlier. This, in turn, has led flycatchers to migrate sooner, arriving while the great tits are hanging around. At the same time, climate change has produced milder winters, allowing more tits to survive until spring. The greater number of tits is giving rise to more potential murders, as "more great tits means more competition for the flycatchers," Samplonius said.

Scientists saw "huge differences" in the number of victims over the years. In some years, nearly 10 percent of the flycatcher males died in great tit nests, while, in other years, there were none. "We found that, in areas and years with high tit densities, after warmer winters there were more flycatcher victims," he said.

Across the board, climate change has been causing shifts in the migratory patterns of many species, threatening their ability to feed and nurture their offspring. Rising temperatures are also limiting the growth and development of young birds, with some species shrinking in size. Samplonius's study, published recently in the journal Current Biology, suggests it also is causing more competition for resources—and a higher body count.

A pied flycatchergailhampshire / CC BY 2.0

While checking the great tit nest boxes used in his field studies, Samplonius found numerous dead flycatchers, suggesting they were trying to take over the territory. Although flycatchers—built for long distance travel—are more agile flyers, "when a flycatcher enters a box with a great tit inside, it doesn't stand a chance, as great tits are heavier [and] have very strong claws," he said.

The interaction can be quite ugly, as the tits also occasionally inflict grisly head wounds and then eat their victims' brains. But like flycatchers, they'd rather eat caterpillars. "We consider the brain-eating more a by-product of the aggressive interactions," Samplonius said. "In general, great tits are insectivorous."

During the breeding season specifically, most of their food consists of caterpillars, although they are only available for a short period during spring. When insects become scarce, great tits switch to beech nuts. "However, this does not mean great tits do not eat other, bigger animals," Samplonius said. "They are known to hunt bats occasionally, and also smaller birds in winter. However, we still consider this to be relatively rare behavior."

A great tit preys on a pied flycatcher. Maurice van Laar / Current Biology

Notably, scientists found that conflicts with great tits had no effect on the overall flycatcher population. "We noted that the males killed were usually those who arrived late in the season," he said. "These late birds quite often don't find a female to breed with, so that may explain why this behavior has no impact on the population."

Michael McGrann, a bird researcher who chairs William Jessup University's institute for biodiversity—who was not involved in the study—said the findings didn't surprise him. Scientists, he said, have been worried that changing weather patterns "will cause residents and long-distance migrants to differ in how they shift their geographic ranges, and in how they adjust the seasonal timing of the onset of breeding behaviors," resulting in potential conflicts between species.

Wildlife ecologist Brett Furnas, senior environmental scientist in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's wildlife investigations laboratory, who was also not involved in the study, agreed. The study is "a great example of how the impacts of climate change will be complex and sometimes difficult to predict, because not all species will be affected the same way or at the same rate," he said. "It demonstrates how species are changing their behavior and interactions with each other in response to a changing climate. A better understanding of how some species benefit and others suffer can help us plan effective conservation efforts."

A great titFrancis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Simon Griffith, an avian scientist in Macquarie University's department of biologist sciences in Sydney, who also not involved in the study, lamented the death of migrating flycatchers. "It's both amazing and sad to think that these tiny flycatchers have migrated all the way [from] Africa back to Europe, ready to breed, to then succumb to the challenge of a great tit that has spent the winter in Europe, enduring the cold conditions there," he said.

Samplonius pointed out that the tit and the flycatcher likely are susceptible to the same instincts that drive other forces in nature, including people. "We know that in humans, climate change is considered a catalyst of conflict," he said. "Our study shows this may also be the case in birds."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Nexus Media.

Categories: H. Green News

Saving the World’s Largest Tropical Wetland

EcoWatch - 6 hours 11 min ago


Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.

Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.

But as I learned working on a recent research project with the environmental nonprofit WWF, a combination of climate change, new development, expanding agriculture, urban growth and pollution are poised to transform this vast wetland—bringing drastic consequences for the environment, wildlife and millions of people who depend on the Pantanal's natural hydrology.

