Michael D. Lemonick 360

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting, and debate on global environmental issues.
Updated: 11 min 39 sec ago

Hundreds of U.S. Mayors Collectively Oppose Trump Reversal of Clean Power Plan

Tue, 2018-02-20 13:07

Mayors from 233 U.S. cities, representing more than 51 million Americans in 46 states and territories, have released a joint letter voicing their opposition of the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan, arguing that the reversal would “put our citizens at risk and harm our efforts to address the urgent threat of climate change.”

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Greenwashed Timber: How Sustainable Forest Certification Has Failed

Tue, 2018-02-20 05:00

The Forest Stewardship Council was established to create an international system for certifying sustainable wood. But critics say it has had minimal impact on tropical deforestation and at times has served only to provide a cover for trafficking in illegal timber.

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Michigan's Largest Utility to Stop Burning Coal By 2040

Mon, 2018-02-19 14:17

Michigan’s largest utility, Consumers Energy, has announced it will stop burning coal by 2040 in an effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, according to the Associated Press. The company, which services 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents, plans to get 40 percent of its energy from solar and wind power by then, with the rest coming from natural gas and hydropower.

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Tokyo Plans to Build 1,150-Foot Wooden Skyscraper

Fri, 2018-02-16 15:03

The Japanese wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co. has announced plans to build a 350-meter (1,150-foot), 70-floor skyscraper out of wood in Tokyo. The project, slated to be completed in 2041 in honor of the company’s 350th anniversary, would be the world’s tallest wooden building, according to The Guardian.

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Draft UN Report Says World Has Little Chance of Keeping Warming Below 1.5 Degrees

Thu, 2018-02-15 14:18

A leaked draft copy of a United Nations climate change report says there is a “very high risk” of the planet warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that the key threshold will likely be crossed in the 2040s, according to reporting by Climate Home and other news outlets.

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Dying Waters: India Struggles to Clean Up Its Polluted Urban Rivers

Thu, 2018-02-15 05:00

India’s booming population and rapidly expanding urban areas have exacted a huge toll on its rivers, which are badly polluted and choked by development. But in cities across India, activists are heading to court to force municipalities and states to take action.

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As Ice Sheets Melt Faster, Sea Level Rise Is Accelerating Every Year

Tue, 2018-02-13 13:24

The melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets is speeding up the pace of sea level rise a little bit every year, according to a new analysis of satellite data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the current pace continues, the study estimates, seas could rise more than 2 feet by 2100. 

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Iceland Could Use More Energy Mining Bitcoin Than Powering Homes in 2018

Mon, 2018-02-12 14:13

Iceland is expected to use more energy processing Bitcoin transactions in 2018 than it uses to power its homes, consuming some 840 gigawatt-hours of electricity related to the cryptocurrency this year, according to the Icelandic energy firm HS Orka, several news outlets reported.

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In Defense of Biodiversity: Why Protecting Species from Extinction Matters

Mon, 2018-02-12 05:00

A number of biologists have recently made the argument that extinction is part of evolution and that saving species need not be a conservation priority. But this revisionist thinking shows a lack of understanding of evolution and an ignorance of the natural world. 

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EPA Fines Declined More than 70 Percent in 2017

Fri, 2018-02-09 12:28

The Environmental Protection Agency fined polluters $1.6 billion in penalties for breaking emissions rules in fiscal year 2017 — one-fifth of the $5.7 billion that the Obama-era EPA fined companies and municipalities the year before, according to agency data and reporting by The Hill.

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New Trump Administration Flood Standards Mirror Obama-Era Rules

Thu, 2018-02-08 13:16

Six months after President Trump revoked an Obama-era rule mandating that federally funded projects account for future sea level rise and flooding, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that recipients of $7.4 billion in disaster recovery grants must do just that — seemingly representing a reversal of the administration’s stance on climate preparedness.

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Saudi Arabia Makes Big Push to Boost Domestic Renewable Energy

Wed, 2018-02-07 13:54

The world’s largest exporter of oil, Saudi Arabia, is shifting away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. The country’s government plans to invest up to $7 billion in seven new solar plants and a wind farm by the end of the year, with a goal to get 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023, The New York Times reported.

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