Climate Denier-in-Chief Inhofe to Head Senate Environment Committee
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the author of the 2010 tome The Greatest Hoax: How The Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, is in line to become the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and climate denier-in-chief.
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“With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?" said Inhofe. "It sure sounds like it."
Clearing addressing something he believes is a "hoax" won't be at the top of his to-do list. Crippling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its ability to enforce regulations such as the Clean Air and Clean Water acts will be likely priorities, since he has compared the EPA to "Gestapo" and said the movement to address climate change reminds him of the "Third Reich" and the "Big Lie." That's a reference to a term invented by Hitler to describe a lie so extreme that people believe it must be true or no one would say it.
Inhofe's record of trying to block, hamstring or delay messages to address climate change isn't pretty. In 2012, he sponsored a bill to overturn an EPA-issued regulation to cut certain toxic emissions such as mercury from coal-fired plants. It garnered a majority of votes, including several from Democrats, but not the 60 required to pass legislation in the Senate. In September he demanded a delay in action on curbing methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industries, claiming the EPA was using outdated information to implement them and that there needed to be more discussion i.e. more time of doing nothing. In October, he demanded that the EPA refrain from looking into the risks fracking posed to water supplies and what states were doing to handle those risks.
Inhofe claimed in The Greatest Hoax that God controls the world not humans, therefore global warming cannot exist.
“Genesis 8:22 said that as long as the Earth remains there will be springtime, harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night," he said. "My point is, God's still up there, and the arrogance of people who think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
That's the platform on which he builds a larger argument, accurately described by a commenter at Amazon.com accurately as "Red Scare Meets Green Scare," about political forces trying to use the climate change "hoax" to seize control of the world, take over the U.S. and limit our freedoms. He sees a plot to pretend climate change is happening in order to tie the hands of business and impede economic growth with an endless pile of regulations.
Probably not coincidentally, his biggest campaign donors are the oil and gas industries, which have donated millions of dollar to his campaigns since he entered the U.S. Senate in 1987. Koch Industries, Oklahoma-based oil and natural gas producers Devon Energy, ExxonMobile and Ohio coal company Murray Energy were among his most generous benefactors.
RL Miller, founder of the California-based grassroots environmental watchdog group Climate Hawks Vote, offered some minor comfort.
“I expect we are going to see less headline-grabbing efforts on the EPA and more of simply throttling their budget,” Miller told the London Guardian. “If he touches climate denial at all he is going to be ridiculed in public and in the media. If he is smart, he is going to be very quiet publicly, and it will be death by a thousand cuts in the kind of budget battles that people like Jon Stewart don’t pay attention to."
How smart or how restrained he is remains to be seen.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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