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The problem is further exacerbated by the increased speed of trend turnover. The fast-fashion outlets, due to their quick and voluminous output, are changing trends very quickly to stimulate more sales. However, this means that recent purchases will go out of style sooner than ever before, which means more clothes in the trash bin.

Fast fashion brands may be killing the planet, a Newsweek investigation revealed earlier this month.

Clothes which are processed to get them on the market as quickly as possible—a model favored by H&M, Zara’s, and Forever 21—come at a very high environmental cost, with millions of tons of clothes winding up in trash bins, incinerators and landfills.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 84 percent of discarded clothes winds up in an incinerator or landfill.

Popular clothing chains are trying to mask the environmental impacts by launching programs that claim to recycle clothes. But Newsweek found that these programs are not helping at all.

In April, H&M announced it is accepting donations of used clothes from customers and recycle them to create a new fiber, and thus new clothes. However, only 0.1 percent of all clothing received by charities and programs that recycle clothes is actually recycled, H&M’s Development Sustainability Manager Henrik Lampa admitted.

H&M’s program is also remarkably similar to that used by Goodwill, Newsweek noted.

Fast-fashion outlets are exacerbating the problem because very few secondhand stores or websites selling used clothes, such as thredUP, will accept items purchased from Forever 21 and other stores like it due to its poor quality.

This means more unwanted clothing is adding to the national trash pile. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 84 percent of discarded clothes winds up in an incinerator or landfill.

Fast fashion is the second dirtiest global industry after oil. Since 2011, Greenpeace has been running its Detox campaign to urge global fashion production houses to eliminate hazardous chemicals from clothes.

The problem is further exacerbated by the increased speed of trend turnover. The fast-fashion outlets, due to their quick and voluminous output, are changing trends very quickly to stimulate more sales. However, this means that recent purchases will go out of style sooner than ever before, which means more clothes in the trash bin.

Natural fibers—which include silk, linen, cotton and semi-synthetic fibers (think modal, rayon and Tencel)—have a similar decomposition process to food which yields methane. But it’s impossible to compost these clothes.

“They’ve been bleached, dyed, printed on, scoured in chemical baths,” Sustainable Apparel Coalition CEO Jason Kibbey said.

The chemicals are likely to seep into groundwater if placed in a landfill or permeate the air if sent to an incinerator. This is only one of seven reasons to hate fast fashion, EcoWatch reported in November 2015.

Other materials like acrylic, nylon and polyester have a petroleum base, which means it could take many hundreds of years to fully decompose.

The problem is further intensified by Americans’ growing consumption of clothing, which has doubled to 14 million tons per year in less than two decades.

How damaging is this consumption to the environment? The EPA believes that if Americans were to recycle all of their unwanted clothing, it would have the same environmental impact as removing 7.5 million cars from American highways.

There are organizations that are attempting to put a dent into this clothing waste.

Housing Works, based in New York, has sponsored a clothing recycling program which has kept approximately 6.4 million pounds of clothing out of landfills since 2011. The organization sells these clothes in several secondhand shops. However, 6.4 million pounds is only 0.3 percent of the 200,000 tons of clothes in New York being thrown out each year.

For those living outside New York, the more obvious choice for recycling old clothes is Goodwill or the Salvation Army. However, only 20 percent of clothes donated to these organizations are resold, according to the Council for Textile Recycling. But Salvation Army maintains that it sells between 45 percent and 75 percent of its donations, while Goodwill says it sells 30 percent, and Housing Works claims to sell 40 percent.

“When it doesn’t sell in the store, or online, or outlets, we have to do something with it,” Michael Meyer, vice president of donated goods retail and marketing for Goodwill Industries International, told Newsweek.

So the clothes are often bundled up and sent off to companies which recycle textiles.

There just isn’t adequate demand for clothes in the U.S. to warrant the amount of clothes that are being produced, Georgetown University economics professor Pietra Rivoli said.

“People feel like they are doing something good, and the problem they run into in a country such as the U.S. is that we don’t have people who need [clothes] on the scale at which we are producing,” Rivoli said.

One solution to the problem may be closed-loop sourcing which Marie-Claire Daveu told Vogue is the “holy grail for sustainability in fashion.”

