IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Trump officially replaces Obama's 'clean car' rules with much weaker standards; EPA suspends enforcement of many U.S. pollution laws during coronavirus crisis; Plastics industry sees profit and opportunity in the pandemic; PLUS: Earth Day 2020 goes digital, as teen climate activist warns we must fight the climate crisis and pandemic simultaneously... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): 3 states pass anti-fossil-fuel protest bills in 3 weeks. It’s not coincidental; Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms; No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge; 4 astonishing signs of coal's declining economic viability; This is what climate change looks like in the Coronavirus Era... PLUS: Now is the time to take care of your lungs. Here's how... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Trump Administration replaces Obama's tailpipe pollution rules:
- New Trump mileage standards to gut Obama climate effort (AP)
- Trump to roll back Obama-era clean car rules in huge blow to climate fight (Guardian UK):
The Trump administration is rolling back the US government’s strongest attempt to combat the climate crisis, weakening rules which compel auto companies to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. Critics say the move will lead to more life-threatening air pollution and force Americans to spend more on gasoline. The changes to Obama-era regulations will allow vehicles to emit about a billion more tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide – equivalent to roughly a fifth of annual US emissions.
- As the Nation Worries About Coronavirus, the Trump Administration is Rolling Back Environmental Rules (Mother Jones):
The administration is in a race against an artificial deadline set by the 1996 Congressional Review Act...But the law only applies to regulations that were passed in the final 60 days of the congressional calendar, which means you can count on a lot more rollbacks until that deadline in late May. Without the CRA, a Democratic administration could spend much of its first term slowly working to reverse the damage Trump has unleashed.
- Trump set to gut mileage standards, an attack on electric cars (Electrek)
- Trump’s Environmental Rollbacks Find Opposition Within: Staff Scientists (NY Times)
- Trump agencies steadily push rollbacks as pandemic rages (AP)
- How Trump boxed the EPA out of a major climate rollback (The Atlantic):
"We knew they cooked the books": How the tailpipe-pollution rollback came to be.
- How U.S. Fuel Economy Standards Compare With the Rest of the World’s (NY Times, 4/3/2018)
- Trump EPA suspends enforcement of many pollution laws:
- E.P.A., Citing Coronavirus, Drastically Relaxes Rules for Polluters (NY Times)
- The EPA appears to be using coronavirus to make huge concessions to polluters (Vox):
Many experts and environmental advocates say that while case-by-case relaxation of rules for companies that are short-staffed due to the pandemic makes sense, the expansiveness of the EPA’s directive appears both unprecedented and designed to give a green light to polluters to act recklessly at a time when air quality is acutely important for public health.
- Trump administration allows companies to break pollution laws during coronavirus pandemic (Guardian UK):
Polluters will be able to ignore environmental laws as long as they can claim in some way these violations were caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the event of an imminent threat to public health, the EPA will defer to the states and “consider the circumstances” over whether it should intervene.
- Plastics industry sees profit and opportunity in pandemic:
- How Big Plastic Is Using Coronavirus to Bring Back Wasteful Bags (Mother Jones):
The plastic industry is not going to waste a crisis...The timing of these messages suggests a concerted public relations campaign by the plastic industry...No study has looked specifically at reusable bags and the novel coronavirus.
- Plastics industry goes after bag bans during pandemic (Politico):
Plastic bag proponents see an opportunity in the pandemic that's turning nearly every American into a hand sanitizer-guzzling germaphobe. POLITICO obtained a copy of a letter that the Plastics Industry Association sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week requesting a public statement from the department endorsing the idea that single-use plastics are the safest choice amid the pandemic.
- Governor bans reusable shopping bags; 10 new coronavirus cases reported in NH (WMUR-Manchester)
- Are Plastic, Paper Or Reusable Bags Better For The Environment? (Huffington Post, 5/14/2019):
But experts worry that confusion over reusable bags’ environmental impact will confuse consumers. Anne Aittomaki, the director of systematic change for the organization Plastic Change, says it’s “highly unfortunate” that the assessment from Denmark’s EPA has become a reference point in the plastic bag discussion, as there are many other flawed analyses within it.
