September17, 2019
This week we celebrate a global action to bring the world’s governments to understand they risk the withdrawal of the consent of the people if they fail to act decisively on climate warming and its major causes. There is evidence that major news media are gathering their courage to publish the truth also. That will help!
First the News.

Action Alert! Stop Digging Pipelines, Fund the Solutions

On Climate Strike Eve, New Yorkers demand
Stop Digging Pipelines. Fund the Solutions.

The NYS Public Service Commission is at a crossroads, yet their agenda released last Friday reveals that they choose to stand still rather than taking steps to climate leadership.

Let’s make sure NYS regulators know we are watching them and that we hold them accountable for serving the PUBLIC’s interest and protecting the planet –  not protecting the utilities’ bottom line. Join Renewable Heat Now in their campaign at the Public Service Commission Meeting in Albany on Sept 19th.

The world is watching what New York will do. The time to act is NOW.

We begin in the 19th Floor Boardroom at the Public Service Commission at 9:30am for the 10:30 meeting. Then join us for a press conference at 11:30am when we will demand that the Public Service Commission tell the utilities to stop using our ratepayer money to further climate destruction and to fund the solutions.

Gather at the Public Service Commission Meeting
9:30am September 19, 2019
Empire State Plaza Agency Building 3, 19th Floor Boardroom
Albany, NY

Press conference hosted by Renewable Heat Now to follow:
11:30am in the LCA Pressroom
Legislative Office Building (LOB) Room 130.

Carpool organizing and info here: Carpooling to Albany


New York recently passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), a landmark piece of climate legislation. The NYS Public Service Commission is at a crossroads, and need to assume the mantle of climate leadership. The PSC – appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo – have the power to regulate utilities and implement the state’s energy policy. We need energy efficiency funding and we need to stop the utilities from digging and expanding fracked gas infrastructure, but on the eve of the climate strike none of these items are on the Public Service Commission’s agenda!


Cuomo on Constitution Pipeline:
‘Any way that we can challenge it, we will’

Cuomo on Constitution Pipeline: ‘Any way that we can challenge it, we will’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday called FERC’s decision last week “disrespectful of states rights.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, September 14, 2019, said New York will continue its fight against the Constitution Pipeline after federal regulators ruled last week the state waived its right to deny the project a key water permit.

Cuomo called a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “disrespectful of states’ rights” and criticized the Trump administration for overstepping its bounds before vowing to fight the ruling.

“We’re looking at our legal rights now, but any way that we can challenge it, we will,” Cuomo said during an interview with WAMC.

The controversial 124-mile long pipeline would bring natural gas from Pennsylvania into the Southern Tier before stopping just outside Albany.

Further reading Will the Constitution Pipeline get built?
Doubts About Pipeline Proponents’ Claims of a Gas Shortage

But the battle to build the project has been in the courts since 2016 after New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation denied the project a necessary water permit needed to advance the project.…

FERC’s ruling comes as a debate over natural gas continues to unfold in the state.

New York is looking to dramatically reduce its fossil-fuel emissions after Cuomo approved the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act earlier this year, which sets a goal of net-zero emissions in the state by 2050.

Under the law, the state must cut its emissions on greenhouse gases to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050, and offset the remaining 15% through reforestation and other green projects.…—Chad Arnold, “Cuomo on Constitution Pipeline: ‘Any way we can challenge it, we will’,” Star Gazette, 9/15/19


Plans for LNG Terminal in South Jersey Kept Under Wraps

Plans for LNG Terminal in South Jersey Kept Under Wraps, Enviro Group Says – NJ Spotlight

Developer and agencies deny effort to shield from public view plans that would allow for transfer of potentially explosive liquefied natural gas to ocean-going tankers

Plans to build a liquefied natural gas export terminal at Gibbstown in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County have not been fully disclosed to the public by regulatory agencies or by the developer of the site on the Delaware River in South Jersey, an environmental group says.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network accused the developer, Delaware River Partners, and several regulators of not doing enough to keep the public informed of the plan to build the terminal that would transfer super-cooled natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale via trucks to ocean-going tankers.

