The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
President Barack Obama issued 263 executive orders during his eight years in office, at least 35 of them dealing with climate change, energy or the environment. When President-elect Donald Trump takes office, revoking some of those executive orders could be among his first acts, because it can be done without Congress, by the simple stroke of a pen.
“On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue” canceling “every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama,” Trump said in his 100-day action plan.
Trump has made it clear that among his top priorities is the unfettered development of America’s oil, gas and coal. He pledged to revive the coal industry, although its decline is largely due to market forces, to lift restrictions and moratoriums on energy production, and to rescind regulations that stand in the way of this future. This clearly has put rules like the Clean Power Plan and methane regulations on the chopping block, but beyond that his agenda is still unclear.
President-elect Donald Trump has signaled his plan to move quickly to re-start the Keystone XL pipeline as part of his goal to revive a fossil-fueled future. But his administration would be heading quickly into the same legal and political thicket where the Canada-to-Texas tar sands oil pipeline project was stuck for seven years.
If anything, Keystone’s path forward may be more difficult, because economic pressure for Canadian producers to get the pipeline built has eased. While TransCanada’s Keystone was stuck in limbo, producers found other routes to get oil to the U.S. Gulf coast and Midwest, and on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved two pipelines to export tar sands oil to global markets.
From a Central American cave comes research that holds a dire warning for the Northeastern U.S.: global warming may be sending more hurricanes your way.
New research shows a long-term northward shift of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. By studying rainfall history derived from a stalagmite in a cave in Belize, scientists concluded that storms that once would have crashed ashore in Central America, the Gulf Coast or Florida are curving northward, a trend that puts major cities in the Northeast U.S. in the path of destructive storms.
Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Hurricane Irene in 2011 are examples of the types of damage in store for the region more often, as increasing greenhouse gas levels affect the major air currents that steer tropical storms. A team of climate scientists reported this conclusion recently in the journal Scientific Reports.
At this week’s annual C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City, a coalition of 90 cities at the forefront of the fight against climate change detailed everything cities have to accomplish in order to meet the agreement’s long-term goals. Their report, written with the engineering firm Arup, lays out an action plan to deliver on the promise of limiting the rise of global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius, and critical progress must be made by 2020.
These next four years are pivotal to build the momentum needed to stem the rise of global temperatures, the coalition argues. If carbon emissions aren’t dramatically curbed by then, the authors of the “Deadline 2020” report write, “the world will have ‘locked-in’ sufficient future emissions to exceed 2 degrees.”
“We have four years to take action, four years to ensure that 1.5 degrees is doable,” says C40 head researcher Tom Bailey, referring to the temperature increase that the international community is aiming for. It’s an ambitious goal—one that many experts say is impossible—and the roadmap to get there is full of drastic measures.
A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Oregon made headlines when she ruled that a groundbreaking climate lawsuit will proceed to trial. And some experts say its outcome could rewrite the future of climate policy in the United States.
The case, brought by 21 youths aged 9 to 20, claims that the federal government isn’t doing enough to address the problem of climate change to protect their planet’s future — and that, they charge, is a violation of their constitutional rights on the most basic level. The case has already received widespread attention, even garnering the support of well-known climate scientist James Hansen, who has also joined as a plaintiff on behalf of his granddaughter and as a guardian for “future generations.”
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1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
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