Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 3

Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 3

Top news and notes for your weekend reading

Oysters, horse-trading the environment for tax bill votes, and much more.


According to the Washington rumor mill, the long-anticipated departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be at hand. The cruel irony for environmental advocates is that they may long for the day when the ExxonMobil lifer and former CEO was in charge at state.

His potential replacement is CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Tillerson was a voice of relative moderation in the Trump cabinet, though his push to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate accord failed.

In his three-term congressional career, Pompeo earned a 4 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. He has close ties to enviros' worst nemeses, the Koch Brothers, and his Wichita, Kansas, district means he was literally the Kochs' congressman.

A clever piece from Angus McCrone, chief editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, muses "If only I were a climate and clean energy skeptic. Then I could stop wasting time worrying about the planet." Then he demolishes the most common climate denial memes.

Check out other weekend newspaper editorials on the pesticide chlorpyrifos and pipelines, among others (below).

And from our friends at Living On Earth, a new kind of divided Congress: An interview with the co-founder of the House Climate Solutions Caucus, whose 62 members are equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.

Top Weekend News

The Senate has passed its tax reform bill over criticism that most Americans will lose ground. So might the Alaskan environment: Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was a late convert to the bill when she attached a rider clearing the way for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And a piece in the Atlantic mulls how native villages could thrive or suffer if drilling is increased.

Ironic, since other reports show Arctic ice off the Alaskan coast at record early winter lows.

A nice piece for Sunday brunch: Mobile Bay Magazine on oyster farmers and their need for clean, fresh water. Alabama, Georgia, and Florida have been battling for 20 years about water use.

This Week In Trump

From Mashable's Andrew Freedman: The pick for top science advisor sticks out like a sore thumb among other Trump nominees -- he thinks global warming isn't a hoax.

And EPA's program to assess chemical risks is facing the budget chopping block.

EPA dropped an Obama-era rule requiring mining companies to prove that they have the financial means to clean up after themselves.

As if to prove that a lack of self-awareness is a political asset, convicted coal baron Don Blankenship is spending money on a campaign to get elected West Virginia's next U.S. Senator.

Opinions and Editorials

Good News

Generally, we're not the place to come for good news, but we're more than happy to share it when it comes around.

We thought we'd revisit this piece from summer on the promise of satellite technology to help monitor illegal logging, mining, and poaching, as well as offering more reliable data on some wildlife populations and behavior. Richard Conniff's piece for Yale Environment 360 is hopeful, and doesn't even get into the role of satellite monitoring of pirate fishing.

Deniers' Corner

If climate denial were an Olympic event, James Delingpole would be a gold medal contender. But alas, he'll have to settle for a denial merit badge for his linking climate concern to the Nazis. Shameless.

WSU study finds air pollution, brought on by heat and wildfires, is increasing in the West

The presence of harmful particles called particulate matter, or PM 2.5, and ozone can make air unhealthy to breathe, and a WSU researcher discovered that the frequency, intensity and unhealthy level of pollution from both particles has increased dramatically, especially in the past decade.

Sunrise in the woods

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It's as bad as ever: Climate change denial still rages on social media

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have all made pledges to crack down on the spread of misinformation, but it’s still being promoted on all their platforms.

natural gas energy renewables
Photo by Andrew Charney on Unsplash

Natural gas a 'partner' in transition to renewables, says Crogga

Gas extracted from Manx waters could work alongside renewables to phase out coal, a local firm says.

How animals are adapting to climate change

Books by Thor Hanson and Emma Marris offer new insights into how species are surviving and what we must do to help.
coal mining cleanup
Photo by Albert Hyseni on Unsplash

PA to receive more than $3 billion to clean up abandoned coal mines

Pennsylvania will receive billions of dollars to clean up abandoned mines like the site Secretary Haaland visited in Swoyersville.

EPA takes action to combat industrial air pollution

The EPA announced a raft of targeted actions and specific reforms including stepped-up air monitoring and scrutiny of industrial polluters in the wake of ProPublica’s investigation into toxic hot spots.
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Peter Dykstra: Life imitates climate politics—again.

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