January 29, 2019
When the consent of the governed is withdrawn empires crumble. After the latest IPCC report, children are withdrawing that consent. The result is momentous.
But first the news.

Something Extraordinary Is Happening
at the New York Public Service Commission!

EXTRAORDINARY NEWS! The New York Public Service Commission has taken a bold stance to promote renewables and help end New York’s dependency on fracked gas by pushing utilities to meet heating demand through “non-natural gas energy sources” like heat pumps and energy efficiency. They need to know we’ve got their back!

PLEASE CALL the PSC Opinion Line (anytime!), 800-335-2120, press 2 and thank them for supporting  alternatives to gas for heating in Westchester County.

THE BACK STORY: Con Edison, the energy utility company for NYC and Westchester County, recently declared a temporary moratorium on new gas service in Westchester County. Con Ed says there is insufficient gas in the system to support more development on the coldest days of the year, therefore there can be no more gas-dependent construction. Other utilities are signaling they may follow suit.

Unsurprisingly, some political leaders, business leaders, and media outlets are upset. They blame Governor Cuomo for creating the gas shortage because he has denied construction of new gas pipelines. And they are panicked that the gas moratorium will destroy local economies. This fearful response ignores the fact that the economic impacts of climate change far outweigh the short-term local economic impacts of a temporary. It also ignores the fact that there are non-fossil fuel methods to heat our homes and businesses. (See RenewableHeatNow.org )

Here’s the extraordinary part: the New York Public Service Commission (PSC)—the state agency that regulates the utilities—is not buying it. Here is PSC’s position:

“The Commission is committed to ensuring that consumers have access to affordable, clean and reliable energy sources… We will push all utilities to address changing market dynamics, while achieving our clean energy objectives and advancing economic growth.” (Politico, January 18, 2019)

“To help prospective customers meet their energy needs in light of these market dynamics, PSC will be monitoring Con Edison’s engagement with customers to explore options to reduce their energy needs or meet their needs through non-natural gas energy sources.” (Lohud.com, January 18, 2019)

In other words, the PSC is pushing Con Edison to support energy efficiency and the use of heat pumps for space and water heating, leading to reduced use of fracked gas, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced demand for fracking.

This is a phenomenal development!

The massive push-back on the Governor and PSC to allow more gas has already begun. Please let the PSC know you support their stance in favor of non-gas solutions for heating and cooling. Let them know they are doing the right thing for New York and for the planet.

PLEASE CALL the PSC Opinion Line (anytime!), 800-335-2120, press 2, and provide your name and town. Use or adapt our suggested message: “Thank you for your strong stance supporting non-gas alternatives for heating and cooling in Westchester County. The economic impacts of climate change far outweigh the temporary economic impacts of a gas moratorium. Please stay strong and keep supporting non-gas solutions.

SHARE ON FACEBOOK!  Fossil Free Tompkins and No Fracked Gas Cayuga


Action Alert! Help Lansing Neighbors Repel Another Lead-contaminated Waste Site

We could use your support next Tuesday, January 29. This is the hearing at Lansing Town Hall for our appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals to rescind a building permit given by the town code officer to the Lansing Gun Club to proceed with their controversial and ill-advised plan to create a second hazardous waste site (i.e., lead shot trap range) on their property.

We need protectors of our environment to join us at the hearing and show the ZBA and Lansing board that our community won’t tolerate this unnecessary toxic threat to our water, our wildlife, and our children by a group of selfish hobbyists. Arrive at 6:15 PM. We need to fill the room!

Where: Lansing Town Hall
29 Auburn Road
Lansing, NY
When: 6:15PM


Constantinides to Introduce Bill Forcing City to Examine How Power Plants Can Be Closed

Astoria, N.Y. — Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, today joined with fellow Astoria leaders and environmental activists to call on New York City to assess whether gas-fired power plants can be closed. Constantinides will introduce a bill on Wednesday, mandating the City do so in wake of a mystifying arc flash late last month.

“New York has generated power at the expense of Astoria residents for long enough,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “It is nonsense that, in 2019, we still have power plants in residential neighborhoods. The Astoria Borealis left many citizens concerned this was either a terror attack or an explosion that might have toxic repercussions on our air. At a time when we’re trying to shed our reliance on fossil fuels, it is crucial we target the low-hanging fruit like our secondary plants in favor of renewable alternatives.”

