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While hurricanes struck, Scott Pruitt was up to some interesting activities

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This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The devastation from hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the two weeks of catastrophic flooding, and the toxic aftermath should have been opportunities for the head of the EPA to snap into action. Had Scott Pruitt done so, it would have been in stark contrast with his tenure so far, which has mostly consisted of making the case that the regulatory power of the EPA should be undermined and advocating that his agency be made smaller in size and scope, be deprived of a robust budget and enforcement power, and shift focus to what he likes to call “regulatory certainty” for polluting industries.

In the past, the EPA’s job in the aftermath of storms has been to help ensure that victims do not return to homes and neighborhoods that are toxic cesspools. The environmental aftermath of Harvey and Irma has been particularly devastating, with Superfund sites that have flooded, pipelines that have have leaked, forced evacuations because of explosions at the Arkema chemical plant, and a hazardous mix of floodwaters and sewage.

A week ago, George W. Bush’s EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman, wrote a scathing assessment in the New York Times of how Pruitt has been performing on the job. “The agency created by a Republican president 47 years ago to protect the environment and public health may end up doing neither under Mr. Pruitt’s direction,” she noted. When reflecting on Pruitt’s performance during Hurricane Harvey, she added that the EPA’s recent actions, including the EPA’s attack on an AP reporter, “are only the latest manifestations of my fears.”

Whitman may have missed some of Pruitt’s other activities. During the two hurricanes, the EPA administrator has appeared in far-right media, blasted the Obama administration and the mainstream media, disparaged discussions about climate change, and rolled back more regulations. Here are some noteworthy Pruitt sightings that took place during the recent weeks when severe weather battered the United States:

Aug. 28: Harvey’s deluge was in its fourth day, the death toll had risen to nine, and parts of Texas had already seen nearly 40 inches of rain when Pruitt had an interview with the right-wing media site Breitbart. At the end, host Alex Marlow pressed Pruitt on his response to coverage that connected the hurricane to climate change. What he didn’t mention was the growing consensus among scientists that climate change will worsen the severity of these storms. A discussion about “a cause and effect isn’t helping the people of Texas right now,” Pruitt replied. “I think for opportunistic media to use events like this to, without basis or support, just to simply engage in a cause-and-effect type of discussion, and not focus upon the needs of people, I think is misplaced.”

Over the course of the two storms, Pruitt would have several opportunities to repeat this observation.

On the same day, Pruitt was also interviewed by another sympathetic conservative radio host, Newsmax’s Joe Pagliarulo.

Pruitt explained what the EPA was doing to respond to Harvey: First, he praised his fast response to Texas’ request to waive gasoline mix requirements to avert shortages. He then mentioned a refinery monitoring center that is working “with industry, private-sector folks to ensure that things are secure.” Finally he added that the EPA is observing drinking-water quality and any potential contamination from landfills.

He even came up with an unusual new definition for what environmentalism means: “Is true environmentalism ‘Do not touch’? Or is it, ‘Hey, we’ve been blessed with natural resources across our country and we should use and cultivate those natural resources with what: environmental sensitivity? Environmental stewardship?””

Aug. 31: The Arkema chemical plant exploded near Houston. The same day, six Senate Democrats sent a letter to Pruitt asking him to respond to a series of accusations about how he’s limited transparency and public information access at the EPA. “At your direction, the political leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking deliberate steps to thwart transparency,” the senators wrote. “It is essential to the functioning of our democracy that our government does its business in the open. Yet according to recent press reports, you are taking measures to conceal your official actions.”

Sept. 3: The Associated Press reported that the EPA was not on the scene to survey the Houston area’s Superfund sites that were underwater and found seven sites flooded. (The EPA later estimated from aerial imagery that there were actually 13.) In response, the EPA put out a statement accusing one of the bylined reporters of inaccurate reporting because he was in Washington, D.C., and not in Houston, despite the fact that the AP had a reporting team on the scene. The EPA went on to link to conservative press to prove its point, and Pruitt’s Twitter account shared the press release.

