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Judge Dismisses Libel Claim, Climate “Sceptic” Tim Ball Not Credible Enough To Take Seriously

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 21:54

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has dismissed a libel action against “climate change sceptic” Dr. Tim Ball on the basis that Ball’s writing is not sufficiently credible to inflict damage on the reputation of a professional climate scientist.

The libel suit was launched in 2011 by Canadian climate scientist (and now leader of the British Columbia Green Party) Andrew Weaver in protest against an article that Ball had written for a website called Canada Free Press (“Corruption of Climate Science Has Created 30 Lost Years,” Jan 10, 2011). The article belittled Weaver’s credentials, challenged his competence as a scientist and Professor at the University of Victoria and accused him of being part of a politically corrupted campaign to overstate the dangers of climate change.

Tags: tim ballandrew weaverlibel suitclimate lawsuit
Categories: News

Energy CEO Says Fracking Build-out in New York Not Over, Wants Regulators to 'Lay Down and Approve Every Pipeline'

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 23:27
Crestwood natural gas compressor sign in Seneca Lake, New York

At a pipeline industry conference in Pittsburgh on January 31, Robert G. Phillips, CEO and President of Crestwood Equity Partners, offered an unusually candid perspective on pipelines, fracking, environmental regulations, and how industry plans to fight back against public opposition and permitting problems.

This past May, Crestwood announced that it was halting plans for a propane storage facility in the Finger Lakes region of New York following a three-year civil disobedience campaign by grassroots activists and environmentalists who feared contamination of Seneca Lake, which supplies drinking water to roughly 100,000 New Yorkers. But as Phillips told the conference, the company isn't backing off for good.

“Now, this is hand-to-hand combat in this region,” Phillips told the crowd of oil and gas company representatives at the pipeline conference, dubbed Marcellus Midstream 2018.

Tags: Crestwood Midstream PartnerspropaneMarcellus shalehydraulic fracturingAnti-fracking activismSandra Steingrabernatural gas pipelinesnew yorkTrump AdministrationUS Environmental Protection Agency
Categories: News

Trump, Not Record-Breaking Disasters, Dominated TV News Coverage of Climate Change in 2017

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 00:51
NOAA map showing 2017's 16 billion dollar climate and weather disasters

Extreme weather events in the United States seemed ever-present in the media during 2017, with historic wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and droughts receiving national coverage. What was less common, however, was major TV news networks making the connection between these kinds of billion-dollar disasters and climate change for their viewers. That's despite scientific support confirming these links, and some experts even warning that such extreme events may be “the new normal.”

The conclusion about major network coverage of climate change comes from a new report by Media Matters for America

Tags: climate changemediaCoverageMedia Matters for AmericaABCNBCCBSPBSfoxNewsDonald TrumpIrmaHarveyMariaBob MurrayParis Climate Agreement
Categories: News

The US Added 38 Percent More Oil and Gas Rigs Last Year

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 01:17
Drilling rig north of Johnstown, Ohio

By John R. Platt. Crossposted with permission from The Revelator.

The number of oil and gas rigs in the United States has increased an astonishing 38 percent over the past year. That’s according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, which reported this week that the country had 1,070 rigs at the end of January, up from just 773 a year earlier.

Experts expressed fear that all of this new development does not bode well for the planet.

Tags: oil and gas drillingTrump AdministrationPermian Basin
Categories: News

How to Use Critical Thinking to Spot False Climate Claims

Sat, 02/10/2018 - 16:13
Cat graffiti with question marks on a wall

By Peter Ellerton, The University of Queensland

Much of the public discussion about climate science consists of a stream of assertions. The climate is changing or it isn’t; carbon dioxide causes global warming or it doesn’t; humans are partly responsible or they are not; scientists have a rigorous process of peer review or they don’t, and so on.

Despite scientists’ best efforts at communicating with the public, not everyone knows enough about the underlying science to make a call one way or the other. Not only is climate science very complex, but it has also been targeted by deliberate obfuscation campaigns.

Tags: climate science denialcritical thinkingskeptic arguments
Categories: News

Fines Against Polluters Drop Sharply Under Trump EPA

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 22:18
Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Mike Pence

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPAannounced Thursday its annual enforcement and compliance report that boasted $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial fines against polluters.

