Daily Archives: November 23, 2016

Trump gave a ‘100 percent’ guarantee that their jobs wouldn’t go to Mexico. Now, Indiana workers expect him to deliver. | Public Radio International

Mike Fugate crossed party lines to vote for Trump. He hopes the president-elect can save his Indiana job from going to Mexico.

Credit: Jason Margolia

If you were to close your eyes and imagine the stereotypical guy in the Rust Belt who got Donald Trump elected, someone like Mike Fugate might come to mind.

He’s a middle-aged white man with a blue-collar job. And he’s a big fan of Trump — but with a twist.

“I’ve been a registered Democrat my whole life, always voted Democratic,” says Fugate. “Not this time.”

I met Fugate at Sully’s Bar and Grill, an Indianapolis joint just across the way from the Carrier factory where they’ve built heating and cooling systems since the 1950s. Fugate has worked there for 25 years.

Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, , Mexico.

“They’re shafting us,” says Fugate. “I think they don’t have any concerns, it’s all about shareholders’ profit. And going to Mexico — $20 an hour to $3 an hour — that says it all right there.”

United Technologies turned down my interview request. But they did send an email highlighting the severance package being offered to workers — which includes things like extended health care for six months and education benefits for up to four years for job retraining. Carrier workers I met, say: Thanks, but I want my job. Carrier will start moving to Mexico in June 2017 and expects to complete the transfer by 2019.

…(read more).

With Trump heading to the White House, global climate activists look for hope in US cities and states

Climate activists protest outside this month’s UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech. Activists and officials are struggling to find a way forward for last year’s landmark Paris Agreement on climate change after the US presidential election.

Credit: Joussef Boudlal/Reuters

November 22, 2016 · 10:00 AM EST

By Susan Phillips

The US delegation was heading into the UN climate summit two weeks ago as rock stars to many of the attendees gathering in Marrakech, Morocco. After all, it was the US that paired up with China to push through last year’s historic Paris Agreement after decades of failure to act decisively.

Instead, though, the delegation was left at a loss for words about what’s next after the surprise election of climate change denier, Donald Trump, for US president.

“You know I just can’t speculate, I can only tell you what is right now. And, umm, and you know, that’ll be for, for the future to answer,” was pretty much all US Undersecretary of State Catherine Novelli could muster when peppered with questions at a briefing about what might happen to the overall climate fight under Trump.

The US is the world’s second biggest current carbon emitter and biggest historic emitter. It’s also the world’s biggest economy and was poised to play a major role in making the Paris Agreement work, with the goal of holding the rise in global temperatures to less than one more degree Celsius, or below 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels.

But Trump has called climate change a hoax and has promised to pull the US out of the agreement.

So is it game over for a US role in battling the climate crisis, at least for the next four years?

Not necessarily, said many people at the Marrakech conference. Even if the federal government puts on the brakes, they say momentum will continue elsewhere.

“Individual US states and major cities, these largest local governments, they have understood the severity of the climate change phenomenon,” said outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

…(read more).

Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’

A Nasa Earth photo shows the Bruckner and Heim glaciers where they flow into the Johan Petersen fjord in southeastern Greenland. Photograph: Jeremy Harbeck/AFP/Getty Images
Wednesday 23 November 2016 00.00 EST Last modified on Wednesday 23 November 2016 11.52 EST

Oliver Milman in New York
Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration

Donald Trump is poised to eliminate all climate change research conducted by Nasa as part of a crackdown on “politicized science”, his senior adviser on issues relating to the space agency has said.

Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding in favor of exploration of deep space, with the president-elect having set a goal during the campaign to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century.

2016 locked into being hottest year on record, Nasa says

Read more

This would mean the elimination of Nasa’s world-renowned research into temperature, ice, clouds and other climate phenomena. Nasa’s network of satellites provide a wealth of information on climate change, with the Earth science division’s budget set to grow to $2bn next year. By comparison, space exploration has been scaled back somewhat, with a proposed budget of $2.8bn in 2017.

Bob Walker, a senior Trump campaign adviser, said there was no need for Nasa to do what he has previously described as “politically correct environmental monitoring”.

“We see Nasa in an exploration role, in deep space research,” Walker told the Guardian. “Earth-centric science is better placed at other agencies where it is their prime mission.

