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

Climate change may drive up Christmas tree prices this year

December 9, 2021 by  
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Thanks to climate change, you will have to dig much deeper in your pocket to buy a real Christmas tree this year. Christmas tree prices have gone up by 10-15% since last year, according to Jeri Seifert, president of the California Christmas Tree Association. The trouble started due to the wildfires and heatwaves earlier this year. Christmas tree farmers in Oregon and California took the hardest hit from the disasters. With Oregon farmers being the largest producer of Christmas trees in the U.S., their predicament has affected the entire country. Usually, the state produces about 40% of Christmas trees bought in the U.S. However, their production this year is much lower due to the heat and fires. Related: London tree rental service solves a Christmas quandary “I had 30% mortality, but every single seedling is damaged without question,” said Tom Norby, a Christmas tree farmer in Oregon. Norby, who is also the president of the Oregon Christmas Tree Growers Association, says that farmers across the state have experienced similar issues. “There are literally fields with hundreds of acres of dead seedlings. Just 100% mortality across the entire field. If you produce a million trees a year, you don’t have time to deal with that,” Norby added. In Oregon, the main killer for the trees was the June heatwave . According to Norby, the trees were largely spared from wildfires, but the heatwave killed most of the young seedlings. “The heat dome came at the absolute worst time. It came when those new seedlings were trying to take root on that fresh soil and push out new shoots, and they just couldn’t compete with that heat,” said Norby. The resulting tree scarcity is driving up this year’s Christmas tree prices. Despite this, California farmers are optimistic to get back on track next year. For Oregon farmers, the supply might be affected for the next decade. Christmas trees take over six years to mature to a harvesting height. If a farm is destroyed, it takes a lot of time to repair the damage. If the trees are exposed to too much heat and not enough moisture, they may suffer sunburns that destroy the tree entirely. “When you lose a plantation, there’s a huge process that goes into regrowing those trees, so it takes many years to recoup,” says Seifert. Via CNN Lead image via Pexels

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Climate change may drive up Christmas tree prices this year

Toxic coal waste threatens biodiverse Alabama delta

December 9, 2021 by  
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At Alabama Power’s Plant Barry, more than 21 million tons of coal ash fill an unlined pond. The Mobile River surrounds this toxic stash on three sides, with wetlands, Mobile Bay and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta close by. Now Alabama Power plans to do a “cap-in-place” disposal method. This means the company would remove water from the pond, pack soil around it, then seal the ash with a combination of crushed rock, artificial turf and plastic.  Alabama  Power says this is enough. Others say that ash is going to leach into the groundwater and beyond. “We’ve got an A-bomb up the  river ,” said local fisherman John Howard, as reported by CNN. “It’s just waiting to happen.” Related: Award-winning Fly-Ash chair uses recycled coal byproduct Environmentalists say the coal ash needs to be excavated and moved away from water systems, a much costlier process than cap-in-place. According to geologist Mark Hutson, coal ash must be permanently isolated from all types of water, including groundwater. To cap-in-place on an Alabama floodplain is a very bad idea. “No (new)  waste  disposal facility would be permitted in this physical location,” he declared, as reported by CNN. Coal ash is the term used to describe what’s left after a utility burns coal. It’s nasty crud that includes non-biodegradable metals like mercury, chromium, lead, cadmium, selenium and arsenic, and it’s linked to health conditions like birth defects, lung disease and cancer. Coal ash is one of the top types of industrial waste in the U.S., and it’s a pain to dispose of. Before the  Clean Air Act  of 1970, things were easier for polluting industries, as they were free to pump coal ash into the air. Since then, the stuff has been piling up in ditches around facilities. Don’t think you’re safe if you live in one of the other 49 states. Hundreds of coal ash sites lurk around the country, according to research done by Earthjustice. Many are close to rivers and flood zones since  coal  plants require a lot of water. Unfortunately, only about 40 of the companies bothered to put a protective liner in place before piling in the coal ash. At least 200 of these sites have already contaminated the nearby groundwater. The Mobile Tensaw Delta is a beautiful area containing bogs, forests and cypress swamps. It’s been called “North America’s Amazon.” As Vaughn Millner of the Alabama Sierra Club pointed out in an opinion piece earlier this year, “In  biodiversity , Alabama can be proud of moving up this year to a number 4 ranking in the US. Unfortunately, this achievement is coupled with the sad ranking of number 3 in the US for the highest number of endangered species, that is, those species at risk of complete extinction forever from the earth. Many of these threatened species are in the Mobile Tensaw Delta.” Via CNN , AL.com Lead image via Pixabay

