Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on ‘Building Empire for the Right Wing’

“Cabinet members are pressed weekly on what regulations they can strip from the books and have been told their performance will be judged on how many they remove.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2019

Mick Mulvaney press conference about President Donald Trump’s budget plan. Screenshot: YouTube

While President Donald Trump dominates national media with racist tweets and lies, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is quietly “building an empire for the right wing” and pushing Cabinet members to impose a radical and rapid deregulation agenda across the federal government, according to a new Washington Post report.

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US House Applauded for Approval of ‘Sweeping’ Provisions That Target Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

As part of the annual defense spending bill, lawmakers passed several amendments on PFAS, including one that would designate them “hazardous substances” under the Superfund law

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-12-2019

The U.S. House just passed several measures targeting so-called “forever chemicals” that experts warn have likely contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans. (Photo: Bart/Flickr/cc)

Public health and environmental advocates celebrated a victory Friday as the U.S. House approved an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would designate a class of “forever chemicals” as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law.

The amendment was one of several provisions targeting toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—collectively called PFAS—that the Democratic-controlled House passed this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. Continue reading

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Ahead of Trump ‘Utter Fantasy’ Speech on Environmental Record, DC Flooding Sparks Warnings on Danger of Climate Inaction

“We don’t have time for more lies. We must address the climate crisis now,” says Sen. Bernie Sanders

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2019

A flash flood emergency in Washington left roads submerged and cars stranded as heavy rains poured over the region. Photo: CNN screenshot

Flooding in Washington, D.C. on Monday prompted calls for climate action as well as renewed scorn for the Trump administration’s abysmal environmental record.

The heavy rains came the morning President Donald Trump gave an afternoon speech in which he boasted of supposed environmental accomplishments. “Is this a joke?” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s like an arsonist talking about how valuable his work is to the fire department.” Continue reading

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Retired oil rigs off the California coast could find new lives as artificial reefs

A school of juvenile bocaccio in the midwaters of Platform Gilda, Santa Barbara Channel, Calif. Scott Gietler, CC BY-ND

Ann Scarborough Bull, University of California, Santa Barbara and Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara

Offshore oil and gas drilling has been a contentious issue in California for 50 years, ever since a rig ruptured and spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off Santa Barbara in 1969. Today it’s spurring a new debate: whether to completely dismantle 27 oil and gas platforms scattered along the southern California coast as they end their working lives, or convert the underwater sections into permanent artificial reefs for marine life.

We know that here and elsewhere, many thousands of fishes and millions of invertebrates use offshore rigs as marine habitat. Working with state fisheries agencies, energy companies have converted decommissioned oil and gas platforms into manmade reefs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia. Continue reading

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Citing $69 Trillion Price Tag by 2100, Moody’s Warns Central Banks of Far-Reaching Economic Damage of Climate Crisis

“There is no denying it: The longer we wait to take bold action to curb emissions, the higher the costs will be for all of us.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-3-2019

Arid soils are shown in Mauritania in 2012, when crops failed because of a severe drought which led to a food crisis that impacted millions of people across West Africa. (Photo: Oxfam International/Flickr/cc)

Noting previous warnings that the human-caused climate crisis could cause trillions of dollars in damage to the global economy by the end of the century, a new report from Moody’s Analytics explores the economic implications of the international community’s failure to curb planet-warming emissions.

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi told The Washington Post—which first reported on the new analysis—that this is “the first stab at trying to quantify what the macroeconomic consequences might be” of the global climate crisis, and it comes in response to European commercial banks and central banks. The climate emergency is “not a cliff event. It’s not a shock to the economy. It’s more like a corrosive,” Zandi added. But it is “getting weightier with each passing year.” Continue reading

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On ‘Hottest Day in History of France,’ World Told ‘Do Not Look Away’ as Police Tear-Gas Climate Campaigners in Paris

“Watch this video and ask yourself,” said Greta Thunberg, “who is defending who?”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-28-2019

Activists with Extinction Rebellion pepper-sprayed by police as they occupied the Sully Bridge in Paris on Friday. (Photo: Extinction Symbol/Screenshot/via Twitter)

French riot police tear-gassed climate protesters in Paris on Friday as the county sweltered under record heat.

Activists with Extinction Rebellion (XR) were occupying a bridge over the Seine to demand the French government declare a climate emergency and take necessary action to avert planetary catastrophe.

“We need to civilly disrupt because, otherwise, nothing is going to be done,” a British woman who took part in the protest told Euronews. Continue reading

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Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

“They want to box everyone out of the process who might call their policies into question.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA. Continue reading

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‘Report the Urgency! This Is a Climate Emergency!’: 70 Arrested Outside New York Times Demanding Paper Treat Climate Like the Crisis It Is

“This is the biggest crisis in human history. What are we going to tell our children when they ask us: why didn’t we do anything to stop it while we still had time?”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2019

Coordinated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, 70 people or more were reported arrested after the group staged a sit-in on Eight Avenue in midtown Manhattan in order to bring attention to the failure of the paper—and that of the journalism industry overall—to adequately report on the global urgency of skyrocketing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, rapidly warming oceans, and all the associated perils that result. (Photo: Civic NYC/@CivicNYC)

Hundreds of people descended on the headquarters of the New York Times on Saturday to demand the “paper of record” drastically improve its coverage of the global climate crisis and specifically demanded its reporters refer to the situation as a “climate emergency” in alignment with what the world’s scientific community is warning.

Coordinated by Extinction Rebellion NYC, 70 people were reported arrested after the group
staged a sit-in on Eight Avenue in midtown Manhattan in order to bring attention to the failure of the paper—and that of the journalism industry overall—to adequately report on the global urgency of skyrocketing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, rapidly warming oceans, and all the associated perils that result. The group hung banners in front of the Times building as well as from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the other side of the street. Continue reading

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‘We Need to Ban Fracking’: New Analysis of 1,500 Scientific Studies Details Threat to Health and Climate

“The data show that fracking impairs the health of people who live nearby, especially pregnant women, and swings a wrecking ball at the climate.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-19-2019

“There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends,” according to a new analysis. (Photo: Wendy Shattil/Bob Rozinksi/Creative Commons)

A comprehensive analysis of nearly 1,500 scientific studies, government reports, and media stories on the consequences of fracking released Wednesday found that the evidence overwhelmingly shows the drilling method poses a profound threat to public health and the climate.

The sixth edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium), published by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, found that “90.3 percent of all original research studies published from 2016-2018 on the health impacts of fracking found a positive association with harm or potential harm.” Continue reading

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Proposal to ‘Pave Paradise’ in Galapagos Islands for US Military Airstrip Met With Criticism in Ecuador and Beyond

“Galapagos is NOT an ‘aircraft carrier’ for gringo use.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2019

A Galapagos fur seal. he seal will share its environment with the Pentagon per a new plan from the Ecuadorian government that would extend a landing strip at the region’s airport to accommodate U.S. military aircraft. Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson [CC]

The Galapagos Islands archipelago in Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse regions in the entire world, home to a number of species found nowhere else on the planet, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

So, naturally, the U.S. military wants to use one of its islands as an airstrip Continue reading

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