Tag Archives: children

What Really Causes Global Warming? – Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D


What Really Causes Global Warming?

Greenhouse Gases or Ozone Depletion?

Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: December 1, 2015

Publisher: Morgan James Publishing

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

A thought-provoking look at the unsettled science of global warming—from a former volcanologist, geophysicist, and US Geological Survey scientist.   Thousands of scientists are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that recent global warming is being caused by emissions of greenhouse gases and that we must act immediately to reduce these emissions or else we may render Earth unlivable for our children and grandchildren. Some even say “the science is settled.”   What Really Causes Global Warming? examines a broad range of observations that show that greenhouse warming theory is not only misguided, but not physically possible. Recent warming was caused by ozone depletion due to emissions of human-manufactured gases. We solved that problem with the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer stopping the increase in global temperatures by 1998. Volcanoes also deplete ozone. The eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland from August 2014 to February 2015―the largest effusive, basaltic, volcanic eruption since 1783―caused 2015 to be the hottest year on record. How can we adapt?

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What Really Causes Global Warming? – Peter Langdon Ward Ph.D

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Here’s why Iceland is mourning a dead glacier

Some 100 people gathered at the top of a volcano in Iceland on Sunday for an unusual funeral. The victim: A 700-year-old, six-mile glacier. Cause of death: climate change.

The Okjokull glacier actually died a decade ago. But Iceland decided to hold the funeral for the deceased ice mass — it’s first to go extinct from rising temperatures — last weekend amid warnings from the scientific community that hundreds of other glaciers across the sub-Arctic country could soon disappear. Iceland is projected to be entirely glacier-free within 200 years.

A plaque at the site of the vanished glacier, installed with a drill and assistance from some of the children in attendance, reads: “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” Henceforth the glacier will be known as just “Ok”; the Icelandic word for glacier, “jokull,” no longer applies.

An ice-free Iceland represents more than just an identity crisis for Icelanders. If global leaders don’t take action to slow rising temperatures, the melting of Greenland’s ice sheet alone could raise sea-levels more than five feet in the next 200 years. Enormous quantities of methane slumbering in the Arctic permafrost are threatening to come alive as record temperatures fry the top of our planet. Two fast-melting glaciers in Antarctica are holding back enough sea ice to flood oceans with another 11 feet of water.

The symbolic funeral took place three days before a meeting in Reykjavik between Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, other Nordic leaders, and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel. Jakobsdóttir said she aims to make addressing the climate crisis a priority at that meeting. “We see the consequences of the climate crisis,” she told the group of mourners. “We have no time to lose.”

Iceland may be the first country to hold a funeral for a dead glacier, but it’s not the first to mourn a natural wonder under assault by global warming. Australia is grappling with the slow death of its Great Barrier Reef, three islands have disappeared into the rising sea in the past year, and the United States is on the cusp of losing many of its cultural sites, like Jamestown, to rising tides.

And the death count is bound to rise as we make our way deeper into this century. Are we prepared to hold a funeral for, say, Miami? By 2070, the city’s streets will flood every single day (whether South Beach real estate agents realize it or not). If world leaders can’t get rampant emissions under control, we’d all better start getting used to living in a world that is just “Ok.”


Here’s why Iceland is mourning a dead glacier

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Green Websites and Online Games for Kids

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Young people are spending more and more time on devices. Kids between the ages of eight and 12 spend nearly six hours online daily on average. Although this statistic seems quite high, it is important to consider what children are doing online.

There are many educational websites and online games that teach children about nature, the climate crisis, or how to recycle. Unfortunately, some of these are not all that engaging, judging from my kid’s responses to them. Others teach about the natural world but don’t specifically teach young people about living greener lives.

Let’s explore some of the best green websites for young people.

