climate change

EPA Chief Pruitt’s 'Red Team' on Climate Science Is an Eight-Year-Old Talking Point Pushed by Heartland Institute

Scott Pruitt

Like many of his Trump administration colleagues, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt has never really been down with the whole climate science thing.

Pruitt has denied that carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning is the key driver of climate change, instead hedging his bets with an assortment of ifs, buts, and maybes.

Now, Pruitt is suggesting that what the American public really needs is more debate, more false equivalence, and more delay on policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Justin Trudeau May Look Pretty in a Kayak, But He’s No Climate Saint

Justin Trudeau kayak

Last week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed to capture international headlines for a kayak outing on the Niagara River in Ontario.

How, you may ask? Well Trudeau paddled up to a family’s dock and had a brief conversation with them about water levels. According to Elle Magazine, he looked “picture perfect” while doing it. It all very quickly became a Twitter sensation.

Trudeau’s photogenic boat trip coincided with World Environment Day and in a speech afterward, the prime minister vowed to continue to fight climate change.

The American press, still bewildered by their president’s widely criticized decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, went wild.

Trump Abandons Paris Climate Deal At Bidding of Fossil Fuel Interests

President Donald Trump made his decision official during a speech outside the White House today: the U.S. will be leaving the Paris Accord agreement by almost 200 other countries to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Trump, who arrived over a half-hour late for his scheduled 3PM announcement, told the gathered press corps that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris accord in November 2020.

The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said, “but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States and its businesses, workers and taxpayers.”

We'll see if we can make a deal that's fair,” he added. “If we can, that's great. If we can't, that's fine.”

Who Wins if Donald Trump Exits the Paris Climate Accord?

A handful of anonymous senior White House officials have begun telling the press that President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Accord climate deal, adding fuel to rumors that have circulated for months that he would follow through with his campaign promise.

A “small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt” has begun drafting up a detailed plan to orchestrate America's withdrawal, according to Axios, which reported that Trump's mind was made up. Shortly after that report, Trump tweeted he would soon be announcing his decision. Several commentators noted Trump has repeatedly seemed to reverse course just before making a policy announcement.

If Trump does decide to back away from Paris, he'll be taking the U.S. down a path decried by an unusually broad cast of political players, including oil and gas giants, coal companies, the pope and even, by some polls, 50 percent of Republican voters.

In Dramatic Shift, Kentucky Voters Potentially Becoming Numb to Politicians Talking About Coal Jobs

For years, Republican politicians campaigning in the state of Kentucky have used the fictitious “war on coal” talking point to gain support from voters. From Senator Mitch McConnell who has represented the state in the U.S. Senate for 32 years, to President Donald Trump, the generally accepted rule has been that talking about the importance of coal and coal jobs, while attacking environmental safety standards that put a “burden” on the coal industry, is the key to winning in the state of Kentucky.

But if new reports are to be believed, that conventional wisdom about running a campaign on coal could be suffering the same fate as the coal industry itself.

Famous Canadian Ice Road Melts for the Last Time

Northwest Territories Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Ice Road, Matt Jacques|DeSmog Canada

Each winter in Canada’s far north, a series of ice roads take form, providing people and supply trucks temporary access to the region’s otherwise isolated towns. But rapid changes to Canada’s north means this spring marks the final melt of one of the north’s famed ice highways, the ‘Road to the Top of the World,’ stretching across 187 kilometres of frozen Mackenzie Delta and Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories, linking Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk.

It’s taking longer for everything to freeze up, and the ice isn’t as thick,” Wally Schumann, the minister of infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, told the New York Times in April. The Northwest Territories is warming at four to five times the global rate.

Under construction right now is a new permanent $300-million all-weather road — but its long-term stability is also challenged by the unpredictable, warming landscape says Phil Marsh, professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science at Wilfred Laurier University.

This area is continuous permafrost with massive amounts of ground ice,” Marsh explained.

In the spring, melting water can carve sizeable channels through the ground ice, “which can rapidly drain a lake in less than twenty four hours.”

How Climate Change Ensures Hotter Weather as New Normal for Boston Marathon

Crowd watching runners pass during the 2010 Boston Marathon

The 121st Boston Marathon has come and gone, and once again temperatures rose above normal, a perennial concern for runners hoping to hit fast times in this historic Patriot's Day race.

When the gun went off for the elite women's race at 9:30 a.m. ET, it was 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and by the time the winner crossed the finish line on Boylston Street 2 hours 21 minutes and 52 seconds later, the mercury had creeped into the low 70's. The average high for Boston in April is 56 degrees F.

Scientific studies have shown that ideal marathon racing conditions range between roughly 40 and 45 degrees F. Warmer weather and higher humidity makes it more physiologically difficult to maintain a consistent pace.

But this year was not an aberration. Last year's starting temperature was also high, hitting 71 degrees F. The 2012 race began at 65 degrees and 2015 at 61. And as scientists have pointed out, high temperatures could be the new normal for this famous race, meaning its days of breaking running records could become much rarer.

Yes, We Can Do 'Sound' Climate Science Even Though It's Projecting the Future

model showing global water vapor in the atmosphere

By Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research and Reto Knutti, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich

Increasingly in the current U.S. administration and Congress, questions have been raised about the use of proper scientific methods and accusations have been made about using flawed approaches. The Conversation

This is especially the case with regard to climate science, as evidenced by the hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, chaired by Lamar Smith, on March 29, 2017.

House Science Committee Leader Says Climate Scientists Are Trying to Control People’s Lives

Lamar Smith

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, declared in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives this week that the people warning us about the dangers of global warming — which definitely includes climate scientists — are either trying to make a quick buck, or they’re just trying to control our lives.

Climate Politics: Environmentalists Need to Think Globally, But Act Locally

Three people sit overlooking Bears Ears National Monument

By  and University of Washington

As President Trump pivots from a failed attempt to overhaul health care to new orders rolling back controls on carbon pollution, environmentalists are preparing for an intense fight. We study environmental politics, and believe the health care debate holds an important lesson for green advocates: Policies that create concrete benefits for specific constituencies are hard to discontinue.

Opinion polls and hostile audiences at Republican legislators’ town hall meetings show that the Affordable Care Act won public support by extending health insurance to the uninsured. And this constituency is not shy about defending its gains.

The same lesson can be applied to environmental issues. In our view, environmentalists need to defend environmental regulations by emphasizing their concrete benefits for well-defined constituencies, and mobilize those groups to protect their gains.

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