In science news around the world, officials announce that a greater long-fingered bat captured in Liberia carried evidence of Ebola Zaire, the virus that struck West Africa between 2013 and 2016, suggesting the species is part of a system of natural reservoirs for the deadly microbe. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft beams back its clearest view yet of the Kuiper belt object MU69, the most distant solar system body glimpsed close-up by a probe. Germany is expected to act on a recommendation from an advisory panel that it phase out all coal power by 2038 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts from mining. Only 15% of nearly 6000 open-access scientific journals fully meet the draft requirements of Plan S, the initiative primarily by European funders to make all papers developed with their support free to read, a study reports; the remaining journals, especially smaller ones, may struggle to afford compliance.
And what of the carbon tax that Tillerson claims to want so badly? As the Union of Concerned Scientists has documented, time and time again, Exxon-funded lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have actively worked to derail any progress on such a greenhouse gas-reducing mechanism, which is seen by many environmentalists and economists as the best way to put a price on carbon given its relative simplicity. Tillerson's support for such a tax appears even more empty when you remember back to when he first proposed it: in 2009, when Democrats controlled both chambers and the President Obama–backed cap-and-trade bill had not yet died a slow death in the Senate. Tillerson's backing would have been a potential world-changing event if it had come back in the 1990s when Al Gore was advocating for it and when Republicans had not yet closed their eyes and ears to the science. Instead, Tillerson could comfort himself knowing that his suggestion had no chance of overcoming a GOP filibuster in the Senate anytime in the foreseeable future, no small thanks to those lawmakers his company helped put there.
On one side, many global environmental problems, such as ozone depletion, climate change, diminishing biodiversity, etc., are accelerating because of technology usage and on another side, the same technology has given us plant-based plastic, carbon capture, smart grids, etc, things that are pushing us towards sustainable future.