Blue Marble Feed | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2006/10 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en America's BBQ Grills Create as Much Carbon as a Big Coal Plant http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/your-grills-smoky-truth <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As your neighbors fire up their barbecues this Independence Day, the most popular day in America to grill, they won't just send the scent of tri-tip or grilled corn over the fence in your direction&mdash;they'll also send smoke. As my colleague Kiera Butler wrote about <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2009/09/bbq-econundrum-charcoal-or-gas" target="_blank">here</a>, even the "cleanest" gas grills emit pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every hour they're used. So how many emissions can we expect from dinner barbecues on the 4th?</p> <p>Roughly eighty percent of American households own barbecues or smokers, <a href="http://www.hpba.org/consumers/barbecue/grilling-facts-and-figures" target="_blank">according to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association</a>. Let's say all 92.5 million of them decide to grill on Saturday. A 2013 study by HPBA found that 61 percent of users opted for gas grills, 42 percent for charcoal, and 10 percent for electric (some respondents had multiple grills). If that reflected all households across the United States, and each household used <a href="http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ObVH5sYMCh8J:web.ornl.gov/ornlhome/print/press_release_print.cfm%3FReleaseNumber%3Dmr20030703-00+&amp;cd=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=us" target="_blank">its grill for an hour</a> on the 4th of July, then we'd get a calculation like this:</p> <p>(56.425M gas grills*5.6 pounds of CO2) + (38.85M charcoal grills*11 pounds CO2) + (9.25M electric grills*15 pounds CO2 ) = <strong>882 million pounds of CO2</strong></p> <p>That's <a href="http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/refs.html" target="_blank">roughly as many</a> emissions as burning 2145 railcars of coal, or running one coal-fired power plant for a month.</p> <p>But let's be honest&mdash;no one wants to give up summer grilling, and these emissions stats probably won't convince your neighbor to turn off the barbecue. You might instead offer up ideas on recipes with ingredients that are friendlier to the planet&mdash;like these <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/07/veggie-burger-recipe-vegan-gluten-free-barley-beet-mushroom-falafel" target="_blank">4 veggie burgers that don't suck</a>.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Food and Ag Science Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:48:53 +0000 Maddie Oatman 278911 at http://www.motherjones.com Finally, a Little Good News on the California Drought Front http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/finally-little-good-news-california-drought-front <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Finally, some good news on the California drought beat: Californians reduced their residential water usage in May by a whopping 29 percent compared to the same month in 2013, according to a <a href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2015/pr070115_may_conservation.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> released today by the State Water Resources Control Board. That's the steepest drop in more than a year.</p> <p>Californians may have been inspired to reduce their water use by the mandatory, statewide municipal water cut of 25 percent that Gov. Jerry Brown <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/04/breaking-first-time-california-enforcing-water-restrictions" target="_blank">announced</a> in April, though those cuts didn't go into effect until June. (Those 25 percent reductions did not apply to agriculture, which uses an estimated 80 percent of the state's water, though some <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/breaking-california-cutting-water-to-farms" target="_blank">farmers</a> have faced curtailments.)</p> <p>"The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought," said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus in a press release. "That said, we need all Californians to step up&mdash;and keep it up&mdash;as if we don&rsquo;t know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't."</p> <p>In May, California residents used 87.5 gallons per capita per day&mdash;three gallons per day less than the previous month. Big cities that showed the most dramatic cuts include Folsom, Fresno, and San Jose. But water use by area varies drastically, with places known for green lawns and gardens, like Coachella and Malibu, using more than 200 gallons per person per day. Outdoor water usage is estimated to account for about half of overall residential use.</p> <p>Officials are cautiously optimistic. Board spokesman George Kostyrko says Californians "did great in May and we are asking them to keep doing what they are doing and work even harder to conserve water during these critical summer months and beyond."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Econundrums Food and Ag Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:47:04 +0000 Julia Lurie 278896 at http://www.motherjones.com The Threatened Atlantic Puffins Are Nesting And It's Adorable http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/threatened-atlantic-puffins-are-nesting-and-its-adorable <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Atlantic puffins are back...for now. After spending much of the year on the open sea, the photogenic birds have made their annual trip to the North Atlantic shores of Maine, Newfoundland, and the United Kingdom to breed.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/maine_630x354_1.jpg"></a> <div class="caption"><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to read our feature on Atlantic Puffins </strong></a></div> </div> <p>But <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/gulf-maine-puffin-climate-change" target="_blank">as Rowan Jacobsen reported in a <em>Mother Jones </em>feature last summer</a>, rising ocean temperatures have taken a huge toll on these seabirds. Cold-water thriving zooplankton, critical to the Gulf of Maine's food web, have reached their lowest numbers ever, forcing the fish that puffins feed to their young to go elsewhere for food. Without a reliable source of food, in 2013, only 10 percent of puffin pairs in burrows tracked by researchers successfully fledged chicks (normally that rate is 77 percent).</p> <p>This isn't the first time puffins in Maine have faced an existential threat. After <a href="https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/atlantic-puffin" target="_blank">300 years of hunting and over harvesting eggs</a>, Atlantic puffin colonies in Maine nearly disappeared. Fortunately, a successful Audubon Society initiative in the 1970s brought them back to nesting islands off the coast of Maine; by 2013, 1,000 pairs were laying eggs there.</p> <p>During the past couple of years, cold water has returned to the gulf of Maine, which is great news for the puffins. In 2014, they <a href="http://projectpuffin.audubon.org/maine-puffins-rebound" target="_blank">saw a rebound:</a> 75 percent of chicks survived. This year they are back again and as cute as ever. You can watch them below on the Audubon's puffin live cam until August when they leave again for the ocean:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GqxWzuLDWlU" width="630"><br></iframe></p> <p>If that's not enough, below are some more photos and video of Atlantic puffins:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_82914316.jpg" style="height: 598px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-82914316/stock-photo-pretty-puffin-pig.html?src=dt_last_search-4">Randy Rimland</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GgYlglwXiqk" width="630"></iframe></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_113519149.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-113519149/stock-photo-a-puffin-on-a-cliff-norway.html?src=LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-1-19">Helen Kattai</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_84243166.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-84243166/stock-photo-atlantic-puffin-or-common-puffin-fratercula-arctica-in-flight-on-mykines-faroe-islands.html?src=pp-photo-84240019-LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-4&amp;ws=1">Eric Isselee</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_103764713_0.jpg" style="height: 417px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption"><a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-103764713/stock-photo-puffin-colony-farne-island-uk.html?src=LFB7T9xzdMYItDIPXS_74g-1-93">gabrisigno</a>/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Food and Ag Top Stories Sat, 27 Jun 2015 10:00:08 +0000 Luke Whelan 278566 at http://www.motherjones.com Congress Doesn't Think Agricultural Sustainability Has Anything to Do With Your Health http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/congress-doesnt-think-agriculture-has-anything-do-your-health <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Every five years, the US government revisits its Dietary Guidelines&mdash;suggestions for how Americans should eat. The guidelines won't legally require you to, say, eat an apple a day, but they do affect things like agricultural subsidies and public school lunches, so they're fairly influential.</p> <p>When the committee tasked with making scientific recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines released <a href="http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf" target="_blank">its report</a> this year, it ruffled some feathers. For the first time it included concerns about the environmental issues linked to certain dietary patterns and agricultural practices&mdash;for example, how <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/salt-sugar-chicken-what-look-upcoming-dietary-guidelines-report" target="_blank">eating less meat</a> and more plant-based foods is "more health promoting and is associated with a lesser environmental impact." Or that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/tom-vilsack-2015-dietary-guidelines-sustainability-environment" target="_blank">assuring food security</a> might rely on creating agricultural practices that "reduce environmental impacts and conserve resources."</p> <p>Some lobbyists and politicians, especially those who pad their pockets with cash from Big Food and Big Ag, weren't too happy about these suggestions. As <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/tom-vilsack-2015-dietary-guidelines-sustainability-environment" target="_blank">I've written in the past</a>, the suggestion that plant-based diets might be healthier for people and the planet messes with the meat industry's bottom line, so why would they back it? In <a href="http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx" target="_blank">letters</a> sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over the past few months, industry groups have tried to argue that sustainability issues do not fall within the scope of the Dietary Guidelines. <a href="http://www.beefusa.org/CMDocs/BeefUSA/2015_Dietary_Guidelines_NCBA_Comments.pdf" target="_blank">One letter</a> from the National Cattleman's Beef Association argued that the advisory committee "clearly does not have the background or expertise to evaluate the complex relationship between food production and the dietary needs of a growing American and international population."</p> <p>The House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, which <a href="http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/riders-dga-campaign-analysis-report.pdf" target="_blank">accepted at least $1.4 million</a> from the food industry in 2013 and 2014, apparently caved to these complaints. It recently stuck a rider in its <a href="http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2016-agriculture-subcommitteedraft.pdf" target="_blank">2016 Agricultural Appropriations bill</a> that would A) explicitly prohibit the upcoming Dietary Guidelines from mentioning anything other than diet and nutrient intake, and B) force the guidelines to only rely on scientific evidence that has been rated "Grade 1: Strong" by the Department of Agriculture. <em>Politico</em> reported on Thursday that a <a href="http://www.politico.com/morningagriculture/0615/morningagriculture18894.html?ml=ae_l" target="_blank">similar Senate agriculture appropriations rider</a> would force any advice in the Dietary Guidelines to be "solely nutritional and dietary in nature."