Farron Cousins

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Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine, and his articles have appeared on The Huffington Post, Alternet, and The Progressive Magazine. He has worked for the Ring of Fire radio program with hosts Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Mike Papantonio, and Sam Seder since August 2004, and is currently the co-host and producer of the program. He also currently serves as the co-host of Ring of Fire on Free Speech TV, a daily program airing nightly at 8:30pm eastern. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009.  Follow him on [email protected]

The World Has Passed A Dangerous CO2 Pollution Threshold, But Climate Deniers Still Push U.S. Inaction

The month of September 2016 marks the first time in human history that CO2 levels in the atmosphere topped 400ppm in all recorded areas. In fact, CO2 levels have not been that high since dinosaurs ruled the earth. And that’s not even the bad news. According to scientists, the human race may never see carbon dioxide levels drop below this dangerous threshold.

Just three years ago, CO2 levels passed the 300ppm threshold, and predictions suggested the 400ppm level was many, many years down the road. Sadly, they were very wrong.

Obama Takes Action, Says Climate Change Must Be Factored Into National Security Assessments

Nearly eleven months ago, Senator Bernie Sanders stated plainly in the first Democratic Presidential debate that climate change was the number one national security threat to the United States (every other Democratic contender said ISIS). Sanders took an incredible amount of heat from the Republican Party following his claims, but both Republican and Democratic administrations and military leaders have made it clear that climate change is a top security threat.

While discussion of climate change has all but disappeared from the United States Presidential race following Sanders’ exit, in a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment on September 21st, President Obama signed a directive ordering federal agencies to begin factoring climate change into their national security plans. Every federal agency, from the FDA to the EPA to the Pentagon, has a national security plan to address a threat to the specific area of regulation, and thanks to Obama’s new directive, combatting the effects of climate change are now required in those plans.

Could the International Criminal Court Start Prosecuting Climate Crimes?

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC) has released a new set of proposed rule changes that could open the door to prosecuting individuals, governments, and perhaps even corporations for environmental crimes against humanity, such as oil spills, deforestation, and excessive carbon emissions.

Republican Attorneys General Met Secretly with Exxon Lobbyists to Stop Climate Change Investigations

Protestor holding a sign stating Exxon denied climate science despite knowing otherwise.

According to a new report by the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), ExxonMobil sent teams of lobbyists to meet with industry-friendly Republican state attorneys general to help stave off a flurry of investigations about the company’s role in obscuring the link between carbon dioxide and climate change, a cover-up which extends as far back as the 1970’s.

The news comes the same week that the environmental advocacy group Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil for placing Massachusetts communities into harm's way, as a result of this cover-up and its climate change implications.

Senate Poised to Pass Water Bill Reversing Coal Ash Pollution Rules

Coal ash spill surrounding a house in Tennessee.

Every two years the Senate passes a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which contains the funding necessary to protect America’s water infrastructure. This year’s legislation includes $9 billion worth of spending on water delivery infrastructure and runoff containment and abatement, among other projects.

As currently written, this bill also would allocate $280 million to address the lead water pollution crisis in Flint, Michigan, making this a must-pass piece of legislation that could easily become a hot-button campaign issue should any senator up for reelection choose to vote it down.

And that’s precisely why one of its amendments — championed by the coal industry — to dismantle coal ash pollution protections is likely to become a reality, and as a result, potentially endanger water supplies all over the United States.

Obama Again Sounds Climate Change Alarm But Continues Supporting Fossil Fuel Industry

President Barak Obama on a hike in Hawaii.

On September 8, The New York Times published an interview with President Barack Obama in which he discussed the rapidly approaching, and already present, dangers of climate change, along with the threats that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would pose to the environment as president.

Reflecting on his climate legacy in the interview, President Obama reinforced his concerns about and dedication to acting on climate change, but his rhetoric fails to match up with his broader record, which notably includes overseeing the United States' rise to the top spot among fossil fuel producers worldwide.

Hillary Clinton Is Raking In Fossil Fuel Money At An Alarming Rate

In speeches and press conferences, and occasionally in policy, the Democratic Party in the United States has always claimed the high ground on the issue of climate change and the need to move the country off oil, gas and coal towards renewable energy. As a result, the fossil fuel industry has heavily backed Republican politicians for decades.

But the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has once again proven unique by every measure. A new report by The Wall Street Journal shows that Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pulling in far more money from the fossil fuel industry than her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

The report shows that, through July, Hillary Clinton has received almost three times as much campaign cash from fossil fuel employees than Trump, to the tune of about $525,000 compared to Trump’s $149,000. Her joint account with the Democratic National Committee has also received an additional $650,000 from fossil fuel executives and employees.

Climate Denier Jim Inhofe Goes Full Conspiracy Theorist In Unhinged Rant About Global Warming

Republican Senator James Inhofe might be one of the most famous and most outspoken opponents of science in the United States and, sadly, that’s a reputation that he’s proud to have.

When snowstorms descended upon Washington, D.C., Inhofe used a snowball thrown onto the floor of the Senate as incontrovertible proof that global warming was a hoax. After all, if the planet is heating up, how can snow still exist?

As wacky as the snowball incident was, that episode looks tame in comparison to his latest tirade about global warming.

Inhofe, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, recently told conservative radio host Eric Metaxas that schools were “brainwashing” children about climate change.

Right Wing Watch has the full audio available (listen below), but here is the line that shows Inhofe's extreme views:

Conservative Organizations Pushing Republican Politicos And Media Outlets To Accept Climate Change As Reality

The Republican convention in Cleveland has come to a close, and the official platform of the Party for 2016 maintains the Party’s continued refusal to act on climate change. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, openly admits that he believes climate change is a “hoax.”

As easy as it is to forget, it is important to remember that political affiliation and Party platforms don’t always coalesce, and the platforms don’t always reflect the will of the Party members. And that’s certainly the case with climate change and Republicans.

It turns out that the majority of self-identified Republicans actually do accept climate science, and they understand that climate change is a very real threat. The views of Republican elected officials in Washington, D.C. and those funding the Republican Party do not reflect the attitudes of the voters on this issue anymore, and that’s a phenomenal step forward.

But the partisan denial problem goes further than just one political part. It stretches all the way through conservative media outlets, particularly those owned by Rupert Murdoch (Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and countless others.) This right wing echo chamber has played a major role in shaping Republican policy towards the environment, and has helped to keep Republican voters in the dark about the realities of climate change.

Heartland Institute Tries To Reshape Its 'Unabomber Billboard' Image With Hyper Patriotism

It was renowned English writer Samuel Johnson who once said “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Unfortunately, the original context of his quote has been lost to history, but he did clarify during his life that he was not referring to patriotism in general, just false patriotism. Even though we don’t have the original context, it is easy to apply this quote to the latest activities of The Heartland Institute.

Recently, Heartland unleashed a new project called #OurAmerica, a hyper-nationalist movement claiming to extoll the virtues of American life and the American capitalist system. Joined by several other right wing organizations, it appears that the goal of the project is to revamp the tarnished image of Heartland.

Heartland explains the new project as follows: