TWITE 06.15.17

Posted June 14, 2017

Hello, and welcome back for another edition of Greenpower’s This Week in the Environment. As always, these stories—loosely focused this week around a theme of cause and effect (hint: current conditions suggest America’s new climate policies will likely make things worse for land and sea)—have been meticulously curated by our environmental scientist, Dr. Jon Conway. This week’s news may not be as dramatic, but the essential narrative remains the same: the red flags are flying, thanks in no small part to our president’s determination to please fossil fuel interests.

5. Trump is handing the federal government over to fossil fuel interests Vox

You may have heard the current administration referred to as a “fossil fuel” administration and dismissed it as hyperbole or exaggeration. It’s not. Trump and his advisors have slashed regulations protecting the world from fossil fuel development, made expanding fossil fuel use national policy, and placed an unprecedented number of fossil fuel insiders to run or monitor every major federal agency—all funded by and lobbied for by fossil fuel companies.

"It’s worth noting that a pro-fossil fuel, anti-regulatory approach is not particularly popular in the US, in either party. Majorities in every congressional district support limiting local pollution and carbon emissions from coal plants. Majorities in every congressional district believe America’s focus should turn toward wind and solar. Majorities in every state support the Paris climate agreement."

4. U.S. refuses to endorse joint climate statement with other G7 countries ThinkProgress

Following up on its villainous decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the Trump Administration continues to abdicate global leadership on climate and threaten the United States’ international standing by backing out of a joint statement on commitment to climate action at a G7 conference. US participation in this summit of major world powers was relegated to a literal footnote in the conference report.

"I believe engaging in international discussion is of the utmost importance to the United States when it comes to environmental issues." US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who left the international G7 summit on environmental issues early.

3. April marked the 388th month in a row that the global temperature was warmer than average Discover Magazine

As a reminder that climate change is still happening, regardless of who believes in it or not, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released a report concluding that we are now a third of the way through the 33rd consecutive year of warmer than 20th century average global temperatures. This temperature rise has and will continue to have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, from extinctions and population shifts to drought, famine, and global conflict.

2. West Coast Waters on Acid Trip; Fishing Industry in Peril Climate Central

Ocean acidification, one of the lesser-discussed effects of burning fossil fuels, presents serious consequences for oceanic health. The majority of the carbon dioxide our species emits into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans as carbonic acid, where it lowers the pH of the water. A major study of ocean pH along the US West Coast has found worryingly acidic conditions, including some of the lowest pH values ever recorded in marine surface waters. The rapidity of ocean acidification makes it very difficult for marine organisms to adapt and will cause major disruptions in global fisheries and other key ocean processes—such as the production of most of the planet’s oxygen by phytoplankton.

1. Food shortages due to climate change could fuel violence, unrest - research Reuters

Few realms of the human experience will go untouched by climate change in coming years, and while all countries will feel its impact to some degree, lesser developed or politically unstable nations will be hardest hit. This casts the current anti-environment federal actions of the US, which has contributed more to the current climate crisis than any other nation, in a particularly reprehensible light.

"We've already started to see climate change as an issue that won't just put the coasts under water, but as something that could cause food riots in some parts of the world." Bear Braumoeller, Ohio State University

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