Environment/Climate Change

Articles About the environment and climate change. Click the title to read the full article. 

As the threat to the planet earth continues to escalate due to climate change and other environmental concerns, activists continue to resist fossil fuel, fracking, oil pipelines, the demise of bees, just to name a few concerns. Responsible journalists are continuing to track the information about climate change.

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FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. — In a gas field here in Wyoming’s struggling energy corridor, nearly 2,000 miles from Washington, the Trump administration’s regulatory reversal is crowning an early champion.

Devon Energy, which runs the windswept site, had been prepared to install a sophisticated system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gases. It had also discussed paying a six-figure penalty to settle claims by the Obama administration that it was illegally emitting 80 tons each year of hazardous chemicals, like benzene, a known carcinogen.

MAY 20, 2017

EPA dismisses half of its scientific advisers on key board, citing 'clean break' with Obama administration: Visually Similar Results

EPA dismisses half of its scientific advisers on key board, citing ‘clean break’ with Obama administration

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke “is committed to restoring trust in the Department’s decision-making,” a spokeswoman said.

Washington Post

Article from  Washington Post  May 8, 2017

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Interactive Chart Explores World’s Top 10 Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Countries

A lot has happened since countries met in Paris in 2015 and agreed on an accord to combat climate change. So far, more than 140 countries have ratified or otherwise joined the Paris agreement, representing more than 80 percent of global emissions. Several major economies, including Canada, Germany and Mexico, have also developed long-term plans to decarbonize their economies.

By Johannes Friedrich, Mengpin Ge and Andrew Pickens  EcoWatch  April 14, 2017

Human activities are altering the jet stream, which leads to extreme weather patterns getting stuck in place

Parts of Lismore, Australia affected by floodwaters on April 2, 2017.
Parts of Lismore, Australia affected by floodwaters on April 2, 2017. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/Getty Images

Before getting into the study, a little background. The jet stream(s) are high-speed rivers of air that flow in the upper atmosphere. There’s more than one jet stream; they blow west to east and they mark the separation of zones of different temperatures. A good primer on jet streams is available here.

   The Guardian   7 April 2017


 NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory

NOAA has found that emissions from our relentless consumption of fossil fuels “have remained at historically high levels since 2011 and are the primary reason atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing at a dramatic rate, Tans said. This high growth rate of CO2 is also being observed at some 40 other sites in NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.”

The recent slew of administration attacks on protections for clean water, clean air and food and worker safety could send America back to a time of unchecked pollution. (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)Making America polluted again

The recent slew of administration attacks on protections for clean water, clean air, and food and worker safety could send America back to a time of unchecked pollution.READ MORE

By Peter Lehner | Earth Protectors  March 08, 2017

As Trial Begins, Climate Protectors Say Action Was A Necessity

1ccIs there anything people can do about climate change in the Trump era? The new American president has asserted that global warming is a fraud perpetrated by the Chinese to steal American jobs; threatened to ignore or even withdraw from the Paris climate agreement; and pledged unlimited burning of fossil fuels. Whatever the details, Trump’s agenda will escalate global warming far beyond its already catastrophic trajectory. As we learn that 2016 was the hottest year on record, it sounds like a formula for doom. On October 11 2016, with the presidential campaign still raging, five climate protectors traveled to five secluded locations in North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and Washington state and turned the shut-off valves on the five pipelines that carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada into the United States. Their action – dubbed “Shut It Down” – blocked 15% of US crude oil imports for nearly a day. -more-

By Jeremy Brecher for Common Dreams  Popular Resistance  March 13, 2017

We’ve got to use our wits, and by grace re-knit and find our way into some solidarity with one another. Facing the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced, with climate change and the threat of nuclear war, which I think is very real.   

People dare to be comfortable with uncertainty if they are in solidarity with each other.

By Dahr Jamail  Truthout | Interview  February 13, 2017  Rise Up Times February 22, 2017

“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”

Two days after the election of Donald Trump, 21 plaintiffs aged 9-20 won a court ruling that may be just as important as that election in determining our future. As the world hurtles into climate catastrophe, the decision by Judge Ann Aiken in the federal district court in Oregon sets the stage for a momentous trial of our right to a stable climate – and the constitutional obligation of the United States government to protect that right.

Now President Donald Trump has been named lead defendant in the suit. Trump has not only denied the reality of climate change, he has also defied the authority of the courts to enforce other rights of persons – witness his claim in court that his travel ban on seven majority-Muslim countries is “unreviewable.” The “climate kids’” case Juliana v. United States is shaping up to be not only a historic trial of the culpability of the U.S. government for destruction of the earth’s climate, but of the power of courts to protect our rights.

Counterpunch  February 24, 2017

The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump


The Trump administration and a Republican-held Congress appear poised to unravel the nation’s bedrock environmental laws and programs, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The ESA is one of our most effective environmental laws, proven to be vital to protecting species such as the iconic grizzly bear.

Counterpunch  February 24, 2017

US government fails to track toxic spills in nation’s waterways

According to the federal database, there were 295 chemical spills from trains into the Mississippi River in 2015 alone, or nearly one every day. That total is actually down somewhat from recent years. Although many of the reported spills were small, the database failed to list the amount spilled in 188 incidents, or more than 60 percent of the spills.

