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'Don't Let a Climate Denier Take Over the EPA'
Climate activists projected huge images and text onto the front of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters in Washington, DC Monday evening, calling on President-elect Donald Trump to not appoint climate change denier Myron Ebell as head of the agency.
Using a high powered projector, activists with 350.org, ClimateTruth.org and the Sierra Club projected an image of the Earth and oil rigs, along with messages like, "Don't Let A Climate Denier Take Over the EPA" onto the front of the building. The images could be seen clearly across the street from another building: the Trump Hotel.
"Every science teacher in America should be appalled that Donald Trump would consider appointing a climate change denier to head the EPA," Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, said. "Part of the job description to run that agency should be that you actually care about the environment. MEbell has shown exactly the opposite, taking over $2 million from ExxonMobil to gut environmental regulations and promote climate denial. We're doing everything we can to stop this appointment."
Trump has already appointed Ebell as head of the EPA Transition Committee and is rumored to be considering him for the top job at the agency. Ebell has no scientific experience and denies the threat of human caused climate change. His think-tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has taken millions more from fossil fuel companies like the Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil to undermine environmental regulations. Ebell has also enthusiastically opposed the Clean Power Plan and reveled in his status as "climate criminal."
"Myron Ebell is a professional merchant of doubt who is committed to undermining the consensus behind climate change," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. "It's no wonder why: He has spent his career doing the bidding of the big polluters who pay him to deny climate change and attack clean air protections. Anyone who denies climate science does not have the American people's best interests at heart and is not fit to oversee the leadership of the EPA, an agency that is charged with keeping all Americans healthy and safe."
Environmental groups have collected tens of thousands of signatures opposing Ebell and are looking to add momentum to a growing backlash against his appointment. A petition on the White House's "We the People" website garnered nearly 100,000 signatures before being taken down because the current administration had no say in the matter. Protests have also been spreading offline: Last Friday, hundreds of students at Georgetown and Harvard demonstrated against Ebell, organizing online with the hashtag #RebelAgainstEbell. Environmental groups have also joined other social justice organizations in opposing the appointment of white supremacists and racists such as Steve Bannon and Sen. Jeff Sessions.
"Like Steve Bannon and most others floated for Trump administration roles, Myron Ebell is a climate change denier whose ignorance and corruption makes him unqualified for the job," Emily Southard, campaign director at ClimateTruth.org, said. "If you aren't prepared to protect all Americans from the threat of climate change, you aren't qualified to lead the EPA."
While the odds are low considering Trump's own belief that climate change is "bullsh*t" or "a hoax created by the Chinese," the need for an EPA administrator who supports action to address the climate crisis couldn't be more urgent. Scientists recently confirmed that 2016 is the warmest year on record and Arctic sea ice is at an alarming all time low. Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change across the U.S., especially on low-income and communities of color, are becoming more clear with each passing month.
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By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.