Following two tension-filled weeks at the UN climate talks in Poland, countries finally agreed on the operating manual to implement the Paris Agreement. While this rulebook is essential to kick-start the agreement in 2020, campaigners and scientists have warned of a stark disconnect between the urgency to prevent climate breakdown and the failed opportunity for radical action.
The rulebook covers a wide range of issues such as how countries should report their greenhouse gas emission reductions and who should pay what to help developing countries leapfrog fossil fuels and develop sustainably.
Given the elections of climate deniers Donald Trump in the US and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and strong obstruction from powerful oil and gas exporting countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia, the talks started in Katowice with low expectations.Tags: COP24KatowiceUN climate talksParis Agreementrulebook
What America Still Stands to Lose as Zinke Leaves Interior and Ex-Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt Stands by
With the resignation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, environmental and public lands advocates are asking: Will the new leader be any better for the environment than the previous one? And from their perspective, the answer is a resounding, “No.”
David Bernhardt, the current Deputy Interior Secretary, a former oil industry lobbyist, is likely to become Acting Secretary when Zinke leaves at the end of the year. He shares the same types of conflicts of interest his boss does. The Western Values Project (WVP), a pro-public lands group, has documented Bernhardt’s many conflicts, illustrating how his work helps special interest groups — including some of his former clients — in advancing agendas that often undermine protections for public lands and wildlife.Tags: Ryan ZinkeDavid BernhardtU.S. Department of InteriorBears Ears National MonumentGrand Staircase-Escalante National MonumentTrump Administration
A newly released podcast, Drilled, “investigates the crime of the century — the creation of climate denial.”
The eight part series takes listeners back in time to the inception of climate change denial. It tells the story of the special interests that launched campaigns against evolving climate science and the momentum created by this science, starting in the late 1980s and sustained through the 2000s.
Guided by documents uncovered by reporters, academics, and activists in recent years, Drilled exposes the campaign of climate denial as a successful public relations endeavor undertaken by the fossil fuel industry and allies.Tags: climate liabilityclimate science denial#ExxonKnewKert DaviesWillie SoonFred Palmerglobal climate coalition#ShellKnew
During the holiday season, people often drink toasts to health. There’s something more we can do to ensure that we and others will enjoy good health now and into the future: combat climate change.
“Climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, and tackling it could be our greatest health opportunity,” according to the medical journal The Lancet.
The Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, by 150 experts from 27 academic institutions and intergovernmental organizations, including the World Health Organization and the World Bank, is blunt: “A rapidly changing climate has dire implications for every aspect of human life, exposing vulnerable populations to extremes of weather, altering patterns of infectious disease, and compromising food security, safe drinking water and clean air.”Tags: 1.5 degree climate changepublic healthThe LancetParis AgreementWorld Health Organization
As Congress debates what, if anything, to do with the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit, the oil industry is fighting to kill the popular incentive, which is hitting some key milestones in the program.
In the final weeks of the current legislative session (and before Democrats retake control of the House), many groups with financial and other ties to Koch Industries are ramping up efforts to fight any expansion of the EV tax credit program, while throwing a Hail Mary attempt to cancel the tax incentive entirely.Tags: kochvscleankoch industrieselectric vehiclesEV tax creditManhattan Institutepacific research institute
For most of us, the UN climate talks — or COP24 — are drawing to a close and home is in sight.
That’s probably not the case for hundreds of negotiators who still have a lot to sort out before they can agree on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement, and are likely to work through the night and possibly beyond to do so.
I spent two weeks running around the long corridors of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, striving to make sense of what this was all about.Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowice
The annual UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, are drawing to a close. But over the conference’s two weeks, major polluters have been given the platform to promote a climate-friendly image at more than 30 events, new analysis by NGO Climate Tracker reveals.
Negotiators are in the coal mining town of Katowice, Poland, to try and establish a rulebook to guide countries’ implementation of the landmark Paris climate change agreement. Around 22,000 delegates are present at the conference, known as COP24.
Companies have taken advantage of having so many climate specialists in one place to promote their climate-friendly activities, even if their business model remains reliant on polluting practices.Tags: COP24
Permit Hearing for Taiwanese Plastic Plant in Louisiana Turns into a Referendum on Environmental Racism
“You don’t give a shit about brown and black people,” Louisiana activist Cherri Foytlin told government officials during a heated public permit hearing for a proposed plastics plant in St. James Parish. The parish is a predominately African-American community on the banks of the Mississippi River and has undergone rapid industrialization in recent years.
“This is a dog-and-pony show and everybody in this room knows it,” she asserted, after the hearing officer cut off the sound system while Foytlin was giving her public comments. The officer, O.C. Smith, attorney for the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management, did this declaring that the hearing was no longer on the record.Tags: cancer alleyCherri FoytlinSt. James ParishLouisiana Department of Natural ResourcesU.S. Army Corps of EngineersFormosapetrochemical development
JSW, the coal company sponsoring the UN climate negotiations in Poland, has a plan to revive the coal industry: rename coal.
Daniel Ozon, CEO of JSW, believes that coking coal has been tainted by association with thermal coal, and that investors are backing away as a result.
