April 9, 2019
As the news of drastic weather change comes in, particularly in bellwether areas like the polar regions, we begin, sooner or later, to confront feelings of hopelessness, clinging to hope out of despair instead of inspiration. Burn-out looms. In this issue we focus on dealing with carrying on despite outcomes, beyond both hope and lack of hope.
But first the news.

Action Alert! Join us in removing loopholes
from New York’s CCPA climate bill

The New York State Legislature is considering a bill, “Climate and Community Protection Act” (CCPA), as the basis for NYS’ climate plan for the next 30 years. While the CCPA has lofty goals to reduce carbon emissions, it has loopholes that will make achieving those goals unlikely. Some environmental and justice groups are pushing hard for the CCPA, possibly unaware of these serious shortcomings.

Insist the loopholes are removed! If you are lobbying for climate legislation, send your Assembly Member and State Senator  Loopholes that need to be removed from the CCPA(Click to download, short PDF). Please also share it with other interested organizations and individuals promoting the CCPA so that they too demand the CCPA be corrected prior to being passed. Here are the highlights of problems (see full text of the document for further details). Please note that the document contains solutions as well as criticisms. Do make sure to send your legislators the recommended solutions – unless you have your own. Legislators will listen if we tell them good ways to amend what they are considering!

Here are introductions to each section of the document, Loopholes that need to be removed from the CCPA, to give you a quick overview of what is being addressed. Review the complete  to see the complete description of problems and how to fix them.

GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS LOOPHOLE (CCPA Section 2: Section 75-0101 Definitions, Subdivision 9.) The current definition would let DEC ignore any source that it decides will not “enable the department to effectively reduce GHG emissions” or is not “capable of being monitored for compliance.” The first part of this could be interpreted to let DEC simply not count whatever source that it thinks is too difficult to reduce.

COMPLIANCE LOOPHOLE (CCPA Section 9: Subdivision 2.) Transforming New York’s energy system won’t be possible if emission limits are violated.

Near the end of the bill, the CCPA says that all agencies must consider whether approvals or decisions are “inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas emissions limits.” If they are, then the bill merely requires a “statement of justification as to why such limits/criteria may not be met”

WEAK ELECTRICITY MANDATE AND LOOPHOLES (CCPA Section 4: Section 66-P,Subdivision 2, 3, 4.) A fundamental flaw in the CCPA is that it is completely silent about electricity after 2030. Fixing this part of the bill is critical so that the infrastructure is in place for the years post 2030—especially since the electrification of other sectors (transportation, heating, and industry) will require more electricity than today.… These loopholes are NOT in the Governor’s climate bill. So they should not be in the CCPA either. To close them, the last sentence of subdivision 3 and all of subdivision 4 described above should be deleted.

COORDINATION OF EFFORTS (CCPA Section 2: Article 75) The CCPA presently sets up the Climate Action Council as an arm of DEC, and chaired by DEC. But successfully reducing GHG emissions requires more than setting emission limits. It requires a comprehensive set of rules, regulations, and programs to synchronously phase in and phase out real systems (power plants, heating systems, vehicles, etc).

LANGUAGE THAT CONVEYS THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS TASK SHOULD BE ADDED TO THE BILL. It should require the development of a range of programs, code modifications and requirements as listed in the Loopholes document.

The CCPA Loopholes that need to be removed document rejects the use of nuclear energy going forward because of the dangerous toxicity of its spent fuel. There is controversy surrounding discontinued use of nuclear energy. Many feel that the State must cease using nuclear energy and do what it takes to ensure that enough renewables are installed to serve the increased demand. Others, however, feel the State will not be capable of providing adequate electricity without nuclear energy and they fear that natural gas would be used to replace it.

SIGN THIS petition calling for the CCPA amendments to be made! And thanks for helping New York government get to work on climate change!