Sept. 8: Harvey had quieted, but now, eyes were turned to Irma’s growing strength and its unclear path toward Florida. The Arkema explosion occurred just one week before Pruitt appeared on an ABC News podcast to discuss Harvey’s aftermath. In it, he defended delaying a regulation that lays out the specific information chemical companies like Arkema are required to provide first responders in the event of chemical explosions similar to the one in Houston. When asked about the “hype about climate change,” Pruitt answered, “Will there be a time and place to perhaps discuss that and debate that? Sure,” he said. “But not in the midst of the storm, not in the midst of the responses, because there’s enough to say grace over right now.”

Sept. 6: On the day that Hurricane Irma — which was at certain points a Category 5 storm — reached Puerto Rico after leveling some islands in the Caribbean, Pruitt, along with Rick Perry and other Cabinet members, were scheduled to accompany Donald Trump on a visit to an oil refinery in North Dakota, where the president delivered a speech on taxes. Pruitt didn’t attend, an EPA spokesperson confirmed, but Trump still gave the agency a shoutout in the aftermath of Harvey: “We’ve ended the EPA intrusion into your jobs and into your lives. And we’re refocusing the EPA on its core mission: clean air and clean water.”

Sept. 7: Pruitt gave a phone interview to CNN in which he repeated the same line he used with Breitbart when asked about climate change. “To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida,” he said.

The most vulnerable areas of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina were busy engaging in the evacuation of nearly 7 million people, but that didn’t stop Miami’s Republican mayor from discussing climate change in relation to the storm.

“If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is,” Mayor Tomás Regalado said two days later, after he declared a Sept. 8 State of Local Emergency in his city.

Sept. 11: On Monday, Pruitt gave a wide-ranging interview to the Washington Examiner from his EPA office in Washington. The stories reported that Pruitt went after Barack Obama’s environmental record and his other adversaries:

“I’ve got to say this to you: what is it about the past administration?” Pruitt said. “Everyone looks at the Obama administration as being the environmental savior. Really? He was the environmental savior? He’s the gold standard, right? Well, he left us with more Superfund sites than when he came in. He had Gold King [the 2015 mine wastewater spill] and Flint, Michigan [drinking water crisis]. He tried to regulate CO2 twice and flunked twice. Struck out. So what’s so great about that record? I don’t know.”

He also took the opportunity to criticize Christine Todd Whitman, Bush’s EPA administrator. Pruitt said he hadn’t read her New York Times op-ed but added:

“Maybe Christine Todd Whitman likes the Obama administration,” Pruitt said. “Go ask her, I don’t know. [Obama] is the gold standard, right?”

Finally, he attacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel in anticipation of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next week:

“If Chancellor Merkel … really cares about reducing CO2 in this world, why is she going away from nuclear?” Pruitt asked. “It’s so hypocritical for countries to look at the United States and say, ‘You need to do more.’ Really? So, we’ve reduced our pollutants under the Clean Air Act [criteria pollutants and CO2].”

Sept. 12: Irma had already flattened Barbuda, leaving 95 percent of the buildings destroyed and 1 million people in Puerto Rico without power for what could be months. Seventy-five percent of Florida was without power in the aftermath of the weekend’s storm, and the U.S. death toll had risen to 22. That’s when the EPA announced a two-year delay for a 2015 rule that set the first limit on toxic metals that can be discharged into wastewater from power plants. “Today’s final rule resets the clock for certain portions of the agency’s effluent guidelines for power plants, providing relief from the existing regulatory deadlines while the agency revisits some of the rule’s requirements,” Pruitt said in a statement.

This delay only adds to Irma victims’ challenges: Not only do they have to rebuild, but the Trump administration’s EPA isn’t doing much these days to make their water and air safer.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline While hurricanes struck, Scott Pruitt was up to some interesting activities on Sep 18, 2017.

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Hurricane Maria poses a catastrophic threat to the Caribbean

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The already miserable hurricane season is about to get worse, as Hurricane Maria barrels toward a storm-weary Caribbean.

Maria rapidly strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane on Monday, packing winds of at least 130 mph as it neared the eastern Caribbean island country of Dominica. Meteorologists with the National Hurricane Center warned that the storm would likely keep growing stronger as it moves closer to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, home to more than 3.5 million people. Ocean waters on its path are much warmer than normal, and atmospheric conditions are nearly ideal for a storm to intensify.

The latest forecast takes Maria to the brink of Category 5 before its expected landfall in Puerto Rico early Wednesday — a worst-case scenario. Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló declared a state of emergency to help the island prepare and speed the flow of disaster aid.

