Airlines, farmers and plastic bag makers look for relief amid the pandemic. But the coal industry, and wind and solar energy concerns, lose out in the relief bill. With the attention of lawmakers and government agencies focused on the global coronavirus pandemic, polluting industries have seized on the opportunity to advance their own interests.
Organizers in the youth climate movement plan an avalanche of activities beginning next week, determined to make the future of the climate the major issue of the 2020 election. Capitalizing on turnout in the September climate strikes, when 6 million people worldwide turned out to demand urgent action to address the escalating ecological emergency...
The global hunger strike has worked in many parts of the world. Sweden’s Minister of the Environment agreed to meet with Swedish hunger strikers. In the UK, politicians from a range of parties including the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats met with hunger strikers on camera. In the Netherlands, hunger strikers sat down with officials from the municipality of Wageningen for a recorded meeting to push for tougher action on the climate and ecological crisis. The city of Miami, Florida agreed to one of Extinction Rebellion’s key demands last week when it declared a climate emergency following a three-day hunger strike by an XR climate rebel.
This was a special summer for me as a dad. For the first time I took my sons, Felix and Jaxson, on that classic TransCanada road trip so many of us did when we were young. We traveled across two provinces, from Manitoba to Alberta. It was a journey across our Treaty 6 territory. We drove across many bodies of water, with much of it flowing north. Water—both our Cree and Dene relatives, along with every other Canadian, depend on for life. As I drove with my sons, I wondered what would be their takeaways, what would they remember? Our destination was the Grassroots Grow Deep (GGD) - An Indigenous Climate Justice Training, a gathering I was supporting through my job as a campaigner with the global climate organization, 350.org.
The Trump administration has proposed to replace the nation's landmark climate regulations with a watered-down version that would do next to nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and wouldn't even set a specific national goal. If the new plan survives legal challenges, it would fulfill a campaign pledge to abort the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. And in combination with the freezing of automotive emissions standards announced a few weeks ago, it would gut any attempt to achieve through federal regulations the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration has also renounced. Given that the new rule does not challenge the finding that greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants causes global warming and endangers people and the planet, nor court rulings that the Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to bring it under control, the proposal is breathtaking in its embrace of apathy.
A federal appeals court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to halt a landmark climate change lawsuit on Wednesday, ruling that the case can proceed to trial in a lower court. The lawsuit, brought in 2015 by 21 youths, argues that the federal government has violated their constitutional rights by failing to act on climate change. "We're excited to be back in the district court," said Julia Olson, chief legal counsel for Our Children's Trust, a nonprofit that is representing the youths. "We'll promptly ask for a new trial date for 2018 and get there as quickly as we possibly can, given the urgency of the climate crisis." The plaintiffs are asking the courts to force the government to enact policies that would cut the nation's greenhouse gas emissions and end subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
"It doesn't matter if I'm sitting in jail. What matters is stopping the pollution," Foster, a 53-year-old mental health counselor from Seattle, declared after his sentencing in North Dakota on Tuesday. "If other people don't take action, mine makes no difference," he continued. "And if they don't, the planet comes apart at the seams. The only way what I did matters is if people are stopping the poison." Although others who participated in the multi-state #ShutItDown action two years ago have been allowed to present a "necessity defense"—or argue they believed their act was "necessary to avoid or minimize a harm" that was "greater than the harm resulting from the violation of the law"—Judge Laurie A. Fontaine rejected such a defense for Foster and Sam Jessup, who filmed Foster's action and received a two-year deferred prison sentence with supervised probation.
Last December, atmospheric scientist Peter Kalmus ruffled some feathers when he called out 25,000 of his colleagues for flying to the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting. Being acutely aware of the worsening impacts from anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) -- since it was, after all, his job -- Kalmus had already made some dramatic changes in his own life to reflect some of the steps he knew the larger culture needed to take. In 2010 he quantified his own carbon emissions and realized they were dominated by flying: More than three-quarters of his emissions were from flying alone. So, over the next two years he made an effort to fly less, and began to think of his airplane trips within the context of a warming planet. "In 2012, I was sitting on a plane -- the last flight I've taken -- and I had this strong, visceral sense that I didn't belong there, that I didn't want to continue being part of the problem," Kalmus told Truthout...
