Earth911 Podcast: Stephen Crolius on Russian Aggression and Accelerating Renewable Energy

April 29, 2022 by  
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Carbon Neutral Consulting’s Stephen Crolius returns to Sustainability in Your Ear to discuss the impact… The post Earth911 Podcast: Stephen Crolius on Russian Aggression and Accelerating Renewable Energy appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Podcast: Stephen Crolius on Russian Aggression and Accelerating Renewable Energy

A win for Honolulu in big oil climate change lawsuit

March 15, 2022 by  
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It’s Honolulu versus big  oil . And the Hawaiian capital is winning. In a recent effort to hold oil companies accountable for global warming, the city and county of Honolulu just overcame a major legal barrier. Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree ruled in Honolulu’s favor as Sunoco, Chevron,  ExxonMobil  and others tried to dismiss the lawsuit. Honolulu is one step closer to getting big oil to the stand. “This is an unprecedented case for any court, let alone a state court trial judge,” Crabtree wrote in his ruling, as reported by Honolulu Civil Beat. Related: Reports detail Canadian oil company’s crimes in Africa Back in 2020, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply filed the case. Plaintiffs say that the giant  fossil fuel  industry has long deceived the public about climate change and discredited climate science. While big oil takes no responsibility, the public pays the price, according to the lawsuit. Rising sea levels will harm Oahu, causing flooding, erosion, extreme weather and beach loss. Fish and coral reefs are in danger of dying. Plaintiffs argue that it was the defendants’ duty to disclose information tying fossil fuel to climate-related impact on Oahu. Fossil fuel companies claim this should be a federal legal matter since the plaintiffs wanted to regulate global fossil fuel emissions. But Crabtree wrote, “As this court understands it, Plaintiffs do not ask for damages for all effects of  climate change ; rather, they seek damages primarily for the effects of climate change allegedly caused by Defendants’ breach of long-recognized duties.” Honolulu  is not alone in suing oil companies over climate change. However, among U.S. judges, Crabtree is the first to have ruled to reject an argument from fossil fuel companies. “On behalf of Honolulu’s  taxpayers , we look forward to the opportunity to present our evidence at trial,” Honolulu’s chief climate change officer Matthew Gonser said in a statement. “We are confident in the strength of our case.” Via Honolulu Civil Beat Lead image via Pexels

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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

Will Biden keep his oil promises after COP26?

November 16, 2021 by  
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Now that the world leaders have left the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, citizens around the world are wondering if they will keep their promises to cut carbon  emissions . As for U.S. President Biden, the verdict is mixed. He is trying to protect some of the world’s most sacred and important Indigenous sites at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon with a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing. On the other hand, critics say he could do more to halt a whopper of an oil sale in the Gulf of Mexico. Chaco Canyon was a cultural hub for  Pueblo  peoples from about 850 to 1250 A.D. The landscape still holds outstanding remains of buildings used for homes, business, astronomy and ceremonies. The Biden administration proposed a 20-year moratorium on any new oil and gas leasing within 10 miles of the  Chaco Culture National Historical Park , which is a National Park Service unit. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land “Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked, and thrived in that high  desert  community,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, as reported by Huff Post. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native American Cabinet secretary. “Now is the time to consider more enduring protections for the living landscape that is Chaco, so that we can pass on this rich cultural legacy to future generations.” Chaco is not safe yet. The Interior Department will pause new leasing for two years while it assesses  environmental  factors and considers public comments. Meanwhile, drillers are rubbing their hands together in eager anticipation of a ridiculously big area of the Gulf of Mexico the Department of the Interior is opening for lease sales. The 80 million acres could produce over a billion barrels of  oil  and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The  Biden  administration has protested this enormous invasion of the seabed. But in June, a federal judge in Louisiana managed to strike down Biden’s executive order to halt new gas and oil leases in federal waters and lands. Critics suggest that Biden could fight harder if he were willing to take more political and legal risks. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pexels

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Will Biden keep his oil promises after COP26?

