Trump’s Properties Could Thrive With Proposed Budget Cuts To the EPA

The Trump administration plans to cut more funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, but this time the cuts would end up benefitting the president’s property assets.

If the budget cuts pass, it will ultimately defund the Energy Star Program. The Energy Star Program was founded 1992 to save energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides a rating on energy efficient hotels, condominiums and office buildings.

Most of Trump’s properties tend to be rated low on energy efficient according to the Energy Star Plan except for two buildings. The most recent scores from 2015 reveal that 11 of his 15 skyscrapers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco are less energy efficient than most comparable buildings, according to CNN. On a scale of 1 to 100 for energy efficiency, Manhattan’s old Mayfair Hotel, which Trump converted into condos, rated a 1.

There has not been any comment from the Trump Organization or the White House on defunding the Energy Star Program. However, more than a thousand U.S. companies urged congress this week to preserve the program this week.

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Image provided by: Consumers Union. The image shows the accomplishments of the Energy Star Program since being founded in 1992. 

 

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Fuel Efficiency Rules for Auto Industry Might Be Revised

As President Trump seeks to change environmental policies put in place by the Obama Administration, the auto industry might be next on the president’s agenda.

During the previous administration, regulations were put in place to make sure that cars would become more fuel efficient and better protect the environment. The previous administration’s rule was to increase fuel economy to 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025.

The auto industry felt like the standards were too strict and asked Trump to revisit the regulations. Trumps plans on directing the Environmental Protection Agency to revisit the regulations because he thinks revising the regulations could create more jobs for the auto industry.

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The graph show how Obama’s fuel efficiency regulations would benefit consumers and the environment. Image provided by whitehouse.gov.

Trump’s Executive Order Focuses on Jobs, Not Climate Change

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency that decreases the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations while putting jobs over climate change.

A White House official briefed on the plan said Monday the administration believes the government can both “serve the environment and increase energy independence at the same time” by urging the EPA for focus on what the administration believes is its core mission: Clean air and clean water.

While the White House said its core mission is clean air and clean water, President Trump said he would work on bringing coal jobs back. It is unclear how he will increase coal jobs since coal mining has decreased with the rise of clean energy.

 

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The decline in U.S. employment and consumption of the coal industry. Image provided by: Bloomberg.   

Americans Outlook on Climate Change

Most people are aware that climate change is happening, and while most Americans believe global warming is happening, they do not think it will harm them personally.

The New York Times put together six maps from data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication. The maps give a detailed look at public opinion on global warming.

The maps showed two states, Texas and Florida, which were split on how much to worry about climate change. South and West Texas, as well as the state’s Gulf Coast, showed to be most concerned about climate change. The reason might be because they have felt shifting weather patterns, including rising temperatures, coastal hurricanes and western droughts.

 

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Percentage of adults per county who are at least somewhat worried about global warming. Image by The New York Times.

 

Climate Change Might Be Linked to Diabetes

Scientists are researching to see if a correlation exists between climate change and Type 2 diabetes in the U.S.

“We calculated that a 1-degree Celsius rise in environmental temperature could account for more than 100,000 new diabetes cases per year in the USA alone,” Lisanne Blauw, a researcher at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands and lead author of the study.

The study found that between 1996 and 2009 there was a 4 percent increase in diabetes diagnosis for every 1-degree Celsius increase in outdoor temperature. One degree Celsius is equivalent to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The study has only found an association between climate change and diabetes, not causation.

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Statistics on Diabetes in the U.S., and how the body regulates blood glucose. Infographic from blog.houstonmethodist.org

EPA Faces Budget Cuts for Trump’s Defense Budget Proposal

A source told CNN that the Environmental Protection Agency could see significant budget cuts in order to meet President Donald Trump’s budget proposal requirements.

The president’s budget proposal is calling for more than a $50 billion increase in defense spending, which means the Trump administration could cut the EPA’s budget by 24% and reduce staffing by 20% to allocate funds toward the defense budget.

Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator, tried to reassure those concerned about potential budget cuts and layoffs.

“What we need to realize is this is the beginning of the process, not the end of the process,” Pruitt said.

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EPA’s enacted budget from fiscal years ranging from 2004 to 2016. The values are in billions.

 

Warm February Temperatures Indicate Climate Change

While many have enjoyed the warm weather this February, the U.S. Geological Survey said the warmer weather is a key indicator in climate change.

The USGS shared a news analysis from the USA National Phenology Network showing that an early spring has arrived in the Southeast. The analysis relies on a “spring index,” which shows when plants begin to bloom.

The study compared this year’s temperatures to previous years temperatures, and the analysis found that some cities have seen an unusually early arrival of spring. In Washington, D.C., spring arrived 22 days earlier than previous years, according to the news analysis.

While an early spring may sound nice, it can have serious consequences on agriculture if it is followed by a freeze. An entire crop, which has already started to grow from an early spring, could be wiped out if it freezes, according to Jake Weltzin, executive director of the USA-National Phenology Network and an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, which helped fund the project.

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Map from the USA National Phenology Network, which shows the spring index, from the news analysis.

 

Pruitt and the Environmental Protection Agency Clash on Course of Action

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is known for having a hostile relationship with the EPA, which raises questions about his new administrative duties with the agency.

Former Bush administration EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman told NPR she was skeptical of his relationship with EPA and what the future holds for the new administration.

“He seems to have a level of distrust that is unusual coming into an agency, because it doesn’t necessarily bode well for good relations with the career staff who are there, with whom you have to work and you need to get things done,” she said.

Pruitt plans to remove the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which is focused on lowering the United States’ carbon footprint, but it will not be an easy task since the EPA has expressed their opposition to his plans.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirmed as the next EPA administrator.

Antarctic Ice Core Might Provide Insight Into Future Climate Change Patterns

Japanese scientists have observed nearly 800,000 years worth of climate history from an ice core sample.

Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research extracted a two-mile-long ice core from an Antarctic ridge. The sample will provide scientists with insight into the Earth’s climate history, and it will also give scientists a glimpse at future climate change patterns.

“In projecting climate change, we’re going into unknown territory,” said Tom Delworth, a geophysicist at Princeton University who wasn’t involved in the study. “The more we understand how the past works — because the past had very different climates — that gives us better confidence in projecting into the future.”

The ice layers can tell scientists about the environmental conditions from when the ice sheets formed. If there is dust present, it tells the scientist there were dry and windy spells, and the molecular composition indicates whether the sheet of ice formed during a warm or cold spell.

By observing the Earth’s climate history, scientists are able to narrow their predictions about the future.

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Scientist observe an ice core extracted from an Antarctic Ridge. Photo provided by the British Antarctic Survey.

EPA Website Reflects Trump’s Climate Change Agenda

Shortly after taking office, President Trump ordered a temporary media blackout for the Environmental Protection Agency while stopping the agency from awarding new contracts or grants. Now, the Trump administration has begun altering the EPA website to reflect its climate change agenda.

A report from the nonprofit Environmental Data and Governance Initiative stated, the report found that there were several potentially significant changes to the EPA’s climate change section on a portion of the agency’s website that focuses on federal partner collaborations. Most telling is a title change, from “Federal Partner Collaboration” to “EPA Adaptation Collaboration.”

This title change signifies that Trump is not embracing climate change mitigation, but instead he is taking an adaptation approach to climate change. Climate change mitigation is when action is taken to reduce the long-term risks and hazards of climate change, where as, adaption is simply adjusting to the already existing condition. With this approach, there will be repercussions to come, and this is only one of the many changes listed in the article.

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Changes made to EPA website. Photo provided by Yahoo. Follow the story link to find more pictures about the changes in the EPA website.