The Banner, Vol. 5, No. 8 – The Children’s Rebellion, II

February 19, 2019
As Greta Thunberg notably put the matter, our leaders are telling the children to stay in school and stop trying to act like adults. But the leaders have stopped trying to act like adults long ago. So the children must. This week we focus on children in earnest rebellion.
But first the news.


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Action Alert! Rally & Press Conference
No Meadowlands Power Plant
No More Fossil Fuel Project

Local residents will join elected officials and environmentalists to hold a rally and press conference to voice rising opposition to the proposed Meadowlands fracked gas power plant, and call on Governor Murphy to enact an emergency moratorium on fossil fuel expansion projects.

The power plant would deliver electricity to New York City.

The press conference will take place underneath a new anti-power plant billboard, and across from the existing PSE&G gas power plant in Ridgefield Park, which is less than one mile from the location of the proposed plant.

The press conference comes just two days after an a EMPOWER NJ report showed that Governor Murphy’s emissions reduction goals would be impossible to achieve if his administration approves projects like the Meadowlands power plant.

Who: Elected officials, residents, statewide environmental leaders including Food & Water Watch, NJ Sierra Club, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Clean Water Action, Environment New Jersey, and Don’t Gas The Meadowlands.

What: Rally & Press Conference: Campaign to Stop Meadowlands Fracked Gas Power Plant
When: Friday, February 15 – Noon
Where: 279 Bergen Tpke, Ridgefield Park, NJ
More info: See the event’s Facebook Page

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Transportation of LNG by Rail Keeps Chugging Along

Transportation of LNG by Rail Keeps Chugging Along

As described in previous blog posts on May 7, 2018 and March 13, 2018, regulatory changes are needed before liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be transported by rail tanker cars under applicable Hazardous Materials and Carriage by Rail regulations, 49 C.F.R Parts 172, 173 and 174, absent a special permit.

Further reading Alaska Railroad to become first in U.S. to haul liquefied natural gas, Anchorage Daily News, 9/9/16
Secretly Approved in Alaska, Will LNG Trains Soon Appear in Rest of US? DeSmogBlog, 5/10/17

The two railroad tank cars used in the night-time trial runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks of this LNG train each carried about 12 tons of LNG, equivalent to about 149 tons of TNT. The MOAB super-bomb recently dropped on an ISIS tunnel system in Afghanistan by the U.S. Air Force had the equivalent power of 11 tons of TNT, or about 7.4% of one of these LNG rail tank car’s explosive force. If these tank cars have an accident that results in penetration into either LNG chamber, the resulting explosion will inevitably involve the other tankers also, resulting in an explosion the size of quite a few MOAB bombs. If you find an error in these figures, please email editor@thebanner.news.[address updated] I am hoping there is an error!—Editor, The Banner, Vol. 3, No. 20, 5/16/17

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) filed a petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in January 2017, and PHMSA responded on May 7, 2018. The petition sought revisions of Sections 172.101 and 173.319 of Title 49 to allow LNG to be treated the same as other cryogenic liquids transported in tank cars under the Hazardous Materials regulations. AAR has also weighed in on Special Permit Applications which sought permission to transport LNG in commerce via rail tank cars. In formally accepting the petition, PHMSA concluded that it had assessed the petition and determined the request merits consideration in a future rulemaking.…—Dianne R Phillips, “Transportation of LNG by Rail Keeps Chugging Along,” Holland & Knight, 10/30/18

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A FERC commissioner’s climate evolution

PIPELINES: A FERC commissioner’s climate evolution

Cheryl LaFleur has become a key voice in the debate over natural gas pipelines and climate change.

As one of two Democrats on the five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, LaFleur has made waves lately for her insistence on broad analysis of potential greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s not just the direct effects of a pipeline that matter, she says; FERC must look further to weigh the impacts of actually burning the gas that a new project is designed to deliver.

“That would require judgment, but I don’t think it would necessarily require delay,” she said in an interview last week. “We do hard things in a lot of aspects of our work.”

LaFleur spoke to E&E News on Friday, just minutes after dissenting from a pipeline order that did not include in-depth review of downstream climate impacts.

Further reading: FERC’s LaFleur to step down after push from Senate Democrats, Utility Dive

“I agree that consideration of climate change is difficult,” she wrote. “However, I do not believe that the difficulty of considering climate change [relieves] us of the obligation to consider climate change impacts as part of our environmental review.”

The statement, focused on the Mountain Valley pipeline in Appalachia, joins a growing stack of disagreements LaFleur has had with her Republican colleagues over their refusal to assess broad climate impacts from gas pipelines.…—Ellen M. Gilmer, “PIPELINES: A FERC commissioner’s climate evolution,” E&E News, 6/20/18

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Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Defeats Motion to Dismiss Complaint against Sunoco

Riverkeeper case can proceed

PHILADELPHIA—On Feb. 12, 2019, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) defeated a motion to dismiss filed by Sunoco Pipeline L.P., thus allowing the case to proceed. DRN’s complaint was filed in June 2018 against Sunoco for their failure to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES permit) for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network released the following statement: “Our government, both state and federal, has been complicit in helping to advance the dirty fracked has industry despite its traumatic impacts on our water, air, forests, climate and future generations. When it comes to pipelines, not only is the law stacked against us, but our state and federal agencies have twisted themselves in to pretzels to find ways to help pipeline companies advance the full power of the laws that should apply.

