Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 17:26 • Sharon Kelly

A North Dakota federal judge dismissed Energy Transfer’s racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace and all its co-defendants in a sharply worded ruling issued today, finding that the pipeline builder’s allegations fell “far short of what is necessary to establish a [racketeering] claim.”

In August 2017, Energy Transfer filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act civil complaint against Greenpeace and other environmental groups who had opposed the company’s Dakota Access pipeline, claiming that the protests had caused $300 million in damages (and requesting three times that amount from the defendants).

Today’s ruling flatly rejected Energy Transfer’s claims.

Saturday, December 29, 2018 - 03:00 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By Phillip Stalley, DePaul University

Despite clear signs that the need to act on climate change is becoming more urgent, global greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise for the second straight year.

China, the world’s second-largest economy and ground zero in the global effort to combat climate change, is among the biggest drivers of this increase. Accounting for 27 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, China has been the world’s leading emitter for more than a decade. Although its emissions stayed flat between 2013 and 2016, they rose again in 2017 and increased by an estimated 5 percent in 2018.

While recent increases are certainly cause for concern, based on my research on China’s climate change policies, I see grounds for optimism in terms of what to expect with China’s carbon footprint.

Friday, December 28, 2018 - 18:25 • Julie Dermansky
Read time: 5 mins

On December 27, a state* appeals court ordered a Louisiana’s sheriff’s department and its sheriff to release information about its officers’ trip to North Dakota during the heated protests against the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016. The extended, indigenous-led protests near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation drew a highly militarized response from public and private law enforcement. Out-of-state cops, including those from Louisiana’s St. Charles Parish, flooded North Dakota to support it via an interstate agreement.

The latest move reversed a decision by a district court, which denied a public records request made by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a human rights law firm which has worked on behalf of environmental groups* in Louisiana, after parish law enforcement spoke out against Dakota Access pipeline opponents and endorsed the Bayou Bridge pipeline, a similar oil pipeline in Louisiana.

Friday, December 28, 2018 - 03:00 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 9 mins

2018 is set to rank as the fourth warmest year on record — and the fourth year in a row reflecting a full degree Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) temperature rise from the late 1800s, climate scientists say.

This was the year that introduced us to fire tornadoes, bomb cyclones, and, in Death Valley, a five day streak of 125°F temperatures, part of the hottest month ever documented at a U.S. weather station.

2018 also brought the world’s highest-ever low temperature, as nighttime temperatures fell to a sizzling 109°F in Quiryat, Oman, on June 28, smashing a 2011 record-high low.

A startling 95 percent of the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is now gone — and we’re losing Arctic ice at a rate of 14,000 tons per second, according to recent research, three times as fast as roughly three decades ago.

It was a year notable both for its overwhelming, climate-fueled impacts as well as its gut-wrenching predictions for what climate change still has in store for us if we fail to act. So much happened, frankly, that it's been hard to keep it all straight.

Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 03:00 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan

The international climate change conference that concluded in Katowice, Poland on Dec. 15 had limited ambitions and expectations — especially compared to the 2015 meeting that produced the Paris climate agreement. It will be remembered mainly for its delegates agreeing on a common “rulebook” to implement existing country commitments for reducing emissions.

The deal is vital. It keeps the new global climate regime alive. It maintains a path to deliver financial and technical assistance to vulnerable countries and peoples. Actors with quite divergent interests, including the United States, the European Union, oil producing states, China, India, and small island nations all accepted a common approach to measuring progress.

But from my perspective as a social scientist focusing on conservation and international development, the technical orientation of the Katowice meeting failed to match the urgency of needed climate action. Negotiators made little progress toward deeper emissions cuts. Nor did the meeting do much to help the most vulnerable people, ecosystems, and nations.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 03:00 • Justin Mikulka
Read time: 8 mins

In 2018, Cape Town, South Africa, one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, faced the prospect of running out of water. This city of four million people was counting down the days to “Day Zero,” when they would turn on the taps and find them dry.

Ultimately, Cape Town's water conservation measures helped the city narrowly miss reaching Day Zero (for now).

However, the experience stands out as a warning of what's to come for large, developed population centers as climate change puts increasing pressure on the world's water in unprecedented and unexpected ways, from a mega-drought in the American West to drier soils preventing rivers and lakes from recharging when rain does arrive.

Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 03:00 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By Shawn Olson-Hazboun, Evergreen State College and Hilary Boudet, Oregon State University

A year after Washington state denied key permits for a coal-export terminal in the port city of Longview, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would proceed with its review — essentially ignoring the state’s decision.

This dispute pits federal authorities against local and state governments. It’s also part of a larger and long-running battle over fossil fuel shipments to foreign countries that stretches up the entire American West Coast.

Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 03:00 • Ben Jervey
Read time: 4 mins

Two Senate Democrats this week ordered several Trump administration cabinet members and agency officials to reveal how the oil industry and Koch network have worked behind closed doors to influence the proposed rollback of auto efficiency and emissions standards.

Senator Tom Carper of Delaware and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer sent a letter to the current heads of the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others in the administration to demand information about a “covert lobbying campaign with oil industry groups to support Trump Administration efforts to weaken fuel economy standards and increase demand for oil consumption.”

Friday, December 21, 2018 - 14:49 • Julie Dermansky
Read time: 7 mins

Louisiana is ground zero for the devastating impacts of climate change. Even though the state is already feeling the costly impacts to life and property due to extreme weather and an eroding coastline linked to a warming planet, its government continues to ignore the primary cause — human use of fossil fuels.

The impacts to the region, such as worsening floods, heat waves, and sea level rise, will only be intensified as the globe continues warming, warn federal scientists in the latest National Climate Assessment report.

But instead of heeding scientists’ warnings, Louisiana’s government continues to welcome the prospects of new billion-dollar petrochemical plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, and an oil export hub, all without a mention of their climate change impacts. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 21:18 • Guest
Read time: 7 mins

By , LittleSis. Originally posted on LittleSis.org.

Despite his reputation as a leader on climate policy, California Governor Jerry Brown has been criticized for making major concessions to the oil industry — which, along with other fossil fuels, is a key driver of the global climate crisis.

Our new report sheds light on a previously unknown channel through which Big Oil sought influence over Brown: a handsomely-paid lobbyist who is a longtime friend, advisor, and former staffer of Brown’s.

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