Time to Step up Republican Leadership – Listen to the Gipper!

“If we have learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge: it’s common sense.  Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources” – Ronald Reagan

Many of the Republican leaders in our nation’s government continue to believe that Climate Change is not the threat that scientists have shown through the overwhelming scientific data.  Some of the latest misguided statements have come from our own Scott Perry (R – PA 4th district).  Mr. Perry attempted to remove the Pentagon’s requirement to report on the impacts of climate change as it pertains to our military – his reasoning was that other agencies are reporting on this and that it is not an immediate threat – our military leaders think otherwise!  Fortunately, there are enough Republicans in Congress that must understand the threat and Mr. Perry’s amendment was soundly defeated.

The EPA head Scott Pruitt is calling for a “debate” concerning Climate Change, indicating that the American people want to hear the “other side”.  Of the peer-reviewed literature concerning Climate Change, 97% of authors support the consensus that man is influencing the climate by burning fossil fuels.  This does not indicate that there is a debate Mr. Pruitt, just ideological beliefs.

Meanwhile on the state level – the type of government that the Republican party consistently holds up as the ONLY place that significant decisions should be made, seven of the top eleven wind production states (renewable energy) are staunchly Republican as shown in the New York Times table below.  While the Republican leadership at the national level approves of the dismantling of the EPA, promoting removal of climate change language from many federal agencies, and supporting attempts to downplay the significance of Climate Change in our world, many “red” states are proving that renewable energy is our only way forward and that fossil fuels are swiftly becoming a fuel of the past.

 

In the Climate Science leadership vacuum created by the Republican congress and administration, California has upped it’s game and become one of the world leaders in addressing Climate Change.  A strong Democratic Governor and Democratic state congress have extended their current climate bill that uses a cap and trade program to reduce CO2 emissions.  In addition, Governor Brown recently announced that California will host an international Global Warming Summit since, as Governor Brown put it, “the president ‘doesn’t speak for the rest of America’ in pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change”.

We need true leadership at the National level that recognizes where the future of energy is headed. Stop wearing the ideological blinders and look to the states and to your constituents that are benefiting from renewable energy.  Republicans need to STEP UP!

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Take Note

Declaring the historic Paris Agreement “irreversible”, 19 members of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany explicitly broke ranks with President Trump.   At the summit, Trump certified our position as a rogue nation with respect to the civilization challenging issue of climate change.

The Energy and Climate section of the final G20 Leaders’ Declaration began with the statement, “A strong economy and a healthy planet are mutually reinforcing.”  G20 world leaders “remain collectively committed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through … increased innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency.”  Unfortunately, this final communique was obliged to “take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

“Take note” is a powerful two-word phrase embodied in the politics of disunity.

I attended my first UN climate conference in 2009 at COP15 in Copenhagen.  This was the first year of the Obama presidency.  At that time, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents stood unified on addressing the issue of climate change.  Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), and Sen. Joe Liberman (I-CT) sent Pres. Obama a consensus letter imploring him to forge a global treaty climate change.  In fact, the House of Representatives had already passed a strong climate change bill.  Copenhagen—dubbed “Hopenhagen” in the lead-up to COP15—saw the largest gathering of world leaders ever outside the UN in New York.  A cohort of primarily G20 world leaders forged the substance of the Copenhagen Accord.  Unfortunately, negotiators subsequently failed to arrive at consensus and could merely “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord.

Today, we are deeply divided as a nation on multiple issues, climate change among them.  As Trump subscribes to an “America First” agenda, the disenfranchised majority of Americans seek global cooperation in solving our planet’s energy, social, economic, and environmental issues.  We all should “take note” of important fallacies in Trump’s justification for going rogue on the Paris Agreement (Rose Garden Speech, June 1, 2017).  Although his speech was riddled with falsehoods, I will “take note” of just three.

Take Note of Trump’s False Claims on Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement

Trump’s False Claim:  We’re getting out.  But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair.  And if we can, that’s great.

The Fact:  Each country makes its own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  There is nothing “to negotiate”. Either he is completely ignorant concerning the foundation of the Agreement, or he is deliberately lying to the American people.

Trump’s False Claim: China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants.  So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement.  India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020.

