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LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

pollution32The EPA has become the Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA). (Photo: Billy Wilson)

It appears that the Trump administration has seriously underestimated the costly toll of climate change in its efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP) based on a new document released Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The 198-page proposed analysis shows the supposed costs and benefits of undoing the Obama-era climate policy. However, as the Washington Post reported, the document shows that the Scott Pruitt-led EPA puts the cost of one ton of emissions of carbon dioxide between $1 and $6 in the year 2020—a dramatic decrease of the previous administration's 2020 estimate of $45.

This figure is known as the "social cost of carbon"—or the public cost of burning fossil fuels—which guides current energy regulations and possible future mitigation policies.

So how did the Trump EPA get this tiny figure? Mostly by considering the cost of carbon within the U.S., rather than around the world, the Post reported.

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"Pruitt has tried to cook the books on science and economics to hide the Clean Power Plan's enormous climate and public health benefits," wrote Kevin Steinberger and Starla Yeh, analysts at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate & Clean Air program.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:13

Copenhagen Mayor: No Diesel Cars Allowed

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Copenhagen 1010wrp optCopenhagen in winter. (Photo: Kristoffer Trolle)Copenhagen's mayor proposed a ban on new diesel cars entering the city's environmental zone, a low-emission area that basically covers the whole of the capital, as early as 2019.

"It's not a human right to pollute the air for others," Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen told Danish newspaper Politiken (via The Local DK's translation). "That's why diesel cars must be phased out."

The mayor noted that the potential ban is "controversial" but felt it was necessary to improve the city's air quality.

About 80 people, primarily older or frail, die prematurely in the Danish capital each year due to local air pollution, including nitrous oxides from traffic, according to the newspaper.

“I know it will mean something for the many, many Copenhageners that are affected by respiratory illnesses," Jensen explained.

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Rick 1011wrp opt(Portrait: Dan Lacy)In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating the U.S. Department of Energy. Some forty years later, the DOE is a $30 billion agency, employing nearly 100,000 people. The DOE's tasks include maintaining and guarding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, safeguarding the electrical grid, overseeing the national-science labs, monitoring climate change, and numerous other energy-related functions. It is now under the stewardship of former Texas Governor, and failed presidential candidate, Rick Perry, who, when asked at one of the Republican Party's presidential debates which government departments he would eliminate, quickly reeled off the names of the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education. And then he said: "The third agency of government I would do away with … Education … the ahhhh … ahhh … Commerce, and let's see. I can't, the third one. I can't. Sorry. Oops."

That "oops" was a stand-in for the Department of Energy.

Sciencemag.org has reported that since Trump's inauguration, his "administration has removed mentions of climate change and clean energy from websites and blocked scientists from attending conferences, said Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists."

It’s conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons.It’s conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons. (Photo: Tim Ereneta / Flickr)DAVID SWANSON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) -- listen to my radio show with one of ICAN's leaders two years ago here.

It's conceivable that some Americans will now learn, because of this award, about the new treaty that bans the possession of nuclear weapons.

This treaty has been years in the works. This past summer 122 nations agreed on the language of it.

2017.10.10 BF BenjaminJust as we are trying to get Congress to take action to stem the domestic flood of guns that facilitated the murder of concert-goers in Las Vegas, so we must demand that Congress act to stop the US support for mass murder in Yemen. (Photo: PBS Newshour)MEDEA BENJAMIN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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While Americans are mourning the mass shooting in Las Vegas that so tragically took the lives of over 50 concert-goers, people in Yemen will be marking the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that took the lives of over 140 people who were not at a concert, but a funeral. The Las Vegas carnage was a crime against humanity carried out by what seems to be a "lone wolf." The bombing of the funeral home in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, was a war crime carried out by a close US ally, Saudi Arabia, with the indispensable help of the United States. While we try to steer the domestic conversation to the need for gun control, we should also be seeking to end the massive flow of US weapons to Saudi Arabia that is wreaking such carnage. A new resolution in Congress, HR Resolution 81, would do just that.

The funeral bombing took place in the afternoon of October 8, 2016, when several hundred people had gathered to mourn the passing of Ali al-Rawishan, a public figure and father of the Sanaa-based administration’s interior minister. It was attended by several hundred people, including colleagues, friends and relatives of the deceased. Funeral ceremonies of public figures in Yemen are customarily well-attended and open to the public.

JIM HIGHTOWER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Robots 1006wrp optThe future is now. (Photo: Jason Tester)Industrial automatons have been on the march for years, devouring the middle-class job opportunities of factory workers. But this time is different.

