Category Archives: Energy

Updated Species Extinction List Signals ‘Urgent Action Needed to Save Life on Earth’

More than one in four of the 120,372 plant and animal species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature are at risk of extinction.

By  Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2020

All 17 species of Red Colobus, including Temminck’s Red Colobus (Piliocolobus basius temminckii) are threatened, making this Africa’s most threatened genus of monkeys. Hunting for bushmeat—much of it illegal—and habitat loss continue to pose the most urgent threats to primates across the continent. (Photo: Mic Mayhew/IUCN)

The U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity warned Thursday of the “urgent action needed to save life on Earth” in response to a new global assessment revealing that nearly 27% of over 120,000 analyzed plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction.

“This assessment shows that one in four mammals are facing extinction, and although we don’t prefer to think of ourselves as animals, we humans are mammals,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at CBD, said in a statement. “We have to take bold and rapid action to reduce the huge damage we’re doing to the planet if we’re going to save whales, frogs, lemurs, and ultimately ourselves.” Continue reading

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‘The Public Has a Right to Know’: Fed Refuses to Release Documents on Fossil Fuel Industry’s Covid-19 Bailouts

“As the climate crisis demands an abrupt shift away from fossil fuels, the federal government should not be creating programs to bail out these polluters.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-9-2020

“The Federal Reserve was tasked with creating a massive program to protect workers’ livelihoods during an intense economic and public health crisis. We should, at the very least, expect transparency about how the program is structured,” said Food & Water Action attorney Adam Carlesco. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

The Federal Reserve has missed a deadline to release documents requested by environmental group Food & Water Action in May to reveal the extent to which the central bank has used one of its major Covid-19 lending programs to rescue the faltering oil and gas industry.

“The public has a right to know if the Fed created an oil and gas bailout at the behest of an industry that has wreaked havoc on our air, water, climate, and potentially the global financial system,” Food & Water Action attorney Adam Carlesco said in a statement. “As the climate crisis demands an abrupt shift away from fossil fuels, the federal government should not be creating programs to bail out these polluters.” Continue reading

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‘Warning Sign of Major Proportions’: Number of Siberian Forest Fires Increase Fivefold in Week Since Record High Temperature

“The Arctic is figuratively and literally on fire.”

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-27-2020

This photo taken on Friday, June 19, 2020 and provided by ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service shows the land surface temperature in the Siberia region of Russia. (Image: ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change Service/AP)

The number of fires in the vast north Asian region of Siberia increased fivefold this week, according to the Russian forest fire aerial protection service, as temperatures in the Arctic continued higher than normal in the latest sign of the ongoing climate crisis.

The news of the increase comes a week after the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported a high temperature of 100.4° F on June 20, a reading that, if confirmed, would mark the hottest day ever recorded in the region. Continue reading

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‘This Scares Me,’ Says Bill McKibben as Arctic Hits 100.4°F—Hottest Temperature on Record

“100°F about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle today in Siberia. That’s a first in all of recorded history. We are in a climate emergency.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2020

A graphic shows record heat in the Arctic Circle on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Image: Screengrab\@ScottDuncanWX)

A small Siberian town north of the Arctic Circle reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, a figure that—if verified—would be the highest temperature reading in the region since record-keeping began in 1885.

“This scares me, I have to say,” environmentalist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted in response to news of the record-breaking reading in Verkhoyansk, where the average high temperature in June is 68°F. Continue reading

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A $3.5 Million Fine But ‘No Prison For Anyone’ After PG&E Pleads Guilty to Felony Manslaughter of 84 People

“As far as actual change, to save lives, that is not happening,” said the daughter of one victim killed in the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, California.

By staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2020.

Photo: AJ+/Twitter

The CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty on behalf of the company Tuesday to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in a dramatic hearing regarding the devastating Camp Fire of 2018, but advocates for corporate accountability argued the nation’s largest utility should face more concrete consequences for the crime.