The need for this bill was recently underscored by the recent incident at Consolidated Edison’s Astoria substation, during which a transmission issue created a bright blue light that flooded the night sky. Many residents in the surrounding blocks were left unsure if the air was safe following the incident, although officials later clarified there were no environmental risks.

Power plants present an unnecessary threat to residential communities such as Astoria, which was found in 2015 to have a higher volume of pollutants than the borough-wide and citywide averages. Constantinides’ new legislation requires the City of New York assess the feasibility of replacing these 21 gas-fired plants with batteries that store energy from wind, solar, and other renewable sources. The report also requires a 2030 energy storage goal and implementation plan.

Constantinides outlined the plan outside the Con Edison substation, at 31st Street and 20th Avenue, not far from where the Dec. 27 incident occurred. He was joined by State Sen. Jessica Ramos; Marie Torniali, Chair of Community Board 1, Queens; Claudia Coger, President of the Astoria Houses Residents Association; as well as representatives for New York Communities for Change, Food & Water Watch, the Peoples Climate Movement New York, Sunrise Movement, the Sane Energy Project and 350.org.…—Terence Cullen, “Constantinides to Introduce Bill Forcing City to Examine How Power Plants Can Be Closed,” Costa Constantinides,” The Council of the City of New York,  1/8/19


State conducting criminal investigation of shale gas production

State conducting criminal investigation of shale gas production

Letter says investigations by the state attorney general are targeting environmental crimes in Washington County.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is pursuing criminal investigations of “environmental crimes” committed by the oil and gas industry in Washington County and possibly throughout the state.

In an Aug. 16, 2018, letter to attorneys in a civil case before the Washington County Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Shapiro and his office said they already had accepted a referral and “assumed jurisdiction over several criminal investigations involving environmental crimes in Washington County.”

By that time Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone already had discussed with and referred claims of environmental problems in shale gas development to the attorney general’s office.

Three Washington County residents told the Post-Gazette that they have spoken with AG investigators and were told they could be called to testify, with a Washington County woman saying that she already presented testimony before an investigative state grand jury in Pittsburgh.

Joe Grace, spokesman for Mr. Shapiro and the state Office of Attorney General, said, “We cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”

The AG’s letter was introduced as an exhibit during an August court hearing on the civil case brought by Stacey Haney in 2012 against Range Resources Appalachia LLC, and specially referenced as the “Stacey Haney/Range Resources Investigation.”

“It has come to our attention that one of the potential criminal investigations involves your respective clients,” said the two-paragraph letter signed by Courtney Butterfield, deputy attorney general and obtained recently by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from someone not involved in the case.

The letter noted that a significant record of documents, statements, depositions, scientific tests and physical evidence had been compiled for the civil case. It requested that attorneys preserve that record, under penalty of law if they failed to do so.…—David Templeton, Don Hopey, “State conducting criminal investigation of shale gas production,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1/27/19


A Dead Planet Has No Economy
Belgian students skip school for the climate

Greta’s Kids – Belgian students skip school for the climate

Click to view video. Courtesy of ScientistsWarning.TV

For the third week, Belgian students have staged a School Strike for the Climate, inspired by Greta Thunberg, at which they marched to the EU Commission in Brussels. Their numbers have tripled to about 35,000 in the last week, and teachers are supportive, some only requiring a ‘selfie’ at the protest to make sure the kids were not just using the march as an excuse to skip school!—Stuart Scott, “Greta’s Kids – Belgian students skip school for the climate,” ScientistsWarning.tv|YouTube, 1/27/19


Record numbers of students from all over the world
are skipping school over climate change

Record numbers of students from all over the world are skipping school over climate change

The number of students participating in school strikes for climate action is continuing to rise around the world.

Last week more than 60,000 students refused to go to their classes, the largest number yet.

The protests were sparked last year when 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg began a solo protest against inaction on global warming in August. Students around the world have been inspired to do the same, with thousands skipping school from Australia in November. Last Friday there were large strikes in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, where more than 20,000 students skipped school.

Thunberg accused some leaders of putting profits ahead of tackling climate change. “Some people—some companies and some decision-makers in particular—have known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money,” she said.