“The Clean Water Act is one place where this is abundantly clear. Our government officials have not required pipeline companies like Sunoco to comply with the pollution permitting requirements of the Clean Water Act, they have allowed the companies to evade this mandate of the law entirely. Had Pennsylvania mandated compliance with state and federal permitting requirements from the get go, we would not have had the devastating impacts we see today.”

Aaron Stemplewicz is senior attorney of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“Sunoco failed to obtain the necessary permits for the construction and operation of the Mariner East 2 project, which has resulted in numerous unnecessary harms to the environment,” he said. “The court’s decision denying Sunoco’s motion to dismiss sends a strong message that our claims are valid, and that justice will be done regarding Sunoco’s continued violations of the law.”…

In an additional blow to the Mariner East 2 project, last Friday, Feb. 8, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced that it has halted review of all pending construction permits for the Mariner East 2 pipeline. This action was a result of Energy Transfer’s (Sunoco’s parent company) continued violations of Pennsylvania state law.…—Bill Rettew, “Riverkeeper case can proceed,’ Exton Daily Local News, 2/131/9

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mediaContact

Bluestone Wind Project Public Statement Hearings Scheduled

124 MW Proposed Project in Towns of Windsor and Sanford, Broome County

ALBANY — The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (Siting Board) today announced it would hold public statement hearings in the Village of Windsor, to receive comments on Bluestone Wind LLC’s proposal to construct a wind energy project in the Towns of Windsor and Sanford, Broome County.

The proposed project consists of the construction and operation of a commercial-scale wind power project, including the installation and operation of up to 33 wind turbines (29 in the Town of Sanford and 4 in the Town of Windsor), together with associated underground collection lines, access roads, two permanent meteorological towers, and an operation and maintenance building in the Town of Sanford. A collection substation will be located in Sanford at the end of the project’s 34.5-kilovolt collection system and will include a 10-megawatt battery storage system. A second substation will be located at the point of interconnection, adjacent to an existing New York State Electric and Gas transmission line. The two substations will be connected by a 200-foot long span of overhead 115-kilovolt transmission line.

Opportunities for public information and comment will be held, as follows:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019Village of Windsor
Windsor Community House Meeting Room
107 Main Street
Windsor, NY 13865

2 P.M. and 6 P.M. – Information Forums
3 P.M. and 7 P.M. – Public Statement Hearings
More info:
Bluestone Wind Project Public Statement Hearings Scheduled

During the scheduled information forums, the examiners, Administrative Law Judges Sean Mullany, of the Department of Public Service, and Daniel P. O’Connell, of the Department of Environmental Conservation, will provide an overview of the Siting Board’s certification process. Bluestone will then present a brief description of the project and will have maps of the project area available for viewing. Members of the public will then have an opportunity to pose questions about the siting review process and the Bluestone application that is currently pending before the Siting Board.

Those wishing to comment on Bluestone’s proposal to construct its project will have the opportunity to make a statement on the record at the public statement hearing. It is not necessary to make an appointment in advance, or to present written material in order to speak at the hearing. Any person wishing to provide a public statement must complete a request card. The examiners will then use the request cards to call each person who has requested an opportunity to provide a statement. The examiners will continue the hearing for at least one hour, or until everyone wishing to speak has been heard or other reasonable arrangements have been made. A verbatim transcript of the hearing will be made for inclusion in the record of this case.…—Bluestone Wind Project Public Statement Hearings Scheduled, NY DEC, 2/12/19

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When is ‘compromise’ a deal with the devil?

Guest Commentary: When is ‘compromise’ a deal with the devil?

Along with a couple of hundred others, I attended the Chamber of Commerce Energy Summit on Jan. 31. One speaker ended his presentation with this Thomas Edison quote: “We are like tenant farmers, chopping down the fence around our house for fuel, when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide.” Sadly, the irony of Edison’s statement, made to Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, who nodded in agreement, was lost on many summit attendees.

Much of the area’s recent concern over energy was sparked by the Otsego Industrial Development Agency’s ham-fisted proposal for $17.5 million to bring in compressed-gas “bomb” trucks and to build a gas plant at the Pony Farm industrial park. As several speakers at the summit made clear, certain business interests want more gas, perhaps much more gas — enough to power both the Southside corridor and heavy industry in the rail yards.