A county investigation after the Camp Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in U.S. history, found PG&E let its power grid deteriorate and scaled back inspections of its equipment, allowing a hook connected to a transmission tower to break and start the blaze that killed 84 people and nearly wiped out the entire town of Paradise, California, leaving just 5% of buildings undamaged.  Continue reading

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‘Quietly Putting Hundreds of Species at Risk,’ Trump Opens 5,000 Square Miles of Atlantic Ocean to Commercial Fishing

“Ancient and slow-growing deep sea corals, endangered large whales and sea turtles, and an incredible array of fish, seabirds, sharks, dolphins and other wildlife—these are the species and habitats that will pay the price.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-6-2020

“Like one of America’s very first national monuments, the Grand Canyon, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a natural treasure,” said NRDC’s KateDesormaeu. “It provides habitat for a wide range of species, from endangered whales to Atlantic puffins to centuries-old deep-sea corals.” Photo: Wikipedia (Public domain)

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

“We’re opening it today,” Trump said during a roundtable talk in Maine with commercial fishermen and the state’s former governor Paul LePage. “What reason did he have for closing 5,000 miles? That’s a lot of miles. Five thousand square miles is a lot. He didn’t have a reason, in my opinion.” Continue reading

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In Latest Legal Blow to Trump and Dirty Energy, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Keystone XL Permit

“Contrary to what the Trump administration has argued, the law is clear. We won’t sacrifice imperiled species so giant corporations can profit from the dirty fossil fuels that pollute our waters and climate.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-28-2020

“The Trump administration has repeatedly violated the law in its relentless pursuit of seeing Keystone XL built, and it would have been unconscionable to allow this pipeline to be built through rivers, streams and wetlands while it remains tied up in court,” said Doug Hayes, a senior attorney with Sierra Club, following the ruling by the Ninth Circuit. (Photo: Tar Sands Blockade)

In another legal victory for opponents of Keystone XL and similar pipelines, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that suspended a federal fast-track permit for the controversial tar sands project that campaigners for nearly a decade have opposed as a climate-destroying effort of the first order.

Siding with the previous ruling and against the Trump administration, the court’s ruling said the government and fossil fuel companies behind the project “have not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm to warrant a stay pending appeal.” Continue reading

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Trump-Connected Fossil Fuel Companies Permitted to Delay Payments of $56 Million in Pollution Fines During Pandemic

“People are struggling to find rent money for next month, but thank god the Trump administration is providing relief for the millions these poor, vulnerable corporate polluters owe.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-27-20220

The Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant owned by Xcel Energy and located in Becker, Minnesota, shown in 2016. (Photo: Tony Webster/Flickr/cc)

Corporations with close ties to Trump administration officials are among 10 companies being permitted to delay payments of millions of dollars in fines for pollution they caused, according to The Guardian and government watchdog Accountable.US.

The companies had agreed to pay a collective total of $56 million in civil penalties for contributing to pollution in communities across the country, but they were informed in April by the Department of Justice that they can pause their payments during the pandemic. Continue reading

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Oil Companies Can Set Their Own Rates for Royalties From Drilling on Public Lands Thanks to Trump: Report

“Oil and gas corporations already pay pennies compared to what they make in profits from plundering public lands—land that belongs to the American people—and now they’ll pay even less.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2020

A drilling rig in the Uinta Basin in Utah, with the Uinta Mountains shown in the background. (Photo: WildEarth Guardians/Flickr/cc)

In a display of loyalty to what Greenpeace called “the most polluting industry in history,” the Trump administration is allowing dozens of oil and gas companies to set their own rates for royalties they’re required to pay on revenue generated from drilling on public lands.

As High Country News reported Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contacted its state offices the day after global oil prices plunged to below $0 per barrel as the Covid-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented drop in demand. Continue reading

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Scientists have found oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in fishes’ livers and on the deep ocean floor

Researchers use Atlantic mackerel for bait on long-lining fishing sampling expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico.. C-IMAGE Consortium, CC BY-ND

Steven Murawski, University of South Florida and Sherryl Gilbert, University of South Florida

Over the decade since the Deepwater Horizon spill, thousands of scientists have analyzed its impact on the Gulf of Mexico. The spill affected many different parts of the Gulf, from coastal marshes to the deep sea.

At the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem, or C-IMAGE at the University of South Florida, marine scientists have been analyzing these effects since 2011. C-IMAGE has received funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative – a broad, independent research program initially funded by a US$500 million grant from BP, the company held principally responsible for the spill. Continue reading

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