Table Of Contents

    The Trump administration's proposed elimination of the EPA's Energy Star program has drawn strong opposition due to its popularity with consumers and industry. Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is pictured with the program's well-known logo. Photo courtesy of U.S. EPA via


    Trump’s Plan to Cut Energy Star Program Provokes Bipartisan Outrage and Ridicule

    EPA's popular Energy Star initiative is among the many environment and energy programs proposed for elimination within the Trump administration's budget outline. The voluntary program has had strong bipartisan support over the last 25 years. The program costs about $60 million a year, but is credited with saving consumers and businesses over $30 billion in energy costs annually. Dave Pogue of the Fortune 500 Company CBRE said he never imagined the program that helped his firm lower energy use by 16 percent would come under fire. Christie Todd Whitman, President George W. Bush’s EPA administrator, confirmed that “not in a million years” would she have eliminated Energy Star, explaining, "There was no reason to. It worked, and it hardly cost any money." Energy Star is widely seen as a win-win for consumers and companies. Under the program, companies voluntarily compete to earn an EPA certification that can differentiate their products as energy efficient, with consumers benefitting from reduced electricity bills.

    For more information see:

    Los Angeles Times

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Calls for U.S. Exit from Paris Treaty

    During an April 13 interview on Fox News, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the United States should drop out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Pruitt said, "Paris is something we need to look at closely. It's something we need to exit in my opinion. It's a bad deal for America." Pruitt also said that "China or India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030." However, in an April 3 interview, Pruitt appeared to endorse continued climate negotiations with those very countries, saying, "Engagement internationally is very important." Under Paris, China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions 60-65 percent per unit of GDP by 2030 versus 2005 levels, while India is targeting a 33-35 percent reduction under the same metric. The White House has suggested it will outline the administration's position on the agreement in about a month. High-level officials within the administration reportedly remain divided on the issue, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asserting during his congressional confirmation hearing that the United States should remain party to the treaty to "maintain its seat at the table."

    For more information see:

    Inside Climate News, Washington Post


    As Trump Administration Drags Its Feet on Paris Agreement, G7 Vows to Move Ahead With or Without the United States

    This year’s meeting of the G7 energy secretaries failed to reach the consensus necessary to release a statement on international climate goals. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry informed the conference that the United States is still reviewing its positions on climate and energy issues and the Trump administration would communicate its official policy stances at a later date. The G7 conference was anticipated as a potential sign of the Trump administration’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Carlo Calenda, the economic progress minister of host-nation Italy, said that despite the U.S. position, he was "particularly pleased to see that all others joined the E.U. in reaffirming our solid commitment and determination to implement the Paris Agreement and continue the clean energy transition." Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's Climate and Industry Minister Nick Hurd proclaimed that he found "lots of common ground on energy security and innovation" with Secretary Perry. The group of ministers, including Perry, reaffirmed their commitment to a 2016 declaration to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

    For more information see:

    Climate Change News, Bloomberg


    Proposed Defunding of NASA Climate Missions Would Create a Catastrophic Data Gap for Scientists

    Scientists are deeply concerned about the Trump administration's proposed elimination of four NASA climate science missions. The missions support a network of satellites that gather a wealth of data used to study ocean and atmospheric conditions from orbit, which in turn informs everything from short-term weather forecasts to long-term records of ice thickness and sea level rise. The proposed cuts to NASA's earth science programs would total $102 million out of the agency's overall budget of $19 billion, but could create data collection gaps in an already strained set of monitoring tools. Maintaining a continuous data record is essential for climate researchers to build their projection models and better understand climate change. While NOAA was able to avert a "potentially disastrous situation" by securing funding in the past to replace its aging weather satellites, the cuts would threaten NASA's ability to replace instruments nearing the end of their useful lives.

    For more information see:

    New York Times


    As United States Energy Policy Reverts to Coal, India Pledges a Surge in Renewable Energy

    India, the world's fastest growing major economy and accountable for 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, is signaling a pivot away from coal. Despite past statements by leadership that coal-fired electricity was necessary for India's development, the nation has halted several large-scale coal projects over the past two years. Instead, India announced it will pursue a three-fold increase of its renewable energy capacity by 2022. Contrasting the rise of Trump's coal-focused energy policies with those of India, Anjali Jaiswal, at the Natural Resources Defense Council's India Initiative said, "Trump is investing in our grandfather’s technology while India is looking ahead to the future." Under the Paris Agreement, India pledged to obtain 40 percent of its domestically produced electricity from renewable sources, though its emissions are still expected to triple from 2005 levels by 2030. While frustrations abound that the United States is threatening to depart the Paris Agreement, former Indian climate negotiator Prodipto Ghosh stated, "India would seek to retain its reputation for adhering scrupulously to international agreements it has acceded to."

    For more information see:

    LA Times


    After Suffering Billions in Damages from Extreme Weather, Peru Considers Adaptive Infrastructure

    Peru is struggling to cope with massive flooding and landslides triggered by rainfall 10 times the usual amount along its coastal regions. The deluge has led to over 100 fatalities, 158,000 displaced residents, and damage to 210,000 homes. The country's infrastructure also took a substantial hit, with 260 bridges lost, over 1,860 miles (3,000 km) of roads deemed unusable, and disruptions to water treatment plants. Altogether, this single season of disasters has caused $3.1 billion in damages, knocking 0.5 percent off Peru's projected 2017 GDP. As climate change makes these extreme weather events more likely, there are calls for Peru to overhaul its infrastructure to better prepare, including its water systems. Ernesto Ráez, a former adviser to Peru’s environment ministry, said reconstruction efforts should be "adaptive or corrective" and that the government must account for the potential displacement of people. According to Peru's national water agency, roughly half a million residents live in floodplains.