Shortly after arriving at the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Scott Pruitt took a personal interest in and closely monitored the removal of extensive information from his agency's website that explained to the public the federal effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Power Plan, according to newly released EPA documents. The scrubbing of the information from EPA's website on April 28, 2017, preceded by six months Pruitt's formal proposal to rescind the rule, which had been issued by the Obama administration. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) information from the previous administration is in an archived EPA website. Pruitt was an ardent opponent of the CPP, which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and the newly released memos reflect his enthusiasm for steps that would thwart it.
Even the most stubborn climate skeptics found the events of 2017 difficult to cope with. It wasn't just a matter of turning up the air conditioner and switching the channel to Fox News: this time, the inconvenient truth came in the form of monstrous wildfires and tropical cyclones ruthlessly knocking down suburban ranch homes and master-planned housing developments. Across the globe, climate change took on the frightening form of nation-destroying hurricanes in the Caribbean and U.S.-Mexico border region, record-breaking firestorms in California and the Iberian Peninsula, severe droughts in Africa and biblical floods in Africa and South Asia. In the Global South, these disasters were exacerbated by underdevelopment, maldevelopment, poverty, corruption and gross inequality – social factors inextricably rooted in imperialism.
Under pressure from investors, prosecutors and global regulators, ExxonMobil Corp. agreed on Monday to strengthen its analysis and disclosure of the risks its core oil business faces from climate change and from government efforts to rein in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. That will require Exxon to face squarely the implications of reduced oil demand if the world makes good on the pledges of the Paris climate agreement to cut carbon emissions practically to zero fast enough to avoid the worst effects of global warming. In a one-paragraph filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the oil giant said it would stop resisting motions filed by dissident shareholders seeking this kind of risk disclosure.
By Timothy Gardner for Reuters - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - National environmental groups waging legal battles against energy projects are delaying approval of U.S. natural gas pipelines, a top federal energy regulator said on Thursday. The groups have lawyers who “understand how to use all of the levers of federal and state law to frustrate pipeline development,” Neil Chatterjee, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), told a meeting of natural gas industry officials. Some recent approvals of natural gas pipelines, such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina, have taken two years or more. Chatterjee said he hoped a timeline of two-plus years would not become the new industry norm. While industry officials have often complained about climate activists, Chatterjee’s comments, which he said reflected his opinion, are rare for a regulator. He did not identify any specific green groups, but the Sierra Club and 350.org both have campaigns to reject pipelines filled with gas from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, projects. The groups are fighting development of fossil fuels including oil, coal and fracked natural gas, because they say the production slows the transition to cleaner sources, like wind and solar power, and the conservation and storage of energy. The Trump administration is trying to boost output of the fuels to increase jobs in the industry and sell energy exports to allies.
By Staff of RAN - NEW YORK – This morning, activists from Rainforest Action Network (RAN) dropped a 35 ft. banner from the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase to protest the bank’s investments in extreme fossil fuels, particularly tar sands oil. According to a recent report from RAN, JPMorgan Chase is the top U.S. funder of tar sands oil — one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet due to the immense volume of deforestation, environmental impacts and increased greenhouse gas emissions from the point of extraction to refining to burning. Tar sands oil produces 20%more greenhouse gases than conventional oil. As NASA Scientist James Hansen famously said, further expansion of tar sands oil means “game over for the climate.” Despite the disastrous impacts of tar sands oil, JPMorgan Chase is actually ramping up its investments in the sector. The bank has poured nearly $2B into tar sands in the first three quarters of 2017 alone — already a 17% uptick from 2016. This includes funding for pipelines that slice through Indigenous lands, trample on human rights, and threaten clean water. “JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon talks a big game when it comes to addressing climate change,” said Tess Geyer, an organizer with Rainforest Action Network.