Category: Environment

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We're taking a holiday break. Posts resume January 7.

U.S. States Have Eliminated Thousands of Environmental Protection Jobs Since 2008

Read the full story at e360.

Over the past decade, U.S. states eliminated 4,400 jobs at agencies responsible for protecting the environment, according to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. From 2008 to 2018, 30 states also cut funding for environmental agencies, with more than half of those slashing budgets by at least 20 percent.

5 of the biggest environmental and climate change stories over the last decade and what’s changed

Read the full story from ABC News.

Dire warnings on climate change from scientists warning about more severe consequences and less time to stop them.

Microplastics littering the ocean, the growing great Pacific garbage “patch” and dead marine animals found with plastic and other trash in their guts.

Concerns about drinking water tainted with lead and exposure to “forever” chemicals.

And a country once again leaning on fossil fuels for energy production despite a global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The last decade has produced some startling climate and environmental headlines in the United States amid growing awareness of the problems faced around the world — as well as potential solutions for some of them.

Here are some of the things biggest developments in climate change and some of other big environmental stories of the last decade.

Obama’s former EPA chief takes the helm of environmental group that’s sued Trump nearly 100 times

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

An environmental group that has sued the Trump administration nearly 100 times announced Tuesday that it has hired Gina McCarthy, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, as its new president and chief executive.

In a phone interview Tuesday, McCarthy, who headed the EPA from July 2013 until January 2017, said she was joining the Natural Resources Defense Council to fight for stronger environmental protections and address the challenge of climate change.

Washington State Announces Interest in Restricting Chemicals in Certain Consumer Products

Read the full story in the National Law Review.

Washington State has taken its first steps towards implementing the nation’s strongest state chemicals law. This month, the Department of Ecology (Ecology) announced certain chemical-product combinations that it is studying for potential priority designation. Any such designated combinations could be subject to future restrictions or bans…

Ecology is focusing its initial research on the following chemical-product combinations:

  • Flame retardants: electronics, foam used in furniture, and building insulation
  • Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): carpets and aftermarket carpet treatments
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): printing inks
  • Phthalates: vinyl flooring and cosmetic fragrances
  • Phenolic compounds: laundry detergent, thermal paper, and can linings

Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Setting a Global Action Agenda

Download the document.

The world is at a critical moment in the fight against food loss and waste, with momentum building to address the 1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted each year. But action is not yet at a pace needed to achieve SDG Target 12.3 by 2030.

The report Reducing Food Loss and Waste: Setting a Global Action Agenda identifies a three-pronged approach to halve food loss and waste by 2030. The report calls on governments, companies, farmers, consumers, and everyone in between to:

  1. “Target-Measure-Act”: Set food loss and waste reduction targets, measure to identify hotspots of food loss and waste and monitor progress over time, and take action on the hotspots;
  2. pursue a short “to-do” list per player in the food supply chain as “no regret” first steps toward taking action; and
  3. collaborate on 10 “scaling interventions” to ramp up deployment of Target-Measure-Act and the to-do list.
There are enormous benefits to reducing food loss and waste. Successfully halving food loss and waste would close the gap between food needed in 2050 and food available in 2010 by more than 20 percent. It would avoid the need to convert an area the size of Argentina into agricultural land. And it would lower greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5 gigatons per year by 2050, an amount more than the current energy- and industry- related emissions of Japan.

This report has been produced by World Resources Institute with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, and in partnership with United Nations Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, Iowa State University, The University of Maryland’s Ed Snider Center, The Consortium for Innovation in Postharvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction, Wageningen University and Research, the World Bank, and WRAP.

Winners: SEJ 18th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The Society of Environmental Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment, which honor the best articles, radio broadcasts and videos released from March 1, 2018, through February 28, 2019, and the best books on environmental topics published in 2018.

This year, SEJ launched the Ray Reece “Excellence in Environmental Journalism” Student Award, with generous funding from the Ray Reece Environmental Journalism Foundation. The Ray Reece Student Award recognizes published or broadcast journalism from undergraduate, graduate and high-school students.

The number of entries in the 2019 contest soared to 478, an all-time high for the contest. Entries were judged by independent panels of journalists, working and retired, who were challenged by the excellence of the entries. The SEJ contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive environmental journalism competition, recognizing the best news coverage of the most important stories on the planet.

The winner of the Nina Mason Pulliam Award, selected from the first-place winners in all categories, will be announced shortly. SEJ will honor all of the winners on Oct. 12, 2019 at a celebratory luncheon during the society’s 29th annual conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.

SEJ’s 2019 Awards for Reporting on the Environment are…

Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Large Market
Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Small Market
Outstanding Beat Reporting, Large Market
Outstanding Beat Reporting, Small Market
Outstanding Explanatory Reporting
Outstanding Feature Story
Rachel Carson Environment Book Award
Ray Reece “Excellence in Environmental Journalism” Student Award

SEJ’s 2019 Distinguished Judges

EIA expects U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to fall in 2019

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

After a 2.7% increase in U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2018, EIA’s July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts a 2.2% decrease in CO2 emissions for 2019. Nearly all of the forecast decrease is due to fewer emissions from coal consumption. Forecast natural gas CO2 emissions increase and petroleum CO2 emissions remain virtually unchanged.

Petroleum, natural gas, and coal continue to dominate U.S. energy consumption

Read the full story from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have accounted for at least 80% of energy consumption in the United States for well over a century. Overall energy consumption in the United States reached a record high in 2018 at 101 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), of which more than 81 quadrillion Btu were from fossil fuels. Despite the increase, the fossil fuel share of total U.S. energy consumption in 2018 increased only slightly from 2017 and was the second-lowest share since 1902.

‘Recycling Is Like a Band-Aid on Gangrene’

“Recycling is like a Band-Aid on gangrene,” says Dr. Max Liboiron, director of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) in Newfoundland. “The only mode of attack is to deal with a heavy decrease in the production of plastics, as opposed to dealing with them after they’ve already been created.” Dr. Liboiron’s research on microplastics interrogates the scientific method with feminist and anti-colonialist methodology. Read more: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/ind…

“Guts” was directed by Taylor Hess (https://www.taylormhess.com/) and Noah Hutton (http://www.noahhutton.com/). It is part of The Atlantic Selects, an online showcase of short documentaries from independent creators, curated by The Atlantic.

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