Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 15:08 • Sharon Kelly

In a major blow to proponents of “clean coal” technology, Southern Co., parent company of Mississippi Power, announced in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing today that it's throwing in the towel on efforts to generate electricity from coal and will instead use only natural gas at its flagship Kemper County, Mississippi power plant.

The project, which relied on a “gasifier” to turn a cheap and common grade of coal into fuel, is over, at least for now, Southern said.

“On June 28, 2017, Mississippi Power notified the Mississippi PSC that it is beginning a process to suspend operations and start-up activities on the gasifier portion of the Kemper IGCC.”

Further, Southern warned that it may record a $3.4 billion loss for the project in the second quarter of 2017, depending on how negotiations with state utility regulators unfold.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 18:24 • Ashley Braun
Coal protesters in Victoria

In Paris in 2015, more than 195 nations committed to slowing the rise of global warming to less than 3.6°F (2°C). In 2016, renewable energy saw unprecedented growth around the world. 

Yet in 2017, more than 120 companies have plans to build new coal-fired power plants (or expand existing ones), increasing coal capacity by roughly 43 percent across the globe. That’s more than 840,000 megawatts (MW) of additional coal power. 

Some of those expansions are slated to occur in countries that don’t yet have any coal power, including Egypt and Malawi, likely locking them into at least 40 years of polluting infrastructure.

This is according to an analysis just released by the German environmental nonprofit Urgewald, which states that if all of these coal expansion plans go ahead, the resulting average rise in global temperatures would be a blazing 7.2°F (4°C).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 03:57 • Itai Vardi
Atlantic Coast pipeline protesters

As part of its review of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast pipeline, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently hired a private contractor to assess several elements of the project. 

DeSmog has found, however, that the contractor is currently working for Dominion on an unrelated project.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 13:57 • Justin Mikulka
Oil train cars

This week, a court in California overturned a permit allowing the expansion of an oil-by-rail terminal near Bakersfield, California. The opinion from that court ruling reads like a case study for corporations looking to avoid the two biggest hurdles to getting such a project approved: environmental review and public notice and comment. 

Monday, June 26, 2017 - 18:16 • Julie Dermansky
Pastor Harry Joseph in front of oil storage tanks in St. James, Louisiana

Pastor Harry Joseph of the Mount Triumph Baptist Church in St. James, Louisiana, is taking legal action to prevent the Bayou Bridge pipeline from being built in his community, roughly 50 miles west of New Orleans. He is named as a plaintiff in a case filed by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, petitioning the Parish Court to overturn the coastal permit that the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave Energy Transfer Partners, the company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. 

The Bayou Bridge pipeline will be the last leg of the Dakota Access, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. The final stretch of the project, if built, will span 162.5 miles from Lake Charles to St. James, cutting through the Atchafalaya Basin, a national heritage area and the country’s largest wetland.

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 09:58 • Ben Jervey

A GOP-tied group devoted to promoting alleged hypocrisy among climate action advocates just released a new report that “exposes the horrible human and environmental costs” of solar panels and electric vehicles. The group, America Rising Squared (AR2), as DeSmog has previously reported, launched last year and pays activists to follow and film climate advocates in their everyday lives. The newly published white paper, the group’s first such formal report, attempts to paint a dirty picture of “clean energy,” claiming that the “environmentalist left” ignores the downsides of rare earth minerals that are used in solar panels and electric vehicles.

Here’s what the white paper doesn’t mention: many of the very same rare earth minerals that the AR2 report bashes are critical components of cell phones, computers, cameras, military and defense equipment, and even traditional gas-powered vehicles. What’s more, the petroleum refining process is critically dependent on some of the same rare earths that AR2 lambasts in this white paper.

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 07:59 • John Mashey

“Medieval Warm Period was warmer”  is not only irrelevant to future climate, but was known wrong within science by the early 1990s. In 2017, it is still repeated by climate deniers.  They have long misused some version of an IPCC(1990) curve, whose abuse is the focus of this MedievalDeception series. The first known promoter now seems to be Richard S. Lindzen.

He was featured in The Greening of Planet Earth (produced 1991, published 1992), a 28-minute video,*  widely promoted by the coal group Western Fuels Association (WFA), which funded many climate disinformation efforts, such as those by Pat Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr. For more, see Western Fuels Association's Decades Of Dollars For Doubt And Denial.

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 07:58 • John Mashey

Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy have filed bankruptcies, incidentially revealing payments to cllimate anti-science groups. The Western Fuels Association (WFA) may be smaller and less known, but its long history of funding climate denial is already better exposed. It was called out by Senator Tom Udall in his #WebOfDenial remarks in July 2016.  Its earliest well-known disinformation effort is detailed in MedievalDeception 1991: Lindzen Hijacks Curve For Western Fuels Video - Early Fake News.

Its front group Greening Earth Society (GES) claimed “sound information” following the “sound science” theme of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), started as front for Philip Morris in 1993, but like WFA, also involved Pat Michaels.

Newly-assembled information adds evidence that #WesternFuelsKnew the science was against them, decades ago.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 22:01 • Mat Hope
Brexit artwork

On June 23 2016, 46 million voters merrily skipped to the polls to have their say about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. Early the following morning, it was revealed that 52 percent of the population had voted Leave.

Most were shocked, a small majority were joyous, the rest were dismayed — including many who were concerned Brexit would mean the UK’s climate policy and environmental regulation coming under attack.

One year on, the negotiations have formally started and things have progressed… a bit.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 13:45 • Itai Vardi

A recent intensification in protests against Williams Partners’ planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania prompted a state senator to propose legislation aimed at limiting demonstrations.

Last month, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Scott Martin announced his intention to introduce legislation that would pass the costs of law enforcement responding to protests onto the demonstrators. Martin also helped introduce a different bill that would criminalize protests at natural gas facilities. 

A DeSmog investigation has found, however, that Martin is intimately tied to an obscure group of lobbyists recently hired by Williams Partners.

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