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Toxic coal waste threatens biodiverse Alabama delta

Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

August 16, 2021 by  
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Aisen Nikolayev, head of the Siberian region Yakutia, declared last Friday a non-working day following heavy smoke from raging forest fires. Nikolayev urged residents to stay at home due to the health risks associated with the smoke.  Yakutia, the largest and coldest region in Russia , has dealt with forest fires on an “unprecedented scale” this year. Residents of Yakutsk, the regional capital, and several other districts were urged to stay at home in a bid to protect them breathing in the heavy smoke. Related: California Dixie fire growing too fast for warning systems Last Thursday, Nikolayev announced that the health risk associated with the smoke necessitated a day off. In a statement via the RIA Novosti news agency, Nikolayev said, “Smoke from the fires has an extremely negative effect on people’s well-being. In order to minimize these consequences today, I signed a decree declaring tomorrow a non-working day for 11 municipalities.” This announcement came with a recommendation that residents spend the day at home. The smoke also caused several flight delays on Thursday at Yakutsk airport due to poor visibility. As the fires worsened, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered firefighting reinforcement. The head of the emergencies ministry also visited Yakutia to oversee firefighting operations. In the vast Siberian region, wildfires have, so far, burned an area of more than 22.7 acres, an area the size of Portugal. NASA has announced that, for the first time in history, satellite images show smoke from the wildfires traveling all the way to the North Pole. Although Russia has not asked for international help in fighting the fire, local firefighters have lamented their lack of equipment and resources to deal with such a massive fire. Additionally, as The Guardian noted in an article about the fires, a 2015 law “allows regions to ignore blazes if the cost of fighting fires outweighs the expected damage.” Critics worry that this “provides cover for authorities to avoid fighting wildfires.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

California couple charged for starting wildfire during gender reveal

July 23, 2021 by  
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Refugio Manuel Jimenez Jr. and Angela Renee Jimenez, a Southern California couple responsible for starting a forest fire last year, have recently been charged with involuntary manslaughter. The couple started the fire after a gender reveal went wrong, sparking a fire that killed a firefighter. The couple now faces both felony and misdemeanor charges. According to an announcement made by San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson, the couple pleaded not guilty to charges involving the El Dorado Fire. The El Dorado Fire started on September 5 last year when the couple and their children and friends ignited a “ smoke -generating pyrotechnic device” to reveal the gender of their new baby. The party, held at El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa, turned tragic when the device ignited nearby grass. Although the party tried to put out the fire using water, they could not handle the quickly spreading flames. Related: Oregon’s Bootleg Fire is creating its own weather When firefighters were called to help, the fire had already spread and was difficult to contain. Charles Morton, a 39-year-old leader of the elite Big Bear Interagency Hotshot Squad, ended up losing his life in the fire. Morton had worked as a firefighter for more than 18 years. The fire also injured 13 other people and led to the destruction of vast tracks of forest land, claiming about 36 square miles in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Hundreds of families were evacuated from the region, and about five homes and 15 other buildings were destroyed. The state of California experienced thousands of fires last year, with El Dorado being just one of the many. Approximately 4% of the state was affected by wildfires fueled by dry conditions and strong winds. Nearly 10,500 buildings were destroyed across the state, with about 33 people losing their lives to wildfires. Via Huffpost Lead image via Pexels

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

July 1, 2021 by  
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The U.S. has long prized personal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of sparkly stuff to set on fire come the Fourth of July. But this year,  fire  chiefs in some cities across the West Coast are saying no to fireworks. Excessively hot and dry conditions plus amateur pyrotechnics equals a terrifying  wildfire  season for western states. Fireworks have started major wildfires in the past, including the 2017 Eagle Creek fire outside Portland, which was started by a 15-year-old boy and burned 50,000 acres. A 2020 gender reveal party in California started a wildfire that killed a firefighter. Related: Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year Portland , Oregon, broke heat records last Monday with a sizzling 116 degrees. In response, the Portland Fire Department has prohibited all fireworks until further notice. Fire departments in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, have banned fireworks through July 9. “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” said Portland fire chief Sara Boone in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national  holiday , but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.” City officials in Yreka,  California , which is only thirty miles from the currently raging Lava Fire, have also banned fireworks until further notice. Some Utah, Washington and Montana towns have banned private fireworks this year. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, canceled its official public fireworks show. Clark County, in southwest Washington state, banned the sale and use of fireworks from June 29 through midnight on the Fourth of July. “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks,” said Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, according to KATU. “We empathize with all who are affected, but we must follow county codes. They are in place to protect the welfare and  safety  of Clark County residents.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Fireworks banned due to heat in parts of western US

