Republicans get billions of dollars in public funding to fight climate change by pretending that it isn't real

The US government provides federal funds to states to help with disaster relief. This much hasn't changed under the Trump administration. In fact, in 2018, Ben Carson's Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a new program rewarding $28 billion dollars in financial support relating to natural disasters.

Curiously, that press release was taken down a few days after the New York Times reported on it — specifically, on its favoritism towards red states that still won't formally admit that climate change exists:

The money is distributed according to a formula benefiting states most affected by disasters in 2015, 2016 and 2017. That formula favors Republican-leaning states along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, which were hit particularly hard during that period.

Texas is in line for more than $4 billion, the most of any state. The next largest sums go to Louisiana ($1.2 billion), Florida ($633 million), North Carolina ($168 million) and South Carolina ($158 million), all of which voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election.

The other states getting funding are West Virginia, Missouri, Georgia and California, the only state getting money that voted Democratic in the presidential race of 2016.

Of course, these states have to submit proposals explaining why they need these funds. According to the Times, the proposal from Texas refers to things like “changing coastal conditions,” while South Carolina says that three major storms in four years have caused “destabilizing effects and unpredictability.” But none of them actually, explicitly mention climate change — except for Louisiana, in an appendix reference on the final page. Read the rest

As Northern California's kelp forests collapse, so goes the coastal ecosystem

California's kelp forests are disappearing from the north coast. These formerly lush, dense jungles of sea weed provided shelter, food, and in many cases home, for many, many marine creatures. Without this important resource the ecosystem is in big trouble.

From the Sonoma Press Democrat:

The unprecedented collapse has been observed along hundreds of miles of coastline from San Francisco to Oregon. The region’s once-lush stands of bull kelp, a large brown alga that provides food and habitat for a host of wildlife species, have been devoured by small, voracious purple urchins. In the most-affected areas, denuded kelp stalks are almost all that remains of plant life.

Scientists have described the landscape left behind as an “urchin barren.” Other factors, including warmer water, also are to blame, they say.

“It’s no longer a kelp forest,” said Cynthia Catton, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, stationed in Bodega Bay.

Laura Rogers-Bennett, another Bodega Bay scientist, said it is as if whole terrestrial forests were disappearing, only in this case they are underwater and out of sight.

Read the rest