Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro took a historic trip to China this September. There, the two nations signed 31 comprehensive agreements and formally “upgraded” their relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership”, one of Beijing’s highest designations. China and Venezuela jointly blasted the “hegemonism” of the Western powers. Beijing formally condemned the illegal sanctions that Washington has imposed on Caracas. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized this his government will “firmly support” Venezuela’s “just cause against external interference”. The global political and economic order is changing rapidly.
Climate concerns motivated a Montana judge to cancel the air quality permit for a controversial natural gas power plant. The 175-megawatt NorthWestern Energy plant would have emitted more than 23 million tons of greenhouse gases over its 30-year or more lifespan — the equivalent of adding 167,327 new cars to the roads each year — something that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did not fully consider when it issued the permit, Montana 13th Judicial District Court Judge Michael Moses ruled Thursday. “DEQ’s failure to analyze this issue violated the clear and unambiguous language of MEPA [the Montana Environmental Policy Act],” Moses wrote.
China’s President Xi Jinping traveled to Russia to meet Vladimir Putin on March 20. While in Moscow, Xi said, “Right now there are changes the likes of which we haven’t seen for 100 years, and we are the ones driving these changes together”. Putin replied, “I agree”. The two leaders discussed plans to deepen economic integration. Both took aim at the hegemony of the US dollar, in particular. “It is important that our national currencies are increasingly used in bilateral trade”, Putin said on March 21. “We should continue promoting settlements in national currencies, and expand the reciprocal presence of financial and banking structures in our countries’ markets”.
It's been six weeks since I published a report, based on anonymous sourcing, naming President Joe Biden as the official who ordered the mysterious destruction last September of Nord Stream 2, a new $11-billion pipeline that was scheduled to double the volume of natural gas delivered from Russia to Germany. The story gained traction in Germany and Western Europe, but was subject to a near media blackout in the US. Two weeks ago, after a visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Washington, US and German intelligence agencies attempted to add to the blackout by feeding the New York Times and the German weekly Die Zeit false cover stories to counter the report that Biden and US operatives were responsible for the pipelines’ destruction.
Chevron has been talking a lot about cows lately. Alongside POLITICO articles about clean energy, in D.C. newsletters, on Facebook and LinkedIn, are Chevron’s recent ads featuring taglines like “We’re looking to turn the methane from cow 💩 into the fuels of the future.” Each ad links to a page on Chevron’s website which explains how methane captured from manure is actually “renewable natural gas.” But Chevron isn’t the only one talking cow manure. As world leaders convened in Egypt last November to negotiate climate action at the United Nations COP27 summit, a dairy industry trade association also ran a social media campaign highlighting efforts to “upcycle methane” from cattle.
A group of indigenous Australians hailed a "historic decision" by the country's Federal Court on Friday to delay plans for a massive gas project in the Timor Sea. Dennis Tipakalippa, a Munupi clan elder from the remote Tiwi Islands, has been fighting a legal battle against oil and gas producer, Santos, who has been drilling for gas off northern Australia. "We have fought to protect our sea country from the beginning to the end and we will never stop fighting," Tipakalippa said. Santos, one of the country's largest oil and gas producers, said it would apply for fresh approvals for the $3.6 billion (€3.41 billion) Barossa gas project.
Athens, Greece – The blades of the wind turbines on the mountain range opposite my window are turning especially energetically today. Last night’s storm has abated but high winds continue, contributing extra kilowatts to the electricity grid at precisely zero additional cost (or marginal cost, in the language of the economists). But the people struggling to make ends meet during a dreadful cost-of-living crisis must pay for these kilowatts as if they were produced by the most expensive liquefied natural gas transported to Greece’s shores from Texas. This absurdity, which prevails well beyond Greece and Europe, must end.
Unceded Mi’kmaq Territory – After eight years of resistance led by grassroots Mi’kmaw grandmothers and water protectors to defend the Shubenacadie River from Alton Gas, the company has announced they will be decommissioning this project. We wish to express with the utmost humility and gratitude our sincere thanks to Mi’kmaq rights holders, grandmothers, Elders, youth, and allies for all the support over the last eight years in standing to protect our sacred river. It was the unity of all these people, and the diversity of their sincere efforts, that led to this day. “My main concern has always been to protect this river for the next seven generations so they can fish as our ancestors did,” said Thunderbird Swooping Down Woman (Darlene Gilbert). “And so today, I am content.”
Brooklyn, NY – National Grid resumed the North Brooklyn “MRI” Pipeline construction by allegedly authorizing themselves to continue, despite the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extension of the shelter in place orders. Residents and local elected officials have expressed strong opposition to the pipelines cutting through their neighborhoods carrying highly volatile fracked gas. Members of the North Brooklyn community, supported by local and citywide elected officials, held a virtual press conference on May 20, 2020 to condemn corporate utility National Grid’s decision to restart construction of the Metropolitan Reliability Infrastructure (MRI) pipeline after Governor Cuomo extended the Stay At Home executive order until June.
Unist’ot’en Territory, Feb 10, 2020 – A convoy of armed RCMP tactical units has invaded sovereign and unceded Unist’ot’en Territory to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction. Our Unist’ot’en Matriarchs and lands defenders have been forcibly removed off their lands. Unist’ot’en Matriarchs Freda Huson (Chief Howihkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), and Dr. Karla Tait have been forcibly removed off our territories and arrested.
Construction of a fracked gas compressor station in Weymouth, MA, started after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice to Proceed with Construction on November 27, the day before Thanksgiving. A spokesman for the energy company Enbridge at the time wrote in an email: “We remain committed to ensuring construction activities are conducted in compliance with all applicable requirements, with public health and safety as our priority.”
Federal energy regulators issued an order Thursday that likely will tilt the market to favor coal and natural gas power plants in the nation's largest power grid region, stretching from New Jersey to Illinois. Critics say that it effectively creates a new subsidy to prop up uneconomical fossil fuel plants and that it will hurt renewable energy growth and, ultimately, consumers. The new rules, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are designed to counteract state subsidies that support the growth of renewable energy and use of nuclear power.
Steve Schlotterbeck, who led drilling company EQT as it expanded to become the nation’s largest producer of natural gas in 2017, arrived at a petrochemical industry conference in Pittsburgh Friday morning with a blunt message about shale gas drilling and fracking. “The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions,” Schlotterbeck, who left the helm of EQT last year, continued. “In fact, I'm not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change.”
State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard has put a halt to new oil and gas leasing on some 73,000 acres of state trust land near the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in Northwest New Mexico, saying the move will help protect archaeological and cultural resources of the state’s pueblos and tribes. “We are focusing on this particular area because it is so significant to all Native populations in New Mexico and has such a cultural and historical value to them,” Garcia Richard said by phone Tuesday.
We started the Launch Meeting with a celebration of all that has been done in past years to limit the use of dangerous fracked gas, and to stop the build-out of gas infrastructure in Massachusetts. Attendees wrote our successes out on a timeline on the wall, and then added our visions for the future: the wins we hope to have in this two-year campaign. Members were hopeful that we would stop the Weymouth Compressor Station, join the fight in Western Mass.