Super Sorter

Super Sorter is an engaging game that takes children to a materials recovery facility to sort mixed recyclables. Plastic bottles, glass containers, and cardboard boxes appear on a conveyor belt where they must be sorted by one of four different technologies. Each sorter specializes in capturing different types of materials so players purchase and place the sorters strategically to have the highest recovery rate.

After watching kids play this game, it does seem to genuinely teach the concept that specific infrastructure is needed to have high recovery rates for single-stream recycling. It is ideal for late elementary age students and older.

PBS Nature Games

The PBS Kids website has a collection of nature games for elementary school-aged kids with a variety of themes. Gamers learn about ecosystems, bird species, constellations, soil health, geography, and more while playing. The object of the games is sometimes being a steward of nature or the environment, like managing renewable energy production, feeding winter birds, and creating wildlife habitat.

Much of the information is offered as a narrative during the game, which some kids might tune out. If nothing else, kids will gain exposure to certain vocabulary that could be helpful later on. These games are ideal for elementary-age children and often don’t require the ability to read.

National Geographic Kids

The National Geographic Kids website has a variety of resources that teach children about different animal species, planets, and special places. Kids can take a pledge to cut back on the use of disposable plastic, learn about amazing animals, or test their knowledge on a given topic with a quiz.

Rich graphics help keep this site interesting to kids, but aside from the videos, many activities require an ability to read. This website is ideal for late-elementary-age students and older. Most early-elementary-age children will need some help from an adult but will likely find the content interesting.

Ranger Rick

Ranger Rick is an interactive website that teaches children about different animals, provides instruction on craft projects, and has some jokes and games. Like National Geographic Kids, the website has excellent graphics and is well organized for young users.

Although Ranger Rick teaches children about the natural world, the website doesn’t necessarily teach children much about more sustainable lifestyle choices and conservation. One year of full access is $10. Because many activities require an ability to read, most early-elementary-age kids will need some assistance from an adult.

Have you found other educational green websites and online games that your children like? Share them with the Earth911 community in the Earthling Forum.


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Green Websites and Online Games for Kids

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Ryanair’s budget flights could blow the E.U.’s carbon budget

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“Europe’s Greenest Airline” just made the list of the top E.U. climate polluters, ranked 10th after nine coal plants. One of these things is not like the others?

The E.U.-commissioned study looked at major, measurable carbon sources like power plants, manufacturing companies, and airlines. This year’s study marks the first time that a non-coal plant has made it into the fabled top 10.

While the study showed total measured emissions fell 3.8 percent, Ryanair’s emissions rose 6.9 percent in 2018, and a whopping 49 percent over the past five years.

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The Irish airline has its frequent flier customers to thank for its climb to carbon-emitting fame. Since its founding in 1984, Ryanair has worked hard to keep its costs as low as possible. This means $12 tickets from Dublin to Amsterdam, but it also includes hiring contract pilots, flying to secondary rather than main airports, and hidden fees, like charging for a second carry-on. Despite all this, Ryanair has quickly become the largest European airline, with over 2,400 flights daily.

To put things in perspective, the next airline company, EasyJet, doesn’t appear on the list until No. 31.

Still, the company claims to be “Europe’s greenest and cleanest airline,” despite its sizable carbon emissions and climate change-denying CEO.

What does this all mean for the E.U. going forward? The E.U. uses a cap-and-trade system to monitor and decrease carbon emissions, but aviation companies are privy to a large amount of untaxed emissions. So Ryanair and other airlines have been able to increase their carbon emissions dramatically over the past couple of  years with few economic consequences. Without any policy changes, E.U. airline carbon emissions are expected to grow 300 percent by 2050.

Kevin Anderson, a professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester, told The Guardian, “If we genuinely care for our children’s futures, we need to drive down the demand for aviation. This will require stringent regulations focusing on frequent fliers rather than those taking the occasional trip.”

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Ryanair’s budget flights could blow the E.U.’s carbon budget

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Economic uncertainty already hung over the heads of Puerto Rico’s children. Then came Maria.