“I want to challenge them into real and bold climate action, to set their economic goals aside and to safeguard the future living conditions for humankind,” she said. “I ask you to stand on the right side of history. I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power to push your own business or government in line with a 1.5C world.”

The world’s scientists warned in October that, without a dramatic ramping up of action to cut emissions, global temperatures would rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, with severe consequences for humanity. At the UN climate summit in December, Thunberg had a meeting with the UN secretary general and said: “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

The school strikes last Friday were by far the biggest to date. In Germany, an estimated 30,000 students left their schools in more than 50 cities to protest, carrying banners including: “Why learn without a future?” and “Grandpa, what is a snowman?” One 17-year-old student in Kiel, Moritz, told Deutsche Welle: “We want to help shape and secure our future so that there will be another world for us to live in in 60 years.”…—Oliver Milman, Graeme Wearden, “Record Numbers of Students From All Over the World Are Skipping School Over Climate Change,” Mother Jones|The Guardian, 1/26/19


The awkward dance between Trump
and the military over climate change

The awkward dance between Trump and the military over climate change

In assessing climate change, the practical and political aren’t always in agreement. When they clash within the same presidential administration, it can be awkward.

Global warming is happening and with it seas are rising. It is projected to continue and cause life-changing effects on the Earth. That’s not just the view of the vast majority of the scientific community.

The U.S. military released a report last week outlining the current and future challenges climate change presents for all service branches — whether it’s flooding of coastal installations like those in San Diego, drought contributing to wildfires near bases and reduced water supplies, or thawing of permafrost that threatens the integrity of facilities built on it.

Even putting aside for a moment the discussion over what is causing it, climate change is a widely accepted reality, except in some quarters, most notably the Oval Office of the White House.

President Donald Trump dismissed his own administration’s sweeping report on climate change late last year, stating, “I don’t believe it.”

Further reading: Wildfire Prevention Stalled by Shutdown During Crucial Time

He has consistently mocked the notion that climate change exists and did so again last weekend during the major winter storm that hit the eastern United States.

“Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!” he said on Twitter, just days after the military released its report.…—Michael Smolens, “The awkward dance between Trump and the military over climate change,” The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/23/19


Teenage activist takes School Strikes 4 Climate
to Davos

Teenage activist takes School Strikes 4 Climate Action to Davos

Video courtesy of ScientistsWarning.TV

Protest by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg snowballs to last day of World Economic Forum

The 16-year-old activist behind the fast-growing School Strikes 4 Climate Action has taken her campaign to the streets of Davos, to confront world leaders and business chiefs about the global emissions crisis.

Greta Thunberg, whose solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament has snowballed across the globe, will join a strike by Swiss schoolchildren in the ski resort on Friday – the final day of the World Economic Forum.

Thunberg travelled by train for 32 hours to reach Davos, and spent Wednesday night camped with climate scientists on the mountain slopes – where temperatures plunged to -18C.

Having already addressed the UN Climate Change COP 24 conference, Thunberg is rapidly becoming the voice for a generation who are demanding urgent action to slow the rise in global temperatures.

As she travelled down Davos’s funicular railway from the Arctic Base Camp – while more than 30,000 students were striking in Belgium – Thunberg said the rapid growth of her movement was “incredible”.

“There have been climate strikes, involving students and also adults, on every continent except Antarctica. It has involved tens of thousands of children.”

Students around the world have been inspired by Thunberg, with thousands skipping school in Australia in November. Last Friday there were strikes in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, where more than 20,000 students skipped school.

…Missing gym class, geography and religion each Friday is something of a sacrifice for Thunberg, who says she loves school and can’t pick a favourite subject.

“I like all subjects. I love learning, which people maybe don’t think about me.”

She’s also been forced to give up her hobbies, as climate change activism has taken more of her time. “I used to play theatre, sing, dance, play an instrument, ride horses, lots of things.”

She’s sanguine, though, pointing out that climate activism is much more important: “You have to see the bigger perspective.”…—Graeme Wearden, Damian Carrington, “Teenage activist takes School Strikes 4 Climate Action to Davos,” The Guardian, 1/24/19


Violence Against Indigenous People
Is Rising Across the World

Violence Against Indigenous People Is Rising Across the World

Leaders like Trump and Brazil’s Bolsonaro are collaborating with perpetrators of violence against Natives.

