Sacramento, CA

Weekend Reader, Sunday Jan. 21

"Last year felt like a funeral. This year feels like a protest." Marcher, interviewed on CNN.

With hundreds of thousands showing up in Washington, New York, Chicago, LA and other cities to raise hell over a smorgasbord of causes, environment, environmental justice, and climate change have at least a toehold.


Los Angeles marchers read the list: "ending violence, protection of reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers' rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, Indigenous people's rights and environmental justice."

Like a year ago, marchers and organizers led with women's issues, further energized by emergence of the #metoo movement. But revulsion toward President Trump and his policies shared the nationwide stages, with twin backdrops of a government shutdown and Trump's one-year anniversary on the job.

It's easy to imagine that the clear success of these two marches, a year apart, represents a credible "Resistance" to a political party that's left its mark on the Supreme Court and holds the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. And march organizers put a strong focus on the midterm elections—a movement that doesn't vote, can't win.

Consider the last time such a movement existed, 1970. The Vietnam War was the central issue; decay and tension in America's inner cities were also a major focus; burgeoning movements on feminism, the environment and more played supporting roles.

Alas, the anti-war, pro-environment, pro-equality candidate, George McGovern, lost to Richard Nixon in an epic landslide two years later. And this new movement has its work cut out for it. In the 1970's, many Republicans had fairly strong environmental leanings. Virtually no Republican officeholders do today.

Despite his support for the war and the dirty dealings of Watergate, Nixon founded EPA and NOAA and signed laws like the Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. He also vetoed the Clean Water Act only to see a bipartisan Congress override that veto.

Imagine that happening today.

Trump would of course have no part of such things. But humor me: Today's marches could be the seed of an effective resistance to the most destructive environmental administration in American history as part of addressing a broad range of human rights and wrongs. We'll see. And now, this:

A career like no other: Jack Gerard announced his retirement after ten years at the helm of the American Petroleum Institute, Big Oil's preeminent lobby group. Prior to that, Gerard led the American Chemistry Council, Big Chem's preeminent lobby group. And before that, he headed up the National Mining Association, the coal and hard-rock mining industry's preemineent lobby group. Whew.

Top Weekend News

In Inside Climate News, Georgina Gustin reports on the widespread abandonment of Science Advisory Boards at Federal agencies.

Reporting in vox.com, Umair Urfain details how the government shutdown could disrupt climate change research.

Exception to the political rule: Carlos Curbelo's South Florida Congressional district could be swamped by sea level rise. Kat Bagley's Q&A with the Republican lawmaker in Yale e360 shows a crack in the ideological wall.

Opinions and Editorials

The Sierra Club's Mary Anne Hitt has an op-ed on how the coal and nuke industries are still chasing Federal subsidies and bailouts.

NYT's Nick Kristof has a Pacific island for you to visit. While it's still there.

The Irish Times does a little home-country bragging on Ireland's progress on plastic pollution.

The Trumpocene: Rollbacks, Denial & Purges

Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times has a strong piece on the environmental impacts of Trump's first year.

And now, for something completely different: Historian Douglas Brinkley ponders what Teddy Roosevelt might do in the Trump Era.

And now, for something a bit more hopeful: John Platt of The Revelator on how the Trump enviro-purge has created a powerful backlash.

WTF Alert:

Bill Nye the Science Guy will attend the State of the Union Address as the guest of climate-denying Congressman Jim Bridenstine, an aspirant to fill the vacant slot of NASA Adminitrator.

www.eenews.net

Biden's first 100 days: What's coming on energy

President Biden took executive actions yesterday repealing the Keystone XL pipeline permit, rejoining the Paris climate accord and reviewing energy rules across federal agencies. What's next?

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.

www.wbur.org

'It's not inevitable that this will be unjust': Q&A with Shalanda Baker on energy justice

Shalanda Baker discusses energy justice and her new book, "Revolutionary Power: An Activist's Guide to the Energy Transition."
www.hcn.org

New wind projects power local budgets in Wyoming

As the pandemic hit the fossil fuel industry, renewable energy projects filled community coffers.
www.scientificamerican.com

Opinion: Eric Lander is not the ideal choice for presidential science adviser

Despite a long list of supremely qualified people who could inspire a whole new generation of scientists, the glass ceiling in American science remains intact.

Under Joe Biden and Deb Haaland, activists hope for a focus on environmental racism

Environmental justice activists hope that the Biden administration will focus on an often-overlooked issue: environmental racism.
www.post-gazette.com

Comments on carbon-cutting plan show industry divided over Pennsylvania’s energy future

While several state business lobbying groups panned the carbon pricing proposal, major companies said it will offer a fair pathway to cleaner energy.   
theintercept.com

Climate groups begin vying for power in Biden era

As the BlueGreen Alliance gears up for a big staff expansion, debates around carbon capture, natural gas, and nuclear energy resurface.