All this comes less than two weeks after Irma struck the Caribbean as one of the strongest hurricanes in history. The damage from Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands was so severe that local officials, whose economy depends on tourism, have told visitors to stay away. Cruise ships have been put into service as rescue vessels. In some of the hardest hit islands, like Barbuda, Anguilla, and St. Martin, recovery could take years.

Even though the wounds of Irma are still fresh, it’s important to remember that a hurricane as strong as Maria is exceedingly rare in the Caribbean. According to weather records dating back to 1851, just one other hurricane as strong as Maria has made landfall in Dominica: Hurricane David, in 1979. That storm ruined the local economy and left roughly three-quarters of the population homeless.

Irma was a powerful Category 5, but its center moved past Puerto Rico without a direct landfall, so although the island experienced massive power outages, Irma could have been much worse.

Maria will likely be much worse.

Weather models show Maria crossing the center of Puerto Rico at peak strength, becoming the first storm of at least Category 4 strength to do so since the San Ciprian hurricane in 1932. The result could be catastrophic, with heavy rainfall leading to inland flooding and landslides, winds in excess of 150 mph battering coastal cities, and storm surge of six to nine feet inundating homes and businesses along the shoreline.

It’s impossible to overstate how serious a storm like Maria is. The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Governor Kenneth Mapp warned of high winds and torrential rain and called on islanders to prepare, even as relief supplies for Irma continued to pour in. “If your home is damaged,” he said, “do not ride out this storm in your home.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Hurricane Maria poses a catastrophic threat to the Caribbean on Sep 18, 2017.

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California rewrites the GOP’s climate playbook

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For the past decade, Democrats hoping to pass a big climate law have played Charlie Brown to the Republicans’ Lucy. Despite the GOP making it clear it has no intention of holding the ball for a global warming kick, the left routinely convinces itself that their counterparts will kneel into position once it gets a running start.

In 2010, Senate Democrats appealed to Republicans to pass federal climate legislation, only to see almost every conservative bail on them. Since then we’ve seen the old pattern repeat in statehouses and ballot boxes around the country: Democrats ask the GOP to hold the ball then go flying head-over-heels.

But then in July, a cadre of eight California Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats and pass that state’s cap-and-trade law.

The partisan space-time continuum shuddered — and this was before back-to-back superstorms, Harvey and Irma, buffeted the United States. Had the well-worn GOP force field stymieing progress on climate change begun to crack at the far-western edge?

While an enraged right planned the ouster of its leader, Chad Mayes, California Governor Jerry Brown praised him and the others who’d broken ranks. As did former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wrote: “I hope Republicans around the country can learn from the example.”

In statehouse testimony, speeches that would typically build to Republicans stridently aligning against carbon pricing went off script. “First thing I want to make clear, I personally think cap and trade sucks,” California Assemblyman Devon Mathis said at the beginning of a short speech. As he spoke, he came close to tears while urging his compatriots to vote “yes” for the program he’d just disparaged. So what the heck was happening there?

Dan Kahan, a professor at Yale who studies the way tribal identity affects how people think, has long argued that Republicans will become more willing to engage on climate change as constituents begin asking them to bring home money to adapt to a warming world. “The sooner the issue becomes one about dollars and cents for the districts,” he says, “the more quickly the logjam we have now will break loose.”

For years, journalists and activists have said that wholesale Republican opposition to climate action can’t last forever. Now, with millions of Americans soaked in floodwaters from never-before-seen storms, that ideological logjam shows signs of breaking up. Case in point, the ol’ maverick John McCain: The one-time cap-and-trade supporter is suddenly, once again, looking for “common sense solutions” to climate change. And the Trump administration might even be flip-flopping on its decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. (Though we advise against holding your breath.)

Moving forward, there are three primary paths for Republicans to choose from as they debate climate legislation — three paths that three California GOP legislators traveled as they mulled cap and trade. The paths each legislator picks, combined with the reaction of their constituents, will determine how quickly the nation will react to a climate change-effected future that appears to already be here.

GOP option 1: Dig in

So far, most Republicans have bet that the political costs they will pay for engaging on climate policy are worse than the costs their constituents will pay as a result of climate change. This could shift, as Kahan suggests, if the damages from coastal erosion, drought, and flooding begin to spiral over the next decade or so. And any more Harveys, the bill from which is estimated at just under $200 billion to the U.S. economy, should hasten that move.

