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Vol. 25 - No. 175
Sunday, June 25th, 2017
January 10, 2011

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Facts about the inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president

Published: Friday, January 20, 2017 12:16 AM

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures nearing 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) and rain tapering off by midafternoon. * After breakfast and a church service, Trump and his wife, Melania, will meet outgoing President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House. Following tradition, Trump and Obama will ride together down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol.

Al Gore rouses Sundance with climate film on eve of Trump induction

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:30 PM

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in DavosBy Piya Sinha-Roy PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Former U.S. vice president Al Gore delivered a rousing battle cry on Thursday to push climate change forward as an urgent matter for politicians on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, at the premiere of his new documentary. Gore received a standing ovation after the premiere of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," which opened this year's Sundance Film Festival, as he encouraged audiences to place hope especially in solar power to tackle global warming. "Whether or not Donald Trump, inaugurated tomorrow, will take the kind of approach that continues this progress, we'll have to see, but let me reiterate, no one person can stop this," Gore told the audience.


Rain, snow storms pummel the West; more wet weather on way

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 06:32 PM

An uprooted tree that struck a home in Sacramento, Calif is seen Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The homes' resident, who declined to be identified, said the tree fell during the storm around 7 p.m. Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)RENO, Nev. (AP) — More winter snow and rain pummeled the West on Thursday as the first in a series of expected storms soaked morning commuters in much of California, dumped 18 more inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada and closed schools in Oregon.


Bad weather and broken generator stall bid to rescue Peru miners

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 06:23 PM

Heavy rain and equipment failure stalled efforts in Peru on Thursday to rescue seven miners who were trapped in a tunnel hundreds of feet under a landslide three days ago, officials said. Four of the miners may already be dead, according to a miner who escaped on Tuesday, a day after the small copper deposit mined in the southern region of Arequipa was engulfed. Sounds coming from one of the miners stopped late on Wednesday, said regional mining official Vladimir Bustinza.

There's a serious danger to the soft climate denial pedaled by Trump's cabinet picks

