EPA removes web pages with climate change information

Will updates reflect real science, or ideology?

Many of the previously existing pages on climate science, greenhouse gases and global warming impacts are no longer available at the current EPA website.

By Bob Berwyn

Continuing its Orwellian policies of trying to create an alternative, fact-free reality, the Trump administration has started to remove climate-related information from the EPA website. As of Friday, April 28, a Google search for EPA climate information leads to a page-update notice, including a statement from a politically appointed spokesperson saying,” “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.” Continue reading “EPA removes web pages with climate change information”

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Federal court pauses Clean Power Plan case

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan page is now an anti-science propaganda page of the Trump administration.

U.S. policy in turmoil as Bonn climate summit approaches

Staff Report

The future of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is still up in the air, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has put a hold on legal proceeding pending the new administration’s review. The Clean Power Plan developed under the Obama administration would require modest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants with the goal of meeting global targets to cap global warming.

“This decision is disappointing but still leaves key issues about the future of the Clean Power Plan to be resolved,” said  David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We will continue to fight in the D.C. Circuit and in the court of public opinion to ensure that the government fulfills its legal obligation to protect the public from climate change.  Continue reading “Federal court pauses Clean Power Plan case”

Trump administration starts push for more offshore drilling

A brown pelican outlined against the sun setting over Lemon Bay in Englewood Florida. The Trump administration wants to open parts of the eastern Gulf of Mexico for drilling, which would threaten ecosystems and tourism. @bberwyn photo.

Prospects for new executive order are unclear and legal challenges await

Staff Report

Donald Trump’s retro administration is taking another step backward by attempting to re-open parts of the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, as well as the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, for offshore oil drilling. The executive order announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke requires the the department to conduct a five-year review of the existing program for  oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf.

That could potentially reverse actions taken under President Obama to restrict some offshore drilling, although the feds will have to show scientifically that new offshore drilling is justified economically and can be done without harm to the environment. Legal challenges would also raised to any new proposals to lease areas off the coasts of the U.S. More drilling would also add more heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution to the atmosphere. Continue reading “Trump administration starts push for more offshore drilling”

Bill would end searches of electronic devices for U.S. citizens returning from travel abroad

Can the feds search your phone at the border?

Privacy rights have been eroded in the endless war on terror

Staff Report

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulder) wants to limit the U.S. government’s ability to search your electronic devices when you return from overseas travel. A new bill Polis introduced this week, the Protecting Data at the Border Act, would make it harder for federal agents to seize and search your laptop, smartphone or tablet.

The legislation was introduced jointly on April 4, as H.R. 1899 in the House by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO2) and S. 823 in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Specifically, it would prevent customs officials at the border  from searching anybody’s digital device without a warrant. Privacy and civil rights advocates have long argued that warrantless searches of devices at the border are illegal. Continue reading “Bill would end searches of electronic devices for U.S. citizens returning from travel abroad”

Major U.S. companies urge Trump to stay in Paris climate deal

The Paris agreement is the world’s best chance of limiting global warming and avoiding major climate disruptions. @bberwyn photo.

Global agreement helps manage climate risks, generates jobs

Staff Report

Major companies, including across the U.S. economy are urging President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate change agreement. The U.S. must stay at the table to help steer efforts to manage rising climate risks and compete in expanding global clean energy markets, according to a letter to the president Trump organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

“By committing all countries to action, the agreement expands markets for innovative clean technologies, generating jobs and economic growth,” the letter says. “U.S. companies are well positioned to lead, and lack of U.S. participation could put their access to these growing markets at risk.’’ Continue reading “Major U.S. companies urge Trump to stay in Paris climate deal”

Sunday set: Global change

Travel a little, learn a lot

This set includes illustrations for some of my most recent stories in various environmental and climate news publications and if you’re a regular Summit Voice reader who is not on Twitter or Instagram, I’m providing a few links here.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how some of Greenlands coastal glaciers already passed passed a climate change tipping point about 20 years ago. Because of the physical processes of snowmelt and runoff, these glaciers are going to disappear even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to zero immediately. You can read the story here.

For Pacific Standard, I put together an environmental photo essay on bumblebees, some of the most important pollinators of wildflowers, especially in mountain regions and also in the far north. Bumblebees are important because they are cold-tolerant, so they’re out and about visiting early blooms while other pollinators are dormant. They’ll also fly long distances to visit a single flower. Without them, some species would go extinct. Check out the photo essay here.

You might have seen the recent Summit Voice story on beach erosion and how it’s going to wash away some world famous surf spots along the California coast, and in other areas where coastal strands are ringed by mountains, but if you missed it, you can see it here.

I also wrote about the annual Austrian glacier report for Deutsche Welle, a great global news organization that really does in-depth environmental and climate reporting. You can visit the DW website here, or follow them on Twitter for a daily feed. And my story on the dwindling glaciers is here.

Finally, in a critical story for Colorado and the rest of the West, I reported on how we are losing the war on wildfires and how we need to change our way of thinking about forests and fires in an era of rapid climate change. The story is online at Pacific Standard.

Sea level rise overwhelming some coral reefs

A sea turtle swims lazily along a coral reef in Hawaii, trailed by tropical fish. (Photo by Kosta Stamoulis, courtesy Oregon State University via Flickr.)

Seafloor erosion outpacing expectations

Staff Report

Coral reefs aren’t just threatened by pollution, ocean acidification and over-heated ocean temperatures. In some places they are being undermined by erosion of the seafloor, U.S. Geological Survey scientists said in a new study that looked at reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii.

In the five study sites, the reefs can’t keep pace with sea level rise. As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion.

The degradation of reefs and the subsiding seafloor go hand-in-hand, as sand and other sea floor materials have eroded over the past few decades. In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material – about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, the researchers calculated.  Continue reading “Sea level rise overwhelming some coral reefs”