united nations

UN: Healing Ozone Layer Shows Why Environmental Treaties Matter

Read time: 3 mins
Earth's atmosphere from space

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

After decades of thinning, Earth's ozone layer is slowing recovering, the United Nations (UN) said in a report released Monday, highlighting how international cooperation can help tackle major environmental issues.

'Vast Blind Spot': IPCC Accused of Ignoring 'Decades Long' Fossil Fuel Misinformation Campaign on Climate

Read time: 6 mins
Charles Koch

The United Nations (UN) climate science panel is being accused of ignoring research into fossil fuel-funded misinformation campaigns that have been key to holding back action on global warming.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — an assessment of more than 6,000 research papers — found global warming caused largely by fossil fuel burning would have severe impacts even if limited to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Described by the IPCC as “one of the most important climate change reports ever published,” the report is designed to inform policy makers and the public around the world.

But several researchers are angry the report did not take account of academic research into the “decades-long misinformation campaign” funded and promoted by fossil fuel interests and so-called “free market” conservative think tanks that has been a major brake on progress.

Nations Won’t Reach Paris Climate Goal Without Protecting Wildlife and Nature, Warns Report

Read time: 4 mins
Sierpe river mangrove forest in Costa Rica

A sweeping new report released today emphasizes just how intertwined the challenges of climate change and loss of biodiversity truly are.

The Paris Climate Agreement and several other United Nations (UN) pacts “all depend on the health and vitality of our natural environment in all its diversity and complexity,” said Dr. Anne Larigauderie, executive secretary of the UN-backed organization behind the report. “Acting to protect and promote biodiversity is at least as important to achieving these commitments and to human well-being as is the fight against global climate change.”

Donald Trump Jeopardizes America’s Global Position By Reversing US Climate Policy

Read time: 4 mins
Donald Trump pointing at a rally

During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, a common theme among the candidates was that the U.S. needed to scale back efforts to combat climate change because one country can’t go it alone. The candidates’ thoughts were that other countries were still polluting, so why should the U.S. “destroy our economy” to address climate change?

The only problem with this talking point is that it simply isn’t true. In fact, thanks to President Donald Trump’s decision to scale back some of the most aggressive climate protections enacted by former President Obama, the U.S. is now the country appearing to take a lackadaisical approach toward climate change.

Amid Concerns About Trump's Authoritarian Bent, Oil Executive Calls for "Strong Rule of Law"

Read time: 9 mins

Harold Hamm, America's richest energy billionaire and the CEO of shale driller Continental Resources,  spoke at the S&P Global Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum last Thursday with an unusual message.

“We've got a President coming in that understands the rule of law, that understands business,” Mr. Hamm said.

Mr. Trump's promoters often cite his business experience. Mr. Trump, however, has rarely been praised for his understanding of the rule of law — which is the fundamental concept that the rules apply to everyone, from the most to the least powerful, and that governments must respect people's rights.

John Kerry Tells Marrakech Climate Talks Coal Investment Is “Suicide” As U.S. Delegation Ducks Fossil Fuel Influence Questions

Read time: 6 mins
John Kerry.

Today at the latest round of United Nations climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco, the nonprofit Corporate Accountability International (CAI) was finally able to deliver a petition to the U.S. delegation calling for the removal of corporate interests and the fossil fuel industry from the international climate negotiations process. 

The petition included a demand for the U.S. to stop opposing a conflict of interest policy that would look to limit the influence fossil fuels groups could have on the talks.

Later that day, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry criticized the continued use of fossil fuels — with a careful caveat about carbon capture and storage technology — saying at this point, the world cannot “write a big fat check enabling the widespread development of the dirtiest source of fuel in an outdated way. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s suicide.”

US, China Formally Join Paris Climate Agreement

Read time: 6 mins
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping

The two biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world have formally joined the Paris climate agreement.

Shortly after China adopted the agreementU.S. President Barack Obama today made the announcement that the U.S. had followed suit while he was in Hangzhou, China, ahead of this weekend's G20 summit. Together, the U.S. and China are responsible for some 38.76 percent of global emissions.

Which Countries Won't Be Signing The Paris Climate Deal On Its Opening Day?

Read time: 4 mins

An unprecedented number of countries will be gathering in New York City tomorrow to sign the Paris climate deal.

After significant progress was made this past December in agreeing the landmark deal, more than 167 countries – including past climate villains Iran, Canada and Australia and polluting giants China, the US, and the EU – are set to sign the Paris Agreement on its opening day.
 
But despite this, there are still some countries that remain absent from the UN’s official list of attendees – and this includes some pretty big emitters and fossil fuel producers.

Senate Passed Bill Expediting Fossil Fuel Extraction on Native American Land Two Days Before Paris Agreement

Read time: 3 mins

Indigenous peoples' rights nearly did not make it into the global deal signed at the United Nations COP21 climate summit in Paris, serving as one of the more controversial sticking points in the road toward the signing of the Paris Agreement. Eventually, though, the Paris Agreement came to include five mentions of the importance of protecting indigenous rights with regards to climate change.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has decided to grant indigenous people a different set of rights altogether: the right to have oil and coal extracted from their ancestral lands in a streamlined manner. The rights to do so would be granted in a bill that passed unanimously in the Senate two days before the Paris Agreement.

Sponsored by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2015's (S.209) passage in the Senate received no media coverage besides a press release disseminated by Barrasso's office and by the office of co-sponsor U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).

In Midst of ExxonMobil Climate Denial Scandal, Company Hiring Climate Change Researcher

Read time: 5 mins

Caught in the crosshairs of an ongoing New York Attorney General investigation exploring its role in studying the damage climate change could cause since the 1970's and then proceeding to fund climate science denial campaigns, ExxonMobil has announced an interesting job opening. 

No, not the new lawyer who will soon send the “private empire” billable hours for his defense work in the New York AG probe, though that's a story for another day. Exxon is hiring for a climate change researcher to work in its Annandale, New Jersey research park facility.   

“We are seeking a candidate to advance research and assessment providing fundamental understanding on global climate change issues,” reads the job description.

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