Wise County, Virginia – A long-awaited revival is under way in this beleaguered Central Appalachia community where residents see coal as the once and future king.
Trucks are running again. Miners working seven days a week cannot keep up with current demand. Coal mines, long dormant after the industry’s collapse, are now buzzing again with antlike activity.
“We load coal every day for the power plant in Virginia City,” explained Rick, a long-time supervisor for a major local operation who did not want to give his last name. “There’s one shipment a week for Georgia Power, and one for Tennessee Eastman.”
The past month has seen a resurgence of the coal industry that once formed the backbone of the region’s economy, and locals credit President Trump’s aggressive, pro-energy agenda.
Crippled by a slew of factors, from changing times, an emphasis on renewable energy, and the Obama administration’s harsh penalties on coal-fired power plants, the area’s economy took a devastating hit over the past eight years. Many of the people living in these mountains had nearly given up hope that the area could ever recover.
The production of coal reached its peak in 2008. But then President Obama came into office and rolled out a series of regulations that he said were designed to protect America’s streams and waterways from the pollution the mining emitted.
Those regulations crippled the industry and left many in the region out of well-paying jobs.
For those whose livelihood depended on the industry, the most important thing that Trump has given them is hope.
“It was almost impossible due to the EPA regulations to open another deep mine,” said Rick.
Just a few decades ago, when unions were strong in Wise County, the area leaned Democrat. But once the economy bottomed out and many were left without jobs, this corner of Virginia found itself feeling left behind.
Nowadays, many homes in Wise County are adorned with Trump signs. This now-Republican stronghold is betting on a better future under the Trump administration.…
A new study published Monday in Nature Plants breaks down the environmental cost of producing a loaf of bread, from wheat field to bakery. It finds that the bulk of the associated greenhouse gas emissions come from just one of the many steps that go into making that loaf: farming.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Sheffield, in the U.K. They wanted to understand the environmental impacts of the entire life cycle of a common staple. They chose bread and used a “real-world supply chain,” says Liam Goucher, the lead author of the study and a research fellow at the Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield. “We focused on a specific farm, which was in Lincoln, in the U.K., and we focused on a specific mill and a specific [commercial] bakery.”
They collected and analyzed data for emissions involved at every step of the process, including growing the wheat, fertilizing it, harvesting the crop, transporting the grains to the mill, grinding the grains into flour, transporting the flour to a bakery and then baking and packaging a loaf of bread. Scientists call this a life cycle analysis.
Many stages were energy intensive and involved with emissions — for example, the machinery involved with tilling the soil, harvesting, and irrigation, or the electricity required to operate the mill and the bakery. But the vast majority of emissions — nearly 66 percent — came from growing wheat.
“We found that over half of the environmental impacts of producing a loaf of bread come from wheat cultivation,” says Goucher. “The interesting thing is that 40 percent is attributable just to the use of ammonium nitrate fertilizers alone, which is a huge amount, when you consider it.” The fertilizers also cause a lot of water pollution when they run off into streams and rivers.…
Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy wanted the United States to set an example for the world on climate change. For instance, while admitting that the Clean Power Plan (CPP) would have no measurable impact on climate, it was still worthwhile, she maintained, because we need “to lead the world in our global climate fight.” Testifying before the 2013 hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Ms. McCarthy explained that the CPP “is part of an overall strategy that is positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion.” She said essentially the same in House testimony in 2016.
New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt should recognize that, despite his predecessor’s misguided support for the climate scare, her emphasis on American leadership in the debate was justified. The United States has a moral obligation to set a good example in addressing serious global issues. Whether man-made climate change concerns are warranted or not, trillions of dollars and millions of lives are at stake.
So what example should Mr. Pruitt set?
It should certainly not be Ms. McCarthy’s approach of considering only one side of the science and demonizing experts who disagree. The public needs to have confidence that the government is giving a proper hearing to all reputable points of view, not cherry-picking the science to support a politically convenient narrative.
Sounds like a nice balmy day on the Antarctic Peninsula, but let’s put the news into context.
The Esperanza base is located on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and just outside the Antarctic Circle. The base is farther north than the Vanda Station, which at the mouth of the Onyx River.
Temperatures around the base average 22 degrees Fahrenheit, but fluctuate widely throughout the year. March is near the end of the Antarctic summer when temperatures typically peak, so a record-high reading is most likely to occur during this time.
Antarctica logged a record-cold temperature in 2014, according to NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt, but until confirmed by the WMO, the coldest temperature ever recorded in the South Pole was -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit at the Soviet Union’s Vostok Station on July 21, 1983.
The Weather Underground first reported the record-breaking temperature in 2015, but it was confirmed by the WMO until Wednesday.
Weather Underground noted the record temperature readings “were made possible by an unusually extreme jet stream contortion that brought a strong ridge of high pressure over the Antarctic Peninsula, allowing warm air from South America to push southwards over Antarctica.”
Antarctic sea ice was at record levels in 2014 — records that were shattered in 2015. Sea ice has since hit record-lows in 2016 as global average temperature got a boost from an incredibly strong El Nino warming event.…