If you think your family's future is safe because you don't rely on factory work, think again. Rapid advances in AI have already turned yesterday's science fiction into today's brave new "creative destruction" — the constant churn of economic and cultural innovations that destroy existing ways of doing things. A network of inventors and investors, hundreds of university engineering and math departments, thousands of government-funded research projects, countless freelance innovators and the entire corporate establishment are "re-inventing" practically every workplace by displacing humans with "more efficient" AI robots.

This mass-scale deployment of robots has already ushered in a whole new world of work. It's a CEO's capitalist paradise, where the workforce doesn't call in sick or take vacations, can't file lawsuits, doesn't organize unions — and is cheap.

As a result, robots are rapidly climbing the pay ladder into white-collar and professional positions that millions of college-educated, middle-class employees have wrongly considered safe.

Thursday, 05 October 2017 08:12

In Afghanistan, a Family Fights for Survival

Inaam, whose brother, Rahman, signed up to be a soldier as there were no other viable jobsInaam, whose brother, Rahman, signed up to be a soldier as there were no other viable jobs. (Photo: Dr. Hakim Young)DR. HAKIM YOUNG FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Sultan, Ali's brother, was killed in August 2016.

Hussein, Bismillah's uncle, was killed in April 2017.

I don't want Rahman, Inaam's brother, to end up being killed. Rahman is now training to be a soldier.

Both Sultan and Hussein were Afghan soldiers in their twenties. They joined the army because there were no other viable jobs available. Their families needed food. Hussein was killed in Helmand Province, where in the past 15 years, 18,000 policemen ( not counting soldiers or civilians ) were killed.

Newton would have wondered why we fail to apply scientific laws to human behaviour too; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more 'enemies' that armies and soldiers kill, the more soldiers and civilians will be killed.

The casualty numbers in Afghanistan and elsewhere prove this. The 2015 Global Terrorism Index has recorded a nine-fold increase in terrorism-related deaths since 2000. War doesn't work!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 06:43

The Violence Comes Home Again

2017.5.10 BF KoehlerThe US is a global empire engaged in endless war, with an entertainment and news media that sells violence as a spectator sport and a consequence-free solution to pretty much every problem you can think of. (Photo: Iryna Yfimchyk / Flickr)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, as in the wake of all the high-profile mass shootings that preceded it, the big question looms: Why?

John Whitehead puts the question this way: "What is it about America that makes violence our nation’s calling card?"

This is the enormous question -- you might call it the $700 billion question, which is the size of the 2018 military budget recently approved by the Senate -- that most media and law enforcement personnel do not ask or acknowledge, as they search for clues about the motive behind Stephen Paddock’s rampage on the night of Oct. 1 amid the scattered wreckage of the killer’s life.

The supermarket in my previous community, through its blatantly substandard offerings served the same purpose as many of the statues that are being taken down. It institutionalized a general narrative about the inferiority of certain members of our population that persists in our society.The supermarkets in low-income communities, through its blatantly substandard offerings, serve the same purpose as many of the statues honoring white supremacy. It institutionalizes a general narrative about the inferiority of certain members of our population that persists in our society. (Photo: Ricardo / Flickr)RAYGINE DIAQUOI FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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The events in Charlottesville have had repercussions all over the nation, forcing debate about the meaning behind many of our well-known monuments and the importance of removing statues that do not reflect our greatest ideals. In focusing on more obvious testaments to oppression, we must not neglect to examine the way that everyday structures, such as a grocery store, can reflect injustice.

Last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the 18 members of a commission that would," develop guidelines on how the City should address monuments seen as oppressive and inconsistent with the values of New York City." I hope that the individuals called to be a part of this commission that will guide our treatment of "symbols of hate" will use this opportunity to bring attention to all of our shrines to injustice, even supermarkets. 

I am a native New Yorker and have lived in three of our wonderful city's five boroughs. Recently, I moved from a lower-income zip code with a median income of  $26,410 to a higher income one, median income $46,210. As soon as the movers brought the last of the boxes into the apartment, I went to the neighborhood supermarket to grab some quick items to eat.

What can we do with this apparently endless cycle of tragedy? The endemic problem of gun violence is real, but hope need not be lost.What can we do with this apparently endless cycle of tragedy? The endemic problem of gun violence is real, but hope need not be lost. (Photo: N W / Flickr)WIM LAVEN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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"This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them," said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world's deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations." – The Onion (which publishes slightly different versions of this after every mass shooting for years)

Today members of Congress send thoughts and prayers to Las Vegas. The Onion, a satire site, posts: "NRA Says Mass Shootings Just The Unfortunate Price Of Protecting People's Freedom To Commit Mass Shootings" and "'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens."

Guns are big business, this year they've looked to keep shooters' eardrums safe, through the sale of silencers. Who cares that some students at the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 credited hearing the shots fired with keeping them at a safe distance?

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