“A strong enforcement program is essential to achieving positive health and environmental outcomes,” Susan Bodine, head of the agency's enforcement division said in a statement.

However, analyses show that the penalties against polluters are significantly lower under President Trump's EPA. According to The Hill, that $1.6 billion figure is roughly a fifth of the $5.7 billion in penalties collected the year before under President Obama's EPA.

Tags: Trump AdministrationUS Environmental Protection AgencyVolkswagenScott Pruitt
Categories: News

These are the Climate Science Denier MPs Lobbying for a Hard Brexit

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:51
Jacob Rees Mogg

Almost 70 MPs have been identified as backing a shadowy parliamentary lobby group pushing for a hard Brexit. In keeping with ideological links previously identified by DeSmog UK, it’s perhaps no shock that there are a number of politicians known to spread disinformation on climate change on the list.

Described as “an aggressive, disciplined, and highly organised parliamentary and media operation”, the European Research Group (ERG) is lobbying for a hard Brexit. It hit headlines earlier this week after being accused of misusing public money.

Long operating in the shadows, Buzzfeed has published a long list of MPs it has identified as being members of the group.Tags: Jacob Rees-MoggOwen PatersonJohn RedwoodChristopher ChopePhilip DaviesBrexit

Categories: News

EPA Chief Downplays Global Warming as Unexpected Climate Impacts Stack up

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 03:06
Cape Town, South Africa

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is well-known for his comments denying the established science of climate change, and this week he touted yet another talking point of the climate denial community.

“I think there's assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that necessarily is a bad thing,” Pruitt said in an interview with Nevada's KSNV television and as reported by E&E News. But from Cape Town, South Africa's water woes to mercury in melting permafrost, the decidedly negative impacts of global warming are already manifesting themselves, often in unexpected ways.

Tags: climate changeScott PruittSouth Africadroughtclimate science denial
Categories: News

Climate Science Deniers Defend New York’s American Museum of Natural History From Calls to Drop Trustee Rebekah Mercer

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 03:21
Dinosaur cast at the American Museum of Natural History

With friends like climate science deniers and alt-right megaphones like Breitbart, you have to wonder whether New York’s iconic American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) needs any enemies right now.

As the New York Times and others are reporting, the museum is facing calls from hundreds of scientists, its own curators, campaigners, and the public to drop rich benefactor and major Trump funder and ally Rebekah Mercer from its board of trustees.Tags: rebekah mercerHeartland Instituteclimate science deniersamerican museum of natural history

Categories: News

Spotlight on Kathleen Hartnett White

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 23:32
Kathleen Hartnett White

For more than three months, the Trump administration tried to get climate science denier Kathleen Hartnett White confirmed for a top environmental post in the White House. But last week, the administration officially withdrew its nomination of Hartnett White, a clearly unqualified candidate who could have had dangerous implications for environmental and public health.

Trump was so committed to Hartnett White that he renominated her after the Senate failed to act on her nomination the first time. But in the end he couldn’t get this climate denier confirmed as the new chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates environmental policy across federal agencies.

Who is Kathleen Hartnett White and why did she represent such a danger?

Tags: Kathleen Hartnett WhiteTrump Administrationcouncil on environmental quality (CEQ)texas public policy foundationclimate science denialclimate denial spotlight
Categories: News

Bill Wehrum Once Denied California's Right to Cut Auto Emissions, and Could Do It Again at EPA

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 20:00

More than a decade ago, Bill Wehrum, then acting assistant administrator for air and radiation at the US Environmental Protection Agency, successfully fought to deny the state of California the right to set its own standards on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

He is now back in the same position at Trump's EPA, and hoping to try once again to kill the California waiver.

Tags: bill wehrumwilliam wehrumEPAcalifornia waivercafe standardsauto emissions
Categories: News

China Is Financing a Petrochemical Hub in Appalachia. Meet its Powerful Backers.

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 19:42
U.S. President Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and West Virginia Commerce Sec. Thrasher join in the Great Hall in Beijing for MOU signing for the Appalachian Development Hub  in November 2017

Over the past year, oil and gas industry plans to build a petrochemical refining and storage hub along the Ohio River have steadily gaining traction. Proponents hope this potential hub, which would straddle Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, could someday rival the industrial corridor found along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana.