</p> <p>In an unprecedented move, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has shot back with <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/dgac_appropriations_bill_response_6_2015.pdf" target="_blank">a letter of its own</a>. Health and food systems <em>should</em> be more closely related in the government's eyes, the committee argued. "Future food insecurity is predictable without attention to the safety, quality, cost, and sustainability of the food supply," the letter stated, adding that "the US health and public health systems are burdened with preventable health problems." In other words, to narrow the reach of the Dietary Guidelines is to ignore the connection between things like exercise and obesity, for instance, or agricultural pesticide use and disease. To read more of the DGAC's arguments, see the full <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/dgac_appropriations_bill_response_6_2015.pdf" target="_blank">letter here</a>.</p> <p>Expect the finalized Dietary Guidelines late this year. In the meantime, it looks like the DGAC isn't giving up the battle for a more holistic national framework for how people eat. They certainly have <em>Food Politics</em> author Marion Nestle on their side; as she <a href="http://www.foodpolitics.com/2015/06/lets-stop-congress-from-interfering-with-the-dietary-guidelines-please/" target="_blank">summarizes</a> on her blog:</p> <blockquote> <p>[Members of the DGAC] were asked to review and consider the science of diet and health and did so. They reported what they believe the science says. Some segments of the food industry didn't like the science so they are using the political system to fight back. That some members of Congress would go along with this is shameful.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Fri, 26 Jun 2015 22:15:12 +0000 Maddie Oatman 278581 at http://www.motherjones.com Why Is a Whole Foods Exec Livestreaming His Empty Office? http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/whole-foods-executive-livestreams-his-desk-wtf <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="354" scrolling="no" src="http://livestream.com/accounts/13843267/events/4114185/player?width=630&amp;height=354&amp;autoPlay=true&amp;mute=false" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Whole Foods recently announced its plan <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/introducing-our-new-store-concept-365-whole-foods-market" target="_blank">to open a new line</a> of smaller stores called "365," and along with the news they launched a very, well, strange promotional website. If you type in <a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/365" target="_blank">www.wholefoodsmarket.com/365</a> you will find a webpage streaming a live cam of 365 president <a href="http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/experts/regional-leadership/jeff-turnas" target="_blank">Jeff </a><a href="http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/experts/regional-leadership/jeff-turnas" target="_blank">Turnas</a>'s desk. As of the writing of this post, the live stream has been going for some 170 hours; that's more than seven days.</p> <p>If this tactic is meant to show how hard Whole Foods is working on its new, more affordable venture (amid <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/business/retail/costco-becomes-largest-organic-grocer-analysts-say/" target="_blank">growing competition</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/06/whole-foods-overcharging-new-york-city" target="_blank">accusations</a> of overcharging customers), it's not really working. We scanned through the seven days of footage and not once was the office occupied.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Thu, 25 Jun 2015 21:36:28 +0000 Luke Whelan 278456 at http://www.motherjones.com California Water Districts Just Sued the State Over Cuts to Farmers http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/water-districts-just-sued-state-over-water-rights <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/droughtmininav_0.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More MoJo coverage of the California Drought: </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-273076"> <li><a href="/environment/2015/04/everything-you-wanted-know-about-california-drought"> 7 Key Facts About the Drought</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-261336"> <li><a href="/environment/2015/01/california-drought-almonds-water-use"> Invasion of the Hedge Fund Almonds </a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-276961"> <li><a href="/environment/2015/06/california-sinking-drought-ground-water"> California Is Literally Sinking Into the Ground</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258001"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/08/bottled-water-california-drought"> Bottled Water Comes From the Most Drought-Ridden Places in the Country</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-253981"> <li><a href="/blue-marble/2014/06/pacific-institute-nrdc-california-drought-solutions"> Weather-Sensitive Watering, and 4 Other Simple Fixes for California's Drought</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-247131"> <li><a href="/environment/2014/03/california-water-suck"> It Takes HOW Much Water to Make Greek Yogurt?!</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-275636"> <li><a href="/environment/2015/05/breaking-california-cutting-water-to-farms"> California Has Cut Water to Some Farmers. What Exactly Does That Mean? </a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>Drama on the California drought front: On Friday, a group of water districts sued the State Water Resources Control Board in response to an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/breaking-california-cutting-water-to-farms" target="_blank">order</a> prohibiting some holders of senior water rights from pumping out of some lakes and rivers.</p> <p>"This is our water," <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2015/06/15/court-battles-loom-over-challenge-to-state-water-rights/" target="_blank">said</a> Steve Knell, general manager of Oakdale Irrigation District, to KQED's Lauren Sommer. "We believe firmly in that fact and we are very vested in protecting that right."</p> <p>Water allotments in the Golden State are based on a byzantine <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/breaking-california-cutting-water-to-farms" target="_blank">system of water rights</a> that prioritizes senior water rights holders, defined as individuals, companies, and water districts that laid claim to the water before 1914. Typically, those with the oldest permits are the first to get water and the last to see it curtailed.</p> <p>But on June 12, the state ordered the 114 senior water rights holders with <a href="http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/jun12pre14maillist.pdf" target="_blank">permits dating back to 1903</a> to stop pumping water from the San Joaquin and Sacramento watersheds, a normally fertile area encompassing<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/05/breaking-california-cutting-water-to-farms" target="_blank"> most of northern California</a>. "There are some that have no alternative supplies and will have to stop irrigating crops," <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2015/06/15/court-battles-loom-over-challenge-to-state-water-rights/" target="_blank">admitted</a> Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. "There are others that have stored water or have wells that they can fall back on. It's going to be a different story for each one and a struggle for all of them." This is the first time since 1977 that the state has enacted curtailments on senior holders.</p> <p>In response, an umbrella group called the <a href="http://calsmartwater.org/" target="_blank">San Joaquin Tributaries Authority</a> (which includes the Oakdale Irrigation District) has sued the state. In addition, the Patterson and Banta Carbona irrigation districts filed two separate lawsuits. The lawsuits claim the state overstepped its authority by curtailing water to districts that claimed rights to the water before the state set up a control board in 1913 to oversee water rights.</p> <p>"Water right holders were here before the state exerted any authority over water," <a href="http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2015/06/15/court-battles-loom-over-challenge-to-state-water-rights/" target="_blank">said Knell</a>. "Most of our water rights go back to the mid-1800s. So the state having authority over something that we developed long before the state got into this business is the legal question we will be asking a judge."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Econundrums Tue, 23 Jun 2015 00:39:38 +0000 Julia Lurie 278076 at http://www.motherjones.com EPA Report Puts a Staggering Price Tag on Climate Inaction http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/epa-report-puts-staggering-price-tag-climate-inaction <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>According to <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/cira/climate-action-benefits-key-findings#national-highlights" target="_blank">a report</a> released Monday by the Obama administration, doing nothing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions would cost the United States billions of dollars and thousands lives.</p> <p>The findings come as part of an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency to quantify the human and economic benefits of cutting emissions in an effort to reduce global warming. The report is the latest piece of President Obama's recent <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/why-gops-attack-obamas-climate-plan-will-probably-fail" target="_blank">climate push</a> and provides a tool that he <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/us/politics/effects-of-climate-change-could-cost-billions-epa-report-says.html?_r=1" target="_blank">hopes to use</a> in negotiations at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year.</p> <p>The report, which was peer reviewed, estimates that if nothing is done to curb global warming, by 2100, the United States will see an additional 12,000 annual deaths related to extreme temperatures in the 49 cities analyzed for the report. In addition, the report projects an increase of 57,000 premature deaths annually related to poor air quality. The economic costs would be enormous as well. By 2100, climate inaction will result in:</p> <ul><li>$4.2-$7.4 billion<em> </em>in additional road maintenance costs each year.</li> <li>$3.1 billion annually in damages to coastal regions due to sea-level rise and storm surges.</li> <li>$6.6-$11 billion annually in agricultural damages.</li> <li>A loss of 230,000 to 360,000 acres of cold-water fish habitat.</li> <li>A loss of 34 percent of the US oyster supply and 29 percent of the clam supply.</li> <li>$110 billion annually in lost labor due to unsuitable working conditions.</li> </ul><p>The EPA also used a number of charts to illustrate the difference between taking action to stop (or "mitigate") climate change and continuing with business as usual (which the charts refer to as the "reference" case).</p> <p>For example, if we don't mitigate climate change, temperatures will continue to skyrocket:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-22%20at%201.03.55%20PM.png" style="height: 252px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><br> Precipitation levels will become extremely volatile:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-22%20at%201.05.32%20PM.png" style="height: 743px; width: 630px;"></div> <p><br> Air pollution will become much worse:</p> <p><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-22%20at%201.07.23%20PM.png" style="height: 380px; width: 630px;"></p> <p>And the risk of drought will rise for much of the country:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-22%20at%201.16.12%20PM.png"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Economy Science Top Stories Infrastructure Mon, 22 Jun 2015 22:59:11 +0000 Luke Whelan 278051 at http://www.motherjones.com Study: Flu Viruses Travel on US Roads and Railways http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/viruses-interstates-study <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Viruses are hitching a ride with commuters on the nation's roads and railways, adding to the chaotic movement that makes seasonal outbreaks difficult to track and contain.