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Could California Join China in Banning Gas Guzzlers?

Thu, 09/28/2017 - 18:56
Cars in an LA parking lot

Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

After China announced plans to ban new diesel and gasoline-powered cars, California Gov. Jerry Brown is said to be considering the same option, according to Bloomberg.

“I've gotten messages from the governor asking, 'Why haven't we done something already?'” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, told the publication. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

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Federal Railroad Administration Nominee Plans to Push Rail Industry to Self-Regulate

Wed, 09/27/2017 - 23:32
Train in Alaska

Ronald Batory — President Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) — will be pushing for the controversial self-regulatory approach to safety known as “performance-based regulations,” according to his July 26 statement for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Shifting toward this self-regulatory approach could have major implications for the safety of trains carrying potentially dangerous cargo, including oil and ethanol.

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Op-Ed Pushing Atlantic Coast Pipeline Fails to Disclose Duke Energy Funding

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 13:58
Anti-fracking pipeline protestors dressed like characters from the Wizard of Oz

By Derek Seidman, originally posted at

The battle over the Atlantic Coast pipeline is heating up in North Carolina, and Duke Energy’s paid agents are out doing the pipeline’s bidding — though most North Carolinians wouldn’t know it by reading the paper.

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How Australia's 'Fever Swamp' of Climate Science Denial Is Pushing a Non-Scandal About Temperatures

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 17:12
Temperature map of Australia

“The tentacles of the global warming hoax are everywhere,” said a foaming Sydney shock-jock Alan Jones on his high-ratings radio show.

“I don’t know why it’s not on the front page of the newspapers,” replied Jennifer Marohasy.

The subject of the pair’s wrath is the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) — the Australian government’s weather bureau.

Specifically, it’s the way the bureau collects and records temperatures. 

Marohasy works for the Institute of Public Affairs which, if you want to talk about tentacles, is firmly attached to the body of conservative “free market” groups around the world that deny the risks of human-caused climate change.

Last week, I interviewed former BoM director Rob Vertessy, who described the attacks from a “fever swamp” of climate science denial as being baseless, a waste of time, and dangerous, especially when they’re amplified by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Australian.

“As the costs of climate change accumulate in the years ahead,” Vertessy said, “I can see that leaders of this climate change denial movement will really be seen as culpable.”

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Ohio Communities Face 'Voter Suppression' in Push to Rein in Oil and Gas Development

Sun, 09/24/2017 - 13:03
scrabble tiles spelling out 'vote'

Three years in a row, communities in Ohio have attempted to vote on initiatives that would grant them greater say over oil and gas development in their jurisdictions, but over and over again, appointed officials, some with direct ties to the fossil fuel industry, have put up roadblocks preventing these initiatives from reaching the ballot.

“We’re losing our ability to legislate and be a check and balance on the government,” Tish O’Dell of the Ohio Community Rights Network told DeSmog on September 15.

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San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Costs of Climate Change

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 16:26
Fourth street sign underwater

Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—the five biggest investor-owned fossil fuel producers in the world—over the costs of climate change.

The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

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Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won't Lead to Action on Climate Change

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 19:46
Man standing in floodwaters in front of damage from Hurricane Irma in Florida

By Scott Gabriel Knowles, Drexel University

It’s not easy to hold the nation’s attention for long, but three solid weeks of record-smashing hurricanes directly affecting multiple states and at least 20 million people will do it.

Clustered disasters hold our attention in ways that singular events cannot — they open our minds to the possibility that these aren’t just accidents or natural phenomena to be painfully endured. As such, they can provoke debates over the larger “disaster lessons” we should be learning. And I would argue the combination of Harvey and Irma has triggered such a moment.

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Exclusive: Here are the Energy Companies Represented by Trump’s Nominee to Head FERC

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 15:29

President Trump’s nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has, as a corporate attorney, personally represented a host of energy and utility companies, many of which do business that is directly impacted by FERC’s decisionmaking. According to Kevin McIntyre’s financial disclosure — obtained by DeSmog and published here for the first time — these include major utilities, fracking companies, pipeline builders, and international energy corporations.

