Weekly News February 18th

Jonathan Staufer | February 19, 2019 | Leave a Comment


Might Cupid’s arrow have struck the Senate two days before Valentine’s Day? In an almost unheard-of bipartisan love fest, the U.S. Senate permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which earmarks a portion of taxes on oil and gas revenues for conservation efforts. The measure also protected 1.3 million acres of lands in the Western United States as wilderness or as additions to National Parks and Monuments.

The chance of a warm reception in the Senate for the Green New Deal proposed by newly empowered progressive Democrats was not ranked as a high possibility, but at long last, there is a concrete federal legislation in the works and there is active popular support behind it.

They were joined in spirit by thousands of students in the U.K. who staged a strike to protest government inaction on climate change.

Economists have long held that the most effective way to fight climate change is through carbon taxes. The High Country News offered an excellent autopsy on what killed Washington State’s carbon tax initiative. The Economist explained the great difficulty in shifting the energy industry away from fossil fuels and, alarmingly, reported that oil colossus Exxon/Mobil plans to increase production 25% by 2025. Efforts on the part of consumers to transform the behavior of their local energy cooperatives seem to be bearing some fruit.

One wonders whether awareness of humanity’s detrimental impact on the biosphere and our own future can come soon enough. In an article which quotes MAHB founder Professor Paul Ehrlich, The Guardian reported on the worldwide collapse of insect numbers.

We are, apparently, making the world much more hospitable for life forms not quite so hospitable to ourselves: The population of death-cap mushrooms is burgeoning across North America. 

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