USAID Adaptation for Development and Conservation: Join ADVANCE for a presentation on generating and integrating climate risk information into conservation and development planning at 4PM in DC. Click here for event info and here for a livestream.
Budget Slims Down EPA, Climate Programs & Research: The Trump administration released its first official 2018 budget proposal this morning, and copies obtained by multiple outlets yesterday confirmed deep cuts across the board for climate- and science-related research, grants, programs, and agencies. The EPA, one of the budget's biggest targets, would suffer a cut of $2.8 billion, or nearly a third of its $8.1 billion current budget - much higher than previous estimates of 25 percent - including a $100 million cut for climate programs. Funding for climate finance in the State Department budget, clean energy research at the Energy Department, and funds for NOAA and NASA research also take serious hits in the draft proposal. The budget is one of the "skinniest" first budget documents in history, and experts predict many of its short-on-policy-detail proposals will not sit well with Congress. (General: New York Times $, Washington Post $, AP. EPA: Washington Post $, WSJ $, Politico Pro $, Bloomberg, Reuters. State: Washington Post $, Reuters. NOAA: Washington Post $. NASA: Washington Post $. DOE: Science Mag)

Trump, In The Driver's Seat, May Crash With CA: Speaking in Detroit yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump announced his administration's intent to begin rolling back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for vehicles, as the EPA formally rescinded the previous administration's November decision not to review the standards. The move drew praise from the auto industry but immediate pushback from Democrats, environmental groups, and California, which plans to move ahead with the Obama-era standards. Governor Jerry Brown sent letters to the EPA and auto manufacturers denouncing Trump's move Wednesday, and the state filed a motion with New York to defend the standards Tuesday evening, foreshadowing a potential blue-state showdown with the administration over vehicle emissions. (New York Times $, The Guardian, Washington Post $, Reuters, Politico Pro $, Bloomberg, MotherJones, Christian Science Monitor, TIME, Climate Central. California: WSJ $, Reuters, AP, NPR, LA Times $, The Hill Commentary: LA Times editorial $, ThinkProgress, Joe Romm columnVox, Brad Plumer column)
 
Move Over, GOP Deniers: A group of GOP representatives introduced a resolution Wednesday to create "solutions to study and address the causes and effects" of climate change. The resolution, introduced by Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), and 14 other representatives, acknowledges that climate change has "the potential to adversely impact all Americans, hitting vulnerable populations hardest, harming productivity in key economic sectors...saddling future generations with costly economic and environmental burdens, and imposing additional costs on State and Federal budgets." While the resolution does not explicitly recognize the connection between fossil fuel emissions and climate change, it does note the "marked increase in extreme weather events across the United States." (BloombergThe Hill, InsideClimate News, The Atlantic, Reuters)

Sorry, Nemo: The only hope to save the world's coral reefs is to take immediate action to stop climate change, according to new research published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The study analyzed 2016 bleaching events in the Great Barrier Reef, finding that they were mostly driven by rising temperatures and that local efforts to reduce pollution and overfishing did little to keep the reefs alive. 2016 was the worst year for coral bleaching worldwide, with over 90 percent of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef affected. Only 9 percent of the reef has avoided bleaching since 1998. “Climate change is not a future threat,” the study's lead author told the New York Times. “On the Great Barrier Reef, it’s been happening for 18 years.” (Washington Post $, New York Times $, AP, Reuters, FT $, The Guardian, NPRLA Times $, Buzzfeed, Mother Jones, MashableInsideClimate News, TIME)

Doctor's Orders: Groups representing more than half the doctors in the U.S. affirmed Wednesday that climate change is already harming Americans' health. In a new report, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, a group comprised of 11 major medical societies representing more than 400,000 doctors, state that "climate change is already causing problems in communities in every region of our nation." This many doctors coming together on an issue "only happens when the stakes are really high,” Mona Sarfaty, director of the Consortium, told the Huffington Post. The report divides health impacts into three categories: direct harms from climate change-altered weather, increased spread of disease and contamination, and mental health effects. (Huffington Post, Gizmodo, USA Today, InsideClimate News, CBS News)
TRUMP: Trump administration mulls broader environmental order (Politico Pro $), Trump seeks input from U.S. energy companies on Paris climate pact (Reuters), businesses urge Trump to rethink climate bonfire (Climate Home)

EPA: Sierra Club seeks probe of EPA's Pruitt over CO2 comments (Reuters), the transparency bills that would gut the EPA (The Atlantic), the financial benefits of the EPA data Trump doesn't want you to know about (The Guardian), a guide to the EPA data under threat by the Trump administration (The Guardian)