The Fact:  The NDCs are nonbinding.  Nothing in the Agreement states that “China will be allowed to build” nor the US “can’t build the plants.”  What is binding in the Agreement is transparency and metrics.  In other words, each country must be open and honest about their actual emission.

Trump’s False Claim: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

The Fact:  Trump’s infamous attempt to pit Pittsburg against Paris backfired.  Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto immediately tweeted “it’s now up to US cities to lead”.

Take Note:  US Mayors Plan to Honor the Paris Agreement  

An ever-growing number of US mayors, including Mayor Peduto, have pledged to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.”

I would like to give a shout-out to the first mayor of Utah’s newest city.  City of Millcreek  Mayor Jeff Silverstrini is a personal friend of mine.  He stands with 347 US mayors who have signed the Paris Agreement pledge.

The Climate Mayor’s pledge, “We are increasing investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We will buy and create more demand for electric cars and trucks. We will increase our efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice. And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we’ll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks.”

The question for each American citizen is, should we go rogue or join the global community in addressing the issue of climate change?

 

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Hope for the Future Continues to RISE!


As we digest the news of Trump’s intended withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and we continue to see what Scott Pruitt is doing to the EPA, it can seem difficult to find positive messages concerning the environment.  But one of the things that brings daily hope for the future of the planet is the news that people around the world strongly support reducing CO2 emissions and eliminating fossil fuels.  As an active College Chemistry Professor, and a member of the Press, I get to read about the positives on an almost daily basis.  So I want to take this opportunity to highlight just a few that have bolstered my environmental spirits in the last several weeks!

  • From the Center for Biological Diversity (06/12/2017 email)

New Study: Americans Want to Use More Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON— A new study by University of Washington researchers has found that a majority of Americans would prefer to use renewable energy at home if given the option. Individuals surveyed in the project, published in June by the journal Energy Policy, indicated they would shift electricity use to cut fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions regardless of political affiliation, age or gender.

  • From the U. S. Energy Information Administration (06/14/2017 email)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (www.eia.gov) new Today in Energy brief looks at how wind and solar power recently provided 10% of U.S. monthly electricity generation for the first time ever.

Wind and solar in March accounted for 10% of U.S. electricity generation for first time

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

For the first time, monthly electricity generation from wind and solar (including utility-scale plants and small-scale systems) exceeded 10% of total electricity generation in the United States, based on March data in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. Electricity generation from both of these energy sources has grown with increases in wind and solar generating capacity. On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation in 2016.

 

  • From EcoWatch, an article by World Wildlife Fund (06/05/2017)

World Wildlife Fund 05 June

‘We Are Still In’: U.S. Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to Paris Agreement

More than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges and universities assembled Monday to reaffirm their commitment to climate action and declare they will continue to pursue ambitious emissions reductions despite the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of an unprecedented and essential international agreement to curb climate change. This is broadest cross section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action.

Together, these leaders are sending a strong signal to the international community and the 194 other parties to the Paris agreement that we will work together to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in the fight against climate change. In the aggregate, the signatories are delivering concrete emissions reductions that will help meet America’s emissions pledge under the Paris agreement.

There is too much momentum to allow the threat of withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the assault on the EPA to stop the move to renewable energy future!

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Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is a Colossal Mistake – Look at the Variety of People that Say So

I don’t normally use this blog to post other sites posts, but I received the article below from the Sierra Club and thought that it clearly captured the mood of a significant number of folks across the country. I received this in an email from Adam Beitman from the Sierra Club on June 3, 2017.

 

Definitely not the headlines Trump wanted on Paris agreement

Trump may have thought he was delivering something to his base when he made the historic mistake of withdrawing from the Paris agreement. But the headlines show a different story: by threatening the health and safety of the entire world, he ultimately galvanized the governments of the world and the people of America to double down on climate action.

Oh, and let’s not even mention the fact that the ostensibly ‘clever’ “Pittsburgh, not Paris” line which someone wrote for Trump backfired in truly spectacular fashion. VP Pence has moved on to “Des Moines not Denmark”–apparently completely ignorant of the fact that Iowa is America’s wind energy leader.

