By Oliver Milman for The Guardian – Harvard University is “pausing” investments in some fossil fuel interests following a five-year campaign by some students and environment groups to pressure the university to divest itself from coal, oil and gas. The elite university has come under fire for investing its $36bn endowment in a portfolio that contains fossil fuel companies and has until now resisted a concerted divestment campaign that has also targeted other US universities. However, Colin Butterfield, head of natural resources at the Harvard Management Company, said that climate change is a “huge problem” and that “for now, we are pausing minerals and oil and gas.” Butterfield said that Harvard indirectly invests in fossil fuels through outside funds, although the management company has previously signalled that it is moving away from coal due to a lack of profitability. “What I can tell you is, from my area, I could honestly say that I doubt – I can’t say never, because never say never – but I doubt that we would ever make a direct investment with fossil fuels,” he said.
By Natasha Geiling for Think Progress – Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs by more than 2.5 to 1, according to a new Sierra Club analysis of Department of Energy jobs data. And when it comes to coal and gas — two sectors President Donald Trump has promised to bolster through his upcoming executive order on energy regulation — clean energy jobs outnumber jobs dealing with those two fossil fuels by 5 to 1. “Right now, clean energy jobs already overwhelm dirty fuels in nearly every state across America, and that growth is only going to continue as clean energy keeps getting more affordable and accessible by the day,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.
By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – On March 8, ProPublica obtained “beachhead team” rosters with the names of hundreds of temporary staffers the Trump administration has installed in federal agencies, including the Department of Interior (DOI), Department of Energy (DOE), the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and others. A DeSmog investigation shows that this list of staffers, largely undisclosed before this week, includes former operatives allied with Koch Industries, oil and coal industry employees, a former employee of a prominent climate denial group, and an advocate for a pro-trophy hunting organization funded by oil and gas.
By Emily Johnston for AlterNet – I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately—what we’re willing to risk, and why. I was one of five activists who turned off the major tar sands pipelines coming into the United States on Oct. 11, 2016. As a result, I’m risking prison time, ostensibly for property damage (we cut a few chains to access the valves), but really for being disobedient to business as usual. It’s also possible they’ll file a restitution suit, for temporarily disrupting a pipeline that’s highly profitable for some, at the expense of all others. I took part in the action in full awareness of these risks—in dread of them, to some degree—because of the risk that Enbridge and the other companies engaged in the extraction…
By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – The value of funds making the commitment has doubled in size since September 2015. Marking the divestment movement’s “undeniable success,” a new report shows the value of funds controlled by individuals and institutions who have vowed to dump their fossil fuels assets now surpasses $5 trillion. 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said the “news is mammoth.” The report (pdf) by Arabella Advisors for the Divest-Invest Network shows that the value of global funds making the commitment—now at about $5.2 trillion—has doubled in size since September 2015…
By Natasha Geiling for Think Progress – When news broke Sunday that the Army Corps of Engineers would not grant a permit necessary for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River, the thousands of water protectors, environmental activists, and concerned citizens who spent months protesting the pipeline’s construction erupted in celebration. “They formed a circle — a human circle all the way around the camp — and people were holding hands and singing and praying,” Kandi Mossett, a leader with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said via a Facebook Live video following Sunday’s announcement.
By Lorraine Chow for Eco Watch – Donald Trump has appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The conservative Republican has close ties to the fossil fuel industry and has waged numerous legal wars against the EPA and President Obama’s environmental regulations, including the president’s signature Clean Power Plan. Pruitt, who was elected as Oklahoma’s top legal officer in November 2010, states on his own LinkedIn page that he “has led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.”
By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – Additional canceled projects have been added to the list of shelved fossil fuel infrastructure plans. These include Shell Puget Sound Refinery’s expansion and Targa’s oil terminal. The Oregon LNG project and pipeline, which had been rejected by local authorities, have also been canceled. The Dakota Access pipeline, which has been in flux, is currently delayed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, pending a review of possible new routes and a more thorough environmental impact assessment. Previously delayed Valero and Phillips 66 oil-by-rail projects have since been rejected by local officials
By Dahr Jamail for Truth Out – In 2008, Tim DeChristopher found himself bidding for parcels of public land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks of Utah at an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction. A climate activist acting as a bidder at the auction, DeChristopher ended up successfully winning 22,500 acres of land by bidding a total of $1.8 million, which he never intended to pay one nickel of, hence effectively killing the auction.
By John H. Cushman Jr. for Inside Climate News – A methodical review of the world’s dominant fossil fuel producers has documented their poor performance—in some cases, egregious failure— in taking responsibility for their emissions of greenhouse gases and moving effectively to confront climate change. “None of them has made a clean break from disinformation on climate science and policy,” said a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, published by four of its senior climate experts last week.
By We Are Seneca Lake. READING, NEW YORK — In a decision likely to have broad implications for hundreds of We Are Seneca Lake defenders, Judge David Brockway dismissed trespassing charges against six local business owners due to insufficient evidence. The 12-hour trial took place in the Town of Reading Court on September 30. In addition, four of the business owners were found guilty of disorderly conduct for preventing a vehicle from passing through the gates of Crestwood’s gas storage complex on Route 14 in Reading, NY. Attorney Gibson will appeal that decision. “We saw in the testimony that the officers arrested these people without any direct knowledge that they actually were on private property,” said Sujata Gibson, defense attorney. “We are considering a federal lawsuit to ensure that this type of apparently politically motivated mass arrest and prosecution cannot continue to take place.”
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – Big bank sponsorship of Climate Week 2016, which kicked off Monday in New York City, “amounts to little more than greenwashing,” according one environmental organization, given financial institutions’ business-as-usual investment in fossil fuels. Indeed, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) charges three major sponsors—Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of the West (BNP Paribas)—with “helping [to] drive the climate crisis” through their ongoing funding of extreme fossil fuels such as coal and tar sands oil.
By Staff of We Are Cove Point – Verplanck, NY, and Annapolis, MD – Saturday afternoon, as Spectra Energy prepared to drag its 42-inch diameter, high pressure, fracked-methane gas pipeline under the Hudson River adjacent to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, activists boated out on the Hudson to the pipeline site to protest the pipeline project. Spectra Energy’s proposed Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England, despite a report from the Massachusetts Attorney General that shows no need for this gas.
By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – More than 40 Indigenous activists, Gulf Coast residents, and other climate leaders have reportedly occupied the U.S. Department of the Interior, demanding no new fossil fuel leases on public lands and waters. Several arrests have also been reported. The protesters entered the lobby of the department chanting, “Keep it in the ground!” The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that is taking part in the events, said the action represented an escalation of the Keep It In The Ground campaign
By Karl Mathiesen for Climate Home News – The G20 has already committed to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” over the “medium term”. In May, the G7 nations pledged to achieve this by 2025. When the leaders of the 20 largest economies on earth meet in Hangzhou on Thursday and Friday, they must go further, said a joint statement from multinational insurers Aviva, Aegon and Amlin, and commit to an end to assistance for fossil fuel companies within four years.