Maine Local Weather Forecast: Cold rain and wet snow Tuesday!

download (5)Author: Todd Gutner

We’ll have more clouds than sun, with highs in the 50s today. It will be warmest in central and northern Maine, coolest in southern and coastal Maine, with a breeze coming in off the ocean.

Rain moves in tonight. It’ll be cold enough in the mountains of western Maine for wet snow to fall, and accumulate. 1 to 3 inches of snow is likely in the mountains. As heavier precipitation moves in Tuesday morning, it’s possible the cold rain flips to wet snow even closer to the coastline. Coatings are possible in spots. Tuesday will remain chilly with periods of rain and highs only in the low 40s.

Clouds linger Wednesday with a few showers. Highs in the upper 40s to low 50s.

We’ll see a return to some sun and highs around 60 Thursday.

Have a nice day.

Todd

Trump signs orders making it harder to block pipelines in US, in support of “Big Oil.”

Trump’s orders direct the EPA to change a part of the US clean water law to speed up gas, coal and oil projects

Storage tanks at a refinery along the waterway are shown in Port Arthur, Texas [David J Phillip/AP Photo]
Storage tanks at a refinery along the waterway are shown in Port Arthur, Texas [David J Phillip/AP Photo]

US President Donald Trump issued two executive orders in the heart of the Texas energy hub on Wednesday that seek to speed gas, coal and oil projects delayed by coastal states as he looks to build support in the run-up to next year’s election.

Trump’s orders direct his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change a part of the United States‘s clean water law that has allowed states, on the basis of environmental reasons, to delay projects such as pipelines to carry natural gas to New England and coal export terminals on the West Coast.

Trump issued the orders at a training centre for union members in the petroleum industry in Houston, an event sandwiched between fundraising events in Texas for the 2020 campaign.

“Outdated federal guidance and regulations issued by the EPA have caused confusion and uncertainty leading to project delays, lost jobs and reduced economic performance,” a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call.

“We are not trying to take away power from the states, but we are trying to make sure that state actions comply with the statutory intent of the law,” the official added.

Study says air pollution killing more people than smoking

‘In favour of Big Oil’

But environmentalists have decried the orders.

“Trump can try to rewrite regulations in favour of Big Oil, but he can’t stop people power and our movement,” May Boeve, the head of 350.org, told Reuters news agency.

The orders will direct the EPA to review and update guidance issued during the administration of Democratic President Barack Obama on the so-called 401 provision of the Clean Water Act.

The measure required companies to get certifications from states before building interstate pipelines approved by the federal government.

New York state used it to block pipelines that would send natural gas to New England, forcing the region at times to import liquefied natural gas from countries including Russia.

In 2017, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat and 2020 candidate for president, denied a water permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, a coal export facility that would have expanded the ability of companies to send Western coal to Asian markets.

Inslee, who has centred his campaign on tackling climate change, slammed Trump’s latest tactic on energy.

YouTube comments disabled during US hate crime hearing

“If Donald Trump is proposing it, it a) violates science and b) probably violates any sense of economic growth, because we know the largest economic growth is now coming from the development of new energy technologies,” Inslee said on the sidelines of a conference in New York.

‘Energy dominance’

The executive orders are part of the Trump administration’s policy of “energy dominance” to increase oil, gas and coal production, but forcing the EPA changes will take time.

The official said the agency would have to follow normal procedures, including a comment period, and that projects already tied up in litigation “are obviously a much longer-term issue”.

One of the orders will direct the transportation secretary to propose allowing liquefied natural gas, a liquid form of the fuel, to be shipped in approved rail cars, a change that could increase its flow between terminals and markets.

The executive orders could also speed projects in Texas.

Trump praises Sisi as critics reiterate concern for human rights

Energy investors vying for permits to build oil export terminals along the Gulf Coast say they have worked closely with Trump officials in a bid to speed regulatory reviews of facilities capable of loading supertankers.

