Other News

In 1991, Shell produced a public documentary on global warming called Climate of Concern. It warned that trends in global temperatures raised serious risks of famines, floods and climate refugees. But in the quarter century since, Shell has continued to invest heavily in fossil fuels…

The Washington Post reports on how the Colorado River is being impacted by Climate Change. One study suggests that the river flow may decline as much as 35% by end of the century. The full article can be found at www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/02/27/climate-change-is-already-reducing-flows-in-the-colorado-river-scientists-report/?utm_term=.93047f03529f

For a snippit of the article, click on the Read More

Article from www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/28/while-our-attention-is-elsewhere-climate-change-worsens/

Donald Trump’s presidency has gotten so much attention that the latest threats to climate stability have received only passing notice. To be sure, Trump’s belief that climate change is a Chinese “hoax,” and his appointment of climate change deniers to head major agencies, have been widely publicized. Even so, the news of actual events—hurricanes, floods, drought, sharp temperature changes, and other distortions in weather patterns in the US and around the world—typically are being crowded out by Trump’s tantrums, fake news, and conflicts of interest.

For the strong of heart, here are some important developments affecting climate change over the past several months that you may have missed:

There is an excellent article on how the Red States are reacting to Climate Change - below is the link and a brief snippit from the article.

www.observer.com/2017/02/red-state-rural-america-climate-change-agriculture-drought-flooding/

Texas Senator John Cornyn Introduces Bills to Gut Endangered Species Act

Legislation Would Delay Species Protection, Burden Federal Wildlife Agencies, Increase Extinction Risk for America's Wildlife

WASHINGTON— Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced two bills today to substantially weaken protections for endangered species. The “Endangered Species Act Settlement Reform Act” (S. 375) would make it harder for citizens to ensure species are considered for protection in a timely fashion. The bill would give local governments, Big Oil, Big Agriculture and other industries the right to veto settlement agreements requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make decisions about the protection of endangered species.

 


Source: Moms clean air Force www.momscleanairforce.org

EPA Nominee and His Path of Destruction Confirmed by Senate

BY ON February 17, 2017

It breaks my heart to tell you that the dangerous and cynical nomination of Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt went to a Senate vote this afternoon—and he was confirmed.

But we made a huge dent in his support—because so many of you spoke truth to the politicians who work for you. What’s sad is that so many of those politicians have lost their moral compasses. We have put them on notice, though. We will not stand by and watch the dismantling of one of America’s crown jewels: the Clean Air Act.

 Make no mistake: Scott Pruitt and many of his pollution cronies are bent on a path of destruction, one that is being sold to the people under a cover of lies and disinformation. What we will see, as he pushes his agenda, will not be a reasonable, conservative approach to making rules. We will see a profound, strategic dismantling of our health protections.

 Contrary to what we will be told, scientists have established that humans are causing the destabilization of a beautiful climate in which human civilization has thrived for tens of thousands of years. That means we can do something about climate pollution—but only if we have the will. Pruitt will stop the efforts that have begun.

 Contrary to what we will be told, mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is especially harmful to the brains of unborn babies. But Pruitt is suing to keep mercury “scrubbers” off coal plant smokestacks.

Contrary to what we will be told, regulations have not bankrupted companies and disrupted jobs. In truth, the opposite has happened—an entirely new industry in clean energy is being born. What’s stopped coal is natural gas, as energy executives—and most coal miners—know.  But Pruitt will do everything he can to cripple the growth of renewables, on behalf of greedy oil and gas and chemical companies, who seem not to care about the chaotic and dangerous world their children will inherit.

 We will pay a huge price for years of inaction on global warming. If clean air rules are rolled back, as this administration intends, our health, and our children’s health, will immediately suffer.

 We lost this battle. But it was a necessary and worthy fight. We have put polluters and their henchmen on notice. We will be watching as an ill wind begins to waft out of EPA. We will be watching as health protections are eroded across the country—as they were under Pruitt’s watch in Oklahoma, where asthma rates and mercury contamination and the numbers of earthquakes, from fracking, are skyrocketing.

