The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has warned for years that climate change is a national security threat and, despite President Trump’s orders, the agency continues to take steps to help the military navigate and prepare for the impacts of a warming planet.
As Military Times reports, the Pentagon is plowing ahead with its 2014 “Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap” even though Trump issued an executive order in March seeking to reverse Obama-era federal climate and clean energy initiatives.
Under Obama’s orders, the Defense Department issued directive 4715.21 in January 2016 to implement the roadmap, which “lays out reasonable adaptation and mitigation actions to ensure or at least bolster our national security against measured and measurable climate change events, whatever the causes, or the duration, of the observed events,” as retired Navy Adm. Frank Bowman said.
These days, Environmental Protection Agency staffers who aren’t in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s inner circle will only speak to the press anonymously for fear of retribution or losing their jobs. Not John O’Grady, who has worked as an environmental scientist in the agency’s Chicago regional office since the first Bush administration. As president of the EPA’s employee union, American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, it is O’Grady’s job to be out in front, often criticizing the administration, in order to defend the jobs of its 9,000 members across the country who can’t afford to speak up so publicly.
To produce a bumper crop of tomatoes, or lettuce, a farmer hopes for enough sunshine and rain. But those are not the only critical ingredients.
Scow: “It’s immensely beneficial for agriculture to increase carbon in the soil.”
That’s Kate Scow of the University of California-Davis.
Adding organic matter such as decaying plant and animal material increases soil carbon. Scow says that improves crop yields, reduces erosion, improves water efficiency, and supports beneficial microorganisms.
It’s also a great way to slow climate change, because it helps plants store more carbon in the ground. But many modern farming practices can deplete soil carbon.
Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Rick Perry just proposed a massive bailout for coal and nuclear power plants. The radical and unprecedented move is couched under a false premise that power plants with fuel located on site are needed to guarantee the reliability of the electricity system. The proposal relies on a mischaracterization of DOE’s own recent study of electricity markets and reliability (discussed here), which if anything demonstrated that this kind of proposed action is not justified.
If adopted, the proposal would essentially ensure that coal and nuclear plants in regions encompassing most of the country continue to run even where they are too expensive to compete in the energy market. It would saddle utility customers with higher costs, while posing obstacles to the electricity system integration of cleaner and less risky energy sources such as solar and wind.
A majority of Americans say that global climate change contributed to the severity of recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That marks a significant shift of opinion from a dozen years ago, when a majority of the public dismissed the role of global warming and said such severe weather events just happen from time to time.
In a 2005 Post-ABC poll, taken a month after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and devastated New Orleans, 39 percent of Americans said they believed climate change helped to fuel the intensity of hurricanes. Today, 55 percent believe that.
In Europe, the recent heat wave was so extreme — with temperatures reaching 111°F (44°C), fueling wildfires and wasp attacks — it was nicknamed “Lucifer.” In the Middle East, as temperatures soared to 121°F (50°C), “birds in Kuwait have reportedly been dropping from the sky,” the International Business Times reported Friday.
But, new research says, we ain’t seen nothing yet. A new study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Union’s science and research lab, finds that “if global temperatures rise with 4°C [7°F], a new super heat wave of 55°C [131°F] can hit regularly many parts of the world, including Europe” and the United States.
Our world’s northern polar region is warming twice as fast as the global average. And the consequences are easy to spot. On average, Arctic sea ice extent is shrinking every summer. The Greenland ice sheet is becoming unstable.
But perhaps most disturbing are the changes occurring underground in the permafrost. Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil that covers 25 percent of the Northern Hemisphere. It acts like a giant freezer, keeping microbes, carbon, and soil locked in place.
Now it’s melting. And things are getting weird and creepy: The ground warps, folds, and caves. Roadways built on top of permafrost have becoming wavy roller coasters through the tundra. And long-dormant microbes — some trapped in the ice for tens of thousands of years — are beginning to wake up, releasing equally ancient C02, and could potentially come to infect humans with deadly diseases.
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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