Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

Arrests in Minnesota After Water Protectors Chain Themselves Inside Pipe Section to Halt Line 3 Construction

“Enbridge’s last-ditch effort to build fossil fuel infrastructure is killing people and the planet.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-14-2021

Line 3 protest near Palisade, MN on January 9, 2021. Photo: MN350/Facebook

Water protectors were arrested Thursday after halting construction at a Minnesota worksite for Enbridge’s Line 3 project by locking themselves together inside a pipe segment.

“After moving to Minnesota to attend college and study environmental science, I was excited to be in a place where people valued protecting the Earth and finding a viable future. What I found, however, was a state that had formed ‘ambitious’ climate goals yet endorsed one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, tar sands oil,” water protector Abby Hornberger said in a statement. “I realized that Indigenous ways of knowing and practicing harmony with the environment are continuously ignored.” Continue reading

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With Deep Fossil Fuel Ties, Justice Barrett Called to Recuse Herself From Pending Climate Case

“Barrett posing as an impartial judge in this hearing for climate accountability is about as safe as the Big Bad Wolf giving Little Red Riding Hood directions to Grandma’s house.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-12-2021

Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Circuit Court confirmation hearing. Screenshot: C-SPAN

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett—confirmed just ahead of President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in November—is being called to recuse herself from an upcoming decision regarding a potentially landmark climate case now pending.

“Barrett posing as an impartial judge in this hearing for climate accountability is about as safe as the Big Bad Wolf giving Little Red Riding Hood directions to Grandma’s house,” said Lindsay Meiman, U.S. communications manager at the climate action group 350.org. “We demand Barrett immediately recuse herself of any and all cases concerning climate and the fossil fuel industry, starting with the upcoming Baltimore vs. Big Oil hearing.” Continue reading

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As Pro-Trump Mob Boasts About Roles in Deadly Capitol Invasion, Indigenous Water Protecters Charged for Peaceful Keystone XL Protests

“This is on my people’s land, and I have the right to protect it for my future generations,” said one of the charged activists.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2021

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline hold a sit-in in the street next to the San Francisco Federal Building. on January 26,2017,. Photo: Pax Ahimsa Gethen/CC

Indigenous advocates on Friday noted the stark contrast between the treatment of two Native American water protectors criminally charged for peacefully protesting the Keystone XL pipeline with that of supporters of President Donald Trump who have been openly boasting about their participation in Wednesday’s deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

According to the Lakota People’s Law Project, Jasilyn Charger and Oscar High Elk were charged in Phillip, South Dakota for previous protest activities against the pipeline. The Cheyenne River Sioux activists were part of a resistance camp on their reservation, which is about 100 miles from the proposed route of the pipeline. Continue reading

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Climate Emergency Persists as 2020 Ties for Earth’s Hottest Year on Record

“It took over 200 years for [atmospheric CO2] levels to increase by 25%, but now just over 30 years later we are approaching a 50% increase.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2021

The Apple Fire burns into the night north of Beaumont, California on Friday, July 31, 2020. Photo: Brody Hessin/CC

Highlighting global campaigners’ demands for urgent and bold climate action, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced Friday that despite coronavirus-related lockdowns, 2020 tied with 2016 for being the warmest year on record and closed out the warmest decade on the books.

“It is notable that 2020 matches the 2016 record despite a cooling La Niña, whereas 2016 was a record year that began with a strong warming El Niño event,” the agency known as C3S said. Continue reading

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One Year After Declaring Climate Emergency, Scientists Say ‘Massive-Scale Mobilization’ Necessary

“Aggressive, transformative change, framed against the backdrop of social justice, can ignite an enormous deployment that will let us avert the worst of the climate emergency.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-7-2021

Global scientists on Wednesday issued a new warming about the need for bold climate action on six key fronts. (Image: Oregon State University/YouTube)

One year after over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries came together to declare a climate emergency and urge ambitious action, the Oregon State University researchers who launched that effort said on Wednesday that an urgent massive-scale mobilization is necessary to address the human-caused global crisis.