So, the summit did make clear that a much bigger plan is being hatched — a massive proliferation of gas, expanding the existing local network and doubling the volume of pipelines to Oneonta. To make this happen, the IDA must get us to buy into its contrived narrative of an energy crisis evidenced by a handful of customers who must burn oil a few times a year. The IDA’s claim that there was insufficient energy for new businesses was disputed by NYSEG representatives at the summit who said that the IDA had never submitted energy-load requirements for review.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to move New York to zero-carbon emissions and significantly ramp up renewables. The state Public Service Commission is now telling utilities to look at conservation and demand-response to meet energy needs. Still, a few speakers at the Otesaga event scolded the state for banning fracking. You’ll recall, the state Departments of Environmental Conservation determined that hydraulic fracturing of shale jeopardizes human health and the environment. But industry mouthpieces at the summit — the American Petroleum Institute and Marcellus Shale Coalition — seem to know better. Constitution Pipeline is still promoted by industry, although courts have upheld the state’s determination that trenching hundreds of streams across the Southern Tier would jeopardize water quality.…—Dennis Higgins, “Guest Commentary: When is ‘compromise’ a deal with the devil?The Daily Star, 2/8/19

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These Chemicals Are Forever:
Water Contamination from PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS

These Chemicals Are Forever: Water Contamination from PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS

[Last week we published a few articles on the EPA, which is considering dropping entirely the regulation of two in this dangerous family of chemicals. The matter is so dire, and affects numerous New York towns, that it seemed appropriate to underline their danger.—Editor]

The introduction of per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFASs) in the mid-twentieth century unleased a wave of persistent and toxic chemicals into the environment, contaminating everything from food and drinking water to the dust around us. Also known as “forever chemicals,” these substances continue to persist in the environment and in our bodies even after a partial phase-out of their production in the United States, often resistant to even the most advanced water treatment technologies.

Now, mounting evidence shows that the emergence of seemingly safer and less persistent “alternatives” to legacy PFASs may pose the same problems as their predecessors. An ineffective and broken regulatory system and weak environmental laws in the United States have done little to stymie the ever-revolving chemical treadmill that has contaminated entire communities and put public health at risk. The federal government must take immediate action to strengthen regulations to stop PFASs from contaminating our environment, and to remove them from our drinking water.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a large group of related synthetic compounds that were introduced in the 1940s and 1950s, when chemical regulations were even weaker than today. Due to their stable chemical structure, PFASs are long-lived substances with the ability to repel both water and oil, making them extremely useful in a wide variety of applications and products. However, the characteristics that have made them attractive for use in an array of products are the very ones that have led to their wide-spread contamination of the environment and people.

PFASs have been found in nearly the entire U.S. population, and a growing body of science has been documenting their toxicity and public health impacts. PFOA and PFOS have been most studied of the PFAS chemicals in terms of their health impacts on humans, but there is a dearth of literature for many other PFASs, particularly the emerging chemicals that are now used as substitutes.

As of 2018, at least 478 PFASs had been reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being used in U.S. commerce. Other sources report that thousands of PFASs have been produced and used by various industries, in both the United States and around the world.

The most studied and pervasive chemical forms are per- fluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). PFOA has been used in the production of the chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), best known by the commercial name TeflonTM, which was first synthesized in 1938 by a DuPont scientist and came into widespread use in the 1960s. The compound also has been used in waterproof textiles, electrical wire casing and more.…

PFASs Are “Forever Chemicals” That Contaminate the Environment and Animals

PFASs are incredibly prevalent and persistent in the environment, meaning that they stay in the soil and water for long periods of time. Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFASs are immune to degradation, regardless of environmental conditions. Natural breakdown over time is assumed to be virtually nonexistent.

PFAS contamination is pervasive and comes from a wide range of sources. These chemicals can enter the environment directly from landfills where products such as carpets and textiles break down and leach into the air, soil and water. They also can indirectly enter the environment when precursor chemicals break down to form compounds like PFOA and PFOS. PFASs have been shown to linger long after their production and use. PFOS, PFOA and other PFASs have been shown to be present in groundwater for anywhere from 5 to 15 years following the end of firefighting activities at a military base in Michigan. PFASs also have been found in a number of plants and animals. Residues have been found in strawberries and lettuce, as well as fish, seals, polar bears and dolphins.

Due to characteristics such as their high water solubility and persistence, PFASs are mobile in soil, are prone to leaching into groundwater and can travel large distances. PFASs have been found to contaminate environments of all sorts, including landfills and wastewater treatment plants, as well as remote and seemingly pristine regions, such as the deep sea and the Arctic.…—Wenonah Hauter, “These Chemicals Are Forever: Water Contamination from PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS,” Food & Water Watch, 2/6/19

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Industry Wanted This Ohio River Commission
to Stop Setting Pollution Standards. It Almost Gave in.

Industry Wanted This Ohio River Commission to Stop Setting Pollution Standards. It Almost Gave in.

The commission was under pressure to drop its standard-setting authority and let each state act on its own. But what happens upstream affects everyone.

An Ohio River commission that represents eight states lining the waterway and its tributaries voted Thursday to keep its authority to set regional water pollution standards, rather than ceding that power to each individual state.

It was a victory for environmental advocates at a time when the federal government has been rolling back protections on pollution from industries along the industrial corridor.

Last summer, under pressure from industries and power utilities, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) had taken a preliminary vote to abandon its pollution control standards.


Click for full view

It changed course on Thursday, endorsing instead a compromise proposal that would give states more flexibility to decide whether or not use the standards, said commission member Tom FitzGerald, a Louisville environmental attorney. Under the compromise, the commission’s staff, which reviews all state water quality permits, would also make those reviews more rigorous, he said.

