Category Archives: Energy

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

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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

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‘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

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Our global economic system is broken. Are we headed for a mass revolt?

How long can billionaires continue to amass wealth while the world’s poorest struggle to buy food?

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-28-2022 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: The Today Show

While it has long been blatantly obvious that the global economic model is not working for all, the rate of accumulation of wealth by a small minority is now breathtaking – if not totally obscene.

With the situation only being worsened by the economic impact of the Ukraine War – which has come on top of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – could we be headed for mass revolts sparked by a desperate need for change? Continue reading

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‘Resounding Victory’: Court Rules Exxon Must Face Trial Over Climate Lies

“We look forward to proceeding with our case and having our day in court to show how Exxon is breaking the law and to put an end to the deception once and for all,” said Massachusetts AG Maura Healey.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 5-25-2022 by Common Dreams

Climate activists protested outside ExxonMobil’s annual shareholder meeting in Irving, Texas on May 29, 2019. (Photo: 350.org/Flickr/cc)

The Massachusetts high court on Tuesday rejected ExxonMobil’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the state, meaning the biggest oil giant in the U.S. must stand trial for allegations that it lied to the public about the climate emergency and the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving it.

The lawsuit filed in 2019 by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey accuses Exxon of violating the state’s consumer protection laws through a decadeslong effort to conceal what it knew about the negative environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels. Continue reading

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‘Tax the Rich,’ Say Millionaire Activists Protesting at Davos Amid Record Wealth, Inequality

“As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth my whole life I know how skewed our economy is and I cannot continue to sit back and wait for someone, somewhere, to do something,” said one demonstrator.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Activists Marlene Engelhorn and Phil White demand that the rich get taxed at a May 22, 2022 protest outside the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: Patriotic Millionaires U.K./Twitter)

As some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people—sans the usual Russian oligarchs—descend upon the swank Swiss ski resort of Davos for the start of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting on Sunday, a multinational coalition of millionaires of conscience took direct action to demand that governments #TaxTheRich.

Activists from Patriotic Millionaires, Patriotic Millionaires U.K., taxmenow, and the 99% Initiative, who protested outside the elite compound, had a message for conference delegates: “Extreme wealth is eroding democracy,” and taxing the rich will “reduce inequality and help deal with the cost of living scandal playing out in multiple nations around the world.” Continue reading

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Global Climate Movement Warns Nations Have Just 6 Months to End Fossil Fuel Finance

“The pandemic has shown that governments can rapidly mobilize massive sums of public money,” says one campaigner. “This is the moment to do it, and accelerate the transition.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 5-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Clean energy advocates march in an anti-fossil fuel protest in San Francisco. (Photo: Greenbelt Alliance/flickr/cc)

More than 120 civil society groups from around the world on Thursday warned that nations have only six months left to meet a collective commitment made at last year’s United Nations Climate Conference to end public financing of fossil fuels.

The organizations detailed steps nations must take as soon as possible to comply with their obligations under the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, a product of last year’s COP26 summit. Continue reading

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Extinction Rebellion Vows to Fill the Streets in Response to UK’s New Protest Limits

“It is foolish to think that announcing new curbs in the Queen’s Speech will stop people taking to the streets to demand their government act to ensure a safe future.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 5-11-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Rose Finn-Kelcey/Twitter

The climate movement Extinction Rebellion on Wednesday revealed plans to bring millions of people into the United Kingdom’s streets on September 10 in response to the government’s latest efforts to enact new limits on protest.

In the Queen’s Speech—which outlines the government’s priorities at the ceremony to open a new session of Parliament—Prince Charles on Tuesday announced the Public Order Bill containing anti-protest measures that the House of Lords last year rejected as “draconian and anti-democratic.” Continue reading

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Arizona Slammed for Permitting Uranium Mine That Imperils Grand Canyon Tribe’s Water

“Uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-29-2022 by Common Dreams

Havasupai activists protest against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Jake Hoyungawa/Grand Canyon Trust)

Indigenous and environmental activists on Friday condemned an Arizona agency’s approval of a key permit for a uranium mine near the Grand Canyon that opponents say threatens the land, water, wildlife—and Native Americans’ ancestral obligation to safeguard a place they’ve called home for centuries.

