Dearest ecoright Valentines, it’s another week in the bag. And what a week it’s been. We get you caught up below:
ICYMI: Don’t believe in climate change? Energy companies do (Houston Chronicle) “While some conservative political leaders still deny that the Earth is heating up due to humans burning fossil fuels and releasing greenhouse gases, the people who produce those fuels and chemicals have recognized the imperative to limit global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius.”
This week’s must listen: Former SC Congressman in New York for climate change talks Our own Bob Inglis talks about why conservatives want to lead on climate change.
Terminate Pruitt: Arnold Schwarzenegger called EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “without any doubt, the wrong person” for the job of overseeing the nation’s environmental protections. “He does not represent the people,” Schwarzenegger said. “He only represents the special interests. He should be removed immediately.” The former California governor was in the Golden State speaking about climate change. He has not shied away from criticizing President Donald Trump, in December assuring the international community that Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord won’t stymy action. “The private sector didn’t drop out, the public sector didn’t drop out, the universities didn’t drop out, the scientists didn’t drop out, the engineers didn’t drop out. No one else dropped out. Donald Trump pulled Donald Trump out of the Paris agreement, so don’t worry about that.”
Murkowski scolds: Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called climate changeand human activity’s impact on global temperatures”fact” in an address made to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. “It is fact when we see habitats changing because temperatures are warmer. It is fact when we see sea ice that is multi-year ice is no longer in place where it historically has been. Working toward our energy future, we must be reducing emissions that contribute to climate change.”
“We have to have a better discussion about climate change and the responses to it,” Murkowski said, referencing the Republican Party. “We have to not be afraid to use terms that some might say, that’s politically charged. Why is it politically charged to say climate change? I see in my state the impact we have from warming temperatures.” The Alaskan has long called for climate change action, particularly given the impacts she sees firsthand in her home state. “I want to facilitate the climate conversation going forward by helping find balance and bring facts forward. We can absolutely continue to use hydrocarbons and critical minerals and protect the environment at the same time. We can do this.”
“The conversation is difficult…let’s stop making it harder.”
Climate advisor out: George David Banks, a top White House adviser on international climate and energy, resigned this week. Banks, who advocated the U.S. stay in the Paris Climate Accord, was a key figure in the administration’s efforts to find its message on climate while promoting fossil fuels.
Top spy calls climate “abrupt” threat: Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, the Director of the National Intelligence, testified on Capitol Hill this week about the “abrupt” threat posed by climate change. “The impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontentand possibly upheavalthrough 2018,” according to Coats in written testimony. His office overseas 17 intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA.
Climate jester: President Donald Trump released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, which includes a 34 percent cut for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, taking the agency down to 1990 spending levels. The draft budget backs up the agency’s 2018-2022 strategic plan, which (horrifically but not surprisingly) makes no mention of climate change. Related, his $19.9 billion budget proposal for NASA would cut five Earth science projects related to climate change, and he also proposed gutting the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, aka ARPA-E, which funds breakthrough energy technologies. In slashing clean energy and environmental programs, the White House’s $4.4 trillion budget would also increase the deficit by more than $7 trillion. While the president’s proposed budget has virtually no chance of being enacted as written, he is our climate jester for not taking the issue seriously (did he not read Coats’s aforementioned testimony?) and setting a negative tone from the top.
Have a great weekend and Happy Presidents’ Day!