“This is a workable approach” that reflects a reality that some Ohio River states are already ignoring ORSANCO’s standards, while preserving the agency’s ability to set “gold standard” guidance, FitzGerald said.

The river, which runs for 981 miles from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois, where it joins the Mississippi River, is a drinking water source for about 5 million people and is increasingly a recreational resource.…—James Bruggers, “Industry Wanted This Ohio River Commission to Stop Setting Pollution Standards. It Almost Gave in.InsideClimate News, 2/14/19

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The Children’s Rebellion, II
Climate strike: thousands of students
take to UK streets in call to stop global warming

Climate strike: thousands of students take to UK streets in call to stop global warming – as it happened

From live blogging during the student’s climate strike, United Kingdom

…The climate change strikers have found an unusual source of support: Conservative MPs who have issued comments applauding those who took time off school or college to join the protests.

They include Claire Perry, the energy minister, who said: “I’m incredibly proud of young people who feel strongly that we need to take action.” She was joined by the former higher education minister Sam Gyimah, who tweeted approvingly: “Best to see this as an applied citizenship lesson on one day of the year.”

Meanwhile, Richard Benyon, the MP for Newbury, met a group of strikers at his office in the town. “Great to chat with young people so passionate about #climatechange. Glad to be able to talk of UK’s world-leading achievements in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions and commitments to ocean protection and end[ing] coal power generation,” he later tweeted.

Among the homemade signs on display in Newbury was one reading: “I’ll focus on my A-levels when you focus on the sea levels.”

But the official position from the Department for Education was unchanged.

“I want young people to be engaged in key issues affecting them and involving themselves in causes they care about. But let me be clear – missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment. All they will do is create extra work for teachers,” said Damian Hinds, the education secretary.

“This is ultimately a matter for headteachers to consider, but I’ve repeatedly said I don’t want teachers being burdened with extra and unnecessary workload, and that’s exactly what these strikes would lead to.”

Christopher Hope, the Telegraph’s chief political correspondent, has been voicing his concern: “Around 2,000 sixth formers who bunked off school have been protesting in Parliament Square have now wrecked the newly planted grass. And they are worried about climate change? What about the lawn?”

…School students who spoke to the New Scientist during the protests in London said the media had to share some of the blame for the global failure to tackle climate change.

Eddy Barrow, 15, of Elmgreen school in Tulse Hill, south London, told the magazine: “Climate change is a big problem that is being ignored by mainstream media. The MPs in parliament are not doing much. There will be rising sea levels, no more Antarctica, the climate will be destroyed. Loads of terrible things.”

The youngest protester to whom the New Scientist spoke was an eight-year-old boy with his mother.

He was carrying a banner stating: “Be cool, be green, not a dinosaur.” When he was asked what he thought the world would be like when he was older, he replied: “Burning.”

…Also in Oxford, Windmill primary school has embraced today’s climate strikes by holding a “day of learning” about global warming.

A video of Greta Thunberg speaking at last year’s UN climate change conference has proved popular with pupils, who are understandably concerned about the impact of climate change on their lives.…—Richard Adams,”Climate strike: thousands of students take to UK streets in call to stop global warming,” The Guardian, 2/15/19

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How a 7th grader’s strike against climate change
exploded into a movement

How a 7th grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement

NEW YORK – On the ninth Friday of her strike, 13-year-old Alexandria Villasenor wakes to a dozen emails, scores of Twitter notifications, and good news from the other side of the planet: Students in China want to join her movement.

Every week since December, the seventh-grader has made a pilgrimage to the United Nations Headquarters demanding action on climate change. She is one of a cadre of young, fierce and mostly female activists behind the “school strikes for climate” movement. On March 15, with the support of some of the world’s biggest environmental groups, tens of thousands of kids in at least two dozen countries and nearly 30 U.S. states plan to skip school to protest.

Their demands are uncompromising: Nations must commit to cutting fossil-fuel emissions in half in the next 10 years to avoid catastrophic global warming.

And their message is firm: Kids are done waiting for adults to save their world.

“Mom, this is so cool,” Alexandria says, as she reads the latest list of countries where kids have pledged to participate in a global strike: Australia, Thailand, Ghana, France. “Where is Gir–, Girona?”

“That’s in Spain,” replies her mother, Kristin Hogue.

They sit on the couch, still in their pajamas, and Alexandria pulls out the planner she purchased to keep track of all her commitments. Each task is color-coded by geographic scale: Pink for global organizing. Orange for national. Yellow for New York.

First on the agenda is an interview with a reporter from the U.K., who seems caught off guard by the young woman’s fervor.

“My generation is really upset.” The deal struck at COP24, the U.N. climate meeting in December, was insufficient, she says. “We’re not going to let them . . . hand us down a broken planet.”

“Huh. Right,” the reporter says. “Big ambitions.”

Alexandria raises her eyebrows.

“Yeah,” she replies, confident.…—Sarah Kaplan, “How a 7th grader’s strike against climate change exploded into a movement,” Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Ill), 2/18/19

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How to change the minds of climate deniers

How to change the minds of climate deniers

Recent polls have found the number of people who believe climate change is real has jumped. What convinced them?

For some people, the awakening comes in science class.

