Sustainability Reads: March 16- March 23

Obama to cut federal government’s carbon emissions 40 percent over 10 years
Obama is at it again- an executive order was passed this week requiring the federal government to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions 40% from 2008 levels  and to increase the sourcing of renewable energy to 30% of electric supply -both by 2025. Details include reducing energy use in federal buildings by 2.5% per year between 2015 and 2025, instructing agencies to obtain 25% of their energy from carbon-free sources by 2025; and increasing the carbon-per-mile efficiency of federal fleets 30% from 2014 levels over the next decade while increasing the percentage of zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles in federal fleets. Summary by Juliet Eilperin on the Washington  Post.

Drought-stricken California only has one year of water left, Nasa scientist warns
California has about one year of water in reservoir storage left and the backup supply, groundwater, is low according to Nasa scientist, Jay Famiglietti. He also notes that California does not currently have an adequate plan in place and recommends accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) that supports groundwater sustainability, a state taskforce focused on long-term solutions and immediate, mandatory rationing. We agree. By Amanda Holpuch at The Guardian.

Seychelles issues ‘wake up’ call on climate change after Vanuatu cyclone
A massive tropical cyclone, Cyclone Pam, hit the small island state of Vanuatu in the Southern Pacific. This article outlines the extreme destruction that occurred, which included the death of 24 people. In response, the President of the Seychelles, the sister island of Vanuatu, called on the international community to ‘wake up’ to climate change. The event illustrates the vulnerability of small island states to the effects of climate change including sea level rise and extreme events. On Al Jazeera America.

Include Climate Change in Disaster Planning, FEMA Says
As part of receiving Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires U.S. states to report on their vulnerability to natural disasters such as floods, storms, and wildfires as well as their plans to deal with the potential disasters. According to the grant guidelines updated last week, state disaster plans will only be approved if they adequately describe how the likelihood and intensity of natural hazards could be affected by growing levels of greenhouse gas pollution. “The risk assessment must provide a summary of the probability of future hazard events…probability must include considerations of changing future conditions, including the effects of long-term changes in weather patterns and climate.” The more motivations states have to consider these issues – the better. By John Upton on Climate Central

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