Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

‘What Could Be More Important?’: World Leaders, Media Ignore Biodiversity Report Detailing Mass Extinction Event Now Underway

“The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2019

Scientists at the UN’s Intergovernmental Science‑Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction earlier this month—but the report was largely ignored by the corporate news media. (Photo: Danny Perez Photography/flickr/cc)

Scientists at the United Nations’ intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species—but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Deutsche Welle reported Thursday that partially because the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released its report on what it called nature’s “unprecedented” decline on the same day that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had their first child, news reports on the study’s grave implications were few and far between. Continue reading

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Over 1,351 Climate Strikes in 110 Countries Planned for Friday as Global Revolt Escalates

“Activism works. So act.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-21-2019

People in more than 100 countries are expected to take part in well over 1,000 strikes on Friday, May 24 to demand climate action from their governments. (Photo: @ExtinctionR/Twitter)

Two months after what was reportedly the largest international climate demonstration ever, young people around the world are expected to make history again on Friday with a second global climate strike.

Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began the global movement in which students around the world have walked out of their classrooms on a weekly basis since last fall to demand climate action, reported Tuesday that at least 1,351 separate strikes are now scheduled to take place all over the world on Friday. Continue reading

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Texas State Bill Would Make Protesting Pipelines a Felony on Par With Attempted Murder

“This needs to be a nation-wide story.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2019

Activists in North Dakota confront pipeline construction activities. A Texas bill would impose steep penalties for such protests. (Photo: Speak Freely/ACLU)

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.

H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years. Continue reading

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200+ Groups Call on Senate to Reject Bill That Would Lock US Into Fossil Fuel Dependence ‘Under Guise of National Security’

“At a time when we should be leading the global mission to rapidly quit fossil fuels, the notion of seeking new and deeper fossil fuel codependence between America and Europe is patently absurd.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-9-2019

A new bill—passed by the House and being considered by the Senate—would provide billions of dollars in support for fossil fuel projects including fracking in Europe. (Photo: Wendy Shattil/Bob Rozinksi/Creative Commons)

More than 200 national climate action groups on Thursday demanded that the Senate stop the passage of a bill that would serve to keep both Europe and the U.S. dependent on fossil fuels for decades to come—as millions around the world have marched in recent months to demand that governments rapidly shift away from carbon-emitting energy sources.

Passed by the House in March, the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019 (S. 704) would provide billions of dollars in support for natural gas infrastructure projects, propping up fossil fuel industries and leading to fracking projects in the U.S.—undercutting the goals of climate campaigners who are demanding that all industrialized countries move toward renewable energy systems. Continue reading

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‘Ominous’ UN Report Warns Human Activity Has Pushed One Million Plant and Animal Species to Brink of Extinction

“Nature is collapsing around us and it’s a real wake-up call to humanity.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-6-2019

A United Nations report on biodiversity released Monday found that human activity is responsible for “accelerating” species extinction rates. Photo: Murky [CC-BY-SA 2.0]

United Nations report described as the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of global biodiversity ever published found that human exploitation of the natural world has pushed a million plant and animal species to the brink of extinction—with potentially devastating implications for the future of civilization.

Conducted by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and released Monday, the report warned that species extinction rates are “accelerating” at an “unprecedented” rate due to the human-caused climate crisis and economic activity. Continue reading

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Pentagon Pushed for Weakened Regulations on Toxic Chemicals, Endangering Drinking Water of Millions of Americans

The Trump administration “seems hell-bent on giving industrial and military polluters a pass despite the clear and present danger these chemicals represent for our health,” one critic said

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2019

The U.S. Department of Defense pressured the EPA into rolling back a proposed groundwater clean-up standard, reducing military bases’ responsibility to cleaning up toxic chemical contamination. Photo: USAF

Lobbying from the Pentagon is to blame for the Trump administration’s latest environmental regulatory rollback, according to reports.

The EPA on Thursday released weakened guidelines for the clean-up of toxic groundwater pollution which could contaminate the drinking water millions of Americans use—after the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) called on the White House to intervene and have an earlier draft of the rules changed. Continue reading

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Latest ‘Wake-Up Call’ of Climate Emergency as Historic Cyclone Hits Still Reeling Mozambique

As aid groups call for global assistance, campaigner says unfolding disaster “is a tragedy that points to the bigger crisis that humanity is faced with.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2019

Screenshot: Weather Channel

Urgent calls for international aid and climate action mounted Friday after the stongest cyclone to ever hit Mozambique made landfall just weeks after another powerful storm ravaged the impoverished African country.

“The families whose lives have been turned upside down by these climate-related disasters urgently need the generosity of the international community to survive over the coming months,” Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, said in a statement (pdf). Continue reading

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On Earth Day, Remembering the US Military’s Toxic Legacy

The DoD produces more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined.

By Whitney Webb. Published 4-22-2019 by MintPress News

Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Hernandez, right, practices attaching and removing a second stage regulator on his mask during practical application exercises as part of a hazardous waste operations and emergency response course at Camp Foster, Okinawa. Photo: Stephen D. Himes/USMC

Media outlets gave minimal attention to recent news that the U.S. Naval station in Virginia Beach spilled an estimated 94,000 gallons of jet fuel into a nearby waterway, less than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. While the incident was by no means as catastrophic as some other pipeline spills, it underscores an important yet little-known fact – that the U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation’s and the world’s, largest polluter.

Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others. Continue reading

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In Ruling on Coal Mining, Federal Judge Issues Latest Rebuke of Trump’s Attack on Public Lands

About 40 federal rulings have now blocked the president from rolling back environmental and public health regulations

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-20-2019

 

“This is a victory for communities whose land, water, and way of life is threatened by new coal mining,” Earthjustice said of a federal ruling against the president’s attempt to open up coal mining on public lands. (Photo: Maria Gunnoe Flight, courtesy of southwings.org)

Green groups on Saturday celebrated the latest federal ruling aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from rolling back environmental regulations that were put in place by his predecessor.

Judge Brian Morris issued a ruling late Friday stating that the Interior Department broke federal law when it lifted former President Barack Obama’s moratorium on coal mining in public lands. Continue reading

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‘Finally!’: Court Orders EPA to Stop Stalling Potential Ban on Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Kids

“We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-19-2019

American farmers use chlorpyrifos, a pesticide tied to brain and nervous system issues, on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. (Photo: Stephanie Chapman/Flickr/cc)

In a ruling welcomed by public health advocates, a federal court on Friday ordered the Trump administration to stop stalling a potential ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, giving regulators until mid-July to make a final decision.

Citing unacceptable health risks for children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ended household use of chlorpyrifos in 2000. However, farmers can still use the pesticide—which is also tied to nervous system problems in people and animals—on crops such as apples, broccoli, corn, and strawberries. Continue reading

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