Subscribe to deSmog feed
Updated: 1 hour 47 min ago

Declining Oil and Rise in Renewables Opens Up Possibility for North Sea Transition

Wed, 09/12/2018 - 09:10
Read time: 5 mins

Record-breaking offshore developments and decommissioning infrastructure have sent strong signals that the North Sea is getting ready for a genuine transition away from fossil fuels.

This week saw Shetland port Dales Voe named as the best ultra deep-water port for decommissioning oil rigs and other large infrastructure projects by accountants Ernst and Young. Operated by Lerwick Port Authority, Dales Voe was previously extended to allow defunct oil rigs to be moved for dismantling.

Tags: North SeaoilNorth Sea DecommissioningScotlandBrexit
Categories: News

The 19th-Century Tumult Over Climate Change – And Why It Matters Today

Tue, 09/11/2018 - 02:21
Read time: 8 mins

By Deborah Coen, Yale University

Back in the 19th century, when tractors were still pulled by horses and the word “computer” meant a person hired to carry out tedious calculations, climate science made front-page news.

One European forester remarked in 1901 that few questions had “been debated and addressed from so many sides and so relentlessly” as that of the climatic effect of deforestation. Recalling this crowded, noisy and wide-ranging conflict – a “hurly-burly” over the “climate question,” as the scientist Eduard Brückner called it at the time – reminds us that climate science has not always been the elite, well-mannered pursuit that it is today.

Tags: climate science
Categories: News

Avenue Capital’s Plans to Revive West’s Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant Spark Protests from Navajo Nation Members

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 23:48
Read time: 6 mins

Protesters arrived outside the offices of a private equity firm run by a billionaire closely tied to the Clinton family on Monday, urging the company to abandon plans to keep a 44 year-old coal fired power plant on tribal lands running five years past its scheduled shut-down.

Tags: coalNavajo Generating StationprotestsAvenue Capital Groupblack mesaBig Mountain
Categories: News

Residents of Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Join Climate Movement In Call For Environmental Justice

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 19:23
Read time: 7 mins

On May 8,  “Rise for Climate” events took place in 95 countries around the world, pressing leaders to take action on climate change and other environmental issues, a week before a global summit on climate change in San Francisco.

Thousands turned out at over 800 actions spearheaded by, an environmental advocacy group,

Alaina Boyett, a member of 350 New Orleans, a local affiliate of, organized two events dubbed “Rise For Cancer Alley.”  Over 100 people were in attendance, which pleased Boyett. “Today Cancer Alley residents got a chance to tell their stories to a larger audience,” she told me, which was her goal. “I wanted to amplify the voices of people who often don’t feel they are being listened to.” 

Tags: cancer alleyLouisianaBayou Bridge pipeline
Categories: News

How Supreme Court Pick Brett Kavanaugh Could Return US Policy to the Era of Robber Barons

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 18:39
Read time: 8 minsBrett Kavanaugh

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings get under way, understanding his appointment’s potential impacts for corporate regulation and the climate means looking back all the way to 1890.

That was when a nearly 50-year stretch known to legal historians as the “Lochner era” kicked off — a time better known in U.S. history as the age of the robber barons.

Tags: Brett KavanaughSupreme CourtU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyClean Power PlanTrump AdministrationKoch brothersFederalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
Categories: News

South Portland's Ban on Tar Sands Oil Survives Court Challenge

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 16:38
Read time: 7 minsLocation of proposed pollution control towers in South Portland Maine's harbor

The City of South Portland, Maine, won a major legal victory at the end of August when a federal judge ruled that the city’s effective ban on tar sands oil did not violate the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision, like a similar one in Portland, Oregon, has potentially widespread implications for other communities fighting fossil fuel infrastructure projects within their borders.

Tags: South Portland Clear Skies OrdinanceMainealberta tar sandsoil-by-railOregon
Categories: News

Scott Pruitt’s Unjustified Personal Security Cost Taxpayers Over $3.5 million: EPA Audit

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 22:13
Read time: 4 minsScott Pruitt

You, the American taxpayer, spent over $3.5 million providing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt with an unprecedented round-the-clock security detail — and that security force may have been operating both outside of the law and without justification.

That’s the message the EPA’s internal watchdog has for American taxpayers after concluding an audit of the environmental agency's security protocols from September 2016 to May 2018.

Tags: Environmental Protection AgencysecurityauditOffice of the Inspector GeneralTrump AdministrationScott PruittU.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Categories: News

10 Really Awesome Reasons to Support DeSmog UK

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 08:49
Read time: 3 mins

High quality investigative journalism is scarce, climate change is largely under-reported, and the mainstream media has largely abandoned efforts to do either.