US and state agencies overseeing permit applications have taken too long to approve projects, the investors said, adding they were worried their projects would miss the most profitable years of the US crude export boom.

Four energy groups led by Trafigura AG, Carlyle Group, Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc have applied to build terminals in Texas.

 

Maine: Drunk driver Joseph Busch, 26, causes 3-car crash in Norridgewock

Deputies said Joseph Busch’s blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit when he tried to pass a vehicle in Norridgewolk and caused a three-car crash.

NORRIDGEWOCK, Maine — Somerset County sheriff’s deputies responded to a three-car crash Tuesday in Norridgewock where one driver was later charged with being under the influence.

According to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, 26-year-old Joseph Busch of New Portland was driving a 2012 Nissan Altima and tried to pass 61-year-old Vaugh Mercier of Cornville on the right hand side of Madison Road.

Chief Deputy James Ross said there was not enough room for Busch to pass, and he rear-ended Mercier’s 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Norridgewock Car Crash

The impact caused Mercier’s vehicle to slide into a 2004 Dodge Stratus being driven by 48-year-old Nicole Knowles of Cornville.

Norridgewock Car Crash

Mercier was taken to a hospital by ambulance for a possible back injury.

Both Knowles and Busch were uninjured in the crash, deputies said.

The sheriff’s office said deputies at the Somerset County Jail conducted a sobriety test on Busch where his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.

Busch was combative with law enforcement, Ross said, and was charged with OUI with priors and criminal threatening.

‘Huge mistake’: Fears of arms race as US, Russia suspend INF pact

The US suspended the INF Treaty after accusing Russia of violating the pact with its 9M729 missile system [Yuri Kochetkov/EPA]
The US suspended the INF Treaty after accusing Russia of violating the pact with its 9M729 missile system [Yuri Kochetkov/EPA]

In an escalating standoff over nuclear weapons, Russia and the United States have suspended compliance with the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, prompting fears of a new arms race that analysts and politicians say could push the world “much closer” to a nuclear war.

The long-running dispute between Washington and Moscow came to a head on Friday when US President Donald Trump accused Russia of violating the 1987 bilateral treaty with “impunity”, and announced his government was suspending its obligations under the landmark pact.

Pledging to “move forward” with its own military response options, Trump said the US will withdraw from the accord  in six months unless Moscow destroyed land-based missiles allegedly deployed in violation of the treaty.

In a tit-for-tat move on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was also suspending Moscow’s participation in the agreement.

“Our American partners have announced they were suspending their participation in the treaty and we will do the same,” he said in a televised meeting with his defence and foreign ministers.

“They have announced they will conduct research and development, and we will act accordingly.”

Russia will start work on creating new missiles, including hypersonic weapons, he said, adding that Moscow will not deploy such weapons in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the US does so.

‘Huge mistake’

The reciprocal moves effectively terminate a pact regarded as one of the most important safeguards against nuclear war.

They come amid strained relations between Washington and Moscow over issues including Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and its alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Analysts said Trump’s decision to scrap the pact leaves Russia free to shape the military balance in Europe.

The strategic advantages for the US, however, were less clear, they said.

“Nothing good will come out of the US withdrawal,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the non-proliferation programme at the Washington-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“The Trump administration has made a huge mistake – it’s a breakdown of arms control. It’s a breakdown of trust between US and Russia. The US will have problems with its European allies, and it will engage in a new arms race with China as well.”

READ MORE

5 things to know about threatened US-Russia nuclear weapons deal

The INF Treaty was signed following the Euromissile crisis in the late 1970s and 1980s, when the Soviet Union’s mobilising of cruise missiles that could hit most of Europe prompted the US to deploy to the region ballistic missiles that could reach Moscow in 10 minutes.

The pact banned all ground-based missiles with ranges between 500km and 5,500km, ridding Europe of an entire category of destabilising weapons – nearly 3,000 ground-launched intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles were destroyed.