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Judge Orders Closer Look at Great Lakes Oil Spill Plans

Judge Orders Closer Look at Great Lakes Oil Spill Plans

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — A federal judge has ordered a government agency to take a closer look at pipeline company Enbridge’s plans for dealing with potential oil spills in the waterway connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith instructed the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to provide more information about its reasons for approving the Canadian company’s spill response strategies for areas including its Line 5, which carries oil and natural gas liquids between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Goldsmith’s ruling Friday was in response to a lawsuit by the National Wildlife Federation. The group contended the plans omitted key details about personnel, equipment and methods that would be used to contain and clean up oil that could be released from a rupture of a 4-mile-long (6.4-kilometer long) underwater segment of the pipeline that extends through the Straits of Mackinac.

PHMSA responded that Enbridge had satisfied the requirements by contracting with oil spill removal organizations that the U.S. Coast Guard recognized as having necessary resources.

Further reading Study: Line 5 ‘worst-case’ spill would impact 400 miles of shoreline
Standing Rock Veterans Lead Fight to Shut Down Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline

Goldsmith acknowledged Enbridge had an extensively detailed “master service agreement” with the contractors. But the Detroit-based judge said PHMSA still “did not articulate a satisfactory explanation for its decision to approve the response plans.”

The wildlife federation also said the pipeline agency was legally required to prepare an environmental analysis and consider potential effects on endangered species but had failed to do so. Goldsmith ordered PHMSA to do both.

“This ruling confirms what we’ve known for years — Enbridge is not prepared for an oil spill, and the federal government is not doing enough to protect the Great Lakes,” Beth Wallace of the wildlife federation said Monday.…—Associated Press, “Judge Orders Closer Look at Great Lakes Oil Spill Plans,” The New York Times, 4/1/19

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Appellate Panel ‘Misapplied Law’
Glossed Over Ongoing Environmental Harm
Caused by Greenidge, Appeal Argues

Appellate Panel ‘Misapplied Law,’ Glossed Over Ongoing Environmental Harm Caused by Greenidge, Appeal Argues

DRESDEN, Apr. 2, 2019 — Three environmental groups are asking an appellate court in Rochester to reconsider a five-judge panel’s unanimous ruling in February that dismissed as “moot” their challenge to an operating permit granted to the Greenidge Generation power plant in Dresden.

The groups assert that the panel “misapplied the law” when it tossed out their claims on procedural grounds without weighing the merits of their environmental claims.

They warned that the court’s failure to address the “public harms” caused by Greenidge could set a dangerous statewide precedent, blocking public participation in the evaluation of ongoing harms caused by other restarted old power plants.

“The (Greenidge) case presents novel issues regarding the proper standard of environmental review to be applied in (re-powering) an old, out-of-service coal plant,” attorney Richard Lippes wrote in the petition.
“As old shuttered coal plants are revamped across the state, the issues raised in this proceeding will continue to come up.”

Discharges from Greenidge’s Lockwood Hills ash landfill continue to violate water quality regulations as well as a the original deadline in a 2015 consent agreement with the state. They pollute the Keuka Lake Outlet, which empties into Seneca Lake.

Meanwhile, Greenidge’s water intake and discharge system — used to cool the plant’s boilers — is several years and several millions of dollars in private investment away from complying with federal law.…—Peter Mantius, “Appellate Panel ‘Misapplied Law,’ Glossed Over Ongoing Environmental Harm Caused by Greenidge, Appeal Argues,” Water Front, 4/2/19

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Judge says Grant Township must pay $100,000 in legal bills
after injection well dispute

Judge says Grant Township must pay $100,000 in legal bills after injection well dispute | StateImpact Pennsylvania

New setback to the Indiana County municipality in efforts to control oil and gas development

A Western Pennsylvania township that is seeking to prevent construction of a frack-waste injection well by asserting home rule suffered its latest blow when a federal judge ordered it to pay almost $103,000 in legal fees to the company that wants to build the well.

