HomeUncategorizedOpen Thread 08/21/2018
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Thanks for the thread. This development is certainly relevant to your starter


The Trump administration is set to unveil a proposed replacement for Obama-era climate change rules that will impose looser, state-based regulations on coal-fired power plants rather than pushing them towards closure.

The new plan is likely to escalate greenhouse gas emissions, compared with its predecessor, at a time when scientists have warned drastic cuts are required to avoid dangerous runaway climate change that would ravage the lives of Americans and people around the world.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to propose that individual states should decide how, or even if, they should stem carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants.

“This is all about coal at all costs,” said Gina McCarthy, who was EPA chief under Obama. “There is no other country in the world looking to coal for its future. They are looking to clean energy.”

McCarthy said the new climate plan would provide industry a “free pass to increase not just carbon pollution but also conventional smog and soot pollutants that will directly harm our health today, not to mention our children’s future”.

The US is the second-largest emitter of CO2 in the world and any increase or even flatline in its emissions would make it extremely difficult for humanity to stave off punishing heatwaves, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change.



The proposal lays out several possible pathways that individual states might use for regulating coal-fired power plants, and what the consequences would be for pollution and human health in each case. In the scenario the E.P.A. has pegged as the most likely to occur, the health effects would be significant.

76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
The list shows dozens of environmental policies that the Trump administration has targeted, often in an effort to ease burdens on the fossil fuel industry.

In that scenario, the Trump E.P.A. predicts its plan will see between 470 and 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 because of increased rates of microscopic airborne particulates known as PM 2.5, which are dangerous because of their link to heart and lung disease as well as their ability to trigger chronic problems like asthma and bronchitis.

By contrast, the Obama administration’s central argument for its Clean Power Plan was that the measure protected human health as well as the climate. Specifically, it said, the plan would help avoid between 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths annually by 2030.

The Clean Power Plan aimed to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases by steering the energy sector away from coal and toward cleaner energy sources like wind and solar. According to its calculations, the decreased coal burning also would reduce other pollutants like sulfur dioxide, which poses respiratory risk, and nitrogen oxides that create ozone, which, in the form of smog, can damage lung tissue.

Mr. Obama’s E.P.A. also estimated that, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan would result in 180,000 fewer missed school days per year by children because of ozone-related illnesses. Asthma instances would also drop significantly, according to the analysis.

By contrast Mr. Trump’s analysis finds its plan would see 48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed days of school annually by 2030 because those pollutants would increase in the atmosphere rather than decrease.


Yes, let’s make America smoggy again!



The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.

This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.

One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”. Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand warming the longest.

The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as “the last ice area” because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.

But abnormal temperature spikes in February and earlier this month have left it vulnerable to winds, which have pushed the ice further away from the coast than at any time since satellite records began in the 1970s.


The EPA’s own analysis concluded that this plan would lead to premature deaths.

EPA says its new coal plan could ‘adversely affect human health’

A recently introduced Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan to ease restrictions on emissions from coal-fired power plants would lead to new carbon-related health issues and as many as 1,400 premature deaths per year, according to an EPA analysis of the proposal.

“As compared to the standards of performance that it replaces… implementing the proposed rule is expected to increase emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and increase the level of emissions of certain pollutants in the atmosphere that adversely affect human health,” the EPA said in its analysis.


Off topic. A much needed change of pace. It certainly is different.





Ahead of introducing new legislation on Tuesday morning she says is designed to address the sinister problem eating away at the nation’s democratic promise, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has spent the last day documenting the various members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, as well as the powerful forces embraced by the president and his cronies, in order to detail why she views it as “the most corrupt administration of our lifetimes.”

In addition to those in Trump’s cabinet and direct orbit, Warren—via a massive tweet storm using the hashtag #EndCorruptionNow that began Monday afternoon—also points to the corrosive role of corporate influence, Walls Street financial firms, and K Street lobbyists who drive and control much of the agenda and policy-making in Washington, DC.

“It’s a long list,” she admitted as she embarked on the project.



Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday will unveil sweeping anti-corruption legislation that would ban elected officials from lobbying for life, restrict stock ownership by lawmakers and Cabinet secretaries and try to stop Americans from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments and companies.

The bill, which will give Warren a fresh opening to pummel President Donald Trump for failing to fulfill his pledge to “drain the swamp,” is the latest in a series of ambitious policy proposals that the Massachusetts Democrat has been floating, fueling speculation that she is gearing up for a 2020 presidential run.

Like a bill she introduced last week to impose new restrictions on the executives and boards of large companies, the lobbying legislation will put pressure on other Democrats to hew closer to Warren’s anti-Wall Street message.

In addition to a lifetime lobbying ban on the president, members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries and judges, the legislation would ban other federal employees from lobbying their former offices for at least two years. Current lobbyists would also be prohibited from taking government jobs for at least two years.

The bill would expand the federal definition of “lobbyist” to cover more individuals who influence Washington. A newly defined category of “corporate lobbyist” would stop former federal officials from lobbying their offices on behalf of companies and trade groups for six years after leaving government. It would require greater disclosure of lobbyists’ activities and ban them from making direct political donations.


There’s a message to Bernie and anyone else who wants to run: get your tax returns ready and be prepared to comment on them.

This is one thing I think Bernie has to get right. The lack of them has hurt Bernie and Jane on a national stage. His senate form isn’t detailed enough if he intends to re-enter the big arena. I don’t think he’s hiding anything in particular, but in the era of Trump and his cabinet feeding off the public trough for their own financial gains, all pols, including Bernie, running against R’s will need to do better in being more transparent about their personal finances.


Soil hasn’t recovered from ancient Maya cutting down trees

The Maya civilization’s deforestation decimated carbon reservoirs in the tropical soils of the Yucatán peninsula region long after people abandoned ancient cities and the forests grew back, according to a new study.

The new findings, which appears in the journal Nature Geoscience, underscore how important soils and our treatment of them could be in determining future levels of greenhouse gases in the planet’s atmosphere.

The Maya began farming around 4,000 years ago, and the spread of agriculture and building of cities eventually led to widespread deforestation and soil erosion, previous research has shown. Scientists also suspect that deforestation contributed to the mysterious collapse of Mayan civilization more than 1,000 years ago.

This offers another reason—adding to a long list—to protect the remaining areas of old-growth tropical forests in the world,” Douglas says. “It could also have implications for how we design things like carbon offsets, which often involve reforestation but don’t fully account for the long-term storage of carbon.”

Reading this story reminded me of something I read the other day. I can’t remember who it was, but he said something to the effect of, ‘We need to stop asking politicians of they BELIEVE in climate change and, instead, ask them if they UNDERSTAND the science of it.’

I thought that was a smart shift in the conversation.

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