5 for Friday: Deja vu all over again

Happy Groundhog Day, everybody! In case you didn't tune in live this morning, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow so allegedly we have six more weeks of winter, whatever that means. I'm a native Minnesotan so I don't really understand this idea of winter ending 'early' or 'late' -- isn't it just kind of on pause in July?

At any rate, the theme today is less marmot and more Murray. As in Bill Murray and that movie about our favorite Pennsylvanian rodent. Also as in: why are we still fighting old battles about things that we know to be true, such as climate change?

  1. From The Daily, NYT's weekday podcast: In its Friday episode, Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, is interviewed about his alarming tenure as head of an agency he's repeatedly sued. He defended his actions as, essentially, a literal interpretation of the rule which makes it incumbent on Congress to pass legislation his agency carries out. In the absence of that (an update to the Clean Water Act, e.g.), he cannot and should not 'overreach'. Try to not let your head explode when Pruitt suggests we "don't know what the ideal surface temperature of the Earth should be in 2100."

  2. From the New York Times: If you weren't alarmed hearing the head of the EPA say that we need more discussion about climate change, try this on for size! You've probably heard about the offshore drilling plans but what about loosening rules on endangered species? Mine cleanup? Regulating industrial polluters? There are real no-brainers that are going out the window with this administration and it's incredibly alarming.

  3. From GreenBiz: There is a large sporting event in town this weekend (have you heard?) and it's going to take place in a LEED-certified stadium. U.S. Bank Stadium is one of 80 LEED-certified stadiums in the country and boasts impressive energy savings in electricity and water. Beyond the stadium itself is the admirable goal of a zero-waste Super Bowl which fits in nicely with the longstanding partnerships and goals of Minneapolis to up the ante when it comes to protecting the environment.

  4. From The Economist: China is working hard to reduce the pollution in its air and it's working. Thanks to switches from coal to natural gas, there's a 33% drop in pollutant particles over last year. As Bloomberg points out, change hasn't come without issues, notably shortages in gas supplies, but the resulting clean air is certainly good news for the people of China (Beijing specifically) as well as the rest of us.

  5. From Popular Science: It's Friday. It's cold (at least where I am). It still gets dark before 6pm. Doesn't Netflix-and-hygge sound better than going out? Rejoice, introverts, this news is for you: Staying in is good for the environment. Plus, I have the perfect movie for you to watch tonight.

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