Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Trump: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris”

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): . (YouTube, 20:57min) “Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change. That’s bad news for anyone who happens to live on this planet.”

President Trump: “The Green Fund would likely obligate the United States to commit potentially tens of billions of dollars, of which the United States have already handed over $1 billion. Nobody else is even close.”

John Oliver: “It would have been equally as accurate for him to say “Compliance with the Paris agreement would likely require all ducks to wear jean shorts and that it would potentially cost each and every American citizen five fish and a dump truck full of hamsters.”

Is he stupid or simply a liar?

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

NPR: Trump’s Speech On Paris Climate Agreement Withdrawal, Annotated.

Trump: “For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase the emissions by a staggering number of years – 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples but the bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

Comment:”Under the Paris Agreement, China has pledged to halt the growth in its carbon emissions by 2030, 13 years from now. But China is on track to beat that target date by many years, according to the Climate Action Tracker. India is also ahead of schedule in meeting its Paris commitments.”

Trump: “We have among the most abundant energy reserves in the planet, sufficient to lift millions of America’s poorest workers out of poverty. Yet under this agreement, we are effectively putting these reserves under lock and key, taking away the great wealth of our nation. It’s great wealth. It’s phenomenal wealth. Not so long ago, we had no idea we had such wealth. And leaving millions and millions of families trapped in poverty and joblessness. The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries.”

Comment: “During the campaign, President Trump regularly blasted the Obama administration for holding back domestic oil and gas production with excessive regulations. The fact is the United States extracts more oil and gas than any other nation in the world. That’s been the case every year since 2012, and is largely due to a domestic oil and gas boom powered by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Solar and wind energy has surged as well, due to government incentives, as well as increasingly cheap production costs.”

Thanks, Trump, for ruining the planet for all of us.

“[Trump’s] speech was packed with make-believe numbers from controversial or disproven studies. It was hypocritical and dishonest.”

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Der Spiegel: Paris Disagreement Donald Trump’s Triumph of Stupidity. “German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G-7 leaders did all they could to convince Trump to remain part of the Paris Agreement. But he didn’t listen. Instead, he evoked deep-seated nationalism and plunged the West into a conflict deeper than any since World War II.” By SPIEGEL Staff.

“Renewable energies, said the chancellor [Angela Merkel], present significant economic opportunities. “If the world’s largest economic power were to pull out, the field would be left to the Chinese,” she warned. Xi Jinping is clever, she added, and would take advantage of the vacuum it created. Even the Saudis were preparing for the post-oil era, she continued, and saving energy is also a worthwhile goal for the economy for many other reasons, not just because of climate change.

But Donald Trump remained unconvinced. No matter how trenchant the argument presented by the increasingly frustrated group of world leaders, none of them had an effect. “For me,” the U.S. president said, “it’s easier to stay in than step out.” But environmental constraints were costing the American economy jobs, he said. And that was the only thing that mattered. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

At that point, it was clear to the rest of those seated around the table that they had lost him. Resigned, Macron admitted defeat. “Now China leads,” he said.”

Tiny but dangerous

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

The Guardian: Single clothes wash may release 700,000 microplastic fibres, study finds. (September 27, 2016) “Tiny plastic particles released by synthetic fabrics can cause harm to marine life when they enter rivers and oceans.”

“Each cycle of a washing machine could release more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibres into the environment, according to a study.
Inside the lonely fight against the biggest environmental problem you’ve never heard of
Read more

A team at Plymouth University in the UK spent 12 months analysing what happened when a number of synthetic materials were washed at different temperatures in domestic washing machines, using different combinations of detergents, to quantify the microfibres shed.

They found that acrylic was the worst offender, releasing nearly 730,000 tiny synthetic particles per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric, and nearly 1.5 times as many as polyester.”

So far, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot we consumers can do, except not wear synthetic clothing. However, there’s a company called Guppyfriend that is developing a washing bag designed to catch those microfibers. Here’s their Kickstarter page.