Although documents from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Greenwich Township show that the LNG plan has in fact received some disclosure, Delaware Riverkeeper says the project has been mostly kept hidden from the public despite concerns that LNG is potentially explosive, and that the terminal would represent an expansion of fossil-fuel infrastructure amid global efforts to curb carbon emissions.

Calling the matter “a deliberate coverup,” DRN accused the agencies and the company of trying to avoid public criticism by keeping the plans quiet.

“There would be no reason not to disclose this critical body of information other than to evade a full and fair review by agencies and the public,” the group said in a letter to environmental officials in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the Delaware River Basin Commission, and other regulators.…—Jon Hurdle, “Plans for LNG Terminal in South Jersey Kept Under Wraps, Enviro Group Says,” NJ Spotlight, 6/2/19


What we learned from StateImpact Pennsylvania’s forum
on climate change adaptation, resilience, and social equity

What we learned from StateImpact Pennsylvania’s forum in Philadelphia on climate change adaptation, resilience, and social equity | StateImpact Pennsylvania

Three panelists with expertise in research, policy, city planning, and communications discussed their successes working on local climate change issues, as well as the challenges and shortcomings of climate action, during an event Thursday, September 12, 2019,  at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy in Philadelphia.

The event was produced by StateImpact Pennsylvania, WHYY and the Kleinman Center and moderated by Susan Phillips, reporter for StateImpact and WHYY. 

“Equitable solutions mean fixing underlying problems.”—Jeanne Herb, executive director of the Environmental Analysis & Communications Group at the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

The conversation ranged from how to engage socially vulnerable populations, to the ways in which people of color are left out of climate conversations, to the ways the built environment can influence your carbon footprint.  

Here are key points: 

  • Jeanne Herb called climate change an “exacerbator” of social inequities. She said that the effects of climate change — like an increase in the number of hot days and routine flooding — will have the most effect on people who already live in overcrowded, unsafe housing conditions, or neighborhoods without shade, or who don’t have access to social services or transportation, and will make those problems worse. 
  • Charles Ellison said when he first started talking about the environment on his show, he used to get made fun of. He said the response was, “Why are we talking about this? It’s a white people issue.” But the more Ellison started to talk about the connection between things like heat, pollution, and air quality, and the high rates of asthma and cancer in black and brown communities, the more his audience got it.
  • Tanya Seaman spoke about several ways that policy and design can nudge people toward lower-carbon lifestyles. 

When people gave up their personal vehicles and used Philly CarShare instead, they started evaluating whether they really needed to drive before they just got in the car to go somewhere. She said they surveyed participants throughout the program, and saw an increase in people choosing to bike, walk, or take public transportation. 

Similarly, when asked what the most impactful thing individuals can do to tackle climate change locally, Seaman suggested supporting dense development in zoning law. She said there’s always a lot of push-back to dense housing projects, but noted it tends to create more walkable, bike-able environments that do not require cars.…

The StateImpact Pennsylvania event followed a Kleinman Center forum with Vox’s David Roberts and Rafe Pomerance about national climate action efforts. Pomerance is chairman of Arctic 21, which describes itself as a network of organizations focused on communicating the unraveling of the Arctic as a result of climate change to policy makers and the public. Watch a video of that conversation here.…—Emily Pontecorvo, “What we learned from StateImpact Pennsylvania’s forum in Philadelphia on climate change adaptation, resilience, and social equity,” StateImpact Pennsylvania, 9/13/19


Global Climate Strike!
If We Can Save the Banks, We Can Save the World

Greta Thunberg on Climate: “If We Can Save the Banks, We Can Save the World”

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg joins a protest near UN headquarters on August 30, 2019, in New York.Selcuk Acar / NurPhoto via Getty Images}

“The money is there. What we lack now is political will and social will,” Thunberg said.

During an event in New York City Monday night with author and environmentalist Naomi Klein, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg had a simple message for those who claim it is “too expensive” to boldly confront the climate crisis with sweeping policies like a Green New Deal.

“If we can save the banks,” said Thunberg, “we can save the world.”

