Daily Archives: January 6, 2017

GOP Congress, Trump Already Pushing Koch Industries’ Bill to Hobble Regulatory Agencies | DeSmogBlog

By Steve Horn • Thursday, January 5, 2017 – 12:00

One of the first orders of business for the freshly convened 115th Congress — now that it’s no longer attempting to gut an independent ethics office — is to pass a bill which could weaken the ability of federal regulatory agencies to do their jobs.

That law, the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act of 2017, has long been a legislative priority for Koch Industries, Koch-funded advocacy groups such as Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Its latest iteration, H.R. 26*, has the backing of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and 159 co-sponsors (five Democrats and 154 Republicans) and has reached full debate on the House floor.***

REINS dictates that a “major rule shall not take effect unless the Congress enacts a joint resolution of approval” and won’t become law if Congress does not pass that resolution by “70 session days or legislative days, as applicable.”

President Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) came out against the 2015 version of the REINS Act.

The OMB pointed toward the myriad existing safeguards that already ensure regulatory agency accountability, including the federal court system, the fact that many regulatory proposals actually stem from laws passed by Congress, and the requirement for robust public commenting periods.

“This radical departure from the longstanding separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branches would delay and, in many cases, thwart implementation of statutory mandates and execution of duly-enacted laws, create business uncertainty, undermine much-needed protections of the American public, and cause unnecessary confusion,” OMB wrote in July 2015.

“By replacing this well-established framework with a blanket requirement of Congressional approval, H.R. 427 would throw all major regulations into a months-long limbo, fostering uncertainty and impeding business investment that is vital to economic growth.”

..(read more)

Approaching the Anthropocene: Perspectives from the humanities and the sciences

from HUCEPRO7 months ago
A panel discussion hosted by the Environmental History Working Group focused on varying perspectives across the humanities and the sciences. Panelists included Pamela Templer, Associate Professor, Biology, Boston University; Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, Associate Professor, British History, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, University of Chicago; Sophia Roosth, Associate Professor, History of Science, Harvard University; and HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, Professor of Geology, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Director, HUCE, Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School.

Researching New Approaches to Stratospheric Solar Geoengineering

from HUCEPRO1 month ago

Publication permalink: doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1615572113
Running time: 6:37

Q&A: How Climate Change Hurts Health | Harvard Public Health Magazine | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Aaron (Ari) Bernstein, MPH ’09, has studied the health effects of climate change from many angles. As associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Chan School, he has explored the public health effects of such environmental stresses as global warming and loss of biodiversity and has shared the science with students, educators, policymakers, and the public. As a hospitalist at Boston Children’s Hospital, he has treated young patients with asthma and infections connected to environmental degradation. He spoke recently with Madeline Drexler, editor of Harvard Public Health, about the public health threats that await humanity if it fails to reverse climate change.

…(read more).

Mitigating the risk of geoengineering | Harvard Gazette

By Leah Burrows, SEAS Communications

Aerosols could cool the planet without ozone damage December 12, 2016 | Editor’s Pick Audio/Video Popularg/

The planet is warming at an unprecedented rate, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases alone is not enough to remove the risk.

Last year’s historic Paris climate agreement set the goal of keeping global temperatures no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Emission reductions will be central to achieving that goal, but supplemental efforts can further reduce risks.

One drastic idea is solar geoengineering — injecting light-reflecting sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to cool the planet. Researchers know that large amounts of aerosols can significantly cool the planet; the effect has been observed after large volcanic eruptions. But these sulfate aerosols also carry significant risks. The biggest known risk is that they produce sulfuric acid in the stratosphere, which damages ozone. Since the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet light from the sun, its depletion can lead to increased rates of skin cancer, eye damage, and other adverse consequences.

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have identified an aerosol for solar geoengineering that may be able to cool the planet while simultaneously repairing ozone damage.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In solar geoengineering research, introducing sulfuric acid into the atmosphere has been the only idea that had any serious traction until now,” said David Keith, the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at SEAS and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the first author of the paper. “This research is a turning point and an important step in analyzing and reducing certain risks of solar geoengineering.”

…(read more).

Ocean Apocalypse Now, Jeremy Jackson

UCSB Bren School

Published on Jun 2, 2014

Overfishing, pollution, and climate change are massively degrading ocean ecosystems, with alarming implications for biodiversity and human well-being. Coral reefs are dying, fisheries are collapsing, and formerly productive coastal seas are turning into anoxic dead zones dominated by jellyfish, microbes, and disease. Global climate change exacerbates these problems and is causing sea level rise that will flood the homes of a billion people by 2100. Changes are accelerating with sudden shifts to unwanted conditions that may be impossible to reverse. Saving the oceans and ourselves will require fundamental changes in the ways we live and obtain food and energy for everything we do.

Noam Chomsky in Chicago


Published on Oct 3, 2016

Presented by Haymarket Books and Lannan Foundation

MIT Institute Professor (emeritus) of linguistics and philosophy Noam Chomsky is widely regarded as one of the foremost critics of U.S. foreign policy in the world.

Haymarket Books recently reissued twelve of his classic books in new editions:

Chomsky’s recent books include the New York Times bestsellers Hegemony or Survival and Failed States, as well as Hopes and Prospects and Masters of Mankind.

Speaking at Rockefeller Chapel in Chicago, Noam Chomsky discussed persistent and largely invariant features of U.S. foreign policy — in the words of U.S. planners, “the overall framework of order” — and its intimate relationship with U.S. domestic policy.


Fact & Narrative Films

Published on Jan 14, 2015

Created as a student film project, Troubled Waters explores what has happened to our oceans because of our appetite for seafood, and looks what we can do personally to kick start a reformed fishing industry. This film was created by two students – Matthew Judge, who wrote, shot and produced the film, and Robert Drane who wrote and performed the original music used in this film.

All clips used in this film have been licensed and are used with express permission

Overfishing and the Collapse of Coastal Ecosystems


Published on May 5, 2014

In this talk, Jeremy Jackson describes studies that he and a team of scientists conducted exploring historical, human-caused changes to various marine ecosystems (kelp forests, sea grass beds, coral reefs, and estuaries). This historical analysis helps us understand ecosystems today. A highlight of the talk is the presentation of a new short film called Rediagnosing the Oceans, co-written by Jackson.

Common Hour: Ocean Apocalypse Now


Published on Nov 25, 2014

Jeremy Jackson, senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and professor of oceanography Emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, discusses how saving the oceans and ourselves will require fundamental changes in the ways we live and obtain food and energy for everything we do. Recorded Nov. 20, 2014, in Mayser Gymnasium.