Daily Digest 12/17 – Halting Climate Change Means A World Without Fossil Fuels, Eating What We Grow


‘It’s pretty staggering’: Returned online purchases often sent to landfill, journalist’s research reveals (tmn)

It actually costs a lot of companies more money to put somebody on the product, to visually eyeball it and say, Is this up to standard, is it up to code? Is this going to get us sued? Did somebody tamper with this box in some way? And is this returnable? And if it’s clothing, it has to be re-pressed and put back in a nice packaging. And for a lot of companies, it’s just not worth it. So they will literally just incinerate it, or send it to the dumpster.

The Price of America’s Inability to Track Child Deaths from Abuse and Neglect? Sometimes, More Lives. (jdargis)

Other states left out important information, such as the specific cause of death, even though rules set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say that’s among the “minimum” facts that must be released. Some states insisted that turning over this information would violate laws protecting the privacy of at-risk children and their families.

More than a dozen states provided no information on near-fatalities and many said they don’t even track them.

Corporations paid 11.3% tax rate last year after steep drop under Trump’s law (Adam)

The findings come amid an explosion in the federal deficit, which this year rose to almost $1 trillion. In October, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the deficit had grown $205 billion, or 26%, in the past year, an unusual occurrence during a period of strong economic growth.

By 2100, Five Of The Ten Biggest Countries In The World Will Be In Africa (CleanEnergyFan)

The number of children born worldwide is already decreasing, but at currently 2.5 children born per woman, world population is still growing. UN population researchers found that if the global fertility rate kept dropping at the rate it currently is, it would reach 1.9 children per woman in 2100, at which point the world population would actually be decreasing.

Newsletter: Supreme Court declines to hear Boise case, in victory for homeless advocates (tmn)

This outcome means that the challenged ruling from a federal appeals court — which found that it was unconstitutional to punish people for sleeping on the sidewalk when there aren’t enough shelter beds or housing available as an alternative — will remain the law of the land in California and eight other western states, at least for now.

Among the World’s Most Dire Places: This California Homeless Camp (jdargis)

Many in the camp have fled natural disasters. Kim Hansen lost her home in Northern California to a wildfire in 2014. She later lost her job when the coffee shop where she worked burned down.

She and her boyfriend live in a leaking 50-year-old trailer with electrical wires protruding from the walls. Many of the R.V.s have been ravaged by rodents and the elements. “This is the end of the road,” Ms. Hansen said. “Where else can we go?”

Boeing will halt 737 Max production in January as FAA reviews software fix (TS)

The decision comes nine months after aviation authorities grounded the planes following two crashes that killed 346 people. Since then, the company has been unable to convince regulators in the United States and abroad that the airplane is safe to fly. And it acknowledged “uncertainty” Monday about when that might happen.

USDA Rules On Pork Inspection To Change For First Time In 50 Years (Sparky1)

In an NBC News exclusive, two federal inspectors are speaking on camera for the first time to discuss the biggest change to food inspection in nearly 50 years, rolled out quietly by the Trump administration.

Halting climate change means a world without fossil fuels—not merely curbing emissions (RS)

Case in point: efforts to replace coal-fired energy with natural gas. While burning natural gas has much lower emissions than burning coal, there’s no change in dependence on fossil energy—it’s just swapping one fossil fuel for another.

“Politicians and governments spend so much political capital on these steps that they think are in the right direction, but then they’re resistant to further change,” says Hoffmann.

Tackling degraded oceans could mitigate climate crisis – report (ZWW)

Phytoplankton such as algae, for instance, transform dissolved carbon dioxide into organic carbon, which then forms part of the food chain. Gradually some of this sinks to the sea bottom where it is buried in sediment. Without the biological carbon pump that this entails concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere today would be about 50% higher, according to estimates cited in the report.

Low-Carbon Life: Eating What We Grow: Turkey Curry, Green Bean Casserole (Kara S.)

This year, drought ruined my dreams of dehydrated tomatoes and cantaloupes. Bad start after bad start quashed my hopes of pickles and pumpkins. However, I got an entire freezer full of asparagus beans. I should have quit freezing them after the first couple gallons and fed the rest to the goats. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

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