Climate Policies Could Boost Economic Growth By 5%, OECD Says

Climate policies help create sustainable jobs with a long-term future and spur technology innovation, the OECD says. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – The world’s major economies could boost their long-term economic growth by 2.8 percent with policies that lower greenhouse gas emissions and boost resilience to climate change impacts, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a new analysis. That rises to nearly 5 percent mid-century when the economic benefits of avoiding future impacts of climate change are factored in. “Far from being a dampener on growth, integrating climate action into growth policies can have a positive economic impact,” Angel Gurría, secretary-general of OECD, said Tuesday at an international meeting on climate hosted by the German government in Berlin. The new figures bolstered a theme that has been sounded repeatedly by the OECD, the research and policy organization that represents developed nations. “There is no economic excuse for not acting on climate change, and the urgency to act is high,” Gurría said. OECD economists estimate that the major economies in the G20 could add 1 percent to average economic output by 2021 and lift their 2050 output by up to 2.8 percent through economic policies that are shaped to address climate change.

Exxon Climate Fraud Investigation Widens Over Missing ‘Wayne Tracker’ Emails

Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson used a secret email alias when discussing issues, including climate change risk. Several weeks of those emails now are missing, and an attorney general investigating the oil giant wants to know what they said. Credit: David McNew

By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – The probe of ExxonMobil by the New York Attorney General’s Office is widening. Investigators have taken depositions of company executives and issued additional subpoenas to determine whether the company may have destroyed evidence connected to an alias email used by former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. The disclosure was made Friday in arguments filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a Manhattan federal court. He is seeking dismissal of a request by Exxon for an injunction that would halt his investigation into the oil giant involving whether it misled shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change. Attorneys for Schneiderman did not elaborate in the 25-page document on the scope of the expanded investigation other than to suggest that it involved the recent disclosure that Tillerson, now U.S. secretary of state, used an email alias when discussing issues including climate change and the risk that it posed to the company. New York and Massachusetts investigators denounced the company’s attempt in federal court to derail their parallel inquiries as a vexatious legal tactic that has no chance of succeeding.

Leaked Draft Shows U.S. Weakened Climate Change Wording In Arctic Declaration

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon CEO, brought the United States’ two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council to an end this month. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Getty

By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – The day before the Arctic Council met for its biannual ministerial last week, the United States requested six changes to the intergovernmental declaration that was to be issued—each of which weakened the language on climate change. The Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body representing all eight Arctic states, does not make policy, but the diplomatic work accomplished there is intended to trickle back to the countries and result in changes. An important part of that is the declaration issued at the end of each two-year chairmanship, which is signed by top officials from each country, to acknowledge the scientific and diplomatic work that was accomplished and to state the council’s goals going forward. The last-minute move by the United States to weaken the document can be seen as a test case for what we can expect at larger, more consequential meetings of international organizations dealing with global warming issues and policy as President Donald Trump rolls back U.S. climate policies and backslides on international commitments.

China, India To Reach Climate Goals Years Early, As U.S. Likely To Fall Far Short

India’s renewable energy burst has put it eight years ahead of its 2030 goal, and China’s emissions from energy use appear to have peaked more than a decade early, a new report says. Credit: San Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

By Marianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – Slowing coal use in China and India has put the world’s two most populous countries on track to beat their carbon emission goals under the Paris climate agreement, according to a new analysis. Greenhouse gas emissions from both countries are growing more slowly than they predicted just a year ago, and the difference is substantial—roughly 2 to 3 billion tons annually by the year 2030. That would be enough to more than offset the relatively poor performance expected from the United States as President Donald Trump rolls back controls and puts the U.S. on track to miss its Paris pledge. The forecasts were issued by Climate Action Tracker, a consortium of three international research organizations, as negotiators from around the world met in Bonn, Germany, to carry out the global climate treaty’s work. “Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping—or even slowing—coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, one of the research consortium members.

Could FOIA Force Trump Administration To Restore Missing Climate Data?

The Interior Department quietly edited its climate change page last month, removing an extensive discussion of the effects of global warming. It's now being targeted by FOIA requests as part of an effort to have the information restored. Credit: Eric Greenwood/U.S. Forest Service.

