The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Unsustainable pumping of groundwater for irrigated agriculture is acclerating rapidly around the world, according to new research that matches crop production statistics against high-tech measurements of aquifer drawdowns.
Agriculture’s heavy demand on the world’s freshwater resources is well understood from the output end — of all water consumption for all uses, the United Nations estimates, 70 percent goes to produce food.
h/t Linda Lee
Shortly after Donald Trump directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fast-track approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline’s Missouri River crossing on January 24, four legal memoranda related to the project were pulled from the Interior Department website.
This goes beyond the silly and transparent revisionism the new administration is bringing to settled government positions on climate change and other inconvenient realities. It’s an attempt to make opaque some serious shortcomings in the Corps’ performance on DAPL that are little known and less understood.
In particular, one memo details many failures of the Corps and of Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the project, to meet the requirements of federal law in dealing with the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River tribes.
Donald Trump finally opened his mouth about dams and hydropower last week. The result is as bad as you can imagine.
Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, tweeted what Trump had to say:
“Hydropower is great, great, form of power—we don’t even talk about it, because to get the environmental permits are virtually impossible. It’s one of the best things you can do—hydro. But we don’t talk about it anymore.”
But, once again, Trump is dead wrong.
The solar, wind and energy efficiency industries already employ millions of people in the U.S. and they’re poised to grow.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 374,000 American jobs in solar energy, 102,000 in wind energy and more than 2.2 million related to energy efficiency. For comparison, 160,000 Americans work in coal, 360,000 in natural gas and 515,000 in oil.
Solar and wind are among the most dynamic industries in the nation. In 2016, solar employment expanded 17 times faster than the overall economy. Wind turbine technicians are expected to be the fastest-growing occupation over the next 10 years.
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt called the Paris agreement a “bad deal.” He claimed China has made no significant efforts to curb carbon pollution, while the U.S. has sacrificed jobs to meet the terms of the pact.
The facts don’t support Pruitt’s claim. While President Trump is working hard to dismantle U.S. climate policy, Chinese President Xi Jinping is assuming the mantle of global climate leadership and pushing for the rapid expansion of clean energy.
The same day that Trump called for a rollback of federal limits on carbon pollution, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reaffirmed China’s commitment to the Paris agreement, saying “as a responsible, large, developing country, China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change.”
Perhaps the Senate, in its hearing on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should have questioned Pruitt as the chief pediatrician for America’s children. As head of the EPA Pruitt gets to decide what is safe for our kids—in the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat and the communities they play. Senators didn’t ask—but they are finding out.
In his first big test of what kind of pediatrician he will be, Pruitt decided to reverse an earlier EPA decision to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, a potent nerve gas banned from household use years ago, but still used in farms, orchards, pastures and golf courses.
This week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which operates more than 200 million acres of public land, made a statement by changing the banner image on their website from a vast mountain range to a massive coal seam in Wyoming—staking an obvious claim in the Trump administration’s campaign to bring coal and other industry jobs back to the U.S.
The change comes just days after the president granted his entire salary since being in office, about $78,000, to the National Park Service, which is under the same umbrella as the BLM, both managed by the Department of the Interior. The Sierra Club was quick to point out that this sum was minuscule compared to the budget cuts Trump has proposed on the Interior, which will amount to a 12 percent slash in funding, or about $2 billion overall.
At BPI Campus our Progressive Agenda is:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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