Air pollution now directly affects 99% of the world

April 8, 2022 by  
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Nearly everybody in the world is breathing in air pollution, says the United Nations. On Monday, the U.N. health agency World Health Organization (WHO) updated its database on air quality. The update provided data on the air quality of over 6,000 cities, towns and villages worldwide. Data revealed that 99% of the world breathes air polluted at levels above WHO’s air quality standards. This pollution exposes everyone to a higher risk of respiratory conditions. Global air is congested with particles that can penetrate deeply into the lungs and enter the bloodstream. Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asian, and African regions experience the poorest air quality. The data and  several   other   reports  emphasize that developing countries and marginalized communities are the most affected by this pollution. Related: Research links air pollution and autoimmune diseases “After surviving a pandemic , it is unacceptable to still have 7 million preventable deaths and countless preventable lost years of good health due to air pollution,” said Dr. Maria Neira, head of WHO’s department of environment, climate change, and health. “Yet too many investments are still being sunk into a polluted environment rather than in clean, healthy air.” Previously, WHO only considered PM2.5 and PM10 particles in its pollution analysis. In its latest analysis, the agency included nitrogen dioxide measurements. With the highest amounts of nitrogen coming from fossil fuel burning, urban areas experienced the most concentrated NO2. Exposure to NO2 pollution increases the risk for asthma and other respiratory conditions.  For highly polluted regions like the eastern Mediterranean, transportation, agriculture and industrial waste burning contribute heavily to emissions. Natural sources such as dust also contribute to pollution . Additional areas affected include India, which had the highest rates of PM10, and China, which topped the list of countries with the most PM2.5. “Particulate matter, especially PM2.5, is capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the bloodstream, causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular (stroke) and respiratory impacts,” WHO said. “There is emerging evidence that particulate matter impacts other organs and causes other diseases as well.” The agency says the world must urgently shift from fossil fuels to address the situation. Unless action is taken, respiratory conditions will increasingly impact millions of lives. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pexels

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Air pollution now directly affects 99% of the world

Are Europe’s leading banks flouting net-zero pledges?

February 23, 2022 by  
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A new analysis reveals Net Zero Banking Alliance members funneled $33 billion towards expanding oil and gas production over the past year, but the banks insist they are working to reduce their exposure to fossil fuels.

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Are Europe’s leading banks flouting net-zero pledges?

Moore’s Law is our ‘secret weapon’ for a sustainable civilization

February 3, 2022 by  
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Renewable energy can take advantage of this huge increase in computing power, along with artificial intelligence (AI), robotic deployment, and automation, in a way that fossil fuels cannot.

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Moore’s Law is our ‘secret weapon’ for a sustainable civilization

Will the Great Resignation also lift up food and ag workers?

February 3, 2022 by  
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Strikes, unions and walkouts: Food workers are paving their own path.

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Will the Great Resignation also lift up food and ag workers?

Indigenous leaders hold Ecuador accountable for oil spill

February 2, 2022 by  
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Indigenous groups in Ecuador have confronted the government and oil investors to demand justice. On Tuesday, Indigenous leaders and the regional pan-Amazon Indigenous organization protested outside Ecuador’s Annual Conference for Oil and Energy (ENAEP). In response to the Amazon oil spill on Jan. 28, the group called on officials to help those affected and end new drilling projects. “The impact of this spill has left the Amazon in a critical situation. We want territories free of resource extraction. It has caused so much damage to our territories, it is killing people. We call for climate justice,” Nemo Andy Guiquita, a Waorani Indigenous leader and Coordinator of Women and Health for CONFENIAE, said . Related: These blue flags celebrate the Indigenous First Nations people ENAEP is the Ecuadorian government’s effort to attract oil investments. The government plans to double oil production by expanding extraction and exploring new territories. Indigenous groups strongly oppose this endeavor. The government has advanced its explorations into Indigenous territories and the Amazon rainforest, areas protected by law. Biodiversity hotspots such as the Yasuní National Park have not been spared either. The Jan. 28 oil spill loomed over Tuesday’s conference. After the OCP pipeline burst and spilled crude oil into Coca Cayambe National Park, rivers turned black from pollution . The oil reached the Coca River, affecting the primary water source for thousands of Kichwa Indigenous people downstream. “We are here, again. Behind these walls are people who think there is no life,” Gregorio Mirabal, Executive Coordinator of the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), told reporters. “It hasn’t even been 100 days since COP26 , where all the presidents promised to defend the rights of nature and human rights. And yet, here they are, already negotiating our rights. Right now our rights are under negotiation and the rights of our children are at stake!” Sources report that no speakers at ENAEP acknowledged the recent oil spill. In response to continued oil projects, Leonidas Iza, Executive Coordinator of Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), said, “As long as collective rights and consent are not respected, there is a liability. We tell international investors that do not respect our communities that we have in fact won and secured several legal cases against the oil industry.” Iza added, “About the oil spill – the government did not guarantee our rights. We call on the president to respect his own words and the agreements signed with environmental groups before he became president.” Via Amazon Watch Lead image via Ceibo Alliance

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Indigenous leaders hold Ecuador accountable for oil spill

