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Category Archives: Energy

Trump administration deals blow to Endangered Species Act and disregards climate crisis

Washington Post: “The Trump administration moved on Monday to weaken how it applies the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act, ordering changes that critics said will speed the loss of animals and plants at a time of record global extinctions . The action, which expands the administration’s rewrite of U.S. environmental laws, is the latest that targets protections, including for water, air and public lands. Two states — California and Massachusetts, frequent foes of President Donald Trump’s environmental rollbacks — promised lawsuits to try to block the changes in the law. So did some conservation groups. Pushing back against the criticism, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and other administration officials contend the changes improve efficiency of oversight while continuing to protect rare species…Under the enforcement changes, officials for the first time will be able to publicly attach a cost to saving an animal or plant. Blanket protections for creatures newly listed as threatened will be removed. Among several other changes, the action could allow the government to disregard the possible impact of climate change, which conservation groups call a major and growing threat to wildlife…Monday’s changes “take a wrecking ball to one of our oldest and most effective environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act,” Sen. Tom Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said in a statement. “As we have seen time and time again, no environmental protection – no matter how effective or popular – is safe from this administration.” [Federal Register- Final rule]

See also Vox – A million species are at risk of extinction. Humans are to blame. It will likely take millions of years for the Earth to recover from the biodiversity crisis. “Earlier this year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released its biennial Living Planet Report, a global assessment of the health of animal populations all over the world. They found that the average vertebrate population — that is, the average size of any given species population in the organization’s database, whether it has 10,000 individuals or 10 million — has declined 60 percent since 1970…”

Researchers map global economy in collaboration with LinkedIn

Phys.Org: “A small team of researchers at Indiana University has created the first global map of labor flow in collaboration with the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn. The work is reported in the journal Nature Communications. The study’s lead authors are Jaehyuk Park and Ian Wood, Ph.D. students working with Yong Yeol “Y.Y.” Ahn,… Continue Reading

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Report on Third-Party Debt Collections

CFPB: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) released a report [Market Snapshot: Third-Party Debt Collections Tradeline Reporting] that found that more than one-in-four consumers with a credit report have at least one debt in collection by third-party debt collectors. Today’s report, which covers 2004 to 2018, is drawn from the Bureau’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP),… Continue Reading

Americans Shouldn’t Have to Drive, but the Law Insists on It

The Atlantic – Gregory H. Shill – The automobile took over because the legal system helped squeeze out the alternatives. “…In America, the freedom of movement comes with an asterisk: the obligation to drive. This truism has been echoed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has pronounced car ownership a “virtual necessity.” The Court’s pronouncement… Continue Reading

Bitcoin’s energy consumption ‘equals that of Switzerland’

BBC – “Bitcoin uses as much energy as the whole of Switzerland, a new online tool from the University of Cambridge shows. The tool makes it easier to see how the crypto-currency network’s energy usage compares with other entities. However, one expert argued that it was the crypto-currency’s carbon footprint that really mattered. Currently, the… Continue Reading

MIT Technology Review – 35 Innovators Under 35 2019

“As part of our ethos that technology can and should be a force for good. Our annual list of 35 innovators under 35 is a way of putting faces on that idea. In these profiles you’ll find people employing innovative methods to treat disease, to fight online harassment, and to create the next big battery… Continue Reading

Map identifies companies around the world most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions

The Decolonial Atlas – Names and Locations of the Top 100 People Killing the Planet – “Just 100 companies are responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The guys who run those companies – and they are mostly guys – have gotten rich on the backs of literally all life… Continue Reading

Check it out and save energy: Montgomery Co. libraries offer thermal imaging cameras

wtop.com – Montgomery County is the latest to offer library cardholders something that is not only unusual but also useful: thermal imaging cameras to monitor home energy use. “These days, some libraries offer musical instruments, power tools and board games. And Montgomery County is the latest to offer library cardholders something that is not only… Continue Reading

House Democrats launch probe into EPA officials’ ties to utilities

POLITICO: “The House Energy and Commerce Committee is launching an investigation into whether top EPA officials violated ethics rules by launching a rollback of air pollution regulations that benefited their former lobbying clients in the electric utility sector. The committee’s Democrats are seeking to probe communications between the utilities and an industry group that was… Continue Reading

In blow to climate, coal plants emitted more than ever in 2018

International Energy Agency: “Energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade, an exceptional performance driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions. Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, posting the biggest gains and accounting for 45% of the rise in energy… Continue Reading