Judge Susan Paradise Baxter of the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania ordered Grant Township in Indiana County to pay the costs, saying that the township, not its adversary, Pennsylvania General Energy Company, had prolonged a legal fight over whether the well could be built.

In a 10-page opinion issued on April 1, the judge also said PGE had clearly prevailed in a suit that challenged the constitutionality of a Community Bill of Rights Ordinance which the township adopted in 2014 in an effort to assert a legal right to block the injection well.

After the court ruled the ordinance unconstitutional in 2015, the township adopted its Home Rule Charter, which includes a provision that residents have a right to “be free” of activities that risk harming water, soil or air quality such as a well that collects oil and gas waste.

In her ruling, Judge Baxter also cast doubt on the township’s adoption of the Home Rule Charter.

“Even after the ordinance was adjudged pre-empted by state law, Grant Township sought to make an end run around that judicial determination by amending its form of government and adopting the pre-empted and constitutionally deficient provisions in the form of a Home Rule Charter,” she wrote.

She also noted that PGE had offered to accept only about one-sixth of its actual legal costs. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ruling is a new setback to Grant Township, and to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit that has advised Grant and about 100 other Pennsylvania municipalities on adopting local rules that are designed give them control over oil and gas development in their jurisdictions.

Stacy Long, vice chair of the township’s board of supervisors, said the board has not decided whether to appeal the latest ruling, but she said the community of “fewer than 750” people can’t afford to pay the bill, as ordered by the court.

“This is not great, this is a terrible thing to put a community through,” she said.…—Jon Hurdle, “Judge says Grant Township must pay $100,000 in legal bills after injection well dispute,” StateImpact Pennsylvania, 4/3/19

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Pennsylvania governor under scrutiny
for role in approving pipeline

Pennsylvania governor under scrutiny for role in approving pipeline

Internal government records obtained by the Guardian raise questions about the role of Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf in permitting construction of a controversial fossil fuel pipeline that now faces two criminal investigations stemming from widespread environmental and property damage.

The 350-mile, $2.5bn Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline through southern Pennsylvania has sparked growing outrage. It has caused roughly 140 documented industrial waste spills into wetlands and waterways, destroying numerous residential water wells, and opening large sinkholes just steps from residents’ homes.

It is being constructed by the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which first gained notoriety as the builder of the Dakota Access pipeline, a project that drew international attention and widespread opposition, particularly from Native Americans, in 2016 and 2017 on the northern Great Plains.

Emails, text messages and regulatory records show that the secretary of Pennsylvania’s department of environmental protection (DEP), Patrick McDonnell, directed staff to cut short their environmental review even as numerous shortcomings remained in the project’s permit application. The department also appeared to be under pressure from Wolf’s office at the time.

DEP staff internally circulated two “deficiency letters” on 20 January 2017 that they were preparing to send to an ETP subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics, citing inadequacies in the company’s plans concerning earth disturbance activities and drilling beneath water bodies.

Five days later, a senior official in Wolf’s office, Yesenia Bane, texted McDonnell to request the agency refrain from sending a deficiency letter, pending a meeting involving Wolf, the governor’s chief of staff, and McDonnell.…—Will Parrish, “Pennsylvania governor under scrutiny for role in approving pipeline,” The Guardian, 4/8/19

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Judge rejects FirstEnergy’s plan to get rid of
environmental liabilities in subsidiary’s bankruptcy

Judge rejects FirstEnergy’s plan to get rid of environmental liabilities in subsidiary’s bankruptcy

FirstEnergy Corp. and its bankrupt subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions hit a major snag in their plan to trade future environmental liabilities for several billion dollars to recapitalize the bankrupt power generation firm.

A federal bankruptcy judge called FirstEnergy Solutions’ restructuring plan “patently unconfirmable” because it includes broad releases from liability for Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. The parent company is seeking a clean break from the under-performing coal and nuclear plants that plunged its subsidiary into Chapter 11 a year ago. It has also said that the settlement with FirstEnergy Solutions’ creditors depends on getting these releases.

