Bill McKibben of 350.org gives us (courtesy of tomdispatch.com) an eyeful and an earful on the lasting, really lasting, effects of humans on the planet: Tomgram: Bill McKibben, It’s Not Just What Exxon Did, It’s What It’s Doing | TomDispatch. Sobering and scary.
From Tom Cormons of Appalachian Voices come two items of interest. One, about the new proposed pipeline route, asserts that the new route is no better and in many ways worse than the previous ones: http://appvoices.org/2016/02/12/re-route-of-fracked-gas-pipeline-threatens-new-areas-of-va-west-va/. The second offers some hope that Congress will assist communities devastated by years of coal mining operations, even after their local mines have been closed: Abandoned mines bill directs federal investment to communities hit hardest by coal decline « Appalachian Voices.
Speaking of coal mining, from Delegate David Toscano (D-57th), here’s an excerpt of his take on one bill that recently passed in the General Assembly: “The Coal Tax Credit has been on the books since 1988, and it has cost Virginia taxpayers more than $630 million. The monies go primarily to coal mine operators and electricity generators. Since the credits were enacted, coal production has dropped precipitously and industry employment has gone from 11,000 workers to about 2,800 today. A JLARC report published five years ago indicated that the coal tax credit had outlived its initial purpose, which was to provide jobs and maintain coal production. Since then, the market has changed dramatically …. When there are critical needs for public safety, education and job creation in Virginia, millions of dollars that we send to a few large companies could be better spent elsewhere. Southwest Virginia is in serious economic decline, but it would be better off if we invest monies in the region to grow educational credentials and support new businesses. The extension of the credit was passed on a 75 to 23 vote…. The Governor may veto the bill; if that happens, there will be another vote as to whether to sustain his veto.”
Climate Progress that tells us just how bad methane leaks from fracking are: Methane Leaks Erase Climate Benefit Of Fracked Gas, Countless Studies Find.
From The Guardian, we learn that James Hansen and other leading climate scientists are urging other climate scientists to reject sponsorship from ExxonMobil: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/22/climate-change-scientists-exxonmobil-sponsorship-american-geophysical-union
Jeremy Deaton, writing in a Climate Progress article, talks about a possible path toward greater consensus for acting on the threats from climate disruption: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/02/22/3752081/climate-grand-bargin/.
More about coal–this time from Sierra Club. Ever visit Utah’s breaktaking national parks? I have and the experience is like no other. Turns out that the magnificent views are often diminished by haze caused by regional coal plants whose emissions do more harm than just spoiling tourists’ photographs: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2016-2-march-april/feature/coal-versus-recreation-utah.
Writing for Climate Connections, Mark McDivitt and Tim Nixon enlighten us about some of the implications of the Paris Climate Talks from global investment “defensive and offensive” perspectives: http://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2016/02/investors-playing-offense-and-defense-after-paris-cop21/.
In a Feb 23 article, Heather Smith reports on a metadata study about What determines whether people accept climate science? Politics, politics, politics. Also from Grist is an item talking about consumerism’s contribution to climate change: Consumerism plays a huge role in climate change.
You’ve no doubt heard about island nations that will need to relocate their people, hopefully before their land sinks beneath the waves of the earth’s rising seas. Well, climate-change-displaced peoples don’t live as far from the U.S. as we might want or choose to believe. In fact, some live in Louisiana: http://mashable.com/2016/02/18/america-first-climate-refugees/.
Michael Slezak, writing in The Guardian, talks about a recent Australian Senate inquiry into the harm that can come to humans and wildlife–marine, avian, and land-based–from the vast quantities of plastic that pollute our oceans. Luckily for us, Australia’s ocean is thousands of miles away from us so no problem in the U.S., right?
A February 22 Washington Post article by Chris Mooney (part of its “Energy and Environment” section) reports on a recent study of just how fast the earth’s seas are rising. Here is the link: Seas are now rising faster than they have in 2,800 years, scientists say. In another article dated February 25, Mooney wrote about the windy Midwest states embracing renewable wind energy while also suing to stop the EPA’s Clean Power Plan: These states are setting wind energy records – and suing over Obama’s climate plans.
Renewable Energy World published this article about the details of the states’–and the US House of Representatives’ and the Senate’s–arguments in the lawsuit: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/02/us-house-senate-members-tell-appeals-court-that-clean-power-plan-is-illegal.html.
So what about the CPP and renewable energy? Here’s a hopeful report: Even Without EPA’s Clean Power Plan, ‘The Future Is Bright For Wind And Solar’.
Do bees matter? Yes they do, and things aren’t looking too good for them (or our food supply): Bees And Other Pollinators Are Facing Extinction, And That’s Very Bad News For Us
You’ve heard about the California mega methane leak. How bad was it? VERY BAD. Here’s 2 takes: Aliso Canyon Released 97,000 Tons of Methane, Biggest U.S. Leak Ever, Study Says and The US is dumping an insane amount of methane into the air.
El Nino–good news or bad news? Both. First the bad news: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/23/global-coral-bleaching-event-threatens-great-barrier-reef Now for the good news (we’ll close on this one): http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/feb/25/death-valley-superbloom-california-wildflowers.
These news items have been compiled by Joy Loving, member of the CAAV steering committee and leader of Solarize efforts in the valley.