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Andy Wheeler: Trump’s Pick for EPA Deputy is a Threat to Our Climate and Health

, director of Climate & Energy

Washington’s latest parlor game involves predictions about the number of days left in Scott Pruitt’s tenure at the EPA.  There’s even a website where you can place bets on it and some very funny memes and gifs on the internet.  Amid the controversies over discounted condos, high priced furniture, self-important sirens, and questionable personnel practices, the outrage over Pruitt’s policies is getting lost in the noise.  If his ethical lapses result in his ouster, what’s to stop his replacement from continuing the destruction of nearly half a century of environmental progress? Read more >

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Department of Energy Releases Bogus Study to Prop Up Coal Plants

, senior energy analyst

A few months ago, the Department of Energy (DOE) made a request to one of its national labs, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), to study the impacts on the electricity grid of a severe cold snap called the bomb cyclone that hit the Northeast in early January 2018. NETL conducts important R&D on fossil energy technologies. The report released last week uses deeply flawed assumptions to inaccurately paint coal (and to a lesser extent, fuel oil) as the savior that prevented large-scale blackouts during the extreme cold, while greatly understating the contribution from renewable energy sources. It also estimates a bogus value for coal providing these so-called “resiliency” services. One has to wonder whether this deeply flawed and misleading study is part of the administration’s continued attempts to prop up the coal industry at all costs Read more >

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The World’s Population Hasn’t Grown Exponentially for at Least Half a Century

, scientific adviser, Climate and Energy

Recently I was looking at some data about world food production on the excellent Our World in Data site, and I discovered something very simple, but very surprising about the world’s population. We often hear (and I used to teach) about the threat of an exponentially growing population and the pressure it is supposed to be putting on our food supply and the natural resources that sustain it (land, water, nutrients, etc). But I found that the global population isn’t growing exponentially, and hasn’t been for at least half a century.

It has actually been growing in a simpler way than exponentially—in a straight line.

Read more >

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FEMA and HUD Budgets are Vital for Disaster and Climate Preparedness

, lead economist and climate policy manager

Last year’s record-breaking disasters—including hurricanes, wildfires and floods—were a reminder of how climate change and faulty development policies are colliding to create dangerous and costly outcomes for the American public. While much attention is focused on post-disaster recovery, we need to invest much more in preparing for disasters before they happen. The good news is that the omnibus budget deal recently passed by Congress appropriated significant funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help foster community resilience, in many cases undoing steep cuts that had been proposed by the Trump administration. Read more >

FEMA News Photo
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Photo: Senate EPW

With Pruitt Under Fire, Likely Successor Andrew Wheeler’s Coal Ties Deserve Scrutiny

As ethics storm clouds build over Scott Pruitt, environmentalists eager for a new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency should beware.

That is because the odds-on next leader of the EPA is Andrew Wheeler. Read more >

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