Posts tagged: climate change

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

climate change


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
22 June 2011, 2:49 PM
Brilliant mid-summer flowers in the Rockies waning due to climate change
Hummingbird at larkspur. David Inouye photo.

One of the great joys of living in the Rockies is taking a summer stroll in a high meadow, surrounded by wildflowers - violet lupines, deep red skyrockets, purple larkspur, penstemons, 6-foot gentians, and many others.

Some of these diplays may be changing, however, according to a scientific article written up recently in the LA Times.  The study shows that the previous "peak" of flowers in the mid-summer is being stretched out.  As the biology geeks put it in the article:

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
21 June 2011, 1:52 PM
"This is not how government is supposed to work"

Americans are worried about their government. We imagine backroom deals are cut, fates are foretold and the little guy always gets shafted because powerful interests own the cops.

Recent events in Kansas prove these fears can be spot-on.

The Kansas City Star has unearthed emails showing the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the agency responsible for enforcing the federal Clean Air Act, had an “improper relationship” with an air permit applicant.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 June 2011, 4:55 PM
High court affirms EPA authority

Today, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling once again affirmed the Environmental Protection Agency as the most rightful and authorized regulator of climate change pollution in the land.

While some in Congress have been trying to take this power away from the EPA, and have been attempting to block EPA controls on climate change pollution, the Supreme Court today ruled that the EPA -- not the Supreme Court, not states and not Congress -- is "best suited to serve as primary regulator of greenhouse gas emissions."

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
17 June 2011, 5:19 AM
Formaldehyde fess up, climate change symptoms, eco bag attack
The FDA recently released new restrictions for sunscreen manufacturers. Photo courtesy of earthly delights.

New sunscreen rules keep consumers from getting burned
After 30 years of sitting in the sun, this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new rules for sunscreen that help protect consumers from misleading claims, reports the New York Times. One of the rules requires “broad spectrum” sunscreens to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which both cause cancer. A second rule bans sunscreen manufacturers from using the term “waterproof” or “sweatproof” as both of those claims are, well, false. Instead, manufacturers can specify the amount of time that sunscreen is water-resistant. Though other questions remain, such as the safety of nanoparticles in sunscreen, it’s nice to see that proper skin protection finally gets its day in the sun.

House of Representatives throws GE salmon off dinner table
Recently, the House voted to keep genetically engineered salmon out of U.S. waters by prohibiting the FDA from approving the fish for human consumption, reports the Associated Press. Made by AquaBounty, the salmon is engineered to grow twice as fast as the natural version. Though that sounds tasty on the surface, critics argue that the so-called “frankenfish” could cause allergies in humans and infiltrate—and eventually decimate—the wild salmon population, an argument that has garnered support from both sides of the political spectrum. This past May, Earthjustice petitioned the FDA to consider the environmental risks of GE salmon before approving its sale.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
14 June 2011, 11:38 AM
Two camps now forming
Mitt Romney's a climate change believer

According to the National Journal, “virtually all of the serious 2010 GOP challengers have moved beyond opposing cap-and-trade to dismissing the scientific evidence that global warming is even occurring.”

Like that old gag from Seth Myers and Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live, it is understandable if the American people are starting to ask the Republican Party, “Really?”

While many Republicans running for president in 2012 have adopted a stance of certitude on the subject, others are sheepishly running away from prior statements on the subject.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
03 June 2011, 5:49 AM
Obama backtracks on broad environmental fronts
What happens when you get thrown under the bus.

Since the GOP won a majority in the House in 2010, the Obama administration has gone into "go-slow" mode - or even has taken a U-turn on presidential initiatives on air pollution and climate change.  The Los Angeles Times took aim at this in a tough May 20 editorial headlined: "In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don't matter."  It opens:

Shortly after his party's "shellacking" in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they "stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive." Five months later, it's becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment and public health will be thrown under a bus for the sake of his reelection in 2012.

Ouch! 

And this hurts all the more because Earthjustice is feeling the tire marks.  Many of the issues on which the administration is attempting to appease polluters and House radicals are those we've worked on for years, including:

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View Shirley Hao's blog posts
30 May 2011, 3:05 PM
The saga of Violet, Bobby and their eyas
"Yes? May I help you?" (Photo courtesy of Erin Callihan / NYU Local)

Polar bears may be the poster child for climate change, but our warming world is affecting flora and fauna up the food chain and down. Birds of prey are no exception. As temperatures change, some areas get drier, others get wetter—and the landscape that the birds have relied on and adapted to becomes increasingly foreign.

For many of us, the active lives of birds can be glimpsed only fleetingly (if at all) through carefully trained binoculars. Thankfully, the Internet—as it has with so many other mysteries of life—has stepped in to help us out.

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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
24 May 2011, 12:43 PM
Polar sea ice's downward curve
The trajectory of sea ice. From "Arctic Sea Ice Blog"

The Arctic Sea Ice Blog earlier this month posted this alarming chart, showing polar sea ice on a downward trajectory.  Based on computer models that incorporate observed sea-ice data, the Arctic Ocean could be entirely ice-free during the month of September by about 2016, and could be ice-free year-round by the early 2030s.

Are polar bears getting desperate?  Maybe so.  A recent news report suggests at least one pairing of a grizzly and polar bear in the wild has resulted in a hybrid "pizzlie."

View Buck Parker's blog posts
18 May 2011, 6:57 AM
Examining the Arctic Council Summit

Some good things happened this last week at the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Nuuk, Greenland, but the sense of urgency to protect the world’s last great wilderness from the ravages of resource extraction – and to slow Arctic warming and melting – was lacking.

Among the good things that happened in Nuuk:

Not only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton but also Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar attended. This was the first time that the United States sent a cabinet-level representative to a meeting of the Arctic countries’ foreign ministers, let alone two. The clear implication is that the Obama Administration is paying much more attention to the Arctic than any previous administration and recognizes that what happens in the Arctic as a whole, and not just Alaska, could have important consequences for the United States.

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View Erika Rosenthal's blog posts
18 May 2011, 6:54 AM
Arctic Council must take lead in urging world action on climate change
NASA depiction of rapidly melting Greenland ice cap

From the Kangerlussuaq airport, at 67 degrees North in Greenland...

It’s four hours to New York and five to Moscow, but only three to the North Pole. People are speaking Danish and the language of the Inuit people. I’m writing at the airport on my way home from the Arctic Council ministerial meeting, held in the capital, Nuuk, about 45 minutes south by plane. The Greenlandic landscape is stark and beautiful and resplendent in ice and snow over the rolling hills and craggy mountains.

Greenland is poised to soon become the newest nation on Earth – the first to achieve sovereignty because of climate change, melting ice allowing for increased access to oil and mineral resources that will generate revenues to run the country and finalize independence from Denmark.

It is part of the fragile Arctic ecosystem whose future not only will determine the survival of the extraordinary indigenous cultures and wildlife of the region, but will affect climate globally. As Patricia Cochran & Sheila Watt-Cloutier, both former chairs of the Inuit Circumpolar Council have written: “All the people of the globe rely on the Arctic’s cold.”

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