Climate change lawsuit to hold oil companies accountable

January 27, 2022 by  
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Recently, a Virginia federal appeals court heard a case regarding the role of fossil fuel companies in driving climate change . Major fossil fuel companies face several charges from cities and municipalities across the country. Litigation focuses on the fossil fuel industry’s false and misleading advertisements about fossil fuels’ effect on climate change. The case in question was filed by the City of Baltimore against some of the world’s leading oil companies. Baltimore city government officials want oil companies to pay for their direct contributions to climate change. In Baltimore, citizens have suffered the devastating effects associated with climate change. The city has also lost millions of dollars in damages caused by floods and heatwaves. Expensive infrastructure upgrades have also become necessary to deal with heatwaves. Related: Rihanna donates $15 million to climate justice Although many cases on the same subject have been filed across the country, many have failed to gain traction. Fossil fuel companies often block state attempts by arguing that climate change cases go beyond state jurisdiction. The Supreme Court in Baltimore considered the matter last year before handing it over to the federal appeals court. Tuesday’s hearing will affect several lawsuits filed by counties and cities in the Fourth Circuit. The ruling could establish precedence for other cases filed against leading oil companies across the U.S. As these cases progress, critics are attempting to shut down the action. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, state courts cannot hear a case on climate change since it is a global phenomenon. “State courts are not positioned to decide who, if anyone, is to be legally accountable for climate change, how energy policies should change to address it, and how local mitigation projects should be funded,” The National Association of Manufacturers wrote in a brief. However, Karen Sokol, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans, dismisses this argument. Sokol argues that the case in Baltimore focuses on state laws meant to protect the public from misleading marketing rather than on climate change. Via NPR Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate change lawsuit to hold oil companies accountable

ExxonMobil plays dirty to deny role in the climate crisis

January 19, 2022 by  
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ExxonMobil has turned to intimidation in attempts to stop its critics from taking legal action. The giant oil company is trying to use an unusual Texas law to target critics outside the state. Exxon has asked the Texas Supreme Court to allow it to use rule 202 to take on California municipal officials.   The move is in response to these California officials filing lawsuits against Exxon for its role in the climate crisis . Eight California cities and counties have accused the company of misrepresenting evidence to downplay the effects of climate change. The lawsuits claim Exxon even misrepresented evidence even from  its own scientists  about global warming. Related: New environmental racism scorecard calls out ExxonMobil The California lawsuits seek compensation from the company to address damages caused by wildfires , floods and other extreme weather events. Exxon claims that this infringes on its first amendment rights and that it will use rule 202 to demand justice from its accusers. “The potential defendants’ lawfare is aimed at chilling the speech of not just ExxonMobil, but of other prominent members of the Texas energy sector on issues of public debate, in this case, climate change,” the company claimed in its petition. Under rule 202, corporations are allowed to search for incriminating evidence, question individuals under oath and access documents. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has even written to the state’s all-Republican Supreme Court in support of Exxon’s request. Abbott accuses the California litigants of undermining the rights of Texan companies. “When out-of-state officials try to project their power across our border, as respondents have done by broadly targeting the speech of an industry crucial to Texas, they cannot use personal jurisdiction to scamper out of our courts and retreat across state lines,” Abbott wrote. Climate experts say that the move seeks to intimidate those who speak out against ExxonMobil and instill fear in anyone who wants to litigate against it. Via The Guardian Lead image via Mike Mozart

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ExxonMobil plays dirty to deny role in the climate crisis

5 ways to simultaneously improve living standards and limit global warming

December 28, 2021 by  
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We need to find new ways to produce everyday goods, many of which have been built on the back of fossil fuels.

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5 ways to simultaneously improve living standards and limit global warming

Following COP26, it’s clear the commitment of The Climate Pledge is more urgent than ever

December 28, 2021 by  
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Sponsored: Climate action at scale could be the most significant economic transformation in human history and companies are integral to the progress.

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Following COP26, it’s clear the commitment of The Climate Pledge is more urgent than ever

Red Sea oil tanker could cause eco-catastrophe any second now

October 12, 2021 by  
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The U.N., the government of  Yemen  and Houthi rebels have been in talks about how to handle the FSO Safer. Meanwhile, the enormous floating oil storage vessel remains abandoned in the Red Sea, threatening a massive oil leak. The FSO Safer is carrying about 1.1 million barrels of crude  oil  — four times the amount released by the Exxon Valdez in the 1989 catastrophe in Alaska. The vessel has been sitting and deteriorating off the Yemeni coast since it was moored there in 2017. A new modeling study published Monday in the journal Nature Sustainability indicates that the longer it stays, the likelier a spill will be. And with massive consequences. Related: Huntington Beach oil spill destroys wildlife habitat According to the model, half the oil would evaporate at sea within 24 hours. The rest would float toward Yemen’s western coastline , taking 6-10 days to make landfall. A spill would threaten about two-thirds to more than three-quarters of Yemen’s fisheries within a week and nearly ruin the fisheries within three weeks. Depending on the season and the extent of the spill, between 5.7 and 8.4 million people could run short on food. As the oil continues to spread, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti could also feel the oily impact of environmental havoc. A spill will crank up oil prices by as much as 80%. Up to 8 million Yemenis who rely on fuel for their water pumps could lose access to running  water . The FSO Safer is 4.8 nautical miles off Yemen’s coast. According to  Greenpeace , no maintenance has been done on the vessel since 2014, which is probably why its hull is rotting. Only seven crew members are currently aboard. Around the world, the $14 trillion  shipping  industry has a worsening track record of abandoning ships. Last year the number of abandoned ships more than doubled to 85. Often seafarers are stranded with the ships, their wages unpaid and with no way to get home. Via The Guardian , Wall Street Journal and Greenpeace

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