Category Archives: Energy

PG&E Pleads Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter for Sparking California’s Deadliest Fire

The California utility faced felony charges in connection with a 2018 wildfire that killed over 80 people.

By Olivia Rosane,   Published 3-24-2020 by EcoWatch

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for sparking the state’s deadliest wildfire, the company announced Monday.

The announcement comes a little less than a year after an investigation confirmed that power lines owned by the utility sparked the Camp Fire, which burned 153,336 acres, killed 85 people and scorched the town of Paradise.

“We cannot replace all that the fire destroyed, but our hope is that this plea agreement, along with our rebuilding efforts, will help the community move forward from this tragic incident,” PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a statement reported by Reuters.

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With a Quarter of the World’s Population Under US Sanctions, Countries Appeal to UN to Intervene

Eight countries, representing around one-quarter of all humanity, say that Washington’s actions are undermining their response to the COVID–19 pandemic sweeping the planet.

By Alan Macleod. Published 3-27-2020 by MintPress News

The governments of China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela – all under sanctions from the United States – sent a joint statement to the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Director-General of the World Health Organization calling for an end to the unilateral American economic blockade, as they are, “illegal and blatantly violate international law and the charter of the United Nations.”

The eight countries, representing around one-quarter of humanity, say that Washington’s actions are undermining their response to the COVID–19 pandemic sweeping the planet. “The destructive impact of said measures at the national level, plus their extraterritorial implication, together with the phenomenon of over-compliance and the fear for ‘secondary sanctions,’ hinder the ability of national governments” in procuring even basic medical equipment and supplies, including coronavirus test kits and medicine. It is a “hard if not impossible deed for those countries who are currently facing the application of unilateral coercive measures,” to cope, they conclude. Continue reading

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‘Huge Victory’ for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as Federal Court Rules DAPL Permits Violated Law

“This is what the tribe has been fighting for many months. Their fearless organizing continues to change the game.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-25-2020

Photo: Standing Rock Occupation/Facebook

A federal judge handed down a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota on Wednesday, ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving federal permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The USACE must complete a full environmental impact study of the pipeline, including full consideration of concerns presented by the Standing Rock Tribe, the judge ruled. The tribe has asked the court to ultimately shut the pipeline down. Continue reading

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From border security to climate change, national emergency declarations raise hard questions about presidential power

Global Climate Strike NYC in New York, Sept. 20, 2019. Rainmaker Photo/MediaPunch /IPX via AP Photo

Daniel Farber, University of California, Berkeley

As wildfires, storms and other climate-driven disasters grow larger and more damaging, climate change is a major concern for many Democratic voters, who are in the midst of a primary fight that has come down to two major candidates: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Both candidates say climate change would be one of their top priorities as president – but there’s an important difference between their approaches.

Sanders has pledged to declare climate change a national emergency and use executive power to lead “a ten-year, nationwide mobilization” to remake the U.S. economy. Continue reading

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Greta Thunberg Urges Strikers to ‘Unite Behind Science’ and Join #DigitalStrike for ‘Best Interest of Our Common Society’

“Keep your numbers low but your spirits high and let’s take one week at the time.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-11-2020

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist, guest-edited the BBC’s “Today” radio program on Monday, discussing the climate crisis and meeting broadcaster Sir David Attenborough for the first time. (Photo: Anders Hellberg/Effekt)

Because of the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the globe, climate action leader Greta Thunberg called on her supporters to observe a #DigitalStrike instead of attending in-person weekly climate protests this Friday.

Thunberg has based her #FridaysForFuture climate strike movement on a demand for governments to “unite behind the science” put forward by experts in order to drastically reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the climate crisis. The teen climate activist issued a similar call to her supporters as she asked them to help reduce the spread of the virus. Continue reading

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In Super Tuesday ‘News Dump,’ EPA Expands Rule Limiting Science the Agency Can Use to Make Public Health Policy Decisions

“Now is not the time to play games with critical medical research that underpins every rule designed to protect us from harmful pollution in our air and in our water.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 3-4-2020

A sign held at the March for Science in San Francisco, California, on April 22, 2017. (Photo: Matthew Roth/flickr/cc)

As most political observers were watching the election results in the Democratic primary from 14 states come in Tuesday evening, the EPA quietly published a proposed change to a rule the Union of Concerned Scientists has called “nonsensical and dangerous“—expanding the agency’s so-called “secret science” rule to further limit the scientific evidence the EPA will consider in its work.

In what Mother Jones environmental reporter Rebecca Leber called “an incredible news dump” in the midst of a contentious election, the EPA “moved forward its most controversial proposal of the Trump administration.” Continue reading

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‘Against Colonial Violence and Land Theft,’ Indigenous Activists and Allies Target Mining Industry Convention in Toronto

Demonstration held “in solidarity with every community that has found itself staring down the barrel of a gun for daring to oppose Canada’s ongoing colonial project through resource extraction.”

By for Common Dreams. Published 3-1-2020

“From coast to coast we are rising up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and against colonial violence and land theft,” said Vanessa Gray, Anishinaabe Kwe Land Defender from Aamjiwnaang First Nation and one of the organizers of Sunday’s demonstration. “It’s clear that Canada is a state built on the removal of Indigenous people for resource extraction.” (Photo: Mining Injustice Solidarity Network/@mininginjustice)

Hundreds of people led by Indigenous land defenders and a coalition of environmental groups worked to shut down a large mining industry convention in downtown Toronto on Sunday, blockading the entrances to the building where the meeting was taking place as they protested against “the extractive industry’s violence, ongoing colonization, and complete disregard for the future of life on this planet.”

Sunday’s action—aimed at the Prospectors and Developers of Association of Canada (PDAC)—is the latest solidarity demonstration aligned with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation nation that remains locked in a fierce battle with the Canadian government over the controversial “Coastal Gas Link” fracked gas pipeline through unceded territory in northern British Colombia.
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Yemen’s deadly ghost ship

An abandoned oil tanker with over a million barrels of oil on board is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

By Chris Baraniuk. Published 2-18-2020 by openDemocracy

he FSO Safer is moored five nautical miles off the coast of Ras Isa on Yemen’s west coast. | Image: Conflict and Environment Observatory

Five miles off the coast of Yemen lies a floating bomb. An oil storage vessel called the FSO Safer has been sitting more or less unattended in the Red Sea for half a decade.

A victim of Yemen’s current civil war, the Safer has fallen in to a dire state of disrepair, with rust spreading around her hull and on-board equipment. She is packed with more than a million barrels of crude oil, which over time is thought to have steadily released flammable gases meaning the Safer could explode if she doesn’t simply begin leaking huge volumes of oil into the sea. Continue reading

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Damning New Report Says Every Nation Undermining Children’s Hopes for a Livable Planet

Children’s “collective concerns must now be heard, and effective actions taken to prevent the next generation inheriting an irreversibly damaged planet.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-19-2020

Climate Strike demonstration in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Julian Meehan/flickr/CC

A major new report released Wednesday says every nation on the planet is failing children because of the threats to their health and wellbeing from the climate and ecological crises and commercial exploitation.

The damming assessment comes from 40 global child and adolescent health experts in “A Future for the World’s Children?” The expert commission was convened by the World Health
Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the prestigious medical journal The Lancet. Continue reading

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A military perspective on climate change could bridge the gap between believers and doubters

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2018, after Hurricane Michael. AP Photo/David Goldman

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it.

With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book,“All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change,” the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap. Continue reading

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