Sunday, January 14, 2018 - 03:00 • Itai Vardi
Enbridge building

A contractor working for the federal government to monitor construction of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge natural gas project works for the company in various other capacities, according to documents DeSmog obtained through an open records request.

Early last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project, which aims to upgrade Enbridge’s natural gas capacity in the Northeast U.S. The Atlantic Bridge project was originally initiated by Spectra Energy, which was purchased by Enbridge last February.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 10:22 • Sharon Kelly
Global map of percent changes in acres burning

Over the past few years, natural gas has become the primary fuel that America uses to generate electricity, displacing the long-time king of fossil fuels, coal. In 2019, more than a third of America's electrical supply will come from natural gas, with coal falling to a second-ranked 28 percent, the Energy Information Administration predicted this month, marking the growing ascendency of gas in the American power market.

But new peer-reviewed research adds to the growing evidence that the shift from coal to gas isn't necessarily good news for the climate.

A team led by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the oil and gas industry is responsible for the largest share of the world's rising methane emissions, which are a major factor in climate change — and in the process the researchers resolved one of the mysteries that has plagued climate scientists over the past several years.

Monday, January 15, 2018 - 14:49 • Guest
Mary Landrieu speaks at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

By Rob Galbraith, Cross-Posted from LittleSis.org

From Dakota Access to Keystone XL to Atlantic Coast, there has been no shortage of controversies over major proposed oil and gas pipelines in recent years. We can add the Bayou Bridge pipeline to this list.

Energy Transfer Partners and Phillips 66’s Bayou Bridge pipeline is a proposed connection to ETP’s Bakken pipeline network that will ship between 280,000 and 480,000 barrels of crude oil per day through southern Louisiana’s bayous and wetlands to petroleum refineries in Lake Charles.

The pipeline is facing committed resistance, both from environmental activists concerned about climate change and the impact of inevitable pipeline leaks and accidents on the environmentally sensitive Atchafalaya Basin, as well as from the communities of people whose homes and ways of life are threatened by the project.

On the other side are the oil and gas corporations that stand to profit from building the pipeline, the banks seeking interest payments on loans to oil and gas companies, and the politicians and academics dependent on oil and gas industry largesse for their careers.

Saturday, January 13, 2018 - 04:03 • Guest
Worker installing solar panels

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

The NAACP is launching a major environmental justice campaign on January 13 to mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

The “Solar Equity Initiative” aims to provide solar job skills training to 100 individuals, install solar panels on more than 30 homes and community centers in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, and strengthen equity in solar access policies in at least five states.

Friday, January 12, 2018 - 13:10 • Justin Mikulka
Sandra Steingraber in Unfractured

Unfractured, the new documentary about environmental activist and ecologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber, is primarily about the personal sacrifices made by individuals like Steingraber while fighting for environmental causes and future generations.

I try to tell my kids, 'Mom is on the job,'” Steingraber explains. “That is my job. To protect you and to plan for your future.” However, as Steingraber makes clear elsewhere in the film, we learn the reality: “It is not possible to do it all.”

While the documentary primarily follows the battle against fracking in New York, Steingraber also travels to Romania to meet with anti-fracking protesters there and then returns to New York to join efforts to stop natural gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns.

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 13:39 • Farron Cousins
pesticide warning sign in park

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking aim at two rules designed to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals by workers under the age of 18. The agency has filed notices with the federal register of its intent to either tweak or outright eliminate these protections for underage workers.

Thursday, January 11, 2018 - 06:49 • Kevin Grandia

Will 2018 be the year that mainstream media is not duped by professional spin doctors and fake experts paid to downplay and deny the realities of climate change?

Call me cynical, but after more than a decade of research and writing into the role big fossil fuel companies have played in sponsoring coordinated attacks on climate science with public relations spin, I remain unconvinced we won’t see a resurgence in climate denial.

Later this year, a major update on the state of climate change research — the impacts, solutions, scientific underpinnings, etc. — will be released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 15:44 • Justin Mikulka
Simulation showing flooding in New York City

Today New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced a goal to divest New York City’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners within five years. This makes New York the first major American city to announce such a move.

According to a statement, the city’s five pension funds have approximately $5 billion invested in over 190 fossil fuel companies.

“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major U.S. city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” said Mayor de Blasio. “At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 11:25 • Justin Mikulka

This week, three port commissioners in Vancouver, Washington, put another nail in the coffin for Vancouver Energy's proposed crude-by-rail facility when the commission voted to not renew the company's lease if the project did not have all required permits and licenses by March 31. This move is expected to effectively end the project.

Momentum for this vote began in November when Don Orange joined the port commission after a resounding victory against a challenger who was heavily funded by the oil industry. Orange, on the other hand, promised to oppose Vancouver Energy's planned construction of the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 15:41 • Guest
LA Firefighting helicopter drops water on a burning home near Burbank, CA in 2017

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

2017, one of the hottest years in modern history, was also an extremely costly year. According to a new reportfrom the National Centers for Environmental Information, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “the U.S. experienced 16 weather and climate disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion, with total costs of approximately $306 billion—a new U.S. annual record.”

The federal agency listed several noteworthy events, including the wildfires in the west, with total costs of $18 billion, tripling the previous U.S. annual wildfire cost record.

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