“If there is something we are not lacking in this world, it’s money,” she added. “Of course, many people do lack money, but governments and these people in power, they do not lack money. And also we need to have the polluters… actually pay for the damage they have caused. So, to that argument, I would not even respond to that argument, because it has been said so many times, the money is there. What we lack now is political will and social will to do it.”…—Jake Johnson, “Greta Thunberg on Climate: “If We Can Save the Banks, We Can Save the World,” Truthout, 9/10/19



‘Holy Smokes, This Thing Could Get HUGE’:
NYC Public Schools to Let Students #ClimateStrike

‘Holy Smokes, This Thing Could Get HUGE’: NYC Public Schools to Let Students #ClimateStrike

“They are finally treating the crisis like a crisis,” said 14-year-old New Yorker and climate striker Alexandria Villaseñor.

Climate advocates celebrated Thursday after New York City’s public school system announced it would excuse the absences of students who have a parent’s permission to participate in the global climate strike on Friday, Sept. 20.

“Holy cow!” tweeted Bill McKibben, a co-founder The environmental group is helping plan a week of action that will feature thousands of events around the world to coincide with a United Nations climate summit in New York City.

Another co-founder, Jamie Henn, also welcomed the NYC announcement on Twitter Thursday. He wrote, “holy smokes, this thing could get HUGE.”

The NYC Public Schools account explained in a series of tweets that younger students will only be allowed to leave school for the climate strike if they are accompanied by a parent and promised to share guidance with the city’s schools and promote class discussions about the climate crisis.

Alexandria Villaseñor, a 14-year-old NYC leader of Fridays for Future and the first American to hold a school strike for climate, noted in a statement that the New York City Department of Education’s decision came “after many months of hard work and conversations between we activists and the city.”

“They are finally treating the crisis like a crisis and this will make sure that September 20th is the largest mobilization that New York City has ever seen,” said Villaseñor. “Now, I am calling on every city in the U.S. to follow New York City’s lead, and support their students in striking for their futures. We need everyone in the streets next Friday!”

“It took me only 41 weeks to be excused from school for my #ClimateStrike,” she added in a tweet. “Never, ever give up people.”…—Jessica Corbett, “‘Holy Smokes, This Thing Could Get HUGE’: NYC Public Schools to Let Students #ClimateStrike,” Common Dreams News, 9/12/19


Brazilian environment official murdered in Amazon

Brazilian environment worker killed in Amazon

Reports say an official who protected land from farmers and loggers was shot twice in the head.

Police in Brazil are investigating the murder of an official who had worked to protect indigenous people from farmers and loggers attempting to seize land.

Maxciel Pereira dos Santos was reportedly shot twice in the head in the city of Tabatinga, near Brazil’s borders with Colombia and Peru.

Union officials said Mr Santos was shot in front of members of his family.

The killing comes amid international outrage over the rate of destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

At least 80,000 fires were recorded there between January and August this year – more than double the number in the same period last year.

Further reading Amazon fires: How bad have they got?
The animals caught in the Amazon fires
Amazon fires: Ten of your questions answered
Are forest fires as bad as they seem?

Brazil’s populist President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn intense domestic and international criticism for failing to protect the region.

Hundreds of government environment workers in Brazil last month signed an open letter warning that their work had been hampered by President Bolsonaro.

He has often stated support for farmers and loggers working in the region, while criticising environmental campaigners and slashing the budget of the country’s environmental agency.

Murder on a busy street

The union which represents staff at Brazil’s indigenous protection agency, Funai, said Mr Santos had been shot twice in the head as he drove his motorcycle down a busy street.

INA officials said he was killed in retaliation for his work at the Vale do Javari reserve, where for years he helped prevent hunters, farmers and loggers illegally entering the area.

The reserve is said to be home to the world’s highest concentration of uncontacted indigenous tribes.…—”Brazil worker who protected indigenous tribes killed in Amazon,” BBC News, 9/9/19


Normal Is Over

The documentary “Normal Is Over” is a compelling and visually rich film directed by award winning, and investigative TV-journalist Renée Scheltema. Her film chronicles the way humans have inadvertently imperiled our planet: species extinction, climate change, the depletion of critical natural resources, and industrial control of our food production.

