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The Breakdown: June 25th

A selection of notable publications on sustainability, climate change, organics recycling, and soil nutrition brought to you by Full Circle Environmental. As innovators in organics recycling, we want to help our friends and partners stay informed about the topics that motivate us every day. 

The climate change lawsuit that could stop the U.S. government from supporting fossil fuels

Of all the cases working their way through the federal court system, none is more interesting or potentially more life changing than Juliana versus the United States. To quote one federal judge, "This is no ordinary lawsuit." It was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it's causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property.


 

As we first reported earlier this year, when the lawsuit first began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government's lawyers, who have since watched the supreme court reject two of their motions to delay or dismiss the case. Four years in, it is still very much alive, in part because the plaintiffs have amassed a body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics and have forced the government to admit that the crisis is real.

Continue reading or watch the 60 Minutes segment on CBS News.

Boston aims for 80% recycling rate by 2035, plans organics pilot


Boston's first "zero waste" plan has been released, setting an 80% recycling rate target by 2035 and 90% by 2050. The current citywide recycling rate is 25%. The estimated price tag for all 30 recommendations is $58 million per year, but the city expects it could save $40 million through waste reduction.

The city will issue an RFP for a subscription-based curbside food waste collection pilot that could launch as soon as this fall. Boston's Public Works Department (PWD) also plans to expand the availability of curbside and drop-off service for yard waste. In addition, an RFI will be issued for a "potential large-scale program" to address both categories.

Continue reading at Waste Dive.

Maine, Vermont governors sign plastic bag bans on same day

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill on June 17th (LD 1532) that will ban single-use plastic bags across the state by April 22, 2020. Reusable plastic and paper bags will be permitted for at least $0.05 per bag.

Shortly after, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill (S.113) that will ban single-use plastic bags by July 1, 2020 and require a fee of at least $0.10 for paper bags. Reusable bags will be encouraged as an alternative.

In addition, Vermont's law goes a step farther by banning polystyrene foam containers, plastic stirrers and plastic straws (with certain disability-related exceptions) in what has been described as the "toughest" and most expansive state plastics policy yet.
These two developments bring the tally of states with official plastic bag bans up to four, including California and New York. Counting Hawaii, which has bag bans in every county, the total reaches five. Pending expected approval in states such as Connecticut, Delaware and Oregon — as well as ongoing efforts elsewhere — that number can be expected to rise within the next month.

Keep reading on Waste Dive.

 

Agriculture Department buries studies showing dangers of climate change

The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change, defying a longstanding practice of touting such findings by the Agriculture Department’s acclaimed in-house scientists.

The studies range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.

Read more on Politico.

Police arrest 70 climate change protesters outside New York Times

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police arrested 70 environmental protesters outside the New York Times headquarters who laid down in the street and climbed onto the building to demand the newspaper start referring to climate change as a climate emergency, police and media reports said.

New York police arrested 67 people and Port Authority police arrested three others, a police spokesman said. Charges were pending.

Protesters blocked the street by lying down in a “die-in” and affixed a banner to the skyscraper in midtown Manhattan saying “climate change = mass murder,” with the word “change” crossed out and replaced with “emergency,” according to pictures posted by the website of 1010 Wins radio.

Read more on Reuters.

UN Climate Action Summit 2019

Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.

The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.

The latest analysis shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Thankfully, we have the Paris Agreement – a visionary, viable, forward-looking policy framework that sets out exactly what needs to be done to stop climate disruption and reverse its impact. But the agreement itself is meaningless without ambitious action.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come to New York on 23 September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

Read more from the United Nations.
About Full Circle Environmental, LLC:
At Full Circle, we're developing the future of composting. Our microbial inoculant powers an anaerobic fermentation process that's faster than traditional composting with simpler input management and greater nutrient retention in the resulting fertilizer. We see food waste as both a global challenge and massive opportunity and believe now is the time for action. 
Learn more at fullcircle.green
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