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.
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
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.
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.
By Staff of Oil Change International – Feb. 20, 2017 – 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.
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…