By Staff of Green Peace – “Three of us who got in the water yesterday in front of a climate-destroying oil ship have been charged. We have been charged, not by the police, but by “The Ministry of Oil” (the petroleum division of MBIE) – the Government’s ministry responsible for supporting, subsidising and propping up the oil industry here in New Zealand, using public money. The science of climate change is unequivocal. It tells us that if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change we cannot burn even known fossil fuel reserves, let alone new oil – which is exactly what The Amazon Warrior is looking for. The oil industry is the most powerful industry in the history of humanity and they have huge influence on governments. Ours is no different.
By Adam Williams for Bloomberg – When an angry mob torched City Hall in the southern Mexican town of Tecpatan last month, it sent a warning flare across a country already thrown into turmoil by Donald Trump. The outrage was over oil, specifically the government’s plan to auction off a swath of land around their farming community to private drillers. The locals say they weren’t informed that a date—July 12—had been set. When they found out, they set fire to the two-story town hall, which now sits charred and abandoned, its windows smashed and the iron gate chained shut. The clock on its tower stopped at 10:55. In some ways, the unrest set clocks all the way back to the 1990s, when Zapatista rebels were roaming the region and declaring war on Nafta. But the fact that today’s target is the government’s energy policy could spell trouble ahead. President Enrique Pena Nieto is trying to revive Mexico’s struggling oil industry by bringing in foreign capital—that’s why the land around Tecpatan is up for grabs. The frontrunner in next year’s presidential election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is vowing to roll back the changes.
By Gavin Bade for Utility Dive. Today, President Trump is poised to release a long-anticipated executive order to roll back the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature climate initiative. The order is expected to be accompanied by directives to lift a moratorium on federal land coal leases and to cease the use of the social cost of carbon — all part of a broad campaign to dismantle environmental regulations on the power sector that Trump blames for the decline of the coal economy in the United States. But while rescinding the rules could help slow coal power’s decline in the short term, analysts say it is unlikely to reverse its long-term downturn, mostly due to the economics of natural gas and renewables. That attitude is shared not just by market observers, but by electric utilities themselves.
By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – President Donald Trump kicked off this week with a Monday morning tweet hailing — and seeming to wrongly take credit for — Exxon Mobil’s plan for a $20 billion expansion of its refineries, chemical plants and liquefied natural gas operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast. “We are already winning again, America!” Trump tweeted after the Texas-based company released the latest details of a plan first announced in 2013 in response to rising natural gas supplies. He went on to tweet, “Buy American & hire American are the principals at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.” The company says the expansion, which includes projects at 11 proposed and existing sites in the region…
By Shaun Murphy for Global News – OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma-based Native American tribe filed a lawsuit in its own tribal court system Friday accusing several oil companies of triggering the state’s largest earthquake that caused extensive damage to some near-century-old tribal buildings. The Pawnee Nation alleges in the suit that wastewater injected into wells operated by the defendants caused the 5.8-magnitude quake in September and is seeking physical damages to real and personal property, market value losses, as well as punitive damages. The case will be heard in the tribe’s district court with a jury composed of Pawnee Nation members.
By Gina Coplon-Newfield and Maggie Newsham for Join The FIght – States across the U.S. have been introducing legislation that would punish people for switching to electric vehicles. Since the start of 2017, six states (Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana) have introduced legislation that would require EV owners to pay a fee of up to $180 a year. Sadly, this isn’t the first time people have been penalized for driving green. Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Idaho, Georgia, and Michigan have all implemented yearly fees on electric and hybrid vehicles that vary from $50 to $300 per driver per year. Arizona’s and Arkansas’ respective Department of Transportations are also suggesting legislators cast a fee for EV ownership. Georgia, formerly the state with the second most EV sales, used to offer a tax credit of up to $5,000, but replaced the program with a $200 yearly fee that led to an 80 percent drop in EV sales.
By Nina Chestney for Reuters – The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade.
