The Good News… The Bad News… Week of January 27, 2017 - Years Of Living Dangerously

The Good News… The Bad News… Week of January 27, 2017

By Margaret Badore

We’re in a race against time to stop climate change. Can the good news outpace the bad?

Each Friday, we recap the top climate change news of the week. As President Trump completes his first full week in office, U.S. agencies get gagged but international commitment to climate action steps up. 

The Bad News 

EPA DEEP FREEZE

The Trump administration has brought many functions of the Environmental Protection Agency to a standstill, as a freeze on hiring, grants and outward facing communications went into effect on Monday. Many climate experts expressed concern that the Trump administration will try to block the agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas pollution, following a leak that Trump’s administration ordered EPA employees to remove climate change pages from its public websites (which has not happened as of publication time). This morning, a temporary spokesman for the agency announced that the EPA will continue issuing grants to states, but communications via Twitter and the press are still being tightly controlled. Read More

TRUMP PUSHES FOR PIPELINES

President Donald Trump has signed executive orders that open the door for the completion of two of the most controversial pipeline projects in the U.S. The first calls for the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is still under review by the Army Corps. The second pipeline is the Keystone XL, a project cancelled by Obama, that would carry tar sands oil from Canada into the U.S. Trump invited the construction company behind the Keystone XL to re-apply, which the company says it intends to do. Read More

CLIMATE CHANGE TICKS THE WORLD CLOSER TO DOOMSDAY

A failure to act on climate change, along with the threat of nuclear weapons, has caused the group of scientists who oversee the “Doomsday Clock” to move the time closer to midnight. The clock is now just two minutes and 30 seconds away from Midnight, which is calculated by the Atomic Scientists, a Chicago-based group. The clock has not been this close to midnight in 64 years. Read More

The Good News 

INDIA AND CHINA HOLD FAST ON CLIMATE COMMITMENTS

As Trump’s executive orders signal a step backwards on climate action, China and India seem eager to step as the new climate champions—and attract the investments associated with the transition to a clean energy economy. India stepped up to extend its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on Tuesday, while China’s delegation to the World Economic Forum called for increased investment in renewables. Read more on India here and more on China here.

RANGERS AND SCIENTISTS LEAD RESISTANCE TO CLIMATE DENIAL

Following the Trump administration’s media gag on the EPA and the National Parks Service, park rangers and scientists seem to be gearing up to fight back. A number of rogue Twitter accounts—apparently being anonymously run by otherwise silenced rangers—have been tweeting out facts about climate change. Meanwhile, a March for Science on D.C. has been proposed. Read more about the twitter accounts here and more on the march here.

LONG ISLAND WIND FARM WINS APPROVAL

On Wednesday, a New York utility approved plans for a wind farm project to move forward off the shores of Long Island. According to New York State Governor Cuomo, the planned project could provide 1.25 million homes with clean energy by 2030. Read More

IRELAND STEPS CLOSER TO DIVESTMENT

Yesterday, Ireland’s parliament voted in favor of divesting the country’s sovereign wealth fund from fossil fuels. The bill is expected to go into law in the next couple of months, making Ireland the first nation to shed public investment in all fossil fuels, including coal, gas and oil holdings. Read More