Everyone But Donald Trump Is Standing By the Paris Climate Agreement, Bloomberg News

“Global leaders vowed to press ahead with the Paris climate accord after Donald Trump pulled the world’s biggest economy out of the pact, and Europe’s heavy hitters rebuffed the American president’s suggestion that it could be renegotiated.”
Health experts are furious with Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, Los Angeles Times

“But the people who pay attention to public health want to remind you that a warmer planet will bring more air pollution, fuel the spread of infectious diseases and increase the incidence of certain cancers, among many other things. (For a full accounting of how climate change impacts human health, check out this report from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences or this assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program.)”
World leaders condemn Trump’s decision to quit Paris climate deal, CNN
“President Donald Trump faced a chorus of global disapproval Friday in the wake of his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with allies and rivals uniting to accuse him of failing future generations.”
Trump sparked a CEO revolt. Here’s why, CNN Money
“So maybe the most amazing thing that occurred Thursday wasn’t that President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate deal. It was the response from the corner office: A string of CEOs loudly voiced strong opposition to his action. “It’s an absolutely bizarre and unprecedented moment in American history,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkely told CNNMoney. … “Donald Trump is such a pariah figure that companies want zero association with his brand,” Brinkley said. “He’s championing dirty air and polluted water. He’s anti-science. Why would a Fortune 500 CEO want to be associated with that?”
Bucking Trump, These Cities, States and Companies Commit to Paris Accord, New York Times

“Representatives of American cities, states and companies are preparing to submit a plan to the United Nations pledging to meet the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Paris climate accord, despite President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.
The unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations.
“We’re going to do everything America would have done if it had stayed committed,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who is coordinating the effort, said in an interview.”
As Trump touts coal while ditching the Paris accord, three more coal-fired plants shut, Los Angeles Times
“All three power plants, built in the 1960s, had been the targets of protests and lawsuits, with environmentalists charging they killed fish and spewed toxins from their looming smokestacks. But in the end, industry officials said they had to close because they were no longer economically viable.”
Buildings Worldwide Turn Green to Protest Trump’s Paris Climate Decision, Weather.com
“After President Donald Trump announced he was yanking the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, several American cities wasted no time declaring their intentions to stay green.

Landmarks and skyscrapers lit up with green lights Thursday night as local leaders protested Trump’s earlier speech in which he announced his intentions to pull the U.S. from the climate agreement that previously contained all nations except Nicaragua and Syria – the former chose not to join because it felt the accord wasn’t strict enough, and the latter is in the middle of a civil war.”
Pittsburgh Mayor Bucks Trump, Commits to 100 Percent Clean Energy, VICE
“Now, the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, has clapped back and announced that his city, along with many other local state and city governments, is sticking to the terms of the Paris accord. … Peduto joins an ever growing list of mayors in the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, which encourages mayors to move their communities to 100 percent clean energy. Earlier this week, Columbus, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin jumped on the Ready for 100 bandwagon too.”
Pittsburghers Rally Downtown To Say Yes To Paris Agreement, NPR Pittsburgh
“When the march began, it spread over more than two city blocks. Marchers carried signs with slogans such as “Pittsburgh and Paris, one planet” and “Yes to Paris, No to Putin.” … “I’m here to send a message to Washington that climate change is a world problem,” said Scarpaci. “[Trump] has only a passing acquaintance with facts and truth and I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.”
Sorry Trump, but we’re sticking with Paris, activists say, The Guardian,
“But activists immediately responded, outlining plans to resist Trump, and elected officials across the country said they would ignore the president’s pullout and abide by the terms of the Paris agreement. The Sierra Club is urging people to call the White House, and 350.org listed some of the wins that have already emerged from the accord, and immediately launched a petition.”

 

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Sad Day for America and Our Planet

“Sad!”

I use a word that fits Trump’s limited vocabulary, one he can understand.  He certainly doesn’t fully understand the short-term nor long-term adverse impact of his decision to exit the Paris Agreement.

I’ve chronicled climate change issues on this blog for more than 7 years.  I’ve participated in the past 8 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conferences of Parties (COP) where treaties are negotiated.  Nations wrangled over self-interest for 20 COPs before arriving at the COP21 Paris Agreement.  Now, with a mere stroke of his pen, Trump rejected those decades of global efforts.

The United States in now a rogue nation.  We stand alone with war-torn Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not party to The Agreement, though Nicaragua actually wants a stronger Agreement.   Recognizing that survival of our planet required all nations to contribute to the global solution, more than 190 nations forged the historic Paris Agreement in 2015.