In the Reddit thread titled “Former climate change deniers, what changed your mind?” the most popular comment comes from chucklesthe2nd (probably not his real name). Chuck, as we’ll call him, essentially inherited his dad’s views on climate change.

“I grew up actively and obnoxiously denying climate change because my dad told me it wasn’t real,” Chuck wrote last year. Then, during a high school science course, he learned about feedback loops: “It suddenly hit me. As the atmosphere heats up, more CO2 is released, which heats up the atmosphere, which releases more CO2, which heats up the atmosphere, which releases more CO2, which heats up the atmosphere, which releases more CO2……etc.”

It looks like Chuck is at the forefront of an encouraging trend. A recent Monmouth poll found that 78% of Americans believe climate change is real and leading to sea-level rise and more extreme weather. That’s up from 70% three years ago. The headline-grabbing takeaway: a majority of Republicans – 64% – are now believers, a 15-point jump from 2015.

Further reading Who is changing their mind about global warming and why?
The Green New Deal has Strong Bipartisan Support

To learn more about these converts, researchers at Yale and George Mason crunched the numbers from a blend of responses to surveys conducted between 2011 and 2015. They found that 8% of Americans said they had recently changed their opinion on the matter, according to a new analysis from Yale University and George Mason University. Nearly all of the recent converts said global warming had become a bigger concern for them.

But who are these people, anyway, and what’s their deal? Let’s take a closer look.…—Kate Yoder, “How to change the minds of climate deniers,” The Guardian, 2/3/19

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My generation trashed the planet.
So I salute the children striking back

My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back | George Monbiot

The Youth Strike 4 Climate gives me more hope than I have felt in 30 years of campaigning. Before this week, I believed it was all over. I thought, given the indifference and hostility of those who govern us, and the passivity of most of my generation, that climate breakdown and ecological collapse were inevitable. Now, for the first time in years, I think we can turn them around.

My generation and the generations that went before have failed you. We failed to grasp the basic premise of inter-generational justice: that you cannot apply discount rates to human life. In other words, the life of someone who has not been born will be of no less value than the life of someone who already exists. We have lived as if your lives had no importance, as if any resource we encountered was ours and ours alone to use as we wished, regardless of the impact on future generations. In doing so, we created a cannibal economy: we ate your future to satisfy our greed.

It is true that the people of my generation are not equally to blame. Broadly speaking, ours is a society of altruists governed by psychopaths. [This statement leaves unexplained how the psychopaths got elected.—Editor] We have allowed a tiny number of phenomenally rich people, and the destructive politicians they fund, to trash our life-support systems. While some carry more blame than others, our failure to challenge the oligarchs who are sacking the Earth and to overthrow their illegitimate power, is a collective failure. Together, we have bequeathed you a world that – without drastic and decisive action – may soon become uninhabitable.…—George Monbiot, “My generation trashed the planet. So I salute the children striking back,” The Guardian, 2/15/19

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Deep Adaptation: Engaging with the Great Turning

Professor Jem Bendell is author of Deep Adaptation, which summarizes climate science and trends to suggest that humanity faces inevitable societal collapse, probably within 10 years.

Please watch the video all the way through as the mental, emotional and psychological support comes after the ‘bad news’ is presented and discussed.

The presentation, to 300 people in Bristol, UK, was his first recorded lecture on the Deep Adaptation. Using a more informal format than a University lecture, the Professor of Sustainability Leadership at the University of Cumbria, invites the audience to explore forms of action additional to cutting and drawing down carbon from the atmosphere – actions associated with personal and collective preparedness for coming disruption. Accompanying him was Toni Spencer, a facilitator who works on Deep Adaptation and Transition.

After Jem’s talk, Toni led the audience in a reflective process to explore feelings and ideas emerging. She also offered some poems and reflections during the process. Members of the Climate Psychology Alliance spoke from the floor, explaining their new initiative to provide therapeutic support to people working on or affected by this agenda. The event was organized by the local Constituency Labour Party and Momentum group, but made open to anyone with any political interest or none.

To engage on this topic see http://www.deepadaptation.info

We thank Emilio Mula for filming and editing, and Seeding Our Future (futurescanning.org) for support to make it possible. We thank Emilio Mula for filming and editing, and Seeding Our Future (futurescanning.org ) for support to make it possible. Professor Bendell is co-leading a retreat on Deep Adaptation in the UK in September 2019. For details see UK Deep Adaptation Retreat, with Jem Bendell & Katie Carr.—Stuart Scott, “Deep Adaptation,ScientistsWarning.TV|YouTube, 2/14/18

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The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal

The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal

“I really don’t like their policies of taking away your car, taking away your airplane flights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ or ‘you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!’”

So bellowed President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas, his first campaign-style salvo against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. There will surely be many more.

It’s worth marking the moment. Because those could be the famous last words of a one-term president, having wildly underestimated the public appetite for transformative action on the triple crises of our time: imminent ecological unraveling, gaping economic inequality (including the racial and gender wealth divide), and surging white supremacy.

The New Deal was a process as much as a project, one that was constantly changing and expanding in response to social pressure from both the right and the left.

