Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

‘Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money’: Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

“It was the conservative court’s larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans’ health and safety,” warned one expert.

By Jake Johnson  Published 7-1-2022 by Common Dreams

The interior of the United States Supreme Court. Photo: Phil Roeder/CC

Over the past several decades, corporate lawyers, right-wing activists, Republican officials, and dark money groups with deep pockets have been laying the groundwork for a far-reaching legal assault on the federal government’s ability to regulate U.S. industry—including the oil and gas sector threatening the planet.

On Thursday, their investments bore major fruit.

In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, a Supreme Court packed with right-wing judges handpicked and boosted by some of the same forces leading the yearslong crusade against the power of regulatory agencies—which conservatives often dub the “administrative state”—dramatically restricted the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to rein in greenhouse gas pollution from power plants. Continue reading

Share Button

Looming US Supreme Court Climate Decision Could ‘Doom’ Hope for Livable Future

“The immediate issue is the limits of the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases,” said one scientist. “The broader issue is the ability of federal agencies to regulate anything at all.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-27-2022 by Common Dreams

A coal fired power plant on the Ohio River just West of Cincinnati, Photo © 2013 Robert S. Donovan Licensable under the Creative Commons license.

Amid widespread outrage over recent rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue another decision this week that legal experts and activists warn could imperil the Biden administration’s climate goals and thus, the planet itself.

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—one of the few remaining cases from this term—is “the most consequential climate case in decades,” Sierra Club said Monday. Continue reading

Share Button

Children ‘Dying Before Our Eyes’: Aid Workers Plea for Help as Famine Unfolds in Somalia

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished,” said one United Nations official, “and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published -22-2022 by Common Dreams

Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland listens to a woman speaking during a visit to drought-stricken Somalia on June 21, 2022. (Photo: Jan Egeland/Twitter)

International aid workers are issuing desperate pleas for help this week as severe climate-driven drought coupled with critically depleted global food supplies due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are fueling a slide into “catastrophic famine” in Somalia that could claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of children by summer’s end.

“Already 1.5 million children below the age of five are malnourished, and we expect that 356,000 of these may not survive through the end of September this year,” Adam Abdelmoula, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Somalia—which has suffered an unprecedented four consecutive failed rainy seasons—said during a visit to Dolow in the south near the Ethiopian border. Continue reading

Share Button

Why reporting from the Amazon has become so dangerous

The discovery of two bodies believed to be those of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira highlights risks facing journalists in the region

By Pablo Albarenga and Francesc Badia I Dalmases  Published 6-15-2022 by openDemocracy

Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira on Amazon expedition in 2018 Screenshot: The Guardian

Reporting from the Amazon, as we can both attest, is fraught with danger at every corner.

While leaving Indigenous territory on one of our recent reporting trips, we were stopped at gunpoint by military police. Officers searched our bags and personal belongings while firing questions at us. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Major Victory’: Court Orders EPA Review of Glyphosate’s Cancer and Endangered Species Risks

“While it comes too late for many farmworkers and landscapers who suffer after glyphosate exposure, we are grateful for the court’s ruling,” said a representative for one plaintiff.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 6-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/CC

A federal appeals court on Friday issued a ruling on the weedkiller glyphosate that the coalition involved with the case called “a historic victory for farmworkers and the environment.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review its conclusions about the safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, a popular herbicide created by Monsanto—which Bayer acquired in 2018. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Off the Scale’: Warmer Arctic Ocean Fueling Climate Feedback Loop Faster Than Previously Known

“This is one of the scariest reports I have ever seen,” said one climate scientist in response to new study.

By Jon Queally  Published 6-15-2022 by Common Dreams

The Barents Sea is an area of the Arctic Ocean, located in the north of Norway and Russia. Named after the Dutch navigator Willem Barents. Photo: Richard Mortel/flickr/CC

New scientific research published Wednesday shows the waters in the North Barents Sea are warming at a rate that is much more rapid than most climate models have predicted, with worrying implications about feedback loops for the larger Arctic region and far beyond.

Extending between the north coast of Norway and Russia in the eastern Arctic Ocean, the North Barents Sea has been warming at a rate nearly seven times that of the global average, the study shows. The researchers used temperature data over four decades to determine that the trends in the region—the “fastest warming place known on Earth“—should be seen as an “early warning” of what could happen elsewhere. Continue reading

Share Button

Pushed by Progressives, Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Boost Renewable Energy

“We hope this use of the Defense Production Act is a turning point for the president, who must use all his executive powers to confront the climate emergency head-on,” said Jean Su with the Center for Biological Diversity.

By Andrea Germanos  Published 6-6-2022 by Common Dreams

Photovoltaic solar panels mounted on roof in Berkeley, CA. Photo: Alfred Twu/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The White House announced on Monday executive actions to help “create a bridge” to a “clean energy future” including invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of U.S.-made solar panels.

The actions, first reported by Reuters, come as the Build Back Better’s climate provisions remain stalled in the Senate and amid the threat of new tariffs the solar industry has blamed for dampening domestic projects. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Racing at Top Speed Towards Global Catastrophe’: NOAA Says CO2 Levels Highest in Human History

“We have known about this for half a century, and have failed to do anything meaningful about it,” said one NOAA researcher. “What’s it going to take for us to wake up?”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 6-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Gerry Machen/flickr/CC

There is more carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere than at any time in the past four million years, as the world’s continued dependence on fossil fuels keeps humanity hurtling toward a “global catastrophe,” officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned on Friday.

NOAA reports its Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii measured CO2 levels averaging 420.99 parts per million (ppm) in May, an increase of 1.8 ppm over levels at this time last year, while scientists at the San Diego-based Scripps Institute of Oceanography, which also tracks atmospheric CO2, calculated a monthly average of 420.78 ppm. Continue reading

Share Button

Court Rules ‘Highly Imperiled’ Bumblebees Can Be First Insects Protected by California Law

“With one out of every three bites of food we eat coming from a crop pollinated by bees, this court decision is critical to protecting our food supply,” said one advocate.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-31-2022 by Common Dreams

A bumblebee in flight approaches a flower. (Photo: Andrés Morya/flickr/cc)

Wildlife defenders on Tuesday welcomed a California appeals court ruling affirming that a regulatory agency can classify four types of bumblebees as “fish” under the law in order to consider them for candidacy on the state’s endangered species list, a ruling that paves the way for the protection of other insects including the monarch butterfly.

“With one out of every three bites of food we eat coming from a crop pollinated by bees, this court decision is critical to protecting our food supply,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director at the advocacy group Center for Food Safety, a party to the case. Continue reading

Share Button

The Ukraine war has given NATO renewed credibility. That’s a problem

On the biggest issues that will threaten people around the world in the coming years, NATO is well-night irrelevant

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-21-2022 by openDemocracy

Image: Public domain

So far, the greatest of Vladimir Putin’s many failures in the Ukraine war is his aim of seriously weakening NATO.

Far from creating greater disunity between member states, Russia’s president has given NATO a new purpose, just as its role was starting to be questioned. Its unity has even been enhanced, and Sweden and Finland have now applied to join.

This may have drastic global consequences. Continue reading

Share Button