Pantanal Mineiro formed by the Pandeiros River in Brazil. Eduardo Aigner / WWF-Brasil CC BY 2.0

Ecosystem at Risk

The biggest risk is to the Pantanal's seasonal flood pulse, which maintains the very health of the wetland system. During the wet season from October to March, rainfall in the headwaters of the Pantanal drains down some 1,200 rivers to fill the vast floodplain, which acts as a sponge for all the incoming freshwater. The once-terrestrial landscape becomes a maze of waterways dotted with lush islands that teem with life.

Then the dry season comes, from April to September, and the floodplain acts as a saturated sponge, slowly squeezing out the water it had soaked up in the months before and supplying moisture long after the rains have gone. The result is a dynamic ecosystem that provides ideal habitat for more than 4,700 plant and animal species and sustains the livelihoods of 270 communities. The Pantanal, in fact, hosts the highest concentration of jaguars in the world and is considered one of South America's hotspots for mammal diversity.

The Pantanal remains relatively pristine right now, but projections paint a grim picture for this region's future unless immediate measures are taken. Presently about 12 percent of the wetland, virtually all of which is in private hands, has been deforested. That's better than the neighboring Amazon, but by 2050 scientists predict the Pantanal's vegetation could be devastated by the expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching.

Cattle converge on a watering hole on a ranch in the Pantanal.Kate Gardiner / CC BY-NC 2.0

Climate change adds another threat. Regional temperatures could increase up to seven degrees Celsius by the end of the century, say scientists. The potential consequences of a warmer climate are disastrous: more extreme droughts and floods, the reconfiguration of species distribution, impaired plant function and the Pantanal shrinking in size.

And then there are the dams. The region already has 40 of them, and a whopping 101 additional dams are planned for its headwaters in the Upper Paraguay River Basin. The private sector is financing the construction of most of the dams for the purpose of energy generation, and little is understood about the cumulative impacts of so many hydropower projects on the watershed.

This combination of development, natural habitat conversion and climate change could not only disrupt the ecosystem's natural rhythm but also result in costly and deadly floods for the millions of people living in the downstream countries of the basin, namely Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina. Forming part of the headwaters of the Rio de la Plata Basin—the second largest watershed in South America and fifth largest in the world—the Pantanal functions as a natural reservoir for the flood waters draining the upper basin.

A Search for Solutions

How do we counteract the cascade of threats and ensure the Pantanal remains a viable ecosystem?

Along with The Nature Conservancy, WWF published a reportin 2012 identifying the risks confronting the Pantanal as a first step toward evaluating the region's vulnerability to climate change.

And there's been some important action in the years following. Since 2015 the governments of Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay have been working on a transboundary effort called the Trinational Initiative for the Integrated and Sustainable Development of the Pantanal, which entails sustainably developing and conserving this globally unique wetland. The initiative seeks to reduce pollution, strengthen water governance and expand scientific knowledge on the Pantanal, while protecting the rights of traditional peoples. In doing so the three countries would help protect the regional biodiversity, ecosystem functions and the natural flow of the Paraguay River's tributaries—all of which are vital for ensuring the future resilience of this landscape in the face of climate change.

In a milestone in the progress of the initiative, ministers from all three countries at the 8th World Water Forum in Brazil on March 22, 2018 signed a trinational declaration for the conservation and sustainable development of the Pantanal.

Though the signing is a significant step for conservation, more funding is needed to help enable state governments, local leaders and stakeholders to translate the initiative's policy stipulations into concrete actions. And more support from the international community is required to further strengthen political will and the policy implementation process.

The Pantanal's future may also be further jeopardized by recent politics. The October 2018 election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who threatened to pull the country out of the Paris climate agreement and roll back national environmental protections, has raised alarm bells in the international environmental community. His political ideology and that of his supporters reflect the line of thinking that natural ecosystems, like the Amazon and the Pantanal, are impediments to development.

Yet Brazil's own Agricultural Research Corporation has estimated the annual value of the Pantanal's ecosystem services at $112 billion.