McIntyre is a lawyer who co-leads the global energy practice for the legal and lobbying firm Jones Day, and is currently awaiting final Senate confirmation of his appointment to the nation’s top energy regulatory body. That confirmation may come as soon as this week.

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Future Historians Will Look Back in Horror at Koch Network's Attacks on Climate Policy, says Author Nancy MacLean

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:47
Nancy MacLean

For the first few weeks after publishing, all was going pretty well.

Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, was “deeply important” and a “feat of American intellectual and political history,” said a review in Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right” to swing into action, with attacks coming from many of the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

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Defying Trump, Pentagon Moves To Protect Bases From Climate Change

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 16:22

The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to protect its bases and operations from rising seas and other impacts of climate change, despite an order by President Trump to halt climate planning.

On March 28th, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that rescinded all climate change actions within federal agencies. These actions had been mandated by a rule from the former Obama administration that required federal agencies to take the necessary steps to protect their respective agencies from climate threats. The original Obama order required military bases to factor climate change into their planning operations for expansions, existing structures, and future developments.

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While Reviewing Enbridge Pipeline for State of Michigan, Contractor Was on Enbridge Payroll

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 05:16

A contractor hired by the state of Michigan to independently review an aging oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was simultaneously working for the pipeline company, documents obtained by DeSmog suggest. The documents contradict the contractor’s earlier claim that it had effectively stopped working for Enbridge once hired by Michigan.

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Newsweek Gives Cato Institute Climate Denier A Platform

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 02:08

In the last 30 days, the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean have played host to four hurricanes, three of which reached category 3 or higher, with Hurricane Irma claiming the title as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Where Are Canada's Missing Electric Cars?

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 18:52
Canada's missing electric vehicles

The race is on for electric vehicle supremacy.

Last week, China — the world’s second largest economy and consumer of about one-third of new cars — announced it will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, in a move that is expected to accelerate the global push into the electric car market.

China joins Norway, France and the U.K. in announcing plans to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated that electric vehicles will make up 32 per cent of global auto sales by 2040.

So, as the world moves toward the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, where is Canada in all of this?

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12123'; [Reuse options] Click here for reuse options! Tags: canadaelectric vehicleszero-emission vehiclesSustainable Transport Action Research TeamSuzanne Golcberg
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Washington Post: Exxon, Koch, and Big Coal Cash Begat Trump Climate Denial

Tue, 09/12/2017 - 17:30

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

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National Drive Electric Week Combats Koch-Funded Lies With Real World Drivers

Mon, 09/11/2017 - 19:26

There’s a war being waged against electric cars, the frontlines of which are dug in on Facebook feeds and embedded Youtube videos. The ammunition, supplied by the Koch brothers and their most loyal, PR savvy affiliates, are talking points meant to sow doubt in the minds of American drivers about the quality, costs, reliability, and even environmental-friendliness of electric cars. Though many automotive experts—including some Big Oil majors—see the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) as inevitable, this war is being waged to keep the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine king for as long as possible. They are fighting to keep oil demand high enough to justify drilling, refining, and selling petroleum.

In the face of this war, Plug-In America, the country’s leading EV advocacy organization, and its partners are organizing the seventh annual National Drive Electric Week. And in the context of these PR attacks, this year’s week long event—running from September 9-17th—might be more important than ever.

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This Law Firm Is Both Representing Dakota Access Owner and Suing Its Security Firm

Sun, 09/10/2017 - 13:57
A police officer stands near protesters with signs against Dakota Access blocking the entrance to an Army Corps building

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and others for alleged racketeering in their anti-pipeline activism related to Standing Rock. The company’s legal support comes from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, whose attorneys also represent President Donald Trump in the ongoing Russia-U.S. election investigation.  

