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San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Costs of Climate Change

Fourth street sign underwater

Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

San Francisco and Oakland are suing Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—the five biggest investor-owned fossil fuel producers in the world—over the costs of climate change.

The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won't Lead to Action on Climate Change

Man standing in floodwaters in front of damage from Hurricane Irma in Florida

By Scott Gabriel Knowles, Drexel University

It’s not easy to hold the nation’s attention for long, but three solid weeks of record-smashing hurricanes directly affecting multiple states and at least 20 million people will do it.

Clustered disasters hold our attention in ways that singular events cannot — they open our minds to the possibility that these aren’t just accidents or natural phenomena to be painfully endured. As such, they can provoke debates over the larger “disaster lessons” we should be learning. And I would argue the combination of Harvey and Irma has triggered such a moment.

Washington Post: Exxon, Koch, and Big Coal Cash Begat Trump Climate Denial

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

Stephen Schwarzman: Wall Street Investor, Trump Ally, Fracking Profiteer

Stephen Schwarzman

This is a guest post by  and originally appeared on Eyes on the Ties.

By now, many people have heard of Stephen Schwarzman.

Some may know him as the billionaire founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a mammoth private equity firm that has its tentacles spread across numerous subsidiaries and companies.

Others may know Schwarzman as a close ally and advisor of Donald Trump, the chair the president’s recently disbanded Strategic and Policy Forum, who is set to profit handsomely from his relationship with the president.

Some may even know Schwarzman as the thrower of lavish, self-glorifying birthday parties — his last one included fireworks, acrobats, live camels, celebrity performers, and a slew of high-profile guests, from David Koch to Jared Kushner, as well as several Trump cabinet members.

But fewer people know about Schwarzman the fracking profiteer, with billions invested in the fossil fuel industry that is fueling the climate crisis.

Hurricane Harvey, Climate Denial, Fake News and ExxonMobil

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

For well over twenty years, climate deniers have tried to stymie discussion of extreme weather events and climate change. Why? Because extreme weather kills people, destroys property, trashes things and costs billions of dollars.  And that’s when people start searching for accountability and looking for who to blame.

Hurricane Harvey’s damage is breaking records. Who will pay, remains an unanswered question.  What we do know is that a concerted campaign of climate denial, over the past three decades, has measurably slowed down society’s reaction to the climate crisis and has wasted valuable time and money.

What Hurricane Harvey Says About Risk, Climate, and Resilience

Hurricane Harvey from space

By Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M UniversityDaniel Cohan, Rice University, and Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

Hurricane Harvey has taught us many lessons, but the most valuable may be the oldest lesson of all, one we humans have been learning — and forgetting — since the dawn of time: how much we all have to lose when climate and weather disasters strike.

Australia’s Tony Abbott to Address London Climate Science Denial Group

Tony Abbot and the GWPF

Abbott becomes second former Australian prime minister to address Global Warming Policy Foundation. His speech will be called ‘Daring to Doubt’, writes Karl Mathiesen, editor of Climate Home.

Former Australia prime minister and government backbencher Tony Abbott is set to give the annual lecture to a London-based climate sceptic group.

Abbott will give his speech, entitled ‘Daring to Doubt’, to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on 9 October.

Multiple Industry-Funded Nominations to EPA's Clean Air Advisory Committee

Clean air signs at a rally outside EPA's DC offices

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Back in March, and then again in May, we flagged efforts by Pruitt and the GOP to bend the knee to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and grant pro-pollution voices even more of a say on science advisory panels. One such panel is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which according to its website, “provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the technical bases for EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”

The nominations for new members of the CASAC are in, and while most of the names look like solid scientists (.pdf list here), there are a few with affiliations and funding that might raise some eyebrows. (Fortunately, the public comment period is open, so interested persons have until September 18th to email their concerns to Mr. Aaron Yeow, designated federal officer, at [email protected].)

Despite Huge Losses and Its own Bungling, Southern Company Wants to Complete Vogtle Plant

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

With Southern Company’s board voting today to green light the completion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, the prospect that Georgia utility customers may be on the hook for many billions for a plant that may never be economically feasible becomes very real.

Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning has blamed the bankruptcy of nuclear reactor builder Westinghouse for the plant being billions over budget and years behind schedule, calling the Westinghouse collapse an unforeseeable event that caught Southern by surprise.

Tomorrow, Southern Company will recommend to the Georgia Public Service Commission that it nevertheless continue to build the project – which is only 32 percent complete after four years of construction – despite the huge and ever-increasing cost of a plant that the PSC’s own analyses indicate may never be viable commercially.

I Was an Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist

Exxon station signs

By Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

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