Daily Archives: January 22, 2017

Millions Across the Planet Unite to Rebuke Donald Trump | Alternet


Millions Across the Planet Unite to Rebuke Donald Trump


The Women’s March on Washington

The Women’s March on Washington – the event that spawned so many others – was massive, surpassing organizers’ expectations and drawing an estimated half-million people. It felt as if the march had taken over the entire city, with protesters visible in nearly every section of town. The Washington, D.C. metro authority confirmed that fewer trips were taken on inauguration day than Saturday, and photo evidence offers documentary proof that protest crowds far exceeded inauguration attendees. It is a testament to the peaceful tone of the protest that there were no arrests.

Even Antarctica showed up. Linda Zunas, a researcher, working on the continent, organized the gathering in response to Trump’s abysmal environmental stance. “I spent a month after the election mourning the impending damage to the earth that will be done,” Zumas told the Independent. “I felt like I needed to do something to be part of the global movement.”

As protesters around the world rallied against his presidency, Trump and his team were out spreading misinformation and lies in a desperate attempt to rewrite the narrative. During a speech at CIA headquarters, Trump claimed that the sparsely attended inauguration event had attracted a million attendees, a lie that was easily disproven through photos. In an address that was light on national security issues and heavy on jabs at the media, Trump did little to reassure the intelligence community.

(read more).

Trump’s Interior Nominee Ryan Zinke Doubles Down on Coal | Alternet

He emphasized Trump’s commitment to fossil fuels while disregarding renewables and the need for climate change action.

By Bobby Magill / Climate Central
January 18, 2017

During his confirmation hearing Tuesday, Interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke emphasized the incoming Trump administration’s vow to recommit America to fossil fuels development while disregarding renewables and the need to act on climate change.

Zinke said climate change is not the hoax Trump has said it is, but he falsely claimed the science around it is uncertain, and said that federal energy policy, which determines how the Interior Department manages energy and public land, should heavily favor coal.

If confirmed, Zinke, a second-term congressman from Montana and former Navy SEAL, would oversee all the nation’s national parks and more than 500 million acres of federal public lands, mostly in the West. He would be responsible for all the coal mining, fracking and oil drilling on public lands and waters off of all U.S. coastlines, and for permitting all new offshore wind power development.

Trump vowed during his campaign to breathe new life into America’s coal industry, which he said has been hit too hard by environmental and climate regulations. In reality, coal is in decline mainly because of cheap natural gas, which electric power companies are beginning to use more than coal to generate electricity.

“The war on coal, I believe, is real,” Zinke said. “All-of-the-above is the correct (energy) policy. Coal is a great part of that energy mix. I’m also a great believer that we should invest in research and development on coal — because we know we have the asset — to make it cleaner and better. We should lead the world in clean energy technology.”

Coal is the world’s largest single source of carbon pollution driving climate change. To make it “clean,” all the carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants would have to be captured and stored permanently, preventing it from ever reaching the atmosphere. That technology is in its infancy, and it is unnecessary if other energy sources such as wind, solar and natural gas are used to generate electricity.

But given Zinke’s statements Tuesday, renewables seem likely to be shunted aside for more fossil fuels. Zinke said he’d revisit the Obama administration policy closing most of the Arctic Ocean off the north coast of Alaska to oil drilling. He said he’d also reexamine an Obama moratorium on coal development on federal lands, which was put in place a year ago while the government studies the climate impacts of coal development.

Throughout the hearing, Zinke questioned the science showing that climate change is driven by burning fossil fuels, that it could bring about water scarcity, influence the spread of catastrophic wildfire, and melt glaciers in the national parks he would oversee.

“The climate is changing,” Zinke said, adding that he believes that because he watched Glacier National Park’s Grinnell Glacier melt while he ate lunch there one day. “Man has had an influence. That is undisputable as well. Where there is debate is what that influence is and what we can do about it.”

Blackfoot Glacier and Jackson Glacier in 1914 and 2009. They used to be joined as a single glacier but are now split in two because global warming has melted the ice away. Credit: E.C. Stebinger/Glacier National Park (left). Lisa McKeon/U.S. Geological Survey (right).

He said the U.S. Geological Survey, a scientific agency in the Interior Department, should do “objective” climate science to help clear up the debate.

…(read more).

Obama’s Top Scientist Explains the Climate Challenge Ahead | Alternet

Physicist John Holdren says there’s reason for optimism, even in these dark times.

By Elizabeth Kolbert / Yale Environment 360
January 16, 2017

John Holdren is the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history. He’s also probably one of the most influential, having advised President Obama on key energy issues for the last eight years. “Mr. Holdren has this president’s ear,” is how The New York Times put it in 2014.

A physicist by training, Holdren is among the chief architects of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan.

This makes him one of the more controversial science advisers, as well. The plan has been lauded by environmentalists, but is loathed by conservative politicians, some of whom have filed suit against it. The future of the plan, which rests almost entirely on executive authority, is now very much in doubt.

Holdren spoke to Yale Environment 360 about the difference between “dangerous” and “catastrophic” warming, the incoming Trump administration, and how to talk to people who deny the existence of climate change. “Part of the reason that I retain some optimism about the future is that there are these fundamental forces pushing us toward doing the right thing,” he said.

…(read more).