This unique documentary examines how our economic and financial system connects all these issues, and offers solutions, which could be implemented immediately, from practical everyday fixes to rethinking the overarching myths of our time.

Renée takes off on a multinational voyage, meeting not only prominent experts, but also everyday citizens who concentrate on

matters such as organic agriculture, the banning of plastic, saving species, ecological economics, sustainable architecture, renewable energy, and more.

While this film is intended to challenge viewers on many different levels, it most of all offers hope.—”Normal Is Over The Movie,” IDFA, January, 2015


A New Beginning for Climate Reporting

A New Beginning for Climate Reporting

Could it be that the press, especially the US press, is finally waking up to the climate story?

It’s been 30 years since Bill McKibben rang the warning bells about the threat of man-made climate change—first in a piece in The New Yorker, and then in his book, The End of Nature. For most of that time, the response from most quarters of the media, especially in the United States, has been either silence or, worse, getting the story wrong. Reporters and their news organizations sidelined climate stories as too technical or too political or too depressing. Spun by the fossil fuel industry and vexed by their own business problems, media outlets often leaned on a false balance between the views of genuine scientists and those of paid corporate mouthpieces. The media’s minimization of the looming disaster is one of our great journalistic failures.

It is heartening, then, to report that the press may at last be waking up to the defining story of our time. At the end of April, Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation launched Covering Climate Now, a project aimed at encouraging news organizations, here and abroad, to raise their game when it comes to climate coverage. We weren’t going to tell people what to write or broadcast; we just wanted them to do more coverage, and to do it better. Close the gap, we urged them, between the size of the story and the ambition of your efforts. Try it for a week, then report back on what you learned.

Further reading Why I’m Climate Striking Against Fox News on Friday
Covering climate change, now – Columbia Journalism Review
The Silence of School Leaders on the Climate Crisis

We had a hunch that there was a critical mass of reporters and news outlets that wanted to do more climate coverage, and hoped that by highlighting that critical mass, we could also help to grow it. That’s exactly what has happened. Our initiative has been embraced by more than 250 news outlets from across the United States and around the world—big outlets and small, print and digital, TV and radio—with a combined audience of well over 1 billion people. Their response has been amazing, and gratifying.

We believe that Covering Climate Now is the biggest effort ever undertaken to organize the world’s press around a single topic. (You’ll find a list of partners here, and you can follow all of us on Twitter at #CoveringClimateNow.)…—Mark Hertsgaard, Kyle Pope, “A New Beginning for Climate Reporting,” The Nation, 9/15/19


Amazon Workers Are Bringing the Climate Strike to Jeff Bezos

Amazon Workers Are Bringing the Climate Strike to Jeff Bezos

Tech workers at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters will participate in next week’s Global Climate Strike.

Two months after Amazon warehouse workers across the globe staged a one-day strike, the great “disruptor” is facing another workplace disruption—this time by tech workers at its Seattle headquarters.

The group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice announced this week that it would join the September 20 Global Climate Strike led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg. The employees are calling on Amazon to commit to zero emissions by 2030, cancel the company’s custom contracts that accelerate gas and oil extraction, and cease funding climate denying lobbyists and politicians.

The last year has seen rank-and-file tech workers walk out over sexual harassment at Google and sales to migrant detention centers by the online retailer Wayfair. Tech workers have also organized a wider movement called #TechWontBuildIt to oppose contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

But according to Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, next week’s walkout will be the first one by workers at the company’s corporate offices, as well as the first walkout in the tech industry over the climate crisis. More than 1,000 employees have currently pledged to participate via an online form.

The action grew out of a push by Amazon employees earlier this year to pass a shareholder resolution asking Jeff Bezos to create a comprehensive climate change plan. After a group of workers announced their intention to introduce this resolution, Amazon responded by announcing a “Shipment Zero” program to make 50% of its shipments carbon-neutral by 2030. More than 8,000 Amazon employees signed an open letter in April deriding this plan as inadequate and calling on the company to do more.…—Rebecca Burns, “Amazon Workers Are Bringing the Climate Strike to Jeff Bezos,” Truthout, 9/14/19


Covering Climate Now – The Allegheny Front

Covering Climate Now – The Allegheny Front

The Allegheny Front has joined more than 250 news outlets from around the world that have now signed up for Covering Climate Now, a project co-founded by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation aimed at strengthening the media’s focus on the climate crisis. StateImpact Pennsylvania, PublicSource and The Philadelphia Inquirer are among the other Pennsylvania media outlets participating in the initiative.