The Arizona Republic reports the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday issued an aquifer protection plan permit for Canada-based Energy Fuels Resources’ Pinyon Plain Mine, located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim in Kaibab National Forest.

Conservationists and tribes have long opposed the mine, which has been in various stages of planning and preparation since 1984 but from which no uranium has yet been extracted. The Havasupai people, some of whom live in a nearby canyon, say the project imperils their sole source of drinking water.

“Mining uranium in the Grand Canyon watershed threatens the enduring legacy of this landscape and jeopardizes the entire water supply of the Havasupai people,” Michè Lozano, Arizona program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), said in a statement, warning of the “incredible threats that uranium mining poses to the limited underground sources that feed the canyon’s creeks and waterways.”

According to NPCA:

The mine… has a history of flooding as it depletes shallow groundwater aquifers that express at South Rim springs. It also threatens to permanently contaminate deep aquifers that feed Havasu Creek and other springs. The approval comes despite calls by the Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups to close the Pinyon Plain Mine given its risks to water and tribal cultural resources…

In late 2016 mineshaft drilling pierced shallow aquifers, causing water pumped from the mine to spike from 151,000 gallons in 2015 to 1.4 million gallons in 2016. In the years since then, inflow has ranged from 8.8 million gallons in 2017 to 10.76 million gallons in 2019; most recently, the mine took on 8,261,406 gallons of groundwater in 2021.

Since 2016, dissolved uranium in that water has consistently exceeded federal toxicity limits by more than 300% and arsenic levels by more than 2,800%.

“Neither regulators nor the uranium industry can ensure that mining won’t permanently damage the Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This permit strenuously ignores science showing the potential for deep aquifer pollution, and in a region still plagued by seven decades of uranium industry pollution, risking more, as this permit does, is dangerous.”

Asserting that “uranium mines do not belong among the complex groundwater systems that surround the Grand Canyon,” Amber Reimondo, energy director for the Grand Canyon Trust, said that “uranium contamination in a system like this is forever and while the mining company can walk away, the Havasupai tribe can’t. This is, and always has been, their home.”

Havasupai tribal leaders have long argued against uranium mining on lands from which their ancestors were ethnically cleansed to make way for white tourists before being pressed into dehumanizing railroad labor.

One of the staunchest Havasupai mining opponents, the late Tribal Chairman Rex Tilousi, believed that his people “were given a responsibility to protect and preserve this land and water for those yet to come.”

“The ancient rock writing in our canyon tells us to protect this place,” Tilousi said at a 2018 prayer gathering. “The canyon doesn’t belong to us. We belong to the canyon, to the Earth, to the water. It created us and gave us life. We are fighting for our lives and for those who are yet to come.”

Carletta Tilousi, Rex’s niece and a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, spoke against uranium mining at an Earth Day rally in Phoenix last week.

“Native Americans, we have struggled so far and so long, and we don’t need it anymore,” she said. “We want to make sure our future generations have clean air, clean water, and a happy life. That’s all we ask for.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
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Shareholders Target Wall Street Banks With ‘Groundbreaking’ Climate Resolutions

“Investors are saying we can’t conduct business in a world that is on fire, that has heatwaves and insufficient water. And I do think companies are beginning to understand that it’s in their interest to take action.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 4-26-2022 by Common Dreams

Protest outside the Bank of America shareholder meeting on April 25, 2022. Photo: drew hudson #1u/Twitter

A significant percentage of shareholders at three of the biggest U.S. banks voted Tuesday to endorse first-of-their-kind resolutions urging the companies to stop supporting new fossil fuel development amid a worsening climate emergency.

Shareholders at Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo voted 12.8%, 11%, and 11%, respectively, to support climate resolutions filed by the Sierra Club Foundation and other members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. According to the Sierra Club, any resolution that receives at least 5% of the vote can be refiled the following year, and those that get 10% or more are “considered difficult for a company to ignore.” Continue reading

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