By Derek Royden for Nation of Change – At the best of times, Mexico is barely on the radar of its wealthier NAFTA partners, a trend that has continued even as the new American President denigrated the country and its people over the past year. While millions marched in the United States and throughout the world to show their outrage at the election of a wannabe strongman and chauvinist who reportedly called a breast-feeding woman “disgusting”, Mexico was seeing its largest protests since 43 students from a rural teaching college went missing in 2014. These protests are receiving almost no coverage in the mainstream media in either the United States or Canada.
By Richard Luscombe for The Guardian – At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks it’s become a centre of opposition A north Florida river that attracted the state’s first tourists a century before Walt Disney’s famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515-mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling America’s next Standing Rock. One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to cure anything from marital strife to gout.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin voted not to renew an easement for a major oil and gas pipeline that passes through its reservation. In the wake of the successful protest against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, this decision is the latest example of Native American tribes using sovereignty rights to oppose fossil fuel projects. The Bad River tribal council voted unanimously in early January to revoke rights-of-way that pass through the roughly 200-square-mile reservation and the decision could prove difficult to overturn. Pipeline companies often take ownership of private land through the use of eminent domain.
By Sharon Kelly for Desmog Blog – Fueling U.S. Forward, an oil industry PR group, has spent the second half of 2016 running an on-the-ground campaign targeting African-American communities and spreading a message focused on energy prices, a front-page New York Times investigation reported on January 5. The organization’s tactics included sponsoring a Richmond, VA gospel show where a few lucky families could win up to $250 off their household energy bills — though the music was paused mid-concert for a panel discussion about fossil fuels. “[A Fueling U.S. Forward rep] discussed what high energy costs could mean for households in Richmond, which has a large African-American population,” Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi wrote.
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – During his confirmation hearing, former Exxon Mobil CEO and nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, refused to answer questions about what the fossil fuel corporation knew about climate change. He also refused to talk about Exxon Mobil’s funding of outside organizations in order to create doubt about climate science. Environmental groups are terribly alarmed by the prospect of having Tillerson at the helm of the United States State Department, especially as the threat of climate disruption caused by humans intensifies. Activists organized a “Reject Rex” campaign that includes protests at Tillerson’s confirmation hearing. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine asked Tillerson about journalism…
By Bill McKibben for The Guardian – In one of the futile demonstrations that marked the run-up to the Iraq war, I saw a woman with a sign that read “How Did Our Oil End Up Under Their Sand?” In nine words she managed to sum up a great deal of American foreign policy, back at least as far as the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran and helped toss the Middle East into its still-boiling cauldron. If the Senate approves Rex Tillerson after his testimony on Wednesday, they’ll be continuing in that inglorious tradition – in fact, they’ll be taking it to a new height, and cutting out the diplomats who have traditionally played the middleman role.
By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – “Rex Tillerson seems determined to run US foreign policy like he ran Exxon: deny, evade, and even lie, in order to defend power and certainly without regard to any ‘moral compass’. “The first morning of Rex Tillerson’s testimony showed that Rex Tillerson’s 41 years at ExxonMobil have prepared him for one thing only: to be CEO of ExxonMobil. Tillerson filibustered, dodged, and floundered through questions about Aleppo, Russia, and other imminent global threats. He appears to have lied under oath about Exxon’s lobbying against Russian sanctions. The Boy Scouts should demand that Tillerson return his Honesty Badge.
By Kim Brown for The Real News Network. During the past week, protests took place throughout Mexico in reaction to a 20% price increase for gasoline. The protests have so far resulted in four deaths and the arrests of over 700 people. Also, over 300 stores are said to have been looted throughout the country. The gasoline price increase is part of a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to eliminate subsidies in the wake of the partial privatization of the country’s oil industry. On Wednesday, President Peña Nieto vowed to continue with the price increases despite the protests. Well, joining us today from Mexico City to analyze the situation in Mexico, we’re joined by John Ackerman. John is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.