Who needs clean water?

Via here we get to see the priorities of the Trump administration:

The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA’s total budget by a quarter.

The Great Lakes funding cut is the largest total dollar reduction on a list that includes major cuts to climate change programs, restoration funding for Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, research into chemicals that disrupt human reproductive and developmental systems, enforcement of pollution laws and funding for Brownfield cleanups.

The plan also includes a $13 million cut in compliance monitoring, which the EPA uses to ensure the safety of drinking water systems. State grants for beach water quality testing would also be eliminated.

Other EPA cuts in the plan include a 30 percent reduction in state and local air grants from 2017 levels, a 24 percent cut to the overall budget, decrease of staffing by 19 percent, elimination of the Indoor Air Radon Program and state indoor radon grants, elimination of the Environmental Justice office and a reduction of environmental justice funds by more than 77 percent from 2017 levels, according to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

Hey, remember when water pollution was so bad that rivers caught fire?

Let’s cut jobs so we can increase pollution

In a shocking move (or, you know, the opposite of that), the Trump administration has already taken down the page on climate change at whitehouse.gov (I’m taking this from the Vox article, because I’m not going to link to a Trump anything today):

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.

Well, let’s look at the job report for the energy sector:

The 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) finds that the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.

Hmm, looks like the energy sector is doing ok already.

Electric Power Generation and Fuels technologies directly employ more than 1.9 million workers. In 2016, 55 percent, or 1.1 million, of these employees worked in traditional coal, oil, and gas, while almost 800,000 workers were employed in low carbon emission generation technologies, including renewables, nuclear, and advanced/low emission natural gas. Just under 374,000 individuals work, in whole or in part, for solar firms, with more than 260,000 of those employees spending the majority of their time on solar. There are an additional 102,000 workers employed at wind firms across the nation. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.

The 2017 USEER also shows that 2.2 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in the design, installation, and manufacture of Energy Efficiency products and services, adding 9133,000 jobs in 2016. (Energy Efficiency employment is defined as the production or installation of energy efficiency products certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program or installed pursuant to the ENERGY STAR® program guidelines or supporting services thereof). Almost 1.4 million Energy Efficiency jobs are in the construction industry. In addition, construction firms involved in the Energy Efficiency sector have experienced an increase in the percentage of their workers who spend at least 50% of their time on Energy Efficiency-related work, rising from 64.8 percent in 2015 to 74.0 percent in 2016. Finally, an improved USEER survey methodology identified almost 290,000 manufacturing jobs, producing Energy Star® certified products and energy efficient building materials in the United States.

Hmm, it looks like clean energy production is doing really well. It seems to be the wave of the future. Of course, this means Trump will concentrate on oil and gas, thus not only increasing the amount of pollution but allowing other countries to jump ahead in the sectors of energy production that are growing by leaps and bounds. Good job.

It’s a plateau I tell’s ya

Another year, another record:

Earth’s 2016 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Globally-averaged temperatures in 2016 were 1.78 degrees Fahrenheit (0.99 degrees Celsius) warmer than the mid-20th century mean. This makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year – from January through September, with the exception of June – were the warmest on record for those respective months. October, November, and December of 2016 were the second warmest of those months on record – in all three cases, behind records set in 2015.

The NOAA is much more conservative:

During 2016, the average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.69°F (0.94°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all 137 years in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set last year by 0.07°F (0.04°C). The first eight months of the year had record high temperatures for their respective months. Since the start of the 21st century, the annual global temperature record has been broken five times (2005, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016).

No wait, they’re saying the same thing as NASA (although NASA says 2016 was .09°C above 2015).

If you look at the temperatures since 1880 there is no obvious pattern (the data is from here, Credit: GISTEMP Team, 2017: GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP). NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dataset accessed 20Y17-01-18at https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/):

temps

Well, there’s no obvious pattern if you’re paid to see no pattern.

Global warming is over

Wow, this September was cold:

September 2016 was the warmest September in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

September 2016’s temperature was a razor-thin 0.004 degrees Celsius warmer than the previous warmest September in 2014. The margin is so narrow those two months are in a statistical tie. Last month was 0.91 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean September temperature from 1951-1980.