A slew of government agencies objected to the deal, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, federal nuclear and environmental regulators, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Trustee assigned to the case.

Further reading: Ohio GOP lines up bill to save FirstEnergy nuclear plants

“This scheme is an abuse of the bankruptcy system that would impermissibly allow the [FirstEnergy Corp.] to receive a major benefit of the bankruptcy process without having to be subject to any of its burdens and safeguards,” the DEP, EPA, NRC, and the state of Ohio wrote in a brief last week.…—Anya Litvak, “Judge rejects FirstEnergy’s plan to get rid of environmental liabilities in subsidiary’s bankruptcy,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/4/19

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Getting Beyond Both Hope and Hopeless
The Gifts of Uncertainty

The Hidden Promise of Our Dark Age:
Discovering Our Wisdom, Strength
and Beauty in the Midst of Crisis

Joanna Macy is a long-time peace, justice, and ecology activist. A celebrated Buddhist teacher, Dr. Macy’s wide-ranging work spans Eastern and Western thought.

Her work is known to other activists around the world as “The Work That Reconnects.” She spoke at the 2009 Bioneers Conference held in San Rafael, California at a plenary called, “The Hidden Promise of Our Dark Age: Discovering Our Wisdom, Strength and Beauty in the Midst of Crisis.”

One spiritual teachers of our era, Joanna Macy, brings a message beyond both hope and hopelessness: If we can free ourselves from the delusions and dependencies bred by the “industrial growth society,” something wonderful can happen. If we manage to steer clear of panic, we may well find, at last, the wild power of our creativity and solidarity.

Introduced by Nina Simons, Co-Founder of Bioneers, This speech was given at the 2009 National Bioneers Conference.

Since 1990, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Subscribe to the Bioneers Radio Series, available on iTunes and other podcast providers and on your local radio station.—Dr. Joanna Macy, “Gifts of Uncertainty,” Making Contact Radio, 3/2/10

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Why desperation could be the key to tackling climate change

Why desperation could be the key to tackling climate change

Last October, something strange happened when the United Nations released a report saying we have just 12 years to limit the disastrous effects of climate change: The world paid attention.

For a moment, media outlets around the world collectively shared the report’s stark, and frankly terrifying, findings that “temperature rise to date has already resulted in profound alterations to human and natural systems,” that climate change is happening faster than anyone predicted and — based on everything scientists know — we only have a matter of years to get our act together and right the ship.

The report sent a shockwave through the climate community and, in a lot of circles, people started freaking out. Former Ontario Environment Minister and lifelong climate incrementalist Glen Murray was one of those people. Taking to Twitter a few weeks after the climate report dropped, he called for a climate revolution.

“I am down to the dregs of hope on climate change & after decades on the front lines of fighting it, I am taking time to figure out what I can do that is enough to change the course we are on,” he wrote. “It isn’t conventional & it has to be nonviolent but able to generate massive change.”

His conclusion was that the climate crisis demanded massive civil disobedience and a “revolutionary approach.” He closed his short Twitter essay by saying, “It is not alarmist to pull the fire alarm when your home is on fire.”

To be clear, this is not normal. Murray is a sort of Canadian version of former California Gov. Jerry Brown or current Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Both are climate champions, but they have also been adherents to the kind of slow, politically pragmatic approach to climate change that has failed to move politics at the speed or scale of the crisis. Similarly, when Murray was in office, he was a cap-and-trade evangelist. To be sure, the Ontario government did some great things on climate under his watch — ending coal-powered electricity generation for starters — but he was always a politician who stayed squarely within the realm of the “politically possible.”

