Category Archives: Water

Climate Emergency May Displace 216 Million Within Countries by 2050: World Bank

“The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest—those who are contributing the least to its causes.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-13-2021

Floods in Himachal Pradesh, India, July 2021, Photo: NDRF/FloodList

Underscoring the necessity of immediate and sweeping action to take on the climate emergency, a World Bank report revealed Monday that 216 million people across six global regions could be forced to move within their countries by midcentury.

Groundswell Part 2: Acting on Internal Climate Migration includes analyses for East Asia and the Pacific, North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, building on a modeling approach from a 2018 report that covered Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Continue reading

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‘When We Drill, We Spill’: Climate-Fueled Ida Behind Suspected Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

“This is yet another reminder of the major risks posed by offshore drilling for dirty, dangerous fossil fuels we increasingly don’t need.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-2-2021

Photos captured by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aircraft August 31, 2021 and reviewed by the Associated Press show a miles-long black slick floating in the Gulf of Mexico near a large rig. (Photo: NOAA via AP)

As Louisiana residents and officials begin the recovery process in the wake of Hurricane Ida, environmental campaigners responded Thursday to reporting of a suspected oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by saying such scenes “are reminders that when we drill, we spill.”

“On top of the devastation that people are still experiencing onshore, we are now learning about an oil slick in the Gulf, not far from the Louisiana coast,” said Kelsey Lamp, Protect our Oceans campaign director with Environment America, in a statement. Continue reading

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Report Reveals Indigenous Resistance Disrupts Quarter of US and Canadian Emissions

“The numbers don’t lie. Indigenous peoples have long led the fight to protect Mother Earth and the only way forward is to center Indigenous knowledge and keep fossil fuels in the ground.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-1-2021

Water protectors stop construction of Energy Transfers Partners’ Bayou Bridge Pipeline in 2017. (Photo:Indigenous Environmental Network)

Indigenous resistance to fossil fuel projects in the United States and Canada over a recent decade has stopped or delayed nearly a quarter of the nations’ annual planet-heating pollution, according to a report released Wednesday.

The greenhouse gas pollution for Turtle Island, the land now known to settler nation-states as North America, totaled 6.56 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019—5.83 billion metric tons CO2e for the U.S. and 727.43 million metric tons CO2e for Canada. Continue reading

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Experts Warn of ‘Potentially Catastrophic’ Destruction as Hurricane Ida Reaches New Orleans

The storm is expected to be one of the strongest ever to hit Louisiana, rivaling Hurricane Laura in 2020.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2021

These two pictures were taken less than two hours apart in New Orleans on August 29, 2021. Photo:
Laila Vanessa Stuvik/Twitter

Weather experts on Sunday said their worst-case-scenario predictions about Hurricane Ida, which damaged homes and knocked down trees in Cuba on Friday, appeared to be coming true as the tropical cyclone made its way towards New Orleans with winds rushing at 150 miles per hour.

The hurricane made landfall Sunday afternoon in southeastern Louisiana.Thousands of people had evacuated on Saturday. Continue reading

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‘We’re Staying’: Line 3 Opponents Camp at Minnesota Capitol to Protest Oil Pipeline

“The cops are gathered here by the hundred and the governor’s brand new fence glimmers in the background, but our spirit is resolved.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-26-2021

Demonstrators protest the Line 3 pipeline on the grounds of the Minnesota capitol building on August 25, 2021. (Photo: RootsAction)

With Enbridge on the verge of completing its multibillion-dollar Line 3 pipeline, thousands of Indigenous leaders and environmentalists brought their protests against the sprawling tar sands project to the grounds of the Minnesota state capitol building on Wednesday to demand that lawmakers intervene before the dirty oil starts flowing.

Roughly 2,000 demonstrators—including Indigenous leaders who marched over 250 miles along the pipeline’s route—rallied at the capitol Wednesday afternoon and hundreds stayed through the night as Minnesota police officers guarded the building’s perimeter, which was surrounded by a chain-link fence installed in anticipation of the protest. Continue reading

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Atmospheric CO2 Levels Haven’t Been This High in 800,000 Years: NOAA

A major report on climate says both greenhouse gas concentrations and global sea levels hit record highs in 2020.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-25-2021

Flash flood in Belgium – July 2021. Photo: Régine Fabri’Wikimedia/CC

Bolstering the case for meaningful climate action, a major report released Wednesday found that Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and sea levels both hit record highs in 2020.

Based on the contributions of more than 530 scientists from over 60 countries and compiled by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), State of the Climate in 2020 is the 31st installment of the leading annual evaluation of the global climate system. Continue reading

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‘Hard to Imagine Worse Idea’: Biden to Resume Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Lands and Waters

“The president made a promise to ban all new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters,” said Greenpeace, “and the American people expect him to keep it.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-17-2021

Off shore oil rig drilling in Santa Catalina Channel. Photo: arbyreed/flickr/CC

Climate groups are expressing deep concern following an Interior Department announcement Monday that the Biden administration will resume oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and waters—a practice President Joe Biden vowed to ban during his 2020 run for the White House—in response to a federal court ruling.