Those plans center around creating what is known as the Appalachian Storage Hub, which received a major boost on November 9 during a trade mission to China attended by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. At that trade mission, also attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the China Energy Investment Corp. announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to invest $83.7 billion into the planned storage hub over 20 years. For comparison, West Virginia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 was $72.9 billion.

Though called the Appalachian Storage Hub as a broad-sweeping term, in practice the hub could encompass natural gas liquids storage, a market trading index center, a key pipeline feeding epicenter, and a petrochemical refinery row. Its prospective development has been spurred by the current construction of a $6 billion petrochemical refining facility in Pennsylvania owned by Shell Oil.Tags: XTO EnergyCapitalizing on American Storage Potential ActAmerican Petroleum InstituteAppalachian Storage HubThe Thrasher GroupInterstate Oil and Gas Compact CommissionBrian AndersonWoody ThrasherWest Virginia University Energy InstitutechinaWilbur RossMid-Atlantic Technology Research and Innovation CenterWVU Innovation CorporationAppalachia Development Groupwest virginiafrackinghydraulic fracturingShelley Moore CapitoDavid McKinleyChina Energy Investment Corpshale gasohio valley environmental coalitionMarcellus shaleshell oilAmerican Chemistry CouncilAppalachian Energy and Manufacturing Infrastructure Revitalization ActJoe ManchinWest Virginia University Innovation Corporation

Categories: News

This Vigilante Scientist Trekked Over 10,000 Kilometres to Reveal B.C.’s Leaking Gas Wells

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 20:11
John Werring in the field

If you’d met John Werring four years ago, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you what an abandoned gas well looked like.

“We had no idea whether they were even accessible,” said the registered professional biologist.

That was before the summer of 2014, when he headed up to Fort St. John, B.C., on a reconnaissance mission. At that time, much was known about leaking gas wells in the United States, but there was very little data on Canada.

All Werring had to work with was a map of abandoned wells provided by B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission. Armed with a gas monitor and a metal detector, he headed into what the gas industry calls the “Montney formation,” one of the largest shale gas resources in the world. Shale gas is primarily accessed via hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

“Most of these places, there’s nobody in the field,” Werring said. “You won’t see anybody for miles and miles. Just well after well after well.”

Tags: natural gasfrackingmethaneScienceMontney formationshale gas
Categories: News

Empowering the Powerless: Here's How To End Energy Poverty

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 17:00

By Jatin Nathwani, University of Waterloo

Millions of people die prematurely of indoor pollution and other consequences of energy poverty. But there is a way to empower the powerless: with renewable energy microgrids and decentralized technologies.

“Power to the people,” the activists chanted in the 1960s.

The revolutionaries of yesteryear never dreamed of the scientific and technological innovations that could light up distant shelters and communities in the darkest corners of Earth. We are on the cusp of an energy revolution that has the potential to improve the quality of life for the world’s most disadvantaged and poor.

Tags: energy povertysolar powerdistributed energymicrogrid energy
Categories: News

Obama Alums Are Pushing Fracked Gas Exports. That’s Exactly What Trump Wants

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 02:14
Obama speaking in front of pipeline parts in Cushing, Oklahoma

During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump exclaimed that the “war on American Energy” had ended and that “we are now an exporter of energy to the world.”

What Trump did not say, though, is that several former senior energy officials from the Obama administration — the one Trump said had declared a “war on American Energy” — now either lobby or work as executives for companies making his “energy dominance” agenda possible. At least five of these Obama officials now work for natural gas export companies, four of them for Cheniere and another for Tellurian.

Tags: Timothy GlasscoChristopher SmithU.S. Department of StateU.S. Department of EnergyRobert FeeGlobal Shale Gas InitiativeWilbur RossUSTDAU.S. Trade and Development AdministrationChina National PetroleumJack Fuscofrackinghydraulic fracturingNRDCNatural Resources Defense Councileben burnham-snyderObama administrationHeather ZichalLNGLiquefied Natural GasCheniereTellurianAmos HochsteinEd Markeynatural gasshale gasThe Nature Conservancy

Categories: News

Fish Farm Lowballed Number of Escaped Atlantic Salmon, Misled Regulator: Report

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 18:23
Cooke Aquaculture Fish Farm Escaped Salmon Beau Garreau

It’s been a nightmarish year for Washington State’s only active Atlantic salmon farming company — Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

On Tuesday, a Cooke subsidiary was found responsible for an August 2017 fish farm mishap that released up to 263,000 Atlantic Salmon into Washington’s Puget Sound — in addition to misleading the public and regulators about the cause, and lowballing the number of fish that escaped.

