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Weekend Reader: #GreenToo

We sometimes think of scientists, environmental communicators, and others as being above the human failings shown by others. They're not.

The #metoo movement has taken down Hollywood icons and power players; news media superstars; standup comics; politicians.

Here we cover science and environmental news. Don't think for a minute that this realm is walled off from reprehensible behavior.


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, felled by four accusers who told their stories to the New Yorker, was arguably the nation's leading environmental law enforcer in the Age of Trump.

Schneiderman, along with Massachusetts A.G. Maura Healey, sued Exxon to determine the depths of its private knowledge of climate change while it publicly supported climate denial. He was one of multiple state A.G.'s who battled Trump Administration rollbacks.

He made no delay in resigning, announcing his departure three hours after the New Yorker piece was released, saying he "strongly" contest(ed) the allegations against him. Conservatives made no delay in pouncing on Schneiderman's apparent hypocrisy. Just days before his resignation, he praised the #metoo movement as "extraordinary" in an interview. And his interim successor as New York A.G., vowed that Schneiderman's work would continue without him.

Then there's Rachendra Pachauri, the charismatic head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He resigned in 2015 after allegations, and police charges, that he harassed, stalked, and intimidated a female employee at his Indian nonprofit. The case is still unresolved.

Trevor Fitzgibbon, a high-powered PR consultant for progressive groups like NARAL and Move-On and environmental NGO's including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, shuttered his PR firm in late 2015 after allegations that he propositioned and groped female employees and job candidates. Fitzgibbon denied the most serious charges, and prosecutors dropped an investigation into them.

University of Illinois anthropologist Kathryn Clancy has made a detailed study of what she sees as sexual harassment in space-related sciences.

Investigative work by High Country News revealed widespread harassment in the National Park Service last year. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has promised action to address the problems.

We sometimes think of scientists, environmental communicators, and others as being above the human failings shown by others. They're not. We're not. It's Us Too.

Top Weekend News

As close ties between fossil fuel billionaires Charles and David Koch and the Trump Administration come more to light, a group of Democratic Senators led by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is demanding answers about how much influence the Koch brothers have had in shaping key federal policies. (PRI's Living On Earth.)

Carlos Alvarado, newly-inaugurated President of Costa Rica, announces his country will be the first to ban fossil fuels. (The Independent).

The wind isn't what it used to be. Scientists say surface wind speeds across the planet have fallen by as much as 25% since the 1970s. The eerie phenomenon – dubbed 'stilling' – is believed to be a consequence of global warming, and may impact everything from agriculture to the liveability of our cities. (Cosmos).

From the New Orleans Advocate: Utility giant Entergy tries to deflect blame for hiring actors to pose as supporters at a key public meeting.

Veteran science reporter Miles O'Brien that U.S. audiences are starved for information on climate change. (The National, UAE)

It's only one plastic bag, but.....

It was found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot in the world's oceans (National Geographic).

Podcasts of Note

PRI's Living On Earth: EHN's Peter Dykstra and Steve Curwood on a report that shows the US is now the globe's biggest oil producer, and US transportation emits more greenhouse gases than electricity generation. The pair also discuss how mercury from coal-fired power plants is polluting rice in China, and take a trip back to 1872 and a landmark mining law that has had a profound and lasting impact on the American West.

Opinion Pieces & Editorials

Former Clinton Interior Dept. official Paul Bledsoe in the NYT: Trump's fuel efficiency rollback will hurt drivers.

An op-ed in the Wilmington (N.C.) News-Star calls out the state legislature's obeisance to Big Pork.

Trumpweek

A brief dissertation by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones on why EPA's Scott Pruitt still has a job.

From Science Magazine: Trump Admin. quietly cancels a NASA climate science program.

In a move that seems out of character for the anti-regulatory Pruitt EPA, the agency said it's moving to regulate a paint stripping product linked to consumer deaths.

Oops. Scott Pruitt dined with a Catholic Cardinal accused of sexual abuse, and it was omitted from his published schedule.

www.vox.com

Most Democrats and Republicans think the government should make climate change a priority

A new survey finds broad support among American voters for doing more on climate change.

ADSE's Young Researchers Conference 2021

The Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE) is hosting its 9th Young Researcher Conference from January 28-30th, 2021. Read more about the conference and how to register here.

Biden may cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit as soon as his first day in office

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the permit for the $9 billion Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, and perhaps as soon as his first day, according to a source familiar with his thinking.
insideclimatenews.org

Global efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate are lagging as much as efforts to slow emissions

A new UN report highlights how an adaptation gap hurts the most vulnerable countries and urges increased financing and cost-effective, nature-based preparations.

www.abc.net.au

Climate change pushed ocean temperatures to record high in 2020, study finds

Climate change saw the world's oceans absorb 20 zettajoules of heat in 2020, driving seas to record temperatures and setting the scene for decades of savage weather and environmental devastation.
e360.yale.edu

More than 400,000 US clean energy jobs have been lost so far during the pandemic

The clean energy sector in the United States lost 429,000 jobs last year due to the economic impacts of Covid-19, with the industry hitting its lowest number of workers since 2015, according to a new analysis of federal unemployment filings.

www.wesa.fm

Philadelphia aims to be carbon neutral by 2050

Sounding optimistic after four years of battling climate change with little help from the federal government under the Trump administration, Mayor Jim Kenney said Friday that Philadelphia will aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

stateimpact.npr.org

Harrisburg resident’s charges dismissed in alleged Mariner East ‘buy-a-badge’ scheme

A judge has dismissed all charges against Harrisburg resident James Murphy, a security firm employee who had been charged in connection with an alleged bribery scheme related to Mariner East pipeline construction in Chester County.