"Can you really blame the kids," asks Chris Bryant. "The planet has warmed by "only" about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times and yet the destructive effects of climate change have become frighteningly apparent. The heatwaves, floods, deadly wildfires and violent hurricanes we've experienced lately are mild compared to what our children will contend with. The world is on track to heat up by more than 3 degrees by 2100 and the warming won't miraculously stop then."
The Trump administration, as part of its anti-regulatory frenzy, has decided that the worst oil spill in the nation's history was not worth remembering, writes Fred Grimm. The Interior Department is discarding the offshore drilling rig safety regulations adopted after Deepwater Horizon to prevent another such blowout. Meanwhile, rather than wait for the cumbersome process it takes to undo federal regulations, Politico reported that Interior has jumped ahead and issued an extraordinary 1,679 exemptions to the safety rules. Most of the exemptions allowed offshore drilling companies to bypass regulations that tighten the maintenance and testing requirements for the so-called "blowout preventers" that automatically cap a wellhead in case of a rupture. Of course, the blowout preventer on Deepwater Horizon failed spectacularly.
Incoming Democratic leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California, highlight an environmental report by the U.S. Geological Survey that concluded public lands are responsible for nearly a quarter of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Noting the Trump administration's enthusiastic endorsement of coal mining and oil and gas drilling on public lands, they vow to explore better options, especially in light of another report, mandated by Congress, that gave new urgency to expected impacts of climate change on people's health, their homes, and the overall U.S. economy. "Our parks, forests, oceans, and wild, open spaces shouldn't be used to make our climate crisis worse," say the lawmakers, endorsing the transition to sustainable use of the nation's considerable renewable resources.
LA Times journalist and historian Scott Martelle blames American consumers for a significant increase in carbon emissions last year. Noting that alternatives to gas-powered vehicles have insufficient infrastructure and endurance, he says voters need to put more pressure on their representatives to use government to shift the markets away from products that are killing us.
Floods are the most common and destructive natural disaster in the U.S. and have affected all 50 states in the past five years, says Anita Byer, president of the property and casualty brokerage firm in Florida — and a 50-year-old federal program meant to provide a viable insurance market and improve flood management has found it difficult to meet its goals. As weather is becoming more unpredictable and damaging, Byer argues that it is time for Congress to enact real reforms to fix the flawed program.