Photo Credit: Rob Crandall/Shutterstock
As we demeanour back on the many important environmental stories of 2017, one can't help but start with the extreme weather that has caused so much drop to so many around the globe. And with that, the year brought heightened regard for safeguarding the universe with focused courtesy on issues like renewable energy, electric vehicles and plastic pollution. And while 2017 was also noted by hurdles with the U.S. pulling out of the Paris agreement and making other controversial environmental policy changes, we all enter a new year with the ability to make certain change.
1. Extreme Weather on the Rise
The 2017 hurricane season was one of the many inauspicious in decades. In August, Hurricane Harvey caused major repairs in Houston, Texas. Then Hurricane Irma followed as the many absolute Caribbean charge on record. And on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria swept over Puerto Rico, killing 64 people, destroying the appetite grid to such an limit that half the island is still but power, and causing billions of dollars in damage. In further to the hurricane season, wildfires stretched opposite the west with the Jones and Whitewater fires in Oregon, the Pyette Wilderness fires in Idaho, and the Reef fire in Montana. Several some-more fires continued to fire by the finish of the year, with the many important being the Thomas Fire, the largest fire in California in history, which began blazing in early Dec and will likely continue into 2018. Earthquakes also shook the universe in rare numbers. A 6.7 bulk trembler in the Philippines in Feb replaced some-more than 3,000 families. And in December, a 6.5 bulk upheaval in Cipatujah, Indonesia could be felt from 190 miles away. The U.S. also gifted several tiny earthquakes, including eight quakes in August in Oklahoma and a few some-more recently in Santa Clara County and San Jose, California.
Roosevelt Skerrit / Flickr
2. The U.S. Withdraws From the Paris Agreement
On Jun 1, President Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, spurring recoil from republic leaders worldwide. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, started a campaign called “Make Earth Great Again,” and announced that he would be giving divided $70 million in multi-year grants to meridian scientists who wish to continue their investigate in France. The U.S. now stands as the only country in the UN that does not support the agreement.
3. Continuing Rise of Renewables
Despite the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, many cities and States done outrageous swell in 2017. Oregon and Washington assimilated a global fondness in November, earnest to phase out coal by 2030. In May, Madison, Wisconsin committed to 100% renewable appetite and net-zero CO emissions and Abita Springs, Louisiana voted to go all renewables by 2030.
4. New U.S. Leadership Steps up to Fill the Void
The U.S. also had major companies and private and open leaders step up to the plea in the arise of President Trump’s withdrawal. At COP23 in Germany, 20 companies promised to proviso out spark including BT, Engie, Kering, Diageo, Marks Spencer, Orsted and Storebrand. In October, New York City’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $64 million to close down spark plants in the U.S. And in June, California Gov. Jerry Brown sealed a nonbinding agreement with China to concur on renewable appetite technology, including zero-emissions vehicles and revoke hothouse gas emissions.
California Gov. Jerry Brown and President Xi Jinping. Aaron Berkovich
5. China Takes Huge Steps in Renewables
In presumably the many unexpected scenario, China, which surfaced the charts with scarcely double the CO emissions of the U.S., done extreme changes to their consumption. In January, the country announced a $361 Billion Renewable Energy Investment by 2020 and started work right away. They installed 35GW in just 7 months—more than twice as much as commissioned by any other country in all of 2016—increasing their solar PV ability to 112GW total. They’ve also temporarily close down thousands of factories to cut down on the deadly air pollution and the city of Shenzen has almost completely electrified their train fleet. China’s new viewpoint on meridian movement has already changed the lives of the some-more than 1.3 billion of its people and will no doubt be making the universe healthier for all of us in the future.
A 40-megawatt floating solar plantation in China’s coal-rich Anhui province. Sungrow Power Supply Co., Ltd.
6. Pruitt Undermines the EPA
On Feb. 17, Scott Pruitt was sworn in as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) administrator. Pruitt, the former profession ubiquitous of Oklahoma, sued the EPA some-more than a dozen times before holding care of the agency. Pruitt has done an bid to idle the EPA by dismissing several scientists from its Board of Scientific Counselors, ancillary the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement, and lifting sovereign regulations on the oil and gas industry. Then, after a six-month review, on Oct. 9 Pruitt sealed a measure to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which aims to revoke CO emissions from electric appetite generated by coal-burning appetite plants by 32 percent by 2030, relations to 2005 levels.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the USS Lead Superfund in East Chicago, Indiana. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / YouTube
7. Zinke Shrinks National Monuments
While Pruitt undermines the EPA, Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke has reduced changed regulations on U.S. stable lands. With Zinke’s support, on Dec. 4, Trump announced huge reductions to two inhabitant monuments in Utah—the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante—rolling back two million acres of federally stable land and potentially opening it up to oil drilling and logging. Zinke also urged unspecified reductions in Nevada’s Gold Butte National Monument and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which straddles the California-Oregon border. The report also urges the boss to consider changing the bounds of two sea monuments in the Pacific Ocean: Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll. And in December, Zinke auctioned off 700,000 acres of public lands for fracking.
Bears Ears National Monument Valley of the Gods. Bob Wick / BLM
8. President Trump Signs Executive Order on DAPL and Keystone XL
On Jan. 24, President Trump sealed an executive order to pierce the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines forward. Just one day later, on Jan. 25, a diesel pipeline in Northern Iowa spilled 138,600 gallons from a leaked system. It was also reported on Jan. 23, that 52,830 gallons of wanton oil spilled onto an aboriginal land in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Water protectors and state confidence crew faced off opposite a blockade nearby the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site. Rob Wilson / Facebook
9. Oceans Littered With Plastic
A series of studies were expelled in 2017 that non-stop the lid on plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. In June, it was reported that microplastic particles have infiltrated the pristine Antarctic, and the levels are five times higher than formerly estimated. In November, it was found that low sea creatures who live 7 miles next the surface were consuming plastics. And there were several instances were whales, birds and other marine life were found passed with stomachs full of plastic. Fortunately, there were many who stepped up to start cleaning beaches and find innovative ways to clean the sea.
Greenpeace Philippines sent a clever summary about plastic wickedness with a hulk “Dead Whale” art exhibit. Vince Cinches
10. Electric Vehicles Change the Game
Electric vehicle sales surged 63 percent in 2017, with China commanding the market. Several automobile brands also announced their own inexpensive electric models including Volvo and Volkswagen, making them some-more affordable and permitted than ever. In further to the surge, Tesla installed huge supercharger stations in California, making it ever some-more probable to get from indicate A to indicate B but fear of the batteries using out.
The 40-stall “Mega” Supercharger hire in Kettleman City, California. Tesla