“Reuse old materials. Make new materials out of old materials. Recapture the fibers,” Daveu, who works for worldwide luxury holding company Kering, said.

This technology may not be ready for another 10 years, and may only work on textiles which have never been dyed.

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A California judge struck down a bid Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to expropriate more than 1 million acres in central California for oil drilling.

Judge Michael Fitzgerald found that the BLM failed to consider the dangers of fracking, which is part of the formal application process. Two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres ForestWatch, brought the lawsuit against the BLM.

A California judge has blocked BLM from issuing leases for more than 1 million acres for failing to address how fracking would impact area.

“The bureau failed to take a ‘hard look’ at the environmental impact of the resource management plan, when, under the RMP, 25 percent of new wells are expected to use hydraulic fracturing,” Judge Fitzgerald said in his ruling.

“The bureau is therefore obligated to prepare a substantial EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] to analyze the environmental consequences flowing from the use of hydraulic fracturing.”

The bureau’s 1,073-page impact statement only mentioned fracking three times, SFGate reported. BLM had commissioned a report from the California Council on Science and Technology two years ago, the judge noted. However, commissioning the study does not absolve the BLM from further analyzing the impact of fracking on the area for its current permit, Fitzgerald added.

The area in question involves the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura.

The agency has until Sept. 21 to present arguments as to why the judge should not issue an injunction to stop the plan.

The contested land area provides shelter to more than one-third of the federally listed threatened and endangered species, as well as groundwater systems that provide water for agricultural and residential purposes, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Environmentalists lauded the ruling.

“The Obama administration must get the message and end this reckless rush to auction off our public land to oil companies,” Brendan Cummings, Center for Biological Diversity’s conservation director, said. “As California struggles against drought and climate change, we’ve got to end fracking and leave this dirty oil in the ground.”

ForestWatch executive director Jeff Kuyper also praised the ruling: “This ruling will protect public lands from the crest of the Sierra Nevada to the Central Coast from an influx of oil development and fracking. These treasured landscapes provide many benefits to our local communities and are too valuable to sacrifice for a few days’ supply of oil.”

But, the petroleum industry wasn’t as happy with the ruling.

“Hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation treatments in California have undergone rigorous analysis and review, culminating in the most stringent environmental standards nationwide,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, said. “Countless independent, state and federal science-based studies all agree. Hydraulic fracturing, when regulated, remains a safe technology that provides enormous benefits to American businesses and customers.”

This latest ruling is not the first time a federal judge has blocked BLM from developing California land because of its failure to consider the environmental implications of fracking.

In 2013, a different judge ruled that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by issuing oil leases on Monterey County land without doing necessary studies on the impact of fracking. BLM is still completing an environmental review on fracking, and has not been able to issue any leases in that area.

California has been a battleground state between companies eager to frack for oil and gas, and anti-fracking campaigns. So far, five California counties have banned the industrial practice, with Alameda County becoming the latest to do so.

https://twitter.com/ClimateHour/statuses/757032091158585344

Santa Cruz, San Benito, Mendocino and Butte counties have also banned fracking, while Monterey County will vote on the issue this November. Environmental groups are tackling the issue county by county after California Gov. Jerry Brown came out against a state-wide ban against fracking in June 2015.

Fracking may also be exacerbating California’s long-standing drought. In 2014, the California Department of Gas and Geothermal Resources issued an order to shut down 11 fracked wells over concerns that they were contaminating sources of drinking water. The agency also placed 100 additional wells under consideration to determine whether they were contaminating water.

In February, EcoWatch reported that the federal government will not issue any new permits for offshore fracking in California following the settlement of a case, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity. In the lawsuit, Center for Biological Diversity said that federal regulators were providing permits for fracking activities without duly considering the larger impact on wildlife and coastal communities.

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A new study from professors at Oklahoma State University has found that Republicans and Democrats have never been so far apart on climate issues.

"What was once a modest tendency for Congressional Republicans to be less pro-environmental than their Democratic counterparts has become a chasm—with Republicans taking near-unanimous anti-environmental stances on relevant legislation in recent years, especially 2015," the study said.

