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For Trump’s EPA, Back to Normal Means More Pollution

Read time: 6 mins
Streets of downtown Tacoma, WA, during the COVID-19 outbreak

This story originally appeared in Capital & Main and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story.

By , Capital & Main.

If you, like me, tote an albuterol inhaler throughout your city’s smoggy summers and inversioned winters, you might have noticed an ironic, upbeat side effect of the nation’s mass grounding: It’s noticeably easier to breathe. It’s also easier, in this time when many of us have nowhere to go, to get to places. Traffic maps of typically congested U.S. cities show ribbons of green from one sunrise to the next: Rush hours have evaporated; sig alerts — a regular feature for California commuters — are suddenly rare.

Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Members Silent After Group Opposed Using Wartime Law to Produce Medical Supplies

Read time: 6 mins
US Chamber of Commerce building

By Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute. Originally posted on Energy and Policy Institute.

Major electric utilities and fossil fuel producers that are members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce remained silent when asked whether they supported the lobbying group’s controversial opposition to using the Defense Production Act to address a shortage of medical supplies and equipment crucial to fighting the coronavirus. 

Some of those same energy companies, and their trade associations, have for years lobbied for the use of the Defense Production Act to bail out struggling coal plants.

Will Pandemic Relief Become a Petroleum Industry Slush Fund?

Read time: 14 mins
Oil rig at sunset in the Permian Basin

By Amy Westervelt, with additional reporting from Emily Gertz, Drilled News. Originally published on Drilled News.

Recently, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin both made clear their intentions to include some sort of bailout for the oil and gas industry as part of the federal government’s emergency economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Op-Ed: The US Must Protect Communities and Workers But We Need Our Leaders to Stop Bending to the Oil and Gas Industry

Read time: 6 mins
A roughneck operates the pipe ramp on Citadel Rig 6 in the Permian Basin

By Megan Milliken Biven

Imagine a sovereign nation with nearly 29 million citizens and the eleventh largest economy in the world. Now imagine that this nation’s legislature only met to represent its citizens and their interests once every two years. The work of governance, regulation, and oversight are instead shifted to a relatively unknown cadre of boards. Boards whose leadership is a revolving door of the industries the government is supposed to regulate. If this were Venezuela, we Americans would deem it a corrupt Banana Republic and demand international intervention.

The hypothetical nation described here is in fact Texas. One of those state boards is the Railroad Commission of Texas, a little-known agency that oversees oil and gas activities across the state. Ryan Sitton is both current Railroad Texas Commissioner and founder of an oil and gas consulting company. Sitton, who recently lost reelection, regulates the very activities he personally profits from. On March 19, he published an opinion piece in Bloomberg, “The U.S. Must Protect Free Markets in the Oil Price War,” which calls for protecting not free markets, but the oil and gas industry in Texas.

His article asks the federal government to allow oil and gas companies to behave like the OPEC cartel and limit oil production, raise prices on already suffering Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, and continue with a status quo energy policy.

How Technology Can Combat the Rising Tide of Fake Science

Read time: 5 mins
Crop circles in Switzerland

By Chris Impey, University of Arizona

Science gets a lot of respect these days. Unfortunately, it’s also getting a lot of competition from misinformation. Seven in 10 Americans think the benefits from science outweigh the harms, and nine in 10 think science and technology will create more opportunities for future generations. Scientists have made dramatic progress in understanding the universe and the mechanisms of biology, and advances in computation benefit all fields of science.

On the other hand, Americans are surrounded by a rising tide of misinformation and fake science. Take climate change. Scientists are in almost complete agreement that people are the primary cause of global warming. Yet polls show that a third of the public disagrees with this conclusion.

In my 30 years of studying and promoting scientific literacy, I’ve found that college educated adults have large holes in their basic science knowledge and they’re disconcertingly susceptible to superstition and beliefs that aren’t based on any evidence. One way to counter this is to make it easier for people to detect pseudoscience online. To this end, my lab at the University of Arizona has developed an artificial intelligence-based pseudoscience detector that we plan to freely release as a web browser extension and smart phone app.

Oregon Republicans Flee Climate Legislation for the Second Time in Less Than 1 Year

Read time: 3 mins
Oregon State Capitol building

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Oregon's Republican Congresspeople have once again scuppered attempts to pass a climate change bill, by running away.

In June of 2019, Oregon Republican Senators refused to show up to work in order to deny the Senate a quorum to vote on a cap-and-trade bill that had passed the House. Some even fled the state to avoid being forced to return. That standoff ended when Senate Democrats said they did not have enough votes for the bill.

Climate Justice and Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally in Solidarity With Wet'suwet'en People as RCMP Continue Raids

Read time: 3 mins
On February 8, 2020, a Wet'suwet'en solidarity event stopped a Toronto train at Dufferin Street and Bartlett Avenue in Toronto.

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BY-SA 3.0 US.

Indigenous rights supporters held solidarity actions across Canada over the weekend as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police continued their raids on Wet'suwet'en land in British Columbia.

The Unist'ot'en Camp reported on its official Facebook page Sunday that at least 21 people had been arrested since Thursday, when, as Common Dreams reported, the RCMP conducted a violent pre-dawn raid to fulfill an injunction on behalf of Coastal GasLink, which aims to build a pipeline in Wet'suwet'en territory in northern British Columbia. 

Australia's Decade of Burning Environmental Apathy

Read time: 5 mins
Orroral Valley fire in Australia January 2020

By Edward CavanoughThis story originally appeared in The Nation and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

The country is paying a deadly price for its conservative politicians’ climate denialism. 

'They're Done': CNBC's Jim Cramer Says Fossil Fuel Industry 'In the Death Knell Phase'

Read time: 3 mins
Jim Cramer on CNBC

By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BY-SA 3.0 US.

Climate campaigners drew attention to CNBC's Jim Cramer's comments on Friday, January 31 that he's “done with fossil fuels” because they're “in the death knell phase.”

Cramer added that “the world's turned on” the industry as they did with tobacco.

'Like Handing Out Blankets Affected With Smallpox': US Called to End Oil Exports to Thwart Climate Crisis

Read time: 3 mins
Oil tanker at the Kinder Morgan pipeline terminal on the Houston Ship Channel

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BY-SA 3.0 US.

new report released Tuesday by Oil Change International and Greenpeace USA found that reinstating the U.S. crude oil export ban Congress lifted in 2015 would slash global carbon emissions by up to 181 million tons of CO2-equivalent each year — a reduction comparable to shuttering dozens of coal-fired power plants.

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