    For more information see:



    Growing Evidence for Harmful Health Impacts of Diesel Vehicles Leads to Global About-Face

    Governments around the world are trying to break away from diesel vehicles after years of promoting the technology as beneficial due to its higher fuel efficiency. The market for diesel passenger vehicles boomed in Europe during the 1990s and still accounts for 50 percent of new cars sales there. The tide began to turn in 2012, as numerous studies were released showing the harmful health impacts of diesel emissions. The World Health Organisation ultimately named diesel exhaust a carcinogen. A recent study from the International Council for Clean Transportation found real-world nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars are 10 times higher than those for heavy trucks or buses, which face stricter regulations. In the wake of such findings, the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City have declared that diesel vehicles will be banned from those city centers by 2025. Meanwhile, the C40 group of global city leaders are discussing steps to crack down on diesel vehicles. A history of governmental support for diesel leaves some politicians concerned about confusion and backlash from the public over the shift in attitudes, but cities like London are now pushing financial incentives to unravel these trends in an attempt to compensate consumers.

    For more information see:



    Communities Left Behind in America's Coal Belt Try to Retool for a New Kind of Economy

    Communities across Kentucky, West Virginia, and other Appalachian states that for decades relied on coal industry jobs are working to develop new economic opportunities. However, most of these regions lack the highly-skilled workforce needed to revitalize their depressed economies. With little support from the state or federal government for job training and education, local citizens and groups have created small-scale initiatives. Teddy Martin, a former coal miner, is using the trade skills he learned between coal jobs to equip students with some of the tools they need to traverse the new economy. His program, which teaches students how to build tiny houses, is structured as a competition to earn the highest selling price at auction. These types of grassroots efforts have started to emerge as people with resources attempt to lift up struggling neighbors. Meanwhile, grants and innovative programs are helping local educational institutions build partnerships with local businesses and create new career paths to encourage residents to stay. Kelly Hall, innovation director at the Knott County Area Technology Center, observed, "We’ve been waiting for someone to come in and save the day, but I think the answer lies within."

    For more information see:

    Christian Science Monitor


    Conservative Group Takes Anti-Science Campaign Directly to Teachers

    The Heartland Institute has distributed a book disputing established climate science to 25,000 science teachers, causing concern among educators, advocacy groups, and politicians about the harmful effects of this misinformation. The book, entitled "Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming," falsely claims that the science of climate change is "not settled" and argues that "students would be better served by letting them know a vibrant debate is taking place among scientists on how big the human impact on climate is, and whether or not we should be worried about it." The National Science Teachers Association asked its 55,000 members to stand firm against the "unprecedented attack" on climate science, teachers, and students. Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) decried the materials as anti-science propaganda that does not belong in classrooms. The National Center for Science Education also organized a fundraiser to "help teachers present climate change accurately, honestly, and completely." The Heartland Institute reportedly plans to mail their publication to an additional 200,000 teachers across the country.

    For more information see:

    Inside Climate News


    Survey Reveals Generational Gap among Republicans on Climate Change

    College students across the country who self-identify as Republicans are increasingly at odds with their adopted political party over climate change. According to a review of 21 college Republican organizations by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, students increasingly agree that "climate change is a human-caused problem, and that Americans have a responsibility to act on it and protect the environment." According to a 2016 survey by Pew, 52 percent of people aged 18 to 29 viewed climate change as a "very serious problem," while only 38 percent of respondents over age 50 agreed. Kent Haeffner, president of the Harvard University Republican Club, said, "Demographically, the ‘Trump coalition’ will not last. I think that the folks that are our age are going to have to reshape the party and take it in a different direction." Michele Combs, chair of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, noted, "The younger generation and the younger conservatives do understand and appreciate and believe in [climate change], more than the older Republicans."

    For more information see:



    Unprecedented Coral Bleaching Events Have Brought the Great Barrier Reef to Its Breaking Point

    Two straight years of mass coral bleaching has damaged the Great Barrier Reef to an extent from which it is unlikely to recover. Scientists say that although the reef system has recovered from previous bleaching, the magnitude and close timing of the two events has compromised the reef's ability to self-repair. Prior to 2016, there had been only two bleaching events along the reef over the past two decades in 1998 and 2002. While warming waters connected to climate change is the primary driver of bleaching, poor water quality exacerbates the damage to the vulnerable ecosystem. Experts say the Australian government is “spending insufficient amounts” on programs to control fishing, waste runoff, and direct pollution, yielding disjointed and ineffective policies. As a result, Australia is expected to fall short of its 2018 ocean water quality goals. Water quality expert Jon Brodie believes the reef is now at a “terminal stage,” asserting that the unprecedented coalescence of factors gives the reef “zero time for recovery.”

    For more information see:

    Guardian, CNN



    U.S. Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Decline 1.7 Percent; Transportation Sector Becomes Largest Emitter

    Auto Industry Attempting to Negotiate Weaker Fuel Efficiency Standards with the White House

    Trump Considering Climate Science Denier to Lead Council on Environmental Quality

    Chicago Announces Goal to Run on 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2025

    Study: Holding Global Temperature Increase to 1.5 Degrees C Would Preserve Permafrost Equal in Area to Mexico


    Events and Briefings

    March for Science – Washington, DC

    Saturday, April 22 2017

    Events begin at 8:00 am and run throughout the day

    Start of the March: North of the Washington Monument, Constitution Avenue NW between 15th and 17th St

    The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is pleased to announce it is an official partner of the March for Science, a nonpartisan event being held in Washington, DC and around the world. The March for Science is calling out the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments. In addition to the Washington, D.C. march, there are more than 500 satellite marches planned in 53 countries.

    If you are interested in participating, please RSVP. For more information, visit this link.


    Writers: Ben Topiel and Brian La Shier

    Editor: Brian La Shier