My mistake, I meant to link here (go to September if it’s moved to the next month):

The September temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60°F above the 20th century average of 59.0°F. This was the second highest for September in the 1880–2016 record, 0.07°F cooler than the record warmth of 2015 when El Niño conditions were strengthening.

See, it might not have been a record, so obviously global warming is a hoax.

The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.78°F above the 20th century average of 57.5°F. This was the highest for January-September in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.23°F.

Umm, if you ignore the last three years, there’s been an obvious plateau.

Temps

Ok, if you ignore the last 40 years then there’s no obvious upward trend.

Here, let’s change the subject, here’s the Red Spider Nebula (Credit: ESA/Garrelt Mellema (Leiden University, the Netherlands):

Huge waves are sculpted in this two-lobed nebula some 3000 light-years away in the constellation of Sagittarius. This warm planetary nebula harbours one of the hottest stars known and its powerful stellar winds generate waves 100 billion kilometres high. The waves are caused by supersonic shocks, formed when the local gas is compressed and heated in front of the rapidly expanding lobes. The atoms caught in the shock emit the spectacular radiation seen in this image.

The DR Congo and Cobalt

It seems that the Washington Post has found out about Cobalt:

The world’s soaring demand for cobalt is at times met by workers, including children, who labor in harsh and dangerous conditions. An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures, according to workers, government officials and evidence found by The Washington Post during visits to remote mines. Deaths and injuries are common. And the mining activity exposes local communities to levels of toxic metals that appear to be linked to ailments that include breathing problems and birth defects, health officials say.

The Post traced this cobalt pipeline and, for the first time, showed how cobalt mined in these harsh conditions ends up in popular consumer products. It moves from small-scale Congolese mines to a single Chinese company — Congo DongFang International Mining, part of one of the world’s biggest cobalt producers, Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt — that for years has supplied some of the world’s largest battery makers. They, in turn, have produced the batteries found inside products such as Apple’s iPhones — a finding that calls into question corporate assertions that they are capable of monitoring their supply chains for human rights abuses or child labor.

I first read it as Coltan, since this story is almost exactly the same as one I posted about back in 2008. I guess history does repeat but with minor variations. It seems the DR Congo isn’t in much better shape than it was back then.

Oh, and here’s Senator Clinton from back then:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Congo on Monday to push the Congolese government and the United Nations to end the longstanding bloodshed here, taking special aim at the illicit mineral trade that helps fuel the conflict.

“I am particularly concerned about the exploitation of natural resources,” she said, referring to Congo’s vast reserves of diamonds, gold, copper, tin and other minerals.

She said that illegal mining was one of the root causes of Congo’s violence and that armed groups were sustaining themselves off the mineral riches. “There is a lot of money being made in eastern Congo,” Mrs. Clinton said.

I wonder if Donald Trump has even heard of the DR Congo?

National Park Service turns 100

Hey, here’s another example of government doing good things: the National Park Service turned 100 yesterday. Can you imagine what would have happened to all these amazing places if the government hadn’t become involved?

In celebration, all National Parks are free through Sunday August 28, if you click on the link you can find parks near you and there is a list of events here. You can also look here.  The concept of national parks started when Yellowstone became the first national park in the world in 1872. Go out and celebrate one of the great things the United States has done, make the most beautiful parts of the country accessible to all and something that will last for as long as our government lasts.

Hmm, it’s still hot

So July broke the record for the month again:

July 2016 was the warmest July in 136 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Because the seasonal temperature cycle peaks in July, it means July 2016 also was warmer than any other month on record. July 2016’s temperature was a statistically small 0.1 degrees Celsius warmer than previous warm Julys in 2015, 2011 and 2009.

That would sound comforting after the first several months this year, but remember that 2015 was easily the warmest year on record … until this year.

The NOAA doesn’t have the July data yet, but let’s look at some bits from the first half of the year:

  • The year-to-date temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.89°F above the 20th century average of 56.3°F. This was the highest for January-June in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.36°F.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.17°F above the 20th century average of 45.0°F. This was the highest for January-June in the 1880–2016 record, exceeding the previous record of 2015 by 0.70°F.
  • The year-to-date globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.42°F above the 20th century average of 60.9°F. This was the highest for January-June in the 1880–2016 record, besting the previous record of 2015 by 0.25°F.

 

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