Unfortunately, in spite of some gains here and there, the phenomenon of anti-Indigenous violence seems to be ramping up once again to match the sentiments of earlier colonizers around the world. Bolsonaro’s quote above — which is one of many the newly elected president of Brazil has expressed throughout his career, including those in his recent campaign promises — reflects this trend. The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs reported in August 2018 that “more than ever before in recent times, Indigenous human rights defenders are being killed, attacked or harassed in their endeavors to protect their land. States, while not necessarily the perpetrators, are unwilling or unable to protect Indigenous Peoples and are even, in some cases, collaborating with the perpetrators.”

According to an analysis by the Carnegie Endowment for Democracy, the context was usually relating to mega projects linked to extractive industries and big business.

The United States is no exception. It is now clear that “Individual #1” can be considered a member of a group of dictators running world governments today, including a “new wave of elected dictators” that has recently emerged, who are engaging in assaults on Indigenous rights and lands. Moreover, like Bolsonaro, Donald Trump has a history of anti-Native racism.

Trump’s reversing the hard-fought victory at Standing Rock is, of course, another example. His action, like those happening around the world against Indigenous rights, was illegal, political and full of conflicts of interest. The order for an environmental impact statement to assess risks — a process that on average takes 3.4 years — should have been done from the beginning, should have been legally defensible, but the new versions of “executive” orders seem to “trump” the law when it comes to Indigenous peoples, as Vine Deloria Jr. has noted.

Moreover, the US Department of Indian Affairs — now run by a pro-corporate Alaskan Native with a long history of trying to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to resource extraction — is working toward taking reservations out of their “land into trust” contract. Additionally, the agency is attacking Native self-determination and sovereignty in alignment with Trump’s erroneous belief that “American Indian” and “Alaskan Native” describe racial rather than political groups or nations.…—Four Arrows, “Violence Against Indigenous People Is Rising Across the World,” Truthout, 1/26/19


Over 12,000 Belgian students skip school
for climate protest

Over 12,000 Belgian students skip school for climate protest

Over 12,500 students gathered in Brussels on Thursday, skipping school for the second week in a row to march for the climate.

Over 12,500 students gathered in Brussels on Thursday, skipping school for the second week in a row to march for the climate.

The protest was over four times as large as last week’s, according to Belgian paper De Standaard.

Images from the protest show students walking in the rain to the European Parliament, carrying banners and signs calling for action on global warming in both English and Flemish.

“Skipping school? No. We fight for our future,” one sign read, according to The Associated Press.

One director of a local school lauded the student activists, telling De Standaard that the demonstrations show the positive effect education has had.

“Education has to turn youngsters into mature citizens,” Patrick Lancksweerdt said, according to the AP. “By their actions, they proved that they are.”…—Avery Anapol, “Over 12,000 Belgian students skip school for climate protest,” The Hill, 1/17/19


Harvesting Peril: Extreme Weather & Climate Change
on the American Farm

Harvesting Peril: Extreme Weather & Climate Change on the American Farm

Farmers are on the frontline of climate change, at the mercy of worsening extreme weather. Farms also contribute to the problem. And they could help solve it—through practices that could store billions of tons of carbon in the soil while boosting farm profits. A transformation of America’s farm economy would be as profound as the revolution in the energy economy.

So why hasn’t this started to happen?

Further reading Capturing CO2 From Air: To Keep Global Warming Under 1.5°C, Emissions Must Go Negative, IPCC Says
In Iowa Farm Country, These Candidates Are Taking on Climate Deniers
Natural Climate Solutions Could Cancel Out a Fifth of U.S. Emissions, Study Finds
Global Commission Calls for a Food Revolution to Solve World’s Climate & Nutrition Problems

In this series of articles, InsideClimate News examines the influence of the nation’s largest farm lobby, the American Farm Bureau Federation. For two decades, the Farm Bureau has worked to defeat treaties and regulations to slow global warming, to deny the science in tandem with fossil fuel interests, and to defend business as usual, putting at risk the very farmers it represents.—Georgina Gustin, “Harvesting Peril: Extreme Weather & Climate Change on the American Farm,” InsideClimate News, 1/26/19


Americans Increasingly Say Climate Change
Is Happening Now

Americans Increasingly Say Climate Change Is Happening Now

A national survey has been asking the question for a decade. Now, researchers say the country may have reached an inflection point on the urgency of climate change.

