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EPA enforcement office may be next on the Trump team’s hit list

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EPA enforcement office may be next on the Trump team’s hit list

By Kate Sheppard and Nick Visser on Feb 9, 2017 1:57 pm

This story was originally published by the Huffington Post and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The Trump administration is considering closing down the enforcement division of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report Wednesday evening from Inside EPA.

The new administration is reportedly looking to close the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, or OECA, and instead let individual program offices (such as the air program, the water program, and others) handle enforcement. The outlet Inside EPA quoted “a source familiar with the plan” who says the Trump administration intends to “disassemble the enforcement office … take it, break it up, and move it back into the program offices.”

In a statement emailed to the Huffington Post, the agency’s press office said the “EPA does not have a confirmed administrator and we cannot speculate on future plans for the agency.”

Closing the office would almost certainly mean less enforcement work happens at the agency. OECA handles both civil and criminal enforcement of the country’s core environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The office is an independent body with about 3,000 employees who “work to advance environmental justice by protecting communities most vulnerable to pollution.”

“Dissolving OECA would have a disastrous effect on EPA’s ability to do its job,” said Nicholas Conger, who served as communications director for OECA from July 2013 through March 2016 and later worked in the EPA administrator’s public affairs office. Conger is now the press secretary of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Americans depend on a strong federal enforcement presence, and that depends on having a program that is directly focused on holding polluters accountable and ensuring they fix their problems.”

Myron Ebell, a climate change denier who led the Trump administration’s transition at the EPA before returning to the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted in an email with HuffPost that most environmental enforcement efforts were largely the responsibility of individual offices before the creation of the OECA in the 1990s. Ebell has previously recommended the agency slash its workforce by two-thirds, from about 15,000 to 5,000 employees, and cut the EPA budget in half.

Environmental advocates were quick to point out that Scott Pruitt — the Oklahoma attorney general Trump picked to lead the EPA — made almost the same move back home. Pruitt closed his office’s Environmental Protection Unit not long after he took office in 2011.

Pruitt’s online biography describes him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and says he “established Oklahoma’s first federalism unit to combat unwarranted regulation and overreach by the federal government.” Republicans voted Pruitt’s nomination out of committee last week over a Democratic boycott; he is expected to go up for a vote in the full Senate, though a date for the vote has not been scheduled.

“Scott Pruitt endangered the health and welfare of Oklahomans when he closed his own environmental enforcement unit there, and now it looks like he wants to do the exact same thing at the EPA, imperiling families across America,” Liz Perera, climate policy director at the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

Republican-led efforts in Congress have already begun to roll back much of the environmental progress made under the administration of President Barack Obama. Last week, leaders in the House voted to overturn a rule meant to protect waterways from coal mining operations and another that requires energy companies to disclose payments from foreign governments.

Source: http://grist.org/article/epa-enforcement-office-may-be-next-on-the-trump-teams-hit-list/?utm_content=bufferc5b43&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Climate finance: resources for low-carbon, climate-resilient Europe

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Climate finance: resources for low-carbon, climate-resilient Europe

Article Published 15 Dec 2016 Last modified 15 Dec 2016, 05:38 PM
Our climate is changing. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rate of climate change, and at the same time, take measures that help us prepare for current and future impacts. Both of these strands of action require unprecedented redirection of investments. This was acknowledged by the climate conferences in Paris and recently in Marrakesh. The finance sector can and will play an instrumental role in supporting Europe’s transition towards a low- carbon, climate-resilient society.

Image © Giulia Soriente, My City/EEA

Europe needs to invest substantially in climate change mitigation and adaptation.  The finance sector can and will play an instrumental role in supporting Europe’s transition towards a low- carbon, climate-resilient society.  Public sector investments will not be enough for financing the transition but can help mobilise and leverage private capital, which is indispensable for redirecting investment at the scale needed.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

 

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Climate Change Threats and Solutions

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Climate Change Threats and Solutions

What Can We Do to Make a Difference?

Climate change is already beginning to transform life on Earth.  Without action, the impacts of climate change threaten to catastrophically damage our world. But by rallying people around the world to be a part of the solution, together we have the power to limit the effects of climate change.