A new study from professors at Oklahoma State University has found that Republicans and Democrats have never been so far apart on climate issues.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly interviews The Weather Channel co-founder John ColemanMedia Matters for America

“What was once a modest tendency for Congressional Republicans to be less pro-environmental than their Democratic counterparts has become a chasm—with Republicans taking near-unanimous anti-environmental stances on relevant legislation in recent years, especially 2015,” the study said.

This distance between the parties was further exacerbated by the rise of the Koch-funded Tea Party, which took the hard line of fully dismissing the climate change threat, often making climate change a lightning rod for voters who were outraged at Washington.

As they stoked fears about the U.S. government attempting to pass legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the Tea Party normalized climate denial throughout the Republican Party, according to Oklahoma State University’s Prof. Riley E. Dunlap and Jerrod H. Yarosh, and Michigan State Associate Professor Aaron M. McCright.

Global warming views by party controlling for education and era. Illustration: Dunlap et al. (2016)The Gallup Organization

Another study, cited by The Guardian Tuesday, concludes that the growth of conservative media has cemented this gap.

Conservative newspaper The Wall Street Journal was found to publish inaccurate information on the topic, according to a report by Media Matters for America.

“Out of 93 climate-related opinion pieces published in the Journal during the time period examined, 31 featured climate science denial or other scientifically inaccurate claims about climate change (33 percent),” Media Matters for America said.

A 2013 study found that those Americans who consumed news from conservative news sources such as Fox had a higher distrust of science and scientists, than did those who read or watched non-conservative media.

Breaking through to those who fiercely deny the existence of climate change is no easy task, the Oklahoma State University researchers concluded.

The countermovement includes “fossil fuel corporations and business allies like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, conservative think tanks and their funders, conservative media, and a large supporting cast of front groups, bloggers and contrarian scientists,” the Oklahoma State University study said.

“Does any persuasive framing strategy hold special promise for penetrating Republicans’ partisan/ideological identities? The evidence so far gives us little basis for optimism.”

Since Republicans have spent so long telling their constituents that climate change is not a serious threat, they are in no position to do anything about it in government.

This leaves the Democrats with the responsibility to pass as much legislation to lessen the impact of climate change and deal with its consequences. Since Republicans insist on vetoing nearly all legislation concerning the threat, it is likely that if Hillary Clinton is elected, she will have to follow Obama’s footsteps and implement policy through executive actions.

Conservative media and politicians may not be the only reasons why Americans are so divided about the climate: Corporate groups are also hedging their bets and throwing investment behind both sides, an investigation by Reuters found.

Some of the country’s most vocal corporate supporters of Obama’s environmental programs have been found to be funding some of the most ardent anti-climate change politicians in Washington. Among these companies are PepsiCo, Dupont and Google, Reuters said on Tuesday.

Though companies often split their campaign donations to both parties, arguing for both sides of a particular issue may be a problem, the head of the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute Jon Kukomnik told Reuters.

“There really needs to be a process that looks at these issues … at C-suite and board levels on a periodic basis,” he said.

Of the 35 biggest U.S. companies which signed on to Obama’s American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge last year, 25 of these companies are supporting Congressional climate deniers by helping to fund their campaigns.

These climate deniers include North Dakota Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer, who once argued the Earth was getting cooler and not warmer, and Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, who once held up a snowball in the Senate to prove that global warming is not occurring.

Other companies which signed the environmental pact and then gave political donations to climate deniers are Mondelez, Google, AT&T, Verizon and GE.

Only GE responded to Reuters’ requests for comment, saying it supports “elected officials based on a wide range of issues.” The company insists it has been “outspoken about the need to address climate change.”

Sen. Inhofe said businesses might have signed the environmental pact because it appeared politically expedient to do so at that moment.

“These are competitive companies, and the board might have said, ‘Look, right now it might be a popular thing to join this, and there’s no downside since we’re not really committing to anything,'” he said.

However, investors may want companies to be more committed to environmental sustainability, Lauren Compere of Boston Common Asset Management said.

“No company wants to be perceived as espousing progressive climate policies on the one hand, while funding climate deniers on the other,” she said.

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