Tag Archives: 350.org

Shell Knew, Too: New Docs Show Oil Giant’s Scientists Secretly Warned About Climate Threat Decades Ago

“These reports reaffirm that fossil fuel companies have been—and always will be—bad actors,” said 350.org’s executive director

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-5-2018

“Although CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere through several natural processes,” a 1988 Shell report states, “the main cause of increasing CO2 concentrations is considered to be fossil fuel burning.” (Photo: FraserElliot/flickr/cc)

Royal Dutch Shell’s scientists warned the oil giant about the threat that fossil fuel emissions pose to the planet as early as the 1980s, according to a trove of documents obtained by a Dutch journalist and published Thursday at Climate Files.

Environmental advocates say the documents—which bolster an investigative report published last year—demonstrate the “stunning” immorality of oil and gas companies. The records are expected to aid global efforts to hold the industry to account for its contributions to global warming. Continue reading

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As Predicted—Because ‘Pipelines Are Bound to Spill’—Existing Keystone Gushes 200K Gallons of Oil

‘With their horrible safety record, today’s spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada.’

By Jon Queally, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 11-16-2017

Those who had warned against the pipeline’s approval for precisely these reasons and continue to worked tirelessly to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) project, were among the first to respond to Thursday’s spill. (Photo: Tar Sands Blockade)

Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline came true on Thursday when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota.

While the company reported the spill in a public statementBuzzfeed notes there was an approximately four-and-a-half hour gap between when the company said the breach was discovered at 6:00 am and when local officials say they were notified at 10:30 am.  As a South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources told the news outlet, “We’re not quite sure why there was a time gap in there.” Continue reading

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Ignoring Threat of Rising Seas, Trump Eliminates Flood Risk Standards

“Silly Trump wants to use tax dollars to build on floodplains as sea level rises. Damp!”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-15-2017

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that reportedly revoked Obama-era provisions requiring strict standards to reduce flood risks for federally-funded infrastructure projects. (Photo: maxstrz/flickr/cc)

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that reportedly eliminates flood-risk standards for federally funded public infrastructure projects—in a purported effort to expedite the approval process for projects such as highways and bridges, as part of his $1 trillion infrastructure plan that’s been criticized for its reliance on private developers.

Although details of Trump’s order were not immediately made public, at a press conference this afternoon, the president called U.S. infrastructure a “massive self-inflicted wound on our country,” and said there would no longer be “one job-killing delay after another.” Continue reading

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To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists

 

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The 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City. Annette Bernhardt/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Jill Hopke, DePaul University

Following closely on last week’s March for Science, activists are preparing for the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29. This event will mark President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, and comes as the Trump administration is debating whether the United States should continue to participate in the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting global carbon emissions. The Conversation

Organizers have worked for over a year to build an intersectional movement that brings together diverse constituencies under the banner of climate justice. They hope to replicate the first People’s Climate March in September 2014, which was the largest climate change mobilization in history. Continue reading

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‘Hostile Takeover’: Oil & Gas Industry Now In Charge of US Foreign Policy

Confirming Rex Tillerson, Republicans on Senate Foreign Relations Committee “just knowingly handed our international climate diplomacy over to a rogue oil mogul”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-23-2017

Rex Tillerson. Photo: premier.gov.ru [CC BY 4.0) , via Wikimedia Commons

In a vote strictly along party lines, Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State on Monday.

Despite unified opposition from Democrats on the committee and a campaign by climate action and corporate accountability groups, Tillerson’s confirmation now passes to the full Senate where the Republican majority is nearly certain to finalize his appointment. Continue reading

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Activists Around the World Take #NoDAPL Fight to the Banks

Global demonstrations are calling on banks to divest from the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, citing human rights abuses against water protectors

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-1-2016

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. are all involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and activists in Tokyo demanded the financiers divest. (Photo: 350.org Japan)

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. are all involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and activists in Tokyo demanded the financiers divest. (Photo: 350.org Japan)

Update:

Organizers report that after the series of demonstrations on Thursday, Wells Fargo—a Dakota Access Pipeline investor—has agreed to meet with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe:

wft1 Continue reading

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As Media Gatekeeper, 70+ Groups Call on Facebook to End Censorship

“Because the stories that don’t get shared are as important as the ones that do”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2016

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As Facebook comes under fire for its alleged censorship and tracking of activists and protesters, a coalition of more than 70 groups and individuals has demanded the social media behemoth “clarify its policy on removing video and other content, especially human rights documentation, at the request of government actors.”

