Are You Ready to Resist Trump and Join the Clean Energy Revolution?
By Ryan Schleeter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued one of his most anti-environment executive orders yet. And coming from the same president that fast-tracked the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and wants to defund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that's saying something.
With this order, Trump has instructed the EPA to reverse or re-examine some of the most important climate actions of the Obama era—like limiting greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, halting coal leasing on public land and critical protections for climate-impacted communities.
But for all his efforts to prop up the fossil fuel industry, the best Trump can do is delay our inevitable transition to clean energy—not stop it. And while he does that, it's up to all of us to to minimize the devastation his administration will inflict on our climate and communities. Here's what to watch for.
Trump's executive order shows that he's just a fossil fuel industry stooge with a presidential pen. Read: https://t.co/RrA5vy844b— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1490728446.0
Handouts for Coal Companies
During his time in office, President Obama used executive power to make big steps toward phasing out fossil fuels in favor of clean, renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan and coal leasing moratorium were two of the hallmarks of his climate legacy—now Trump is undoing both of them.
The Clean Power Plan addressed carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, setting the goal to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The coal leasing moratorium, meanwhile, halted the sale of federal lands to fossil fuels companies for coal mining until the U.S. coal program could be overhauled with a specific eye towards climate impacts.
By attempting to undo both in a single executive order, Trump is making it perfectly clear that his administration puts fossil fuel CEOs before the American people. But we're skeptical that he'll actually succeed and so are global energy markets.
The rapid growth of clean energy jobs—coupled with the economic decline of the coal industry, even despite subsidies that continued under the Obama administration—means that Trump is fighting both basic science and economics on this one. Renewable energy is already delivering more jobs than a fossil fuel economy while protecting our health and climate for future generations.
#Trump Promises to Bring Back #Coal as Two More Coal Plants Set to Retire https://t.co/LOIADqqZVG @SierraClub @BeyondCoal @maryannehitt @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1490102678.0
Costs for American Communities
Trump's executive order isn't just short-sighted for our economy—it will also have devastating impacts for communities on the frontlines of climate change and fossil fuel exploitation.
The White House's staunch climate denial is depriving millions of Americans of the aid they desperately need to protect themselves from the worst impacts of climate change. Our most vulnerable communities cannot afford another Katrina or Sandy (or Matthew or Ike or Andrew or Irene).
And by giving corporate handouts to coal companies, Trump is further delaying a just transition to a clean, sustainable economy for the workers hurt most by the failing coal industry—and it's not the CEOs. Reinstating coal leasing on public lands will not bring back coal jobs, guarantee a fair return to taxpayers or accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. It will only make progress more painful for coal country and fuel the climate crisis.
And to top it off, Trump is also attacking the very idea that climate change comes with costs associated (reminder: it does). He's instructing federal agencies not to account for the social cost of carbon in policymaking, which could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.
Here's How We Fight This
Like the rest of the half-brained policies that have come from the Trump White House so far, this executive order is very likely to be challenged in court. Given this administration's track record (ahem, Muslim ban), that gives us hope that this attack on climate and environmental protection won't stand.
But if that's going to happen, we still need to show up in force. And in just one month, we'll have a chance to do that in a big way.
On April 29—day 100 of the Trump administration—we're marching for jobs, justice and the climate in DC with the People's Climate March. Three years ago, more than 400,000 people took to the streets of New York City for the inaugural march, but with the stakes even higher and the climate movement even stronger, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.
3 reasons you should join the People's #ClimateMarch this April. https://t.co/WAIeVQvLAZ #ResistOften https://t.co/rTnzbTblOh— Greenpeace USA (@Greenpeace USA)1490389442.0
Join us this April if you're ready to resist Trump's attacks on climate progress and fight for the clean energy future we deserve.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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