The Next Wave of Extremists Will Be Green

Read the full story in Foreign Policy.

If military strategists are always fighting the last war, the same is true of those who work on countering radicalization. In 2001, Western intelligence services, mostly focused on localized terrorist groups like the Irish Republican Army and ETA, were stunned by al Qaeda. Come 2011, they were then blindsided by Anders Behring Breivik and the growth in far-right extremism. By the mid-2010s, the Islamist threat had evolved into the Islamic State — and they were slow to spot that, too.

Today, we are about to make the same mistake. We will not easily forgive ourselves if our attention is exclusively occupied by the Islamic State or the far-right when the coming wave of environmental radicalization hits.

How connected are humans to their environment?

Read the full story at EnvironmentalResearchWeb.

Today many of us rely heavily on imports of goods, food and power and have lost much of our connection with our local environment. As a result we tend to consume more than our fair share of resources and generate more than our fair share of waste. But unless we suffer the direct consequences, often we are not aware of how disconnected we are from our own environment. Now a study has assessed the mechanisms that enable people to disconnect from their environment, and proposed a framework to measure connectedness in any part of the world.

Report: EPA’s Voluntary WaterSense Program Demonstrated Success

Download the report.

The EPA estimated that consumers saved over 1.5 trillion gallons of water through use of WaterSense-labeled products. Consumers saved an estimated $1,100 for every federal dollar spent on the program.

The 2017 Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Download the document.

This first edition of the Utility Energy Efficiency Scorecard assesses the 51 largest US electric utilities across a range of energy efficiency metrics. The metrics fall into three categories critical to utility-sector efficiency: (1) quantitative savings and spending performance, (2) program diversity and emerging areas, and (3) targets, business models, and evaluation. Eversource MA and National Grid MA both performed best, tying for the top spot. The other top 10 utilities include Pacific Gas & Electric, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Eversource CT, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & and Electric, Commonwealth Edison, Portland General Electric, Xcel Colorado, and Xcel Minnesota. The Scorecard gives utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders a baseline and roadmap they can use to track performance and strengthen utility-sector energy efficiency.

 

Proposed federal budget and its impact on energy and environment: A roundup

Below is a roundup of some of the most recent stories about the effect of President Trump’s proposed budget on energy and environmental agencies. I’ll do additional roundup posts as more information becomes available.

Green Report on Status of Environmental Agency Budgets

Download the document.

State environmental agencies operate the majority of federally delegated and authorized programs and manage funds to implement related environmental regulations. In July 2016, ECOS sought state environmental agency budget data (EAB) for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. ECOS received 48 responses.

This ECOS Green Report provides information on state EABs for fiscal years (FY) 2013, FY2014 and FY2015, and focuses on changes and trends in these budgets, including analysis of changes to the three main funding sources: state general funds, federal funding, and fees or other sources.

Storm Lake Times Pulitzer winner: ‘They give you 15 grand. That’s worth it.’

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Pulitzer Prizes are committed to rewarding works of original and important journalism. Monday they credited this line, from the Storm Lake Times of Iowa: “It scares the bejeebers out of taxpayers, especially in defendant counties,” wrote Art Cullen in one of the pieces that secured the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Cullen is editor of his 3,000-circulation newspaper, and as such, he can write “bejeebers” whenever he pleases: “The style guides is whatever we come up with. We have no style or class,” Cullen told the Erik Wemple Blog.

Whatever term you choose, Cullen and his small newspaper have scared something out of the powers that be in a few counties of northern Iowa. Since the founding of the Storm Lake Times in 1990, says Cullen, he and his brother John have been obsessed with how Iowa has changed its mode of agriculture. Gone are the cattle and grazing pastures, he says — they’ve been herded into feed lots. Meantime, the landscape has been gobbled up by expanses of corn and soybeans. With the changeover has come nitrate pollution. One of the first stories that the newspaper did, he recalls, reported how its coverage area had become “the hottest spot in Iowa for nitrate pollution.”