60% of Americans blame fossil fuel companies for climate change

October 27, 2021 by  
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A recent poll found that 60% of Americans believe gas and oil companies are to blame for the climate crisis . The poll, commissioned by The Guardian, Vice News and Covering Climate Now, sought Americans’ views on the climate issue. The poll asked Americans from different social, political and ethnic groups their opinion on specific climate issues. According to the poll results released on Tuesday, the U.S. remains divided on the climate question. Some believe that the climate crisis is a real emergency that should be addressed, while others are still unsure about the matter. Despite a consensus among scientists that humans are causing the climate crisis, Americans have been misled for a long time by gas and oil companies to believe otherwise. Related: 99.9% of scientists agree climate crisis is caused by humans A recent study published in Nature found that 99.9% of scientists globally agree that the climate crisis is caused by burning fossil fuels . They also concur that climate change is caused by humans. However, due to years of false advertisements by gas and oil companies, many Americans believe there is a lack of consensus in the scientific community. With climate change being viewed politically rather than scientifically, Americans remain divided over it. The recent poll found that 89% of Democrats accept the scientific basis for climate change, while only 42% of Republicans agree that global warming exists. Among the 1,000 American adults surveyed, 70% agree that global warming is happening, while over 60% say that oil and gas companies are responsible for it. The findings come at a time when gas and oil companies are under pressure to pay for the damages caused by the industry. Several states and municipalities have opened lawsuits demanding pay from gas and oil companies. In the poll, 60% of respondents say that the industry should pay to improve infrastructure and make it resilient against climate change. More than 80% of Democrats agree that global warming exists and point an accusing finger at gas and oil companies directly. This percentage is even higher among people of color and the youth. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Oil and meat producing countries attempt to weaken UN report

October 22, 2021 by  
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Greenpeace investigative team announced this week that oil, coal, beef and animal feed producing countries have been lobbying to tone down a major United Nations climate report. According to Greenpeace, fossil fuel producers, including Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan and Iran, want the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to not recommend phasing out fossil fuels. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members second that. And then there are the meat and dairy kingpins like Brazil and Argentina, who don’t appreciate the UN connecting plant-based diets with climate benefits. In fact, the draft report of the IPCC working group had more than 32,000 comments by corporations, governments and other concerned parties, according to Greenpeace. Related: Leaked report details what must be done to stop climate change “These comments show the tactics some countries are willing to adopt to obstruct and delay action to cut emissions,” said Simon Lewis, professor of global change science at University College London, as reported by Unearthed. “Like most scientists, I’m uncomfortable with leaks of draft reports, as in an ideal world the scientists writing these reports should be able to do their job in peace. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and with emissions still increasing, the stakes couldn’t be higher.” So, do these comments have any weight? Not necessarily. According to Mark Maslin, an earth system science professor at University College London, countries always like to lobby for their interests on IPCC climate change reports. “But it has no effect on the reports,” said Maslin, as reported by The Guardian. “Scientists, social scientists and economists that work on these reports are led by the evidence and what is best for the world and all of its peoples. This is why the public and politicians all around the world trust scientists and the IPCC reports as they know they will not be influenced by petty politics.” Let’s hope he’s right. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Los Angeles County to begin phasing out oil and gas drilling

September 17, 2021 by  
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When people think of  Los Angeles , celebrities and fast cars probably come to mind before oil and gas drilling. But the county has a surprising number of active and abandoned wells. On Wednesday, Los Angeles County supervisors said no more drilling. As County Supervisor Janice Hahn put it, the plan is “a framework for how we transition from dirty  fossil fuels  to clean energy and make sure we bring our labor partners with us.” L.A. County currently has 1,046 active oil wells, 637 idle wells and 2,731 abandoned wells. The supervisors voted to start a program that will make sure the wells are properly closed and the land cleaned up. The county will also expand a task force to help fossil fuel workers transition to another kind of employment. Related: Big Oil is in big trouble as courts, shareholders demand accountability “The goal is to provide direction to county departments to begin addressing the variety of issues, environmental and climate impacts created by these active and inactive  oil  and gas wells,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, as reported by EcoWatch. Mitchell’s district includes Inglewood Oil Field, one of the country’s largest urban oil fields. Owned by Sentinel Peak Resources, Inglewood covers 1,000 acres and contains more than half the gas and oil wells found in L.A. County’s unincorporated area. In the last decade, Inglewood produced between 2.5 million and 3.1 million barrels of oil per year. Closing Inglewood Oil Field will probably delight many locals and help them breathe deeply again. Residents of nearby Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills and View Park have been complaining of bad smells and worrying about the oil field’s impact on their  health  for years. Some have seen oil bubbling up in sidewalk cracks. “There are tens of thousands of people who live in very close proximity to oil wells, 73% of whom are people of color,” said Mitchell. “So, for me, it really is an  equity issue .” Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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Stop Line 3 protests continue at Minnesota capitol