While the Biden administration confirmed in its announcement that an appeal has been filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal battle with the state of Louisiana—which sued the federal government over the pause in the oil and gas leasing program ordered by Biden earlier this year—the Interior Department said leasing would resume while the process plays out. Continue reading

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‘Unimaginably Catastrophic’: Researchers Fear Gulf Stream System Could Collapse

“Scientists say we cannot allow this to happen. People in power stand in our way.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-5-2021

The Gulf Stream is an ocean current that carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean. (Image: NASA)

While heatwaves, fires, and floods produce warnings that “we are living in a climate emergency, here and now,” a scientific study suggested Thursday that a crucial Atlantic Ocean current system could collapse, which “would have severe impacts on the global climate system.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, focuses on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream. As the United Kingdom’s Met Office explains, it is “a large system of ocean currents that carry warm water from the tropics northwards into the North Atlantic,” like a conveyor belt. Continue reading

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‘Huge Legal Win’: Court Stops Police From Blockading Line 3 Protester Camp

One attorney described the blockade as “an outrageous abuse of law enforcement authority serving the interests of the Enbridge corporation against its environmental opponents.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2021

On July 23, 2021, a Minnesota court ordered Hubbard County police officers to stop obstructing a driveway that leads to a Line 3 pipeline protest camp. (Photo: Giniw Collective)

In a development progressives called a “huge legal win in the fight against Line 3,” a Minnesota court on Friday ordered police in Hubbard County to stop impeding access to the Giniw Collective’s camp, where anti-pipeline activists have been organizing opposition to Enbridge’s multibillion-dollar tar sands project.

The ruling comes less than a week after Tara Houska, an Indigenous rights attorney and founder of the Giniw Collective, and Winona LaDuke, an environmental justice advocate and co-founder of Honor the Earth, filed for a temporary restraining order against Hubbard County, Sheriff Cory Aukes, and the local land commissioner in northern Minnesota. Continue reading

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Leaving Parts of Trump’s Pro-Polluter Legacy Intact, Biden Gets C- on Environmental Report Card

Biden’s “limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” said the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-20-2021

Photo: Eric Haynes/CC

Expressing alarm over President Joe Biden’s support for a number of pipeline projects and his failure to reverse the vast majority of environmental regulatory rollbacks introduced by his predecessor, the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund on Tuesday gave the president a grade of C-minus and said he “needs improvement” on its Environmental Report Card.

Six months into his presidency, Biden has fully met five out of 25 “concrete and achievable environmental promises” he made on the campaign trail, and has only reversed three of former President Donald Trump’s rollbacks.

CBD Action Fund noted in the report card (pdf) that the president signed an “unprecedented” 17 executive orders on his first day in office in January, including three that fulfilled “Day One” promises he had made: “formally beginning the reentry process to the Paris climate agreement, permanently rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, and directing all federal agencies to elevate addressing environmental justice to protect frontline communities.”

The group emphasized, however, that during Biden’s first six months in office the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented drought” and “record-shattering heatwaves” which climate scientists have long warned about.

“Thus, even as his administration is evaluated at the six-month mark, its limited achievements must be put in context of what both science and justice require to avoid the worst impacts of the climate and extinction crises,” the report card reads.

“President Biden got off to a strong start right when he took office, but his environmental agenda appears to be stalling out,” said Brett Hartl, chief political strategist at the CBD Action Fund. “He has to light a fire under his Cabinet and the federal agencies to complete his campaign promises without foot-dragging, because the climate and extinction crises are getting more urgent every day.”

Overall, the group credited Biden with fulfilling five campaign promises so far, including holding a global climate summit in his first 100 days in office and reinstating federal flood-protection standards that assess climate change risks.

The administration has taken steps to fulfill 13 other campaign pledges, including:
  • Ending financing for overseas coal projects;
  • Installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations; and
  • Requiring that disadvantaged communities receive 40% of benefits from climate spending.

“For other campaign promises, the Biden administration has yet to initiate efforts to achieve them,” the report card says. “For example, Biden spoke numerous times during the campaign about addressing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. He proposed a $20 billion conservation fund to address deforestation. However, this initiative was not part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, and it is unclear what other steps the administration will take to address deforestation.”

CBD Action Fund identified just three Trump-era environmental rollbacks that Biden has reversed, including the so-called “secret science” rule restricting data the EPA can use to enact regulations; eliminating the use of the “social cost of carbon” in environmental reviews; and curtailing categories of industrial polluters subjected to greenhouse gas regulations.

Biden was also credited with taking steps to restore protections to the Tongass National Forest and the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, and with announcing recently that officials will “begin the process of undoing additional Trump-era rollbacks,” the report reads.

“The timeline and scope of these efforts is unclear,” said the CBD Action Fund. “For example, the Department of the Interior announced in June that it would ‘revisit’ the Trump-era rollback of the regulations guiding consultations under the Endangered Species Act.”

“But the department signaled that it would only reverse one of over 20 changes made by the previous administration to the regulations—specifically restoring the earlier definition of ‘indirect effects’—and stated that this effort would not even begin until December 2021 at the earliest,” the group continued.

In addition to more than two dozen Trump-era rollbacks the administration has taken no action to reverse, the group expressed indignation at Biden’s decision to support some of Trump’s attacks on the environment.

The president has declined to block the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota or shut down operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as approving nearly 2,500 new drilling permits on public lands and waters—”roughly the same amount that the Trump administration approved during its first entire year in office,” the report card reads.

“Biden’s bold vision during the campaign won’t be met if his administration leaves large chunks of Trump’s pro-polluter legacy intact,” said Hartl.

Biden has also supported Trump’s weakened protections from pesticides for endangered species, an increased limit for Atrazine pollution in waterways, and the expanded use of antibiotics on citrus crops.

“If President Biden does not act boldly, right now, the impacts of climate change will be severe enough to make large swaths of our planet nearly uninhabitable,” CBD Action Fund said.

After a promising start, the group added, “complacency and inertia could stymy further progress on his climate and environmental goals. Without a continued and sustained effort in the next 12 to 18 months, any potential environmental legacy could easily be erased.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

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