Green Cities

EDN Week in Review: Environmental News for the Week of July 1

Improving the Environment

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned following reports of countless ethics violations. (Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post) His successor, Andrew Wheeler, is not expected to protect our environment either (NPR). Pope Francis warned against turning Earth into a wasteland (Associated Press) as he marked the third anniversary of his Encyclical on the Environment, Laudato Si
“There is a real danger that we will leave future generations only rubble, deserts and refuse,” he warned.

Acting on Climate

The Netherlands is considering national climate legislation that includes the goal to be 100 percent carbon-neutral 2050. (David Roberts, Vox)
The proposal represents a degree of social and political consensus that is almost unthinkable in the US — not only that climate change is “real” (an absurd debate only the US is having), but that it’s urgent and that national policy should support the goals agreed to in Paris. Those goals obligate developed countries like the Netherlands to virtually eliminate carbon emissions by mid-century.
Again, there were more record-setting heat days reported across the globe. There’s more concern about the connection between climate change and wildfire season with California’s latest heat waves and wildfires (Tim Arango, New York Times) A steel bridge in Chicago was so hot it stopped working (Anna Brooks, Popular Science)
The 98-year-old double-decker bridge shuttles two levels of traffic back and forth over the Chicago River, and opens its decks to the heavens to let sailboats pass through. Baking under the sun for days on end, the joints of the steel bridge swelled, and were stuck in place. Luis Benitez, chief bridge engineer for the Chicago Department of Transportation, says the surface temperature of the bridge had climbed above 100°F that week.

Ending Plastic Pollution

Sailor Emily Penn is leading an expedition to collect data to help tackle the plastic pollution problem. (Josh Gabbatiss, The Independent)
“The most alarming thing is just the number of pieces that are moving past the boat every time you look out,” says Ms Penn, a sailor with a history of environmental activism.

Protecting Life on Earth

New UN Biodiversity Lab launched, to feature an interactive mapping platform for use in solving biodiversity conservation and development challenges. Scientist warn the Great Barrior Reef could be devastated by the 2030s. (Jacqueline Williams, New York Times)
“This would effectively sign the death certificate of one of the world’s largest living marine structures,” said Martin Rice, acting chief executive of the Climate Council, a publicly funded Australian research institute.