Tag Archives: carbon pollution

‘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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The Supreme Court could hamstring federal agencies’ regulatory power in a high-profile air pollution case

Coal piles outside of PacifiCorp’s Hunter power plant in Castle Dale, Utah.
George Frey, AFP, via Getty Images

Albert C. Lin, University of California, Davis

On Feb. 28, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in West Virginia v. EPA, a case that centers on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change. How the court decides the case could have broad ramifications, not just for climate change but for federal regulation in many areas.

This case stems from actions over the past decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, a centerpiece of U.S. climate change policy. In 2016, the Supreme Court blocked the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was designed to reduce these emissions. The Trump administration repealed the Clean Power Plan and replaced it with the far less stringent Affordable Clean Energy Rule. Various parties challenged that measure, and a federal court invalidated it a day before Trump left office. Continue reading

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As Climate Summit Ends, Activists Say ‘Hollowed-Out’ Deal Leaves 1.5°C Goal ‘On Life Support’

Critics also warn that “COP26 will be remembered as a betrayal of Global South countries—abandoned to the climate crisis with no money for the energy transition, adaptation, or loss and damage.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-13-2021 by Common Dreams

COP26 president Alok Sharma. Photo: Bank of England/flickr/CC

Faced with new research showing a significant gap between current commitments to cut planet-heating emissions and the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C target, negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a deal that critics say falls short of what is needed to tackle the climate emergency.

The agreement came out of COP26, the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland that was scheduled to wrap up Friday. As talks spilled over into Saturday, global campaigners expressed frustration with what they called “a clear betrayal by rich nations.” Continue reading

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What is COP26? Here’s how global climate negotiations work and what’s expected from the Glasgow summit

U.N. climate summits bring together representatives of almost every country.
UNFCCC

Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Over two weeks in November, world leaders and national negotiators will meet in Scotland to discuss what to do about climate change. It’s a complex process that can be hard to make sense of from the outside, but it’s how international law and institutions help solve problems that no single country can fix on its own.

I worked for the United Nations for several years as a law and policy adviser and have been involved in international negotiations. Here’s what’s happening behind closed doors and why people are concerned that COP26 might not meet its goals. Continue reading

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House Dems Unveil Bill to Stop Wall Street From Destroying the Planet

“The Federal Reserve’s role is not to surrender our planet to corporate polluters and shepherd our financial system to its destruction,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib, among the Democrats urging the Fed to end fossil fuel financing.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-15-2021

The Marathon Oil refinery in St. Paul Park, MN. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

Progressives on Wednesday applauded Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib for unveiling a bill that would prevent Wall Street from continuing to bankroll fossil fuels, the primary driver of the climate emergency.

The Fossil Free Finance Act (pdf) would require the Federal Reserve to mandate, via regulation or guidance, that all banks and other financial insitutions with more than $50 billion in assets phase out the funding of coal, oil, and gas extraction as well as industries linked to deforestation, in accordance with science-based targets for slashing carbon pollution. Continue reading

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If we lose the Amazon, our world will lose its future

Brazil is voting to legalize the destruction of the Amazon forest and the extermination of Indigenous peoples, the forest’s last line of defense

By Vanessa Andreotti   Published 8-25-2021 by openDemocracy

A group of Huni Kui youth ready to join the protest in Brasilia | Elvis Huni Kui

It is not just the people of Brazil who will suffer in the face of their government’s smartly coordinated attack on humanity’s future. All of us, across the world, are set to suffer the consequences of the tragedy unfolding before us in the Amazon.

You may be asking, ‘Why should I care?’ In a world of competing crises, it’s certainly a fair question. But the future of the Amazon rainforest must be a priority – if we lose it, we lose our future. Continue reading

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‘Biggest Story in the World Right Now’: Humanity Has Flipped Amazon From Carbon Sink to Source

The findings, said one expert, “show that the uncertain future is happening now.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2021

Fire in the Amazon. Photo: Luísa Mota/flickr/CC

Following years of warnings and mounting fears among scientists, “terrifying” research revealed Wednesday that climate change and deforestation have turned parts of the Amazon basin, a crucial “sink,” into a source of planet-heating carbon dioxide.

Though recent research has elevated concerns about the Amazon putting more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than it absorbs, the new findings, published in the journal Nature, were presented as a “first” by scientists and climate reporters. Continue reading

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‘This Is What Bipartisanship Looks Like’: Vicious Fire Tornado Caught on Film in California

“Climate policy isn’t about imagining a spectrum from left to right and finding the sweet spot in the middle. It’s a zero-sum battle with physics.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-8-2021

The National Weather Service shared video footage captured by the U.S. Forest Service showing a firenado that formed over the Tennant Fire in California’s Siskiyou County on June 29, 2021. Photo: U.S. Forest Service

Responding to dramatic footage that went viral Thursday of a so-called “fire tornado” unleashed recently in North California, a longtime aid of Sen. Bernie Sanders said the event—viewed through a political prism—could be seen symbolically as the destructive result of corporate-friendly policies in Washington, D.C. masquerading as bipartisanship while the world burns amid an intensifying climate emergency.

“This is what bipartisanship looks like,” tweeted Warren Gunnels, currently the staff director for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, which is chaired by Sanders. Continue reading

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Conservationists Applaud Biden Plan to Reverse Trump Attack on Tongass National Forest

“Even if you live thousands of miles from the Tongass National Forest, you still benefit from its unique ability to fight climate change,” said Earthjustice.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-11-2021

Tongass National Forest. Photo: Jeff’s Canon/flickr/CC

Indigenous rights and climate action groups on Friday welcomed the Biden administration’s announcement that the Department of Agriculture will “repeal or replace” former President Donald Trump’s assault on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, in which a 20-year-old rule protecting wild lands was revoked three months before Trump left office.

Trump’s rollback of the 2001 Roadless Rule was made final last October and sparked fury among conservation groups including Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which noted that the protection of the Tongass National Forest is vital for biodiversity as well as absorbing carbon emissions. Continue reading

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It’s too late for court rulings: Shell must fall

It’s time for a proper debate about how to dismantle fossil fuel companies

By #ShellMustFall . Published 6-9-2021 by openDemocracy

Dressed as construction workers, #ShellMustFall took a wrecking ball to the Shell headquarters | Alex Bleu, CC BY-SA 2.0

On 26 May a Dutch court ordered the oil giant Shell to reduce its global carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in a landmark ruling. That Shell is finally being held accountable for its role in the climate crisis is a victory not only for Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) and the more than 17,000 co-plaintiffs who brought the case, but for the entire global movement against the fossil fuel industry.

But despite the excitement that we at action coalition #ShellMustFall share, we want to remind the world: litigation will not be enough to stop Shell’s leaders from damaging our planet. Continue reading

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