Balloon bans to follow plastic bags and straws?

Balloon bans to follow plastic bags and straws?

If 2018 was the year of the plastic straw ban then 2019 might shape out to be the year of balloon bans in coastal areas. Before you rush to judgment and say to yourself “these bans are going too far” just consider the fact that balloons filled with helium which are released into the air […]

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Celestial events not to miss in 2019

Celestial events not to miss in 2019


While the new year just began, Mother Nature already has an entire year’s worth of celestial events to behold. The first major event will be a Super Blood Wolf Moon (say that 3X fast) which will occur on January 20th at 11 PM as the full lunar eclipse will begin around 11:41 PM.

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California looks to more distributed solar

California looks to more distributed solar

We wrote recently that after the massively destructive wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018, the state’s largest electric utility, PG&E, was facing criticisms that large utilities have become an obsolete way to provide power to people in a state prone to wildfires. The argument is that PG&E is incapable of managing risk and its response […]

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Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Government shutdown negatively impacting weather forecasts

Among the most consequential impacts of the government shutdown are the strain and diminution of capacity to the National Weather Service (NWS) operations, upon which all public and private daily weather forecasts are based. 

Why This Matters: One-third of the U.S. economy is impacted by the weather.  Indeed, as The Post points out, that means many sectors such as transportation, energy, national security, agriculture, the stock market, not to mention forecasts of extreme weather — are now operating on less than the highly accurate forecasts they usually can rely upon. And imagine if we have a “billion dollar” storm such as a “snowmaggedon” while the shutdown drags on, with lives and profits at risk, which seems increasingly probable as we are now squarely in winter snow season.  Offices like the one that Saha works in are down to skeleton staff — only one or two rather than dozens.  This weather forecasting degradation is much riskier to the general public than any risk we face from the lack of a feckless border wall segment.  

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Greenhouse gas emissions increasing again for the first time in nearly a decade

Greenhouse gas emissions increasing again for the first time in nearly a decade

Toxic carbon dioxide emissions (that are an important contributor to global warming)  increased by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of declines, according to a new report based on government statistics released today, demonstrating that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction on cleaning up air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Why This Matters:  The Washington Post reported that the study’s authors concluded that we are now experiencing the impacts of the Trump Administration’s regulatory rollbacks of the clean power plan, the clean car rule, and dozens of other rules designed to protect health and reduce air emissions that cause global warming.  And recall that these impacts are not harmless — according to a study by Harvard scientists published last summer in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Trump administration‘s changes to air pollution policies will result in an extra 80,000 deaths per decade.  And we no longer are leading the world on battling climate change, despite the best efforts of states, cities, corporations and individuals.  This should give greater impetus to the Green New Deal proposals likely to emerge from the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives.  

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Toyota goes “pedal to the metal” on electric vehicle plans

Toyota goes “pedal to the metal” on electric vehicle plans

Toyota Motor Corporation announced last month that it intends to speed its development and introduction of additional electric vehicles (hybrids, battery electric models and fuel-cell electric), with a goal of having every Toyota and Lexus model include an “electrified” option by 2025. 

Why This Matters:  As we pointed out in another ODP story today, vehicle emissions are rising in the U.S. again — which is very bad news.  This announcement by Toyota shows that even though the Trump Administration is rolling back the clean car standards, the auto industry is going to move in the right direction.  Increasingly, U.S. consumers want to wean themselves off conventional gasoline cars and the market will reflect that.  What is needed is a full suite of electric options — more electric vehicles of all types, sizes, configurations and prices — and more companies like Toyota, Tesla and Volvo that are moving rapidly in that direction.  The future is most definitely electric.

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