More than a year has passed since Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico, but Bethlyn Avilez and her family are still grappling with the irrevocable upheaval. Avilez lives in the central Puerto Rican municipality of Ciales with her husband and her two young boys, 9-year-old Xarquier and 4-year-old Xanier.

After the storm’s 155 mph winds and intense rainfall had torn through the island, causing a nearby bridge to collapse and a nearby river to rise, the family swam to a neighbor’s house. When the swollen river completely submerged their home, Xarquier intently watched the drastic devastation unfold from his neighbor’s window.

“He saw his things floating — his toys, his clothes, everything,” Avilez told Grist in her native Spanish. When the family finally trekked to its home two days after the storm had passed, Xarquier grasped the full scope of the wreckage.

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“He told me all he felt was sadness — that he’d lost everything, that things weren’t the same,” Avilez added.

That sentiment hangs over the Avilez family today. A new normal has yet to arrive. Avilez estimates it took three to four months for Xarquier to return to school — and finding supplies and clothes was a struggle since many stores were either closed or inaccessible. The family is still living in Avilez’s parents house while its works on finding a new home to start from scratch.

As part of the “Maria Generation,” stories like that of Avilez’s children are not unique. Long before the hurricane, economic uncertainty had shaped the experience of Puerto Rican youth: The territory already had the highest percentage of childhood poverty in the nation, at 57 percent. (Compare that to slightly more than 15 percent nationwide.)

Now, preliminary findings from a study out this week reveal that increased economic hardship following Maria, coupled with inadequate access to health and education, is further affecting the wellbeing and development of young people.

The study involved interviews with more than 700 Puerto Rican households with children under 18 years of age between July and September of 2018. Researchers used a three-pronged approach: looking at the extent to which economics, health, and education had levied deep-seeded impacts on children.

The findings are pretty grim. Following Maria’s onslaught on the island, about a third of households surveyed had reduced incomes due to loss of employment and reduced work hours. Low-income families suffered disproportionately by this erosion of income. According to the study, they reported difficulty paying utilities, buying food, and clothing.

Children, especially impoverished youth, are struggling in Maria’s wake. The study reveals that 44 percent of minors exhibited new behaviors after the hurricane — with 23 percent of that group experiencing anxiety. Children under 5 years old went an average of 92 days without attending preschool, while children between 5 and 17 years old are estimated to have spent an average of 78 days away from school. Further, 3 out of 10 children with disabilities that require medication for treatment had difficulty obtaining it after the hurricane.

“This study shows that families with children, who were facing significant challenges before the hurricane, are facing even more bleak conditions today,” said Anitza Cox, director of analysis and social policy at Estudios Técnicos, the firm that helped administer the survey. “This type of economic insecurity is what has led to families leaving in droves over the last decade, and what will continue to drive it if comprehensive policies are not put into place immediately.”

Indeed, more than 30 percent of households surveyed indicated that they are very likely or likely to move due to Hurricane Maria. In Florida alone, 200,000 Puerto Ricans arrived within the first two months after the storm made landfall.

Avilez considered being part of the subsequent mass migration, but ultimately felt that she needed to face this newfound reality head-on.

“If I had left, I’d be running away,” she told Grist. “I wanted to be brave. And so, we started over.”

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Economic uncertainty already hung over the heads of Puerto Rico’s children. Then came Maria.

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Give Up Plastic this Earth Day

With Earth Day on all of our minds, it?s a good time to start taking some tangible, quantifiable steps to reducing our environmental impact. Driving more eco-friendly cars, investing in solar power and shopping local are all fashionable (and of course, great steps!), but our favorite Earth Day resolution?this year is reducing your plastic consumption.

When you think about it, plastic is pretty much everywhere these days, from shipping materials to health food products. Here are five reasons you should give up (or at least greatly reduce) your plastic consumption:

It?s Accumulating in the Ocean

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been common knowledge among environmentalists for years, but recently, we collectively learned that this patch of plastic is even worse than we?d feared. The ?patch? is now estimated to be 4 to 16 times larger than originally thought, according to NPR.