A hyacinth macaw in the Pantanal, Mato Grosso, Brazil. Nori Almeida CC BY 2.0

The loss of the Pantanal could eradicate habitat for myriad species, including jaguars, hyacinth macaw and capybaras, while also changing hydrodynamic patterns in the Rio de la Plata Basin, upsetting the local economies of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, as well as the other countries downstream of the basin.

We know the threats and the consequences of inaction, not only from scientific studies on the Pantanal but from the stories of other major ecosystems threatened or destroyed by lack of protection. The Pantanal is an international litmus test for our environmental values and priorities.

Do we want to witness the destruction of a major ecosystem and home to a diverse community of people? Or do we want the conservation and sustainable development of the Pantanal to become a model for similar future projects around the world?

To most people, the Pantanal is an unknown. That needs to change, and the world needs to step up to conserve it—now.

Categories: H. Green News

35,000 Protestors in Berlin Call for Agricultural Revolution

EcoWatch - 7 hours 32 min ago


By Andrea Germanos

Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.

Many held placards reading "Eating is political" at the action in Berlin, which coincided with the so-called "Green Week" agricultural fair.

The protest also featured a procession of 170 farmers driving tractors to the rally at the Brandenburg Gate.

"This protest," said Green party co-leader Robert Habeck, "shows that the desire for a different agricultural policy is now undeniable."

As DW reported:

"Protesters called out by some 100 organizations asserted that alleviation of climate change and species depletion required a reorganization of EU farming policy, including subsidies, currently amounting to €60 billion ($68 billion) annually, including €6.3 billion allocated in Germany.
That flowed mainly to larger companies focused on boosting yields, they said, but instead the funds should be distributed better to avert further farmyard closures and rural village die-offs."

"With over €6 billion that Germany distributes every year as EU farming monies, environmental and animal-appropriate transformation of agriculture must be promoted," said protest spokesperson Saskia Richartz.

Slow Food Europe captured some of the scenes on social media, and stated in a Twitter thread: "We believe that instead of propping up agro-industries, politicians should support the determination of small-scale farmers to keep climate-friendly farms, which are the future of agriculture."


The "inspiring gathering" capped off a week in which thousands of youth climate protesters in Europe, including at dozens of actions in Germany, rebuked the lack of urgent action to address the climate crisis.

Noted activist and Swedish student Greta Thunberg, whose "strikes for climate" have inspired similar actions across the globe, nodded to the Swiss and German actions, writing Friday on Twitter: "The people are rising. The world is at a tipping point. Now we have to continue pushing hard! Everyone is needed. This is just the beginning."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

Categories: H. Green News

Trump Once Again Confuses Weather and Climate in Response to Deadly Winter Storm

EcoWatch - 9 hours 24 min ago


President Donald Trump has once again contradicted the findings of the U.S. government when it comes to the threat posed by climate change. Days after a Department of Defense report outlined how climate-related events like wildfires and flooding put U.S. military installations at risk, Trump took to Twitter to mock the idea that the world could be getting warmer, Time reported.

Trump's tweet came in response to a massive winter storm that blanketed the Midwest and Northeast this weekend.

"Wouldn't be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

Some meteorologists responded by noting the difference between weather and climate.

"One down day on the Dow Jones doesn't mean the economy is going to trash," University of Oklahoma assistant professor of meteorology Jason Furtado said, according to The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. "One cold day doesn't suddenly mean that the general trend in global climate change is suddenly going in the opposite direction."

Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York Gavin Schmidt responded to Trump's tweet with a graph showing the rise in mean global temperatures since 1880.

"This enough global warming for you?" he asked.

The weekend's storm was indeed a blast of winter weather. It prompted the National Weather Service to issue winter storm warnings or advisories for at least 15 states, grounded some 1,500 flights Sunday, and killed at least one due to treacherous driving conditions, AccuWeather reported.

"The storm pushed eastward out of the Rockies, continued through the Plains and into the Northeast. The stretch of snow of over a foot ranged from northeast Ohio through northern Pennsylvania and into New York, through Vermont and New Hampshire into Maine," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

The storm was followed by freezing temperatures Sunday night which could put those who lost power at risk.

However, winter storms in the Northeast and Midwest are actually consistent with the effects of climate change, as EcoWatch pointed out after another storm last week. That is because warmer air holds more moisture, which can fall as snow when conditions are right.