 We will be watching and we will keep fighting. We will have to learn resilience. We will have to learn persistence. We will have to learn to detect lies and evasions.

 Scott Pruitt has never—not once in his career—done a constructive thing to protect the safety of our children. He is not a builder. Pruitt—and this administration—have an agenda of destruction.

 We are not going to make it easy for them to move forward. This is a vow I have made for my grandchild—to whom I want to be able to say, I did everything I could to fight evil, cynical, hell-bent politicians and polluters who were willing to give up our future well-being for a few more petrodollars.

 This is a shameful moment in our history.

 But we refuse to be silent about it.

 Thank you for all your hard work. You made phone calls, wrote letters, visited senators and spoke at town halls. You did everything you could—and we will ask you to do all of these things, and more, over again many times in the next few years, I’m sure of it. Sad that we should have to fight to be able to keep our air and water clean. And crazy.

 The agenda of Pruitt’s EPA —and the agenda of every single senator who voted to support him—is built on lies. It is immoral. Every vote to confirm him was an act of cowardice. That, at least, is now clear.

Monarch Butterfly Population Drops by Nearly One-third

Iconic Butterfly Has Declined by More Than 80 Percent in Recent Decades

WASHINGTON— The annual overwintering count of monarch butterflies released today confirms butterfly numbers fell by nearly one-third from last year’s count, indicating an ongoing risk of extinction for America’s most well-known butterfly. Scientists report that this year’s population is down by 27 percent from last year’s count, and down by more than 80 percent from the mid-1990s. This year’s drastic decline is attributed in part to more extreme winter storms that killed millions of monarchs last March in Mexico’s mountain forests, where 99 percent of the world’s monarchs migrate for the winter.

“The monarch butterfly is still in really big trouble and still needs really big help if we’re going to save this beloved orange-and-black wonder for future generations,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that there is a substantial probability that monarch butterflies east of the Rockies could decline to such low levels that they face extinction. Researchers estimate the probability that the monarch migration could collapse within the next 20 years is between 11 percent and 57 percent.

“In addition to threats from more frequent and harsher weather events, monarchs are still severely jeopardized by the ever-increasing pesticides used with genetically-engineered crops, destroying their habitat,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure monarchs have a future.”

The butterfly’s dramatic decline has been driven in large part by the widespread planting of genetically engineered crops. The vast majority of U.S. corn and soybeans are genetically engineered for resistance to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, a potent killer of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s only food. The dramatic surge in the use of Roundup and other herbicides with the same active ingredient (glyphosate) on Roundup Ready crops has virtually wiped out milkweed plants in the Midwest’s corn and soybean fields.

In the past 20 years, scientists estimate, these once-common, iconic orange-and-black butterflies may have lost more than 165 million acres of habitat — an area about the size of Texas — including nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds. Logging on the monarch’s Mexican wintering grounds is also an ongoing concern. Scientists have also identified threats to the monarch during the fall migration including lack of nectaring habitat and insecticides. 

Background
Found throughout the United States during summer months, most monarchs from east of the Rockies winter in the mountains of central Mexico, where they form tight clusters on trees. Scientists from World Wildlife Fund Mexico estimate the population size by counting the number of hectares of trees covered by monarchs. Monarchs need a very large population size to be resilient to threats from severe weather events, pesticides, climate change, disease and predation. A single winter storm in 2002 killed an estimated 500 million monarchs, roughly five times the size of the current population.

Concerns over the extinction risk of the monarch led the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, the Xerces Society and renowned monarch scientist Dr. Lincoln Brower to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014 to protect the butterfly as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Service is now conducting a review of its status and must decide on protection by 2019. In Canada, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife has recommended that the Canadian government list the monarch as an endangered species. Monarch butterfly migration is now recognized as a “threatened process” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.