What makes Murray’s “awakening” particularly interesting is not that it is so out of character for him. It’s that his freakout about climate change is actually becoming the new normal. As climate impacts rise and the clock ticks down on our window to act, more and more people are starting to subscribe to a kind of “desperate times call for desperate measures” approach to climate action.

In this way, desperation is starting to define the politics of climate change. While there is a certain danger to this approach — in that it can be used to validate almost any approach to solving, or ignoring, the problem — it also represents a real opportunity. Climate desperation is bringing more attention to climate change and more urgency to the need to solve it. If handled well, it could be exactly the kind of fire in the belly we need to actually tackle climate change on the timeline we have left.…—Cam Fenton, “Why desperation could be the key to tackling climate change,” Waging Nonviolence, 4/2/19

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Federal Government Foot-Dragging Helps Oil Industry
Delay Oil-by-Rail Rules

Federal Government Foot-Dragging Helps Oil Industry Delay Oil-by-Rail Rules

In an attempt to reduce the risk of fiery oil train accidents, the state of Washington is working to pass a bill that would limit the vapor pressure of oil on trains to below 9 pounds per square inch (psi). Vapor pressure is a measure of the volatility of flammable liquids and correlates to their likelihood of igniting. Higher vapor pressure means an oil is more volatile and more likely to ignite and burn when a train derails.

If the federal government won’t act to protect public safety and adopt a safer nationwide standard, we will adopt our own,” state Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane) said of the bill he sponsored. “There is just too much to lose — for people and our environment.”

Billig’s comments point to the federal government’s repeated failure to address the volatility of the oil moving by rail in America.

The Obama administration specifically left this issue out of the Department of Transportation’s 2015 regulations on moving oil by rail. In May 2017, half a dozen state attorneys general petitioned the federal government to regulate vapor pressure, which resulted in a proposed rule at the end of the Obama administration.

This oil train vapor pressure rule has gone nowhere in the Trump administration.

As DeSmog reported in 2016, the American Petroleum Institute has said that even having these discussions about regulating oil vapor pressure is “dangerous.”

Unsurprisingly, the state of North Dakota, where much of the highly volatile crude oil moved by rail in America is produced, opposes Washington state’s rule and is preparing to sue the state over it.…—Justin Mikulka, “Federal Government Foot-Dragging Helps Oil Industry Delay Oil-by-Rail Rule,” DeSmogBlog, 4/5/19

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FERC Releases Draft Environmental Review
of Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal
and Pacific Connector Pipeline

FERC Releases Draft Environmental Review of Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the twice-denied Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline proposed for southern Oregon, opening a public comment period that will close July 5th. Public hearings will be held in southern Oregon in June.

In 2016, FERC denied this project, citing adverse impacts to landowners and a lack of public need for the project. This is one of the few fracked gas pipelines ever denied by FERC. Since then, the Canadian fossil fuel corporation behind the proposed project, now Pembina, has reapplied under the Trump administration. The proposed 229-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline and the associated Jordan Cove LNG export terminal would impact more than 485 waterways in southern Oregon including the Rogue, Umpqua, Coos, and Klamath Rivers, and would quickly become the single largest climate polluter in the state.

“FERC already denied this project because of the harm it would cause to me and other landowners impacted by eminent domain for this private corporation,” said Russ Lyon, an impacted landowner in Douglas County. “We are still here. FERC needs to reject permits again and end this nightmare.”

Further reading Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Jordan Cove Energy Project (CP17-494-000 and CP17-495-000)
Online public Comment Instructions
Federal Register :: Jordan Cove Energy Project LP; Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline LP; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Jordan Cove Liquefaction and Pacific Connector Pipeline Projects

“This project threatens our watersheds, forests, culture, ancestral homelands, burial sites and future. We have been here since time immemorial and will not let our home be violated for a fossil fuel corporation’s short term profit,” said 16-year old Ashia Wilson of the Klamath Tribe’s Youth Council. “FERC and Governor Brown need to listen to my generation and my Tribe’s call to stop the project now.”