All outlets have committed to running a week’s worth of climate coverage from Sept. 16-23, in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Sept. 23. At that meeting, the world’s governments will submit plans to meet the Paris Agreement’s pledge to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.

Further reading: This is no longer about the science. This is somebody’s ideology.

“The need for solid climate coverage has never been greater,” said Kyle Pope, CJR’s editor and publisher. “We’re proud that so many organizations from across the US and around the world have joined with Covering Climate Now to do our duty as journalists—to report this hugely important story.”

Covering Climate Now now ranks as one of the most ambitious efforts ever to organize the world’s media around a single coverage topic. In addition to The Guardian—the lead media partner in Covering Climate Now—CJR and The Nation are joined by major newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasters, and global news and photo agencies in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.… —”The Allegheny Front Joins Climate Coverage Initiative,” The Allegheny Front, 8/28/19


‘Going to the streets again’:
what you need to know about Friday’s climate strike

‘Going to the streets again’: what you need to know about Friday’s climate strike

Organisers expect a stronger presence from unions, workers and companies as student activists reach out to adults

Thousands of Australian school students are again preparing to walk out of classrooms across the country to demand action on the climate crisis.

The global mass day of action will take place on Friday 20 September, three days before the United Nations climate summit in New York.

It follows strikes in March this year in which 150,000 people marched in Australia and 1.5 million took part worldwide.

Organisers expect next week’s global strikes will be bigger and, this time there will be a much stronger presence from unions, workers and companies that have signed up to strike in solidarity with the young activists.

Here’s a guide to what’s happening.

Where will the strikes take place?

Strikes are planned in 120 countries across the world including almost 100 locations across Australia, from the major centres of Sydney and Melbourne to the small rural town of Wollar in New South Wales. There will be strikes in all capital cities and in regional centres such as Albury, Orange and Bendigo.

Organisers are anticipating the largest crowds this time will be in Melbourne, where the strikes coincide with the last day of the Victorian public school term.

“This massive day of action is going to be fundamental towards advocating for more efficient action on climate change,” Evan Meneses, a 17-year-old organiser for the Adelaide strike, said.

He said this was especially the case for Australia “given there is very little concrete evidence to suggest we’re achieving what was laid out in the Paris agreement”.…—Lisa Cox, “‘Going to the streets again’: what you need to know about Friday’s climate strike,” The Guardian, 9/14/19


‘It’s our future’: Duluth students organize climate strike

‘It’s our future’: Duluth students organize climate strike | Duluth News Tribune

When Duluth East High School student Izzy Laderman thinks about climate issues, she said she feels angry about the lack of action and scared for her generation’s future.

“They say we have 11 years left before it’s irreversible,” Laderman said, referencing a United Nations announcement from earlier this year stating there’s only 11 years left to prevent irreversible climate-caused damage. “I think about that and that’s when I’m 27. At 27 I should be worrying about ‘Wow, why am I in so much student debt? Do I want a house? Should I get married? Should I have kids?’ This should not be my worry.”

Among Laderman’s mix of emotions runs a streak of hope that with a combination of fast action and existing technology there’s just barely enough time to turn things around.

Which is why Laderman and four other students from three different high schools in Duluth sat gathered around a table at a local tea shop Wednesday evening, Sept. 11, planning for an upcoming climate strike they hope will draw students from around the Northland.

On Friday, Sept. 20, students and others will rally outside Duluth City Hall to demand climate action from the government as part of a growing global movement led by young people concerned about their futures.

The five organizing students got in touch through the Minnesota chapter of an organization called U.S. Youth Climate Strike that encourages students to apply to be “school leads,” or students who help with the organizing of the strike and raise awareness in their schools.…—Andee Erickson, “‘It’s our future’: Duluth students organize climate strike,Duluth News Tribune, 9/14/19


‘Pray & continue’:
Death of Philippine ranger is latest in legacy of violence

‘Pray & continue’: Death of Philippine ranger is latest in legacy of violence

[Editor’s Note: Pick your moment carefully to read this story. It reports a terrible murder.]

On his public social media account, forest ranger Bienvinido “Toto” Veguilla Jr. used to post the results of his team’s patrols on a monthly basis: the illegal loggers arrested, the chainsaws confiscated, the locals caught in the act, and the state of trees slashed for timber.

It was a similar scenario on Sept. 4, 2019: Veguilla and five other rangers, responding to reports of illegal logging activity, found a group of men cutting logs inside the El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area, a 90,321-hectare (223,188-acre) site on the Philippine island of Palawan. The suspects fled, and the rangers seized a chainsaw they’d left behind.

At the end of the day’s patrol, they encountered the suspects again. This time, the group came armed with machetes and a shotgun. The other rangers managed to escape to safety, but Veguilla was cornered by five men and hacked to death, according to a report by Palawan News.

The death of Veguilla, 52, is the latest killing of an environmental defender in what the eco-watchdog group Global Witness calls “one of the deadliest countries in the world for people protecting their land or the environment.”

“In 2018, the Philippines was the worst-affected country in sheer numbers, with 30 deaths,” Global Witness says in its report “Enemies of the State?” published in July, 2019.…—Leilani Chavez, “‘Pray & continue’: Death of Philippine ranger is latest in legacy of violence,” Mongabay, 9/1/19


Lush Is Closing Its Stores in Support of the Global Climate Strike

Lush Is Closing Its Stores in Support of the Global Climate Strike

“Giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no brainer.”

Lush has always been one of the most climate-conscious beauty brands in the industry. In addition to growing ingredients in its own regenerative farms, more than half of its products are packaging-free and it has helped raise millions of dollars for grassroots environmental justice organizations. And now, Lush is taking that support for environmental activists a step further with an unprecedented move: closing its 250 U.S. and Canada stores.

On Friday, September 20, in the U.S. and Friday, September 27, in Canada will shut down in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike, during which “millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels,” according to the event’s official website. “As a business with deep roots in environmental activism, giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no brainer,” Lush Cosmetics North America CEO and president Mark Wolverton said in a brand statement. “We all share this planet, so we need to band together to sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. Climate crisis won’t wait, and neither will we.”

And it’s not just the stores that are closing down. Lush will shut down its entire operations — factories, headquarters, and e-commerce — to mobilize more than 5,000 employees and take to the streets to demand action. Allure spoke with Carleen Pickard, Lush’s ethical campaign specialist, to learn more about why the brand is making such a significant move to support this cause.…—Marci Robin, “Lush Is Closing Its Stores in Support of the Global Climate Strike,” Allure, 9/14/19


Trump to Miners, Loggers and Drillers: This Land Is Your Land

Opinion | Trump to Miners, Loggers and Drillers: This Land Is Your Land

From Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, the Trump administration wants to despoil, not preserve, America’s resources.

The tug-of-war over America’s public lands between those who would protect them for future generations and those who would exploit them for immediate commercial gain has a long history. The two Roosevelts, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were mostly sympathetic to the cause of conservation, Ronald Reagan and the second George Bush decidedly less so. But for sheer hostility to environmental values, Donald Trump has no equal.

Mr. Trump arrived in the White House with little interest in conservation, his idea of nature framed largely by his golf courses. He was, to boot, almost pathologically dedicated to obliterating anything President Obama had done to reduce global warming gases, preserve open space and help endangered species.

This translated into a simple operating strategy: Get rid of things the fossil fuel industry didn’t like and rubber-stamp the stuff it wanted.…

…That’s not all. In the shadow of these big ticket items, Mr. Trump has presided over several less visible travesties. We offer three. One is his push to open the Tongass National Forest in Alaska to logging. The others are his efforts to revive two potentially destructive mining projects — one near Alaska’s Bristol Bay, the other near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota.

In all three cases, Mr. Trump has breathed new life into bad ideas thought to be dead and buried or getting there. Together they demonstrate again how Mr. Trump, when faced with a choice between commerce and conservation, reflexively sides with the former, even when the economic case for conservation is strong.…—The Editorial Board, “Opinion | Trump to Miners, Loggers and Drillers: This Land Is Your Land,” The New York Times, 8/31/19


Greta Thunberg To U.S.:
‘You Have A Moral Responsibility’ On Climate Change

Greta Thunberg To U.S.: ‘You Have A Moral Responsibility’ On Climate Change

The young Swedish activist led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn’t looking to go inside. “I don’t want to meet with people who don’t accept the science,” she says.

Greta Thunberg led a protest at the White House on Friday. But she wasn’t looking to go inside — “I don’t want to meet with people who don’t accept the science,” she says.

The young Swedish activist joined a large crowd of protesters who had gathered outside, calling for immediate action to help the environment and reverse an alarming warming trend in average global temperatures.

She says her message for President Trump is the same thing she tells other politicians: Listen to science, and take responsibility.

Thunberg, 16, arrived in the U.S. last week after sailing across the Atlantic to avoid the carbon emissions from jet travel. She plans to spend nearly a week in Washington, D.C. — but she doesn’t plan to meet with anyone from the Trump administration during that time.

“I haven’t been invited to do that yet. And honestly I don’t want to do that,” Thunberg tells NPR’s Ailsa Chang. If people in the White House who reject climate change want to change their minds, she says, they should rely on scientists and professionals to do that.

But Thunberg also believes the U.S. has an “incredibly important” role to play in fighting climate change.

“You are such a big country,” she says. “In Sweden, when we demand politicians to do something, they say, ‘It doesn’t matter what we do — because just look at the U.S.’

“I think you have an enormous responsibility” to lead climate efforts, she adds. “You have a moral responsibility to do that.”… —Bill Chappell, Ailsa Chang, “Greta Thunberg To U.S.: ‘You Have A Moral Responsibility’ On Climate Change,” NPR, 9/13/19


‘I don’t know how we come back from this’:
Australia’s big dry sucks life from once-proud towns

‘I don’t know how we come back from this’: Australia’s big dry sucks life from once-proud towns

Australia is experiencing one of its most severe droughts on record, resulting in desperate water shortages across large parts of New South Wales and southern Queensland. Dams in some parts of western NSW have all but dried up, with rainfall levels through the winter in the lowest 10% of historical records in some areas.

The crisis in the far west of the state became unavoidable after the mass fish kills along the lower Darling River last summer, but now much bigger towns closer to the coast, including Dubbo, are also running out of water.

Residents of three distinct areas talked to Guardian Australia about the state of their towns under extreme stress from water shortages, expressing anxiety about their future but also determination to keep communities alive.

Dubbo, NSW

It seems unthinkable that the city of Dubbo, with a population of 40,000 and home to the Western Plains Zoo, could be facing the prospect of running out of water by mid- 2020. But as the drought enters its second summer, that’s exactly what is facing the main town in the central west of NSW.

It’s also raising questions about management of water in the region, as irrigators in the basin have been permitted to continue to take water in the expectation that inflows would occur. Instead inflows into the Macquarie River are at historic lows.

The vast Burrendong dam on the Macquarie – six times the size of Sydney Harbour and the main water source for Dubbo, Wellington, Narromine, Nyngan, Cobar and Warren – is now at 4.5% capacity and dwindling rapidly as unseasonably high temperatures hit the region.

This is not just a matter of water restrictions and inconvenience. The drought and water shortages spell potential economic catastrophe for Dubbo as farmers leave fields unplanted and sell off stock, tourist numbers wither and parks and gardens turn brown.… —Anne Davies, Ben Smee, Lorena Allam, “‘I don’t know how we come back from this’: Australia’s big dry sucks life from once-proud towns,” The Guardian, 9/13/19


Girl power goes green: Teens strike for action on climate change

Girl power goes green: Teens strike for action on climate change

“The world is watching us,” said Isabelle Axelsson, 18, who has skipped class weekly to march with Fridays for Future in Stockholm.

It was the floodwaters brushing her jawline that convinced Theresa Sebastian it was time to get serious about climate change.