</p> <p>In a <a href="http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004898" target="_blank">study</a> published Thursday in <em>PLOS Pathogens, </em>researchers at Emory University tracked genetic variations in two strains of influenza between 2003 and 2013. They concluded that states highly connected by ground transit tended to have similar genetic variations of the flu, and they matched their findings with illness case data that showed closely timed epidemic peaks in those states. The researchers believe ground transit connectivity may be a better indicator of where a disease is likely to spread than air travel connections or even geographic proximity, though they say both remain important factors.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/map2_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>The US Interstate Commuter Network shows the number of people traveling daily between states for work. </strong>Courtesy of Bozick, CC-BY</div> </div> <p>Modern transport networks complicate the movement of viruses: In the past, contagion moved person to person and village to village, resulting in "wave-like patterns" of genetic variation that correspond to geographic distance, the report says. But with 3.8 million people in the United States taking ground transportation across state borders each day and 1.6 million doing so by air, the spread of illness has become far more chaotic: Transcontinental flights help foster bicoastal outbreaks, while well-traveled commuter corridors between Kansas and Missouri may mean those states share illnesses as neighboring areas go unscathed.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/map1_1.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Researchers found that "commuting communities," divided into colored regions, tended to span state borders. Travelers carried influenza along with them. </strong>Courtesy of Bozick, CC-BY</div> </div> <p>The researchers hope their study, which they believe to be the first of its kind at the scale of the continental United States, will help epidemiologists better understand influenza's seemingly unpredictable spread.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Science Top Stories Sat, 20 Jun 2015 10:00:09 +0000 Gregory Barber 277861 at http://www.motherjones.com This Map Shows Where the World's Water Is Drying Up http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/aquifers-groundwater-world-depleted-california-drought <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/watermap_white_cp.png"></div> <p>Groundwater loss isn't just a California problem: According to <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015WR017349/full" target="_blank">a recent study</a> by researchers at NASA and the University of California-Irvine, humans are depleting more than half of the world's 37 largest aquifers at unsustainable rates, and there is virtually no accurate data showing how much water is left.</p> <p>The study, published this week in the journal <em>Water Resources Research</em>, used 11 years of satellite data to measure water depletion. Eight aquifers, primarily in Asia and Africa, were qualified as "overstressed," meaning they had nearly no natural replenishment. The most stressed basin was the Arabian Aquifer System, beneath Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Other quickly disappearing aquifers were the Indus Basin aquifer, between India and Pakistan, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin, in northern Africa.</p> <p>Five other aquifers, including California's Central Valley Aquifer, were "extremely" or "highly" stressed, with some natural replenishment but not enough to make up for growing demand.</p> <p>The growing demand on water, exacerbated by overpopulation and climate change, has led to a situation that is "quite critical," <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/16/new-nasa-studies-show-how-the-world-is-running-out-of-water/" target="_blank">says</a> Jay Famiglietti, a senior water scientist at NASA.</p> <p>Aquifers house groundwater, which serves as a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/everything-you-wanted-know-about-california-drought" target="_blank">savings account</a> of sorts: It's good to rely on in droughts but takes decades or centuries to replenish. Groundwater usually makes up about 40 percent of the California's freshwater supply, but now, as California endures its fourth year of drought and as farmers have resorted to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/06/california-sinking-drought-ground-water" target="_blank">drilling for water</a>, that number has leapt to more than 60 percent. The state recently implemented regulations to measure groundwater supply that will gradually be implemented over several years.</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/la-me-groundwater-studies-20150617-001.png"><div class="caption"><strong>NASA satellite images show groundwater loss in California. </strong>UC-Irvine/NASA</div> </div> <p>Measuring exactly how much groundwater remains around the world is both difficult and expensive, as it involves drilling, sometimes thousands of feet, into thick layers of bedrock. As a result, estimates of how much longer the existing groundwater will last often vary by orders of magnitude&mdash;from <a href="http://news.uci.edu/press-releases/a-third-of-the-worlds-biggest-groundwater-basins-are-in-distress/" target="_blank">decades to millennia</a>.</p> <p>The researchers got around that problem by using data that shows subtle changes in the Earth's gravity, which is affected by the weight of the aquifers. They acknowledge that this is just a start, and call for more local, detailed data.</p> <p>"We know we're taking more than we're putting back in&mdash;how much do we have before we can't do that anymore?" said lead author Alexandra Richey to the <a href="http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-groundwater-studies-20150617-story.html" target="_blank"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>. "We don't know, but we keep pumping. Which to me is terrifying."</p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Econundrums International Top Stories Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:00:16 +0000 Julia Lurie 277581 at http://www.motherjones.com 6 Foods That Still Have Scary Amounts of Trans Fats http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/fda-finally-moves-restrict-trans-fat <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>After years of hemming and hawing, the Food and Drug Administration has <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-14883.pdf" target="_blank">finally declared</a> artificial trans fats a threat to public health, giving food companies until June 2018 to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the primary source of trans fats in processed foods.</p> <p>The decision doesn't amount to a full ban, allowing companies to petition for small amounts of trans fats if they can present evidence that it won't cause harm to consumers. But the FDA cautions that food companies will be hard-pressed to find research that contests the negative health effects of trans fats, which it says contribute to as many as 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/blue-marble/2015/06/fda-finally-moves-restrict-trans-fat"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Science Top Stories Wed, 17 Jun 2015 10:05:08 +0000 Gregory Barber 277431 at http://www.motherjones.com Dear Rick Santorum: Sorry, the Pope Actually Did Study Science. So He Might Know About Science. http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/dear-rick-santorum-pope-actually-did-study-science <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>"I am not a scientist!" is <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/05/why-republicans-always-say-im-not-a-scientist.html" target="_blank">now the standard escape hatch</a> through which Republican climate deniers slither to avoid talking about climate science or evolution. <a href="http://www.gq.com/news-politics/politics/201212/marco-rubio-interview-gq-december-2012" target="_blank">From Sen. Marco Rubio,</a> asked how old the Earth is: "I'm not a scientist, man." Rick Perry whipped out the same "I'm not a scientist" line <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11/quote-day-marco-rubio-not-scientist" target="_blank">last year in DC</a> while questioning the consensus around climate change. Jeb Bush <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/06/jeb-bush-global-warming-skeptic" target="_blank">said the same thing</a> back in 2009.</p> <p>Now at least one GOP presidential hopeful is turning the talking point into an attack on the pope, ahead of his landmark encyclical on the environment, to be released Thursday. (<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/15/pope-francis-destruction-ecosystem-leaked-encyclical" target="_blank">A draft of the document has already leaked</a>). Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/rick-santorums-journey-to-devout-catholicism-view-of-religion-in-governance/2012/03/16/gIQAj4NzNS_story.html" target="_blank">a Catholic</a> with a <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/rick-santorum-blasts-pope-francis-as-not-credible-on-climate-change-leave-the-science-to-the-scientists/" target="_blank">history of criticizing Pope Francis</a>, says the pope should leave science to the scientists. "The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science," he told Dom Giordano, a radio host in Philadelphia, <a href="http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2015/06/01/rick-santorum-on-pope-francis-letter-on-climate-change-leave-the-science-to-the-scientist/" target="_blank">earlier this month</a>. "And I think that we are probably better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we're really good at, which is theology and morality."</p> <p>One problem with Santorum's retort? The pope, while obviously not a climate scientist (he's the pope), actually <em>did</em> study science and therefore might have a better grasp of fundamental scientific processes than most people who have not studied science.</p> <p>The <em><a href="http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/does-pope-francis-have-masters-degree-chemistry">National Catholic Reporter</a></em> and the <a href="http://www.news.va/en/news/biography-who-is-jorge-mario-bergoglio">Official Vatican Network</a> both report that Francis,&nbsp;then&nbsp;Jorge Bergoglio, earned a technician's degree in chemistry from a technical school in Buenos Aires before joining the seminary. Sylvia Poggioli from NPR also reports Francis worked as a chemist. Listen to her report from <em>Morning Edition</em>, below, from Rome:</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="220" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/414666357/414831954" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>And for good measure, here's a video my Climate Desk colleagues&mdash;Tim McDonnell and Suzanne Goldenberg (from the <em>Guardian</em>)&mdash;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/11/james-inhofe-republican-climate-denier-pope-francis" target="_blank">put together last week.</a> They asked a bunch of climate change deniers at the annual Heartland Institute conference in Washington, DC, what they think of the pope's calls for action on climate change:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/awseUWC6Z-U" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Top Stories Tue, 16 Jun 2015 16:57:04 +0000 James West 277381 at http://www.motherjones.com Is the Leading Nutrition Science Group in Big Food's Pocket? http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/big-food-has-more-influence-nutritional-science-then-you-think <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Figuring out whom to trust for nutritional advice can be a daunting task; new findings on everything from the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">dangers of sugar</a> to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/five-healthy-cooking-fixes" target="_blank">health benefits of leftover pasta</a> seem to come out every day, and the "experts" behind them <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/my-trip-mcdonalds-sponsored-nutritionist-convention" target="_blank">often have ulterior motives</a>.