Weekend Reader for Sunday, Dec. 31

The most breathtaking evidence yet that the Swamp isn't being drained; Trump gets climate science wrong, again; Looking back at 2017, and looking ahead at more of the same for 2018; A perfect ending to a surreal 2017.

Top Weekend News

Optimism for 2018? If that's what you're after, for goodness sake, don't look here. The implosion of U.S. environmental politics in 2017 is likely to worsen in 2018. But there are some hopeful signs on the horizon.


Recycling turmoil: The always-volatile recycling industry is coping with its latest setback: China, a primary destination for U.S. recyclables, is banning import of "foreign waste.

Texas Tea's mood swings: Big-brain piece by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker on whether Texas can break its boom/bust dependency on Big Oil.

Today's Climate must-read: How climate deniers game the system at Google to make science-free stories and diatribes show up at the top of your climate search results.

Opinions and Editorials

From fast-growing southwest Florida, the Naples Daily News counts up the progress and setbacks on the environment.

An energy Industry observer says 2018 is the pivotal year for solar versus coal. One one will emerge at year's end as a global leader.

Bloomberk.com weighs in on a rarely-asked, all-important question: Can the public handle the truth on the environment?

This Week in Trump

Several reasons for hope in 2018 U.S. environmental policy. But many more for despair. Many EHN and Daily Climate readers contact us, asking if we can publish more good news. Well, here it is for 2018 -- but it's still overwhelmed by the likelihood of bad news in U.S. environmental policy and politics. Just sayin'.

This, IMHO, is no way to drain a swamp. Albert Kelly is a longtime associate of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The FDIC slapped the Oklahoma banker with a heavy fine and effectively banned him from any involvement with the banking industry again. Pruitt rewarded his old crony with the chairmanship of an EPA task force to "streamline" the perpetually controversial Superfund program. The story is brought to us by Sharon Lerner, a superb muckraker for The Intercept.

A Zinke joyride? A Newsweek investigation has raised questions about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke using scarce wildfire funding for non-essential helicopter travel.

Perfect Ending to a Surreal Year

I'm from Jersey, and yes, I actually have a Cousin Vinny. But a more famous Vinny from Jersey schooled the President on climate science.chooled the President on climate science. Vinny Guadagnino, former cast member from MTV's "Jersey Shore," set things right when Trump Tweeted that last week's cold and snowfall in the Northeast bolstered his longstanding claim that climate change is a hoax.

Trump's fellow reality TV star responded in a Tweet that global warming "has to do with disruptions of atmospheric conditions, ocean patterns, jet streams, and shit like that."

newrepublic.com

The Socialist win in Bolivia and the new era of lithium extraction

An apparent victory for Evo Morales’s Movement Toward Socialism shows that tomorrow’s green energy won’t look much like the old oil empires.

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www.newyorker.com

How should the media talk about climate change?

Genevieve Guenther, a former Renaissance scholar, studies how we discuss global warming—and how we don’t.
www.newyorker.com

The West Coast wildfires are apocalypse, again

In a year of lost normality, the fires’ outlandish size and reach signal that normal is gone for good. Yet these fires are not the end of the world.
www.dw.com

Celebrity endorsement of environmental causes: Does it work?

Famous people are often lauded for using their public image to raise awareness of environmental issues and causes. But do these campaigns make any difference?
thenarwhal.ca

B.C. election: where the NDP, Greens and Liberals stand on climate and environment issues

As Sonia Furstenau's Greens pledge to end oil and gas subsidies and Andrew Wilkinson's BC Liberals promise to expand LNG, John Horgan's NDP sticks to the middle road.

news.mongabay.com

Deforestation threatens to wipe out a primate melting pot in Indonesia

An evolutionary crucible in Indonesia that's given rise to a unique array of primate is at risk of disappearing due to rapid deforestation, a new study warns.

news.mongabay.com

Fire burns Pantanal’s upland heart and threatens nature’s fragile balance

2020’s record Brazilian fires, which devastated the Pantanal wetlands, also reached the Amolar Mountains in recent weeks, a refuge for jaguars and other wildlife, and home to traditional Indigenous villagers.