But for now, GOP politicians are still calling climate action prohibitively expensive. That’s the reason California Assemblymember Melissa Melendez gave for opposing cap and trade, asserting that her constituents didn’t feel climate change was imminent. “While they care about the environment and they want to protect Mother Earth, they do not feel,” she explained, “that Southern California will burst into flames if we don’t pass this bill.”

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, head of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, went a step further. He went on what Buzzfeed called a “secret tour of the melting Arctic.” When he got back, he wrote that rising greenhouse gas levels were “indisputable.” Then he added, “The benefits of a changing climate are often ignored and under-researched.”

But the classic Republican gambit is to simply ignore the issue. And some politicians go to absurd lengths to avoid addressing the environmental elephant in the room. That seems to be Florida Governor Rick Scott’s preferred move. He has censored the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” in state agencies, forcing public servants into comical verbal gymnastics during legislative hearings. Even after Hurricane Irma ravaged his state, including compromising infrastructure and flooding parts of 22 counties with sewage, Scott saw no reason to change course.

“Clearly our environment changes all the time, and whether that’s cycles we’re going through or whether that’s man-made, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one it is,” Scott said last week, according to a Politico report.

The reinforcement of head-in-the-sand views for Republicans who want to hold the line comes from the top. The Trump administration is starting to employ Scott-style tactics in directives issued by its Cabinet departments.

GOP option 2: Strike a deal

Bargaining seems like an obvious choice for Republicans. By making a deal on the California bill, Republicans came away with spoils: They got $260 million a year in tax cuts for business and agriculture. They got another tax — a landowner fee to fund wildfire prevention — eliminated completely. And they got a market-based, industry-friendly version of cap and trade that the Chamber of Commerce and agricultural interests supported.

What did Republicans give in return? Not much. The Democratic majority in the State Assembly had already passed a law that committed the state to squeezing carbon out of its economy. As Devon Mathis said, this bill was an “opportunity to make something many of us think is horrible a little bit better.” By helping it to pass with the two-thirds majority that Governor Brown wanted, Republicans helped protect the legislation from legal challenges — including from groups that would want it to be more harsh on fossil fuel companies.

But there’s a reason Republicans, despite being the party of Trump, don’t like deal-making: It’s dangerous. The California GOP immediately booted Chad Mayes from his perch as the party’s Assembly leader for working with Brown. Mayes’ fate recalls what happened to South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis when he voted for climate legislation in 2012: He lost his seat to a primary challenger.

For his constituents, Inglis talking about climate change was like dressing in the opposing team’s jersey. “I think his constituents saw that as a sign that he really didn’t share their values,” Kahan says.

That same feeling of betrayal coursed through an agricultural exhibition center where Mathis held a town hall meeting. “You are supposed to stand up for those who voted for you,” said one speaker, the Valley Voice reported. Another told Mathis he’d “stamped a ‘D’” at the end of his name.

Mathis defended himself by pointing out that pure tribal loyalty isn’t politically effective: “If you want to rebuild the Republican Party, then you need to be more than the party of ‘no,’” he told his constituents. By being at the table, he reminded them, the GOP was able to move cap and trade to the right.

Still, almost every idea dreamed up for climate change mitigation requires some centralized regulation and introduces new spending — issues conservatives tend to see in black-and-white absolutes. “For Republicans to say, ‘We voted for this because it could be worse,’ is like saying, ‘It’s better to drown in 10 feet of water than 20 feet of water,’” former California Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue tells me.

GOP option 3: Embrace change

Rocky Chávez is a bull-necked marine colonel who, though he’s a Republican, feels no need to toe the party line on climate change. The GOP can’t go on protecting people from the truth for the sake of cohesion, he told me.

“It’s like Elvis — Elvis is not alive anymore, people, I got news for you,” he says, equating his party’s collective climate denial to the outlandish headlines seen on National Enquirer covers. “We did go to the moon, those aren’t fake pictures taken out in the Arizona desert. There is no Sasquatch; he’s not running around in the forests of California.”

Chávez has previously come under fire for his liberal positions on gay marriage and immigration. But all the sound and fury has cost him little, politically. After all, he represents a coastal district near San Diego that narrowly favored Clinton in 2016.

