Weekend Reader for January 7

This week, the Trump Administration reprised a Reagan-Era blunder.

In the early 1980's President Reagan and Interior Secretary James G. Watt proposed opening up virtually the entire U.S. coastline -- Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans -- to offshore oil exploration. Problem was, the oil industry had virtually no interest in entering most of the areas proposed.


Current oil and gas prices are extremely low. Offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling is inherently more expensive than land-based drilling. Oil prices would have to once again shoot through the roof if there were any expectation that the oil industry actually wants the gift that it's being offered. The New York Times has the national view, while the Tampa Bay Times reports on how Florida's Republican governor is set to battle the White House on offshore drilling.

Top Weekend News

From Lisa Friedman of the New York Times: Expect environmental battles to intensify in 2018.

From the AP's Seth Borenstein: Ocean oxygen levels are taking a plunge. A new study also shows a dramatic increase in coral bleaching.

With a metro area of thirty million, Jakarta is one of the world's largest cities. They're contemplating a future underwater.

You may not have heard of Paul Nyden. The pioneering environmental journalist died this week at age 72. Nyden was among the first to report on mountaintop removal, the then-new coal mining method that lived up to its own name, blasting the tops of mountains to bits to remove the coal seams below, with the resulting waste rock dumped into valleys and streams below. Nyden stood up to the dominant coal industry as a reporter for the Charleston (WV) Gazette, mentoring other fearless reporters like Ken Ward, Jr., who had the difficult task of writing Nyden's obituary .

This Week in Trump

The Interior Department is axing regulations that don't comport with a Trump World view: Conservation and climate change need no longer be considered in many agency decisions.

Over at EPA, they're moving quickly to write new climate change rules that could wipe out any last vestige of Obama's climate policy.

While you were away..... Good rundown from Outside Magazine on Trump Administration rollbacks over the holidays.

The Interior Department also ended a decades-long standoff over building a road through wilderness on the Alaska Peninsula.

Opinions and Editorials

Michael Mann is a deeply respected climate scientist, at least among those who respect science. He offers this piece on the much discussed "Bomb Cyclone" and cold snap in the Northeast.

Writing for the Center for Health Journalism, Dr. Daniel Turner-Lloveras writes that EPA's unwillingness to ban chloprpyrifos would guarantee more illness and death among farm workers.

When wildfires threaten lives and raze entire communities, other hazards can get obscured. This op-ed highlights the added toxic risk from burning carpets laden with toxic chemicals.

From this week's Living On Earth: Peter Dykstra joins Steve Curwood to assess the environment and politics as the year turns, and finds little cause to think the current deregulatory push by the Trump Administration will change. Still, the states have become bright spots in the renewable energy sector and Congress is showing a bit more commitment to climate action.

Losing Bears Ears: Amy Irvine, a Utah mom, on what it means to see the new Bears Ears National Monument drastically reduced in size.

Obama quote that he'll never live down

The Obama Administration also tried a less ambitious expansion of offshore drilling. Shortly before Deepwater Horizon's blowout, he said this about how oil spills didn't much happen anymore. Ouch.

A beloved Jamaican beach is succumbing to climate change. It won’t be the last

Climate change is eroding beaches all over the Caribbean – even though the region contributes a tiny fraction of the emissions heating the planet.

Get our Good News newsletter

Get the best positive, solutions-oriented stories we've seen on the intersection of our health and environment, FREE every Tuesday in your inbox. Subscribe here today. Keep the change tomorrow.

www.wired.com

To save the planet, get more EVs into used car lots

To reduce carbon emissions, electric vehicles need to stay on the road as long as possible. That means developing a robust trade in secondhand cars.
www.cbc.ca

Youth-led climate change lawsuit dismissed by Canadian Federal Court

A Federal Court judge ruled Tuesday that the Canadian government won't be going on trial for contributions to climate change — striking down a lawsuit brought by 15 young Canadians who argued the government was violating their charter rights.
apnews.com

Strong typhoon slams Vietnam, at least 2 dead, 26 missing

Typhoon Molave slammed into Vietnam with destructive force Wednesday, causing at least two deaths and sinking two fishing boats with 26 crew in what was feared to be the most powerful storm to hit the country in 20 years.

paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com

New report shows PA lags behind in renewable energy development, despite national growth

The PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center has issued a new report saying Pennsylvania ranks 35th in the nation for percentage of solar and wind in the state's electricity mix and 22nd for growth in solar energy production since 2010.

paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com

Forests growing over shale bedrock help fight climate change

A swath of forests in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and West Virginia store much more harmful carbon than surrounding forests and should be conserved in the name of climate change, a new study says.

e360.yale.edu

Global emissions likely peaked in 2019, report finds

Global carbon emissions from energy use dropped 8 percent in 2020 due to coronavirus-related economic shutdowns — a decline equal to two-and-a-half years of energy sector emissions, according to a new report.