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 04:48 PM

There's a serious danger to the soft climate denial pedaled by Trump's cabinet picksGoing into the cabinet hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's nominees, the story was clear: Democrats were going to press his picks for Environmental Protection Agency administrator, secretary of state and energy secretary for past statements revealing their climate-denying views.  After all, they were chosen for their positions by a person who has called climate change a "hoax" orchestrated by the Chinese to damage the U.S. economy.  SEE ALSO: Trump's EPA nominee spars with Bernie Sanders over climate change In hearing after hearing, Trump's cabinet nominees slipped through Democrats' grasp by uttering reasonable enough statements that still significantly mischaracterized the state of climate science, which holds that global warming is largely human-caused and is an urgent threat — one that can only be addressed by making drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.  Yet by being slightly more sensible than Trump on climate change, each nominee — from secretary of state pick Rex Tillerson to energy secretary nominee Rick Perry — was able to wiggle away from the hearings without clearing up whether and how he would use his prospective office to address global warming. They moved from outright climate denial to a more subtle, insidious and risky form. Visualization showing how 2016 was the warmest year on record for the globe. Image: ed hawkins Each nominee presented themselves as what Vox 's David Roberts and other climate advocates describe as "lukewarmers": people who acknowledge that carbon emissions are having some influence on the climate, but say that predicting climate change and climate impacts is extremely difficult, and acting based on the science we have right now could damage the economy.  In other words, lukewarmers say they see a problem, but they're not exactly jumping at the chance to solve it.   "No hoax" nominees One by one, each nominee walked back previous statements they had made on climate change. Let's take secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson as an example. On Jan. 11, Tillerson acknowledged that the climate is changing and that human activities are a factor, but made it known that he does not see global warming as an urgent threat. This puts him in opposition to the Pentagon and intelligence community, which views climate change as a threat multiplier and as a contributor to the devastating Syrian civil war. Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Image: J. Scott Applewhite/AP “I don’t see it as the imminent security threat that perhaps others do,” Tillerson said under dogged questioning from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).  Tillerson, who recently stepped down as CEO of ExxonMobil, the largest publicly held oil company in the U.S., also presented a personal view of climate science that is starkly out of step with the scientific consensus on this issue.  Climate researchers are increasingly warning that global warming is already nearing thresholds that would wreak havoc on plants, animals and modern human society. Yet Tillerson seemed satisfied with a go-slow approach, citing scientific uncertainty. "The increase in the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect," Tillerson said during the hearing. "Our ability to predict that effect is very limited." Climate scientists told Mashable exactly why this take on global warming is incomplete at best, if not downright wrong. "To say that we don't understand the impacts or effects that a given scenario or amount of continued fossil fuel use will have on our planet was a correct statement to make in the 1800s," said Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, in an email to Mashable .  "In 2017? Not so much," she said.  Rep. Ryan Zinke, Trump's nominee for Interior Secretary, also espoused only partly accurate views on climate science during his Jan. 17 confirmation hearing. "The climate is changing; man is an influence," the Montana Republican told the Senate committee. "I think where there's debate is what that influence is and what can we do about it." Again, the science is clear that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the main driver of global warming, and the best course of action to reduce the risks of widespread, damaging impacts is to cut those emissions dramatically. They're not scientists Next, there's Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma's attorney general and Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Pruitt has a long record of opposing the EPA's regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, he's been suing the agency to prevent those regulations from going into effect. He too merely cleared the "It's not a hoax!" hurdle and little more, leaving open key questions about how he would run the agency tasked with implementing the government's programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "I do not believe that climate change is a hoax," Pruitt said in response to a direct question from Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. During his confirmation hearing on Wednesday, Pruitt sparred with Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over climate science.  Here's a partial transcript of their exchange: Later in the conversation with Sanders, Pruitt said, "Senator, I believe the administrator has a very important role to perform in regulating CO2."  He did not elaborate on what that role is, or how he would exercise it. Yet still he seemed to score points with some senators and media outlets for going against Trump in pronouncing climate change to be a real thing. That's an extraordinarily low bar to clear. At the same time Pruitt was testifying, NASA and other global science agencies announced that last year was Earth's warmest year on record — making 2016 the third consecutive year with record heat. The five warmest years worldwide have occurred since 2005. The scientific community is virtually unanimous: Climate change is a global crisis requiring bold action. Rick Perry? He doesn't agree. — Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 19, 2017 On Thursday, former Texas governor Rick Perry had his chance to walk back past comments that put him squarely in the climate denial camp.  He got this task out of the way right at the top of the hearing, shortly after saying he regrets campaigning for the presidency five years ago on a pledge to eliminate the Energy Department, among other parts of the federal government.  "I believe the climate is changing," Perry said during the Thursday hearing. "I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is also caused by manmade activity. The question is how do we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth, the affordability of energy, or American jobs." Throughout the hearing, Perry hedged on climate by mentioning the potential economic ramifications of shifting to cleaner forms of energy, and had to be reminded by Sanders of the dramatic costs from climate change if too little action is taken too late.  “I’m committed to making decisions based on sound science but also taking into account the economic impact,” Perry said. In a humorous exchange with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Perry declined to answer precisely how much of climate change is human-caused versus natural factors.  “Far from me to be sitting before you today and claiming to be a climate scientist,” he said, to which Franken shot back: “I don’t think you’re ever going to be a climate scientist." "But you are going to be the head of the Department of Energy,” Franken added. Franken had a similar back-and-forth with Zinke, the Interior secretary nominee. "I'm not an expert in this field," Zinke said during the hearing. "To me that's a cop-out," Franken retorted, adding, "I'm not a doctor, but I have to make healthcare decisions." The bottom line  Each of Trump's nominees moved themselves from the climate denier column to the fuzzier land of climate non-denial denial.  They may no longer be as easy to classify or dismiss with one phrase, but for the climate, they're no less dangerous than they were before they began the confirmation process.  Mashable science reporter Maria Gallucci contributed reporting. BONUS: 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record, continuing a three-year streak


New UN chief at Davos seeks allies in business

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 03:21 PM

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a speech during a session of the World Economic Forum, on January 19, 2017 in DavosUN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres used his first address at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday to push for a new partnership with business to help fight climate change and reduce poverty. Guterres took over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1 with an ambitious plan to reform the United Nations at a time when it is struggling to raise funds for its humanitarian work and to address global crises.


How to Get a Refund After Canceling Your Flight

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 03:04 PM

While some unfortunate circumstances (think: severe weather) won't guarantee that you'll get reimbursed in the event you need to pivot your plans, there are plenty of situations where you're entitled to a refund or a rebooked trip. To help you navigate when -- and how -- to receive reimbursement for a canceled flight, U.S. News gathered insider tips from industry experts. "There are things that people may not realize that airlines have to do, especially if a flight is canceled," explains Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and journalist.

Rick Perry: Some Climate Change Caused by Mankind

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2017 02:58 PM

On Thursday, Donald Trump’s Energy Secretary nominee, Gov. Rick Perry, discussed his views on climate change and said he "regrets" calling for the elimination of the Department of Energy several ...


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