By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – This story was updated at 10:45 am ET on March 24 to include comments from President Donald Trump, TransCanada. The White House’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline Friday opens a fierce, new battle over a project that has become a front in the fight against climate change. President Donald Trump made reviving the 1,200-mile pipeline, which will transport heavy crude oil from tar sands mines in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, a key plank of his fossil fuel-focused energy plan. He promised in January to reverse President Barack Obama’s rejection of the TransCanada project, one of Obama’s signature environmental decisions, within 60 days.
By Staff for Inside Climate News – Over the past decade, farmers in the Great Southern Plains have suffered the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. They’ve battled heat, dust storms and in recent weeks, fires that devoured more than 900,000 acres and killed thousands of cattle. These extreme conditions are being fueled by climate change. But a new report from an environmental advocacy group says they’re also being driven by federal crop insurance policy that encourages farmers to continue planting crops on compromised land, year after year. “Dust bowl conditions are coming back. Drought is back. Dust storms are back. All the climate models show the weather getting worse,” said Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which released the report Wednesday.
By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – Whether the U.S. meets its emissions-reduction commitments under the Paris climate accord is pivotal to the success of the global agreement, but the Trump administration’s policies have all but ensured the U.S. will fall far short. One recent analysis says the country will miss its target by more than 1 billion metric tons. Under President Barack Obama, the United States pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That means emissions must be cut about 1.7 billion metric tons, according to figures from the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest greenhouse gas inventory.
By Julia Olson and Phillip Gregory for Our Children’s Trust – While risk-management issues related to climate change are important to the New York Attorney General’s investigation, attorneys representing youth plaintiffs suspect the emails will also reveal the deep influence of the fossil fuel defendants over U.S. energy and climate policies, and the defendants’ private acknowledgement that climate change was caused by their product, both of which are important to the youth’s case. To the latter point, the fossil fuel defendants have refused to take a position on whether climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels, even when pressed by federal judges to answer that question.
By Erik Larson for Bloomberg – Exxon Mobil Corp. says a technical glitch may have prevented it from automatically preserving emails in a secondary account used by former Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson to discuss climate change risks and other issues under the alias Wayne Tracker. Tillerson, now U.S. Secretary of State, used the pseudonym account for sending the most sensitive messages to company board members, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating whether the company misled investors for years about the possible impact of climate change on its business. Schneiderman this week accused Exxon of failing to alert his office to the existence of the Wayne Tracker email account
By Jan Strupczewski and Michael Nienaber for Reuters – Opposition from the United States, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a reference to financing programs to combat climate change from the draft communique at a G20 finance and central bankers meeting. A G20 official taking part in the meeting said on Friday that efforts by the German G20 presidency to keep the wording on climate change financing had run into resistance. “Climate change is out for the time being,” said the official, who asked not to be named. At their last meeting in July 2016 in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the G20 financial leaders said they encouraged all signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring the deal into force as soon as possible.
By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – Pediatrician Samantha Ahdoot may not use the words “climate change” when she’s talking to her patients and their parents in Alexandria, Va., but she’s talking about its impacts all the time. Whether it’s a 6-year-old boy who contracted Lyme disease in November—long after ticks should be gone for the year—or having to start kids on spring allergy medication in February instead of March, climate change is making its way into Ahdoot’s exam room. And she’s not alone. As a physician, Ahdoot practices at the intersection where public health and climate change meet. She is part of a group of physicians who announced on Wednesday the formation of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health…
By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – While he was chief executive of ExxonMobil, current secretary of state Rex Tillerson used an alias email account for eight years to discuss climate change and the risks it posed to the company’s business, according to investigators for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Those investigators say the company concealed the shadow emails despite a 2015 subpoena for Tillerson’s communications issued as part of a sweeping investigation of the oil giant in connection with possible financial fraud. Schneiderman’s office disclosed the existence of the email account assigned to Tillerson on Monday in a letter to Judge Barry Ostrager, which accused Exxon of failing to turn over all relevant documents required by the subpoena.