In addition to recognizable items like water bottles, fishing supplies, plastic bags and buoys, the garbage patch is cluttered with tiny, nearly invisible plastic particles called microplastics, which are essentially the remnants of trash that?s already been broken down. Plastic is not a material that quickly and easily breaks down, so its memory remains in the ecosystem long after its usually short-lived human use has expired.

Related: What Happens to a Plastic Bag After You Throw It Away

It?s Killing Wildlife

Speaking of the garbage patch, plastic that collects in forests and waterways is slowly killing countless animals. Turtles and birds have long been known to get trapped in plastic bags, soda rings and other plastic items, but that?s only the beginning. According to National Geographic, seabirds around the world are regularly consuming plastic ? and it?s slowly killing them.

It?s Responsible for a Huge Number of Carbon Emissions

About 6 percent of global oil consumption can be attributed to plastic use, according to Time for Change. And as we all know by now, oil production comes at a major price to the environment. Time for Change also points out that the production of plastic bags and bottles generates 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic.

It Could Be Impacting Your Health

Most scientists agree that too much exposure to plastics can cause major health issues. The question is usually ?how much is too much??, but when you consider the risks, you may decide that you want to avoid plastic at all costs.

Plastics contain chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, an activity called ?estrogenic activity.? The presence of synthetic estrogens has been linked to a number of different health concerns, including developmental and hormonal issues as well as many cancers.

It Could Impact the Health of Your Children and Grandchildren

Finally, those synthetic chemicals can wind up in the bodies of future generations. A huge study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal found an average of 200 industrial chemicals, a number of which are transferred from plastics, in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. If that isn?t enough to scare you away from plastics, I don?t know what is!

Related Articles:

3 Ways a Zero Waste Lifestyle Can Improve Your Health
Finally Some Good News on Plastic Bags in Our Oceans
9 Ways to Cut Out Plastic That Will Help the Environment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Give Up Plastic this Earth Day

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Scott Pruitt plans to close an EPA office that studies how chemicals harm children.

Facing backlash from professors, Tennessee Technological University president Philip B. Oldham sent a letter to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday asking him to ignore the results of a study produced by his own university.

Here’s what happened.

Tennessee Republican Representative Diane Black, who has been pushing the EPA to adopt looser regulations for big trucks, asked Pruitt to roll back regulations on a certain kind of freight truck called a glider last July.

Previous EPA tests found gliders produce somewhere between 40 and 50 times more pollution than new trucks, but a study from Tennessee Tech published in 2016 found that gliders produce about the same levels of emissions as other trucks.

It turns out that the largest manufacturer of gliders, Tennessee-based Fitzgerald Glider Kits, funded the study and offered to build the university a spanking new research center to boot.

In November, Pruitt cited the study when he announced plans to ease up regulations on gliders. Faculty at Tennessee Tech asked the university to denounce the study on Friday, arguing that, among other things, it was a) conducted by an unsupervised graduate student and b) unverified. Then, on Wednesday, the EPA said in a statement that Pruitt’s decision didn’t have anything to do with the controversial study. … OK.

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Scott Pruitt plans to close an EPA office that studies how chemicals harm children.

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The Wizard and the Prophet – Charles C. Mann


The Wizard and the Prophet
Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World
Charles C. Mann

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: January 23, 2018

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Random House LLC

From the best-selling, award-winning author of 1491 and 1493 –an incisive portrait of the two little-known twentieth-century scientists, Norman Borlaug and William Vogt, whose diametrically opposed views shaped our ideas about the environment, laying the groundwork for how people in the twenty-first century will choose to live in tomorrow’s world. In forty years, Earth’s population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups–Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative, nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back ! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose ! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate ! was Borlaug’s cry. Only in that way can everyone win ! Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces–food, water, energy, climate change–grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author’s insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth.

