Newsdesk – November 2

(Photo: Gillfoto/Creative Commons)

How to Vote for the Environment This Year. A guide to key ballot measures and Senate and House races that will have huge impacts on the way we address climate change. If you’re voting for the environment, the presidential race is clear. One candidate has a plan to address climate change, and the other has consistently eviscerated international climate goals, stripped environmental protections, and ignored or blocked science. In Arizona, Republican Martha McSally, was appointed to fill John McCain’s seat after he passed away during his term. So if her opponent, astronaut Mark Kelly, a Democrat, wins, he could be sworn in as early as November 30, changing the balance of power in the Senate. She’s been categorically bad on public-land protection and pollution. The League of Conservation Voters put her on its Dirty Dozen this year. Kelly, on the other hand, says he’s seen the impacts of deforestation firsthand—from space! He’s been endorsed by the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter and the League of Conservation Voters for his science-based plan to address climate change in the desert.  In Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is running against incumbent Steve Daines. Daines shepherded the showy Great American Outdoors Act, along with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, but his longer record shows votes to defund the same act, particularly during years when he wasn’t up for election.  Steve Bullock initiated the Montana Climate Assessment and has led the charge to remove dangerous acting BLM head, William Perry Pendley,  whose appointment was never approved by Congress, which is in violation of the Constitution. As governor, Bullock has done a good job of listening to constituents’ climate, water, and land-use concerns and acting on them, and I believe he’ll do the same as a senator.    Washington governor Jay Inslee gained national attention when he entered the Democratic presidential primary on a climate-focused ticket. As governor, he’s pushed the state’s clean-energy portfolio and worked on salmon and orca conservation, which are hot topics in the Puget Sound area. In the state race, he’s running against small-town police chief Loren Culp, who identifies as a sportsman and whose platform as such is slightly obtuse: “As governor, he says, “I will measure Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s performance by a simple set of questions: Are there fish in the water? Are there deer and elk on the land? Are sport hunters content? Are commercial fishermen content?” The race is an ideological battle over government overreach, but it has the power to change the direction of the state’s climate momentum. Inslee is at the forefront of pushing climate policy on the state and national level. Let’s keep him there – Outside 

  • Typhoon, landslides leave 35 dead, dozens missing in Vietnam – AP News
  • Harley-Davidson is making electric bikes now – Fast Company
  • How Does Your State Make Electricity? – The New York Times
  • Here’s What a Carbon Offset Actually Looks Like – Outside
  • South Korea formally commits to cutting emissions to net zero by 2050 – Climate Home News
  • Typhoon Goni: Philippines hit by year’s most powerful storm – BBC
  • Japan net zero emissions pledge puts coal in the spotlight – Climate Home News
Bethany Davis Noll (Courtesy of Institute for Policy Integrity)

If Biden Wins, Here’s How He Could Undo Trump’s Deregulation Agenda. The Trump administration, more than any other in U.S. history, aggressively pursued the rollback of federal regulations, particularly the ones put in place by President Barack Obama — including a rule meant to prevent people with mental health issues from buying guns and a regulation aimed at keeping coal companies from dumping mining waste into streams. Biden has already said that, if he wins, he plans to roll back more than 100 Trump administration public health and environmental regulations, including his reversal of protections for transgender people.  Davis Noll, litigation director for the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law says,  “When Biden wins, you’ll see agencies getting back to doing their job, like looking at their statutes, which often say something like “reduce emissions,” in the case of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or “regulate this thing that is harmful to the public.” And you’ll see agencies getting back to doing the business of the agencies. That’s what we’ve been missing.  The Biden administration can then pull that record up from the previous Obama administration rule and update it. And it should be pretty simple to say, “This record still works. You know, there hasn’t been that much time that has passed, and this rule that was vastly beneficial to the American people is still a good idea.” The thing that has happened in the last 20 to 30 years is presidents have more and more turned to their agencies to make policy because we can’t get much out of Congress these days. There’s just massive gridlock there. It’s been there for a while, and it seems like it’s continuing. There was this really great article written by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, when she was a law professor, called “Presidential Administration” back in 2001. It was about the Clinton administration. And she said the Clinton administration had basically turned to its agencies to make policy because of congressional gridlock. And she predicted that future presidents would do that more and more – Public Integrity


Greta Thunberg reflects on living through multiple crises in a ‘post-truth society. Since her first sit-in outside the Swedish parliament building more than two years ago, Greta Thunberg’s fundamental message has been clear and unchanging: The climate crisis is humanity’s greatest existential threat and we need to treat it as such. That message inspired millions of young activists to protest for change and led to a series of viral speeches that have defined Thunberg’s global fame. She was Time’s 2019 Person of the Year and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize two years in a row. Now, though, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic—a global crisis of a much different nature—and the looming threat of the U.S. backing out of the Paris Agreement, the 17-year-old activist is back at school in Sweden. National Geographic spoke with Thunberg via Zoom about how her activism has changed over the past year, and how her message might survive an increasingly complex world. There are some weekly digital strikes, Greta says,  which have been successful. And many groups have done symbolic actions. Some have put up signs or shoes outside the parliament buildings to symbolize that we should be here, but we are home. So there are lots of creative ways people have adapted. Climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, like the pandemic, for example. In the interview, Greta stated, “That we live in a post-truth society today, and that we don’t care that we have lost empathy. We have stopped caring for each other in away. We have stopped thinking long-term and sustainable. And that’s something that goes much deeper than just climate crisis deniers. The climate crisis is not the only problem here. It is just a symptom of a larger crisis. Like the loss of biodiversity, acidification of the oceans, and loss of fertile soil, and so on. And these things will not just be solved by stopping our emissions of greenhouse gases. The earth is a very complex system. If you take one thing and put it out of balance, then that will have an impact on things beyond our comprehension. There are no excuses left. Now, it’s just, either you try to minimize the crisis or just completely deny it, or you try to distract. We just need to start treating the crisis like a crisis and continue to lift up the science, but now everyone’s blaming each other and we are stuck in a loop. We won’t get anywhere unless someone breaks that chain, so to speak” – The National Geographic