For over 14 years communities impacted by this project have been fighting to protect their land, clean drinking water, and climate. Now, opposition to the project is growing tremendously across the Pacific Northwest and the United States. Today’s DEIS release comes just one day after hundreds of Oregonians came to the Oregon State Capitol to meet with lawmakers to urge them to speak out against the project.This February, the Oregon Department of State Lands received over 50,000 comments in opposition to the project. More than 3,000 people spoke out against the project in public hearings, including impacted landowners, anglers, small business owners, tribal members, health professionals, and many more Oregonians concerned about the impacts the fossil fuel project would have on nearly 500 waterways. The Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, and Karuk Tribe all officially oppose the project.…—Allie Rosenbluth, “FERC Releases Draft Environmental Review of Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline,” Sierra Club, 3/29/19

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At least one killed in police attack
on indigenous protesters in southwest Colombia

At least one killed in police attack on indigenous protesters in southwest Colombia

Police attacked indigenous protesters in southwest Colombia an hour before they were supposed to meet with the country’s interior minister on Tuesday. At least one person was shot dead, according to indigenous authorities.

In a press release, the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC) said that an explosion was heard around 6AM and that around 7AM police attacked the thousands of protesters that are camping near the Pan-American Highway that has been blocked for weeks.

According to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, at least one person was shot dead. At least one other person was injured after being shot at and an unknown number of protesters were allegedly beaten or hit by tear gas canisters in the violence.

Bogota promises talks, delivers violence

The offensive by riot police, members of the national army and armed civilians allegedly began an hour before the expected arrival in the nearby village of Santander de Quilichao of Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez, who on Monday vowed to resume negotiations she had suspended on Thursday.

Further reading: Comptroller warns Colombia is not ready for fracking

…The indigenous peoples demand the government comply with hundreds of made agreements in regards to access to ancestral land, healthcare and education.…—Adriaan Alsema, “At least one killed in police attack on indigenous protesters in southwest Colombia,” Colombia Reports, 4/2/19

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Tomorrow

WHY THIS FILM ?

TODAY, we sometimes feel powerless in front of the various crises of our times.

TODAY, we know that answers lie in a wide mobilization of the human race. Over the course of a century, our dream of progress commonly called “the American Dream”, fundamentally changed the way we live and continues to inspire many developing countries. We are now aware of the setbacks and limits of such development policies. We urgently need to focus our efforts on changing our dreams before something irreversible happens to our planet.

TODAY, we need a new direction, objective… A new dream! The documentary Tomorrow sets out to showcase alternative and creative ways of viewing agriculture, economics, energy and education. It offers constructive solutions to act on a local level to make a difference on a global level. So far, no other documentary has gone down such an optimistic road…

TOMORROW is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet.—Mélanie Laurent, Cyril Dion, “Tomorrow,” 4/21/17

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Penguin swims 5,000 miles every year
for reunion with the man who saved his life

Penguin swims 5,000 miles every year for reunion with the man who saved his life

[Humans are very different from other animals, as we all know. But often one hears deprecations about animals that seem to be premised on what a lousy job the animal is doing of having human traits and capabilities. Without ever reflecting on what a lousy job we do at what animals are capable of —and what a lousy job we often do of being like this penguin!—Editor]

Today’s most heartwarming story is brought to you from a beach in Brazil.

It’s the story of a South American Magellanic penguin who swims 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

Retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, found the tiny penguin, covered in oil and close to death, lying on rocks on his local beach in 2011.

Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.

After a week, he tried to release the penguin back into the sea. But, the bird wouldn’t leave. ‘He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,’ Joao recalls.

And, just a few months later, Dindim was back. He spotted the fisherman on the beach one day and followed him home.

For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.…—Allison Lynch, “Penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to see man who saved his life,” London Metro News, 3/9/16

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Tens of Thousands Protest Climate Change in Switzerland

Tens of Thousands Protest Climate Change in Switzerland

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in several Swiss cities against climate change, the Swiss news agency Keystone-ATS reported.