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/ASNReportFinal.pdf" target="_blank">a report released today</a>, even venerable nutritional science organizations and the journals they publish can't be trusted. Public health lawyer Michele Simon explores how corporate interests influence the findings of one of these research organizations: the <a href="http://www.nutrition.org/about-asn/" target="_blank">American Society for Nutrition</a>. The nearly 90-year-old nonprofit, comprising 5,000 scientists and experts, publishes the <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition </em>and claims to "bring together the world's top researchers, clinical nutritionists and industry to advance our knowledge and application of nutrition for the sake of humans and animals." But according Simon, the group's coziness with corporate sponsors calls its research into question.</p> <p>Here are some of Simon's findings:</p> <ul><li><strong>ASN's financial backers include many from the food and beverage industry</strong>. Their "<a href="http://www.nutrition.org/our-members/corporate-members/our-sustaining-partners/" target="_blank">Sustaining Partners</a>," or financial donors of $10,000 or more, include the likes of Coca-Cola, Cargill, Monsanto, the National Dairy Council, and the Sugar Association.<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>These financial donors often sponsor ASN's events at conferences. </strong>For example, PepsiCo, DuPont, and the National Dairy Association sponsored ASN<strong> </strong>sessions at last year's <a href="http://experimentalbiology.org/2014/home.aspx" target="_blank">annual Experimental Biology conference</a> on topics like bone health and the science behind low-calorie sweeteners. Companies paid ASN as much as $50,000 for sponsorship of separate ASN satellite sessions.<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>ASN's leaders have had past ties with Big Food. </strong>Simon found that the people leading ASN frequently have ties to food corporations. For example, Roger Clemens, who formerly led ASN's public information committee, <a href="http://www.ift.org/about-us/our-leadership/roger-clemens.aspx" target="_blank">served as</a> a "Scientific Advisor" for Nestl&eacute; USA for more than two decades. And <a href="http://www.nutrition.org/our-members/researchers/interview-with-dr-james-o-hill-past-asn-president/" target="_blank">past ASN President</a> James O. Hill <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.20965/abstract" target="_blank">has reported</a> personal fees from Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and the American Beverage Association.<br> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>ASN's stances on policy often go against established science</strong>. In April of last year, for example, the ASN's <em>American Journal of Clinical Nutrition</em> <a href="http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/99/6/1525" target="_blank">came out</a> with a statement defending processed foods. "There are no differences between processing of foods at home or at a factory," it read. It went on to say that terms like "minimally processed" and "ultra processed" impart value and do not "characterize food in a helpful manner." These assertions contradict <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2015/02/has-big-food-passed-its-sell-date" target="_blank">myriad findings</a> that increasingly show the adverse health effects of processed foods. The ASN also came out against the Federal Drug Administration's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1692000-fda-labeling-revision-proposal" target="_blank">proposal to label added sugars</a> on Nutrition Facts labels. It commented on the FDA's proposal that "a lack of consensus remains in the scientific evidence of the health effects of added sugars alone versus sugars as a whole." It added that labeling added sugars will not improve consumers' food choices and health. This, too, goes against <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/" target="_blank">the findings</a> of organizations like the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association.</li> </ul></body></html> Blue Marble Corporations Food and Ag Top Stories Mon, 15 Jun 2015 10:05:08 +0000 Luke Whelan 277191 at http://www.motherjones.com Maps: The Poorest Areas in America Are Often the Most Polluted http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/epa-just-released-map-shows-where-environmental-injustice-occurs <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The environmental justice movement <a href="http://grist.org/cities/20-its-a-blessing-celebrating-two-decades-of-environmental-justice/" target="_blank">has been fighting</a> the hazards and toxins disproportionately affecting poor communities of color for decades. Now it has a new tool.</p> <p>The US Environmental Protection Agency recently made public <a href="http://ejscreen.epa.gov/mapper/" target="_blank">an interactive map</a> that allows people to see how their communities' exposure to hazardous waste, air pollution, and other environmental risks stack up with the rest of the country. "EJSCREEN" combines demographic data and environmental factors to create an "environmental justice index." Environmental data <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/ejscreen/glossary-ejscreen-terms" target="_blank">includes</a> vulnerability to air toxins and high particulate levels, exposure to lead-based paint, and proximity to chemical and hazardous waste treatment centers.</p> <p>We started to explore the map, focusing on a few major cities. Not surprisingly, notoriously impoverished neighborhoods like West Oakland, the Bronx, and East New Orleans have the worst environmental justice indexes in many cases:</p> <p><strong>Hazardous waste:</strong></p> <p>New York City:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%2012.43.36%20PM_0.png" style="height: 295px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p>San Francisco Bay Area:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"> <p><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%2012.42.22%20PM.png" style="height: 297px; width: 630px;"></p> <p><strong>Air pollution:</strong></p> <p>New York City:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%201.15.04%20PM.png" style="height: 310px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p>San Francisco Bay Area:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%201.18.12%20PM.png" style="height: 307px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p><strong>Water discharge facilities:</strong></p> <p>New York City:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%201.04.24%20PM.png" style="height: 302px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p>New Orleans:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%201.13.39%20PM.png" style="height: 304px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p><strong>Lead-based paint exposure:</strong></p> <p>New York City:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%2012.54.07%20PM.png" style="height: 301px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <p>San Francisco Bay Area:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20shot%202015-06-12%20at%201.08.06%20PM.png" style="height: 306px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div> <div class="caption">EPA EJSCREEN</div> </div></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Income Inequality Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Sat, 13 Jun 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Luke Whelan 277121 at http://www.motherjones.com The Big Source of Pollution That No One Talks About http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/study-pollution-ships <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When most of us think about air pollution, we imagine smog emanating from cars, trucks, and power plants. But oceangoing ships are also a major source of pollution around the world, and according to a new study, they're emitting toxic chemicals that can cause major health problems.</p> <p>A team of German researchers from the University of Rostock has found that emissions from ships can be even more dangerous than emissions from cars and trucks, causing damage to cells in our bodies that can lead to serious diseases like lung cancer, heart problems, and diabetes. In <a href="http://www.euractiv.com/files/oeder_et_al_2015.pdf" target="_blank">a study</a> published by the <em>Public Library of Science </em>earlier this month, the researchers said ship engines that burn heavy fuel oil, the cheapest and most common kind of ship fuel, emit heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and carcinogenic fine particles.</p> <p>These substances have been connected with inflammation, the body's natural response to pathogens that, over time, can lead to a wide range of chronic diseases. Exposure to pollution from heavy fuel oil can also encourage <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/" target="_blank">oxidative stress</a>, a state in which the body is not able to fully counteract or detoxify the harmful presence of free radicals, and which can lead to everything from neurodegenerative diseases to cancer and gene mutations. Unfortunately, this cheap, dirty fuel is not the only culprit: The researchers also found that even the burning of diesel fuel, generally seen as a cleaner source of power, emits toxins that can change basic cellular functions in the body like energy and protein metabolism.</p> <p>Exposure to shipping pollution takes a huge toll globally. In 2007, one study estimated that <a href="http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es071686z" target="_blank">60,000 deaths </a>every year are related to particulate matter emissions from marine shipping, with most deaths occurring near coastlines in Europe, East Asia, and South Asia. Still, the United States isn't exactly winning medals for clean ports, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In a 2004 report, the environmental advocacy group lamented that marine ports were among the country's most poorly regulated sources of pollution, with the Port of Los Angeles emitting far more smog-forming pollutants than <a href="http://www.nrdc.org/air/pollution/ports/execsum.asp" target="_blank">all the power plants in the Southern California region combined</a>.</p> <p>Since then, ports have taken some steps to curb emissions, in part by allowing ships to plug in to onshore power sources, rather than idling their engines. But overall, pollution regulations in the United States have focused more strongly on cleaning up our roads. The German researchers suggested that it may be time to re-evaluate our strategy. "Due to the substantial contribution of ship emissions to global pollution, ship emissions are the next logical target for improving air quality worldwide, particularly in coastal regions and harbour cities," they wrote.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Regulatory Affairs Fri, 12 Jun 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Samantha Michaels 277031 at http://www.motherjones.com The American Medical Association Just Voted to End Personal Vaccination Exemptions http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/american-medical-association-vaccination%20 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American Medical Association, the country's largest association of physicians, is weighing in on the vaccination debate by supporting the <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/ama-policy-favors-ending-nonmedical-vaccine-exemptions-225149753.html#eTMVbtZ" target="_blank">end</a> of personal vaccination exemptions on both the state and federal levels.</p> <p>At the group's annual meeting in Chicago on Monday, members voted to mobilize the organization in order to persuade state legislatures to eliminate nonmedical reasons for exemption, such as religion, which are used to dodge crucial immunizations against diseases such as measles and whooping cough.