Nearly half of Americans say people in the United States are being harmed by global warming “right now”—the highest point ever in a decade-long national survey called Climate Change in the American Mind.

The climate communications researchers who conducted the survey believe the results released Tuesday mark a shift in perceptions on the urgency of the climate crisis, with far-reaching implications for the politics of what should be done to address the issue.

“For the longest time, we have been saying that while most Americans understand that the climate is changing, most systematically misunderstand it and misperceive it as being a distant threat,” said Edward Maibach, a professor at George Mason University. He is one of the principal investigators of the survey, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

“This survey really was, I think, the inflection point where that has changed,” he said.…—Marianne Lavelle, “Americans Increasingly Say Climate Change Is Happening Now,” InsideClimate News, 1/22/19


Young plaintiffs say judge’s racist comments
should reverse fracking case

Young plaintiffs say judge’s racist comments should reverse fracking case

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the lead plaintiff in a case asking Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to consider the impacts of public health and the climate when allowing oil and gas development. Photo credit: Robin Loznak

Racist comments by a Colorado Court of Appeals judge have prompted seven young plaintiffs to ask the state to vacate several judicial decisions. Those decisions led to a recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling against them in their lawsuit to force the state to consider the impacts on public health and the climate when allowing oil and gas development.

That ruling, allowing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to ignore public health, safety, and welfare concerns in permitting fossil fuel development, relied in part on a dissenting opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Laurie Booras.

Further reading: Colorado can ignore health, climate impacts of fracking, court rules

Booras was suspended last March pending an investigation of allegations that she called a fellow appeals court judge a “little Mexican,” and a judicial review panel recently substantiated the allegations, specifically mentioning her racist comments were particularly inappropriate because the lead plaintiff in the oil and gas case, Martinez v COGCC, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, is Native American and Latino.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys contend that the Supreme Court should not have cited Booras’ dissent in its opinion, which overturned a Court of Appeals ruling in their favor and which was issued nearly a month after the discipline panel’s report.

The panel found Booras breached her duty by telling a third party about a confidential discussion the panel of judges had regarding the case.

“This breach of trust is fatal to an ongoing collegial relationship among the judges of the Court of Appeals, should Judge Booras remain on the court. Such a breach of trust is highly concerning on its own. But the fact that Judge Booras also included a racial epithet to refer to her Latina colleague, Judge Fox, about the Martinez case, which involved the lead plaintiff, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who is of Native American and Latino lineage, creates a double-barreled appearance of impropriety undermining the public’s trust that she acted without racial bias when dissenting in the case. This appearance of bias is accentuated when considering her prior reference to a Native American woman as ‘the squaw,’” the panel said in its report.… —Karen Savage, “Young plaintiffs say judge’s racist comments should reverse fracking case,” Climate Liability News, 1/25/19


Australia extreme heatwave: ‘code red’ issued
as Port Augusta hits 48.9C

Australia extreme heatwave: ‘code red’ issued as Port Augusta hits 48.9C

Severe weather conditions forecast to bring maximum temperatures 8C to 16C above average, as three towns record overnight minimums of 33CF

[Port Augusta is at lattitude 34° South, equivalent to the north lattitude of San Diego. 48.9° C is 120° F. Differences ranging from 8° – 16° C correspond to 14.4° – 28.8°  F—Editor]

All-time highest minimum temperatures have also been broken in three places. Meekatharra in Western Australia and Fowlers Gap and White Cliffs in New South Wales all registered an overnight minimum of 33C on Monday.

Severe to extreme heatwave conditions extending from the interior of WA across South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NSW will bring maximum temperatures of 8C to 12C above average, and in some places up to 16C above average before the end of the week.

From Tuesday through to Friday, parts of South Australia, Victoria and NSW may break January heat records, with daytime maximums extending up to the mid-40s.

“It’s quite a significant heatwave because we are expecting a number of records to fall across those areas for both minimum and maximum temperatures,” said Dean Sgarbossa, a senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology.

