TWIST: it was a mixed bag

Supreme court

Welcome to “This Week in Sustainable Transitions” or TWIST a new weekly post which covers one topic in the news involving sustainable transitions and climate change.

It’s been one of those whirlwind weeks.

Early in the week President Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. While many articles focused on Kavanaugh’s view of presidential deference or tried to analyze his past rulings on Roe v. Wade, environmentalist were screaming at his threat to the environment. Surprisingly for a conservative, Kavanaugh acknowledges both climate change and that it is caused my humans. However, despite his acknowledgement of the problem, he believes the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA (whose administrators were the subject of last week’s TWIST) does not have the authority to deal with climate change. This is because the EPA has not been given explicitly instructions from congress to deal with climate change . Unfortunately, this is unlikely to change with a republican controlled congress. This is a problem, as the EPA, as the name suggests, is the executive agency that deals with environmental issues.

It may not make as much news as the never-ending circus around Trump, but there was some good news about transitions this week coming from the British Isles. Firstly, the UK indicated in a document that it seeks to continue cooperation on climate change with the EU after Brexit (  The document also stated that the UK would seek to maintain its current standards on handling the environment and climate change. This will likely be great news for environmentalists who worried that Brexit would mean the UK falling behind its climate pledges, while upsetting some hard Brexiteers who were looking to Brexit as a way of removing EU regulations.  

Great Britain also had a milestone; it passed 1000 hours without the use of coal so far this year.

Also the UK’s neighbor , Ireland became the first country to divest from fossil fuels. This is great success for the divestment movement, a movement which has been growing in recent years with even Norway’s pension fund considering it. And it seems to be having some impact as the oil company Shell mentioning it as a risk to the company in their annual report.

So it was quite a week - a mixed bag really.