Independent media can be the antidote to this. But it needs support.

That’s why DeSmog UK has launched a crowdfunding campaign, to humbly ask you, dear reader, to give what you can to help us continue our important work.

Categories: News

UK Councils Invest Billions in Fracking, Including Companies Tied to Donald Trump

Sun, 09/02/2018 - 23:01
Read time: 6 minsFracking sign at Preston New Road

Council pension funds across the UK have invested billions in companies involved with fracking, new data claims. Authorities in areas where the controversial practice is set to take place also have millions invested such companies.

Some of the funds also have investments in companies with close ties to members of President Trump’s administration, which is currently embarking on a major climate and environmental regulation roll-back.

Tags: Cuadrilla ResourcesPreston New RoadPreston New Road Action GroupDonald TrumpSteve MnuchinScott PruittDrew Maloney
Categories: News

The Covert Attack on John McCain’s Climate Leadership by ExxonMobil and the Koch Brothers

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 22:51
Read time: 10 mins

By Kert Davies, originally published on 

InsideClimate News  Marianne Lavelle published a long piece this weekend, chronicling Senator John McCain’s rise and fall as a climate leader.  The story highlights a campaign I worked on in 2000, where we asked all the presidential candidates the simple and still pertinent question, “What’s Your Plan?” on global warming. McCain was one of the only candidates that took it on. He went back to Washington in the middle of 2000, having been defeated by George W. Bush in the primaries, and immediately started holding hearings on climate change science.

As always, there is more to the story.  When McCain emerged as “Captain Climate” in the early 2000s, and introduced the first serious bipartisan legislation to cut emissions, he became the target of a multifaceted attack by anti-regulatory free market organizations.  It turns out, many of these organizations and front groups were quietly being funded by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers.

Tags: john mccainexxonCharles Koch
Categories: News

Trans Mountain Pipeline a Serious Misstep for Trudeau

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 22:34
Read time: 5 mins

In a serious blow to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline project, Canada's federal court of appeal ruled today that the pipeline cannot proceed with construction due to a lack of consultation with First Nations.

In their ruling, the court stated that the Canadian National Energy Board’s [NEB], “process and findings were so flawed that the Governor in Council could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report; second, Canada failed to fulfil the duty to consult owed to Indigenous peoples.”

What appears at the heart of the decision is that while Kinder Morgan undertook consultation with concerned communities, the consultations did not lead to any real meaningful changes in the plan. In other words, First Nations leaders felt they were paid lip service over their concerns raised about important issues like how risks to our freshwater aquifers would be mitigated in the case of a spill. 

Tags: justin trudeauKinder MorganLiberal PartyTransMountainpipeline
Categories: News

Will John McCain Be The Last Republican Leader In The Senate To Address Climate Change?

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 20:51
Read time: 6 mins

By Tim Profeta, Duke University

“He was just doing his job.”

When I asked a longtime staffer to Sen. John McCain why the senator battled to address climate change in the early 2000s, that was his answer.

A simple answer, but one essential to understanding how McCain led those early efforts to combat the challenge when no one else would step forward.

Although others had brought climate change as an issue to the Senate, McCain, a Republican, and democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman were the first to bring climate legislation that aimed to reduce emissions. That attempt was their bipartisan 2003 Climate Stewardship Act. As Lieberman’s counsel for the environment, I helped write this legislation.

Tags: john mccainrepublicanclimate action
Categories: News

An Alternative to Propping up Coal Power Plants: Retrain Workers for Solar

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 11:00
Read time: 5 minsCoal miners at work

By Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University

The Trump administration announced new pollution rules for coal-fired power plants designed to keep existing coal power plants operating more and save American coal mining jobs.

Profitability for U.S. coal power plants has plummeted, and one major coal company after another has filed for bankruptcy, including the world’s largest private-sector coal company, Peabody Energy.

The main reason coal is in decline is less expensive natural gas and renewable energy like solar. Coal employment has dropped so low there are fewer than 53,000 coal miners in total in the U.S. (for comparison, the failing retailer J.C. Penny has about twice as many workers).

Tags: Coal Power Plantscoal industrysolar jobs
Categories: News

The Environmental Legacy of Senator John McCain, 1936-2018

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 23:13
Read time: 4 minsJohn McCain and Susan Collins in Antarctica

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

As news outlets around the country reflect on Senator John McCain's life and legacy following his death at 81 on Saturday, one strand that emerges is his attempts as a Senator to push bipartisan action on climate change.

In early 2003, McCain joined with then-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to introduce the Climate Stewardship Act, which The New York Times editorial about his death called “the first serious bipartisan bill to limit greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon.”