Around 50,000 marched in all, the news agency estimated, including 15,000 in Zurich and up to 9,000 in the capital, Bern, and in Lausanne.

“It’s about knowing if finally we want to listen to the voice of science,” high school student Jan Burckhardt told ATS.

“Save the climate, please: It’s the last time we ask politely,” read one of the placards at the Lausanne demonstration, an AFP photographer saw.

The marches were organized by an alliance of activist groups in Switzerland, including Greenpeace, Swiss Youth for Climate and green groups.

“We don’t want to stop our movement as long as our claims have not been heard, as long as we have not obtained concrete results,” said Laurane Conod, one of the organizers of a smaller march in Geneva.

The climate change protests in Switzerland were in part inspired by the teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who started weekly school strikes calling for policy change on the climate issue.—Agence France-Presse, “Tens of Thousands Protest Climate Change in Switzerland,” VOA News, 4/6/19

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China’s Pivot on Climate Change and National Security

China’s Pivot on Climate Change and National Security

For decades, China was reluctant to deem climate change a national security issue, preferring instead to view it through the lens of development. The driving concern behind China’s reticence was sovereignty; Beijing feared that crisis rhetoric about climate change would be used to legitimate interventionist actions on the part of Western powers, including forcing Beijing to curtail its economic growth. Influential Chinese commentators called efforts to limit emissions “a conspiracy by developed nations” to contain the Middle Kingdom’s development, even as the Chinese military quietly acknowledged in a 2010 white paper on national defense that climate change contributes to security concerns. While the U.S. military recognized climate change was a potential national security issue in 2008, that same year, Chinese state media featured an editorial warning against “sensationalizing [climate change] as a security issue.”

The official positions of the U.S. and China have reversed in recent years. Despite decades of acceptance among U.S. military and civilian national security leadership that climate change poses a threat to U.S. interests, the Trump administration has continually questioned the fact of climate change itself and pushed to revoke assessments that climate change is a critical threat to U.S. national security and military readiness. In contrast, Beijing in 2017 broke with decades of reluctance to label climate change as a security issue by signing onto a joint statement with the European Union terming rising global temperatures “a root cause of instability.”

Further reading China’s war on particulate air pollution is causing more severe ozone pollution
Challenge, opportunity as China begins to tackle fossil fuel methane emissions
China’s power industry calls for hundreds of new coal power plants by 2030

China’s shift from skeptic to true believer on climate change and security is not, for the most part, because leadership has suddenly become convinced that climate change is real. As the Chinese government acknowledged in its most recent comprehensive assessment of climate change, China is already affected by worsened floods, more extreme droughts, diminished fishery productivity and other ecological changes. The government has long understood that a warming climate will threaten the country’s agricultural production, make economically important cities vulnerable to catastrophic flooding and eventually dry out many of the country’s rivers. In particular, scientists predict that China’s northern region—the country’s breadbasket—will suffer crippling droughts, making it increasingly difficult to maintain the ruling Communist Party’s goal of basic self-sufficiency in key crops. China is already one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, and in the decades to come, this scarcity is projected to get much, much worse as the flow of rivers fed primarily by meltwater decreases sharply toward the end of the century.…—Scott Moore, Michelle Melton, “China’s Pivot on Climate Change and National Security,” Lawfare, 4/2/19

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Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented
State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability

Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability

Never have so many Arctic indicators been brought together in a single paper.” And the findings spell trouble for the entire planet.

A new research paper by American and European climate scientists focused on Arctic warming published Monday reveals that the “smoking gun” when it comes to changes in the world’s northern polar region is rapidly warming air temperatures that are having—and will continue to have—massive and negative impacts across the globe.

The new paper—titled “Key Indicators of Arctic Climate Change: 1971–2017“—is the work of scientists at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen (GUES).

