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Politics and Policy

Big Oil Rallies To Obstruct Accountability

In the face of mounting scrutiny from local, state, and federal officials, fossil fuel companies and their allies are deploying a range of tactics to obstruct ongoing lawsuits and investigations concerning evidence that the industry has misled the public about the harms it knew its products would cause to the climate, environment, and human health. Far-right industry allies with ties to Chevron have mounted an “unprecedented” pressure campaign calling on the Supreme Court to stop a potentially historic climate deception lawsuit against oil majors from going to trial. Republican attorneys general are separately urging the Supreme Court to throw out similar climate fraud lawsuits from five states.

California Regulators Refuse To Enforce New Orphan Well Rules

As two of California’s largest oil and gas companies join by corporate merger, state regulators are declining to apply tough new rules governing the transfer of defunct oil and gas wells, DeSmog has learned. But a growing chorus of California legislators say that nonenforcement stance violates a groundbreaking law they fought to pass just months ago — and they, along with dozens of environmental groups, are demanding that regulators change course. “They’re just ignoring the statute,” Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an interview. “We need the governor to step in and tell the agency to follow the law,” she added

Oil And Gas Leases On Federal Lands In Question

A dozen Democratic lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee want to know if shale drillers could see their oil and gas leases and operations on federal lands suspended amid allegations that the companies may have colluded to drive oil prices up. “Such market manipulation would have enormous impacts on the price of gas paid by working families across the country,” the lawmakers wrote in a July 9 letter to the Department of the Interior. The lawmakers, who include Democratic representatives like Arizona’s Raul Grijalva and California’s Katie Porter, cited evidence that the Federal Trade Commission uncovered during its roughly six-month review of an ultimately successful merger between ExxonMobil and Permian shale giant Pioneer Natural Resources, and class action litigation alleging at least eight major shale producers engaged in antitrust violations.

Inside Big Oil’s Business: Failure On Climate And Profits From War

Oil majors are not on track to hit Paris Agreement climate targets that limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, a new report reveals. Eight fossil fuel giants – Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalEnergies, BP, Eni, Equinor, and ConocoPhillips – are on course to use 30 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget for that 1.5°C goal, according to the Big Oil Reality Check report by nonprofit Oil Change International (OCI). Combined, the oil and gas companies’ extraction plans are consistent with a temperature rise of over 2.4°C, the report found. That level of warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, will reduce food security, risk irreversible loss of ecosystems, and increase heat waves, rainfall, and extreme weather events.

Big Oil Aims To Cash In On Hydrogen Tax Credits With Natural Gas

Less than two years after securing generous subsidies in President Joe Biden’s landmark climate legislation, some of America’s largest oil and gas companies are directing their advocacy toward shaping one of the law’s obscure but potentially lucrative provisions: a tax credit for hydrogen production. The hydrogen tax credit – known among advocates and industry players as “45V” for the section of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that created it – felt at times as if it were the sole focus of the Hydrogen Americas Summit, a two-day industry confab held June 11-12, that wrapped up yesterday in Washington, D.C.

Revealed: Far-Right Links Of Polish Farmer Hunger Strikers

An obscure far-right linked farmers group has risen to prominence in Poland after it was championed by populist politicians ahead of the EU elections, DeSmog can reveal. Orka, a new farmers’ movement that materialised earlier this month, entered Warsaw’s parliament building on May 9 to protest against EU climate plans and Ukrainian food imports. Protesters suspended a 10-day hunger strike last week after winning the attention of Polish President Andrzej Duda, who invited them to talks, and reportedly offered one member a role on his council for agriculture. The protest group was accompanied by the far-right Confederation Party’s Marta Chech, who is running as a candidate in the June 6-9 EU ballot.

Science Denial Group Behind Attacks On Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

More than a quarter of online posts attacking low traffic schemes last year came from a science denial group which campaigns against climate policies. A new report by cross-party think tank Demos found that 27 percent of online posts attacking Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in 2023 were posted by the right-wing Together Declaration. The group, originally set up to oppose COVID-19 policies such as lockdowns and mandatory vaccines, is backed by some of the UK’s most prominent climate science deniers, including blogger Ben Pile, Reform UK candidate Howard Cox, and UKIP leader Lois Perry.

Landmark Study Reveals Gas Stove Emissions Boost Childhood Asthma

People who use gas or propane stoves in their homes are regularly exposed to harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a new study shows. The household appliances emit pollutants that can be linked to approximately 200,000 current cases of childhood asthma, with 25 percent of those cases tied to nitrogen dioxide alone. The study, published Friday in Science Advances, represents the first time researchers have quantified the link between gas stoves and asthma from NO2 exposures inside homes. “I didn’t expect to see pollutant concentrations breach health benchmarks in bedrooms within an hour of gas stove use, and stay there for hours after the stove is turned off,” Rob Jackson, a professor at Stanford University and the lead scientist on the study, said in a statement.
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