Newsdesk – October 20

Billionaires Are the Leading Cause of Climate Change.  Contrary to a lot of guilt-tripping pleas for us all to take the bus more often to save the world, your individual choices are probably doing very little to the world’s climate. The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies. The people who are actively cranking up the global thermostat and threatening to drown 20 percent of the global population are the billionaires in the boardrooms of these companies. In her book, Mayer notes that “Koch Industries alone routinely released some 24 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year.”  Even today, after literally decades of radical libertarian billionaires fostering disbelief in climate change and skepticism about the government, three out of five Americans believe climate change affects their local community. That number climbs to two-thirds on the coasts – GQ

  • Beer Prices Could Double Because Of Climate Change, Study Says – NPR
  • Most of the Arctic’s permanent ice is gone – Cosmos
  • How A Technology From Iceland Is Fighting Climate Change – Forbes
  • Replacements for Plastic Straws Have Their Own Problems –  Independent Institute 
  • Forests Emerge as a Major Overlooked Climate Factor – Quanta
  • This gel grows and heals by gobbling carbon from the air – Anthropocene 
  • Kids’ climate change lawsuit against federal government can proceed without naming Trump, judge rules – NBC News
  • Farms, Food Producers Taking Strides to Save Water – and the Climate – News Deeply
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

How to talk about hurricanes now.  Hurricane Michael isn’t a truly “natural disaster.”  Neither was Harvey in Houston. Nor Maria in Puerto Rico. Yet we continue to use that term. The phrase ‘natural disaster’ is an attempt to lay blame where blame really doesn’t rest,” said Kerry A. Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT and a global expert on hurricanes. It’s not about semantics, said Ksenia Chmutina, a lecturer at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. She and colleagues issued a news release this year asking journalists to banish the phrase from our lexicon. “By blaming nature on disasters, we’re saying there is nothing we can do about this – we can’t do anything to reduce the risks. Which is not the case. “So, what should we say instead? And where, if not with nature, should we place the blame? – CNN

The slogan “No Plan B” is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) in Paris, France, December 11, 2015. REUTERS/Charles Platiau.

What Local Climate Actions Would Have the Greatest Impact. In light of even more dire news about our warming planet, leading thinkers tell us the one thing cities and states could do to cut emissions significantly—and fast. A landmark report released by the U.N. last week has laid out the stakes of a warming planet more starkly than ever. Warming of just 1.5 degrees Celsius could bring on the most severe consequences of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.  Many cities and states are leading the public charge to address this, particularly in the U.S. after President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord. But it’s not yet clear what their tangible and collective impact has been.  So we asked some leading thinkers on local action and the environment: What is one thing a city or state could do to cut emissions significantly, fast? – CITY LAB


Slaughterhouses pose serious threat to clean water in meat production supply chain. Major pollution caused by industrial farming captured the attention of environmental groups after Hurricane Florence caused animal waste lagoons in North Carolina to overflow contaminating water in surrounding communities. The nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) examined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) records for 98 large meat-processing plants across the country. Looking at the records, EIP found that 74 of the plants had exceeded their permit limits for nitrogen, fecal bacteria, or other pollutants. According to the report, the most polluting slaughterhouse in 2017 was the JBS pork processing plant in Beardstown, Illinois, which released 1,849 pounds of nitrogen a day, on average, into a tributary to the Illinois River. That’s equivalent to the nitrogen in raw sewage from a city of 79,000 people, according to EPA data. The second worst polluter was the Smithfield Tarheel Plant pork slaughterhouse in Tarheel, North Carolina, which discharged 1,759 pounds of nitrogen a day, on average, into the Cape Fear River last year – THINK PROGRESS