On Tuesday, Port Augusta in South Australia reached 48.9C, an all-time high since records began in 1962.

Port Augusta Hay in NSW had reached a high of 47.2C by Tuesday afternoon and several locations in Victoria reached temperatures in the mid-40s, with Walpeup in the state’s north-west recording 45.6C.

South Australia is forecast to have three days of severe to extreme heat.

The South Australian housing authority has issued a “code red” until 16 January for greater metropolitan Adelaide.

A code red means homelessness agencies will increase their services during the hot weather, including extending their operating hours.…—Lisa Cox, “Australia extreme heatwave: ‘code red’ issued as Port Augusta hits 48.9C,” The Guardian, 1/15/19


about earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions

about earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions

An interactive visualization of global weather conditions forecast by supercomputers

  • updated every three hours;
  • ocean surface current estimates
  • updated every five days

A real-time (or close-time) animated weather map of Earth. To use, click on “EARTH” at the lower left corner to see and select selections from the display menu. And rotate the view by clicking and dragging the map at any point. [A quick check of overall climate state is to compare the surface temperature where you are on the map against those around the Arctic. The Arctic temperatures should be cooler than just about anywhere you are. They often aren’t, these days.—Editor]

I’ve decided to create a tutorial on earth nullschool for those who are interested in climate science. I’ve tried my best to make the tutorial at a level which is good for everyone :-).

1) In this tutorial, I go over the basics in Earth Nullschool. First, we discuss the basics of Earth Nullschool, including navigation basic wind patterns and the structure of the troposphere and stratosphere.
2) We also explore temperature, and some concepts with pressure. Relative humidity and total precipitable water are also covered, as well as some other basic ideas from physics and chemistry as they relate to climate change.
3) Having even a basic understanding of how to use Earth Nullschool is a great idea! It allows everyone to look at climate patterns and abrupt climate change objectively by working with the data directly!!—Cameron Beccario, “earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions,” earth.nullschool, 11/20/16


Judge Dismisses Company’s Racketeering Claims
Against Greenpeace

Judge Dismisses Company’s Racketeering Claims Against Greenpeace

A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed the most serious claims in a lawsuit brought by a Canadian logging company that accused Greenpeace and another advocacy group of running a criminal enterprise to damage the company.

The case, and a similar one filed later by the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, had gained the attention of civil liberties and environmental advocacy organizations who warned it could set a dangerous precedent if it were allowed to proceed.

Further reading Industry Lawsuits Try to Paint Environmental Activism as Illegal Racket
How companies are using law suits to silence environmental activists—and how philanthropy can help

These groups argued that the lawsuit, filed by Resolute Forest Products, aimed to silence legitimate advocacy by characterizing the basic elements of activists’ campaign work as a criminal conspiracy.

By invoking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, a federal conspiracy law that was devised to ensnare mobsters, the lawsuit threatened the defendants with a lengthy and complex legal battle and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

“The judge’s decision to throw out the abusive racketeering charges is a positive development and a win for advocacy,” said Tom Wetterer, general counsel for Greenpeace USA, in a statement. “From day one, it was clear Resolute intended to bully legitimate advocacy organizations and forest defenders by abusing laws designed to curtail the mafia.”

While U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar dismissed the racketeering claims, he also ruled that defamation and unfair competition claims against Greenpeace could continue. All of the claims again the other organization, Stand.earth, were dropped.

This was the second time Tigar has ruled in the case. In 2017, he dismissed the entire lawsuit but allowed Resolute to refile the allegations in a more focused complaint.…—Nicholas Kusnetz, “Judge Dismisses Company’s Racketeering Claims Against Greenpeace,” InsideClimate News, 1/22/19


Listen up: New podcast tells the fuller story
of what #ExxonKnew

Listen up: New podcast tells the fuller story of what #ExxonKnew

The evidence that shows how much oil companies knew about climate change—and their product’s role in it—as far back as the 1970s emerged fast and furious in 2015 when separate groups of journalists uncovered a treasure trove of industry documents. The reporting drew a clear picture of an industry that researched an issue that could threaten its existence and then worked for decades to ensure the public did not grasp its importance and to keep serious climate policy from being enacted.