“People are going to say, ‘Oh, he’s that idiot who doesn’t hate gays, doesn’t hate immigrants, and actually wants to protect the environment,’” Chávez says. “You know what? I’m OK.”

There are other California Republicans, he adds, who want to take a more proactive position on climate change. But they are scared to stick their necks out on issues like cap and trade. “I can tell you that it was much more than the seven who voted for it who believed in it,” Chávez tells me.

Tom Del Beccaro, former chair of the California Republicans, says it doesn’t make sense for most GOP politicians to follow Chávez’s example. “A party does not gain any voters by adopting the position of the opposition,” he explains. “There’s no reason for a Democrat voter to vote for a Democrat-light.”

Because Republicans haven’t defined their own path on climate change, they can’t use the issue to hold onto districts like Chávez’s when incumbents bow out. Case in point, U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from South Florida, who has advocated for a climate-mitigation strategy. She isn’t running for reelection in 2018, and a Democrat is poised to take over her seat.

Similarly, when California first passed its climate change law in 2006, just one Republican voted for it: Shirley Horton, a politician from a relatively liberal district that flipped to blue as soon as she termed out of office.

So you can see Beccaro’s point. Republicans have to provide voters a clear choice, he says: “They have to pick some issue where things are breaking down, where the majority party isn’t providing a solution, and offer a plausible alternative.”

Climate change could actually be such an issue, Beccaro says. Republicans could, for instance, convince voters that they could combat it more affordably. It’s a sentiment echoed by Bob Inglis, who believes conservatives have the best tools needed to address climate change. Republican constituents, he explains, just need to hear their leaders discuss climate policy in a language they understand and respond to.

“What we deeply believe as conservatives is that free enterprise is far more creative than government mandates — and if you simply level the playing field by eliminating all the subsidies for all the fuels, then the free enterprise system can deliver the solutions,” he says. “That includes the biggest subsidy of them all, which is being able to belch and burn into the trash dump of the sky without accountability for the health and climate damages you are causing.”

According to Inglis, Republicans would be foolish if they wait to act until sentiments on climate change shift. “Leadership is defined as helping to see what is coming,” he says. “Sure you risk your seat by leading, but isn’t that what it’s all about?”

His former colleagues may already be taking his advice. Politicians like Florida Congressman Carlos Curbeloa Grist 50 member — are starting to address climate change by introducing bills to protect against floods and voting to ensure the Defense Department keeps adapting to a warming world. Curbelo, who last week connected Irma and Harvey to climate change, is part of a new bipartisan climate caucus in Washington with 28 Republican members.

And in California, though Mayes was ousted from his leadership position, his replacement praised him for the cap-and-trade negotiations. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, probably the most popular Republican in the state, recently said it was time for his party “to stop ignoring climate change.”

These are perhaps the first signs of evolution. As Politico writer David Siders put it recently, “If the Republican Party is undergoing a shift on climate, it is at its earliest, most incremental stage.” The California GOP may be furthest into that transformation thanks to plummeting Republican registration in the increasingly diverse state.

“Today just 26 percent of California voters are registered Republicans,” reports Laurel Rosenhall at CALmatters. And “7 percent of state Republicans are considering abandoning the party because of its stance on climate change.”

California conservative voters could decide how far the GOP will tack nationally, in part by either rewarding the bargainers and change agents for bringing home the bacon or throwing them out of office for breaking ranks.

Eight Republicans isn’t a big number. But it’s a fifth of the GOP caucus in the California state legislature. In the past, climate bills might pick up one or two maverick conservatives — one or two drops of water seeping through an imperceptible crack in the dam. This time it was the Republican leader of the Assembly, plus seven others. The drops have become a trickle.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline California rewrites the GOP’s climate playbook on Sep 18, 2017.

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World hunger rises after decades of decline.

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The number of hungry people in the world grew to 815 million in 2016. That’s up by 38 million from the previous year, according to a new report from the United Nations.

Researchers pinpoint a rise in conflict and climate change–related shocks as the major drivers. And they’re related: Spikes in heat are linked with spikes in violence. Extreme drought and war caused famine in South Sudan for several months this year, and conflict-affected countries like Somalia, Yemen, and northeast Nigeria are currently at risk of famine, the U.N. reports.