Trump Is Foolish to Ignore the Flourishing Renewable Energy Sector

President Donald Trump claims to be focused on providing “jobs for all Americans,” but — in another example of his reliance on “alternative facts” — he has emphasized the fossil-fuel sector as the likeliest site to create those jobs. He is clearly not paying attention to the recently released figures from the US Department of Energy that show soaring jobs growth in the US renewable energy sector.   Read more…

By Linda Pentz Gunter, Truthout | Op-Ed  February 5, 2017

Communicating Real Science in a time of Fake News

 Good popular science writing matters more than ever at a time when, as satirist Andy Borowitz has observed, “Earth is threatened by a new, fact-resistant strain of humans.”

As a contributor to The New Yorker’s science and technology blog Elements, I believe that there are ways to make readers fact-receptive again.  In general, people really do want to make sense of the world – to have an internally consistent framework for understanding reality.  However, for those without scientific training, media accounts of scientific findings can seem ad hoc and arcane – piecemeal progress toward answering questions they never even thought of asking.

The key to effective communication of a scientific idea is to find a balance between the Big Picture and what can seem to outsiders like baby-steps toward greater understanding.  In other words, the first task is to provide adequate context for a new or unfamiliar idea, and the second to give a substantive — but not excessively technical — account of its essential content. Strategies for both tasks include:

  1. Incorporating references to phenomena likely to be known by the audience: For example, people familiar with snow will already understand the ideas of surface albedo and its positive feedback effects on temperature, even if they don’t know the scientific terms for these.  The high reflectivity of light-colored surfaces can be conveyed by mentioning how even an overcast winter day can seem bright if snow is on the ground.

  2. Using vivid, jargon-free language that creates tangible images in the mind: Breaking out of the straitjacket of scientific prose can be difficult because we may feel we are being disloyal to our clans in using language that is not officially approved. But it is worse for those clans if we fail completely to communicate with the public.  So release your inner poet.  Let yourself call M<2 earthquakes seismic ‘whispers’ (barely detectable) and M>7 events ‘shouts’ (violent and upsetting).  It’s OK to say that stable isotopes of a certain element are different ‘flavors,’ or that over-pressured salt layers ‘squirt’ in slow motion toward the surface.

  3. Employing aptly chosen analogies: Good analogies can provide temporary frameworks for understanding that allow readers to carry basic concepts to a more sophisticated level.  For example, before talking about the behavior of parts of the Earth’s deep interior, it is essential to develop a sense of scale in the reader’s mind.  One could simply enumerate the depth ranges of Earth’s crust, mantle and core, but it would be far more effective to note that these scale quite closely in relative thickness to those of the skin, pulp and pit of a peach (and that the fuzz even approximates the height of the atmosphere).  Analogies shouldn’t be stretched beyond their natural limits however; the peach would have to be replaced with a lava lamp or boiling pot of soup to explain mantle convection.

  4. Developing a narrative line, with protagonists and a plot: Humans are storytellers, and we – scientists and non-scientists alike — are far more likely to remember events when they are connected by a narrative thread.  A recent paper has even documented that scientific articles with more attributes of narrative prose tend to get cited more frequently.  There is certainly plenty of drama to tap into in the story of Earth systems past and present.  An account of the Proterozoic ‘Great Oxidation Event,’ for example, could cast cyanobacteria as biogeochemical revolutionaries that turned the Earth red. Even more importantly, scientific narrative can be an effective tool for dismantling anti-scientific attitudes.  The geosciences in particular lend themselves to all of these approaches, which invite non-specialists to share in the creative excitement of the scientific process.

While it is easy to fall into a particularly dangerous type of metaphorical wetland – the slough of despond — in these anti-science times, the good news is that there are more venues than ever through which to reach readers and listeners in the general public: blog posts, podcasts, op-eds, online videos, TED-style talks, science cafes, call-in radio shows, library lectures, presentations to Kiwanis Clubs and religious groups and Girl Scout troops.  Together, we can build a bigger, more robust scientific ecosystem that is less vulnerable to rogue pathogens.

– Marcia Bjornerud is Professor of Geology at Lawrence University and author of Reading the Rocks:  The Autobiography of the Earth.

By Marcia Bjornerud  AGU January 5, 2017

New York Times: Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by ObamaDonald Trump’s orders to “revive” the Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline projects, whose progress had been slowed by the Obama administration, are much ado about nothing, the New York Times (1/24/17) reported: “The pipelines were more about symbol than substance but generated enormous passion on both sides of the debate,” wrote the TimesPeter Baker and Coral Davenport.


Please write to the New York Times and ask them to stop using oil industry consultants as experts on whether Donald Trump’s pro-oil industry moves will be bad for the environment.


Liz Spayd
New York Times public editor
email: public@nytimes.com
Twitter: @SpaydL

Fair  January 25, 2017

Oil Pipeline Spills 53,000 Gallons on First Nations Land

Chow writes: “An oil pipeline has leaked about 200,000 liters, or 52,834 gallons, of crude onto an aboriginal community in the oil-rich province of Saskatchewan, Canada.”

Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch   Reader Supported News  January 25, 2016

UC-Berkeley climate scientist Zeke Hausfather details the findings of a new report that confirms NOAA findings about climate change.


Published on Jan 9, 2017

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