Learn more from TNC's leaders about how we're meeting the challenges of a changing planet

Read our Science Blog to find out what's emerging in the world of conservation science around climate change.

soy production 640x400

Higher Temperatures

Earth’s temperatures in 2015 were the hottest ever recorded (source: NASA). Why does this matter? Because a change of even 1 degree Fahrenheit – which may sound small – can upset the delicate balance of ecosystems, and affect plants and animals that inhabit them. 

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Climate Change A Natural Climate Solution

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Climate Change

A Natural Climate Solution

Tana watershed tea plantation 640x400

Nature is the sleeping giant in solving climate change.

Climate change is a global problem, and it requires solutions on a global scale. One of those is hiding in plain sight. Our lands provide an untapped opportunity – proven ways of storing and reducing carbon emissions in the world’s forests, grasslands and wetlands, or natural climate solutions as we call them.

More than 30% of the climate change goals that our world leaders established at the 2015 Paris Climate Convention can be achieved through the power of nature.

This means that nature-based solutions – such as stopping deforestation and restoring coastal ecosystems – can get us more than a third of the way to the emission reductions needed by 2030.

Let’s give nature back its power to protect us! Oceans, grasslands, wetlands, peat bogs, forests – when they’re destroyed, the carbon they hold is released into the air, and their ability to provide us with life-giving assets disappears. A huge part of our climate work, therefore, is continuing the work that we’re known for: saving nature.   

These stories showcase the power of nature to solve climate change.

Maximizing Nature’s Role in Solving Climate Change
Tackling climate change isn’t just about changing how we produce and use energy. We must also maximize nature’s role.

Forest Carbon Science
Stay informed about the latest in climate change science on Cool Green Science.

This Decade’s Most Important Climate Solution
Read about how nature-based solutions are an essential piece of the climate puzzle. And nature’s time is now.

Mapping Ocean Wealth
Learn more about how our oceans and wetlands can help store carbon.

The Next Agriculture Revolution is Under Our Feet
We need to support innovation in soil health to meet the growing demand for food while strengthening the health of our communities, land, water and climate.

Not All Forestry is Carbon Equal
Learn about how forests clean our air, enhance water security and serve as the world’s oldest and most proven carbon storage technology.

The Forgotten Climate Solution
The land sector has the potential to deliver at least 20% of the climate solution.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees
See how we are helping loggers in the Berau District make changes that yield healthier local villagers and more intact forests sequestering carbon.

Source: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/global-warming-climate-change/nature-is-a-powerful-solution/index.htm?intc=nature.hp.news3

 

What is Climate Change?

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Climate Change: Basic Information


How is the climate changing in the U.S.?

Observations across the United States and world provide multiple, independent lines of evidence that climate change is happening now.

Climate change is happening

Our Earth is warming. Earth's average temperature has risen by 1.5°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 0.5 to 8.6°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.

The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves.

The planet's oceans and glaciers have also experienced some big changes oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. As these and other changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they will likely present challenges to our society and our environment.

What are climate change and global warming?

View of Earth from space

Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.

Learn more about the signs of climate change in the United States.

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Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.

Emissions at sunsetGreenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary to support life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earth's climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems.

The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.

Learn more about the causes of climate change.


Climate change affects everyone

Our lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.

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Take a Quiz

How much you know about the health impacts of climate change? Take our new online quiz and share your score with friends!Climate Change and Human Health quiz

Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. The warmer it gets, the greater the risk for more severe changes to the climate and Earth's system. Although it's difficult to predict the exact impacts of climate change, what's clear is that the climate we are accustomed to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.

We can reduce the risks we will face from climate change. By making choices that reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, we can reduce risks from climate change. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

Learn more about the impacts of climate change and adapting to change.

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Hands on a globe

We can make a difference

You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps can save you money; some, such as walking or biking to work, can even improve your health! You can also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energy programs, or other climate programs.Link to EPA’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator

Calculate your carbon footprint and find ways to reduce your emissions through simple everyday actions.

EPA and other federal agencies are taking action. EPA is working to protect the health and welfare of Americans through common sense measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and to help communities prepare for climate change.

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Source: https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-basic-information#main-content

 


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