5 Things to Know Today: March 1, 2017
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
In case you were too busy planning your March Madness brackets to check the news, you should know that a video surfaced earlier this week that showed Shell knew about the risks of climate change for years. Meanwhile, one of the largest coal plants in the United States is shutting down 25 years ahead of schedule, and space satellites have huge issues with litter in space.
1. The Guardian: Shell sounded an early warning about global warming, before investing billions in further fossil fuel opportunities.
Numerous investigations revealed that ExxonMobil knew and stifled climate change research decades ago, but they weren’t the only energy company that conducted this research early on. A 1991 video from Shell educating people on climate change recently resurfaced on Dutch website The Correspondent. While a leading climate scientist calls the video "one of the best little films that I have seen on climate change ever," Shell's subsequent actions, like lobbying to drill in the Arctic and investing heavily in tar sands and fracking exploration, seriously undermined the message.
2. The Outline: Satellites find an uncanny relationship between J.C. Penney parking lots and their stock price.
Forget quarterly reports, if you want to gauge a retailer's performance, take a gander at their parking lot. Orbital Insight—a satellite data company that tracks how major retailers are performing by analyzing images of their parking lots—revealed that J.C. Penney had a 5 percent drop in cars in its parking lots in Q4 of last year and a 10 percent drop in 2017 so far. The numbers eerily match the stock performance of the struggling retailer, which recently announced it would close 130 stores.
3. Fast Coexist: One of the largest coal plants in the country is being shut down 25 years ahead of schedule.
Three years ago, the EPA made a deal with the Navajo Generating Station to shut down the coal plant by 2044. However, due to their current economic situation, the owners plan to shut down the plant by 2019 instead. Today, the plant outputs over 14 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, causing major air pollution in surrounding Navajo Nation. Some estimates predict that shutting down the plant will save more than $127 million dollars a year in health costs.
4. Bloomberg: The Earth is ringed by garbage, literally.
The clutter of trash orbiting just outside Earth’s atmosphere has grown rapidly over the last 10 years. Fifteen years ago, the floating clutter of broken satellites and missile tests was described as “on the verge of becoming significant” by the National Research Council. Today, satellite operators have to maneuver their crafts to avoid hitting the nearly 20,000 orbital objects flying around our planet.
5. Vice: Residents of the country with the largest coastline in the world are fed up with plastic.
Last September, there was over 40 tons of garbage pulled from the beached on Vancouver Island. A prominent scientist in Canada, which boasts the most coastline of any country, has called plastic waste in oceans "a second silent spring." Although their efforts are a drop in the proverbial bucket, coastal Canadians are helping organizations like Surfrider Foundation to rid beaches of evidence of the global "throwaway culture."