The Tune Inn bar in Washington, DC. (Credit: Bill Walsh/flickr)

Peter Dykstra: A Congressman goes into a bar ...

And other curiosities from the past week

Two news items this week illustrate the sometimes-maddening struggle for environmental progress.


On Tuesday, the U. S. Energy Information Administration reported that domestic coal consumption has dropped to its lowest level since 1979.

Huzzah! That'll take a bite out of the world's carbon crimes.

Or not.

On Wednesday, Stanford's Global Carbon Project reported that worldwide carbon emissions will rise in 2018 for the second consecutive year. This increases the likelihood that the strict limits of global temperature rise called for by climate experts will be farther out of reach.

Sliming a distinguished member of Congress—and an equally distinguished DC dive bar

Beset on all sides by more than a dozen potential ethics violations, at least one of which is reportedly a criminal violation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Eagle Scout Emeritus, has struck back.

With the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives next month, Congressman Raul Grijalva will likely Chair the House Natural Resources Committee. He has promised to make Zinke's life unpleasant, and called for his resignation in a USA Today op-ed.

Zinke would have none of it. He took to Twitter, criticizing not just Grijalva's drinking habits, but his drinking habitat.

The Interior Secretary, whose expertise in habitats would normally be respected, took a swipe at the Tune Inn, a Capitol Hill dive bar located a few blocks from the Capitol and Grijalva's office in the Longworth Building.

My, what a political tin ear. The Tune Inn is a revered, dusty dump of a place where hunting trophies festoon the walls and Patsy Cline rules the jukebox.

Its bipartisan barflies down PBR's and legendary double cheeseburgers.

Don't ask me how I know all this, but there were times during my 12 years in Washington when the Tune Inn was the only place that made the slightest bit of sense in the whole city. I look fondly on my time there, but I'm never going back. I mean, to live. If I'm visiting, I'll definitely stop at the Tune Inn.

A final word about George H.W. Bush 

Former President George H.W. Bush at Joint Base Andrews. (Credit: US Navy)

Much has been said about the passing of George H. W. Bush, so I'll be brief. He fit the now-obsolete definition of a Republican environmentalist.

We're 22 months into the Trump presidency, and Bloomberg News recently compared Trump's enthusiasm for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to that of every other recent President. From inauguration to the midterm elections, Trump's team proposed only 15 species for ESA protection. But the Reagan Administration proposed adding only 12 over the same time period. President George H.W. Bush proposed 70; his son, 22. Among the Democrats, only Bill Clinton proposed more than Papa Bush, 166. Jimmy Carter had 61, and Barack Obama 56.

Bush also attended the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He signed what some environmentalists considered a watered-down climate agreement. But that's a far cry from today's denial-driven Republicans.

And one more non-environmental word about Bush 41. I'm in a wheelchair. Bush championed and signed the American with Disabilities Act. It's a law I benefit from every day. Thanks.

www.vox.com

Most Democrats and Republicans think the government should make climate change a priority

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ADSE's Young Researchers Conference 2021

The Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE) is hosting its 9th Young Researcher Conference from January 28-30th, 2021. Read more about the conference and how to register here.

Biden may cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit as soon as his first day in office

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
insideclimatenews.org

Global efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate are lagging as much as efforts to slow emissions

A new UN report highlights how an adaptation gap hurts the most vulnerable countries and urges increased financing and cost-effective, nature-based preparations.

www.abc.net.au

Climate change pushed ocean temperatures to record high in 2020, study finds

Climate change saw the world's oceans absorb 20 zettajoules of heat in 2020, driving seas to record temperatures and setting the scene for decades of savage weather and environmental devastation.
e360.yale.edu

More than 400,000 US clean energy jobs have been lost so far during the pandemic

The clean energy sector in the United States lost 429,000 jobs last year due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, with the industry hitting its lowest number of workers since 2015, according to a new analysis of federal unemployment filings.

www.wesa.fm

Philadelphia aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

Sounding optimistic after four years of battling climate change with little help from the federal government under the Trump administration, Mayor Jim Kenney said Friday that Philadelphia will aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

stateimpact.npr.org

Harrisburg resident’s charges dismissed in alleged Mariner East ‘buy-a-badge’ scheme

A judge has dismissed all charges against Harrisburg resident James Murphy, a security firm employee who had been charged in connection with an alleged bribery scheme related to Mariner East pipeline construction in Chester County.