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.

Climate change and an aging population

New book explores how climate change impacts the elderly in unique ways — and how we can preserve their well-being and include them in solutions.

Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.

Children at ‘existential risk’ from climate crisis, UK’s top paediatrician says

The climate crisis poses an “existential risk” to the health and wellbeing of all children and action to tackle it is needed immediately, Britain’s most senior paediatrician has said.

everlgades conservation
Photo by Alex Shutin on Unsplash

Fish and Wildlife Service proposes sprawling conservation area in Everglades watershed

Explosive growth continues to pressure Florida’s natural resources, and climate change will drive more development inland. The hope is to push back against the impact.

When it comes to heating the planet, the fluid in your AC is thousands of times worse than CO2

Air conditioning has made it possible to live comfortably in many hot places, but the special chemicals that makes it work are actually extremely hazardous to the climate.

miami harbor
Pixabay

William “Coty” Keller: Floridians need to be climate voters in next election

Unless new civic-minded leaders are put in office, our lifestyles and economy will degrade, and life as we know it will not exist for our descendants. Let’s act like an intelligent species and stop destroying our only home.

offshore wind
Image by Bente Jønsson from Pixabay

Offshore wind farms could offset billions of dollars in climate change-related costs in the Pacific Northwest

Floating wind farms off the coast of southern Oregon and northern California could triple the Pacific Northwest’s wind power capacity while offsetting potentially billions of dollars in costs for utilities, ratepayers, insurance companies, and others who bear the cost of climate change’s effects, according to new research.

climate anxiety
Pixabay

How climate change is changing therapy

How anxiety about the planet’s future is transforming the practice of psychotherapy.
From our Newsroom
800,000 tons of radioactive waste from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry has gone “missing”

800,000 tons of radioactive waste from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry has gone “missing”

Poor recordkeeping on hazardous waste disposal points to potential for bigger problems, according to a new study.

drought climate farming

Opinion: Climate change and soil loss — the new Dust Bowl?

How we can save our soil, stabilize the climate, and prevent a new Dust Bowl.

climate change health care

Severe flooding increasingly cutting people off from health care

Many more Americans will find themselves regularly cut off from essential services, rescue workers and health care long before water actually reaches their homes, a recent study predicts.

Heat, air pollution and climate change … oh my! Was summer 2023 the new normal?

Heat, air pollution and climate change … oh my! Was summer 2023 the new normal?

Intense heat waves induced by climate change create favorable conditions for air pollution to worsen. Scientists say this isn’t likely to change unless action is taken.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Robbie Parks on why hurricanes are getting deadlier

"In places where there are high minority populations they bear, by far, the most burden of deaths from tropical cyclones."

children nature

Opinion: When kids feel the magic of nature, they will want to protect it

Improving our quality of life starts with the simple of act of getting kids outdoors.

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