A letter (pdf)—whose signatories include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 350.org, Color of Change, and the Indigenous Environmental Network—sent Monday cites recent incidents including:

  • the deactivation of Korryn Gaines’ account,
  • the removal of iconic photographs,
  • reports of suppression of Indigenous resistance,
  • continued reports of Black activists’ content being removed,
  • and the disabling of Palestinian journalists’ accounts following your meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister.

Continue reading

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‘Illegitimate’ Request Denied: GOP Gets Middle Finger for #ExxonKnew Ploy

Refusing to submit to House inquiry, environmental groups question whether committee is “operating properly” or just acting out a “partisan effort to protect fossil fuel companies.”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2016

"If companies publicly denied climate change while knowing all along how dangerous it was, they should be held accountable," said Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard. (Image: Exxonknew.org)

“If companies publicly denied climate change while knowing all along how dangerous it was, they should be held accountable,” said Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard. (Image: Exxonknew.org)

Environmental groups that have become targets of a Republican-led effort to insulate ExxonMobil against accusations of fraud and climate science suppression dug in a bit deeper on Wednesday by refusing to submit to a Congressional inquiry on the matter.

As Common Dreams previously reported, House Republicans with the Committee on Space, Science and Technology sent a letter (pdf) on May 18th to 17 attorneys general and eight environmental organizations—including 350.org, Greenpeace, and the Union of Concerned Scientists—claiming their #ExxonKnew effort amounted to a violation of climate deniers’ First Amendment rights and demanding that they submit communications related to state investigations into Exxon Mobil. Continue reading

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21 Teens Tell Exxon and Koch Brothers: Get Out of Our Lawsuit

By Our Children’s Trust. Published 12-8-2015 at EcoWatch

Twenty-one young people from around the country are working to keep the world’s largest fossil fuel companies from intervening in their constitutional climate change lawsuit. Last week, the youth opposed the industry’s proposal to intervene as defendants in their case.

The proposed interveners are trade associations for major corporations, including the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)—representing ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Koch Industries and virtually all other U.S. refiners and petrochemical manufacturers—the American Petroleum Institute (API)—representing 625 oil and natural gas companies—and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). 

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“These organizations were not named as defendants in our complaint,” Phil Gregory, of Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy said. Gregory serves as one of the attorneys for the youth plaintiffs. “The fossil fuel industry understands how significant our case is. They want to join the federal government in attempting to defeat the constitutional claims asserted by these youth plaintiffs. The fossil fuel industry and the federal government lining up against 21 young citizens. That shows you what is at stake here.”

The lawsuit asserts the federal government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. It also claims the government failed to protect essential public trust resources by facilitating the exploitation of fossil fuels. The youth have asked the courts to order the federal government to prepare and implement a science-based national climate recovery plan. 

The fossil fuel powerhouses call the youth’s case “extraordinary” and “a direct threat to [their] businesses.” They claim “significant reduction in [greenhouse gas] emissions would cause a significant negative effect on [their] members by constraining the sale of the product they have specialized in developing and selling.” 

Victoria Barrett, 16-year-old plaintiff and fellow with Alliance for Climate Education, is participating in the climate talks in Paris advocating for science-based climate recovery plans. Barrett became a plaintiff because she was tired of the U.S. government sacrificing her future by allowing fossil fuel companies unbridled economic growth.

“Fossil fuel companies continue to show complete disregard for my future and the future of my generation,” Barrett said. “They have put my constitutional right to a certain quality of living at risk and continue to completely bulldoze over any real solutions for a sustainable world. These companies are focused on short-term goals, without thinking of their lasting effects on humanity. Fossil fuels are the energy of the past and I see no reason why these companies would not want to pride themselves in looking to the future.”

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In seeking to join the case, AFPM, API and NAM argue the court should focus on short-term economic benefits over a stable climate and healthy environment for future generations. The industry claims that “reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels down to 350 parts per million would abate some of the future risks of climate change, those reductions would nevertheless not be ‘appropriate’ if the future potential benefits would be outweighed by, for instance, enormous losses in productivity and economic development.”

