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Energy Lobbyists Gather, Blame Obama and the Pope for "War on Fossil Fuels"

This is a guest post by David Halperin, originally published at Republic Report

Last week, on the day after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2015 was by far the hottest year on record, the energy industry’s chief lobbyists gathered in a downtown Washington ballroom to tell each other that the real problem was not global warming, but rather efforts by the Obama Administration — and Pope Francis — to contain global warming.

The remarks of these lobbyists suggested that many of them live on a different planet, where climate change is not an urgent challenge but rather is the obsession of ideological malcontents.

The meeting, held annually, is sponsored by the United States Energy Association, whose chieftains are not the CEOs of America’s oil, coal, and gas companies. Rather, they are the heads of the Washington-based trade associations that lobby against regulation of greenhouse gases and toxic pollution. They mostly are former corporate lawyers or Capital Hill functionaries who worked their way up and now receive enormous-for-DC salaries to serve at the beck and call of actual energy executives.

David Suzuki: Environmental Rights Are Human Rights

My grandparents came here from Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. Although it would be a one-way trip, the perilous journey across the Pacific was worth the risk. They left behind extreme poverty for a wealth of opportunity.

But Canada was different then, a racist country built on policies of colonization, assimilation and extermination of the land’s original peoples. My grandparents and Canadian-born parents, like indigenous people and others of “colour”, couldn’t vote, buy property in many places or enter most professions. During the Second World War, my parents, sisters and I were deprived of rights and property and incarcerated in the B.C. Interior, even though Canada was the only home we’d ever known.

A lot has changed since my grandparents arrived, and since I was born in 1936. Women were not considered “persons” with democratic rights until 1918. People of African or Asian descent, including those born and raised here, couldn’t vote until 1948, and indigenous people didn’t get to vote until 1960. Homosexuality was illegal until 1969!

In 1960, John Diefenbaker’s Progressive Conservative government enacted Canada’s Bill of Rights, and in 1982, Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals brought us the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with equality rights strengthened in 1985.

Arch Coal Nearly Doubled Its CEO Pay As It Lurched To Bankruptcy, Drawing SEC Attention

This is a guest post by Joe Smyth from Greenpeace, originally published at Medium.

Arch Coal, the second largest coal mining company in the US, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, raising questions about the company’s reclamation obligations for its massive strip mines, its plans to export coal from the Powder River Basin to Asia, the future of its existing and pending federal coal leases, and more. While Arch Coal sold mines, cut wages, and stopped paying dividends as its fortunes fell, one area it didn’t skimp was executive compensation.

In fact, while Arch Coal shareholders (or at least those who failed to divest from the company) have lost out, Arch CEO John Eaves somehow got a big raise as his company was failing — which seems to have earned the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Armed Occupation of Oregon National Wildlife Refuge Has Roots In Anti-Environmental Movement

This is a guest post by Kert Davies originally published at PolluterWatch.

Last weekend when an armed group of men in eastern Oregon occupied building within a National Wildlife Refuge to protest the jailing of a rancher for Federal crimes, we immediately went to the Anti-Environmental Archives to do some research.  Lo and behold, the Archives contain lots of documents about the location, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and lots of information on the decades long conflict between ranchers like Dwight Hammond who want to run their cattle into protected areas and Federal authorities seeking to uphold the law and protect the area from despoliation. 

Our Voices And Actions Bring Hope For The Year Ahead

This is a guest post by David Suzuki. 

Like any year, 2015 had its share of good and bad, tragedy and beauty, hope and despair. It’s difficult not to get discouraged by events like the Syrian war and refugee crisis, violent outbreaks in Beirut, Paris, Burundi, the U.S. and so many other places, and the ongoing climate catastrophe.

But responses to these tragedies and disasters offer hope. It became clear during 2015 that when those who believe in protecting people and the planet, treating each other with fairness, respect and kindness and seeking solutions stand up, speak out and act for what is right and just, we will be heard.

Fight for B.C.'s Central Walbran Valley Reignited As Government Allows Old-Growth Logging

Walbran Valley by TJ Watt

This is a guest post by Daniel J. Pierce.

The early 1990s was a pivotal time for the forest industry and for forest activism in British Columbia. Massive demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience resulted in hundreds of arrests in Clayoquot Sound in response to large-scale clear-cutting on the west coast of B.C. and Vancouver Island. International protests and market campaigns forced the government to strengthen forestry regulations and establish new parks and protected areas.

One of the most famous stand-offs occurred at a bridge crossing into the Central Walbran Valley, one of the most spectacular ancient temperate rainforests left on Vancouver Island, in Pacheedhat First Nation territory, an hour north of Port Renfrew on bumpy logging roads.

Lifting The Crude Oil Export Ban Isn’t Big Oil’s Only Christmas Gift

This is a guest post by Lukas Ross from Friends of the Earth.

The champagne corks could be heard from the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday night, as Paul Ryan announced that Big Oil’s number one priority would indeed make it into a year-end bargain on taxes and spending.

The lifting of the crude oil export ban, sought by the oil lobby, the GOP and more than a few Democrats, is a major win for the industry. The measure could mean $170 billion in new revenue for oil producers over the next decade, as companies are able to push domestic crude onto the global market where it fetches a higher price.

Photos From NYC Climate Action March Last Weekend In Solidarity With Paris COP21

NYC climate march by Zach Roberts

This is a guest photo essay by Zach Roberts.

While peaceful climate change protesters were being hit with tear gas and pepper spray in Paris over the weekend, hundreds marched around New York City city hall in a quiet demonstration of solidarity. The People's Climate Movement of New York organized the march in the Big Apple after French authorities banned the big climate march planned for Sunday November 29, the day before the UN COP21 Climate Talks kicked off.

“It is even more important that around the world our voices are heard,” the organizers said in announcing more than 2,300 climate actions in over 150 cities over the weekend. 

Matt 'King Coal' Ridley's COP21 Claims Create More Heat than Light

GUEST POST BY SOU AT HOTWHOPPER

It's not just deniers who have sunk to a new low. Scientific American has too. The magazine made something of a mockery of a collection of in-depth articles about climate change by including an article from science disinformer Matt Ridley.

I'm told Matt's article is only in the online edition, not the print edition, but it shouldn't have been in either. Matt claimed (despite all evidence that already we are seeing extreme weather disasters from global warming) that 'Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time'. The publication is timed to coincide with the COP21 conference currently taking place in Paris. 

The misleading headline is really bad and something I'd never expected to see at the once admired magazine. Matt Ridley's article is full of the sort of nonsense you'd expect to read on climate conspiracy blogs. It starts with:

Making the Moral Case on Climate Change Ahead of COP21 Paris Summit

This is a guest post by Lawrence Torcello, cross-posted from The Conversation.

Much of the general public is well aware of scientists' recommendations on climate change. In particular, climate scientists and other academics say society needs to keep global temperatures to no more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.

But now more academics are weighing in on climate change: philosophers, ethicists, and social scientists among others.

More than 2,100 academics, and counting, from over 80 nations and a diversity of disciplines have endorsed a moral and political statementaddressed to global leaders ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Paris.

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