</p> <p>"As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today&rsquo;s mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience," said board member Dr. Patrice Harris, according to <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2015/06/08/ama-end-personal-religious-vaccination-exemptions/" target="_blank"><em>Forbes.</em></a> "When people are immunized they also help prevent the spread of disease to others."</p> <p>Last December, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html" target="_blank">117 people</a> who had visited Disneyland in Orange County, California were infected with the highly contagious disease. Other states also reported outbreaks and an old debate about the safety of vaccines was revived.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/state-measles-cases.png" style="height: 428px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">CDC</div> </div> <p>At the time, the right to personal exemptions quickly became a lightening rod of controversy that even extended to potential presidential candidates who were asked for their position in the vaccine debate. Senator Rand Paul said vaccinations should be voluntary and suggested immunization could even lead to <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/rand-paul-vaccines-114845.html" target="_blank">"profound mental disorders."</a> Hillary Clinton took a firmer stance than she had in previous years by <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/hillary-clinton-vaccine-tweet" target="_blank">supporting</a> vaccinations outright.</p> <p>Although the debate has died down in recent months on the national scale, on the state level vaccination remains a contentious issue. Today in California, where the measles outbreak began, the state's assembly will <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_28280056/california-assembly-take-up-contentious-vaccine-bill" target="_blank">vote </a>on a bill to end personal waivers.</p> <p>"It's such a no brainer. You&rsquo;re protecting the kid next to you," said AMA member Dr. James Felsen.&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Tue, 09 Jun 2015 15:10:38 +0000 Inae Oh 276836 at http://www.motherjones.com The 4 Excuses People Use to Justify Eating Meat http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/meat-excuses <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>There are plenty of reasons to stop eating meat: Fears over growing numbers of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/were-going-feed-animals-67-percent-more-antibiotics-2030" target="_blank">terrifying superbugs</a> that have sprung out of our antibiotic-ridden meat supply, objections to the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/10/hog-hell-inside-story-peta-investigation-mowmar-farms" target="_blank">horrifying conditions</a> factory-farmed animals are subjected to, and concerns over health risks posed by meat consumption (for both <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/salt-sugar-chicken-what-look-upcoming-dietary-guidelines-report" target="_blank">people</a> and the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/what-if-everyone-world-became-vegetarian" target="_blank">planet</a>)&mdash;to name just a few.</p> <p>Given all this, meat eaters increasingly find themselves having to defend their diet. Now, a team of international researchers has identified the four most common excuses they use.&nbsp;According to a <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01956663/91/supp/C" target="_blank">report</a> published last month in the behavior nutrition journal, <em>Appetite,</em> around 90 percent of people who eat meat use these "four Ns" to justify their diets:</p> <ol><li><strong>It's natural. </strong>People have always eaten meat. Why stop now?</li> <li><strong>It's necessary. </strong>Without meat, it's impossible to get enough protein and other nutrients.</li> <li><strong>It's normal.</strong> Almost everyone eats meat, and I don't want to be different.</li> <li><strong>It's nice. </strong>Meat is delicious!</li> </ol><p>The researchers conducted six separate studies to find out more about how the four Ns play a role in helping meat-eaters rationalize their diet and how their beliefs can tell us more about the behaviors that drive them.</p> <p>They found that those who endorsed the four Ns the most strongly cared about fewer species of animals, were less likely to consider the moral implications of their food choices, and also showed less concern for issues not related to diet, like social inequality. The studies also showed that four-N advocates experience less guilt than responders who showed ambivalence&mdash;and that the more someone believes in the four Ns, the less willing he or she is to cut back on meat consumption in the future.</p> <p>The authors point out that insights into these attitudes reveal more than just the "why" behind meat consumption; they highlight where there might be opportunities to change beliefs&mdash;and ultimately behaviors. Though researchers found that "necessary" and "nice" were the most strongly voiced defenses and might be most difficult to overturn, Americans are eating much less meat than they used to, and cultural movements like Meatless Monday have made it clear that people can at least be convinced to cut back. Plus it doesn't hurt that vegetarian fare has come <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/07/veggie-burger-recipe-vegan-gluten-free-barley-beet-mushroom-falafel" target="_blank">a long way in the tastiness department.</a></p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Mon, 08 Jun 2015 19:21:38 +0000 Gabrielle Canon 276746 at http://www.motherjones.com 17 Years After Viagra, the Female Viagra May Finally Be Here http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/fda-viagra-women-flibanserin <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A contentious effort to introduce a sex-drive drug for women may be nearing a climax. After rejecting "the pink Viagra" (AKA flibanserin) twice in the past five years, a Federal Drug Administration advisory committee <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/business/panel-backs-a-drug-to-increase-womens-sex-drive.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">voted today</a> that the the pill should be approved if measures are taken to reduce its potential side effects, such as low blood pressure and fainting.</p> <p>The nonhormonal drug, developed by Sprout Pharmaceutical, is meant to be taken nightly. The company says it works by altering chemicals in the brain to increase a woman's sexual desire (unlike Viagra, which increases blood flow to certain parts of the body). Women who took the drug in trials reported no more than one additional <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/business/panel-backs-a-drug-to-increase-womens-sex-drive.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news" target="_blank">"sexually satisfying event"</a> per month than women who received a placebo.</p> <p>Today's vote comes 17 years after the FDA <a href="http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fda-approves-viagra" target="_blank">approved Viagra</a>, the incredibly profitable erectile dysfunction treatment. Since then, more than two dozen prescription drugs have been approved to assist with male sexual performance, but none for women.</p> <p><a href="http://eventhescore.org/the-problem/" target="_blank">Even the Score</a>, a group backed by the pharmaceutical companies that developed flibanserin, says that women also suffer from sexual dysfunction and that the unwillingness to develop and approve drugs to treat it is a matter of bias. They called today's vote a victory for gender equality. "Women with Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder deserve the safety and peace of mind that comes with access to FDA-approved medical treatment options, and today we write a new chapter in the fight for equity in sexual health," Even the Score <a href="http://eventhescore.org/recommending-treatment-dysfunction/" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement.</p> <p>But others believe that potentially profitable drugs for a dubious disorder are being pushed with little proven effectiveness. "I don't think there is anything sexist about denying approval for drugs that don't have an adequate risk-to-benefit ratio," Thea Cacchioni, a professor of women's studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/business/groups-press-fda-to-approve-womens-viagra.html" target="_blank">told</a> the <em>New York Times</em>. According to <em>Forbes</em>, $50 million in private investment <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkroll/2015/06/04/more-complicated-than-pink-viagra-what-you-should-know-about-flibanserin-addyi/" target="_blank">rest</a> on flibanserin's approval.</p> <p>The FDA is expected to come to a final decision on the drug in August.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Health Sex and Gender Thu, 04 Jun 2015 23:31:03 +0000 Luke Whelan 276636 at http://www.motherjones.com EPA: Fracking Doesn't Pose "Widespread, Systemic" Danger to Drinking Water http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/epa-fracking-drinking-water <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Environmental Protection Agency today released a long-awaited <a href="http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/hf_es_erd_jun2015.pdf" target="_blank">draft report</a> on the impact of fracking on drinking water supplies. The analysis, which drew on peer-reviewed studies as well as state and federal databases, found that activities associated with fracking do "have the potential to impact drinking water resources." But it concluded that in the United States, these impacts have been few and far between.</p> <p>The report identifies several possible areas of concern, including: "water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability; spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water; fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources; below ground migration of liquids and gases; and inadequate treatment and discharge of water."</p> <p>However, the report says, "We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources."</p> <p>The report considered not only the hydraulic fracturing action itself, but all of the water-related steps necessary to drill, from acquiring water to disposing of it. Here's an illustration from the report:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/graphic_0.jpg"><div class="caption">EPA</div> </div> <p>The report, which the Obama administration had hoped would provide a definitive answer to a core question about the controversial drilling technique, has been five years in the making. During that time, the EPA has faced numerous battles with the oil and gas industry to procure necessary data. Even before the report was released, some scientists voiced skepticism about its findings because of gaps in the data regarding what types of chemicals were present in water supplies prior to fracking activities.</p> <p>As <a href="http://insideclimatenews.org/news/02032015/can-fracking-pollute-drinking-water-dont-ask-epa-hydraulic-fracturing-obama-chesapeake-energy" target="_blank"><em>Inside Climate News</em></a> explains:</p> <blockquote> <p>For the study's findings to be definitive, the EPA needed prospective, or baseline, studies. Scientists consider prospective water studies essential because they provide chemical snapshots of water immediately before and after fracking and then for a year or two afterward. This would be the most reliable way to determine whether oil and gas development contaminates surface water and nearby aquifers, and the findings could highlight industry practices that protect water. In <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/24/news/la-pn-fracking-methane-drinking-water-study-20130624" target="_blank">other studies</a> that found toxic chemicals or hydrocarbons in water wells, <a href="http://energyindepth.org/national/four-things-to-know-about-duke-study-2/" target="_blank">the industry argued</a> that the substances were present before oil and gas development began. &nbsp;</p> <p>Prospective studies were included in the EPA project's final plan in 2010 and were still described as a possibility in a December 2012 progress report to Congress. But the EPA couldn't legally force cooperation by oil and gas companies, almost all of which refused when the agency tried to persuade them.