This is a guest post by Our Children's Trust originally published on EcoWatch
Today, in a surprise ruling from the bench in the critical climate case brought by youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session.
Judge Hill also ordered the Department of Ecology to consult with the youth petitioners in advance of that recommendation. The youths were forced back to court after the Department of Ecology unexpectedly withdrew the very rulemaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions the agency told the judge it had underway. This case is one of several similar state, federal and international cases, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.
This is a guest post by Our Children's Trust originally published on EcoWatch
175 nations signed the Paris Climate Agreement last Friday, setting a record for the most countries to sign a U.N. agreement on opening day.
Earlier in the week, even before Secretary of State John Kerry officially signed on behalf of the U.S. with his granddaughter in his lap, more than 300 environmental, faith, health and social justice organizations filed a legal petition calling on the Obama Administration to declare a national emergency and end all U.S. crude oil exports as a means of meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement.
According to the groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch, President Obama could immediately halt the export of crude oil under executive legal authority granted to him by the 2016 Appropriations Act and the National Emergencies Act.
I’m not a scientist. And chances are, neither are you.
That likely means we both find ourselves deferring to the opinion of others, of experts who know more about complex matters — like health or nuclear safety or vaccinations or climate change — than we do.
But heck, even scientists have to rely on the expertise of others (unless they’re some sort of super scientist with infinite knowledge of all things. Ahem, Neil deGrasse Tyson).
But for the rest of us intellectual Joes, we rely heavily on what we think the experts think. As it happens, figuring out what the experts think isn’t so easy, not even in those instances where the majority of experts agree on a subject.
Take for example, the issue of climate change, which is just what cognitive scientist Derek J. Koehler had in mind when he launched a recent pair of experiments designed to investigate what factors might contribute to our collective failure to grasp expert consensus.
Christy Clark is our province’s very own natural gas salmon, swimming gamely upstream against the advice of evidence and experts from multiple fields, determined to spawn B.C.’s LNG business in the heart of the province and give it the best start she can — everything else be damned. Or dammed, or whatever.
On a visit this week to Fort St. John, which is currently on fire, the premier bragged that producing and burning LNG will help prevent wildfires by causing a net decrease in carbon emissions as it displaces coal in China.
“If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control,” she told reporters at a press conference.
Just in time for Earth Day, the Climate Narrative project and the Sightline Institute have released a new, updated guide to fighting back against dirty energy industry spin when discussing the climate crisis.
The Climate Solutions for a Stronger America messaging guide is based on data from a repeat national survey of likely voters. Researchers examined the data to determine how to successfully communicate climate issues and identified three top-performing messages.
Global average sea level has risen by about 17 cm between 1900 and 2005. This is a much faster rate than in the previous 3,000 years.
The sea level changes for several reasons, including rising temperatures as fossil fuel burning increases the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a warming climate, the seas are expected to rise at faster rates, increasing the risk of flooding along our coasts. But until now we didn’t know what fraction of the rise was the result of human activities.
In research published in Nature Climate Change, we show for the first time that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the majority of sea level rise since the late 20th century.
As the amount of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere continues to increase, we need to understand how sea level responds. This knowledge can be used to help predict future sea level changes.
Plans by BP and other fossil fuel companies to drill for oil in the pristine waters off south Australia could take up a third of the country’s entire carbon budget if successful, a new report has estimated.
The Climate Analytics report, commissioned by conservation group The Wilderness Society, concluded that adding the oil from the Great Australian Bight (GAB) into the world’s energy system was “inconsistent with the global temperature and emission limits from the Paris agreement”.
Several fossil fuel firms, including Chevron and Santos, have plans to explore for oil in the GAB, but BP’s proposal to drill four exploration wells as much as 2,200 metres down on the ocean floor are the most advanced.
Last week, California regulators and Southern California Gas Company, which operates the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, issued a report warning that a continued shutdown of the facility, the site of the worst methane leak in state history, would lead to blackouts throughout the summer.
The regulators and the company have proposed restarting gas injections into the Aliso Canyon facility in the coming weeks, but Porter Ranch area residents — 1,800 of whom had to be evacuated due to health impacts of the methane leak — are challenging the report’s findings and calling for permanent closure of Aliso Canyon, one of the largest gas storage facilities in the US.
Aliso Canyon has been shut down since January. The leak started in October of last year. Two and a half months later, Governor Jerry Brown finally declared a state of emergency, but it would take SoCalGas, as the company is known, another month and a half to finally stop the leak.
This week, thousands of Americans sick and tired of big money in politics and unfair voting laws are descending on the nation’s capital, ready to go to jail, if necessary, for their cause.
Some just arrived from a ten-day, 140-mile march that began in Philadelphia on April 2. Many others joined on Monday morning in Washington, D.C., kicking off a week of rallies and sit-ins at the Capitol building and its grounds while demanding that Congress take action to curb big money in politics and institute free and fair elections. Over 3,500 people have confirmed that they’re ready to risk arrest.
The Democracy Spring network of over 100 groups is demanding that Congress pass four bills to restore protections against voting discrimination, expand voting accessibility, overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and match small political contributions with public funds. The activists also want Congress to hold hearings and an up-or-down vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
“Despite the recent Paris Agreement on global warming, the fossil fuel industry is still systematically trying to stall progress, and using shareholder funds to do so,” warns a new report by London non-profit organisation InfluenceMap.
According to InfluenceMap’s research, last year international oil giants ExxonMobil and Shell, along with three powerful industry trade associations, spent US$114 million (£80.8m) in an effort to obstruct climate legislation.
These millions were spent on a range of activities including PR, social media, advertising, and lobbying, in order to influence American and European policy makers and manipulate public discourse on climate change.