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The Wizard and the Prophet – Charles C. Mann

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Sorry, Donald: Pittsburgh Thinks You Are Wrong About Climate Change

Mother Jones

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On Thursday, President Donald Trump portrayed his decision to pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate deal as a key part of his campaign pledge to put America first. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said.

There’s just one problem: The citizens of Pittsburgh are strongly supportive of climate action. According to a recent study from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 68 percent of adults in the Pittsburgh metro area support strict limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants—a key element of the US commitment under the Paris deal. For Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, that number is 74 percent. For Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, which also includes Pittsburgh, it’s 78 percent.

Roughly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians—and Americans as a whole—believe the United States should remain in the Paris agreement, according to the Yale research.

There doesn’t appear to be any data on the popularity of the Paris agreement within Pittsburgh itself, but it’s worth noting that the city’s mayor, Bill Peduto, actually traveled to Paris during the 2015 negotiations to help press for an agreement. “Pittsburgh and other cities are on the front lines of the climate change crisis, and it is our responsibility to address the deep challenges it is creating for us, our children and our grandchildren,” he said in a statement at the time, according to the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.

Peduto took to Twitter Thursday to express his displeasure with Trump’s comments:

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Sorry, Donald: Pittsburgh Thinks You Are Wrong About Climate Change

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Trump’s latest environmental evildoing: More pollution, less protection

In a single day, President Trump did more environmental damage than during his previous 67 days in office. That’s no small achievement.

With an executive order signed on March 28, he supercharged the process of demolishing President Obama’s climate initiatives, including his signature one, the Clean Power Plan. It’s not just climate hawks, treehuggers, and grandstanding Democratic politicians who are aghast. Mainstream media outlets are, too.

“President Trump’s move to rip up Mr. Obama’s climate policies [is] beyond reckless. Children studying his presidency will ask, ‘How could anyone have done this?’” the Washington Post editorial board wrote. The New York Times ran its own anxious editorial under the headline “President Trump Risks the Planet.”

Trump’s move means the U.S. will pump out a lot more greenhouse gases than it would have if Obama’s policies had been continued.

And it will make climate change still worse by weakening the resolve of other countries to curb their emissions.

Here’s a rundown of what Trump is aiming to do with his executive order as well as other recent moves:

Motley spew
Let power plants emit more pollution

What happened? Old coal-fired power plants may get to keep polluting the air we breathe and the atmosphere that sustains life on earth, thanks to Trump’s call to toss out the Clean Power Plan. And future power plants may not be held to tougher standards that would have largely prevented new coal plants from coming online.

What does it really mean? This is A Big F’ing Deal. These power plant rules were the most significant part of the Obama administration’s effort to meet its emission-cutting pledge under the Paris climate agreement. If the U.S. is wimping out on Paris, other countries will be more inclined to wimp out, too.

But undoing the Clean Power Plan will likely take years and will definitely be challenged in court, so it’s far from a done deal. Plus, cheap natural gas means utilities aren’t likely to build new coal-fired power plants anyway, because gas plants are less expensive to run.

Frack addicts
Make it easier for companies to frack and emit methane

What happened? The Obama administration tried to tighten regulations on fracking on federal and tribal lands to prevent water pollution. It also tried to rein in methane pollution from oil and gas operations on public lands. Trump’s executive order calls for those rules to be reviewed and rewritten.

What does it really mean? The Trump administration is working to remove all obstacles that stand in the way of the oil and gas industry, pure and simple.

Full speed ahead!
Trash other rules that restrain the oil, gas, and coal industries

What happened? Trump’s executive order tells federal agencies to review regulations and actions that potentially “burden” domestic energy development, and gives them 180 days to come up with plans to scale the regulations back.