Or they could be the epitaph for a habitable climate, with Trump’s lies and scare tactics succeeding in trampling this desperately needed framework. That could either help win him re-election, or land us with a timid Democrat in the White House with neither the courage nor the democratic mandate for this kind of deep change. Either scenario means blowing the handful of years left to roll out the transformations required to keep temperatures below catastrophic levels.…

The more sobering lesson is that the kind of mass power that delivered the victories of the New Deal era is far beyond anything possessed by current progressive movements, even if they all combined efforts. That’s why it is so urgent to use the Green New Deal framework as a potent tool to build that power — a vision to both unite movements and dramatically expand them.

Part of that involves turning what is being derided as a left-wing “laundry list” or “wish list” into an irresistible story of the future, connecting the dots between the many parts of daily life that stand to be transformed — from health care to employment, day care to jail cell, clean air to leisure time.

Right now, the Green New Deal reads like a list because House resolutions have to be formatted as lists — lettered and numbered sequences of “whereases” and “resolveds.” It’s also being characterized as an unrelated grab bag because most of us have been trained to avoid a systemic and historical analysis of capitalism and to divide pretty much every crisis our system produces — from economic inequality to violence against women to white supremacy to unending wars to ecological unraveling — in walled-off silos [Emphasis added —Editor]. From within that rigid mindset, it’s easy to dismiss a sweeping and intersectional vision like the Green New Deal as a green-tinted “laundry list” of everything the left has ever wanted.…—Naomi Klein, “The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn on the Green New Deal,” The Intercept, 2/13/19

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Large Natural Gas Producer to Pay West Virginia Plaintiffs
$53.5 Million to Settle Royalty Dispute

Large Natural Gas Producer to Pay West Virginia Plaintiffs $53.5 Million to Settle Royalty Dispute — ProPublica

The second-largest natural gas producer in West Virginia will pay $53.5 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company was cheating thousands of state residents and businesses by shorting them on gas royalty payments, according to terms of the deal unsealed in court this week.

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. agreed to pay the money to end a federal class-action lawsuit, brought on behalf of about 9,000 people, which alleged that EQT wrongly deducted a variety of unacceptable charges from peoples’ royalty checks.

The deal is the latest in a series of settlements in cases that accused natural gas companies of engaging in such maneuvers to pocket a larger share of the profits from the boom in natural gas production in West Virginia.

This lawsuit was among the royalty cases highlighted last year in a joint examination by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and ProPublica that showed how West Virginia’s natural gas producers avoid paying royalties promised to thousands of residents and businesses. The plaintiffs said EQT was improperly deducting transporting and processing costs from their royalty payments. EQT said its royalty payment calculations were correct and fair.

A trial was scheduled to begin in November but was canceled after the parties reached the tentative settlement. Details of the settlement were unsealed Wednesday.

Under the settlement agreement, EQT Production Co. will pay the $53.5 million into a settlement fund. The company will also stop deducting those post-production costs from royalty payments.…—Kate Mishkin, Ken Ward Jr., “Large Natural Gas Producer to Pay West Virginia Plaintiffs $53.5 Million to Settle Royalty Dispute,” ProPublica|Charleston Gazette-Mail, 2/3/19

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Ottawa launches Alberta counter-terrorism unit

Ottawa launches Alberta counterterrorism unit

RCMP to take lead role in setting up new team to protect energy infrastructure

After labelling certain environmental and first nations groups as extremists and radicals, Canada’s federal government, along with the country’s top law enforcement and spy agencies, have set up a counter-terrorism unit in Alberta in order to protect the province’s natural resources and infrastructure.

The RCMP, which will lead the effort, would not say whether the team was assembled in response to specific threats, nor did it pinpoint which pieces of infrastructure it will focus on. However, Alberta hosts the vast majority of Canada’s oil assets, which have attracted international criticism and suffered security breaches. The province also has an extensive pipeline network, as well as upgraders and refineries, which protesters also target. Pipelines, for example, have been bombed in British Columbia.

The Tories have long stressed the importance of Alberta’s oil and gas to the entire Canadian economy, and are now taking measures to hinder critics’ ability to speak at regulatory hearings and shore up financial support. By establishing a counter-terrorism team in Alberta, the government is further emphasizing the importance it places on the western province and the threats it believes the energy industry faces.

Indeed, the federal government recently labelled some critics “radicals,” while the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service believe protest groups like Greenpeace and other dissenters have the capability to attack critical infrastructure in Canada. Greenpeace insists it is committed to non-violent protest.…—Carrie Tait, “Ottawa launches Alberta counterterrorism unit,” The Globe and Mail, 4/30/18

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Prince Harry Reveals His Biggest Concern
About Becoming a Father

Prince Harry reveals impending fatherhood has made him ‘even more determined’ to make the world better for young people as he attends a Commonwealth event in London

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Empowering Kids to Take Action on Climate Change

Empowering Kids to Take Action on Climate Change – The Allegheny Front


Turns out if you want environmental change, you should probably start with kids. Research shows that t
eaching children about the environment can influence their parents to live a more sustainable life. In other words, kids have power. That was the message of a workshop for educators in Western Pennsylvania recently put on by Young Voices for the Planet, a series of videos of young people working on climate change actions, founded by Lynne Cherry.

