100 Greenest Cities in America: Where Does Your City Rank?
By Robin Scher
There are many things to fear about Donald Trump's presidency. From a decline in socially progressive values to deteriorating international diplomatic relations, the political effects alone are cause for conniptions. Then there's the toll on the environment.
Where to begin? In short, protecting the climate isn't as profitable as selling oil. In the past, some governing bodies tried to push back against the influence money had over politics. That was until last November, when the country underwent a corporate coup d'etat. Now, our next potential head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a climate change denier-cum-fossil fuel shill.
Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. A recent executive order signed by Trump has ordered federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation issued in the future. Or, as environmentalists describe it, a means to dismantle existing protections. The GOP began its own battle against the environment recently when House Republicans voted to repeal the Stream Protection Rule, a measure that protects waterways and communities from the negative effects of unchecked coal mining.
The situation is pretty overwhelming, but this is not the time to give in to apathy. Instead, now more than ever, this is the time for action. And here's the good news: You don't need the national government to help dial back climate change. Federal cooperation would help a lot, of course, but it's vital to remember that your own local community has agency. As Margi Prideaux wrote in an article for AlterNet on this
topic, "We need genuine delegation to communities to manage and protect what surrounds them."
As of 2014, 54 percent of the world's population lives in urban areas. This means that cities carry much of the burden when it comes to climate change action. This is a good thing for two main reasons, explained sustainable business analyst Adam Green in his article Why Cities Are Leading the Way in Sustainability. Green emphasized that "cities can act without going through the cumbersome climate negotiations process of reaching consensus and secondly the competition between cities is driving climate performance."
Enter WalletHub's analysis of America's greenest cities in 2016. To help encourage communities to take up the climate change fight, last year WalletHub, a personal finance website, compared data from 100 of the largest U.S. cities to determine which is the greenest of them all.
Eleven peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have taken to the water in inflatable boats with handheld banners to oppose the Statoil Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km North off the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.
The banners say: "People Vs. Arctic Oil" and are directed at Statoil and the Norwegian government, which has opened a new, aggressive search for oil in the waters of the Barents Sea.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) paved the way Friday for the 600-mile, 42-inch fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline to proceed when it issued the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). A joint project of utility giants Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would move fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.
In April, the Sierra Club submitted more than 500 pages of legal and technical comments on FERC's draft EIS, which were joined by more than 18,000 individual comments detailing opposition to the project. The pipeline has been met with widespread opposition, with more than 1,000 people participating in public hearings across the three affected states. The Sierra Club recently requested that FERC issue a new environmental review document analyzing information that came in after or late in, the public comment process.
By Jessica Corbett
"It's time Rex Tillerson step down or be removed," said Gigi Kellett of Corporate Accountability International, following an announcement on Thursday that ExxonMobil will pay $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russian officials while the now-secretary of state was the company's CEO.
"ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanction requirements," according to enforcement filing released by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the penalty. Though the fine is reportedly the maximum penalty allowed, it's pittance to one of the world's most profitable and powerful corporations, which last year reported a profit of $7.8 billion.
New analysis from Amory B. Lovins debunks the notion that highly unprofitable, economically distressed nuclear plants should be further subsidized to meet financial, security, reliability and climate goals. The analysis, which will appear shortly in The Electricity Journal, shows that closing costly-to-run nuclear plants and reinvesting their saved operating costs in energy efficiency provides cheaper electricity, increases grid reliability and security, reduces more carbon, and preserves (not distorts) market integrity—all without subsidies.
By Christian Detisch and Seth Gladstone
In the wake of Senate Republicans' ever-deepening debacle over their flailing attempts to strip health insurance from 22 million people, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is desperate to do something—anything—to show that he can get legislation passed. To this end, he's bypassing the standard committee review process to push a complex 850+ page energy bill straight to the full Senate floor. Perhaps not surprisingly, this legislation, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, would be a disaster for public health and our climate.
A new law passed this week in South Miami will require all new homes built in the city to install solar panels. The measure, which was inspired by a proposal from a teenage climate activist, will go into effect in September.
The text of the ordinance details the climate impacts facing South Miami.
By Ben Jervey
Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.
One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.
By Katherine Paul and Ronnie Cummins
A recent series of articles by a Washington Post reporter could have some consumers questioning the value of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic seal. But are a few bad eggs representative of an entire industry?
Consumers are all for cracking down on the fraudulent few who, with the help of Big Food, big retail chains and questionable certifiers give organics a bad name. But they also want stronger standards, and better enforcement—not a plan to weaken standards to accommodate "Factory Farm Organic."