By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – Exxon officials have been ordered by a New York judge to explain how the company overlooked a shadow email account used by its former chief executive Rex Tillerson while the company was under subpoena by the New York attorney general’s office. Judge Barry Ostrager ordered Exxon to provide sworn affidavits describing the company’s process for identifying and turning over documents. He also demanded an explanation of what documents may have been lost and how that happened. Ostrager also gave the company until March 31 to surrender documents associated with Tillerson, now serving as secretary of state, and five other members of Exxon’s management committee.
By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – While Exxon called the New York attorney general’s claim that Rex Tillerson used an alias email to hide crucial climate discussions “preposterous,” the Massachusetts attorney general’s office wants to make sure those emails are preserved so investigators can determine whether they contain evidence that Exxon’s leadership misled the public and investors. Maura Healey’s office sent Exxon a letter directing the company to save the emails, which it says would fall under its civil investigative demand—similar to a subpoena—it issued last year seeking Exxon records. “Exxon’s reported failure to identify the aliases in the New York case raises serious concerns…
By Patrick Mazza for Grist – Railroads have become a nexus of controversy in recent years due to their role in transporting climate-twisting fossil fuels. But they could become a locomotive driving the growth of clean energy. That is the aim of a new proposal to electrify railroads, run them on renewable energy, and use rail corridors as electricity superhighways to carry power from remote solar and wind installations to population centers. The proposal, called Solutionary Rail, has been developed by a team of rail experts, economists, and public interest advocates assembled by the Washington state–based Backbone Campaign.
By Anthony Leiserowitz, Edward Maibach, Connie Roser-Renouf, Matthew Cutler and Seth Rosenthal for Climate Change Communication – President Trump has questioned the reality of global warming and has cast doubt on America’s continued participation in global efforts to address the problem. We used data from our most recent Climate Change in the American Mind survey to assess Trump voters’ views about global warming and clean energy. Overall, we find that about half to a majority of Trump voters think global warming is happening and support a variety of climate and clean energy policies.
By Stefanie Spear for Eco Watch – “You can interpret it as you want,” Lovin’s spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “It’s more that Sweden is a feminist government and this is a very important law that we just decided on … And to make the Paris agreement happen we need climate leadership.” The legislation will “bind all future governments to net zero emissions by 2045,” Lovin said, and require Swedish governments to provide updates on climate change efforts and whether the country is on track to meet its target. The new Swedish law was developed after agreement from seven out of the eight political parties in parliament. It takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
By Staff of Day Against Denial – On January 9th, people in all 50 states will send a message to every US Senator: reject Donald Trump’s reckless climate denying cabinet nominees. The climate is changing, and anyone who denies this shouldn’t be in the White House cabinet. It’s up to the Senate to stop these nominations — and up to us to show up in person to tell our Senators to fight Trump’s Climate Denial Cabinet. That starts with rallies with all of our friends and neighbors, calling out our Senators to do the right thing and reject the nominations, and having direct conversation with the Senator’s staff to pass along the message that we, as constituents and voters…
By Mike Gaworecki for Mongabay – 2016 was something of a mixed bag for the global climate. On the one hand, renewable energy use has never been higher — but on the other hand, 2016 brought with it news of record fossil fuel consumption, as well. Meanwhile, the Paris Climate Agreement went into force on November 4, far sooner than anyone ever expected, signaling a new era of international climate action — but just a few days later, the U.S., the second-largest emitter in the world, elected a new president who has called global warming a hoax and pledged to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement as soon as possible. Needless to say, 2017 is likely to be a pivotal year in the fight to halt global climate change and all of its impacts. Here, in no particular order, are some of the top stories to keep an eye on in the new year.
By Winona LaDuke and John Foran for Resilience – It’s 2016 and the weight of American corporate interests has come to the Missouri River, the Mother River. This time, instead of the Seventh Cavalry or the Indian police dispatched to assassinate Sitting Bull, it is Enbridge and Dakota Access Pipeline. In mid-August, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II was arrested by state police, along with 27 others, for opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the meantime, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple called for more police support. Every major pipeline project in North America must cross indigenous lands, Indian Country. That is a problem.
By Staff of Eco Watch – The notice seeks Tillerson’s testimony by way of deposition on Jan. 19, 2017, in Dallas, Texas. The notice was served on Sidley Austin, the law firm representing three defendants in the constitutional climate lawsuit: American Petroleum Institute (API), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In his deposition, Tillerson will be asked questions about his knowledge relevant to the youths’ claims that their constitutional rights have been violated. As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson has unique personal knowledge of the fossil fuel industry’s historical relationship with the federal government.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Michael Mann will now be able to proceed with defamation case against conservative writers who attempted to smear his work on global warming. Amid fears over a pending war on science under incoming President Donald Trump, scientist Michael Mann won an important legal victory on Thursday against conservative writers who attempted to defame Mann for his work on global warming. A three-judge panel with the Washington, D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that Mann can proceed with his defamation claims against Mark Steyn with the conservative National Review and Rand Simberg…
By Dani Heffernan for 350.org – Washington, D.C. — The climate campaign 350.org is planning a full grassroots push against what they’re calling Trump’s “Climate Denial Cabinet” in the New Year. “We’re pulling out all the stops,” said 350.org’s US Campaigns Director Jenny Marienau. “People are horrified by Trump’s appointees and we’re going to channel that outrage into action.” 350.org is currently bringing in tens of thousands of new members onto its email list through petitions targeting Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, and for the EPA Administrator appointee, climate change denier Scott Pruitt.
By Sarah Emerson for Motherboard – With hope, exhaustion, and a fair bit of anger, dozens of scientists and climate experts met to protest the coming Trump Administration. An estimated 26,000 scientists met today at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) annual conference in San Francisco, California. It was the first major gathering of climate experts since the election of Donald Trump, and the findings shared there were appropriately grim: Our planet is changing—for the worse—and nowhere is this more apparent than the Arctic where rising temperatures, disappearing sea ice, and dwindling species populations are evidence of our collective inaction.
By Staff of Climate and Capitalism – Mr. President of Brazil Fernando Collor de Melo; Mr. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali; Your Excellencies; An important biological species is in danger of disappearing due to the fast and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity. We have become aware of this problem when it is almost too late to stop it. It is necessary to point out that consumer societies are fundamentally responsible for the brutal destruction of the environment. They arose from the old colonial powers and from imperialist policies which in turn engendered the backwardness and poverty which today afflicts the vast majority of mankind.
By Bill McKibben for The Guardian – It seems likely that the Paris climate accords will offer one of the first real tests of just how nuts Donald Trump actually is. For a waiting world it’s a public exam, his chance to demonstrate either that he’s been blowing smoke or deeply inhaling. Think, if you will, of the Paris agreement as a toy painstakingly assembled over 25 years by many of the world’s leading lights. It has now been handed, as a gift, to the new child-emperor, and everyone is waiting to see what he’ll do.
By Lauren McCauley for Common Dreams – Like many environmentalists grappling with the implications of a Donald Trump presidency, Terry Tempest Williams said she is in “mourning.” But on Thursday, as she and her husband, Brooke Williams, re-asserted their right to preserve federal land won at auction, the acclaimed author and conservationist offered this message of encouragement for the future: “Resistance is our courage.”