</p> </blockquote></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Science Top Stories Infrastructure Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:02:04 +0000 Tim McDonnell 276616 at http://www.motherjones.com Well, Well, Well, Look Who Just Endorsed a Bold Fix For Climate Change http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/guess-who-just-came-out-support-bold-fix-climate-change <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Oil companies are pretty much the last ally you'd think of when it comes to advancing big-picture solutions to climate change. These are the companies, after all, whose product is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/20/90-companies-man-made-global-warming-emissions-climate-change" target="_blank">responsible</a> for causing a significant amount of climate change in the first place&mdash;and pretty much every proposed fix for global warming necessarily involves burning less oil.</p> <p>So it came as a bit of a surprise Monday when six of the leading European oil companies, including BP and Shell, <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/01/europe-carbon-un-idUSL1N0YN08L20150601" target="_blank">unveiled a letter</a> addressed to the United Nations climate chief calling for a price on carbon emissions (read the full letter below).</p> <p>"We believe that a price on carbon should be a key element" of ongoing UN-led international climate negotiations, the letter said. This week representatives from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Bonn, Germany, to prepare for a summit in Paris this winter where they hope to produce a powerful global accord on fighting climate change. The letter called on the world's governments to create new national carbon markets where they don't currently exist (like most of the United States, for example), and to eventually link those markets internationally.</p> <p>As <em>Bloomberg Business</em> pointed out, the letter is "<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-01/europe-s-largest-oil-producers-make-joint-call-on-climate-action" target="_blank">unprecedented</a>," in that it's the first time a group of major oil companies have banded together to advocate for a serious climate change policy. It was <a href="http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/major-oil-companies-letter-to-un/" target="_blank">welcomed by the UN's top climate official</a>, Christiana Figueres, who said that the "oil and gas industry must be a major part of the solution to climate change."</p> <p>Most environmental economists and policy wonks agree that making companies pay for their carbon pollution&mdash;whether through a tax or a cap-and-trade system&mdash;is a fundamental step for any meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The basic idea is that making carbon pollution expensive will drive big polluters to clean up. Policies like this are already gathering steam across the globe, from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/02/cap-and-trade-countries" target="_blank">Canada to China.</a> (California and a few Northeast states have regional carbon markets, but a national carbon price is still a non-starter in the US Congress.) Recently, Australia <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/australia-emissions-carbon-tax-chart" target="_blank">demonstrated just how effective carbon pricing</a> can be, in a counterintuitive way: Carbon emissions dropped immediately after the country implemented a carbon tax, then jumped right back up when the tax was repealed.</p> <p>If Monday's letter is any clue, oil companies are reading the writing on the wall, and they know that one way or another, it's time to start planning for a future when carbon pollution is more expensive and tightly regulated. Well, some oil companies: Conspicuously absent from the letter are any US oil companies, like Chevron or ExxonMobil; all the signatories are European. In fact, just last week Exxon chief Rex Tillerson <a href="http://oilpro.com/post/13695/exxonmobil-isnt-going-to-fake-rex-tillerson-takes-40-year-smear-o" target="_blank">implicitly blasted his European peers</a> for cozying up to the UN on climate issues, saying his company wouldn't "fake it" on climate change and that investing in renewable energy is tantamount to "losing money on purpose."</p> <p>The head of French oil giant Total addressed the cross-Atlantic schism in <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/01/europe-carbon-un-idUSL1N0YN08L20150601" target="_blank">comments to Reuters</a>, saying that the European companies were set on throwing their weight behind carbon pricing "<span id="articleText">without necessarily waiting for an American to come on board."</span></p> <p>Although carbon pricing "obviously adds a cost to our production and our products," the letter says, the companies would prefer consistency and predictability over the patchwork of policies that exists now. In other words, it's easier to justify and plan investments in lower-carbon projects, such as replacing coal with natural gas, when carbon prices are stable and "even-handed," the letter said. At the same time, these companies have come under <a href="http://tcktcktck.org/2015/04/shareholders-urge-fossil-fuel-giants-to-act-on-climate-change/" target="_blank">increasing pressure from shareholders</a> to address how they'll stay profitable in the future, as restrictions on carbon emissions are tightened.</p> <p>To that end, a few of the signatories already have their own <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/12/chart-how-much-do-companies-charge-themselves-climate-pollution" target="_blank">internal "shadow" carbon price</a>, where investment options are calculated with a hypothetical carbon price added in, as a way of anticipating future policies.</p> <p>Still, progressive-sounding statements notwithstanding, oil companies are oil companies, and the letter gives no indication that any of them have plans to replace fossil fuels as their primary product. Shell, for one, is just weeks away from a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/obama-just-gave-shell-green-light-drill-arctic" target="_blank">new foray into offshore drilling</a> in the Arctic. And according to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-01/europe-s-largest-oil-producers-make-joint-call-on-climate-action" target="_blank"><em>Bloomberg</em></a>, the European companies are no better than their American counterparts in terms of their actual carbon footprint. So it remains to be seen how committed the companies will be to supporting sweeping changes to the global energy system, or if letters like this are just a clever way to stay relevant as the international climate talks forge ahead. Either way, the paradox of a corporation calling for a carbon price while still pursuing fossil fuel extraction is just more evidence that the free market won't fix climate change voluntarily&mdash;governments have to create new policies, like an international carbon price, that energy companies can't evade.</p> <p>Here's the letter:</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-2091463-paying-for-carbon-letter">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/2091463-paying-for-carbon-letter.js", { width: 630, height: 800, sidebar: false, container: "#DV-viewer-2091463-paying-for-carbon-letter" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2091463/paying-for-carbon-letter.pdf">Paying for Carbon Letter (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2091463/paying-for-carbon-letter.txt">Paying for Carbon Letter (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Climate Desk Energy Top Stories Infrastructure Tue, 02 Jun 2015 21:38:58 +0000 Tim McDonnell 276416 at http://www.motherjones.com San Francisco Moves to Require Health Warnings on Soda Ads http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/06/san-francisco-will-now-include-sugar-warnings-soda-ads <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sugar has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/03/how-much-food-is-6-teaspoons-of-sugar" target="_blank">invaded</a> just about every part of our diet (Americans consume an estimated five times the amount of added sugar <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the World Health Organization), and it's making us sick. Too much added sugar can <a href="http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021" target="_blank">lead to heart disease</a> and myriad other health issues, and research <a href="http://www.sugarscience.org/sugar-sweetened-beverages/#.VWy5PKYnikM" target="_blank">suggests</a> sugar in liquid form is worst of all for you.</p> <p>That's why today San Francisco lawmakers <a href="http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Sweet-spot-at-land-use-meeting-to-watch-dustup-6295994.php" target="_blank">discussed</a> requiring soda advertisements to include a health warning. It would read, "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."</p> <p>Other proposed ordinances <a href="https://sfgov.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&amp;ID=400743&amp;GUID=E1C49D3B-459B-4448-8862-3F895C431852" target="_blank">would prohibit</a> the advertising of sugar-sweetened drinks on city property and ban their purchase with city funds or grants. These measures would be the first of their kind taken by an American city.</p> <p>As expected, the sugar industry is not happy about them. Last year, it spent more than $10 million campaigning against a San Francisco <a href="http://ballotpedia.org/City_of_San_Francisco_Sugary_Drink_Tax,_Proposition_E_%28November_2014%29" target="_blank">ballot measure</a> to tax sugary beverages, and, <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_27689058/" target="_blank">according to the <em>San Jose Mercury News</em></a>, industry groups are prepared to fight these ordinances, as well.</p> <p>CalBev, the trade group representing California's nonalcoholic beverage industry, <a href="https://media.gractions.com/4428E85028285044B7446EE5FD5B982E395FE732/4726acc3-7fdb-4849-8935-b537171699e5.pdf" target="_blank">called</a> the proposals "anti-consumer choice" and said the warnings would not improve health and instead mislead and confuse consumers.</p> <p>San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen, who introduced the soda ordinances along with fellow supervisors Scott Wiener and Eric Mar, has a different perspective. "Soda companies are spending billions of dollars every year to target low-income and minority communities, which also happen to be some of the communities with the highest risks of Type II diabetes," she said in a statement. "This ban on soda advertising will help bridge this existing health inequity."</p> <p>Wiener added, "These health warning labels will give people the information they need to make informed choices about how these sodas are impacting their lives and the lives of people in their community."</p> <p>A hearing was held for the ordinances earlier today. Next, they will be brought to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a vote.</p></body></html> Blue Marble Food and Ag Health Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:36:31 +0000 Luke Whelan 276351 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama's Plan to Save the Monarch Butterflies' Epic Migration http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/whats-deal-obamas-plan-save-monarch-butterflys-epic-migration <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Earlier this week, amid negotiating <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/05/obama-leadership-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp" target="_blank">major trade deals</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/05/barack-obama-finally-joins-twitter" target="_blank">joining</a> Twitter, Obama put forth a major infrastructure project: a highway for monarch butterflies.