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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.”
Yesterday, Amazon’s Chief Executive Officer/world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, announced a $10 billion pledge to fund scientists, activists, nonprofits and other groups fighting to protect the environment and counter the effects of climate change. The initiative is called the Bezos Earth Fund and will begin giving out grants this summer. Bezos said in an Instagram […]
Late last month, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, acting on a recommendation by a university-wide Task Force, announced a bold new initiative — it will form a new cross-disciplinary “Climate School” to address “the long-term climate issues that will be with future generations, and will also act swiftly given the short timeframe with which the world must act.”
Why This Matters: There is nothing else like this proposed school in the U.S. and certainly not at an institution as prominent as Columbia.
Cement accounts for 8% of the annual emissions of carbon dioxide globally and reducing the carbon emissions from the process of making it has been a tough nut to crack, The Wall Street Journal reports. But now climate-conscious entrepreneurs are working to develop three new construction materials that could replace cement (read more about them […]