Vol. 2, No. 5, March 2017
Trouble for Tillerson: Secretary of State Allegedly Used Email Alias to Discuss Climate Change
Ben Vanderlan

It appears that recently appointed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can now join the ever-increasing list of prominent politicians who are now under scrutiny for their email practices. It was recently revealed that the former ExxonMobil CEO used the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” from at least 2008 to 2015 in order to discuss climate change.

As part of New York State AG Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into whether the oil and gas giant withheld information to shareholders and the public about climate change, over 2.5 million pages documents have been turned over. An Exxon spokesman said that the email alias was created when Tillerson’s inbox became flooded and it was used for “secure and expedited communications between select senior company officials and the former chairman for a broad range of business-related topics.” Critics will point to this as just more evidence in the ongoing “Exxon Knew” investigation, where ExxonMobil has been accused of deceiving the public and its shareholders about the risks of climate change.

Click here for more information. And here.

Increasing Global Temperatures, Increasing CO2 Released by Soil
Laura Bernstein

A new study published in Science reveals alarming information about carbon’s response to warming temperatures in the soil. Soil organic carbon holds three times more carbon than the Earth’s atmosphere, and its “decomposition is a potentially large climate change feedback and major source of uncertainty in climate projections.” This deep warming experiment found increased CO2 production at all soil depths with a 4°C warming. This increase in temperature sensitivities is “driven by decomposition of decadal-aged carbon.”

Although some researchers believe that by “optimizing soil to serve as a better carbon sink could help take some carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” others are concerned soil could make climate change worse than previously theorized.

Click here for more information. And here too.

Climate Change Causing Koalas to Change Their Habits
Nina Rossiter
Koalas driven to drink by climate change

University of Sydney researchers have recently discovered that an increasing number of koalas are leaving the safety of their homes to drink from special water containers. This is a peculiar doing, especially due to the rarity of koalas leaving their home or moving around during sleeping hours.The study concluded that intensified heat waves from climate change are causing koalas’ primary diet of gum leaves to dry out, which is where most of their water intake derives from. Because of this, they are becoming dependent on other water sources, leading researchers to create and implement “a practical plan to manage Australia’s rural lands for this iconic species.”

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China Approves National Park for Big Cats
Nina Rossiter

As current domestic news may bring us down, let us celebrate one victory! China officials have approved plans for a national park in northern China, 60% larger than Yellowstone, to protect two endangered endemic big cats: the Amur leopard and the Siberian tiger. Environmentalists are celebrating, as “China’s commitment represents an extremely important step in recovering both subspecies in northeast Asia,” says Dale Miquelle, a conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

China’s President, Xi Jinping, has been determined to lead the “green” shift in his country since his 2013 announcement, calling for an “ecological civilization.” China is now the world’s largest global investor in green technology, and has recently introduced the world’s largest national cap-and-trade program. Hopefully, these initiatives will inspire other politicians to take the renewable transition seriously without economic fear.

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What is NEJRC?

noun. [KNEE-jerk]

The Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative is a multidisciplinary research collaborative made up of scholars engaged in political ecology and environmental justice initiatives. Based at Northeastern University in Boston, the collaborative works on a wide range of local, regional, national, and international topics and issues. Professor Daniel Faber, a long-time researcher and advocate around environmental justice, serves as the Director.

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Copyright © 2017. Northeastern University: NEJRC, All Rights Reserved.

Contributors: Laura Bernstein, Ben Vanderlan, Nina Rossiter
Edited by Laura Bernstein CSSH'19
Designed & Edited by Anna Driscoll CAMD'18

Picture Credit (in order of appearance) - AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Antonio Krämer/Eye—Getty Images, Getty Images, The Washington Post/Getty Images, Dave Pape for Wikimedia Project

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