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Why This Matters: Each of these actions alone would represent a significant setback, but when combined these policies reverse years of progress by prior administrations on taking action to confront the climate crisis. Each one will require time and resources to return to where the U.S. would have been but for the Trump Administration’s climate denial. The Secretary of Agriculture is just the latest to make dubious remarks – in an interview with CNN he dismissed the climate crisis as just “weather patterns.” This administration just does not stop making it worse. And the President continues to mislead about the state of our country’s environment. In his campaign kickoff rally a week ago, the Presdent said, “We have among the cleanest and sharpest — crystal clean, you’ve heard me say it, I want it crystal clean — air and water anywhere on Earth.” He repeated this claim in an interview with Sean Hannity, excerpted by The Washington Post above. As The New York Times pointed out afterward, in 2018 the US ranked 27th out of 180 countries in an environmental performance review, compiled by Yale and Columbia University researchers in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
Department of Agriculture Is Latest Climate Denying Agency. Secretary Sonny Purdue’s remarks are hard to believe. He reportedly said to CNN:
“It rained yesterday, it’s a nice pretty day today. So the climate does change in short increments and in long increments.”
“I think the president feels that I do, he’s a golfer, so sometimes he knows he gets rained out and sometimes it doesn’t, but the long-term consequences, I don’t know.”
According to Politico, the studies that the Department of Agriculture has made sure do not get seen by the public include “a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people worldwide whose diet consists mostly of rice” and a “finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.” None of the studies focused on the causes of climate change, but instead on the wide-ranging impacts it will have on agriculture.
As for the NEPA proposal, environmental groups are very concerned because the guidance would no longer require federal agencies to “weigh the effects of various alternatives in NEPA in a monetary cost-benefit analysis using any monetized Social Cost of Carbon … or other similar cost metrics.”
A tree surgeon protesting inaction on climate change by the British government on Friday climbed the scaffolding surrounding Big Ben in a costume dressed as Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and unfurled a rainbow flag that read “No Pride on a dead planet.” He has a point there. The climate activist group the Extinction Rebellion […]
A new stadium is a major economic boon and a huge financial commitment for the cities and sports teams that build them — and as a result, increasingly climate change impacts on these facilities are being taken into account in the building process. The Washington Post reported last week that if sea levels were to rise 5 or 6 feet, numerous arenas and sports facilities in the United States would likely experience flooding including “TD Garden in Boston, Citi Field in New York, MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Petco Park in San Diego, Del Mar Racetrack in California, and Oracle Park in San Francisco” with huge economic consequences.
Why This Matters: Because stadiums and arenas are so expensive and so iconic — think Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium — the builders have to confront today the question of climate impacts such as sea-level rise and extreme heat projected well into the future.