In the coming days, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to use its power to roll back yet another Obama-era environmental protection meant to curb air pollution and slow the climate crisis.
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Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.
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The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline won a reprieve Wednesday when an appeals court canceled a lower court order mandating the pipeline be shut down and emptied of oil while a full environmental impact statement is completed.
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Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images
By Jake Johnson
Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that would ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. and institute stronger protections for farmworkers and communities that have been exposed to damaging chemicals by the agriculture industry.
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The Great American Outdoors Act is now the law of the land.
<div id="e0008" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ffc07febbf5d2d585ad06d3f43e2be56"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1290667833999929344" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Breaking News: The President has just signed the bipartisan #GreatAmericanOutdoorsAct. It will help: 🏗️ Restore… https://t.co/RPefKPMn7S</div> — Fix Our Parks (@Fix Our Parks)<a href="https://twitter.com/FixOurParksUS/statuses/1290667833999929344">1596554165.0</a></blockquote></div>
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By Eoin Higgins
Environmental groups on Friday condemned the announcement of a new rule proposed by President Donald Trump that would further weaken the Endangered Species Act by making it easier to destroy habitats vulnerable species rely on for survival.
If you lived in a community suffering from bad air quality in 1981, chances are your neighborhood hasn't improved much. That's the takeaway from a new study that found despite years of progress to improve air pollution, wealthy, white Americans are breathing much cleaner air than low-income communities of color, The Guardian reported.
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Union Representing 1.7 Million U.S. Teachers Says It Will Support Strikes If Schools Reopen Unsafely
The American Federation of Teachers issued guidelines for the safe reopening of schools, including the use of face masks. izusek / E+ / Getty Images Plus
The second largest teachers union in the U.S. announced Tuesday it would support strikes if schools reopened without proper safety measures in place to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
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By Oliver Milman
This story was originally published in The Guardian on July 27, 2020.
It was a balmy June day in 2017 when Donald Trump took to the lectern in the White House Rose Garden to announce the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, the only comprehensive global pact to tackle the spiraling crisis.
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Abandoned Climate Efforts<p>The U.S. government in practice abandoned any concern over the climate crisis some time ago, with the Trump administration so far <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2020/07/trump-is-rushing-to-slash-every-last-obama-era-environmental-rule/" target="_blank">rolling back</a> more than 100 environmental protections, including an Obama-era plan to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants, limits on pollution emitted from cars and trucks and even energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs. In an often chaotic presidency, Trump's position on climate change has been unusually consistent – American fossil fuel production must be bolstered, restrictive climate regulations must be scrapped.</p><p>Unswayed by <a href="https://news.gallup.com/poll/308876/environmental-ratings-global-warming-concern-flat-2020.aspx" target="_blank">growing alarm</a> among Americans over the climate crisis, Trump is taking this same message to the election. "Biden wants to massively re-regulate the energy economy, rejoin the Paris climate accord, which would kill our energy totally, you would have to close 25% of your businesses and kill oil and gas development," the president said this month, without citing evidence, as he announced <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/15/donald-trump-environmental-reviews-pipelines-highways" target="_blank">another rollback</a>, this time of environmental assessments of pipelines, highways and other infrastructure.</p><p><span></span>Despite all this, U.S. emissions have continued to fall, due in large part to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/29/america-coal-mining-enery-climate-crisis" target="_blank">downfall</a> of a coal industry that Trump has attempted to prop up. The international ramifications have been telling, however – in the absence of any sort of positive cajoling from the U.S., global emissions have remained stubbornly <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/25/climate-heating-greenhouse-gases-hit-new-high-un-reports" target="_blank">high</a> and most countries are lagging behind their own promised actions.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/" target="_blank">Climate Action Tracker</a>, only Morocco is acting consistently with the Paris agreement's goals, with the global temperature rise set to exceed 3C by the end of the century even if the current pledges are met. Paris was meant to be only the beginning – countries are supposed to continually ratchet up their ambition levels until the more extreme ravages of climate change, such as dire flooding, heatwaves, crop failures and the loss of coral reefs, are avoided.</p><p>"There's been less political will from other countries to take action to a certain extent because the U.S. isn't pushing for it," said Biniaz. "During the first four years of Trump it's easier to say it's likely to be an aberration, a short-term deviation, but if it's eight years it's harder to keep together the coalition of countries that care about this."</p>
‘Another Meteorite Is Coming’<p>Another four years of a Trump administration uninterested in the climate crisis could set back global emissions cuts by a decade, according to <a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/four-more-years-of-donald-trump-could-delay-global-emissions-cuts-by-10-years" target="_blank">one published analysis</a>, making the chances of meeting the goals of Paris near to impossible.</p><p>Hakon Saelen, an environmental economist at the University of Oslo who led the study, said the U.S. withdrawal is a "significant major blow" to the mitigation of the climate crisis. "The world cannot afford any delay if the 2C target is to be reached," he said. "Our model indicates that the chance of reaching it is very low already, but near zero with another Trump term."</p><p>But even with an engaged Biden administration that is somehow able to get Congress to agree <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/14/joe-biden-climate-jobs-plan" target="_blank">to a $2t</a><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/14/joe-biden-climate-jobs-plan" target="_blank">n plan</a> to shift the U.S. on to renewable energy, the challenge is immense. The world has dithered on cutting emissions for so long that only an unprecedented, rapid overhaul of the way we travel, generate energy and eat will keep humanity within the bounds of safety outlined in Paris.</p>The world will have to slash emissions by more than 7% a year this decade to have any hope of meeting the 1.5C target, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/26/united-nations-global-effort-cut-emissions-stop-climate-chaos-2030" target="_blank">according to the United Nations</a>. This annual cut will be achievable this year only through the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, which shuttered much of the global economy. A more sustainable path to decarbonization will need to be immediately identified and implemented.<p><br>"The warmer it gets the worse it gets and the [Paris] targets are broadly at a level where things will get really bad," said Zeke Hausfather, director of climate and energy at the <a href="https://thebreakthrough.org/" target="_blank">Breakthrough Institute</a>. "We don't want people to give up hope, the human race won't become extinct at 2C but that's an unnecessarily high bar. There are still large threats and a lot of good reasons to keep warming below that.</p><p>Stern said American voters will naturally be "supersonic focused" on coronavirus and the economic fallout. "But climate change can't be forgotten this election," he said. "The Covid crisis has shown us countries can do remarkable things in short order when they believe they have to. It shows us we need leaders who also understand what we need to do on climate change, because that is another meteorite heading our way."</p>
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By Krissy Waite
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The inspector general for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will look into one of the Trump administration's hallmark environmental rollbacks: the weakening of Obama-era emissions standards. The law from the Obama administration was designed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing fuel-efficiency standards. Now, the EPA's inspector general will try to determine whether or not the rollback violated the government's own laws, according to CNN.
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