Here are three reasons Big Coal had a bad week:
1. Sec. of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Friday that the Obama Administration will be putting an immediate suspension on all future and modified coal leases in order to create time and space to fully review the program for its consequences for taxpayers, our environment and the climate. The announcement followed President Obama’s groundbreaking statement in the State of the Union that he would “push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”
ICYMI: Obama announces moratorium on new federal coal leases https://t.co/7GQvdN3v32 #KeepItInTheGround— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club)1452903303.0
2. Arch Coal, Inc., the second largest coal supplier in the U.S., announced Monday that it would be filing for bankruptcy after suffering several quarters of losses and being unable to restructure its debt. Arch Coal Inc. added its name to a list of nearly 50 coal companies that have filed for bankruptcy since 2012 (including Patriot Coal, Walter Energy Inc. and James River Coal Co.), according to an analysis by SNL energy.
3. Governor Cuomo announced that New York state will phase out coal completely by 2020. We've seen this trend picking up globally over the past few months, as the UK and the province of Alberta in Canada have also recently announced their plans to completely phase out coal. And as the Washington Post points out, clean energy is on the rise.
"A profound shift is happening right now in America's energy landscape," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. "One-third of the nation’s coal plants are slated for retirement due to grassroots advocacy, public demand, and increased competition from clean, renewable energy like solar and wind becoming more affordable and more accessible by the day. The markets, the public and our elected officials are increasingly recognizing this transition, making decisions that hit the accelerator on the transition from dirty fuels toward an economy powered by clean energy that works for all."
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At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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