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Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 24

With political media focused on the Trump tax bill, rollbacks of US environmental law continue. And Canada does a very, very Trump-like thing.

We've got a joyous holiday mix of food, health, climate and toxics stories for you.


Must-read investigation: The Louisville Courier-Journal continues its dogged reporting on the state's beleaguered coal industry: A melting Arctic and delinquent children figure into a shadowy figure's global scheme to distribute coal.

Nothing to see here: Unhealthy food giants fund healthy food researchers. Malaysia boasts Asia's worst obesity problems. You'll never guess who holds many of the purse strings for its nutritionists. (NY Times)

Science, Schmience: The Interior Department slapped a harsh cap on the number of scientists attending the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting -- one of the top science gatherings each year. (Washington Post)

EPA's press office becomes a story in itself. Buzzfeed reports on how EPA's Press Office is a bit more like a political opposition research operation these days.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or none of the above, enjoy the weekend.

Top Weekend News

Big Oil's decades of denial: More first-rate reporting from Inside Climate News on the long, long history of science and politics abuse on climate issues from Big Oil and its affiliates.

Superfund sites swamped? The Associated Press reports that 300+ toxic Superfund sites could be underwater due to sea level rise and anticipated increases in severe storms.Home-grown wisdom:

EHN/Daily Climate founder Pete Myers on the history of endocrine disruption science -- discovery, harassment, vindication and more. The premiere Science History Podcast.

Atomic piling on? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission launched its own Clinton investigation this week. But not so fast.... this one's not about Hillary, but the Clinton Nuclear Plant, near Clinton, Illinois. (Daily Energy Insider)

Smoke sidelines seniors: A Harvard study links small amounts of air pollution to health problems in senior citizens. (EHN.org)

Running dry: The Palm Springs Desert Sun continues its first-rate reporting on western water issues with a look at the very dry future of the Colorado River.

Opinions and Editorials

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, a harsh critic of the Trump Administration, writes that Puerto Rico has been victimized twice, first by Hurricane Maria, then by politics.

Ed Perlmutter on the newly passed and signed "tax reform" legislation could cripple government science.

An op-ed in the Ventura (Calif.) News-Star dares to state the obvious: Its fire-weary readership has an impact of climate change literally in the backyard.

This Week in Trump

EPA is suffering a brain drain, as scientists and technical experts depart the agency in droves.

The Interior Department has ordered a halt to a study of its agency covering offshore oil safety.

MSNBC's Chris Hayes comments on the paranoia of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Government agencies drastically reduced the number of personnel authorized to attend last week's American Geophysical Union annual meeting -- one of the most important earth science gatherings every year. America First? There are stories on both the Interior Department and the USGS slashing their numbers of attendees.

And Barry Myers, CEO of AccuWeather, is Trump's pick to head NOAA. Can he truly separate himself from a family business that at times has featured climate denial?

Ready for a little good news?

Science Daily reports on a study on improving fetal health among neighbors of closed coal power plants.

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Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

The world’ strongest ocean current is gaining speed due to global warming

The speeding up of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current could have wide-ranging consequences across the globe.

More tree canopy can stop climate change from killing vulnerable Americans

A small, willfully misunderstood earmark in the Build Back Better Act is in fact a response to a mortal threat.

You're doing environmental donations wrong

When it comes time to step up and put their money where their mouths are, it seems lots of people struggle to prioritize the planet and get cash into the hands of organizations that do the most to combat climate change.

EU's greenhouse gases rise by nearly a fifth on economic rebound

Greenhouse gas emissions from European Union countries jumped 18% last spring, according to data from the bloc's statistics office, as all economic sectors released more harmful gases into the atmosphere as they recovered from pandemic shutdowns.

Behind the science: Do we know how many shark species are at risk?

A troubling report finds that one third of sharks are threatened with extinction. How did the team perform this analysis during the pandemic?

Excess fertilizer washed from Midwestern fields is slowly poisoning the Gulf of Mexico

As rainfall events become more intense and frequent, fertilizers applied to Midwestern farmland washes away, contaminating waterways near and far.
From our Newsroom

Feeling anxious about climate change? Experts say you're not alone

Research shows more people are feeling anxious about the climate crisis and their numbers will only increase in the coming years. Experts are concerned it's taking a toll on mental health.

​​How to address the looming crisis of climate anxiety

As climate change worsens, the need will grow for mental health services. Some therapists are recommending climate action to ease worry. Others are advocating for community-based therapies to fill the gap.

Silent Earth: Averting the insect apocalypse

As insects become more scarce, our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them.

Worsening heat waves are hammering the disabled community

EHN talked to people with disabilities put in increased danger during last summer's Pacific Northwest heat waves. Activists say accessible cooling centers and air conditioning are key to combating this injustice.