FROM Scott Edwards
Can Cap-and-Trade Survive a Papal Denunciation? A papal encyclical is the highest form of teaching from one of the world's most powerful religious leaders. Pope Francis' message on climate change insists there's a moral imperative to save the Earth and serve the least among us by limiting greenhouse emissions. Part of the argument is a critique of the cap-and-trade system, which is basic to California's war against air pollution — and it took many environmentalists by surprise.
Is 'Factory Farming' a Danger to Public Health? Twenty-five hundred cows produce as much waste as a city the size of Miami; many new, so-called "factory" farms are larger than that. Factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO's, are on the rise, with thousands of cattle, pigs and poultry all in the same space, producing millions of gallons of waste. But the waste from animals is not regulated like human waste, and there's widespread concern that it's polluting water supplies in many places. Now the EPA is under fire for failing even to gather enough information to find out how big the problem might be.
Coal: A Necessary Evil? Twenty-five miners are known to have died in this week's massive explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. The effort to rescue four men still unaccounted for may be a lost cause. Even before this week's tragedy, the Obama Administration took aim at surface coal mining with a new set of environmental regulations. The loss of human life in the Upper Big Branch mine will likely produce new safety measures for methane gas deep underground. The coal industry and miners themselves claim new rules threaten their economic survival. Can coal mining be made safer and cleaner, or does America's appetite for energy mean putting up with so-called "hidden costs?"
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.