But he thinks a “fancy new name” for coking coal could help.Tags: COP24UNFCCC climate conferencecoalPoland
Should fossil fuel companies that knew their products contributed to climate change for nearly 40 years and did nothing about it now be allowed to have their say inside the UN climate talks?
For the International Trade Emissions Associations (IETA), a business lobby comprised of some of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers and greenhouse gas emitters such as BP, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Eni, Total and Shell, the answer is yes.
“Fundamentally,” the IETA writes, “we believe that our businesses should be part of the climate negotiations — because we intend to be part of the solution”.Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowicecorporate captureCarbon Markets
A startling new report on climate change from the Trump administration makes clear that if the U.S. government and other major polluters don't do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the resulting climate impacts will be dramatic and costly, both to the U.S. economy and the long-term livability of the planet.
These dire warnings are nothing new, but they come at a time when the Democratic party appears potentially willing to invest serious political capital on the issue of climate change. A new generation of Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshly elected New York representative, are pushing the old guard towards a “Green New Deal.”
But if Dems want that effort to succeed, they have some work to do first.Tags: green new dealCongressional investigationScott PruittTrump AdministrationRyan ZinkeParis Agreement
'Gas is Not a Solution to Climate Change’: Activists Interrupt Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Event at UN Climate Talks
Activists interrupted a keynote address by a gas industry lobbyist to demand the European Union do more to prove itself as a climate leader, and stem the flow of gas across the continent.
Around 30 activists conducted a “symbolic walk out” during a talk by Marco Alvera, president of lobby group GasNaturally. The campaigners rose from their seats as Alvera declared that the industry “fully supports the Paris Agreement” and said there was an opportunity for the gas industry to “capitalise” as other fossil fuels are phased out.Tags: COP24
As Canadian oil-by-rail numbers reach record new volumes (and expected to rise), Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) announced recently that it would no longer list shipping the hazardous material by rail as a top safety concern.
Here's why that's bad news for the communities in both Canada and the U.S. where this influx of oil train traffic will pass.Tags: Bomb TrainsCanada tar sands oiloil by railRachel Notleyjustin trudeaualberta tar sands
Countries that Blocked 'Welcoming' of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining
Dozens of delegates from four countries that forced the UN climate negotiations to weaken language around the acceptance of a major climate science report have ties to the oil, gas and mining industries.
At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.
On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.Tags: COP24
Controversial Australian Climate Science Denier Cardinal George Pell Removed from Vatican Advisory Group
Australian Cardinal George Pell has been removed from his role as one of the Vatican's key advisors as Pope Francis moves to distance himself from the controversial figure.
Pell last year took an indefinite leave of absence from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences.Tags: Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)Cardinal George Pellgeorge pell
What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?
They’re all climate champions, apparently.
They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists - just take a look at their Twitter followings - which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.
But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?
This week, a Trump official at the U.S. government's pro-fossil fuel event at the United Nations climate talks made clear that the idea of burying carbon emissions from coal plants is still alive.
Wells Griffith, an advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said at the event: “For the U.S. energy policy, it’s not about keeping [fossil fuels] in the ground but about using them cleanly.”
Griffith added: “Alarmism should not silence realism. This is a forum for fact science-based discussions on climate realities.”
His conclusions make for great talking points, but they're far from reality. After more than a decade of failed demonstration projects, a recently rescinded $1.1 billion DOE research program, and the Trump administration's move to roll back requirements that all new coal plants have “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) capabilities, the promise of so-called “clean coal” technology is dead.Tags: Trump AdministrationU.S. Department of Energycarbon capture and sequestrationcarbon capture and storageclean coalCOP24
Campaigners disrupted a US event promoting “greener and cleaner” fossil fuel energy at the UN climate talks, calling it “a farce” that had no place within the global climate negotiations process.
Minutes after the start of the event on the fringe of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, dozens of youth activists, indigenous campaigners, and community leaders burst out laughing and stood up in front of the panel chanting “keep it in the ground”.
A large banner with the message “keep it in the ground” was deployed in a way to hide the panel from the audience.Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowicemarc moranocraid ruckerrupert darwall
A Harvard research team recently announced plans to perform early tests to shoot sunlight-reflecting particles into the high atmosphere to slow or reverse global warming.
These research efforts, which could take shape as soon as the first half of 2019, fall under the banner of a geoengineering technology known as solar radiation management, which is sometimes called “sun dimming.”
However, less than two weeks after the announcement, the climate science and policy institute Climate Analytics took aim at these ambitions in a new briefing titled ”Why geoengineering is not a solution to the climate problem,” which goes as far as recommending a global ban on solar geoengineering.Tags: geoengineeringSolar Radiation ManagementTermination Shock
Bernard McNamee, a climate change denier who helped write the Trump administration's failed coal and nuclear bailout plan, was confirmed Thursday as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The Senate approved the nominee on a straight party-line vote of 50-49 after Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, withdrew his support due to his concerns about McNamee's stance on climate change.
President Trump's nomination of the fossil fuel lawyer as one of the FERC's five commissioners was strongly opposed by environmentalists, public health groups and elected leaders.Tags: U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory CommissionBernard McNameeTrump Administrationcoal lobbyingKoch brothersfederal energy regulatory commission (FERC)