“My guess is that it would be difficult to stop all ongoing Nasa programs but future programs should definitely be placed with other agencies. I believe that climate research is necessary but it has been heavily politicized, which has undermined a lot of the work that researchers have been doing. Mr Trump’s decisions will be based upon solid science, not politicized science.”

...read more)

New USDA Data Shows 85% of Foods Tested Have Pesticide Residues

Food Nov. 23, 2016 09:26AM EST

By Carey Gillam

As Americans gather with their families for Thanksgiving this week, new government data offers a potentially unappetizing assessment of the U.S. food supply—Residues of many types of bug-killing pesticides, fungicides and weed killing chemicals have been found in roughly 85 percent of thousands of foods tested.

Data released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows varying levels of pesticide residues in everything from mushrooms to potatoes and grapes to green beans. One sample of strawberries contained residues of 20 pesticides, according to the Pesticide Data Program report issued this month by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The report is the 25th annual such compilation of residue data for the agency, and covered sampling the USDA did in 2015.

Notably, the agency said only 15 percent of the 10,187 samples tested were free from any detectable pesticide residues. That’s a marked difference from 2014, when the USDA found that more than 41 percent of samples were “clean” or showed no detectable pesticide residues. Prior years also showed roughly 40-50 percent of samples as free of detectable residues, according to USDA data. The USDA said it is not “statistically valid” to compare one year to others, however, because the mix of food sampled changes each year. Still the data shows that 2015 was similar to the years prior in that fresh and processed fruits and vegetables made up the bulk of the foods tested.

Though it might sound distasteful, the pesticide residues are nothing for people to worry about, according to the USDA. The agency said “residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose risk to consumers’ health and are safe …”

(read more)


This Photographer Has Amassed the World’s Largest Collection of Climate Change Images


Climate Nov. 22, 2016 12:46PM EST

His work can be viewed on Global Warming Images as well as his new 416-page photo book, Images From a Warming Planet, featuring 500 of his best images. A selection of photos is also on display at the Archive Gallery at the Heaton Cooper Studio in the UK. The exhibition will run until the end of the year.

“[Climate change is] quite simply, the greatest threat that humanity has ever faced,” the UK-based artist told EcoWatch. “It has the potential to essentially wipe 80 percent of humans off the planet, and most of the biodiversity we depend on.”

“I hope that the book will act as a wake up call to show folks the devastating impacts that climate change is already having at one degree of warming and motivate action so that we stand some chance of avoiding the worst excesses of climate change,” he said.

In 2010, Cooper won the prestigious, world-wide Environmental Photographer of the Year award in the climate change category. His website, Global Warming Images, is sponsored by WWF International and he regularly works with the Met Office and United Nations Climate Change Program.

The self-taught photographer has captured climate change’s impact on people, places and wildlife around the world, including the Middle East refugee crisis that has been exacerbated by drought, Canada’s destructive tar sands in northern Alberta and a polar bear that starved to death due to sea ice melt on the Arctic island of Svalbard.

On a more positive note, Cooper has photographed renewable energy projects such as green buildings and environmental pioneers such as the founder of an ashram in India that’s 100 percent powered by renewables.

“You have to remain optimistic otherwise there’s no point continuing. This is an issue about which every one of us can do something to make a difference. We all have a carbon footprint; we are all responsible,” Cooper said.

Environmentalist Jonathon Porritt, the co-founder of the sustainability nonprofit Forum for the Future, provided a forward for the photo book and describes Cooper’s work as a call to action.

…(read more).

Did Trump Just Change His Mind on Climate Change?

Trump Watch Nov. 23, 2016 09:01AM EST

During an on-the-record meeting with editors and reporters at the New York Times, Donald Trump said he has an “an open mind” with regards to climate change science and policies.

“It’s one issue that’s interesting because there are few things where there’s more division than climate change,” he told the assembled staff. While Trump said he believed “there is some connectivity” between human activity and climate change, he also claimed “a lot of smart people disagree” with the idea, mentioning that “the hottest day ever was in 1890-something.” (2016 is currently on track to be the hottest year ever recorded).

“Talk is cheap, and no one should believe Donald Trump means this until he acts upon it,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said.

“We’re waiting for action, and Trump is kidding nobody on climate as he simultaneously stacks his transition team and cabinet with climate science deniers and the dirtiest hacks the fossil fuel industry can offer. Prove it, President-elect. The world is watching.”

…(read more).