By Megan Darby for Climate Home – Lövin’s office was reluctant to discuss the way she chose to publicise her signing of the bill, saying only her all-women photo reflected Sweden’s “feminist government”. The image made headlines for its thinly-disguised repudiation of Trump’s attacks on women. But perhaps the most defiant anti-Trump message in the photo was the law itself. In contrast to Trump’s threats to renege on climate US commitments, Sweden is the one industrialised country to have clearly increased its carbon cutting ambition in response to the UN Paris Agreement struck in 2015. The US has left a climate leadership vacuum that it is up to Europeans to fill, said Lövin, who is also climate minister. The legislation she sent to the Riksdag for approval sets a path to a carbon neutral Sweden by 2045 – an ambitious target with cross-party backing.
By Emily Johnston for Alternet. This will not be an easy fight. There will be many tragedies. But for a very short period of time, it’s still within our power to avert devastation. We can demand a decent future, one in which we move with the utmost speed and care to clean energy, and with the utmost compassion to manage the displacement that climate change is already causing. My friends and I are willing to spend time in jail to be part of that fight. We think it’s our responsibility—especially because we’re older white people, and thus much less likely to face police violence, and less likely to have our families or professional lives derailed by a conviction. And in every community we’ve spoken to—perhaps most especially the churches—people tell us they’re willing, too. We only have this one chance. We only have a few years. This is the time to ask, what are the ways that you can fight—for your loved ones, and for all the vulnerable people and creatures of this beautiful world? Will you look away, or will you do all you can to save this world?
By Lorne Stockman for Oil Change International – Long before Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway took the phrase ‘alternative facts’ mainstream, a rogue federal agency with authority to ram giant gas pipelines through people’s property against their will has for years pioneered the Trumpian version of reality when assessing the climate impact of natural gas infrastructure. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an “independent” agency that regulates the interstate transmission of gas and electricity, has permitted nearly 200 interstate gas pipeline projects stretching over 6,000 miles since 2009, and rejected only a single application. For each of these permitted projects an environmental impact statement was conducted. Where climate was assessed in these studies, the conclusion has always been the same – “no significant impact”.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Offering some hope that “reality” will prevail in a political climate seemingly bent on climate destruction, a Washington state jury on Wednesday failed to convict activist Ken Ward on two felony counts stemming from an act of civil disobedience against the fossil fuel industry. The Climate Disobedience Center, which Ward co-founded, declared the mistrial “a resounding recognition of the threat of climate change,” noting that one or more jurors refused to convict Ward on charges of sabotage and burglary for breaking into and shutting down a Kinder Morgan pipeline near Anacortes, Washington last year. Alternately, they were persuaded by his argument that he had acted out of necessity, in defense of the planet.
By Gina Magana, Organizer for Punt the Pipelines. Super Bowl 51 is HERE, in Houston, Texas and we have an opportunity to convey a critical message to millions of people. We must demand an end to a Carbon Based Economy, switch to a Clean Energy Economy, and end all new pipelines to protect our sacred water people, and planet. We need your help. In the air above the stadium we will fly an airplane with an urgent message to divest. On the ground, we will be at the gates of the Super Bowl drawing attention with banners, signs, while we march, drum, dance, sing, and pray to protect our sacred water, people, and planet. Please, donate $1, $10, $100 or whatever you can to help fund this Super Bowl LI Action to Punt the Pipelines for People and Planet. The airplane will reach tens of thousands of people at the game and millions on television and through social media.
By Joy First for National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance. We have a madman in the White House. Yet, unlikely acts of resistance are popping up all over the country from the large “Resist” banner hanging from a construction crane near the White House, to the National Park Rangers in the Badlands creating an alternative Twitter account, to mother’s groups who are putting aside talk of their children while they write letters to Congress, to the 60 programmers and scientists who were gathered at the Department of Information Studies building at the University of California-Los Angeles, harvesting important government data before Trump has a chance to disappear it. There is so much going on and so many ways we can get involved. This is the time we have been waiting for to see real change in the world. What kind of world will we leave for our children and grandchildren? The only way we will bring change is to keep the hope and rise up, rise up together and resist. The time has come and we will prevail in our struggle for peace and justice for all.