Scientists’ renewed call for bold climate policies came just days after a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change warned existing carbon pollution will cause global temperatures to rise about 2.3 degrees Celsius or 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels—with devastating consequences worldwide. Continue reading

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In ‘Brutal Blow’ to Wildlife and Gift to Big Oil, Trump Finalizes Rollback of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

“The Trump administration is signing the death warrants of millions of birds across the country.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2021

A pied-billed grebe on an oil-covered evaporation pond at a commercial oilfield wastewater disposal facility. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 migratory birds die each year in oilfield production skim pits and oil-covered evaporation ponds.(Photo: USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr/cc)

Just over two weeks before President Donald Trump is set to leave the White House, his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday finalized a rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—a law that’s been in place since 1918 and which conservation groups credit with holding corporate polluters accountable for harming bird species.

In what the Western Values Project called a “parting gift to Big Oil by corrupt former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt,” the USFWS announced a new rule under which the federal government will no longer penalize or prosecute companies when their actions cause the inadvertent death of birds. Continue reading

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Biden Already Facing Pressure to Tackle Backlog of ‘Unfunded’ Toxic Waste Sites Threatened by Climate Crisis

More broadly, campaigners are calling on the incoming president to deliver on the environmental justice promises he made as a candidate.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-28-2020

Formerly an open pit copper mine, the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana is now part of the largest Superfund site in the United States. Photo: Kolopres/Wikimedia Commons/CC

A joint report on Monday highlighted the pressure that President-elect Joe Biden is already facing to deliver on his environmental justice campaign promises—particularly when it comes to the 34 Superfund sites nationwide for which there is no reliable cleanup funding—the largest backlog of “unfunded” sites in 15 years.

The federal Superfund program began with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), passed by Congress in 1980. While cleanup efforts were initially paid for by a trust fund created by taxing the chemical and petroleum industries, lawmakers let the tax expire 25 years ago. Continue reading

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Could the Next Standing Rock Be Brewing in Northern Minnesota?

The tension is palpable in northern Minnesota where a Native-led protest movement is getting ready to square off with Enbridge over the massive Line 3 oil pipeline being built to carry crude from Canada to the Great Lakes.

By Alan Macleod  Published 12-22-2020 by MintPress News

Water Protectors in Palisades, MN on December 14, 2020. Photo: Marian Moore/MN350/Facebook

Despite sub-zero winter temperatures, a conflict over a controversial new pipeline is threatening to boil over in rural Minnesota, turning it into the next Standing Rock. 22 people were arrested last week during protests in Aitkin County, around 120 miles north of Minneapolis, for trespassing against the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. The pipeline project would carry more than 750,000 barrels of fracked Alberta tar sand oil through the United States.

Activists from environmental and indigenous groups are braving the snow to form a barrier to the construction of a pipeline that will traverse the Mississippi and pass through a number of delicate ecosystems, threatening many of the state’s famous rivers and lakes. Continue reading

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The TPP Was All but Dead, Now DC Think Tanks Are Quietly Urging Biden to Bring It Back

Former officials are practically begging Biden to revisit the controversial trade agreement, arguing that “China must be isolated.“

By Alan Macleod  Published 12-18-2020 by MintPress News.

Photo: Lorena Müller/CC

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was dead and buried. But now, with the imminent arrival of the new Biden administration, many of the most influential policy groups in Washington are quietly trying to resurrect it.

Writing for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), Joshua Eisenman, the organization’s Senior Fellow in China Studies, argues that it is “time to revisit the TPP,” which has now been rebranded as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  Last month, China signed a far-reaching trade agreement with most of the countries of south and east Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. For many in Washington, this is a warning sign that the Pacific region is slipping out of U.S. control. Continue reading

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Groups Provide Biden With Draft Climate Emergency Order to Help Put Out ‘Fire Fanned by Trump’

The president-elect “must take bold action the moment he steps into the Oval Office, without punting to a dysfunctional Congress.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-16-2020

Image by Jasmin Sessler from Pixabay

President-elect Joe Biden must swiftly move once in office to “avert the climate emergency” with a series of actions to ensure the nation invests in “a just, clean, distributed, and democratic energy system that works for all.”

That’s the demand Wednesday from over 380 groups who’ve sent Biden a draft executive order (pdf) that details how, exercising executive authority, he can rein in greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the environment while boosting jobs and community wellbeing. Continue reading

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