Rick Perry Stepping Down From Energy Department
Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who has aggressively championed fossil fuels and expressed skepticism that the climate crisis is man-made, will step down from his post by the end of the year, The New York Times reported.
Perry is one of the few people in the Trump administration to remain despite unprecedented turnover, Twitter-storms and scandals. He has been a steadfast ally of the fossil fuel industry and appears to have avoided the president's ire. However, his ability to steer clear of scandal may have come to an end in the wake of the recent revelations of Trump's attempt to strong-arm the Ukrainian president into digging into Joe Biden's son, Hunter.
That inquiry has called into question Perry's trip to Ukraine President's Volodymyr Zelensky's inauguration in May where he promoted Ukraine's oil and natural gas exports, according to The New York Times. However, POLITICO reported that two people familiar with Perry's plans said he had been planning to leave for several months, well before the recent scandal surfaced.
So far, no evidence has emerged that Perry pressured Zelensky to investigate the Biden family, according to The Washington Post.
The Department of Energy would not confirm that Perry is planning to depart.
"While the Beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry's departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump's Cabinet," Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told CNN. "One day the media will be right. Today is not that day."
Perry's time at the Department of Energy is notable for his resistance to renewable energy. He has fiercely promoted oil and gas exploration and touted coal and nuclear energy as the future of America's energy sector, even though he has tried and failed to prop up coal-fired and nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, he has also approved plans to reduce funding for wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, according to The New York Times.
Just last month the Department of Energy put the kibosh on an Obama-era requirement that would have phased out incandescent and halogen light bulbs and replaced them with more efficient LED bulbs that would have kept millions of tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
Perry's resignation will seemingly end his long career in politics.
"I really think this might be the end of the road for him in terms of holding political positions," said James W. Riddlesperger, a professor of political science at Texas Christian University who has followed Mr. Perry's career since he ran for and won state agriculture commissioner in the 1990s, as The New York Times reported. Two people close to the energy secretary told the Times they expect him to go into the private sector.
Michael Greenstone, who directs the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute, wrote in an email to The Washington Post that Perry would leave government with a mixed record.
"By all accounts, Secretary Perry stands out for running the DOE forthrightly and without seeking personal gain. But at the same time, his DOE has pursued policies, for example his efforts to increase coal usage on the grid, that seem to willfully ignore science and economics," Greenstone wrote. "Ultimately, how one judges his tenure depends on how you add these factors up and whether you think they reflect his private views or the president's positions."
Power plants across Texas are leaching toxins into groundwater. https://t.co/VYb4C4RTPq— Lakota Law Project 🔺 (@lakotalaw) January 18, 2019
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- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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