This is not the first time Trump has tried to use cold weather as proof against climate change. He made similar arguments even before becoming president.

"Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee - I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!" he tweeted in 2013, Time reported.

He also has been routinely dismissive of his own government's reports on climate change. Following the release of Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment in November of 2018, he responded with an instant denial.

"I don't believe it," he said.

Categories: H. Green News

85 Dead in Mexican Pipeline Explosion

EcoWatch - 10 hours 11 min ago


A dramatic pipeline explosion in central Mexico Friday has killed at least 85 people, Mexican Health Minister Jorge Alcocer Valera said Sunday night, The Associated Press reported.

The explosion occurred in a field in the municipality of Tlahuelilpan as people rushed to gather fuel from the pipeline, which had been ruptured by suspected thieves. Many were covered in oil before a fireball shot into the air.

"Hit the ground," one person yelled, according to video footage described by The Guardian.

Fifty-eight people were injured and dozens are still missing, The Associated Press reported. The state and federal governments will cover all medical and funeral costs.

The piece of pipeline that exploded had been ruptured and repaired by thieves many times, according to locals.

"It was the popular tap," 22-year-old Enrique Cerron, who lives nearby, told The Associated Press. "You could pass by at 11 or 12 in the morning and see people filling up here."

The Associated Press described a festive atmosphere before the blast occurred:

At first, the gasoline leak was manageable, residents say, emitting a tame fountain of fuel that allowed for filling small buckets at a time. But as the crowd swelled to more than 600, people became impatient.

That's when a man rammed a piece of rebar into a patch, according to Irma Velasco, who lives near the alfalfa field where the explosion took place, and gasoline shot 20 feet into the air, like water from a geyser.

A carnival atmosphere took over. Giddy adults soaked in gasoline filled jugs and passed them to runners. Families and friends formed human chains and guard posts to stockpile containers with fuel.

Omar Fayad, the Governor of the State of Hidalgo, where the explosion took place, warned people on Twitter of the dangers of stealing fuel, according to The Guardian.

"What happened today in Tlahuelilpan should not be repeated," he said.

The incident comes as the government of newly elected President Andrés Manuel López Obrador attempts to cut down on fuel theft. The government has shut off pipelines, meaning gas stations around the country have been out of fuel for up to two weeks, and drivers have grown desperate, CNN reported.

The particular pipeline where the explosion took place had been offline for four weeks before fuel began flowing again, The Associated Press reported.

The pipeline belonged to state-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. The company initially blamed thieves for the explosion, but an investigation is ongoing. General Prosecutor of Mexico Alejandro Gertz Manero said it was possible the blast was caused by static electricity from the synthetic fibers of the clothing of the people crowding around the pipeline.

Categories: H. Green News

Trump bailed on Paris Agreement. D.C. goes green anyway

Grist - 10 hours 42 min ago

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. is the president and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus Education Fund. He is a minister, community activist, and organizer, and one of the most influential people in hip hop political life. Find out more about the Hip Hop Caucus and follow him on Twitter @RevYearwood.

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and we became one of only two countries (along with Syria) not signed onto the accord. Four days later, on June 5, I stood next to Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, a powerful, forward-thinking women of color, as she signed an executive order commiting the District of Columbia to the very climate agreement from which President Trump withdrew. In doing so, she became part of a movement in communities and cities across this country saying “we are still in” to the Paris Agreement, a movement that has become the answer to U.S. action on climate change.

It took time, but driven by committed local government officials, forward-thinking utility companies, and a coalition of local activists and community organizations, Washington, D.C., kept its word. In December, the D.C. city council passed the boldest piece of local climate legislation in the country. And on Friday, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Clean Energy D.C. Act to transition the district to 100 percent clean energy — including the White House and halls of Congress — by 2032.

The bill is a powerful example of the climate leadership we need. D.C. is the largest city to make such an ambitious commitment. Just as remarkable, it supports opportunities for low-income communities in the transition.