The teen from Ireland was in Kerala, India, for a family wedding last summer when the region experienced 40 percent higher-than-average rainfall. More than 480 people died in the torrential rains that swept away cars and destroyed more than 20,000 homes.

“My whole entire life could have ended there,” Sebastian, 15, said, maintaining eye contact through her black-rimmed glasses while pointedly recounting the terrifying experience.“I knew about global warming, but I didn’t think it would affect me so soon.”

While scientists have not definitively linked the Kerala flood to climate change, a recent study cautioned that the disaster was a sign of things to come as global warming reaches the 2.7-degree Fahrenheit threshold.

Sebastian returned to Cork, Ireland, determined to force world leaders to prevent global ecological catastrophe by joining the female-led Fridays for Future school strikes — a movement led largely by teenage girls.

Fridays for Future has eclipsed the quiet, solitary protests started by its founder, 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg, in August 2018. Now upward of 2 million supporters from The Hague to Kampala, Uganda, regularly skip class on Friday and take to the streets to protest government inaction on climate change.…—Linda Givetash, “Teen girls strike for global action on climate change,” NBC News, 9/15/19


Eight More Effects of Climate Change: Some Surprising, Some Fatal

Eight More Effects of Climate Change: Some Surprising, Some Fatal

The cost of climate change will take its toll in unexpected places, a panel of experts told members of Congress last week.

Climate change will take its toll across the economy, in some unexpected places, a panel of experts told members of Congress last week.

Unmitigated climate change has already cost the U.S. economy $1 trillion, said economist Marshall Burke, an assistant professor of earth system science at Stanford University, and that cost will rise to $5 trillion by 2050.

“For many people, climate impacts are most closely associated with rising seas and declining crop yields. These impacts are certainly important, but in fact are likely to only be a small part of the overall economic consequences in the U.S.,” Burke told members of the House Committee on Financial Services.

“Many other sectors and many other outcomes will be affected by a warming climate.”

According mostly to Burke, but also other experts who testified before the committee Sept. 11, those impacts include:

1 Lost Productivity

“Numerous studies using recent historical data on the US economy show that economic output falls in hot years as compared to cooler years,” Burke said, in part because of lost productivity.

“We have strong evidence that workers in all industries are less productive when it’s hot.”

2 Cognitive Decline

Worker productivity may decline in part because cognitive productivity declines.…—Jeff McMahon, “Eight More Effects of Climate Change: Some Surprising, Some Fatal,” Forbes, 9/15/19


Climate Activists Don’t Know How to Talk to Christians

Climate Activists Don’t Know How to Talk to Christians

There are ways to persuade America’s biggest religious group, and the GOP’s base, about global warming. Talking about coral reefs won’t cut it.

Religious Christians are the key to America taking action on global warming. And yet, the way climate activists frame the issue often alienates the very people they most need to persuade.

First, the math. Seventy percent of Americans say they want the government to take action to combat global warming. But the Republican Party has, in the last two decades, gone from accommodating a wide range of perspectives on climate change to marching lock-step to the energy industry’s climate denial tune.

Most Republicans, however, don’t work for the energy industry.

Over half of Republican voters identify as conservative Christians—either evangelicals, Catholics, or others. These voters may be right-wing on social issues, right-wing on immigration, and right-wing on ‘big government.’ But they’re not necessarily right-wing on allowing the Earth’s climate to be radically disrupted—and if they move, the Republican Party will have to move too.

But according to two new studies conducted by the Yale Program for Climate Communication and published in the journal Science Communication, most religious Christians understand global warming in very different terms from others.

The first study “found that ‘protect God’s creation’ is one of the most important motivations that Christians report for wanting to mitigate global warming.” Resonant messages included “God made humans responsible for taking care of His creation”; “We can use nature for our benefit, but it is not OK to destroy God’s garden that He entrusted to us”; and the language of “stewardship” over the Earth.

And the second study found that framing the issue of global warming in moral and religious terms was crucial for Christians to care about it, because it suggested that “people like themselves” care about the issue.… —Jay Michaelson, “Climate Activists Don’t Know How to Talk to Christians,” Reader Supported News, 9/15/19


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