Friday, December 11, 2020

Loose Feathers #779

Orange-crowned Warbler / Photo by Peter Pearsall/USFWS

Birds and birding news

Science and nature blogging

Biodiversity and conservation

Climate change and environmental politics

  • The Arctic continued its shift towards a warmer climate in 2020. Warming there contributes to changes elsewhere, including severe weather.
  • One of the insidious ways that conservatives attack environmental protections is by changing the economic assumptions that underlie the cost-benefit analysis that justifies rule-making. These assumptions are important but less visible to voters. Currently the Trump administration is trying to reduce the value of pollution regulations to public health.
  • The Trump administration refused to implement stronger standards on soot, which leaves the rules fromm 2012 in place. Soot (or particulate matter) has harmful effects on respiratory health and has a disproportionate effect on low-income and minority neighborhoods.
  • It will take a lot of work to restore the EPA's effectiveness.
  • Sea-level rise threatens New Jersey's affordable housing, which is often built in flood-prone areas.
  • Audubon suggests five places where a Biden administration could undo damage from the Trump administration.
  • Australia's record-breaking heat would be nearly impossible without climate change.
  • It appears that the Nature Conservancy has been selling carbon offsets for preserving forests that were not actually under threat of being cut. Some of the projects, like maintaining the forests on Hawk Mountain, are worth doing anyway but do little to reduce carbon emissions.
  • This year will be remembered for the pandemic, but it was also a year of climate disasters, including a record-setting thirty named storms in the Atlantic and five of the six largest wildfires in California's history.
  • Peatlands store a massive amount of carbon, so converting them for other land use would turn them into a carbon source.
  • The Break Free From Plastic campaign named Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestlé as contributing the largest amount of plastic waste found in cleanups.