What does it really mean? We don’t know how many rules will get dragged into this process and ultimately be weakened or tossed out, but the message is clear: Drill, baby, drill. Mine, baby, mine.

The coal ball and chain
Sell off coal from public lands again

What happened? The federal program that leases land to coal companies for mining is a big money loser as well as a climate killer. In January 2016, the Obama administration put a moratorium on the program so it could consider how to improve it, potentially by charging more for coal leases and taking into account the climate impacts of mining. With his executive order, Trump called for the moratorium to be reversed, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke promptly did just that. Zinke also cancelled the big review of the program, so major reforms won’t be coming anytime soon.

What does it really mean? This won’t lead to much new coal mining immediately, as there’s currently a glut of coal on the market and companies already have plenty of reserves. But it means that the coal-leasing program will continue to waste taxpayer money, subsidize coal companies, and worsen climate change.

Global what?
Stop thinking about climate change

What happened? Under Obama, federal agencies were required to consider the full economic cost of climate change when making decisions about projects. The administration determined that a metric ton of CO2 pollution currently costs society about $36 — that’s called the social cost of carbon — and this number has been factored into cost-benefit analyses for regulations and other government actions, often supporting regulations that require emissions cuts.

The Obama administration also asked federal agencies to account for climate change when writing environmental impact statements for federal projects.

With his executive order, Trump is calling for a new review of the social cost of carbon, and he’s tossing out the requirement to consider climate in impact statements.

What does it really mean? Expect the social cost of carbon to drop, even though experts say it’s already way too low. Essentially, these are yet more ways for the administration to say it doesn’t give a damn about climate change.

Phew, that was quite the executive order. But wait, there’s more: Trump found time to pull some other scary moves between trips to Mar-a-Lago.

Having their spray
Allow use of a dangerous pesticide

What happened? Under Obama, the EPA proposed banning agricultural use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, but didn’t finalize the rule. Under Trump, the EPA did an about-face: On March 29, the agency officially declined to impose a ban.

What does it really mean? Scientific studies have linked even low doses of chlorpyrifos to developmental problems in kids. So children will continue to be exposed — especially the children of farm workers — while Dow AgroSciences, manufacturer of the pesticide, will continue to make lots of money selling it.

Dude, where’s my cleaner car?
Roll back auto fuel economy rules

What happened? Just before Obama moved out of the White House, his administration finalized a review of its ambitious gas-mileage standards for future cars and trucks. On March 15, the Trump administration sent those standards back to the drawing board, calling for more review after automakers complained that they were too strict.

What does it really mean? Cars will likely guzzle more gas than they need to, and the shift to electric cars may slow down.

Romancing the Keystone
Clear the way for the Keystone XL pipeline

What happened? Just as promised during his first week in office, Trump revived the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry some of the filthiest oil on the planet down from the tar sands of Alberta, across the American farm belt, and toward refineries on the Gulf Coast. Obama denied the pipeline builder a permit to cross the U.S.-Canada border. On March 27, Trump reversed course and granted the permit.

What does it really mean? Within days of Trump’s move, environmentalists filed two lawsuits attempting to stop the pipeline’s construction. Pipeline builder TransCanada still needs approval from Nebraska and may face financial hurdles. Even so, chances are better than ever that the world’s most controversial pipeline will get built.

Meanwhile, that other highly controversial pipeline, Dakota Access, is now finished and being filled up with oil, thanks to the OK it got from the Trump administration on Feb. 6.

Let’s end on two slivers of good news:

Trump did not pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, as some right-wingers have been calling for. The White House says a decision on that will be made by May 26, and maybe Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can convince the president to stay in.

Trump did not ask the EPA to reverse its finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health, which is the basis for the agency’s climate actions. The conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute has petitioned the agency to review that finding, hoping to overturn it. We don’t know how that will turn out, but in the meantime, the situation is making EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt very uncomfortable.

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Trump’s latest environmental evildoing: More pollution, less protection

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