As the climate becomes less stable, the world faces many food security challenges. Climate-related disasters — more frequent and more intense droughts, floods, and storms — can destroy crops and homes. Meanwhile, climate change has begun to affect crop yields and decrease the nutritive benefits of many plants.

And yet, the growing availability of high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods complicates this picture of global hunger. As Western food companies expand to poorer countries, they introduce junk food to more people. In a New York Times investigation of Nestle’s impact on obesity and malnutrition in Brazil, the authors point out a sobering fact: “Across the world, more people are now obese than underweight.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline World hunger rises after decades of decline. on Sep 18, 2017.

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Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ is a double-Emmy winner.

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The show earned high praise when it premiered last year for its portrayal of a young black man living in one of America’s most sprawling cities, and just won new accolades on Sunday.

The show follows Earn Marks, played by Glover, who suffers through slow bus rides and long walks on streets without sidewalks — a common but overlooked reality for many in Atlanta’s suburbs. The show’s genre-bending episodes move effortlessly from atmospheric realism to astute political comedy to something altogether more surreal (Glover once said that he wanted to make “‘Twin Peaks’ with rappers”).

By the end of the Emmy awards ceremony — which also featured a chorus line of Handmaids and an uncomfortable Sean Spicer cameo —  Glover came away with two wins out of four nominations for Atlanta’s acclaimed first season: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy and Outstanding Directing in a Comedy. Glover is the first African-American to win an Emmy in directing, a politically relevant fact he seemed to nod at in his acceptance speech.

“I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list,” Donald Glover said. “He’s the reason I’m probably up here.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ is a double-Emmy winner. on Sep 18, 2017.

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ExxonMobil and Chevron are some of the most influential climate lobbyists. Yikes.

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A report from InfluenceMap, a U.K. think tank, assessed the 50 biggest companies influencing climate policy and found that 35 actively fight against climate-friendly legislation.

The below chart maps out the companies according to how strongly they support policies to combat climate change (the x-axis) and how politically engaged they are when doing so (the y-axis).

Click to embiggen. InfluenceMap

Researchers selected the companies from a list of the 250 largest, non-state-owned companies, ignoring the 200 companies that appeared to be fence-sitters on the issue.

The anti-climate gang includes pretty much exactly who you’d imagine — Shell, Chevron, Koch Industries, and our old climate-denying frenemy ExxonMobil. On the pro-climate side, we have Apple, Tesla, and Ikea (thanks, Scandinavia!). Many of these companies are committed to buying 100 percent renewable power.

InfluenceMap noted a spike in companies taking steps to combat climate change in the past two years, following the Paris Agreement and Trump’s election as president. Here’s to hoping that trend will continue.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline ExxonMobil and Chevron are some of the most influential climate lobbyists. Yikes. on Sep 15, 2017.

http://ift.tt/2faZpx1 Source: http://grist.org

Florida Governor Rick Scott is figuring out his feelings on climate change post-hurricane.

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“Clearly, our environment changes all the time,” the Republican leader said after touring Irma’s devastation. “And whether that’s cycles we’re going through or whether that’s man-made, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one it is.”

It’s good to see Scott pondering those wacky ideas we’ve all heard floating around: Human-caused climate changemore intense hurricanesrising sea levels, etc. Coming to terms with climate change is a journey we all must pursue at our own pace! It’s not urgent or anything.

So what is Scott feeling sure about? Let’s hear it:

This is a catastrophic storm our state has never seen,” he warned on Saturday before Irma hit Florida.

“We ought to go solve problems. I know we have beach renourishment issues. I know we have flood-mitigation issues,” he said in the wake of Irma.

“I’m worried about another hurricane,” he shared with reporters while touring the Florida Keys this week. We feel ya, Scott.

Big ideas! Perhaps some fellow Florida Republicans could illuminate their common thread.

“[I]t’s certainly not irresponsible to highlight how this storm was probably fueled — in part — by conditions that were caused by human-induced climate change,” Florida congressman and Grist 50er Carlos Curbelo said this week.

In fact, it just might be necessary.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Florida Governor Rick Scott is figuring out his feelings on climate change post-hurricane. on Sep 15, 2017.

http://ift.tt/2fpIPql Source: http://grist.org