That picture is even clearer today and as the effects of climate change and its ever-more-likely impacts become even more devastating, that story has been detailed in a new podcast: Drilled.

The foundation of the story was reported in 2015 by InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times and Columbia Journalism School, work that helped spark fraud probes against ExxonMobil in Massachusetts and New York. Last year, New York filed a securities fraud case against the company, and Massachusetts just got a green light from the Supreme Court to keep digging after it declined to hear Exxon’s appeal to block the probe.

To tell the fuller story, I combed through the available documents last year looking for people who could tell me more, and digging into various other resources that could help explain what was going on with the country, companies, and the media at the same time that Exxon was shifting its strategy on climate. Season 1 of Drilled begins to tell that story, building on previous reporting with history, new documents, and additional context from scientists who were there. The way Exxon went from trying to be the “Bell Labs of energy” to paying fake scientists to promote theories it knew didn’t hold water; how various PR efforts targeted certain demographics and members of the media to perpetuate the idea of climate change as a “liberal hoax;” and how those efforts were so successful they continued to perpetuate themselves long after oil companies officially embraced the idea that something must be done about climate change.…—Amy Westervelt, “Listen up: New podcast tells the fuller story of what #ExxonKnew,” Climate Liability News, 1/16/19


Permafrost Is Warming Around the Globe, Study Shows.
That’s a Problem for Climate Change.

Permafrost Is Warming Around the Globe, Study Shows. That’s a Problem for Climate Change.

Rapid changes in the long-frozen soil are raising concerns about a surge of planet-warming greenhouse gases as the permafrost thaws.

Vast areas of permafrost around the world warmed significantly over the past decade, intensifying concerns about accelerated releases of heat-trapping methane and carbon dioxide as microbes decompose the thawing organic soils.

The warming trend is documented in a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications. Detailed data from a global network of permafrost test sites show that, on average, permafrost regions around the world—in the Arctic, Antarctic and the high mountains—warmed by a half degree Fahrenheit between 2007 and 2016.

The most dramatic warming was found in the Siberian Arctic, where temperatures in the deep permafrost increased by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Along with increased greenhouse gas emissions, the disintegration of permafrost is causing big problems for communities in the Arctic by damaging roads and other infrastructure as the land destabilizes and erodes. The permafrost meltdown also threatens ecosystems with massive discharges of silt and sediments into rivers and coastal areas.

The findings, from what the authors describe as the first globally consistent assessment of permafrost temperature change, add to an expanding body of global warming evidence, including studies published in just the past week showing that the world’s oceans have been warming at an accelerating rating and Antarctica has been losing six times more ice mass yearly than it was four decades ago.  

“We can now say with certainty that permafrost is warming at the global scale,” said Hugues Lantuit of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research, a co-author of the new study.…—Bob Berwyn, “Permafrost Is Warming Around the Globe, Study Shows. That’s a Problem for Climate Change.InsideClimate News, 1/16/19


Deep Adaptation

Jem Bendell – Deep Adaptation (MUCH IMPROVED VERSION)

As Dr. Bendell notes, there will be a tendency to want to reject his conclusions in Deep Adaptation since to accept them is so life changing in its repercussions. [Rated PG-13] For those who want a visual summary of the science behind Deep Adaptation, first watch https://youtu.be/pMbeYJgH_6g. We at ScientistsWarning.TV feel responsible to provide some orientation and emotional support to viewers. The subject is quite serious, with the ‘collapse of civilization’ in the relatively near term seemingly unavoidable at this point.

We urge viewers to follow Jem’s advice in the video, namely to use it initially as a ‘thought experiment,’ that is, something to consider it as a matter of ‘what if’.

IMPORTANT: This is NOT an excuse for doing nothing to alter our catastrophic trajectory. It is not a reason to abandon our values and indulge in hedonism, apathy or denial. The complexities of the future cannot be summarized meaningfully in words and images. Even if the ‘collapse of civilization’ is unavoidable, HOW that plays out is still very much something we can influence with our collective commitment, wisdom and actions.

PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO WIDELY with mature audiences that includes the kids who are ready to handle it but not the really young ones. So we are voluntarily classing it as a PG-13 rated video.—Jem Bendell, “Deep Adaptation,” YouTube|UPFSI, 1/28/19


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.