A new study in the journal Nature Geoscience found that warm ocean water is melting Antarctica’s ice sheets from below, contributing to sea level rise. Most of the observed melting is in West Antarctica, where more than 20 percent of the ice sheet has retreated across the sea floor. The study cited satellite data that show more than 10 percent of the continent’s glaciers are in retreat—as opposed to less than 2 percent of glaciers that are growing. If all of Antarctica’s ice melted, worldwide sea levels would rise by about 200 feet.
The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will radically weaken fuel efficiency and emissions standards on U.S. automobiles, setting up a clash with states that impose tougher regulations in a bid to curb catastrophic climate change. Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s changes will roll back Obama-era rules meant to limit greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, including a requirement that U.S. cars average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. Pruitt has also signaled that he’ll try to force California and other states to comply with the weakened emissions standards. This comes as Pruitt is increasingly under fire over reports he paid just $50 a night to live in a Capitol Hill condo linked to a prominent Washington lobbyist whose firm represents a roster of fossil fuel companies.
Smog from a vehicle engine. (Simone Ramella/Flickr)
April 03, 2018
Alison Bruzek, Suzie Tapson, Meghna Chakrabarti
On Monday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a rollback of the fuel efficiency and car emissions standards put in place by the Obama administration. Under Obama, the EPA had said cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. would need to average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.
Attorney General Maura Healey issued a statement in response saying, “Since the public can no longer depend on the EPA to protect their interests, we are working with our state partners to defend the rule.”
Gina McCarthy, former EPA administrator under President Obama, director of Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, and adviser at Pegasus Capital Advisors.
John German, senior fellow and regional co-lead at the International Council on Clean Transportation, which tweets @theicct.
A TV news broadcaster stands in the middle of Jericho Road at Cedar Point in Scituate while waves crash on the seawall at high tide during the nor’easter on March 2. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Gov. Charlie Baker chose to announce a new climate resiliency initiative in Scituate, beneath a lighthouse, in a spot that just two weeks ago was flooded in a nor’easter that combined with one of the highest tides on record.
But Baker’s message Thursday was intended for the entire state:
The simple truth of the matter is we have 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, and they all need a vulnerability plan, and they all need a hazard mitigation plan, and they all need the support of the commonwealth … to do the work that’s associated with delivering on that set of initiatives.
On Thursday Baker submitted to the Legislature a $1.4 billion bond bill — which would authorize the governor to spend the money at a future date — with $300 million slated “for critical infrastructure and the prevention, adaptation and mitigation of climate change,” according to a letter Baker submitted with the bill.
Climate resilience is just one element of the bond bill. Also included is $580 million for “deferred maintenance and recreational resource stewardship,” according to the letter, and $290 million for investments at the community level.
The new initiative piggybacks on an executive order the governor signed in 2016, creating a climate change commission to begin the process of evaluating the state’s resiliency needs. That effort has drawn participating from roughly 70 cities and towns across the state, and now the administration hopes the rest will join forces.
The Aquarium MBTA station was closed due to flooding, and the aquarium itself, nearby on Boston’s Central Wharf, was closed out of caution for its visitors.
The early March nor’easter and near-record high tides pushed floodwaters into the state’s low-lying coastal areas — in Boston, and in places like Quincy and Scituate — raising questions about the region’s climate preparedness, and offering a vivid glimpse of the havoc higher sea levels and more severe storms are likely to bring.
Meanwhile, inside the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) itself, climate change is a central aspect of the programming. In recent years, the aquarium has increased its focus on climate change education, using research-tested language to speak directly about the issue. And it urges visitors to take up the cause of emissions reductions.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
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