</p> <p>That's right, monarch butterflies. The pollinators are crucial to the health of our ecosystems but, like bees, their populations have <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/09/the-monarch-massacre-nearly-a-billion-butterflies-have-vanished/" target="_blank">seen</a> startling drops. Some groups are even <a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/monarch_butterfly/index.html" target="_blank">calling</a> for their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Obama administration wants to do something about it as part of its&nbsp;strategy to protect pollinating insects, but that turns out to be a tricky task given the monarch's&nbsp;complex life cycle.</p> <p>Each year, millions of monarch butterflies complete a 2,000-mile migration circuit from Mexico to the border of the United States and Canada that is so epic it has inspired <a href="http://makewayformonarchs.org/i/poetry" target="_blank">poetry</a>, <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780062124265" target="_blank">a novel </a>and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YatyW5ozRAs" target="_blank">documentary</a> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le1snq0ROXM" target="_blank">after</a> <a href="http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/butterfly_monarch" target="_blank">documentary</a>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YatyW5ozRAs" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>The whole process revolves around the butterflies' favorite plant, milkweed, on whose leaves they lay eggs. Milkweed grows in the northern&nbsp;United States and southern Canada, so each spring they <a href="http://www.monarchbutterflyfund.org/node/148" target="_blank">migrate</a> north from Mexico (a process that requires multiple generations), resting along the way on trees like this.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies in trees" class="image" src="/files/butterflies%20on%20trees.jpg" style="height: 420px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies on branch" class="image" src="/files/butteflies%20on%20branch.jpg" style="height: 422px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> <p>The generation that arrives up north has just enough energy to lay eggs on milkweed leaves before dying themselves. The new generation, bolstered by the milkweed, then grows up with the strength to make make the autumn trip back to Mexico before the cold, continuing the cycle.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ocWgSgMGxOc" width="630"></iframe></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="Monarch butterflies" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_143452636_0.jpg" style="height: 418px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Noradoa/Shutterstock</div> </div> <p>But a mixture of climate change, development, and herbicide use has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/01/how-gmo-crops-dethrone-monarch-butterfly">wiped out</a>&gt; the milkweed-hungry monarchs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/02/09/the-monarch-massacre-nearly-a-billion-butterflies-have-vanished/">estimated</a> that nearly one billion butterflies have died since 1990, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/invertebrates/monarch_butterfly/pdfs/Monarch_ESA_Petition_QA.pdf">90 percent</a> population decline.</p> <p>Enter Obama. As part of his "National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators," his administration&nbsp;has <a href="http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/national-strategy-to-promote-the-health-of-honey-bees-and-other-pollinators/1554/" target="_blank">introduced</a>&nbsp;a plan to <span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 24px;">restore the monarch butterflies' habitat and&nbsp;</span>increase their population by 225 million. The centerpiece of the&nbsp;plan is a "flyway" along Interstate 35, which stretches from Texas to Minnesota. The plan calls for turning federally owned land along the interstate corridor into milkweed refuges for the butterflies.</p> <p>Will it work? Many don't think it's enough, including Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. "The goal the strategy sets for the monarch butterfly migration is far too low for the population to be resilient," she said in an email adding&nbsp;more protection and a ban of harmful pesticides are needed to save them.</p> <p>One source of hope for the insect is its beauty. No one wants to see these iconic butterflies go away.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="600" src="https://vine.co/v/O9rFPxu9Yql/embed/simple" width="630"></iframe><script src="https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js"></script></p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="monarch butterfly" class="image" src="/files/shutterstock_93648106.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 630px; float: left;"><div class="caption">Jean-Edouard Rozey/Shutterstock</div> <div class="caption"> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="monarch butterfly" class="image" src="/files/AP166429473329.jpg" style="height: 452px; width: 630px;"><div class="caption">Rebecca Blackwell/AP</div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Animals Climate Change Top Stories Sat, 23 May 2015 19:52:56 +0000 Luke Whelan 275751 at http://www.motherjones.com School Lunches Just Got Way Better in These 6 Cities (and It's Not the Food) http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/school-lunches-just-got-way-better-these-major-school-districts <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>School lunches may <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/pity-poor-school-food-professional" target="_blank">be healthier</a> than when you were a kid, but the wasteful and polluting materials that cafeterias serve them on have actually gotten worse. In an effort to save on labor and equipment costs, many schools <a href="http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/offers.html?url=%2Fbaltsun%2Fdoc%2F406806979.html%3FFMT%3DFT%26FMTS%3DABS%3AFT%26type%3Dcurrent%26date%3DAug%2B26%252C%2B1993%26author%3DNguyen%252C%2BLan%26pub%3DThe%2BSun%26edition%3D%26startpage%3D%26desc%3DSchool%2Bboard%2Burged%2Bto%2Bbuy%2Bdisposable%2Blunch%2Btrays%2BWashables%2Bare%2Btoo%2Bcostly%252C%2Breport%2Bsays" target="_blank">switched</a> from washable trays to disposable foam ones over the past couple of decades. But this trend is now beginning to change.</p> <p>The school districts of six major cities&mdash;New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and Orlando&mdash; <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mizeman/big_cities_once_again_step_up.html" target="_blank">announced today</a> that they will stop using polystyrene foam trays, and begin serving lunch on compostable plates.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org/" target="_blank">Urban School Food Alliance</a>, which counts the country's largest school districts among its members, coordinated the change after developing an affordable compostable plate made from recycled newspaper that costs just a penny more than its foam counterpart.</p> <p>"Shifting from polystyrene trays to compostable plates will allow these cities to dramatically slash waste sent to landfills, reduce plastics pollution in our communities and oceans, and create valuable compost that can be re-used on our farms," said Mark Izeman, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which partners with the Alliance.</p> <p>This shift to compostable plates by more than <a href="http://www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org/#section-the-numbers" target="_blank">4,000</a> schools will <a href="http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mbrown/serving_up_a_better_school_pla.html" target="_blank">save</a> an estimated 225 million petroleum-based plastic trays from going into landfill each year.</p> <p>What's next? The Alliance hopes to introduce compostable cutlery by next school year.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/FINAL.CompostablePlateGraphic.NRDC_.Alliance.5.20.15.jpg" style="height: 473px; width: 630px;"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> Blue Marble Education Food and Ag Thu, 21 May 2015 10:00:12 +0000 Luke Whelan 275606 at http://www.motherjones.com The 85-Year-Old Nun Who Went to Prison for Embarrassing the Feds Is Finally Free http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/megan-rice-85-year-old-nun-released-prison-nuclear-weapons <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sister Megan Rice, the 85-year-old activist nun who two years ago humiliated government officials by <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/nun-megan-rice-sentencing-y-12-nuclear-weapons-security" target="_blank">penetrating and vandalizing</a> a supposedly ultra-high-security uranium storage facility, has finally been released from prison. A federal appeals court on Friday overturned the 2013 sabotage convictions of Rice and two fellow anti-nuclear activists, Michael Walli, 66, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, ruling that that their actions&mdash;breaking into Tennessee's Y-12 National Security Complex and spreading blood on a uranium storage bunker&mdash;did not harm national security.</p> <p>Rice's case has become the subject of intense media scrutiny, including <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/09/break-in-at-y-12" target="_blank">a recent <em>New Yorker</em> profile</a> by Eric Schlosser, whose latest <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/eric-schlosser-command-control-excerpt-nuclear-weapons" target="_blank">book</a> exposed gaping flaws in America's nuclear weapons program. The activists now await re-sentencing on a lesser charge of damaging federal property. The punishment is expected to be less than the two years they've already spent in federal prison.</p> <p>Speaking with Rice over the phone this afternoon, I asked her how it feels to be free. "Not that much different, because none of us is free," she said, "and it looks like we are going to go on being un-free for as long as there is a nuclear weapon waiting."</p> <p>Asked <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/19/how_an_85_year_old_nun?autostart=true" target="_blank">on <em>Democracy Now</em></a> this morning about her experience in federal prison, Rice gave a response worthy of Sister Jane Ingalls, a character from the Netflix prison drama <em>Orange Is the New Black</em>, who was clearly inspired by Rice. "They are the ones who are the wisest in this country," she said of her fellow inmates. "They know what is really happening. They are the fallout of nuclear weapons production."</p> <p>Skip to the 33-minute mark to watch the interview:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="355" src="http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2015/5/19/how_an_85_year_old_nun" width="630"></iframe></p></body></html> Blue Marble Video Military Nuclear Weapons Tue, 19 May 2015 20:17:24 +0000 Josh Harkinson 275516 at http://www.motherjones.com Kayaktavists Take Over Seattle's Port to Protest Shell Oil's Arctic Drilling Rig http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/kayaktavistsv-take-over-seattles-elliott-bay-protest-shell-oil-rig <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong><em>This article is being updated as news breaks. See below for the latest.</em></strong></p> <p>Seattleites took <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/paddle-in-seattle-protesters-gather-against-shell-oil-rig/" target="_blank">a dramatic stand</a>, er paddle, against Arctic oil drilling on Saturday afternoon. Against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest city's skyline, around 200 activists, local Native Americans, and concerned citizens took to kayak and canoe and surrounded a giant, Arctic-bound Royal Dutch Shell oil drilling rig currently <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/shell-oil-rig-arriving-today-just-the-start-of-arctic-drilling-fleet/" target="_blank">making a layover</a> in the Port of Seattle.