Guest's blog

“Other People’s Money” – Trump University and Coal Exports

This is a guest post by Ross Macfarlane, recently Senior Advisor with Climate Solutions

Recently unsealed court documents reveal the money-making secret at the heart of Trump University. The managers even had an acronym for it: OPM, standing for “Other People’s Money.”  As reported in People Magazine:

Playbooks used to market Donald Trump's now-defunct Trump University were unsealed by court order on Tuesday, showing that the training program's aggressive sales force promised would-be students they would learn “the technique of using OPM … other people's money.”

While the instructors claimed to be teaching people how to leverage banks to make fortunes in real estate, former Trump University executives now disclose that the OPM they were really targeting was in their students’ pockets.  According to these managers, their business plan focused on mining the credit card balances and savings accounts of gullible and desperate clients, often elderly and poor, who fell for the slick sales pitch and the promise of a quick solution for their financial challenges. 

So what does Trump University have to do with coal exports?

What is going on with India's record-breaking hot weather?

By Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, UNSW Australia; Andrew King, University of Melbourne, and Geert Jan van Oldenborgh

On May 19, India’s all-time temperature record was smashed in the northern city of Phalodi in the state of Rajasthan. Temperatures soared to 51℃, beating the previous record set in 1956 by 0.4℃.

India is known for its unbearable conditions at this time of year, just before the monsoon takes hold. Temperatures in the high 30s are routine, with local authorities declaring heatwave conditions only once thermometers reach a stifling 45℃. But the record comes on the back of an exceptionally hot season, with several heatwaves earlier in the year. So what’s to blame for these scorching conditions?

Trump Building Wall in Ireland to Keep Climate Change Out

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup, cross-posted from EcoWatch

Donald Trump has said numerous times in various places that he does not consider climate change to be a significant problem warranting corrective action. From calling it pseudoscience to a Chinese conspiracy to an elaborate hoax, he’s made it a point to take theKoch-approved stance, even as he disavows such big-money influence in politics. But as Politico’s Ben Schreckinger has uncovered, when it comes to his business and not campaign rhetoric, Trump apparently takes climate change seriously.

At a minimum, those in charge of running one of Trump’s golf courses in Ireland seem to be climate conscious. In a planning application, Trump asked for permission to construct a two-mile sea wall to keep the rising sea levels from eroding the golf course. The impact statement refers not only to the coastal erosion from rising seas, but also the even larger risk from storm systems amplified by global warming.

All Vision and No Strategy? Shell Says No Thanks to a Better Life with a Healthy Planet

Next week will see three oil giants answer to their shareholders at their Annual General Meetings. And while Chevron and Exxon will likely feel the heat from the recent climate denial investigations, Shell has been quietly trying to lay the foundation to show its taking climate change seriously. But just how committed is Shell to the Paris climate targets? Juliet Phillips, campaign manager at responsible investment charity ShareAction, takes a look.

In the lead up to Shell's annual general shareholder meeting tomorrow, the oil major quietly slipped out a new report entitled ‘A better life with a healthy planet’ two weeks ago, laying down a potential pathway for limiting temperature rises to under 2°C.

Within this unprecedented report, Shell seemed to describe a future where its current business model would be irrelevant – albeit it on an uncertain deadline.

EELI’s Anti-EPA Suit Uses 'Exhibit A’ from Tobacco's RICO Loss

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup cross-posted from DailyKos.

Apologies dear reader, this is a long post. It’s worth reading, though, we promise!

With few exceptions (like this weak WSJ column), the folks defending Exxon from RICO accusations focus their attention on the free speech argument and avoid the tobacco comparison. But now one of their own, Dr. James Enstrom, has provided a painfully clear connection between the beleaguered industries.  

The Daily Caller carries the news that the Energy & Environment Legal Institute’s (EELI) latest attempt to waste its (probably coal) funders' money is a lawsuit against the EPA, claiming an independent review panel for air quality regulations isn’t actually independent. Their reason is that members of the panel have received funding from the EPA for past studies.

Obviously, that’s ridiculous, since public and private funding are vastly different in terms of conflict of interest.  

So what does a real conflict of interest look like? For a prime example, look no further than the plaintiffs EELI is representing: The Western States Trucking Association (WSTA) and Dr. James Enstrom. 

Lawsuit Against ExxonMobil Ties Climate Policy to Local Oil Hazard

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart, cross-posted with permission from Climate Investigations Center

A Massachusetts conservation group says it will sue ExxonMobil for failing to protect the Boston harbor area from an old, leaky oil terminal that spews toxic material into nearby rivers, charging that the company's dual role of climate change expert and denier makes it uniquely culpable.

The landmark action by the Conservation Law Foundation is apparently the first to link a fossil fuel company's policy on global warming to a particular, localized environmental threat.

At issue is ExxonMobil's Everett marine terminal, an oil transfer and storage facility - a tank farm with three berths for ships to dock - a few miles northwest of Boston at the junction of the Mystic and Island End rivers. 

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