Our nation is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter.  Most nations pale in comparison to our per capita emission of greenhouse gases.  We—all Americans—bear a moral and ethical responsibility to lower our greenhouse gas emissions.  If we care about our children, grandchildren, and as yet unborn generations, we must all strongly and forcefully rebel against Trump’s decision.  Even Trump’s daughter Ivanka wanted the US to stick with the Paris Agreement.  Trump apparently cares little about his grandchildren.  Climate change is not a “hoax”.  It is a civilization challenging issue that demands a global solution, and the US bears direct responsibility to participate in that solution.

Like Trump, some others care little about our environmental sustainability or social justice, especially if such caring should in any way slow economic growth.  Economy-centric ideologues—those who feel that economic interests Trump all—will lose big.

Trump has isolated himself from the G7 who are firmly committed to the Paris Agreement.  He has isolated himself from Apple, Exxon, and other major corporations who support the accord.  Billionaire innovator Elon Musk stated that he will resign from the White House Business Advisory Council if Trump withdraws.  China and India support the accord.  Trump has isolated himself from nations large and small around the globe.  By isolating himself, he has also isolated America, in spite of strong support at every level in our nation to remain in the Paris Agreement.

“Make America Great Again” may now be dumped in the trash can of historic ignorance.  Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is the single biggest mistake yet in the Trump administration.  We now stand as a rogue nation.

What can you do?  Vote!  Vote against ignorance and for humankind in every upcoming election.

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Gardening in Antarctica!?

When we think of time, there are many ways in which we describe how time advances.  As a child, we often see time as moving very slowly, but as we age, time seems to speed up.  But this is all described as the human lifetime and it is the only time that we can directly experience as humans.  In contrast, thanks to the wonders of science, we are able to examine time much more broadly: the history of the universe (~13.8 billion years), earth (~4 billion years), the history of modern humans (~200,000 years), and throughout these time frames, we are able to piece together the conditions of our planet.  We have fossil records and ice core data along with the modern instrumental record, and throughout human history, we have never experienced the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere that we have today.

So what does this mean and why is it important?  What this means is that we will continue to see temperatures rise at unprecedented rates – more on the human time scale rather than a geological time scale.  The importance lies in the unknown, when we impact the earth in such a dramatic fashion, it is extremely difficult to imagine or predict all of the ramifications. However, we are starting to experience the impacts that scientists have been predicting; changes in climate resulting in historic flooding in some areas with historic drought in other areas, increasing storm intensity around the world, and massive loss of coral reefs.

If these results are not concerning enough, the Washington Post recently reported (By Chris Mooney May 18 at 12:00 PM)  that  “Researchers in Antarctica have discovered rapidly growing banks of mosses on the ice continent’s northern peninsula, providing striking evidence of climate change in the coldest and most remote parts of the planet.”

The article continues with comments from a glaciologist from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

“This is another indicator that Antarctica is moving backward in geologic time — which makes sense, considering atmospheric CO2 levels have already risen to levels that the planet hasn’t seen since the Pliocene, 3 million years ago, when the Antarctic ice sheet was smaller, and sea-levels were higher,” said Rob DeConto, a glaciologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was not involved in the study but reviewed it for The Washington Post.

“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, Antarctica will head even further back in geologic time…perhaps the peninsula will even become forested again someday, like it was during the greenhouse climates of the Cretaceous and Eocene, when the continent was ice free,” DeConto continued by email.

When you check out the Washington Post article, you might want to look at the comments at the end.  While most of the comments are well thought out, and for the most part well researched, many completely miss the point.  Yes, there have been periods in the earth’s history when this planet looked much different, higher temperatures, higher CO2 levels in our atmosphere, and more.  The important part of this to keep in mind is Time Scale – these changes were over periods relating to geological time, usually hundreds of thousands of years. What we are experiencing now is happening within the human time frame, on the order of decades.  These are not normal variations in the earth’s atmosphere.  We are changing the atmosphere, and changing it faster than any time in the history of the earth.  But wait, there was another recent abrupt change – the asteroid colliding with the earth 65.5 million years ago – how did that turn out for the dinosaurs?

In researching for this post, I ran across another Washington Post article that links to a NASA video highlighting the significant changes to vegetation around the arctic over the last three decades – again, think human time vs geological time.