“The Arctic system is trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.” —Jason Box, GUES

“The Arctic system is trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic,” said Jason Box of the GUES, lead author of the study. “Because the Arctic atmosphere is warming faster than the rest of the world, weather patterns across Europe, North America, and Asia are becoming more persistent, leading to extreme weather conditions. Another example is the disruption of the ocean circulation that can further destabilize climate: for example, cooling across northwestern Europe and strengthening of storms.”

John Walsh, chief scientist at AUF’s research center, was the one who called arctic air temperatures the “smoking gun” discovered during the research—a finding the team did not necessarily anticipate.

“I didn’t expect the tie-in with temperature to be as strong as it was,” Walsh said. “All the variables are connected with temperature. All components of the Arctic system are involved in this change.”…—Jon Queally, “Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability,” Common Dreams, 4/8/19

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U.S. Supreme Court Appeal
Takes on Powerful Pipeline Company
That Abuses Eminent Domain

U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Takes on Powerful Pipeline Company That Abuses Eminent Domain – Institute for Justice

Arlington, Va.—Should private pipeline companies be able to use the government’s power of eminent domain to take land immediately while denying the landowners any compensation for months or even years?

That is the question raised by a cert petition filed today (March 13, 2019) by the Institute for Justice with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of property owners in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The case challenges the widespread practice of private pipeline companies (which by law have been delegated a limited version of the eminent domain power) persuading federal courts to give them immediate possession of other people’s land and pay for it later . . . often much later.

In the process, not only are people’s properties being destroyed, but so are the dreams they worked so hard to turn into a reality.

All of this is playing out in Conestoga, Pennsylvania, in a case with national implications as more natural gas pipelines are constructed and crisscross our country.

Gary and Michelle Erb purchased a 72-acre tract of land in Conestoga in 2008, and built their dream home there. Their hope was to have their three sons build homes on the land as well, so they could all enjoy the hiking and hunting that is readily available in the beautiful rural setting.

But the Erbs’ dream was destroyed when the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (Transco) applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorization to build its Atlantic Sunrise Project—a natural gas pipeline running through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas—a pipeline with a 900-foot blast radius that now sits 400 feet from the Erbs’ dream home. Not satisfied by assurances that such a blast is unlikely, the Erbs have already purchased a new home and are in the process of leaving behind their hard-won dream.…—John Kramer, “U.S. Supreme Court Appeal Takes on Powerful Pipeline Company That Abuses Eminent Domain,Institute for Justice, 3/13/19

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For the first time ever, electric cars
outsold gas and diesel vehicles in Norway

For the first time ever, electric cars outsold gas and diesel vehicles in Norway – CNN #Auspol #LeichhardtVotes #CoralnotCoal We want a clean energy future. #ClimateStrike #ExtinctionRebellion

Electric vehicles outsold gas and diesel models in Norway for the first time ever last month, accounting for 58.4% of all vehicle sales.

CNN) — Electric vehicles outsold gas and diesel models in Norway for the first time ever last month, accounting for 58.4% of all vehicle sales.

Norway is a leader in the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and the government has set an ambitious goal to stop selling new gas and diesel passenger cars and vans by 2025.

In March, 18,375 new cars were registered in the country and 10,732 of those were zero-emission vehicles, according to Norway’s Road Traffic Information Council, or OFV. That’s more double the number of zero-emission vehicles sold in March 2018.

Telsa’s Model 3 (TSLA) led the charge. The OFV says that 5,315 Model 3 sedans were registered in March, setting a record for sales of a single car model in a single month.

There were also 3,469 hybrid passenger cars sold last month — a 10% drop from March 2018.

The number of gas and diesel vehicle sales dropped to a record low.…—John Pratt, “For the first time ever, electric cars outsold gas and diesel vehicles in Norway,” Climate Action Australia|CNN, 5/8/19

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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.