August 27, 2021 by  
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About 2,000 demonstrators rallied at the  Minnesota  State Capitol on Wednesday as part of a week of action called “Treaties Not Tar Sands.” The movement is reacting to Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, which could carry 750,000 barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin every day. Indigenous people and environmentalists led the protest. The pipeline violates treaty rights and endangers clean water, say the protestors. Some Indigenous leaders walked more than 250 miles of the pipeline’s route to attend the Saint Paul rally. Related: Enbridge Line 3 pipeline protestors brutally arrested “We’re here in ceremony. We’re here to assert our treaty rights and our right to exist and our right to clean  water ,” Nancy Beaulieu, a founder of the Resilient Indigenous Sisters Engaging Coalition, said Wednesday, as reported by Common Dreams. “Line 3 violates our treaty and all the treaties along the Mississippi because the water flows. This is a people’s problem, this is not just a Native issue here.” Wednesday’s rally came in response to the Minnesota Supreme Court upholding state regulators’ decision to let Enbridge continue  construction . Protestors are running out of legal options to halt the project. The  pipeline  first won approval during the Trump administration. But Biden’s Justice Department backed it, too, much to the horror of opponents. Minnesota’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, has also supported the Line 3 project. Line 3 refers to replacing 300 plus miles of existing pipeline. The entire system runs 1,097 miles. Environmentalists are also worried about  climate  impact. One estimate predicts that the Line 3 project will be as detrimental as building 50 new coal-fired power plants. “This pipeline’s dangerous effects on the environment, surrounding communities, and Tribal groups will be irreversible,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “The Biden administration must immediately suspend Line 3’s  Clean Water Act  permit and conduct a full environmental impact statement.” Via Common Dreams Lead image via Fibonacci Blue

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White House pushes oil amid code red climate crisis

August 16, 2021 by  
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President Joe  Biden , that supposed proponent of green infrastructure, surprised many environmentally conscious folks on Wednesday. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement asking for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to pump more oil. Why? In a classic wish for instant gratification, Biden’s White House is choosing the short-term goal of keeping  gas  prices down over the long-term goal of an inhabitable planet. Related: It’s code red for Earth, says new UN study “Higher gasoline costs, if left unchecked, risk harming the ongoing global recovery,” Sullivan’s statement read, in part. “The price of crude  oil  has been higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the pandemic.” So, can you increase  fossil fuel  production while simultaneously cutting emissions? Uh, no. Expanding fossil fuel capacity is not part of any plan to reach net zero by 2050. We can’t have it both ways. But the problem is that it’s hard to focus on long-term planet goals when so many Americans are a few hundred bucks away from disaster. In May, the national average gas price increased to over three dollars per gallon for the first time since 2014. As gas prices rise, households have less  money  to spend on other useful things, like food and bills. Sarah Hunt, CEO of the Joseph Rainey Center for Public Policy, tweeted that Biden’s OPEC request is an example of the fact that “we are not going to choose a habitable planet tomorrow over quality of life today.” In another tweet, she said, “People want cheap  energy  more than they want clean energy. People don’t want cheap energy produced in their backyard.” Biden also managed to irritate conservatives, who want energy jobs in the  U.S.  rather than increasing reliance on overseas fossil fuels. According to Hunt, the only answer “is to innovate for better energy with fewer externalities.”  Via The Guardian , Huff Post Lead image via Pixabay

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Exxon lobbyist’s gaffes expose attempts to block climate policies

July 6, 2021 by  
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Everybody says things in private they wouldn’t want publicly broadcast. But when you’re in a very public role, you need to watch what you say carefully, as Exxon Mobil lobbyist Keith McCoy was reminded this week when his indiscreet comments went viral. Greenpeace released video clips of McCoy talking to undercover activists posing as job recruiters. McCoy discussed his lobbying strategies, such as working with “shadow groups” and trying to influence senators to oppose climate elements of President Biden’s infrastructure overhaul. He boasted that he talked to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s office every week, attempting to block policies that would hurt Exxon. Realted: Exxon’s leaked documents reveal devastating pollution plan The oil giant, of course, is trying to distance itself from McCoy’s embarrassing comments. Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, released a statement saying that McCoy’s words do not represent Exxon’s views. “We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials,” he said. The company has reiterated that it really, truly supports the Paris climate agreement . McCoy, too, is trying to distance himself from, well, himself. He wrote on LinkedIn, “I am deeply embarrassed by my comments and that I allowed myself to fall for Greenpeace’s deception. My statements clearly do not represent ExxonMobil’s positions on important public policy issues.” The unfortunate comments come at a perfect time to be used against Exxon in upcoming congressional hearings about oil companies and climate change . “We demand Congress immediately investigate Exxon and fossil fuel companies’ climate crimes, and make polluters pay for their destruction,” said Lindsay Meiman of the climate activist group 350.org, as reported by NPR . Representative Ro Khanna chairs the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on the Environment. He said that he will hold a hearing this coming fall regarding “climate disinformation & the coordinated attack on scientific truth among polluters and their lobbyists.” Khanna plans to call Exxon, Chevron and other fossil fuel company CEOs to testify. Via NPR Image via Mike Mozart

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