Trump’s Misleading Speech on His Environmental Record Is a ‘True “1984” Moment’
President Donald Trump delivered a speech Monday on "America's environmental leadership" that failed to even once mention climate change, The New York Times reported. The speech was also riddled with inaccuracies, as the president took credit for environmental achievements enacted by previous administrations and downplayed the impacts of his deregulatory agenda.
"This speech is a true '1984' moment," said David G. Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, to The New York Times.
At one point, the doublespeak prompted Fox News host Shepard Smith to interrupt the broadcast to point out that many of Trump's policies had been "widely criticized by environmentalists and academics," HuffPost reported.
Smith then went on to list some of the more than 80 regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration has initiated, including the recent repeal of the Clean Power Plan that would have limited emissions from coal plants.
While Trump did not mention the climate crisis outright, he did make a misleading claim about U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, stating that, in the past decade, the U.S. had seen an emissions decrease "more than any other country on earth," The New York Times reported. In fact, more than 12 other countries, including much of the EU, have seen declines that double the U.S. decrease of more than 10 percent.
In addition to lying about greenhouse gas emissions, Trump also criticized one of the leading proposals for reducing them: the Green New Deal.
"While we're focused on practical solutions, more than 100 Democrats in Congress support the so-called Green New Deal," the president said, as CBS News reported. "Their plan is estimated to cost our economy nearly $100 trillion. A number unthinkable. A number not affordable even in the best of times. If you go 150 years from now, and we've had great success, that's not a number that's even thought to be affordable. Kill millions of jobs, it'll crush the dreams of the poorest Americans and disproportionately harm minority communities. I will not stand for it. We will defend the environment but we will also defend American sovereignty, American prosperity, and we will defend American jobs."
In fact, the Green New Deal resolution proposes to create millions of high-wage jobs and to specifically protect and uplift vulnerable communities.
"Here are the facts: The Green New Deal puts justice and equity at its center," Washington Governor and climate-focused presidential candidate Jay Inslee tweeted in response to Trump's remarks. "If we don't act on climate, people of color and low-income communities will continue to be hit the hardest."
What will hurt communities on the frontline of the climate crisis is the Trump administration’s continued inaction on climate. https://t.co/hluV9rC73r— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) July 8, 2019
Trump was also misleading when he shifted away from carbon pollution.
"From day one my administration has made it a top priority to ensure that America is among the very cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet," Trump said, as CNN reported. "We want the cleanest air. We want crystal clean water and that's what we're doing and that's what we're working on so hard."
But Trump's rollbacks attack air and water as well as climate. The Clean Power Plan replacement could cause up to 1,400 extra air pollution deaths a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own estimates, and his EPA is also working to weaken the Obama-era Clean Water Rule that would protect streams and wetlands from pollution.
Environmental groups roundly criticized Trump's speech.
"Donald Trump's speech today was full of more hot air than his dangerous policies and rollbacks are pumping into our atmosphere," Sierra Club executive director MIchael Brune said in a statement. "Attempting to greenhouse gaslight the American people with a single speech — one that fails to even acknowledge the climate crisis — won't help the families and communities suffering from the toxic pollution caused by Trump's dangerous agenda. No amount of speeches, lies, or stunts will ever change the fact that Donald Trump has the worst record on the environment and climate of any president in American history."
"No amount of speeches, lies, or stunts will ever change the fact that Donald Trump has the worst record on the environment and climate of any president in US history."— Sierra Club (@SierraClub) July 8, 2019
Environmental Defense Fund Action President Joe Bonfiglio agreed.
"President Trump has obviously seen the polls showing that Americans care about clean air, clean water, and solving climate change — so today he's reportedly going to try to do the impossible: talk his way out of the most damaging and backward environmental record in American history," he said in a statement. "The fact is that the Trump administration has worked to undermine environmental protections established by both Republican and Democratic presidents, compiling what can charitably be called a disastrous environmental record."
5 Ways Trump Is 'Gaslighting' Us on U.S. Air Pollution Levels #TrumpWatch #TrumpTweets #CleanAir #TuesdayThoughts #WeWillNeverBeTheSame @lakotalaw @youthvgov— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) October 23, 2018
Heard about the latest false tweet? No. We are NOT the nation with the cleanest air. https://t.co/Gg5DEBRDTc
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By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.
Tropical Storm Josephine Also No Threat to Land<p>Meanwhile, the season's record-earliest tenth named storm, Tropical Storm Josephine, was also struggling with high wind shear as it traced out a path over the open ocean.</p><p>At 5 a.m. EDT Saturday, Josephine was located about 310 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 15 mph with top sustained winds at 45 mph. Josephine is expected to bring one to three inches of rain over portions of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico over the weekend. Josephine will encounter steadily rising wind shear through Monday, peaking at a very high 30 – 35 knots. This high shear is likely to destroy Josephine's circulation by Monday, before the storm can affect any other land areas.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/08/tropical-storm-kyle-forms-unlikely-to-affect-land/" target="_blank">Yale Climate Connections</a>. </em><em></em></p>
By Ute Eberle
In May 2017, shells started washing up along the Ligurian coast in Italy. They were small and purple and belonged to a snail called Janthina pallida that is rarely seen on land. But the snails kept coming — so many that entire stretches of the beach turned pastel.
The Ligurian coast has been swept by snails turning its color pastel.