The Clean Energy D.C. Act sets renewable energy standards for utility companies, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, and eliminating emissions from the public transportation system. It sets up a system that creates a penalty for utilities who are not keeping up with clean energy transition benchmarks.

The revenue from penalty fees go into the D.C.’s Renewable Energy Development Fund, which will in part be used to help low-income communities transition to clean energy and adapt to climate impacts. Thirty percent of the additional revenue will be put aside for programs like weatherization and bill assistance for low-income households, as well as job training in energy efficiency fields. More than $3 million annually will also be allocated toward energy efficiency upgrades in affordable housing buildings.

D.C.’s commitment to act comes on the heels of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released report which finds that the world has just 12 years to act before the consequences of climate change will bring drought, floods, extreme heat, and poverty to hundreds of millions of people.

The good news is that people and communities across the nation are taking action, and cities and states, through commitments like the one D.C. just made, can keep America on track to prevent irreversible climate change, even while the president and his administration deny climate realities.

Since President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, thousands of local, state, and tribal leaders, businesses and investors, colleges and universities, health organizations and more, have stepped up to say that “We Are Still In,” as part of America’s Pledge to act on climate change. This long list includes mayors from more than 230 cities across the country, representing more than 70 million Americans, who are taking steps to address climate change by building stronger communities and cutting their fossil fuel emissions.

The American Cities Climate Challenge is helping local governments accelerate their ability to act on climate by boosting innovation, community engagement and mobilization, and delivering high-impact solutions. This initiative is assisting 25 cities, including Washington, D.C., make the Paris Agreement goals a reality.

This past fall, following the Global Climate Action Summit hosted by former California Governor Jerry Brown in San Francisco, Hip Hop Caucus took part in The New American Road Trip. The cross-country journey in an electric car with “artivists” (artist + activists) visiting with mayors, local leaders, and clean energy innovators in towns and cities such as Las Vegas, Denver, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York City to highlight how communities and businesses are already acting on climate change.

Young people are organizing en masse to pave a path forward for our leaders to take serious climate action. Over 1,000 companies worth over $8 trillion have pledged to divest from fossil fuels. Local leaders are leveraging partnerships to revitalize their communities, save taxpayers money, and protect public health.

In 2019 the movement will continue to focus on achieving commitments like D.C.’s in cities across the country. Let us keep building the movement, honor the Paris Agreement, and bring real solutions to communities on the frontlines of climate change.

When we are looking to our nation’s capital for climate leadership, and we don’t see it from the White House, all we need to do is look to city hall. President Trump is not the end all and be all on climate action in the U.S. The American people are. Let’s take our power and vision for a sustainable planet and healthy communities to our mayors and city councils, and together we will transition to clean energy, stop climate change, and provide opportunity and clean air and water for all communities.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Trump bailed on Paris Agreement. D.C. goes green anyway on Jan 21, 2019.

Categories: H. Green News

California teen helps pull 50,000 golf balls from the ocean

Grist - 10 hours 50 min ago

The average golf course slurps up more than 300,000 gallons of water per day, resorts are expensive and exclusive, and, let’s face it — the game is kind of boring. On top of all that, it seems coastal golf courses are contributing to our ocean plastics problem.

California teen Alex Weber discovered tons of golf balls blanketing the ocean floor off the coast of Central California, where she and her father go freediving. So many, they couldn’t see the sand. The balls came from five golf courses — two along the coast, and three more up Carmel River.

“It felt like a shot to the heart,” Weber told NPR. And she wasn’t about to stand idly by. She and her dad, later joined by marine plastics researcher Matt Savoca from Stanford, hauled up more than 50,000 golf balls over the course of two years.

Sometimes, during their collections, they would hear ominous “plinks” from above — more golf balls hitting the water, right where they were diving.

The overall impact from golf balls on the ocean is probably small (like, say, straws), but they do emit toxic chemicals as they degrade. And, like other plastics, “decomposing” for golf balls really means breaking into tinier bits of plastic, which wind up in the stomachs of marine animals. Don’t hit golf balls into the ocean! And do be more like this teen, now a published author in a scientific journal, who saw something and did something.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline California teen helps pull 50,000 golf balls from the ocean on Jan 21, 2019.