The treaty does not cover air- or sea-launched weapons, and did not include other powers such as China, North KoreaIran and Israel, allowing these countries to grow their stockpile of weapons.

Strategic benefits

Since 2014, US officials have accused Russia of breaching the treaty with its 9M729 missile. Moscow rejects the allegation, saying the missile’s range does not exceed 500km. It also accused the US of violating the treaty with its missile defence systems in Romania and Poland – a claim the US denies.

“Let’s be clear – the Russians were cheating,” said Tom Nichols, a US-based defence analyst. “It was a provocation to menace the Europeans and to see if they could bait the Americans into walking away.”

The US response only showed how “confused” Washington’s nuclear arms policy was, he said.

Observers said most European and NATO countries were unlikely to host any land-based intermediate-range missiles that the US might develop, meaning Washington was pulling out of the deal without any real strategic benefit.

Poland and Romania, scarred by past Soviet occupation, may be more enthusiastic to host such weapons, according to Leo Hoffman at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, but such a move could divide the NATO alliance.

“This is also completely the wrong approach to take,” the Brussels-based campaigner said, “because by arming yourself to the teeth, you make yourself a target”.

The US’ unilateral decision was “jeopardising” Europe’s security, he added.

Carl Bildt, a co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, agreed. The INF Treaty’s demise will allow Russia to deploy its Kalibr cruise missiles with a range of 1,500km from ground launchers, he said in a Twitter post on Friday.

“This would quickly cover all of Europe with an additional threat,” he said.

Carl Bildt

@carlbildt

After demise of INF Treaty Russia can now also deploy its Kaliber cruise missiles with ranges around 1.500 km from ground launchers. This would quickly cover all of Europe with an additional threat. https://twitter.com/Liveuamap/status/1091637014431182848 

Liveuamap

@Liveuamap

Replying to @Liveuamap

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu: After the US withdrawal from the treaty, I propose to use Kaliber missiles with land-based launchers https://russia.liveuamap.com/en/2019/2-february-russian-defense-minister-sergei-shoigu-after-the #Russia

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China’s nuclear missile arsenal

The “real reason” for the US pullout, according to Fitzpatrick, was Washington’s concern over China’s buildup of intermediate-range missiles in the Western Pacific.

China’s inventory contains more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles, approximately 95 percent of which would violate the INF Treaty if Beijing were a signatory, according to US officials. But the INF Treaty prevents the US from placing short and intermediate range missiles on land near China as a deterrent.

However, it was unclear how willing US allies in Asia, such as Japan or South Korea, maybe to host such weapons. So while the US move “sends a signal of concern about China, it comes without any plan or response in place,” said Fitzpatrick. “And I think that’s a big danger.”

For its part, China has appealed to the US and Russia to preserve the treaty, saying the US move “may trigger a series of adverse consequences”.

OPINION

The end of INF: Another nuclear treaty bites the dust

Alexander Gillespie
by Alexander Gillespie

In Moscow, Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military analyst, said he was concerned about Putin’s order to develop hypersonic ballistic missiles.

“Such a weapon would avoid missile defence systems in Europe and the Middle East. That brings the situation into a higher level, more dangerous … and that would bring nuclear war much closer,” he said.

In Washington, Trump’s political opponents have labelled the president’s INF Treaty move a “disaster” and submitted legislation to bar the US from using a nuclear weapon unless attacked with one first.

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat senator and presidential hopeful who introduced the No First Use Act, urged the country’s Congress to pass her bill and prevent Trump “from unilaterally starting a nuclear war”.

Elizabeth Warren

@SenWarren

We can hold Russia accountable without tearing up the INF Treaty. Withdrawing won’t make America any safer – it just increases the potential for a new arms race that would make the world even more dangerous.