- Paper, Plastic or Reusable?: The answer is a mixed bag (Stanford Magazine. Sept. 2017)
- Earth Day 2020 moves online, as climate campaigners continue the fight:
- Earth Day 2020 theme: Climate Action (Earth Day.org)
- Earth Day Live: Strike, divest, and vote to save humanity and our planet. (Earth Day Live 2020):
On April 22-24, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, millions of people around the world are going online for a three-day mobilization to stop the climate emergency.
- US climate activists to livestream Earth Day due to virus (AP)
- Climate movement moves online during coronavirus pandemic (Washington Post)
- Greta: We must fight the climate crisis and pandemic simultaneously (New Scientist):
Thunberg said: “People will try to use this emergency as an excuse not to act on the climate crisis, and that we have to be very careful for.” She said she understood the emergency the world was facing now, but it wasn’t an excuse to shelve action on emissions...Students have been good at staying off the streets, said Thunberg, and although young people tend to have milder symptoms of the disease, “we still stand in solidarity with those in risk groups and I think that is a very beautiful thing.”
- AUDIO: The Big Interview: Greta Thunberg (New Scientist)
- Delay is deadly: what Covid-19 tells us about tackling the climate crisis (Guardian UK)
- Coronavirus Holds Key Lessons on How to Fight Climate Change (Yale e360)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page
- Now Is the Time to Take Care of Your Lungs. Here’s How. (NY times)
- 3 states pass anti-fossil-fuel protest bills in 3 weeks. It’s not coincidental (Electrek)
- Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms (Guardian UK)
- No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge (LA Times)<.li>
- 4 astonishing signs of coal’s declining economic viability (Vox)
- This Is What Climate Change Looks Like in an Era of Covid-19 (Earther)
- Mashpee tribe’s reservation land ‘disestablished’ (Cape Cod Times)
- More US coal mines idled as two Pa. mine workers test positive for COVID-19 (S&PGlobal Platts)
- Trump pins coronavirus hope on a climate skeptic (E&E News)
- Rosneft hands Venezuelan oil business to Russian state firm (AP)
- Study: global banks 'failing miserably' on climate crisis by funneling trillions into fossil fuels (Guardian UK)
- What Does '12 Years to Act on Climate Change' (Now 11 Years) Really Mean? (Inside Climate News)
- VIDEO: A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (The Intercept)
- SEJ Backgrounder: Green New Deal Proposes Sweeping Economic Transformation (Society of Environmental Journalists)
- Explainer: The 'Green New Deal': Mobilizing for a just, prosperous, and sustainable economy (New Consensus)
- What genuine, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like: How to hit the most stringent targets, with no loopholes. (David Roberts, Vox)
- A Global Shift To Sustainability Would Save Us $26 Trillion (Vox)
- Project Drawdown: 100 Solutions to Reverse Global Warming (Drawdown.org)
- An Optimist's Guide to Solving Climate Change and Saving the World (Vice)
- The great nutrient collapse: The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention. (Politico)
- The world's bleak climate situation, in 3 charts: We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there. (Vox)
- The Climate Risks We Face (NY Times):
To stabilize global temperature, net carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to zero. The window of time is rapidly closing to reduce emissions and limit warming to no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, the goal set in the Paris climate accord. The further we push the climate system beyond historical conditions, the greater the risks of potentially unforeseen and even catastrophic changes to the climate - so every reduction in emissions helps.
- The Uninhabitable Earth: When will climate change make earth too hot for humans? (New York Magazine):
Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak - sooner than you think.
- A beginner's guide to the debate over 100% renewable energy (Vox):
Clean-energy enthusiasts frequently claim that we can go bigger, that it's possible for the whole world to run on renewables - we merely lack the "political will." So, is it true? Do we know how get to an all-renewables system? Not yet. Not really.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page