Spotlight on green news & views: Acid oceans threaten extinction; hawk raised by eagles

This is the 516th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the July 29 Green Spotlight. More than 27,475 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

FishOutofWater writes—USGS Scientist Finds Smoking Gun for Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction, CO2 Turned Oceans into Acid: “Seth Burgess, U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist, found the smoking gun that caused earth’s greatest mass extinction 252 million years ago at the end of the Permian period. Massive blowholes, called diatremes, blasted extraordinary amounts of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) , after earth’s largest preserved volcanic eruption began injecting massive layers

douglas squirrel

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Court delivers another kick to Trump regime over delaying methane reductions, but fight isn’t over

In a ruling issued Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia smacked the Environmental Protection Agency again, requiring that it immediately begin enforcing an Obama administration rule that set standards for the oil and natural gas industry’s methane emissions. The Trump regime had issued a two-year delay for enforcing the rule. Although environmental advocates were pleased by the court’s decision, industry and some conservative organizations have appealed to the full 11-judge circuit court in hopes it will overrule the panel and allow the methane rule to be postponed while further studies are undertaken. Thus, the fight will continue. 

Although it doesn’t remain in the atmosphere as long, methane, a chief component of natural gas, has a greenhouse effect over 20 years that is 84-86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Recent studies have shown, as environmental advocates have argued for years, that methane emissions from oil and gas

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Spotlight on green news & views: Tesla Model 3 unveiled; GOP back on their light-bulb schtick

This is the 515th edition of the Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) usually appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here is the July 26 Green Spotlight. More than 27,455 environmentally oriented stories have been rescued to appear in this series since 2006. Inclusion of a story in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

OUTSTANDING GREEN STORIES

terrypinder writes—Like most everything else, his “trillion dollar infrastructure plan” is probably a f**king scam:Everything this regime does is a mean-spirited scam. The bones of this particular scam are a bunch of managementese gobble-te-gook: ‘we’re going to spend $200 billion over 10 years to leverage $800 billion in private money’ and some odd bullshit—things that don’t mean anything (oh, and we’ll return to the $200 billion in just a second).

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The new number two in the Interior Department: A lobbyist against environmental protections

Even in the context of Donald Trump’s other anti-government, pro-corporate hires, his choice of industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for the No. 2 position in the Department of the Interior is remarkably cynical.

Bernhardt, who ran the natural resources department at lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, has spent the last several years working on behalf of oil and gas companies and large agribusiness to weaken environmental protections.

His lobbying appears to have continued into this current year:

The Campaign for Accountability accused Bernhardt of continuing to lobby for a client, the Westlands Water District in California, after withdrawing his registration as a lobbyist last November, the Washington Post reported Friday. In a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate the claim, the group contended Bernhardt edited a draft executive order for then-President-elect Donald Trump involving water issues that stood to benefit Westlands Water.

The suggestion here is

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Udall introduces bill to ban brain-damaging insecticide that EPA decided can still be used on farms

Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and seven other Democratic senators introduced a bill Tuesday to regulate or ban a neurotoxic insecticide if the Environmental Protection Agency cannot prove it is safe. You can read a summary of the bill, S. 1624, here.

An organophosphate, the insecticide named chlorpyrifos has been banned from household use for more than 15 years, but it’s still widely used on crops like broccoli and almonds. Several studies have tied the chemical—a product of various companies, including Dow—to attention deficit disorders, lowered IQ, other health issues, and negative impacts on fetuses, including brain damage. Dow claims it’s safe when used as directed. But the EPA had planned to ban the chemical last November. The Trump regime wedged a stopper into that move.

Twice during the Obama Administration, the EPA had proposed to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos. At the time the agency said exposure to chlorpyrifos from food and drinking

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New information suggests that scientists have underestimated global warming—but don’t panic

A new study indicates that climate scientists may have underestimated the amount of global warming that has already occurred by as much as 20 percent. But that doesn’t mean that it’s any hotter outside. It’s a matter of hotter relative to what?

Preventing global warming from becoming “dangerous” may have just got significantly harder after new research suggested climate scientists have been using the wrong baseline temperature.

Scientists haven’t been making some kind of mistake in measuring the temperature. The issue is time. Most climate change models start somewhere in the 19th century, with the best data set beginning around 1880. But this new study indicates that this date may actually be too late if the intent is to really capture all the impact burning of fossil fuels has had on the climate. By the late 1800s, people had already been burning fossil fuels in rapidly-increasing amounts to stoke the

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Cap-and-trade for Northeastern states so successful that the only fight is over how much to improve

When Donald Trump announced that he was pulling the United States from the Paris Agreement—a spiteful action that promises precisely zero benefits while offering near infinite downsides—there was an immediate reaction from many governors and mayors in states and cities that retained some modicum of sense. Official after official promised that, while Trump may be racing to make synonyms of “America” and “mud,” they would maintain standards for their region that were as high, or higher, than those proposed under the agreement.

But with Trump actively promoting pollution and climate change, states could take that as an excuse to forget past promises. Which makes an upcoming plan all the more important.

Eight years ago, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ― made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont ― established an interstate cap-and-trade system that puts a limit on carbon dioxide emissions from the utility

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