A World Between Worlds<p>The neuston comprises a multitude of weird and wonderful creatures. </p><p>Many, like the Portuguese man-of-war, which paralyzes its prey with venomous tentacles up to 30 meters long, are colored an electric shade of blue, possibly to protect themselves against the sun's UV rays, or as camouflages against predators.</p><p>There are also by-the-wind sailors, flattish creatures that raise chitin shields from the water like sails; slugs known as sea dragons that cling to the water's surface from below with webbed appendages; barnacles that build bubble rafts as big as dinner plates; and the world's only marine insects, a relation of the pond skater.</p><p>They live "between the worlds" of the sea and sky, as Federico Betti, a marine biologist at the University of Genoa, puts it. From below, predators lurk. From above, the sun burns. Winds and waves toss them about. Depending on the weather, their environment may be warm or cool, salty or less so.</p>
Sea snails can make up the neuston.
Velella velella jellyfish living on the surface of the ocean.<p>But now, they face another — manmade — threat from nets designed to catch trash. A project called <a href="https://theoceancleanup.com/" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a>, run by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, has raised millions of dollars in donations and sponsorship to deploy long barriers with nets that will drift across the ocean in open loops to sweep up floating garbage. </p>
Collecting With the Current<p>"Plastic could outweigh fish in the oceans by 2050. To us, that future is unacceptable," <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/green-entrepreneur-sets-sights-on-great-pacific-garbage-patch/a-38855785" target="_blank">The Ocean Cleanup</a> declares on its website.</p><p>But Rebecca Helm, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina, and one of the few scientists to study this ecosystem, fears that The Ocean Cleanup's proposal to remove 90% of the plastic trash from the water could also virtually wipe out the neuston.</p><p>One focus of Helm's studies is where these organisms congregate. "There are places that are very, very concentrated and areas of little concentration, and we're trying to figure out why," says Helm.</p><p>One factor is that the neuston floats with ocean currents, and Helm worries that it might collect in the exact same spots as marine plastic pollution. "Our initial data show that regions with high concentrations of plastic are also regions with high concentrations of life."</p>
Waste collection in the Pacific Ocean heralded by The Ocean Cleanup.<p>The Ocean Cleanup says Helm's concerns are based on "misguided assumptions."</p><p>"It's true that neustonic organisms will be trapped in the barriers," says Gerhard Herndl, professor of Aquatic Biology at the University of Vienna and one of project's scientific advisors. "But these organisms have dangerous lives. They're adapted to high losses because they get washed ashore in storms and they have high reproductive rates. If they didn't, they'd already be extinct."</p><p>Helm says they just don't know how quickly these creatures reproduce, and in any case recovering from passing storm is very different from surviving The Ocean Clean Up's systems which could be in place for years.</p>
Communication Breakdown<p>The Ocean Cleanup invited Helm to a symposium on the topic in December, where both sides presented their points of views and didn't seem to find much common ground. Since then, direct communication between them has stopped, says Helm. "They're not interested in talking to me anymore."</p><p>Both sides agree that much is still unknown about the neuston. But one thing that has been established is that most of the oceans' fish spend part of their lifecycle in the neuston. "More than 90% of marine fish species produce floating eggs that persist on the surface until hatching," Betti says.</p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has undertaken one of the few studies into this ecosystem, collecting data on the neuston on the relative abundance of neuston and floating plastic debris in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during a 2019 expedition to the Pacific Garbage Patch, an area where plastic pollution has accumulated on a vast scale. But it is not yet sharing what it has found. The information was being prepared for publication in an as of yet unspecified journal, probably some time next year, an Ocean Cleanup spokesperson said. </p>
Inshore Solution?<p>Helm believes the best way to tackle the marine plastic problem would be to position the barriers closer to land — across river mouths and bays — to catch garbage before it reaches the sea.</p><p>"Stopping the flow of plastic into the ocean is the most cost-effective — and literally effective — way to ensure that it's not entering our environment," she says. </p><p>As for the plastic already floating in open waters, she does not believe it is worth sacrificing parts of neuston and wants to see more research first. </p><p>The Ocean Cleanup has made barriers across rivers a part of its mission. But it is also going ahead with its original vision of pulling trash from the open water. In late 2018, the project deployed a 600-meter, u-shaped prototype net into the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Great Pacific Garbage Patch</a>. </p><p>The system ran into difficulties, failing to retain plastic as hoped, and needing to be brought shore for repairs and a design upgrade, after which Ocean Cleanup says it gathered haul of plastic that it will recycle and resell to help fund future operations.</p><p>Over the next two years, the project hopes to deploy up to 60 such barriers to collect drifting flotsam. Helm isn't the only one concerned about these plans.</p><p><span></span>"We should think twice about every action we take in the sea," Betti says. "In nature, nothing is as easy as we think, and often, we've done a lot of damage while trying to do a good thing."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/environment-conservation-plastic-oceans/a-54436603" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.<a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2646992655#/" target="_self"></a></em><em></em></p>
By Hope Dickens
Molly Craig's day begins with feeding hungry baby birds at 6 a.m. The birds need to be fed every 15 minutes until 7 at night. If she's not feeding them, other staff at the Fox Valley Wildlife Center in Elburn, Illinois take turns helping the hungry orphans.
By Douglas Broom
"Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people," said former U.S. president, Franklin Roosevelt.
So the FAO is using Twitter to remind the world of these five hidden benefits of forests.
A Michigan bald eagle proved that nature can still triumph over machines when it attacked and drowned a nearly $1,000 government drone.
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