A pair of climate cases from opposite sides of the country appear to be the closest yet to holding fossil fuel companies accountable in court. Lawsuits filed by Honolulu, Hawaii, and by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have both overcome initial procedural hurdles and are advancing in state courts, despite dogged attempts by lawyers for the fossil fuel firms to punt the cases into federal courts where they hoped to find an easier path to dismissal. And the two cases have each taken a big leap forward in state courts with judges denying fossil fuel defendants’ requests to dismiss the litigation. Earlier this year, a Hawaii state court judge issued several rulings denying oil companies’ motions to dismiss Honolulu’s case, originally filed in March 2020. In a press release, the Honolulu City Council explained, “with these favorable rulings [Honolulu’s] case is now set to become the first in the country to move into a trial phase and begin the all-important process of discovery, where the oil companies must begin opening up files to show what they knew.”
Developed countries nominated the US Treasury’s Victoria Gunderson to jointly lead the UN flagship climate fund’s deliberations in 2023. These appointments are typically approved without discussion. On behalf of African board members, Kenyan environment official Pacifica Ogola raised an official objection. The US has contributed just $1 billion to the fund in its 12-year history, compared to $9bn from EU countries and $3bn from Japan. A further $2bn pledged under former president Barack Obama was never delivered. His successors Donald Trump and Joe Biden have not paid in a cent. Ogola stressed, in a letter dated 16 January, rich countries’ responsibility to inject money into the GCF and called for better enforcement of commitments. Approving Gunderson’s role must not “normalise the situation” of non-payers holding sway over decisions, she argued.
Louisiana - Louisiana Democratic Party leaders are accused of funneling thousands of dollars from utility companies to the campaign of a fossil fuel–friendly candidate who ran for reelection on the state’s utility regulatory committee. Campaign finance records filed this week show that the Party received more than $90,000 in donations from utility companies, energy producers, and their executives during the elections for two Louisiana Public Service Commissioners. The same utility companies — Entergy, Cleco, and CenterPoint Energy — also donated directly to incumbent Lambert Boissiere III, whose campaign was largely sponsored by industry groups. Entergy, Cleco, and CenterPoint Energy did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Despite these industry donations to his opponent, climate candidate Davante Lewis won the District 3 Commissioner seat, which represents parts of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Are carbon offsets a useful tool on the road to net zero or simply another form of greenwashing? A new investigation from The Guardian, Die Zeit and SourceMaterial leads heavily toward the latter conclusion. The report, published Wednesday, found that more than 90 percent of the rainforest offset credits offered by top carbon standard Verra are actually what The Guardian called “phantom credits” that don’t actually remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “The implications of this analysis are huge,” Barbara Haya, who leads the Carbon Trading Project at the University of California, Berkeley, told SourceMaterial. “Companies are making false claims and then they’re convincing customers that they can fly guilt-free or buy carbon-neutral products when they aren’t in any way carbon-neutral.”
There was still snow on the ground on April 1, 2016, when Joye Braun set up the lodge that would serve as her temporary home for almost a year. It was on land near the convergence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Braun’s structure was the first erected in the famous Sacred Stone Camp — the original encampment at Standing Rock established to protest construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. She remained an important presence throughout the duration of the protests, serving as a key leader and an inspiration to thousands of people who came to join the resistance to the pipeline. When the camp finally dispersed in February 2017, Braun’s temporary home was one of the last structures to come down. Braun passed away on Nov. 13, 2022, at age 53.
We know that the window is quickly closing for us to slash emissions and avoid climate change’s worst effects. So it’s easy to get excited about direct air capture: technology designed to suck carbon dioxide straight from the atmosphere. But oil and gas companies have vested interests in DAC. As a kind of carbon capture and sequestration technology, DAC projects will receive hefty federal tax credits. Now, DAC boosters are drumming up hype that masks real problems — notably, that direct air capture is a scam that won’t help solve the climate crisis. With time running out on climate change, we can’t waste resources on this dangerous and speculative technology. Here are five reasons why.
Yesterday BXE rallied in front of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) office in D.C. - greeting staff and commissioners as they came for the monthly commissioners meeting! We then supported a #FrontlinesToFERC press conference- a group of Gulf Coast organizers who spoke on the numerous frontline LNG fights coming before FERC. As the FERC meeting began- 3BXEactivists disrupted the meeting and were hauled out chanting. Four more BXE members that were not allowed into the meeting (due to past disruptions) managed to get into the meeting anyway- yelling "STOP MANCHIN'S FERC" and deploying a banner. A security guard knocked people over, but we kept on yelling as we were kicked out of the building!
Greta Thunberg was one of the climate activists detained Tuesday during the struggle to protect the German village of Lützerath from being swallowed by an expanding coal mine, the second time this week that the Swedish climate campaigner has been detained during the protests. Images revealed Tuesday showed German police physically carrying Thunberg away from the edge of part of the mine, as DW reported. Police told Reuters that she was being held with other demonstrators who would all be released later in the day. “Greta Thunberg was part of a group of activists who rushed towards the ledge. However, she was then stopped and carried by us with this group out of the immediate danger area to establish their identity,” a spokesperson for the police of Aachen, Germany, told Reuters.
As chemicals designed to kill insects and weeds, fungi and rodents, pesticides are among the most toxic and damaging substances on the planet. Their harmful impacts on human and ecosystem health are generally well understood. What receives far less attention, however, is the climate impact of these agrochemicals. Not only do pesticides directly contribute to the climate crisis, but a changing climate is likely to intensify pressure from agricultural pests and decrease plant resiliency, resulting in greater pesticide usage and therefore further greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report. This “vicious cycle” of pesticide use fueling climate change, and vice versa, is examined in a report published Tuesday by the advocacy group Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). According to PANNA, the assessment is the first in-depth scientific review of the relationship between pesticides and climate change.
With two world summits on the global environment at the end of last year – COP27 and COP15 – there should have been the prospect of an immediate impact on the looming disaster of climate breakdown. In reality, results were limited at best. COP27 on climate change did agree to a ‘loss and damage’ fund that acknowledged the role of long-term emitters in the industrial world and the need for them to aid countries across the Global South. Funding was proposed for accelerating the transition to renewable energy while responding to the impact of current and future climate disasters. What was lacking was any firm timescale and, even more importantly, COP27 did not secure an across-the-board commitment in the Global North to rapid decarbonisation.
Boston, Massachusetts - Six environmental activists were arrested early Tuesday morning while protesting the construction of a controversial electrical substation in East Boston. Jule Manitz of Extinction Rebellion, the group that organized the demonstration, said the group got to the site around 6:45 a.m., and within a few minutes, several Boston police officers arrived. “We were attempting to unfurl two banners and were barely able to do that [before] a lot of cops showed up,” she said. “People were arrested right away.” Manitz lives in Chelsea, about a mile away from the substation site, and has taken part in several protests over the years. She said she was surprised to see people arrested on the sidewalk and in a nearby parking lot — two areas where people have protested peacefully in the past.
At the start of each year, the World Economic Forum—organiser of the annual Davos conference currently underway in Switzerland—releases its list of the ‘global risks’ expected to dominate over the following twelve months. This year, researchers at the WEF decided that these risks are so great, and so interwoven, that we are now entering an era of ‘polycrisis’. The clearest risk in the immediate term is a global recession. The UK, most of Europe and the US are pretty much guaranteed to go into recession in 2023. The downturn will be worse in Europe due to the ongoing energy crisis and the war in Ukraine. The fact that an inflationary crisis—and, relatedly, a cost of living crisis—is taking place alongside this economic downturn makes the outlook even more grim. We’ve had a decade of slow growth and, looking ahead, it’s hard to see where growth is going to come from in the future.
Climate assemblies are increasingly being used across the world to help decide how we tackle the climate crisis. As they have become more common, so has interest in their impact. However very few studies have looked at the long-term impact of taking part on assembly members themselves. As one of the leads for Climate Assembly UK, my attention was therefore caught when assembly members began to talk about changes they had made in their own lives. These ranged from buying an electric car, to running for office for the first time, to setting-up a climate-friendly business. But were these the exception, or had lots of assembly members made similar changes. We teamed up with Stephen Elstub and Jayne Carrick from Newcastle University to find out, sending assembly members two additional research surveys – one in April 2021 roughly a year after the end of the assembly events, and the second in September 2022 two years after the launch of the assembly’s final report.
On Friday January 6th 2023 people gathered in front of Minister of the Environment Steven Guilbeault’s office to speak out against the F-35 deal that was announced by the Canadian government. Although it may have been unclear why we were protesting at Guilbeault’s office for a peace protest, there were many reasons for us to be there. As a climate justice activist fighting against fossil fuel infrastructure, such as Enbridge’s Line 5, an aging, deteriorating, illegal, and unnecessary pipeline passing through the Great Lakes and that was ordered to shut down in 2020 by Michigan’s Governor Whitmer, I wanted to highlight some of the connections between anti-war and climate justice activism. Guilbeault is exemplifying the hypocritical approach of the Canadian government. The Canadian government tries so hard to create this image of itself as a peace-keeper and climate leader but fails in both regards.
When California gets storms like the atmospheric rivers that hit in December 2022 and January 2023, water managers around the state probably shake their heads and ask why they can’t hold on to more of that water.