Elizabeth Warren

@SenWarren

.@realDonaldTrump wants to upgrade our nuclear arsenal AND end decades-old arms control agreements. That’s a recipe for disaster. Congress must immediately pass my bill to prevent him (or any president) from unilaterally starting a nuclear war. https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/30/politics/warren-adam-smith-nuclear-weapons/index.html 

1,072 people are talking about this

With the INF Treaty all but gone, all eyes are on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), a 2010 pact that limits the US and Russia to no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers and no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads.

The treaty expires in two years, but can be extended by up to five years.

“If New START lapses in 2021, no treaties will constrain US and Russian nuclear forces, a break from some 50 years of nuclear arms control between Washington and Moscow,” Steven Pifer, a fellow at Brookings Institute, said in a post on Axios, a US-based news and information website.

“That world invariably will be less stable, less predictable and less secure,” he wrote.

Zaheena Rasheed contributed reporting to this article.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Report: US 2018 CO2 emissions saw biggest spike in years (is that what you want?)

A new report has found that US carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of decline.

The spike is the largest in eight years, according to Rhodium Group, an independent economic research firm.

The data shows the US is unlikely to meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement.

Under President Donald Trump, the US is set to leave the Paris accord in 2020 while his administration has ended many existing environmental protections.

While the Rhodium report notes these figures – pulled from US Energy Information Administration data and other sources – are estimates, The Global Carbon Project, another research group, also reported a similar increase in US emissions for 2018.

The US is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Exhaust rises from the stacks of the Harrison Power Station in Haywood, West VirginiaExhaust rises from the stacks of the Harrison Power Station in Haywood, West Virginia

And last year’s spike comes despite a decline in coal-fired power plants; a record number were retired last year, according to the report.

The researchers note that 2019 will probably not repeat such an increase, but the findings underscore the country’s challenges in reducing greenhouse gas output.

In the 2015 climate accord, then President Barack Obama committed to reducing US emissions to at least 26% under 2005 levels by 2025.

Now, that means the US will need to drop “energy-related carbon missions by 2.6% on average over the next seven years” – and possibly even faster – to meet that goal.

“That’s more than twice the pace the US achieved between 2005 and 2017 and significantly faster than any seven-year average in US history,” the report states.

“It is certainly feasible, but will likely require a fairly significant change in policy in the very near future and/or extremely favourable market and technological conditions. ”

Presentational grey line

What’s behind the rise?

Analysis by Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News

There are a number of factors behind the rise in US emissions in 2018, some natural, mostly economic.

Prolonged cold spells in a number of regions drove up demand for energy in the winter, while a hot summer in many parts led to more air conditioning, again pushing up electricity use.

However economic activity is the key reason for the overall rise in CO2 emissions. Industries are moving more goods by trucks powered by diesel, while consumers are travelling more by air.

In the US this led to a 3% increase in diesel and jet fuel use last year, a similar rate of growth to that seen in the EU in the same period.

All this presents something of a problem for the Trump administration which has been happy to point to declining US emissions as a reason to roll back many of the environmental protection regulations put in place by his predecessor.

The figures also show that the President’s efforts to boost demand for coal have not succeeded yet, with electricity generated from this fossil fuel continuing to decline.

Despite this, there is little to cheer in the US data for those concerned with climate change on a global scale.

Many had hoped that carbon cutting actions at state or city level could in some way keep the US on track to meet its commitments made under the Paris climate agreement.

The latest emissions data indicate that this is unlikely to happen.

Presentational grey line
US President Donald Trump holds up a "Trump Digs Coal" sign as he arrives to speak during a Make America Great Again Rally at Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, West Virginia, August 3, 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

What has changed in the US?

The last time the US saw such an increase in emissions was in 2010, as the country recovered from its longest recession in decades.

Part of last year’s spike is also the result of economic growth, but new policies have exacerbated the effects of increased industry production.

Mr Trump has rolled back a number of his predecessor’s environmental regulations since taking office, appointing climate change sceptics and industry leaders to head US environmental agencies.

