Mike Gaworecki

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Mike Gaworecki is a San Francisco-based journalist who writes about energy, climate, and forest issues for DeSmogBlog and Mongabay.com. His writing has appeared on BillMoyers.com, Alternet, Treehugger, Change.org, Huffington Post, and more. He is also a novelist whose debut “The Mysticist” came out via FreemadeSF in 2014.

California Governor Jerry Brown’s Climate Credentials In Question As Massive Methane Leak Threatens Public Health

California Governor Jerry Brown was in Paris this week at the COP21 climate talks burnishing his credentials as a climate leader.

Which has a lot of folks back home wondering: Why isn't Governor Brown using his authority to declare a state of emergency to protect the health of Californians currently endangered by the Sempra Energy methane leak at Porter Ranch?

At Tuesday’s High Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, Gov. Brown talked tough about his efforts to “dramatically lower” emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane.

“This is probably the most immediate challenge, and the most important thing to do leaving this conference,” Brown said at the event. “Short-lived climate pollutants are something we can tackle.”

And yet, back in the Golden State, a methane leak at Sempra Energy subsidiary Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon storage facility has been spewing massive amounts of gas for well over a month and making residents in the San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch sick. Hundreds of residents have already been relocated due to health issues associated with the methane leak.

Coal Baron Don Blankenship Found Guilty Of Conspiring To Violate Mine Safety Standards

The verdict is in: Don Blankenship, the outspoken coal baron who was CEO of Massey Energy when the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster in West Virginia claimed the lives of 29 coal miners, has been found guilty of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards.

It’s a small measure of justice for the families of the fallen miners who packed the front row of the courthouse to hear Judge Irene C. Berger read the verdict.

Blankenship is facing a maximum fine of $250,000 and a sentence of one year in prison on the misdemeanor conspiracy charge. He’ll be sentenced this spring.

Here Are The Corporate Foxes In The COP21 Henhouse

Top corporate sponsors of the climate talks in Paris have long histories of destroying the environment and interfering in environmental policymaking that are at odds with the green image they’re seeking to project by being part of COP21.

Global banking giant BNP Paribas, French utility Électricité de France (EDF) and fossil fuel conglomerates Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Suez Environnement, all official COP21 sponsors, are the focus of a new report from Corporate Accountability International that details the companies’ environmental abuses and aggressive lobbying efforts to undermine environmental and climate policy.

All four either directly own or have investments in some of the most emissions-intensive energy projects in the world, from oil sands in Canada to fracking in the UK and coal-fired power in India — conflicts of interest that make it impossible for them to contribute meaningfully to any sound climate policy, the report’s authors argue.

Divestment Movement Hits Major Milestone As World Leaders Debate Climate Action In Paris

More than 500 institutions that manage $3.4 trillion in assets have now committed to divesting holdings in fossil fuels, divestment campaign groups announced today in Paris.

As recently as September 2014, just 181 institutions managing $50 billion in assets had made some sort of divestment commitment.

350.org and Divest-Invest, two of the key groups organizing the divestment movement, announced the new additions to the growing list of divestors this morning in Paris at the UN COP21 climate negotiations.

New Study Exposes True Extent, Influence Of Climate Denial Echo Chamber For First Time

Thanks to a recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post, we know that nearly two-thirds of American adults think global warming is “a serious problem facing the country.”

And now, thanks to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change (full study available at this link), we know exactly how many people are out there taking money from dirty energy interests to try and confuse Americans about climate changeto derail overdue action and protect the fossil fuel industries' profits.

Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the author of the report, studied both the institutional and social network structure of the climate denier movement and found that there are some 4,556 individuals with ties to 164 organizations that are involved in pushing anti-climate science views on the public.

Protest Aired Live On Monday Night Football Calls Out Financing For Dominion Resources’ LNG Export Facility

It was the third quarter of this week’s Monday Night Football matchup between the struggling Indianapolis Colts and the undefeated Carolina Panthers, who were playing before a hometown crowd of 70,000. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was about to engineer a startling comeback to force the game into overtime, but most eyes were probably turned away from the action on the field.

Two activists had managed to smuggle climbing gear through security and were now rappelling from the upper deck of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, BofA's home town.

In front of tens of thousands of football fans in attendance and a live national TV audience, the protesters unfurled a banner reading “BoA: Dump Dominion, WeAreCovePoint.org.” According to sports blog Deadspin, the banner drop was aired live on ESPN.

River Supplying Water To Alberta Oil Sands Operations At Risk From Drought

A new study casts doubt on the long-term ability of the Athabasca River to supply the water Alberta’s oil sands industry relies on.

Water is allocated to oil sands operations based on river flow data collected since the 1950s, but that doesn’t necessarily represent an accurate assessment of the Athabasca River’s flow variability over the longer term, according to a report published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Morgan Stanley Targeted Over Coal Financing

Earlier this year, Bank of America and Credit Agricole both announced they were moving away from financing coal, citing a number of factors, among them the threat of future regulation due to coal’s impact on the planet and human health and pressure from environmental activists.

Now the Rainforest Action Network is targeting Morgan Stanley with calls to meet or beat its Wall Street colleagues’ commitments by adopting policies to end its financing for companies involved in coal mining and coal-fired power.

California Finding New Ways To Extend Benefits Of Solar To Low-Income, Minority Communities

The California legislature has sent a bill to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk that aims to extend the benefits of solar energy to communities that often have no access to clean energy technologies.

Assembly Bill 693 would create the Multi-Family Affordable Housing Solar Roofs program, which would be authorized to spend $100 million a year for at least 10 years to install solar panels on 210,000 affordable housing units in the Golden State.

It’s estimated that beneficiaries of the program would save more than $38 million per year on their electricity bills and receive another $19 million a year in solar tax credits and other benefits, a total of $1.8 billion over the life of the program, according to Al Jazeera America.

Here’s How The US Can Rise To The Pope’s Call To Climate Action

Despite warnings by Congressional Republicans that he should stick to spiritual matters and leave politics to the politicians, Pope Francis immediately called for climate action upon arriving in the US last week.

“Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” the pope said in a speech at the White House. And that wasn’t even the most politically barbed point he would make.

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