By Nicholas Kusnetz for Inside Climate News – As Donald Trump’s administration continues to strip climate change information from federal websites, two advocacy groups and a conservation biologist are using a novel technique to try to force the government to republish the pages. A new provision in open records law, added by Congress last year, requires agencies to publish electronically any information that is requested at least three times through the federal Freedom of Information Act, so long as that information is not otherwise exempt from disclosure. Last week, the advocacy groups and the biologist submitted identical requests for climate change information, hoping to trigger that provision, and they just might succeed. “The law is pretty explicit,” said Aaron Mackey, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes transparency. “The law just says, if you get three, then you have to affirmatively disclose it. This should work.” The effort by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Media and Democracy, and Stuart Pimm, a professor at Duke University…

The U.S. Is On A Historic Streak Of Record Highs

Climate change earth melting. Source Bruce Rolff, Shutterstock

By Brian Kahn for Climate Central – The U.S. is on a hot streak like no other. April marked yet another month where record highs outpaced record lows. It’s the 29th month in a row with the odds tipped in favor of record highs, 10 months longer than the previous stretch where highs beat lows in 2011-12. Embedded within the historic warm streak are a series of records-setting records. Every month of 2015 and 2016 saw more highs than lows, making them two of the only three calendar years that’s happened. The record high-to-low ratio this February was 49-to-1, making it the most lopsided month ever recorded (besting a record set in November 2016, no less). The monthly record stretch belies a larger trend where the ratio of record highs to lows has been growing disproportionately with each passing decade. That’s due largely to rising background temperatures driven by increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Radical Art, Sweet Potatoes & Mainstream Parades

Art Killing Apathy/ Eleanor Goldfield

By Eleanor Goldfied for Occupy – The People’s Climate March was this past weekend and roughly 200,000 people descended on Washington, DC to walk along Pennsylvania Ave, past the White House and up to the Washington Monument where speakers and musicians worked the crowd in a festival like setting. And while the energy brought in particular by indigenous and frontline communities was powerful, the march felt very much like a parade and as Dissentralized Organizer Jimmy Betts put it exemplified the “messterpiece of NGO-dom.” While the Climate March garnered most if not all the media attention, the day before, activists picketed and protested outside of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – calling for an end to the blanket rubber stamping of dirty energy projects including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Even further outside the media gaze was the Uptown Art House, a flat structure community art space where indigenous, borderlands undocumented, black, white and everyone beyond and in between gathered together to create art and share ideas and inspiration. This compilation serves as a platform for the people involved in the building of movements, in fighting the frontline battles and in walking the walk.

Indigenous Youth Took Center Stage At People's Climate March

Christian Miles Studio

By Cherri Foytlin for AlterNet – The ceremony, which welcomed the spirits from the four directions, officially opened the People’s Climate March, a massive show of resistance on a day that also marked Trump’s 100th day in office. Within a few hours, the youth would be braving record heat, to take the lead of the 1.5 mile march, which covered eight city blocks and ended near the Washington monument. As participants made their way along the route, gigantic banners, puppets and signs could be seen above the crowd. “Water is Life,” “Native Nations Rise,” “Defend the Sacred,” and “Respect the Rights of Mother Earth,” were some of the messages. As the convoy reached the White House, the crowd sang and native drum lines took to the front. Merlejohn Lone Eagle, from Bridger, South Dakota, was among them. Although he is only 13, Merlejohn is already an experienced pipeline fighter. He said he worked with youth in his community to send videos to President Obama showing their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. He was overjoyed in the fall of 2015 when Obama rejected the pipeline.

Stories Of Resistance And Resilience From The Pacific Islands To Canada

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By Staff of 350.org – The Canadian tar sands are one of the dirtiest sites of fossil fuel extraction in the world. Carbon emissions from the tar sands are one of the biggest drivers of climate change globally, and locally, they poison the lands and water, contributing to health and environmental crises which disproportionately impact Indigenous communities. Pipelines are the arteries of this oil patch — they make it economically viable to continue expanding the tar sands. That’s why an Indigenous-led social movement in North America has emerged opposing pipelines like Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, and Energy East. The Pacific Climate Warriors will start their journey in Canada by visiting the tar sands to bring their prayers of hope and healing right to the heart of the destruction. While they are there, they will meet and build solidarity with Indigenous peoples opposing the tar sands from the front lines and show them that they are seen and heard in the Pacific.

Staten Island Climate March Links Economics And Environmental Issues

Marching down the FDR Boardwalk (Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / Union Writer)

By Thomas Altfather Good for National Writers Union – STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — April 29, 2017. On a unseasonably warm Saturday hundreds of Islanders assembled in Staten Island’s Midland Beach, a coastal community ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, to demand Climate Justice from the Trump Administration — linking economic and environmental issues. Workers from several local unions – including CWA Local 1102 and IBEW Local 3 – peace and environmental activists, and members of immigrant rights organizations gathered on Staten Island’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt boardwalk on Saturday. The protesters rallied and marched to demand climate justice from a president who appears to spend more time lounging in Mar-a-Lago and holding victory rallies than addressing pressing issues in a meaningful way. Organized by two local advocacy organizations, Sustainable Staten Island and Move Forward Staten Island, with a broad coalition of labor unions, immigration rights groups, environmental justice, social justice and other community organizations from throughout New York City, the event was timed to coinicide with climate marches held in other cities.

