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."

climatenewsnetwork.net

South Asia’s twin threat: Extreme heat and foul air

Climate change means many health risks. Any one of them raises the danger. What happens when extreme heat meets bad air? South Asia's humid megacities face special jeopardy.

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www.winnipegfreepress.com

Killer whale migration upends Arctic waters

Slipping through the frigid water, the sleek black dorsal fin of a killer whale is iconic; but they're being seen in new parts of the world more frequently, thanks to climate change breaking up sea ice.

www.reuters.com

U.N. delays crucial climate summit for a year, cites pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the United Nations to delay until late 2021 a crucial climate summit that had been scheduled for Britain this year, officials said on Thursday.
crosscut.com

‘Extremophile’ scientist trades Antarctica for COVID-19 research

J.J. Hastings came off the grid into a pandemic. Stranded in Washington, she started swabbing for the virus.
www.dw.com

Plunging solar energy prices spell bright future for clean electricity

Solar energy has fallen in cost faster than experts predicted. How did electricity from photovoltaic panels get so cheap?

Joe Biden and climate change: A chance to make history in the 2020 election

Joe Biden might not have been the climate left's least favorite candidate but he was pretty far down their list. He won without them, but he will need their help to win in November.

www.post-gazette.com

County fines U.S. Steel more than $360K for violations at Clairton plant

The Allegheny County Health Department on Wednesday fined U.S. Steel $361,400 for over 300 air pollution and permit violations at the Clairton Coke Works dating back to October.

From our Newsroom

Fracking linked to rare birth defect in horses: Study

The implications for human health are "worrisome," say researchers.

Of water and fever

While we're rightly distracted by fighting a virus, are we ignoring other "just" wars over water?

How an enduring environmental symbol could become COVID-19 buzzkill

The Clearwater has sailed the Hudson River for five decades—teaching children and cleaning up the contaminated river. Much more work remains and the Clearwater is out of action due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus, the planet, and you

How the spread of the deadly virus is impacted by climate change, the environment, and our lifestyles.

On 'Noble' journalists and prizes

This year's Pulitzer winners and finalists feature five – count 'em – five environmental entries.

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