</p> <p>Despite the oil giant's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/03/shell-arctic-drilling-timeline" target="_blank">rocky history</a> in the Arctic region, last Monday the Obama administration conditionally <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/obama-just-gave-shell-green-light-drill-arctic" target="_blank">approved</a> Shell's summer plans to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, north of Alaska. Environmentalists are not happy, and neither are many in Seattle, whose port has become a home base for the two Shell oil rigs' operations. The Port of Seattle's commissioners <a href="http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2015/01/21/guest-editorial-seattle-port-commissioners-turn-a-blind-eye-to-climate-change" target="_blank">took heat</a> for their controversial <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/us/oil-company-lease-stirs-revolt-in-green-seattle.html?ref=us" target="_blank">decision</a> to lease one of its piers to Shell, tying the progressive city to fossil fuel extraction and the potential for environmental catastrophe in the Arctic.</p> <p>As the first of the towering oil rigs arrived in Elliott Bay late last week, a group of "activists, artists, and noisemakers" calling themselves <a href="https://shellno.org/" target="_blank">ShellNo</a> <a href="https://shellno.org/" target="_blank">organized</a> a series of protests to welcome the oil company. The "Paddle in Seattle" yesterday drew an impressive flotilla of kayaks, canoes, and boats into the Duwamish River, which feeds into the Elliott Bay, to surround the Coast-Guard-protected rig. Below is a roundup of Tweeted pictures taken by people on the scene:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">&lsquo;Paddle in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Seattle?src=hash">#Seattle</a>&rsquo; protesters gather against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Shell?src=hash">#Shell</a> oil rig. (Mark Harrison / ST) Story: <a href="http://t.co/glrr6C8cit">http://t.co/glrr6C8cit</a> <a href="http://t.co/u3tJIgm2Hv">pic.twitter.com/u3tJIgm2Hv</a></p> &mdash; Seattle Times Photo (@SeaTimesPhoto) <a href="https://twitter.com/SeaTimesPhoto/status/599683258796781568">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="und"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PaddleInSeattle?src=hash">#PaddleInSeattle</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/xfonuonQMJ">pic.twitter.com/xfonuonQMJ</a></p> &mdash; Sydney Brownstone (@sydbrownstone) <a href="https://twitter.com/sydbrownstone/status/599690794207850496">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="und"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="https://t.co/9M5DAePrsz">https://t.co/9M5DAePrsz</a></p> &mdash; Ansel (@Ansel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/599685762028830720">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">PHOTOS: Anti-Arctic drilling activists hold <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> protest in Seattle - <a href="http://t.co/gZgUZ6XBtb">http://t.co/gZgUZ6XBtb</a> <a href="http://t.co/6i7oYW6cTp">pic.twitter.com/6i7oYW6cTp</a></p> &mdash; KOMO News (@komonews) <a href="https://twitter.com/komonews/status/599708417888899075">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">PHOTOS: Anti-Arctic drilling activists hold <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> protest in Seattle - <a href="http://t.co/gZgUZ6XBtb">http://t.co/gZgUZ6XBtb</a> <a href="http://t.co/tQpHnlaS2L">pic.twitter.com/tQpHnlaS2L</a></p> &mdash; KOMO News (@komonews) <a href="https://twitter.com/komonews/status/599693328272134144">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Amazing pictures of the Duwamish tribe leading the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/shellno?src=hash">#shellno</a> flotilla in Seattle's harbor <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PaddleInSeattle?src=hash">#PaddleInSeattle</a> <a href="http://t.co/E2ep8JFh6c">pic.twitter.com/E2ep8JFh6c</a></p> &mdash; Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) <a href="https://twitter.com/billmckibben/status/599666089593839617">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Today's best banner. <a href="http://t.co/QBacS1aO6w">pic.twitter.com/QBacS1aO6w</a></p> &mdash; Ansel (@Ansel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/599705128556371968">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Seattle's true polar pioneer. <a href="http://t.co/Rw7VnyEq4x">pic.twitter.com/Rw7VnyEq4x</a></p> &mdash; Ansel (@Ansel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/599704952869552128">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The sign says "climate justice now" - protestors are chanting "shell no" <a href="http://t.co/o7WvNLMLmN">pic.twitter.com/o7WvNLMLmN</a></p> &mdash; Coral Garnick (@CoralGarnick) <a href="https://twitter.com/CoralGarnick/status/599672678794956800">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tribal canoes are intermixed with the kayakers and other boats participating in the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/paddleinseattle?src=hash">#paddleinseattle</a> <a href="http://t.co/mQYp1M94Te">pic.twitter.com/mQYp1M94Te</a></p> &mdash; Coral Garnick (@CoralGarnick) <a href="https://twitter.com/CoralGarnick/status/599663017349939200">May 16, 2015</a></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en">&nbsp;</blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en">&nbsp;</blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>UPDATE, Monday, May 18, 2:00 p.m. PST:</strong></p> <p>Today, "ShellNo" <a href="http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/polar-pioneer-protests/" target="_blank">continued</a> its protest of Shell's plans to drill for oil in the arctic by blocking the entrances to the Port of Seattle's Pier 5 where one of the oil company's rigs is docked. Hundreds gathered earlier this morning at the pier's main entrance to slow operations on the rig, although some rig workers were apparently able to get in through other entrances. Police did not interfere with the demonstration, and at about 1:30PM the group began to leave the pier and march back the way they came. Those present included Native American activists and Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant. Some pictures of the event:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Mohawk Kuzma is among the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlackLivesMatter?src=hash">#BlackLivesMatter</a>, Filipino and indigenous activists leading this march. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/8tGx7GgNTT">pic.twitter.com/8tGx7GgNTT</a></p> &mdash; Ansel (@Ansel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/600313604496199681">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Who said blockades need to be boring? We've got amazing speakers and musicians keeping the crowd pumped. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/rvb6DAUDk6">pic.twitter.com/rvb6DAUDk6</a></p> &mdash; Oil Change Intl (@PriceofOil) <a href="https://twitter.com/PriceofOil/status/600322533351563264">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">With elected leadership having failed us, we launch a movement of non-violent civil disobedience to say <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a>! <a href="https://t.co/ZkCgfpe4Te">https://t.co/ZkCgfpe4Te</a></p> &mdash; Kshama Sawant (@cmkshama) <a href="https://twitter.com/cmkshama/status/600298811911602177">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">The scene at the Port of Seattle's Terminal 5. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/g126LCaVEY">pic.twitter.com/g126LCaVEY</a></p> &mdash; Ansel (@Ansel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ansel/status/600329415013244930">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">SHELL NO: Seattle protesters block entrance to port where Shell's oil rig is moored <a href="http://t.co/HKQJ1zbD6D">http://t.co/HKQJ1zbD6D</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ShellNo?src=hash">#ShellNo</a> <a href="http://t.co/hQZLkd0daD">pic.twitter.com/hQZLkd0daD</a></p> &mdash; Earthjustice (@Earthjustice) <a href="https://twitter.com/Earthjustice/status/600405580969218048">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Protestors at Terminal 5 have decided to end <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Shellno?src=hash">#Shellno</a> protest and march back to morning starting point <a href="http://t.co/uSKZk6Vpa0">pic.twitter.com/uSKZk6Vpa0</a></p> &mdash; Hal Bernton (@hbernton) <a href="https://twitter.com/hbernton/status/600400845574840321">May 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> Blue Marble Climate Change Energy Top Stories Oil Sun, 17 May 2015 17:41:56 +0000 Luke Whelan 275381 at http://www.motherjones.com This Likely GOP Presidential Candidate Actually Believes in Global Warming http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/05/chris-christie-thinks-climate-change-real <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination, thinks climate change is real and caused&mdash;at least in part&mdash;by human activity, <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/chris-christie-new-hampshire-global-warming-real" target="_blank">according to MSNBC</a>.</p> <p>Christie said he believes there's "no use in denying global warming exists" but that he's skeptical about most of the mainstream approaches to dealing with it. That includes cap-and-trade programs and unilateral steps to reduce America's carbon footprint, such as President Barack Obama's proposed restrictions on power plant emissions.</p> <p>Christie's comments essentially matched those he made in <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/gov_christie_admits_climate_ch.html" target="_blank">back in 2011</a>, the last time he spoke publicly about the issue. In some respects, his position is refreshingly distinct from those of his probable rivals in 2016. Many of the GOP contenders&mdash;for example, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/rand-paul-climate-change" target="_blank">Rand Paul</a>, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/03/ted-cruz-seth-myers-climate-change" target="_blank">Ted Cruz</a>, and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/04/marco-rubio-president-climate-change" target="_blank">Marco Rubio</a>&mdash;sit somewhere on the spectrum of climate change denial. But at the same time, Christie's track record in New Jersey suggests that as president, he'd be unlikely to actually do much to confront global warming, even if he thinks it's happening. <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/10/3657144/christie-climate-change-is-real/" target="_blank">As <em>Climate Progress</em> put it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As governor, Christie withdrew New Jersey from the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program aimed at reducing emissions, in 2011. Last year, Christie <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/19/3569631/chris-christie-rggi-useles/">called</a> RGGI "a completely useless plan" and said that he "would not think of rejoining it." Christie even vetoed an attempt by the New Jersey state legislature to rejoin RGGI&hellip;New Jersey also doesn't have a statewide climate change plan&mdash;the state is the only one on the eastern seaboard to not have one in place or be in the process of developing one, <a href="http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/thepulse/item/70942-lacking-statewide-strategy-nj-shore-towns-prep-for-climate-change-">according to</a> the Georgetown Climate Center.</p> </blockquote> <p>Christie's logic&mdash;that even if climate change is real, there's nothing we can do to stop it&mdash;is out of step with mainstream science. And it ignores the growing international political momentum around climate action, which Obama has <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/04/fukushima-climate-shinzo-abe-obama" target="_blank">sought to lead</a>. Moreover, if Christie thinks that kind of rhetoric is going to help him score points with Republican voters in the wake of the <a href="http://localtalknews.com/state/government/2122-indictments-come-down-in-bridgegate-scandal.html" target="_blank">federal indictments handed down last week</a> in the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/chris-christie-bridge-traffic-jam-emails" target="_blank">Bridgegate scandal</a>, he has a long way to go: The <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html" target="_blank">latest polling</a> puts Christie behind all of his serious opponents for the nomination.</p></body></html> Blue Marble 2016 Elections Climate Change Climate Desk Mon, 11 May 2015 21:12:04 +0000 Tim McDonnell 275056 at http://www.motherjones.com