Those were the key findings of an investigation led by Washington’s Department of Ecology, Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) — which started last fall after a net pen near Cypress Island in Puget Sound (about 50 km east of Victoria) broke up on August 19.

“The collapse was not the result of natural causes,” said Hilary Franz, commissioner of public lands at a press conference Tuesday.  “Cooke’s disregard caused this disaster and recklessly put our state’s aquatic ecosystem at risk.”

Tags: fish farmaquacultureCooke Aquacultureescaped salmonAtlantic salmonwashingtonLummi Nation
Categories: News

Another Washington State Natural Gas Project Must Account for Its Total Climate Impacts

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 00:26
Protesters carrying signs against the Tacoma LNG plant

By Stephen Quirke

For the fourth time since July 2013, Washington state is requiring an analysis of the full climate impacts of a major fossil fuel project proposed within its borders.

Most recently, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced on January 24 it would hire a consultant to undertake a full life-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at the Port of Tacoma.

Tags: liquefied natural gas (LNG)Tacoma LNGwashington stategreenhouse gas emissionsOur Children's Trust
Categories: News

The Oil Industry and That Amazing Floating Tar Sands Oil

Thu, 02/01/2018 - 22:57
Protester holding a sign that says 'Remember the Kalamazoo'

More than seven years have passed since an Enbridge oil pipeline ruptured and spilled more than a million gallons of tar sands oil, also known as diluted bitumen, near a tributary leading to Michigan's Kalamazoo River. Once in the water, the oil — which spill responders initially did not know was tar sands oil — ended up sinking to the sediment on the river bottom and causing major environmental impacts for wildlife and plants. 

Yet even today, the oil industry still claims that tar sands oil floats.

Tags: alberta tars sandsmarine oil spill responsediluted bitumendilbitMichigan Kalamazoo Oil SpillKinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelinetar sands oil
Categories: News

As Trump Unfurls Infrastructure Plan, Iowa Bill Seeks to Criminalize Pipeline Protests

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 23:07
People rally at Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access pipeline in December 2016

The Iowa Senate has advanced a bill which critics say could lead to the criminalization of pipeline protests, which are being cast as “terrorist activities.” Dakota Access pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners and other companies have lobbied for the bill, Senate Study Bill 3062, which opens up the possibility of prison time and a hefty fine for those who commit “sabotage” of critical infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines.

This bill, carrying a criminal punishment of up to 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines, resembles the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, a “model” bill recently passed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That ALEC bill, intended as a template for state and federal legislation, was based on Oklahoma's HB 1123, which calls for citizens to receive a felony sentencing, $100,000 fine, and/or 10 years in prison if their actions “willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, or tamper with equipment in a critical infrastructure facility.”

According to disclosure records, corporations lobbying for the Iowa bill include not only Energy Transfer Partners, but also Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, Valero Energy, Magellan Midstream, and others. The Iowa State Police Association has also come out in support of the bill, while the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa is against it. The bill has passed out of subcommittee and next goes in front of the state Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tags: ALECJeff BoeyinkCSGCouncil on State GovernmentsAFPAmericans for ProsperityDavid KochCharles KochKoch Family FoundationsGrant KidwellEd FallonTerry BranstadBold IowaCritical Infrastructure Protection ActIowaNorth DakotaDakota AccessEnergy Transfer PartnersAmerican Civil Liberties UnionACLUamerican legislative exchange council Oklahoma HB 1123koch industriesAmerican Petroleum Institute Valero Energy Magellan Midstream
Categories: News

Legal Challenge Filed to Stop Construction of Louisiana's Bayou Bridge Pipeline

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 22:15
Sign at construction site for Bayou Bridge pipeline

Less than a week after construction began on the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana, a coalition of crawfishers and environmental groups took legal steps to immediately shut down the project. As a result, on February 8 a federal judge will review a request filed this morning from Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, which seeks to halt construction of the pipeline through the Atchafalaya Basin while the court considers the firm’s earlier case challenging the pipeline’s permitting.

Tags: Bayou Bridge pipelineAtchafalaya BasinkeeperLouisianaEarthjustice
Categories: News