Tags: john mccainsenator john mccainus climate legislation
Categories: News

Greenhouse Hothouse Firehouse: Scientists Set out Pathways for Planet Earth

Sat, 08/25/2018 - 10:14
Read time: 6 minsLos Angeles city skyline at sunset

By Martin Bush. Reposted with permission from

A scientific paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is getting a lot of attention. Written in the dry style of systems analysis — and throughout the text referring to the planet as the “Earth System,” it nevertheless brilliantly manages to present the looming dangers of extreme climate change in a way that has powerfully resonated with many people. People who are worried about climate change, but aren’t exactly sure what the future holds, how bad it’s going to get, and how to avoid being dragged in that direction. 

Tags: tipping pointsmethaneclimate sciencegreenhouse gases
Categories: News

Trump’s Coal Plan — Neither Clean nor Affordable

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 21:57
Read time: 5 minsGibson coal power plant owned by Duke Energy

By Daniel Fiorino, American University School of Public Affairs

Is climate change a problem? Consider the evidence: wildfires in California, Sweden, and Siberia; flooding in coastal areas due to sea level rise; droughts in some places and extreme weather and rainfall in others; new and emerging patterns of disease; heat waves; and much more. Yet, looking at the policy changes announced in the last 17 months by the Trump administration, one would think there is no such thing as climate change.

This week the Trump administration proposed a rule for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired electrical generating plants, fulfilling a promise to replace an Obama-era plan to cut emissions from coal plants by one-third between now and 2030.

Tags: Clean Power PlanTrump AdministrationU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyCoal Power PlantsEPA endangerment finding
Categories: News

This Small Branch of Trans Mountain Could Derail Canada’s Pipeline Purchase

Thu, 08/23/2018 - 20:03
Read time: 9 minsProtester holding sign stating No Pipeline, No Consent, during a Kinder Morgan Pipeline Rally on September 9th, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada.

By , The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

The vast majority of oilsands crude moving to the West Coast passes through the little regarded Puget Sound Pipeline, which is now heavily entangled in troubled Canada-U.S. relations.

Politicians and industry have long boasted of the ability for an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline to get oil to lucrative Asian markets from Burnaby’s Westridge terminal.

But experts in Washington State are increasingly concerned that the twinning of the Edmonton-to-Burnaby pipeline may in fact lead to an expansion of the Puget Sound Pipeline, a 111-kilometer “spur line” from Trans Mountain that branches southward at Abbotsford to carry oil to four large refineries in the Puget Sound region.

Tags: Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelinecanadajustin trudeauPuget Sound pipelinealberta tar sandswashington state
Categories: News

First Felony Arrests Near Bayou Bridge Construction Made Under New Louisiana Law Penalizing Pipeline Trespass

Wed, 08/22/2018 - 17:23
Read time: 4 minsL’eau Est La Vie protest camp sign

Karen Savage, an award-winning investigative reporter, did not expect to be arrested as she covered Energy Transfer Partners’ controversial construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline through Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin, a river swamp bigger than the Florida Everglades.

“We were on land that the pipeline company doesn’t even claim to have,” she said, adding that she had permission in writing from the property owner to be there. “I didn’t think there was really any risk at all.”

Tags: Energy Transfer PartnersALECmodel billBayou Bridgefelony trespasscritical infrastruture
Categories: News

5 Virginia Officials Involved in Regulating Dominion Energy Are Invested in the Company

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 17:19
Read time: 7 minsDominion's Chesterfield Power Station

Five employees of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have financial interests in Dominion, the state’s largest utility and energy company. The officials are involved, in one way or another, in permitting or overseeing the company’s activities, ranging from water discharges to emissions controls on power plants.

According to financial disclosures filed with the state’s ethics council, four of them directly own stock in the company, while the wife of a fifth official works for Dominion.

Tags: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)Virginiadominion energyConflicts of Interest
Categories: News

A Koch-Fueled Attack on Electric Buses Picks up Speed

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 01:48
Read time: 9 minsClose up of the top of an electric bus

Electric buses are replacing existing diesel-fueled fleets at an accelerating rate, and the transition to battery-powered buses is outpacing even the most optimistic projections. In this light, it should come as little surprise that commentators and organizations with ties to the Koch network and the oil industry are attacking a transportation option that yields fewer fossil fuel profits and cleaner, healthier air for people and planet.

A string of recent commentaries published in the conservative Washington Examiner have relied on a handful of critical reports about the rollout of electric buses in individual municpalities, which the commentators use to portray electric buses, as a class, as uneconomical and unreliable.Tags: electric buskoch vs cleanwashington examinerPhilip Wegmannjonathan lesserkoch industries

Categories: News