However, federal court rules require that, in addition to the New York-based team at Kasowitz, Energy Transfer Partners must retain local legal counsel in North Dakota, where the lawsuit was filed. The bottom of the 187-page legal complaint filed on August 22 reveals that the corporation chose Vogel Law Firm, with offices in both Minnesota and North Dakota, for that job.

However, by serving as local counsel for Energy Transfer Partners, Vogel may have a potential conflict of interest. That's because, at the same time, the firm is representing the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board in its ongoing lawsuit against TigerSwan. This private security firm worked on behalf of Dakota Access during the months-long protest movement at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

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Stephen Schwarzman: Wall Street Investor, Trump Ally, Fracking Profiteer

Sat, 09/09/2017 - 16:03
Stephen Schwarzman

This is a guest post by  and originally appeared on Eyes on the Ties.

By now, many people have heard of Stephen Schwarzman.

Some may know him as the billionaire founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a mammoth private equity firm that has its tentacles spread across numerous subsidiaries and companies.

Others may know Schwarzman as a close ally and advisor of Donald Trump, the chair the president’s recently disbanded Strategic and Policy Forum, who is set to profit handsomely from his relationship with the president.

Some may even know Schwarzman as the thrower of lavish, self-glorifying birthday parties — his last one included fireworks, acrobats, live camels, celebrity performers, and a slew of high-profile guests, from David Koch to Jared Kushner, as well as several Trump cabinet members.

But fewer people know about Schwarzman the fracking profiteer, with billions invested in the fossil fuel industry that is fueling the climate crisis.

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New Study Links Greenhouse Gas Emissions Directly to Fossil Fuel Companies

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 19:07

Less than two years ago, documents surfaced showing that in the 1970s ExxonMobil knew about the damage that fossil fuel emissions were causing to the environment and how they were contributing to global warming. Just a few weeks ago, these reports surfaced again when a recent study led by Harvard researcher Naomi Oreskes showed how the global oil giant had engaged in a decades-long misinformation campaign to cover up the damage that it and other fossil fuel companies were inflicting on the planet.

One of the immediate questions asked by climate-concerned citizens was whether or not this cover-up could result in lawsuits against the oil giant. However, due to the amount of unknown variables in the legal equation, any lawsuit filed against the company appears to be a long shot, at best.

Still, a new peer-reviewed study from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its collaborators may give us some of the missing variables in the legal equation.

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From Homes to Refineries, Finding Pollution and Loss in Harvey's Path

Fri, 09/08/2017 - 17:50
Mobil station with floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey

When Harvey’s rain, for the most part, stopped falling on August 30, I started making my way from Louisiana to Texas to document the pollution inevitably left in the storm’s path. That day I got as far as Vidor, a small town in southeast Texas where the floodwaters were still rising. 

Getting there was no easy matter. I was forced to drive west in the eastbound lane of the interstate because the lanes I should have been driving in were flooded up to the top of the highway divider. All the while, I tried not to worry about the water rushing through cracks in the cement divider, which had the potential to give way.

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Trump Admin Quietly Pushing 'Small Scale' LNG Exports That Avoid Environmental Reviews

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 18:36
LNG tanker

By Steve Horn and Joshua Frank

The Trump administration proposed regulations to expedite the permitting process for natural gas exports from “small-scale” facilities on the Friday before Labor Day.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had proposed an alteration of the rules for the export of “small-scale” liquefied natural gas (LNG) under the Natural Gas Act. The proposal will now be open to a public commenting period set to end October 16.

“The Trump Administration is focused on finding ways to unleash American energy and providing a reliable and environmentally friendly fuel to our trading partners who face unique energy infrastructure challenges. The Department of Energy and this Administration are wholeheartedly committed to strengthening the energy security of the United States and our allies,” Rick Perry, U.S. Secretary of Energy, said in a press release. var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12094'; [Reuse options] Click here for reuse options! Tags: LNGLiquefied Natural GasSmall Scale LNGCheniereNational Environmental Policy ActNEPATellurianCharif Soukifrackinghydraulic fracturingAnkit DesaiTrump AdministrationDonald Trump

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