Maps will clarify immediately for many Americans what is in store…

Maps often have a more immediate impact on helping people situate themselves than do other forms of communication.  For this reason maps about forthcoming conditions that can be expected in a climate-changed world are particularly compelling.

The New York Times, for example, has recently published some important maps for urban residents in coastal cities in an article with the title:

The maps were compelling for anyone living in coastal cities.

…(read more).

Climate Change in Trump’s Age of Ignorance – The New York Times

Richard Baker/Getty Images

By ROBERT N. PROCTOR    NOV. 19, 2016

Stanford, Calif. — THE good news got pretty much drowned out this month: Yes, 2016 is on track to become the hottest year on record, but thankfully also the third year in a row to see relatively flat growth in global greenhouse gas emissions. With global economic growth on the order of 3 percent a year, we may well have turned a corner toward a sustainable climate economy.

The bad news, of course, is that the world’s wealthiest nation, home to many of the scholars scrambling to reverse global warming, has elected a new president with little or no interest in the topic. Or an active disinterest. Donald J. Trump is surrounding himself with advisers who are likely to do little to challenge his notion of climate change as a Chinese hoax. People like to think of us as living in an age of information, but a better descriptor might be “the age of ignorance.”

How did we get into this predicament? Why are we about to inaugurate the most anti-science administration in American history?

As a graduate student at Harvard in the 1970s and early 1980s, I was astonished to find how little concern there was for the beliefs of ordinary Americans. I was in the history of science department, where all the talk was of Einstein and Darwin and Newton, with the occasional glance at the “reception” of such ideas in the larger literate populace.

I had grown up in a small town in Texas, and later in Kansas City, where the people I knew often talked about nature and God’s glory and corruption and the good life. At Harvard, though, I was puzzled that my professors seemed to have little interest in people outside the vanguard, the kinds of people I had come from, many of whom were fundamentalist Christians, people of solid faith but often in desperate conditions. Why was there so little interest in what they thought or believed? That’s Point 1.

Point 2: Early in my career as a historian, I was further bothered by how little attention was given to science as an instrument of popular deception. We like to think of science as the opposite of ignorance, the light that washes away the darkness, but there’s much more to that story.

Here my Harvard years were more illuminating. I got into a crowd of appropriately radicalized students, and started to better understand the place of science in the arc of human history. I learned about how science has not always been the saving grace we like to imagine; science gives rise as easily to nuclear bombs and bioweapons as to penicillin and the iPad. I taught for several years in the biology department, where I learned that cigarette makers had been giving millions of dollars to Harvard and other elite institutions to curry favor.

I also started understanding how science could be used as an instrument of deception — and to create or perpetuate ignorance. That is important, because while scholars were ignoring what Karl Marx dismissively called “the idiocy of rural life” (Point 1), tobacco and soft drink and oil companies facing taxation and regulation were busily disseminating mythologies about their products, to keep potential regulators at bay (Point 2).

…(read more).

See also:

What Trump’s Climate Legacy Could Look Like – The New York Times

Boston in 2016

Boston in the foreseeable future with 6-to-7 foot sea level rise.


See Related Article

Donald J. Trump has said he plans to reverse major domestic climate policies and withdraw from the Paris climate agreement reached last year. What his administration does could redraw the planet’s map.

These maps show areas in 2100 that could be permanently submerged or flooded during the highest of tides, under three scenarios of sea level rise:

Two-foot rise This scenario assumes there are aggressive cuts to greenhouse gas emissions beyond the pledges made in the Paris climate agreement. In the cities shown, the sea level rise would range from 1.8 feet to 2.4 feet, depending on local factors.

Three-foot rise This assumes greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, and that Antarctic melting occurs at a slow rate. Sea level rise would vary from 2.8 feet to 3.4 feet in the cities shown.

Six- to seven-foot rise This also assumes that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, but that Antarctic melting occurs rapidly.

Until recently, scientists predicted that the global sea level could rise almost three feet by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. New research suggests faster-than-expected Antarctic melting under this scenario, threatening a rise of nearly six feet — and many feet more after 2100.

But making deep cuts in global emissions could still keep sea level rise below two feet in this century. This is the difference between a difficult but manageable problem and worldwide catastrophe, affecting land where hundreds of millions live today. In the United States, the greatest threat is to South Florida, home to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

…(read more).

Electricity Market Trends

from DigiNovations