Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

‘One of the World’s Most Respected Intelligence Services’: Bolsonaro’s Bring-Your-Son-to-the-CIA Day

“This is the perfect symbol for Latin America’s far right, which has for decades drowned the left in blood thanks to the help of its CIA benefactor.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-18-2019

Jair Bolsonaro took office as president of Brazil in January. This week, he is in Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil (CC BY 3.0 BR)

Nearly 55 years after the CIA backed a coup d’état that overthrew Brazil’s democratically-elected government, the nation’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro raised eyebrows on Monday with an unusual and unannounced trip to the spy agency’s U.S. headquarters.

Bolsonaro is officially in town to meet with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, the Brazilian’s first bilateral meeting with a head of state since taking office in January. His visit to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia was revealed by his son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, in a tweet on Monday morning. Continue reading

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In Era of Aging Reactors, Nuclear Industry’s Push for Deregulation Sparks Warning of ‘Collision Course’ With Disaster

Critics raise alarm about ongoing efforts to shift to “self-assessments” for safety and limit information shared with the public

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2019

Three Mile Island, 2013. Photo: Ted Van Pelt/flickr

Independent watchdogs are raising alarm about the nuclear power industry’s ongoing efforts to convince federal regulators to scale back safety inspections and limit what “lower-level” issues are reported to the public.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—an agency dominated by President Donald Trump’s appointees—is currently reviewing its enforcement policies and is set to put forth recommendations for updating the nationwide rules in June. As part of that process, it sought input from plant operators and industry groups. Continue reading

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As Hundreds of Thousands of Students Prepare for Global #ClimateStrike on March 15, Here’s How to Get Involved

“We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-12-2019

Photo: Greta Thunberg/Twitter

In 92 countries and counting, hundreds of thousands of students are planning to skip school on March 15 as part of the “School Strike 4 Climate“—a growing movement of young people demanding that policymakers worldwide take urgent and radical steps to battle the climate crisis.

For the past several months, students around the world have joined the #FridaysForFuture school strike launched last year by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, whose solitary protests outside her country’s parliament—inspired by the Parkland students advocating for stricter gun laws in the United States—generated headlines that helped spur the global youth climate movement. Continue reading

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While Hiking Bloated Military Spending, Trump Budget Would Slash Medicaid By $1.1 Trillion

The president is attempting to hand the Pentagon even more than it asked for while gutting programs for ordinary Americans

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2019

Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles 2017. Photo: Molly Adams/flickr

While giving the bloated Pentagon “even more than it hoped for” by boosting U.S. military spending to $750 billion—an increase of $34 billion from last year—President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget would cut Medicaid by $1.1 trillion over the next decade.

Set to be unveiled on Monday, the president’s budget will call for a total of $2.7 trillion in cuts to safety net programs, environmental protection, food and housing assistance, and foreign aid over ten years, according to a summary reviewed by the Washington Post. Continue reading

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GOING BACKWARDS: Trump To Slash Renewables Funding in New Budget

Trump Escalates War On Renewable Energy, Slashes DOE Budget By 70%

By Common Dreams. Published 3-9-2019

Trump Escalates War On Renewables, Slashes DOE Budget By 70% (Photo: Energy Watch Group/Lappeenranta University of Technology)

A senior Trump administration official has told Bloomberg News that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see its $2.3 billion budget slashed by about 70 percent, to $700 million, under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which will be released on Monday.

Trump, who rejects the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the climate crisis, has repeatedly vowed to zero out federal spending on clean energy research and development (R&D). Trump proposed similarly dramatic cuts to EERE’s budget in both his fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019 proposals. Continue reading

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Mitch ‘Nuclear Option’ McConnell Poised to Turn Steady Stream of Trump’s Right-Wing Judges Into a Flood

Critics warn that even if Democrats regain control of White House and Senate, the flood of judges could mean there will be no more vacancies to fill post-2020

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-6-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly planning to change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to confirm right-wing judicial nominees to lifetime appointments. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly pursuing a “nuclear option” rule change to make it easier to push through a flood of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judges.

Under the new rules, nominees for lifetime appointments on lower courts would only require a simple majority of votes rather than the current 67. Critics condemned the move as “hijacking” the federal judiciary and pointed out that even if Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House in the next election, they may not have any more spots to fill post-2020. Continue reading

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Report Exposes ‘Devastating’ Economic, Public Health, and Environmental Impacts of Trump’s Industry Giveaways

Analysis backs up lawsuits filed by state attorneys general against the administration’s repeals of regulations that target polluting industries

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-5-2019

 

The Camp and Woolsey fires in California cost at least $9-13 billion in damage, according to a Christian Aid report . (Photo: U.S. Forest Service)

A new study out Tuesday backs up a series of legal challenges launched by Democratic state attorneys general alarmed by President Donald Trump’s deregulatory rollbacks designed to benefit polluting industries at the expense of public health, the environment, and the economy.

Climate & Health Showdown in the Courts: State Attorneys General Prepare to Fight (pdf) was published by the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at the NYU School of Law, which provides support to state attorneys general working to defend and promote clean energy, climate, and environmental policies. Continue reading

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In ‘Historic Vote,’ Ohio City Residents Grant Lake Erie Legal Rights of a Person

“What Toledo voters and other places working on rights of nature are hoping is to not only change laws but to change culture.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-27-2019

Voters in Toledo, Ohio approved a measure to give Lake Erie a Bill of Rights, enabling residents to fight against polluters who violate the body of waters right to thrive naturally. (Photo: Ken Lund/Flickr/cc)

Tired of receiving notices warning that their drinking water may have been compromised and having little recourse to fight corporate polluters, voters in Toledo, Ohio on Tuesday approved a measure granting Lake Erie some of the same legal rights as a human being.

Sixty-one percent of voters in Tuesday’s special election voted in favor of Lake Erie’s Bill of Rights, which allows residents to take legal action against entities that violate the lake’s rights to “flourish and naturally evolve” without interference. Continue reading

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‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop

“We face a stark choice [between] radical, disruptive changes to our physical world or radical, disruptive changes to our political and economic systems to avoid those outcomes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-25-2019

A new study warns that if the Earth’s atmospheric carbon hits a certain level, stratocumulus clouds could completely vanish, causing the planet’s temperatures to skyrocket even higher. (Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/cc)

As people across the globe mobilize to demand bold action to combat the climate crisis and scientific findings about looming “environmental breakdown” pile up, a startling new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience warns that human-caused global warming could cause stratocumulus clouds to totally disappear in as little as a century, triggering up to 8°C (14°F) of additional warming.

Stratocumulus clouds cover about two-thirds of the Earth and help keep it cool by reflecting solar radiation back to space. Recent research has suggested that planetary warming correlates with greater cloud loss, stoking fears about a feedback loop that could spell disaster. Continue reading

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‘Kicking Ass for Her Generation’: Applause for 16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg as EU Chief Pledges $1 Trillion to Curb Climate Threat

“Greta Thunberg, literally changing the world.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-21-2019

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg led the seventh students’ climate strike in the last seven weeks in Brussels on Thursday. (Photo: @choucachamia/Twitter)

Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.

In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis. Continue reading

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