Worlds first 3D-printed neighborhood planned for Rancho Mirage, California

July 1, 2021 by  
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Development company Palari Group and construction technology company Mighty Buildings are teaming up to create the world’s first net-zero , 3D-printed neighborhood using robotic automation. Located in Rancho Mirage, California in Coachella Valley, the community will feature 15 homes on a 5-acre parcel of land. The homes will feature solar panels, weather-resistant materials and minimally invasive environmental impacts for eco-friendly homeowners. “We could not be more excited for this groundbreaking collaboration with Palari, and to be a part of the creation of the world’s first 3D-printed zero net energy community,” said Alexey Dubov, co-founder and COO of Mighty Buildings. “This will be the first on-the-ground actualization of our vision for the future of housing — able to be deployed rapidly, affordably, sustainably, and able to augment surrounding communities with a positive dynamic.” The $15 million project will utilize a 3D-printed panelized system developed by Mighty Buildings that helps eliminate 95% of construction waste. Related: Czech Republic’s first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build To improve air quality , the designers are integrating DARWIN by Delos into the homes, an artificial intelligence unit that purifies interior air from pathogens, pollutant particles, odors and allergens. Localized water filtration and circadian lighting provides additional wellness solutions to residents. As for energy, the solar panels generate enough to supply the entire home, with the option to add Tesla Powerwall batteries and EV chargers as well. Highlighting midcentury modern architecture, the individual homes incorporate textured stone walls on the outside, floor-to-ceiling windows and 1,450 square feet worth of living space. There are three bedrooms in each home, along with two bathrooms and a guest house with an additional two bedrooms and one bath. The properties, each of which spans 10,000 square feet in total, also feature swimming pools and decks with options to upgrade with cabanas, hot tubs, firepits or outdoor showers. “We are thrilled to launch this first development of 3D-printed sustainable homes and partner with Mighty buildings to realize our common vision of transforming the way we build homes of the future,” said Basil Starr, founder and CEO of Palari. “3D-printing allows us to build faster, stronger and more efficiently, making it integral to our platform of streamlining home-building process centered on sustainability of construction, materials, and operations.” + Mighty Buildings Images via Mighty Buildings and EYRC Architects

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Worlds first 3D-printed neighborhood planned for Rancho Mirage, California

Worlds first 3D-printed neighborhood planned for Rancho Mirage, California

July 1, 2021 by  
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Development company Palari Group and construction technology company Mighty Buildings are teaming up to create the world’s first net-zero , 3D-printed neighborhood using robotic automation. Located in Rancho Mirage, California in Coachella Valley, the community will feature 15 homes on a 5-acre parcel of land. The homes will feature solar panels, weather-resistant materials and minimally invasive environmental impacts for eco-friendly homeowners. “We could not be more excited for this groundbreaking collaboration with Palari, and to be a part of the creation of the world’s first 3D-printed zero net energy community,” said Alexey Dubov, co-founder and COO of Mighty Buildings. “This will be the first on-the-ground actualization of our vision for the future of housing — able to be deployed rapidly, affordably, sustainably, and able to augment surrounding communities with a positive dynamic.” The $15 million project will utilize a 3D-printed panelized system developed by Mighty Buildings that helps eliminate 95% of construction waste. Related: Czech Republic’s first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build To improve air quality , the designers are integrating DARWIN by Delos into the homes, an artificial intelligence unit that purifies interior air from pathogens, pollutant particles, odors and allergens. Localized water filtration and circadian lighting provides additional wellness solutions to residents. As for energy, the solar panels generate enough to supply the entire home, with the option to add Tesla Powerwall batteries and EV chargers as well. Highlighting midcentury modern architecture, the individual homes incorporate textured stone walls on the outside, floor-to-ceiling windows and 1,450 square feet worth of living space. There are three bedrooms in each home, along with two bathrooms and a guest house with an additional two bedrooms and one bath. The properties, each of which spans 10,000 square feet in total, also feature swimming pools and decks with options to upgrade with cabanas, hot tubs, firepits or outdoor showers. “We are thrilled to launch this first development of 3D-printed sustainable homes and partner with Mighty buildings to realize our common vision of transforming the way we build homes of the future,” said Basil Starr, founder and CEO of Palari. “3D-printing allows us to build faster, stronger and more efficiently, making it integral to our platform of streamlining home-building process centered on sustainability of construction, materials, and operations.” + Mighty Buildings Images via Mighty Buildings and EYRC Architects

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