DGI Brief - Dec 8, 2016
- US President-elect chose Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, as the next EPA administrator. Why it matters: Pruitt is an infamous climate science skeptic who has dedicated his latest efforts to waging legal action against the EPA Clean Power Plan – nationwide framework to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Environmental groups are terrified that having a known friend of the fossil-fuel industry in charge of regulation will be devastating for the progress we’ve made on climate change action, especially since President-elect Trump is also a climate change denier who promised a US pull out from the Paris climate agreement. And what about Dakota Access Pipeline & dozens of other projects that are threatening our precious air & water? Not a good time for the environment. One flicker of hope is convincing the Trump administration about the massive economic benefits of renewable energy – jobs, profits & global leader/innovator reputation.
- BfV, GERMANY’s domestic intelligence agency publicly warned the country of mounting evidence that Russia is trying to destabilize German society & influence the federal election next year. Why it matters: of particular concern are hacking & massive campaigns of disinformation, e.g. fake news “echo chambers”. There is evidence that Russian government-controlled media outlets & pro-Russian blogs regularly report on crimes by migrants, fueling populist & ring-wing sentiments. BfV also notes “increasing aggressive cyber-espionage” against German political entities. Anything to add, USA?
- WORLD: The Int’l Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the giraffe, the tallest land animal, on the official watch list of threatened & endangered species, as the giraffe population shrunk 40% in the last 30 years. The IUCN biodiversity meeting in Mexico increased the threat level for 35 species – animals & plants in danger of disappearing. Why it matters: Habitat loss is the key culprit in the extinction of species & the giraffe population is especially vulnerable in central & eastern Africa. Wild giraffes are now gone from 7 countries (Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal). 13,000 species are endangered or critically endangered. 860 plants & animals are extinct, 68 are extinct in the wild. The good news is that conservation does work & we can stabilize animal & plant populations through collaborative efforts in development planning & #climateAction.
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