As a part of undoing what he called a “war on coal”, in 2017, Mr Trump rescinded the Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions to meet US commitments under the Paris accord.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pressed ahead with plans to lift restrictions for carbon emissions from new coal plants and asked for public comment on redefining the phrase “causes or contributes significantly to” air pollution.

Under Mr Trump’s administration, the federal government has also opened up once-protected lands for oil and gas drilling across the US and has proposed ending regulations on fuel standards for cars and trucks after 2021.

“The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully decoupled US emissions growth from economic growth,” Rhodium climate and energy analyst Trevor Houser told the New York Times.

The US jump also marks a worldwide trend: 2018 saw an all-time high for global CO2 emissions and was the fourth warmest year on record.

Travelers arrive for TSA inspection as they make their way through Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New JerseyTransportation remains the top contributor to US CO2 emissions

What contributed the most?

Transportation remains the nation’s number one source of CO2 emissions for the third year in a row.

But the largest emissions growth came from two sectors “often ignored in clean energy and climate policymaking: buildings and industry”.

The report estimates emissions from residential and commercial buildings increased by 10% last year, reaching “their highest level since 2004”.

And without significant changes, industrial emissions will become bigger contributors to US CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We expect it to overtake power as the second leading source of emissions in California by 2020 and to become the leading source of emissions in Texas by 2022.”

But then, y’all wanted a king, right?  Well, you got it.  Explain your choice to your grandchildren when every day is cloudy with smog.

Maine could experience repercussions from Whale hunting in Japan

Whale meet served in Japan

‘Whales are global migrants,’ says Dr. Carrie Byron from the University of New England. Three species to be hunted in Japan have overlapping ranges in Maine.

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Some of the largest species on earth are back in the crosshairs. Japan announced it would return to commercial whale hunting in July 2019. The move, announced on Dec. 26, to leave the International Whaling Commission hasn’t been seen since the 1980s. A government spokesman said common ground couldn’t be found on a sustainable whaling solution.

Whale meet served in Japan

The future repercussions could have global impacts, including in Maine.

“Whales are global migrants, said Dr. Carrie Byron, an associate professor and marine ecologist from the University of New England. “They’re travelling everywhere, so we need to be concerned.”

Byron studies food grown in Maine, which include mussels, oysters, other shell fish and kelp, and its interactions with other species. She says whales play an important role in our ecosystem.

“Most of these great whales feed at depth, and they need to come to the surface to breath, and when they come up they are bringing nutrients with them,” said Byron. “Nutrients in our surface water of the oceans stimulate the growth of phytoplankton.”

Byrons says phytoplankton are responsible for producing half of the world’s oxygen.

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FtqoG5UfhPwA%3Ffeature%3Doembed&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DtqoG5UfhPwA&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FtqoG5UfhPwA%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=0350728de3d54ab7950f978fc80d4a70&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation – Japan intends on hunting Bryde’sSei and Minke whales. All three have overlapping ranges in Maine waters and could potentially affect Maine’s whale watching industry. “Maine relies on tourism and whales are a part of that,” said Byron.

Whale watching tourism brings in $100 million in New England, according to an article published in Boston Magazine in 2017. An International Fund for Animal Welfare study from 2008 says more than 13 million people went on whale watching tours in 119 countries worldwide the previous year, generating $2.1 billion in total expenditures.

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rise to Record High in 2018

DEC 06, 2018

H1 carbon emissions

Global carbon dioxide emissions climbed to a record high in 2018, setting the world on a path toward the most catastrophic effects of climate change. That’s the stark warning of the Global Carbon Project in a new report that found global CO2 emissions are on track to grow by 2.7 percent this year. Under goals set out in the United Nations Paris Agreement in 2015, the world needs to rapidly cut its emissions to keep average global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius—or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The report came as the United Nations climate summit got underway in Katowice, Poland. This is renowned broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough speaking at the opening ceremony.

David Attenborough: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Outrageous threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”