Fossil Fuel

US Air Quality Improving but White House Looking to Reverse That Progress

Smokestacks emitting pollution

The American Lung Association (ALA) released its “State of the Air” report last week, and the organization found that air quality in U.S. cities has improved in the time period from 2012–2014. The ALA report specifically cites the increased air quality protections and emission reduction programs that first began popping up in the U.S. to improve air quality in the 1970s.

While overall air quality improved in the major cities studied in the report, the ALA did note that short periods of increased air particulate contamination existed in many areas. Furthermore, the ALA added that at least 166 million Americans are currently living in areas where the level of air contaminants exceeds safe limits.

The timing of this report is very important, as the group is hoping to use this information to convince the Trump administration not to repeal or otherwise weaken air quality standards enacted by the Obama administration.

House Science Committee Leader Says Climate Scientists Are Trying to Control People’s Lives

Lamar Smith

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, declared in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives this week that the people warning us about the dangers of global warming — which definitely includes climate scientists — are either trying to make a quick buck, or they’re just trying to control our lives.

Chevron PR Firm's Local "News" Site Draws Attention from Koch Industries, Alarm from Media Watchdogs

Chevron refinery

In the city of Richmond, California, Chevron Corp. not only processes up to 250,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the largest refinery on the West Coast — it also writes the news.

The Richmond Standard, an online paper focused on local news for the roughly 100,000 residents of this San Francisco Bay area city (neighboring Berkeley and Oakland), is produced entirely by Chevron's public relations firm.

The Standard mostly prints local-interest stories: announcing library construction, highlighting missing persons, and profiling area businesses.

But unlike a traditional newspaper, the Standard also runs a dedicated section called “Chevron Speaks” — used to introduce friendly Chevron reps, attack investigative reporting projects, and talk electoral politics. And unlike other media outlets, the Standard consistently lacks mention of industrial accidents and problems at the refinery. 

Hillary Clinton Is Raking In Fossil Fuel Money At An Alarming Rate

In speeches and press conferences, and occasionally in policy, the Democratic Party in the United States has always claimed the high ground on the issue of climate change and the need to move the country off oil, gas and coal towards renewable energy. As a result, the fossil fuel industry has heavily backed Republican politicians for decades.

But the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has once again proven unique by every measure. A new report by The Wall Street Journal shows that Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pulling in far more money from the fossil fuel industry than her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

The report shows that, through July, Hillary Clinton has received almost three times as much campaign cash from fossil fuel employees than Trump, to the tune of about $525,000 compared to Trump’s $149,000. Her joint account with the Democratic National Committee has also received an additional $650,000 from fossil fuel executives and employees.

At Federal Energy Conference, Forecasts Predict Bright Future for Fossil Fuels

This year’s annual Energy Information Administration conference started off on a somewhat positive note with a presentation by Dr. John Holdren, the Obama administration director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren was clear in his presentation that the risks of climate change are real and deserve urgent action. 

He noted estimates of 15 feet of sea level rise being baked in with warming of only 2 degrees Celsius — a target that clearly will be difficult to meet. He commented on the following slide of predicted fossil fuel consumption growth as “very striking” and noted that “There really is no time to lose in shrinking emissions.”

Congress Is Infected With Climate Change Deniers, But Their Constituents Understand The Dangers

Here’s an inconvenient truth for the fossil fuel industry: The majority of Americans accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that it is a threat that must be addressed. This includes a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of citizens who do not identify with a specific political party.
 
But here’s a sad truth for Americans who believe in science: The majority of members of the ruling GOP party in Washington, D.C. refuse to accept the science that climate change is happening and that human beings are to blame.
 
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, 59% of the House Republican caucus and 70% of Senate Republicans refuse to accept the reality of climate change. This means there are a total of 182 climate change deniers in the House and Senate who collectively represent more than 200 million American citizens (based on their district/state size that they represent in Congress.)

EU to Exxon: TTIP Trade Deal Will Help Your Global Fossil Fuel Expansion

New documents reveal that the European Commission assured ExxonMobil at the very start of negotiations on the major US-EU free trade deal that the deal would help remove obstacles to expanding fossil fuel development in Africa and South America.

The documents, obtained by the Guardian, show that in October 2013 – just three months into negotiations – trade commissioner Karel de Gucht held an hour-long conversation with Exxon in which he told the oil giant that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would ease its concerns about restrictive regulations in developing countries.

As a briefing paper for de Gucht reads: “TTIP is perhaps more relevant as setting a precedent vis-a-vis third countries than governing trade and investment bilaterally.

Paris Climate Talks to Fossil Fuel Investors: ‘Get Out Now’

The end of the fossil fuel era is being signalled loud and clear here at the Paris climate conference as ministers enter the final hours of negotiations.

It's crunch time and everyone is saying the elements needed for an ambitious deal are still on the table. An essential part of this includes establishing a clear long-term goal to guide investor confidence toward a low-carbon society.

And with a 1.5C degree target option currently alive in the text, along with words such as ‘decarbonisation’ and ‘carbon neutral’, the signal couldn’t be clearer.

Despite Low Oil Prices, Renewable Power Gaining Traction, Energy Agencies Report — But Not Yet Fast Enough for the Climate

The shift away from coal and towards renewable sources of energy is slowly beginning to gain traction, two recently-released reports from American and global energy agencies show.

The biggest story is in the case of renewables,” International Energy Agency executive director, Fatih Birol, told the Guardian as this year's World Energy Outlook was released. “It is no longer a niche. Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel, as of now.”

Almost half of the new power generation added in 2014 came from wind, solar, wave or tidal energy, the report found, and renewables now represent the world's second largest source of electricity after coal. Coal, whose share of the world's energy mix has been rising since 2000, has peaked, the agency indicated, predicting that within two decades, renewable energy sources will replace coal as the backbone of the world's electricity source.

Congress-backed Interstate Oil Commission Call Cops When Reporter Arrives To Ask About Climate

On October 1, I arrived at the Oklahoma City headquarters of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)  a congressionally-chartered collective of oil and gas producing states  hoping for an interview.

There to ask IOGCC if it believed human activity (and specifically oil and gas drilling) causes climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, my plans that day came to a screeching halt when cops from the Oklahoma City Police Department rolled up and said that they had received a 9-1-1 call reporting me and my activity as “suspicious” (listen to the audio here). 

What IOGCC apparently didn't tell the cops, though, was that I had already told them via email that I would be in the area that day and would like to do an interview.

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