Cherry is the author of children’s books, including The Great Kapok Tree, which has sold more than a million copies. She spoke with Andy Kubis about Young Voices for the Planet and why she’s offering educator workshops in western Pennsylvania.

What is Young Voices for the Planet and why did you start it?

As a children’s book author and illustrator, going around the country I would see these kids get very upset when I would tell them about the rainforest being destroyed or rivers being polluted. And I realized that this was not motivating them. These stories were really, I thought, even maybe damaging them. I became concerned.

However, if I told them stories of kids saving a wetland next to their school or kids getting a ban on plastic bags or saving a forest, they would get so excited, and they would want to do something themselves. It would motivate them. So I realized early on that you had to tell success stories to motivate kids rather than telling them the doom and gloom.

So Young Voices for the Planet was created to champion the stories of young people who were concerned about climate change and were creating solutions. And so we documented, so far, 13 stories of kids or groups of kids who are reducing CO2 emissions — somehow — doing what the adults should be doing.

The youth in these films model this behavior of making a difference in the world. There are kids from every background imaginable so any kid watching these films will see themselves in these films.…—Andy Kubis, “Empowering Kids to Take Action on Climate Change,” The Allegheny Front, 2/1/19

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Amplified Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather:
New Perspectives on Emerging Connections

Drought. Heat waves. Prolonged cold spells. Unrelenting storminess. These types of extreme weather are caused by persistent atmospheric patterns. Recent studies suggest that these types of extreme events are becoming more frequent, and that this trend is likely to continue in the future as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise.

Further reading: Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns: Summary of a Workshop,” Katie Thomas, The National Academies Press, 2014

Meanwhile, the Arctic is warming and melting at alarming rates. Within the lifetime of a Millennial, the extent of ice floating on the Arctic Ocean has declined by at least half and it’s now only a quarter as thick. Spring snow cover on high-latitude land has dwindled even faster, exposing the darker underlying surface and absorbing additional energy from the sun. The pace of Arctic warming is two-to-three times that of the globe, a disparity that reached a new record high during 2016. While the Arctic spans only a small fraction of the Earth, it plays a disproportionate and multifaceted role in the climate system.

Several recent studies have proposed and demonstrated new mechanisms by which the changing Arctic may be affecting weather patterns in mid-latitudes, and these linkages differ fundamentally from tropics/jet-stream interactions through the transfer of wave energy. In this study, new metrics and evidence are presented that suggest disproportionate Arctic warming—and resulting weakening of the poleward temperature gradient—is causing the Northern Hemisphere circulation to assume a more meridional character (i.e. wavier), although not uniformly in space or by season, and that highly amplified jet-stream patterns are occurring more frequently.…from the ABSTRACT: Amplified Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather: New Perspectives on Emerging Connections,” Jennifer A. Francis et al, WIREs Climate Change, June, 2017 (PDF download, 11 pages)

An article by Francis et. al in WIREs Climate Change (PDF upload) updates the state of the science and offers new perspectives on ways in which the Arctic’s rapid warming may influence weather patterns – and in particular extreme weather events caused by persistent conditions — in heavily populated regions (the mid-latitudes) of the northern hemisphere. Recent insights identify linkages that vary with season, region, and natural climate shifts such as sea-surface temperature patterns. Research on this topic has evolved almost as rapidly as the snow and ice have diminished, and while much has been learned, many questions remain. The atmosphere is complex, highly variable, and undergoing a multitude of simultaneous changes, many of which have become apparent only recently. These realities present challenges to unraveling causes and effects, and to separating natural influences from those due to human activities.—Jennifer Francis, “Amplified Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather: New Perspectives on Emerging Connections,” Advanced Science News, 6/9/17

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Kids climate plaintiffs ask court to halt federal fossil fuel leases

Kids climate plaintiffs ask court to halt federal fossil fuel leases

Twenty-one young Americans suing the United States government for knowingly exacerbating climate change filed a motion to stop the federal government from leasing out federal land and offshore areas to fossil fuel companies for oil, gas and coal extraction. It also demanded a halt in federal approvals of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

The motion, filed late Thursday with the with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asked for a temporary injunction to freeze all fossil fuel infrastructure permits while an early appeal of their case, Juliana v. United States, is being considered.

“At a minimum, this injunction would apply to the approximately 100 new fossil fuel infrastructure projects poised for federal permits, including pipelines, export facilities, and coal and liquefied natural gas terminal,” the motion said.

The young plaintiffs asked the court to issue the injunction before March 20, when the government will offer about 78 million acres of unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.…—Marco Poggio, “Kids climate plaintiffs ask court to halt federal fossil fuel leases,” Climate Liability News, 2/8/19

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Scientists Create Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Up to 18 Years

Scientists Create Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Up to 18 Years

No matter how abundant or renewable, solar power has a thorn in its side. There is still no cheap and efficient long-term storage for the energy that it generates.

The solar industry has been snagged on this branch for a while, but in the past year alone, a series of four papers has ushered in an intriguing new solution.

Scientists in Sweden have developed a specialised fluid, called a solar thermal fuel, that can store energy from the sun for well over a decade.

