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Climate Change and Other Frights: 13 Environmental Books to Scare You Into Action

Read time: 5 mins
Covers of books Blowout, Leave It in the Ground, and Kochland

By John R. Platt, The Revelator.

Horror,” wrote novelist and critic Douglas E. Winter, “is not a genre. It is an emotion.”

You know what else generates some horrifying emotions? Topics like climate change and pollution.

As we approach the Halloween season, let’s dive into those fears with a batch of new books about those most fright-inducing of environmental topics. I’ve selected the 13 scariest (and most informative) environmental books published so far this year, pulled from the recommendations in my monthly “Revelator Reads” column.

Dominion Buys Pipeline Support at Supreme Court Through GOP Attorneys General

Read time: 3 mins

By Kelly Roache, crossposted with permission from Energy and Policy Institute

With the US Supreme Court poised to decide this month whether it will review a ruling key to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s future, majority-owner of the project Dominion Energy has received support in its case from Republican state Attorneys General and the US Department of Justice. Both US Attorney General William Barr and the state Attorneys General have close financial ties to the utility – including through a GOP group that funneled millions to one key proponent.

Oil Companies Sued by Baltimore Face Discovery in State Court

Read time: 3 mins
Tropical Storm Isabel flooding in Maryland

By Karen Savage, Climate Liability News. Originally published on Climate Liability News.

A federal appellate judge ruled that Baltimore’s climate liability suit will proceed in state court, rejecting a motion by more than two dozen fossil fuel defendants to halt the suit while they try to convince the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that the case belongs in federal court.

California Polluters May Soon Buy Carbon 'Offsets' From the Amazon — Is That Ethical?

Read time: 6 mins
Tropical rainforest and oil refinery
By Maron Greenleaf, Dartmouth College

Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have outraged the world. But what can people living far from the world’s largest rainforest do to save it?

California thinks it has an answer.

On September 19, the California Air Resources Board endorsed the Tropical Forest Standard, which sets the groundwork for electric utilities, oil refineries and other California polluters to “offset” their greenhouse gas emissions by paying governments in tropical forest areas not to cut down trees.

Could Climate Change Fuel the Rise of Right-wing Nationalism?

Read time: 6 mins
Flaming fist
By Joshua Conrad Jackson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

Two trends have defined the past decade and both have been on display at this year’s session of the United Nations General Assembly.

One has been the escalating effects of climate change, which were the focus of the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit. Forest fires, floods and hurricanes are all rising in their frequency and severity. Eight of the last 10 years have been the warmest on record. Marine biologists warned that coral reefs in the U.S. could disappear entirely by the 2040s.

The other trend has been the surge of right-wing nationalist politics across Western nations, which includes Donald Trump’s election in the U.S., and the rise of nationalist political parties around the world.

Q&A: Michael Mann on Coverage Since 'Climategate'

Read time: 9 mins
Michael Mann

By Brendan Fitzgerald, CJRThis story originally appeared in Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). It is republished here as part of DeSmog's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Michael Mann's work as a press critic began in earnest a decade ago. Ahead of the 2009 international climate-change summit in Copenhagen, hackers stole email correspondence between Mann and other climate scientists from a computer server at the University of East Anglia. Climate-change deniers used portions of the emails, freed from context, to attack the credibility of Mann, whose “hockey stick” graph charting the rapid rise of the Earth’s temperature since industrialization would become an emblem of the climate fight. Coverage of what news outlets called “Climategate” saved space for Mann’s critics; such choices emphasized conflict out of all proportion with the scientific consensus on a warming planet. In The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, his 2012 book, Mann called such false balance and sympathetic framing “a sweet victory for climate change deniers.” 

Fossil Fuel Companies Roll out a New Era of Spin

Read time: 4 mins
ExxonMobil Baton Rouge oil refinery

By , Grist. This story originally appeared in Grist. It is republished here as part of DeSmog's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Forget “climate change” and “global warming”: Environmental advocates are increasingly using phrases that emphasize the urgency of our planetary pickle, such as “climate crisis,” “climate emergency,” and “existential threat.”

But do-gooders aren’t the only ones with savvy messaging techniques. Over the years, fossil fuel companies have poured millions into sowing doubt about climate science and burnishing their public image. Now, fossil fuel companies are reckoning with a different communications challenge: convincing their investors that the future of oil and gas companies is bright … or at least bright enough.

Mulling Run Against Green New Deal Sponsor Ed Markey, Joe Kennedy Is Heavily Invested in Fossil Fuels

Read time: 4 mins
Rep. Joe Kennedy, Sarah McBride

By Donald Shaw, Sludge. This story originally appeared in Sludge. It is republished here as part of DeSmog's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), the grandson of former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has filed paperwork to challenge Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the Senate’s most progressive members and the chief sponsor of the Senate version of the Green New Deal resolution.

Key Facts About the New EPA Plan to Reverse the Obama-era Methane Leaks Rule

Read time: 5 mins

By . Originally posted on Yale Climate Connections.

President Trump’s EPA is moving to roll back 2016 Obama administration methane leak regulations for key parts of the oil and gas industry, another example of what seems an across-the-board repudiation of Obama-era environmental and climate change initiatives. The new proposal, if made final, is certain to face legal challenges, with its ultimate fate perhaps being decided only by the administration in office in 2021.

NOAA Directed Staffers Not to Contradict Trump on Misleading Dorian Claims

Read time: 4 mins
Trump displaying Hurricane Dorian forecast

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

Can the U.S. under President Donald Trump still trust government-issued weather reports?

That's the question at the heart of a Saturday report from The Washington Post that leadership at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) directed staff not to contradict Trump's claims that Hurricane Dorian would impact Alabama.