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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. 

2016 Is Likely To Be The World’s Hottest Year: Here’s Why

By Andrew King, climate extremes research fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Ed Hawkins, associate professor of climate science at the University of Reading.

We’re not even halfway through the year but already you may have heard talk of 2016 being the hottest on record. But how can scientists be so sure we’re going to beat the previous record, set just last year?

Even before the end of 2015, the UK Met Office was forecasting with 95% confidence that 2016 would beat the record. Since then, that confidence has grown still further, as record after record has tumbled. April 2016broke the record for the hottest April after we had experienced the hottest February and March on record already this year.

Why the Biomass Industry’s Carbon Arguments Should Make You Spit Out Your Coffee

This is a guest post by Mary Booth from Partnership for Policy Integrity

Recently, Senate friends of industrial bioenergy proposed – and passed – an amendment to the Senate version of the Murkowski Energy Bill that compels EPA to treat burning biomass as “carbon neutral.”

Bioenergy isn’t carbon neutral, of course, at least not in any timeframe we care about for addressing climate change. Wood-burning power plants emit more CO2 than coal plants, per megawatt-hour, and re-growing trees to sequester that carbon takes decades. Even when the wood fuel comes from “waste,” the emissions from burning it exceed those from coal.

“A win for all of Indian country”: US Denies Nation’s Largest Coal Export Terminal

Lummi oppose gateway pacific

This is a guest post by Nick Abraham of Oil Check Northwest, cross-posted with permission. 

In the far off Northwest corner of the country, a five-year treaty rights saga has finally come to a head. A $665 million project, called the Gateway Pacific Terminal, has divided Whatcom County and the state of Washington over its potential export; Powder River Basin coal. The developers of the project, Pacific International Terminals, SSA Marine and two coal companies Peabody Energy and Cloud Peak Energy have pushed development over the stead-fast opposition of a coalition of local tribes lead by the near by Lummi Nation. The Lummi have asked the US Government, represented by the Army Corps of Engineers, to protect their long standing treaty fishing rights and burial grounds, claiming both would be gravely effected by the project.

After months of deliberation, Col. John Buck, commander of the Army Corps' Seattle District, made a ruling on the treaty rights of the Lummi and their petition against the terminal. After reviewing thousands of pages of documents, the Corps denied the project's permit, finding that the terminal’s effect on Lummi fishing rights would exceed the threshold of damage that is allowed under the treaty.

Sea-level Rise Has Claimed Five Whole Islands in the Pacific: First Scientific Evidence

By Simon Albert, The University of Queensland; Alistair Grinham, The University of Queensland; Badin Gibbes, The University of Queensland; Javier Leon, University of the Sunshine Coast, and John Church, CSIRO

Sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding are some of the greatest challenges facing humanity from climate change.

Recently at least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded.

Oil Majors Told to Adapt or Die

As profits and prices plummet, the oil conglomerates – some of the world’s biggest companies – have been warned they must change their ways or face extinction, writes Kieran Cooke at Climate News Network.

At best, big oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and BP face a period of gentle decline, but will ultimately survive.

At worst, if they do not adapt and change direction, “what remains of their existence will be nasty, brutish and short”.

Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

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.

The Paris Agreement: Have Oil Companies Got The Memo?

By David Powell, associate director, environment, at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This article has been cross-posted from NEF.

If you’re the boss of BP, Chevron or Shell, how worried are you right now? 

171 governments put pen to paper last week, formally signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The New York event was an encouraging, albeit largely symbolic, confirmation of December’s commitment to limit temperature rises to two degrees or lower.

The world has spoken; the science is clear; the likes of Mark Carney continue to warn about the economic risk of drilling like there’s no tomorrow. Paris provokes a very simple acid test: most of the world’s known reserves of oil, coal and gas will have to be kept in the ground – and you can forget prospecting for more.

There’s only one problem: oil companies don’t seem to have noticed.

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