 

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Evaluate Your Source of Information; cherry picked “red facts” vs “blue facts” polarize

I received an anonymous letter in the mail last week with a Harrisburg postmark.  The sender scribed “Read Carefully” in the lower left-hand corner of the envelope.  Inside was a 4 page article titled “Why We Believe Alternative Facts” that had been ripped from the magazine Monitor on Psychology—a publication of the American Psychology Association.  At the top of the article, the sender wrote, “Keith: Read! Think!”

Coming from an anonymous sender, I was prepared to simply toss the article in the trash.  I assumed that the sender was a disgruntled climate change denier who doesn’t like the content of my writings or community presentations.  (S)he didn’t identify herself, so I don’t know her true intent for sending me the article.

I decided to read the article, but, I first researched the publication source.  Although not a peer reviewed journal, Monitor on Psychology, is a legitimate magazine of a respected professional society.  Next, I researched the author, Kirsten Weir, who appears to be a respected freelance writer specializing in science, health, psychology, and the environment.  She is a frequent contributor to Monitor on Psychology.

OK.  I’m now prepared to read the author’s assessment of “Why we believe in alternative facts: how motivation, identity and ideology combine to undermine judgement.” I concur with much of what the author writes. This means that the sender of the anonymous letter and I have found common ground for agreement.

I am well aware of how we all tend to cherry pick “red facts” or “blue facts” to support our own belief systems.  Weir writes that, we all can “feel like [our] opponents are willfully ignoring facts.”  The more we know, the more we dismiss the other side.  With regards to climate change, conservatives become more dismissive with mounting evidence while liberals become more concerned.  Fake-news websites, conspiracy theories, and published hoaxes only serve to compound the problem.

However, Weir warns, “License to ignore reality is a dangerous path to travel, regardless of your political leanings.”  Weir quotes Daniel Kahan, a professor of law and psychology at Yale Law School, who states, “If facts are devalued as a currency, it’ll be a lot harder to achieve our common goals.”

I want to find common ground with those who hold opposing views.  If “red facts” versus “blue facts” is the “root of the problem”, we must all find a way to restore our faith in unbiased facts.  Weir proposes, “Media literacy is one place to start.”  As consumers of information, we must evaluate the source of our information.

We all tend to identify with tribes who share our beliefs, ideologies, and world views.  Unfortunately, our tribes are becoming increasingly polarized.  Weir implores us to do that which we are all “loathe to do: Less talking, more listening.”

OK, I didn’t trash the article that the anonymous sender sent me.  I researched the source and found it to be credible.  I read it with interest and an open mind.  Like the sender, I agree with much of what is stated in the article.  Now, that we have found common ground, I ask that the sender read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report Summary for Policymakers.  I ask the anonymous letter-sender to research the IPCC.  I trust that (s)he will find it to be the accepted international authority for assessing the scientific literature on climate change.  (S)he will find that the role of the IPCC is to be policy relevant, but policy neutral.  The Summary for Policymakers is an abbreviated narrative that distills the complex scientific literature into a readable format for policymakers and others who want to know the underlying scientific basis of climate change.

I would be pleased to discuss our scientific understanding of climate change without trying to cherry pick red facts, blue facts, or self-interest facts to polarize the dialog.

If we want our country to lead the way into the 21st Century, we must find common ground.  For the health of our economy, our environment, and our social cohesion as a nation, let’s all assess the source of that which we read and watch before we begin to digest the narrative.

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People’s Climate March: the little ones speak

On Saturday, I spent the day in sweltering heat marching with my fellow citizens from our nation’s Capitol Building down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

The People march down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol Building to the White House.

Unfortunately, our president turned a deaf ear to us, the disenfranchised majority, in order to re-energize his ego on the 100th day of his presidency at a rally in Harrisburg.

This is my 4th march-of-purpose so far this year.  I joined the Women’s March on Washington in January, the Immigration Rally in Harrisburg in February, the March for Science last week in Washington, and the People’s Climate March yesterday.  My soles are becoming increasing worn, but my soul is lifted as my fellow Americans and like-minded citizens around the globe unite to confront the current assault on humanity, science, women, our environment and more, all of which put our future at grave risk.

Citizens demand informed policy based on fact, not ideology.

As a baby boomer, I will not live long enough to experience the worst impacts of climate change, however my 9 grandchildren—Ally, Sam, Zady, Colton, Finely, Olivia, Andrew, Dory, and Annette—will.  That is why I march.

I march for my grandchildren.

My grandchildren range in age from 1 to 10 years old.  They are unfortunately not at the negotiating table where policymakers bargain their future.  However, they are not without a voice.  As they marched in Washington, here is some of what these little ones had to say to their current president, legislators, business leaders, and you.

The children speak!  Are you listening?

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March for Science as the Pillar of Human Freedom and Prosperity

I participated in the March for Science on Earth Day (Saturday, April 22).

The purpose of this March was to bring our concern for maintaining the integrity of science right to the President’s doorstep in Washington, DC.  Unfortunately, the welcome mat in front of the Whitehouse was removed.  The entire stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue from 15th St to 17th St was closed to the general public.  The symbolism of this act spoke directly to us, the disenfranchised science community.

I was further disheartened when I discovered that the mall area surrounding the Washington monument was fenced off—our president sure likes fences.  It is unprecedented to cordon off our Capital Mall for any event other than presidential inaugurations that require extensive security.  In order to enter the official rally area, I had to pass through one of only two bag-check portals.  This meant that my fellow citizens and I had to stand in line (in the rain) for more than 45 minutes in order to enter an area hosting the stage for speakers and tents offering teach-ins.  As I passed through the bag check portal, I observed that hired-for-the-day security were doing only token checks on bags.

Bag check created an unnecessary bottleneck.

This had nothing to do with security, but much to do with an assault on my First Amendment rights—“freedom of speech…the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Calling on political leaders to enact evidenced based policies in the public interest.

Our grievances are many.  Major funding cuts are proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), State Department, National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and numerous other scientific research entities.  The President recently signed an  Executive Order (March 28, 2017) directing the EPA to “suspend, revise, and rescind” actions related to the Obama Era Clean Power Plan.  This Order was aimed at undermining the Paris Agreement on climate change.  The American Chemical Society—the largest scientific society in the world—countered, “Climate policy in the U.S. has been based on extensive science and an iterative process involving thousands of scientists that span the globe.”

My scientific colleagues and the American people had much to say about “science as the pillar of human freedom and prosperity.”

A contingent from York, PA defend science and champion scientific integrity.

Science safeguards planet Earth for today’s youth and those as yet unborn.

Please add your voice.  We need Science, not silence.

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Lead or Step Aside Mr. Trump – Solar and Wind are Here

As you could see from the most recent post by Keith, the current administration JUST DOESN’T GET IT! Renewable energy is the only reliable long term solution to our energy needs. Despite the 180o (or more!) shift in US policy, the world, including the US is moving on.

Last year, investment in renewable energy significantly out-paced investment in fossil fuels, and according to Bloomberg “Government subsidies have helped wind and solar get a foothold in global power markets, but economies of scale are the true driver of falling prices: The cost of solar power has fallen to 1/150th of its level in the 1970s, while the total amount of installed solar has soared 115,000-fold.”

The Bloomberg article continues with “The reason solar-power generation will increasingly dominate: It’s a technology, not a fuel. As such, efficiency increases and prices fall as time goes on. What’s more, the price of batteries to store solar power when the sun isn’t shining is falling in a similarly stunning arc.”

Still thinking this might be some kind of anomaly Mr. Trump?  Consider coal useage in the United Kingdom, the graph below clearly shows that the world’s first coal superpower is making the shift from coal to renewables and all indications are that the UK will have zero coal reliance by 2030.

Canary in the coal mine: U.K.

Source: BNEF

OK, but that is not the US right?  Well, Bloomberg also reports that the number of active oil rigs in the US fell last month to the lowest that it has been since 1940! On top of that, independent oil producers are on a slow road to insolvency, which could result in massive failures in the near future.

We are well past the time for a coherent National Policy that provides world-wide leadership in the area of renewable fuels. The Trump Administration needs to wake up and smell the clean air of renewable energy!

One last Bloomberg quote “The best minds in energy keep underestimating what solar and wind can do. Since 2000, the International Energy Agency has raised its long-term solar forecast 14 times and its wind forecast five times. Every time global wind power doubles, there’s a 19 percent drop in cost, according to BNEF, and every time solar power doubles, costs fall 24 percent.” THIS IS THE FUTURE!

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