Categories: H. Green News

What the environmental justice movement owes Martin Luther King Jr

Grist - 10 hours 59 min ago

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is mostly remembered for his role in the civil rights movement and nonviolent protests, but environmental justice groups also see their cause reflected in his work.

The day before he died, for example, King helped rally striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to suffering from low and inequitable pay, black workers did the most dangerous and dirty work compared to their white peers, and suffered from dismal working conditions while bearing the burden of the associated health and safety risks.

“You don’t get more environmental justice than that,” Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, told Grist. “All the environment really is is where you live, work, play, or pray.”

Dr. King’s actions not only led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965; His work paved the way for environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. He recognized that many of the struggles of his time — including racial inequity, poverty, politics, health, and human rights — were inexorably linked. According to Bautista, in the early days of the environmental justice movement, some advocates described their work as a synthesis of the environmental movement and the civil rights movement.

King’s work continues to influence young environmental activists today. Just before she took office, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called fighting climate change “the civil rights movement of our generation.” And modern-day environmental groups such as the Sunrise Movement are using the kind of nonviolent direct action techniques espoused by Dr. King as tools to push lawmakers on policies such as the Green New Deal.

And then there’s the fact that the environment is simply one more lens through which racial inequity manifests. Bautista emphasizes it’s crucial for communities of color to be part of climate solutions. After all, “if you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu,” he said.

And if King and other civil rights movement leaders who have passed on were alive today, what might their reactions to climate change be?

“Climate change is an existential threat that a lot of these folks [in the civil rights movement back then] weren’t as aware of.” Bautista said. “But, if they were around today, these would be some of the same fights they would be fighting.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline What the environmental justice movement owes Martin Luther King Jr on Jan 21, 2019.

Categories: H. Green News

Inspiring films for environmentalists

Ecologist - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 23:00
Inspiring films for environmentalists Channel News brendan 21st January 2019 Teaser Media
Categories: H. Green News

Right to repair enshrined in EU law

Ecologist - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 23:00
Right to repair enshrined in EU law Channel News Catherine Early 21st January 2019 Teaser Media
Categories: H. Green News

'Flaw' in decision to allow newest coal mine

Ecologist - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 23:00
'Flaw' in decision to allow newest coal mine Channel News Isobel Tarr 21st January 2019 Teaser Media
Categories: H. Green News

'The great dying'

Ecologist - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 22:59
'The great dying' Channel News brendan 21st January 2019 Teaser Media
Categories: H. Green News

MLK’s vision of love as a moral imperative still matters

Red, Green, and Blue - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 19:00

Fifty-one years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the United States remains divided by issues of race and racism, economic inequality as well as unequal access to justice. These issues are stopping the country from developing into the kind of society that Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for during his years as a […]

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Categories: H. Green News

Gas-powered cars could go the way of flip phones. Big automakers aren’t prepared.

Red, Green, and Blue - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 18:00

Pulitzer Prize winning auto columnist, Dan Neil, discusses his next car in the Wall Street Journal — and it’s going to be electric. He writes, “This is above all a pocketbook issue for me. A gas-powered vehicle would be too expensive. I plan to keep my next vehicle 10 years, at least. Over that time the cost of ownership […]

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Categories: H. Green News

A climate change tour of Hawaii with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Red, Green, and Blue - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 14:00

This past December, I had the honor of leading a climate tour in Hawaii for two weeks. While there were definitely palm trees to be enjoyed and papaya to be eaten (both of which we did!), we accomplished a huge amount. By Tamara Staton Citizens’ Climate Lobby We started on the Big Island for six […]

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Categories: H. Green News

GreenFaith vs Geoengineering: Are we prepared to play God in dealing with climate change?

Red, Green, and Blue - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 12:18

As policymakers face the magnitude of the 1.5-degree challenge, new technologies and approaches for capping temperature increases – referred to as climate engineering or geoengineering – are under growing discussion. By GreenFaith These approaches and technologies are in the early stages of development, carry significant uncertainty in terms of their effectiveness, are unproven at scale, […]

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Categories: H. Green News

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