What I Said At The Peace Hub Of The Climate March

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By David Swanson for Let’s Try Democracy – Most countries on earth have the U.S. military in them. Most countries on earth burn less fossil fuel than does the U.S. military. And that’s without even calculating how much worse for the climate jet fuel is than other fossil fuels. And it’s without even considering the fossil fuel consumption of the world’s leading weapons makers, or the pollution caused by the use of those weapons all over the world. The U.S. is the top weapons dealer to the world, and has weapons on multiple sides of most wars. The U.S. military created 69% of super fund environmental disaster sites and is the third leading polluter of U.S. waterways. When the British first developed an obsession with the Middle East, passed along to the United States, the desire was to fuel the British Navy. What came first? The wars or the oil? It was the wars. Wars and the preparations for more wars consume a huge amount of oil.

Keystone XL Opponents Target Banks Funding Climate Destruction

After fierce nationwide opposition forced the Obama administration to halt the Keystone XL pipeline, President Donald Trump has given it the green light and the climate movement has vowed to fight it once again. (Image via Rainforest Action Network)

By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Kicking off a week of actions targeting the institutions financing the controversial Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipelines, activists on Saturday protested at banks in 25 cities to shine a spotlight on the roll they are having on climate destruction. “It’s back—and so are we,” reads the call to action. After fierce nationwide opposition forced the Obama administration to halt the project, President Donald Trump has given it the green light and the climate movement has vowed to fight it once again. The peaceful demonstrations are “designed to shine a spotlight on the the four key financial institutions bankrolling the KXL pipeline— Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and TD Bank—and pressure them and the broader financial community to pull out and ‘defund’ the project,” said the Rainforest Action Network, which is organizing the week of protest. In addition to demonstrating outside banks, activists across the country are also planning a banner drop in Los Angeles and a protest targeting local government in San Franciscothroughout the week of action, which will culminate on Earth Day. Find an action near you here.

Dear Scott Pruitt, You’re Making A Mockery Of EPA

A February march in Washington, D.C. Credit: Lorrie Shaull

By Michael Cox for Crosscut – Dear Administrator Pruitt, My name is Michael Cox. Today is my last day after working at EPA for over 25 years. I am writing this note because I, along with many EPA staff, are becoming increasing alarmed about the direction of EPA under your leadership. I understand there are people in the country who distrust EPA, and think we are overreaching our mission. I believe we need to listen to those voices and try to make changes where warranted. However, I, and many staff, firmly believe the policies this Administration is advancing are contrary to what the majority of the American people, who pay our salaries, want EPA to accomplish, which are to ensure the air their children breath is safe

Scott Pruitt’s EPA Investigating Him For Climate Denial

A pile of future carbon dioxide emissions, also known as coal. ZHOU JIANPING - IMAGINECHINA

By Andrew Freedman for Mashable – EPA head Scott Pruitt may have broken integrity rules by denying global warming. A pile of future carbon dioxide emissions, also known as coal. Well, this is a new one. Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is under investigation by his own agency for misstating the basic scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. Turns out that providing misguiding scientific information to the public isn’t a cool thing to do, after all — even in the Trump administration. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is fast becoming one of the most controversial of President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks. He is leading the push to unravel the Obama administration’s landmark climate change policies while overseeing a historic downsizing of the agency he runs.

Climate Activists Pledge Huge Response To Trump’s Executive Orders

Climate activists march in Paris in 2014. On Thursday, a coalition of international NGOs and individual climate activists have demanded that France lift its imposed bans on large protest for the COP21 talks. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube)

By Dani Heffernan for 350.org – “The best way to fight against these executive orders is to take to the streets. Even as Trump dismantles environmental protections to shore up the fossil fuel industry, support for action to stop global warming is at an all-time high. Now it’s up to communities to bring our vision of a healthy climate and a just transition to renewable energy to life. From the upcoming congressional recess through the Peoples Climate March and beyond, we’ll be putting pressure on lawmakers to defend the climate and building power to stop the fossil fuel industry for good.” The wide-ranging coalition behind the Peoples Climate March includes major labor unions and environmental, climate justice, faith, youth, social justice, peace groups, and more (the “Peoples” in the title is a direct reference to the role of Indigenous peoples in helping lead the effort). In 2014, the same coalition brought over 400,000 people to the streets of New York City to call for climate action ahead of the Paris Climate Summit.