“A solar thermal fuel is like a rechargeable battery, but instead of electricity, you put sunlight in and get heat out, triggered on demand,” Jeffrey Grossman, an engineer works with these materials at MIT explained to NBC News.

Further reading: Liquid Norbornadiene Photoswitches for Solar Energy Storage, Advanced Energy Materials

The fluid is actually a molecule in liquid form that scientists from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden have been working on improving for over a year.

This molecule is composed of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen, and when it is hit by sunlight, it does something unusual: the bonds between its atoms are rearranged and it turns into an energised new version of itself, called an isomer.

Like prey caught in a trap, energy from the sun is thus captured between the isomer’s strong chemical bonds, and it stays there even when the molecule cools down to room temperature.

When the energy is needed – say at nighttime, or during winter – the fluid is simply drawn through a catalyst that returns the molecule to its original form, releasing energy in the form of heat.…—Carly Cassella, “Scientists Create Liquid Fuel That Can Store The Sun’s Energy For Up to 18 Years,” Science Alert, 1/25/19

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In ‘Victory for Land and Water,’ Canada’s Supreme Court Rules
Bankrupt Fossil Fuel Companies Must
Clean Up Pollution Left Behind

In ‘Victory for Land and Water,’ Canada’s Supreme Court Rules Bankrupt Fossil Fuel Companies Must Clean Up Pollution Left Behind

Green energy campaigners in Canada applauded a precedent-setting Supreme Court ruling on Thursday which ordered the bankrupt Alberta-based oil and gas company Redwater Energy to clean up its failed wells instead of leaving the task to the public.

Observing the “polluter pays principle,” the 5-2 ruling overturned two earlier decisions by lower courts which had sided with a federal law stating that insolvent companies could prioritize paying back their creditors over fulfilling their environmental obligations.

“Bankruptcy is not a license to ignore rules,” Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote in the ruling, which was celebrated as one that would set a new precedent for the entire country.

“The Supreme Court of Canada has prioritized paying clean up costs before creditors when extractive companies go bankrupt. This outcome reinforces the growing understanding that polluters are responsible for their clean up obligations,” said the Pembina Institute, a think tank focused on clean energy and environmental policy.

The Supreme Court ruled even bankrupt oil and gas companies are responsible for cleaning up their messes — but questions remain about the environmental liabilities of Alberta’s 450,000 wells. —”What the Redwater ruling means for Alberta’s thousands of inactive oil and gas wells,” The Narwhal

“Working families across this province, as well as all of Canada, should not have to pay for the financial and environmental liabilities left behind when companies walk away from their obligations,” said Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd. “Upholding the polluter-pays principle is good news for Albertans and it’s good news for Canadians.”…—Julia Conley, “In ‘Victory for Land and Water,’ Canada’s Supreme Court Rules Bankrupt Fossil Fuel Companies Must Clean Up Pollution Left Behind,” Common Dreams, 1/31/19

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A Whale’s Afterlife

A Whale’s Afterlife

On the day before Thanksgiving, 2011, Greg Rouse, a trim marine biologist in his fifties, was tidying his lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in La Jolla, California. Rouse studies the worms and other small animals that inhabit the deep sea. He was organizing his microscopes, dissection supplies, and jars of deep-sea critters when he received a long-anticipated e-mail.

In the late two-thousands, Rouse and Eddie Kisfaludy, then an operations manager for Virgin Oceanic, had begun meeting with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the city of San Diego to pitch an alternative approach to the disposal of dead whales. Often, whales that wash up on shore are hauled to landfills or pushed back into the water. Rouse and Kisfaludy wanted to tow one out to sea, sink it to the seafloor, and watch what happened. Whale falls, as marine biologists call such events, create pop-up habitats that may serve as stepping stones for organisms migrating from methane seeps or hydrothermal vents to other parts of the ocean. Precisely how this works, and which species colonize the carcass as it degrades, were open questions that Rouse hoped to answer.…—Jeffrey Marlow, “A Whale’s Afterlife,” The New Yorker, 02/18/19

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First They Ignore You; Then They Laugh at You; Then They Fight you and you win. Then…

Why Pipeline Opposition Undermines Environmental Progress And Safety

Pipelines have been quietly [sic] providing most of the energy used in America on a daily basis for nearly a century. That is, until most recently as small, yet very vocal groups of environmentalists have argued pipelines are bad for the environment. Opponents have often attempted to portray themselves as “water protectors” and “friend of the earth.” Projects like Keystone, Dakota Access, Bayou Bridge, Atlantic Sunrise, and Mariner East have all experienced well coordinated, nationally inspired opposition campaigns.…

Further reading Fracking Is Losing the PR Battle
Pennsylvania natural gas industry stalled by lack of support from neighboring state
Shale Gas Industry Insider: We Are Losing the Messaging War on Fracking

While one may or may not doubt the sincerity of their cause, the truth is that attempts to block new pipeline infrastructure projects are, well, bad for the environment.…—Brigham A. McCown, “Why Pipeline Opposition Undermines Environmental Progress And Safety,” Forbes, 1/17/17

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And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to editor@thebanner.news.