TWITE 07.13.17

Posted July 12, 2017

Welcome to today’s edition of This Week in the Environment, our weekly aggregation of the environmental news stories we think you should probably read. They say that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. We’re glad to say that maxim seems to apply quite nicely when it comes to The Donald and his catch-all approach to deregulation and climate shenanigans. The exception may be Turkey, where a strongman leader is ironically weakly following a bad example; otherwise, the more our president tries to mess with the bull, the more he’s getting the horns of resistance. From the press, from lawmakers, and from citizens like you and me. And so we fight on. And we hope you’ll read on. Thanks, as always, to Dr. Jon Conway for his good work finding and encapsulating this week’s top five.

5. The Deep Industry Ties of Trump’s Deregulation Teams The New York Times

One of Trump’s many campaign promises was that he would “drain the swamp,” but since he has come into office he and his team have filled it to the brim with lobbyists and industry insiders. Because federal regulations serve the public good—a goal that often conflicts with industry bottom lines—it is critically important to separate corporate interests from governmental decisions. Without this firewall you get things like a known carcinogen being approved for use as a pesticide next to schools, anti-free market suppression of renewable energy technologies, and climate denial as national policy, all surrounded and justified by the rhetoric that unregulated industries benefit all—a claim that has been disproved time and time again.

"We have begun a historic program to reduce the regulations that are crushing our economy — crushing. We’re going to put the regulations industry out of work and out of business." Donald Trump

4. Domino Effect: Turkey Won’t Ratify Paris Climate Accord, Citing Trump’s Exit ThinkProgress

One of the predicted effects of Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement was that other countries would use the abandonment of the country most responsible for climate change as an excuse to weaken, delay, or withdraw their commitment. It appears that fear was not unfounded, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed that his country would not fully adopt the landmark climate agreement due to Trump’s actions, and that other countries may follow suit. The Agreement, in which countries set their own non-binding climate goals and pooled funds to aid sustainable development in poorer countries, is likely humanity’s last best hope for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Let’s hope the other dominoes do not fall.

3. Rebuking Trump on Climate, the G20 Proved “Soft Power” Works Vox

Trump breaking from the Paris Agreement (and lying to the world about his reasons for doing so) was a major diplomatic misstep, and the US’s standing amongst other G20 nations has suffered as a result. However, much like cities and states across the country, the other 19 nations of the G20 have been galvanized toward climate action by Trump’s dangerous ignorance, and are using their communal power to let him know his actions are unacceptable.

"You're going to be an outlier in the global community and you're not going to be able to get the other things you want in the global community by reneging on your commitments." Andrew Light, George Mason University

2. Cheap Wind and Solar Mean US Will Meet Paris Targets Despite Trump Renew Economy

The explosive growth of the renewable energy industry means it is all but inevitable that the US will achieve its previous emission reduction goals set under the Paris Agreement. New technologies follow a predictable pattern of development—beginning with expensive, ineffective prototypes and ending with cheap, efficient products that saturate the market—and after decades of languishing in speciality uses, renewable energy tech like solar photovoltaics, floating offshore wind, and energy storage are finally hitting their stride and are not likely to be derailed easily.

1. Trump's Environmental Rollbacks are Hitting Major Roadblocks Los Angeles Times

The Trump administration’s unprecedented attacks on American air, water, health, and justice are being met by equally unprecedented resistance from the public, industry, and politicians from both sides. From the millions of comments submitted about his plan to open up public lands for resource exploitation to the hundreds of cities, counties, states, and organizations who have stood up for climate action in the wake of Trump’s pulling out from the Paris Agreement, only wars have garnered similar public outcry. Trump has taken a shotgun approach to his rollback of environmental regulations that has largely proved unsuccessful due to such resistance, although his few successes—like withdrawing from the Paris Agreement—are cause for serious concern.

"How can anyone with any moral sensibility possibly believe that knowingly doing harm to children when the same could be avoided is acceptable?" Rev. Alison Cornish, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light

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