In a declaration on behalf API’s motion to intervene, Howard Feldman claims, “A sudden and significant reduction in allowable GHG emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels could have a significant negative effect on the profitability of many of API’s members.” However, Jack Gerard, API’s president and CEO, presented a different picture in a press release on API’s website: “The facts are clear … by embracing our nation’s energy renaissance, we can lower costs, clean the air and create more jobs here at home while providing an example to the world.”

AFPM echoed API’s concern in a declaration of David Friedman of AFPM, stating, “If Plaintiffs succeed in eliminating or massively reducing U.S. conventional fuel consumption and imposing other severe restrictions on GHG emission limits, the impact on AFPM’s members will be significant and varied.” 

“We oppose the world’s largest fossil fuel polluters, including Exxon and Koch Industries, arguing that young people don’t have a constitutional right to life if it means reducing fossil fuel use,” said Julia Olson, executive director for Our Children’s Trust, also counsel in the litigation.

“Given what our president just said at the UN climate talks in Paris, a renewed alignment between our government and the fossil fuel industry could not be less welcome. This case asks the court to order what the industry fears most: a national plan using the best science we’ve got to try to leave clean air and a healthy climate to our kids.”

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Saving Face in France, US Cancels Federal Auction of Dirty Fuels at Home

“The Obama administration clearly recognized that it couldn’t present itself as a climate leader in Paris if it was peddling fossil fuels at home.”

Written by Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2015.
"Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership," said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. (Photo: kris krüg/flickr/cc/with overlay)

“Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. (Photo: kris krüg/flickr/cc/with overlay)

U.S. climate campaigners are claiming victory for their new and growing “keep it in the ground” campaign on Monday after the Obama administration postponed an auction for fossil fuel leases that was scheduled for later this week.

Given that approximately half the known fossil fuel reserves in the U.S. soil are beneath public lands managed by the federal government, climate activists have made ending exploitation of those deposits a key demand in the global fight to curb global warming. Following an announcement by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that the auction in Washington, D.C. on Thursday would be “rescheduled” until March of next year, campaigners took it as a sign that their message is getting through.

According to the BLM, there were  nine parcels of federal land that would have been made available in the auction, including two 80-acre parcels in Arkansas and seven parcels in Michigan totaling 427 acres.

“Keeping fossil fuels in the ground has quickly become the new standard for climate leadership,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director of 350.org. Referencing the ongoing UN climate summit now entering its second week in France, he added, “The Obama administration clearly recognized that it couldn’t present itself as a climate leader in Paris if it was peddling fossil fuels at home.”

Kowalski continued by saying that since the Obama administration succumbed to movement pressure and rejected the Keystone XL pipeline just weeks ago, the international climate movement is entering a new phase by focusing on keeping untapped oil, gas, and coal reserves untouched and underground. “You’ll see many more protests like this over the year ahead,” he said, “especially that we now have such clear evidence that they work.”

The coalition celebrating Monday’s decision noted that scientists have made it clear that in order to keep global warming under 2°C, a target the United States has supported at the climate talks in Paris, let alone the 1.5°C that many vulnerable nations are calling for, more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground.

According to Taylor McKinnon from the Center for Biological Diversity,  “If the administration can’t handle the optics of auctioning fossil fuels while negotiating a climate deal in Paris, it shouldn’t be auctioning off fossil fuels at all. It’s time to end the federal fossil fuel leasing program to align public lands management with our climate goals and keep up to 450 billion tons of carbon pollution in the ground.”

Other groups involved in campaigning against the federal leasing program said it was clear that a planned demonstration outside the DC auction site on Thursday was a factor in its postponement.

Speaking from Paris, campaigns director for Oil Change International David Turnbull said, “Selling off public lands to the oil and gas industry amidst the Paris climate talks would have been the height of hypocrisy. We’re delighted to see this lease sale delayed but will be even more so once this fossil fuel leasing program is ended for good. Those of us working hard in Paris for a successful climate agreement need all the support we can get, and this victory for the keep it in the ground movement should put a little more wind in our sails.”

Though many have been impressed with Obama’s various statements and speeches on climate change in recent months, there remains enormous skepticism about whether his commitment to action matches up with the rhetoric.

“After bold statements for urgent climate action in Alaska and Paris,” said Marissa Knodel, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, “President Obama cannot claim climate leadership as long as his administration continues to offer our public lands and waters for fossil fuel exploitation. The Obama administration should take note: we will be back in March and at every other lease sale until he recognizes that his climate legacy depends on keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”

Follow the discussion on Twitter- #keepitintheground

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