DOI: Interior Department to withdraw Obama-era fracking rule, filings reveal (Washington Post $, The Hill), here's what a Zinke-led Interior Department will look like (Mother Jones), Interior names energy and mineral chief new acting BLM director (Salt Lake Tribune)

SCIENCE: Obama left Trump a major climate-change report — and independent scientists just said it’s accurate (Washington Post $), will federal agriculture research be spared from Trump assault on climate funding? (InsideClimate News), one nation plans to check the receipts on climate data, but Australia's top scientists don't want to be involved (Buzzfeed

FINANCE: To protect climate money, Obama stashed it where it's hard to find (Bloomberg)

NAT'L RENEWABLES: Trump's animosity toward offshore wind isn't stopping his administration from leasing (Politico Pro $), 

INT'L RENEWABLES: UK climate policies aren't pushing up household energy bills: government advisers (ReutersThe Guardian, FT $, Bloomberg), the dark secret behind India's solar plan (Bloomberg), Australia to expand hydropower project to address shortages (AP, Reuters), Germany’s renewable energy push has forced $30 billion in losses on its biggest utilities (Quartz), CEO of Australia's Atlassian says he'll meet seven-day Tesla batteries deadline (Reuters)

LOCAL RENEWABLES: Baltimore veterans center touted as example of energy efficiency program's success (Baltimore Sun), Ohio bill would allow customers to opt out of utility renewable energy charges (Utility Dive), council members, advocates to make renewed push for building retrofits (Politico Pro NY $)

CITIES: DC mayor Bowser on EPA cuts: "we can make up the difference" (Bloomberg), Paris mayor tackles climate change amid political shifts (Bloomberg), in Trump era, cities must amp up battle vs climate change: official (Thomson Reuters Foundation), youth activists score big climate victory in small Minnesota town (Midwest Energy News)

IMPACTS: How mass extinctions inform our understanding of human-caused climate change (The Atlantic), 'airpocalypse’ smog events in China linked to melting ice cap, research reveals (The Guardian), Europe faces annual coastal floods in the future (Climate Central), growing algae bloom in Arabian Sea tied to climate change (AP), mammals shrink when Earth heats up, study says (AP, LA Times $)

FOSSIL FUELS: Hedge funds to reap big stock gains from bankruptcy of coal miner Peabody (Reuters), first major U.S. oil refinery in decades claims it will be ‘green’ with geothermal (Fusion)

SOLUTIONS: Earth’s temperatures are continuing to rise — and so are Americans’ worries about it (Washington Post $), new CO2 record: Is it time to geoengineer our planet? (Christian Science Monitor), 

FAST FASHION: We have no idea how bad fashion actually is for the environment (Racked)

JUSTICE: Women4Climate summit gives women the mic in crisis unduly affecting them (Fusion)
There’s More than One Way To Gut The EPA
 
While The Donald continues to grab headlines for his continued assault on the environment and public health, there are other shenanigans afoot that deserve attention.
 
For more on that, we turn to Ed Yong at the Atlantic, who writes about a pair of bills from our favorite anti-science Science committee chair Lamar Smith. The Orwellian-named HONEST Act would drastically restrict the EPA’s ability to conduct or examine a range of studies, while the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Reform Act would install industry “experts” on review boards and prevent anyone who has an EPA grant from participating. (SAB? More like SAD!)
 
In other words, legit scientists are out, biased ones in. And the HONEST Act would mean that any study based on a specific incident (like a chemical spill) couldn’t be included in EPA rulemaking because it can’t be replicated.
 
Now who would think these sorts of restrictions are a good idea? As Sharon Lerner pointed out last month, the tobacco industry, for one. These bills are lifted straight out of Big Tobacco’s playbook, which Smith seems all too eager to follow.
 
Unfortunately, this is only the start. Over at the New Republic, Emily Atkin (who also wrote about these bills and is generally killing it covering these issues) explains how air pollution denial is the new climate denial, focusing on the work of tobacco-shill-turned-fossil-fuel-shill-turned-Trump EPA landing team member Steve Milloy.
 
Up until November, Milloy seemed like a persona non grata, even among deniers. His booting from Fox News after he was exposed as a tobacco lobbyist made him pretty toxic, as deniers did everything they could to disprove the tobacco-climate denial connections laid out in Merchants of Doubt.
 
But in the Trump administration, being a corrupt liar seems to be a prerequisite for getting hired.
 
Apparently his staffing choices are determined by who makes him look smart and innocent by comparison.
 
 

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