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Lawsuit Against ExxonMobil Ties Climate Policy to Local Oil Hazard

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart, cross-posted with permission from Climate Investigations Center

A Massachusetts conservation group says it will sue ExxonMobil for failing to protect the Boston harbor area from an old, leaky oil terminal that spews toxic material into nearby rivers, charging that the company's dual role of climate change expert and denier makes it uniquely culpable.

The landmark action by the Conservation Law Foundation is apparently the first to link a fossil fuel company's policy on global warming to a particular, localized environmental threat.

At issue is ExxonMobil's Everett marine terminal, an oil transfer and storage facility - a tank farm with three berths for ships to dock - a few miles northwest of Boston at the junction of the Mystic and Island End rivers. 

2016 Is Likely To Be The World’s Hottest Year: Here’s Why

By Andrew King, climate extremes research fellow at the University of Melbourne, and Ed Hawkins, associate professor of climate science at the University of Reading.

We’re not even halfway through the year but already you may have heard talk of 2016 being the hottest on record. But how can scientists be so sure we’re going to beat the previous record, set just last year?

Even before the end of 2015, the UK Met Office was forecasting with 95% confidence that 2016 would beat the record. Since then, that confidence has grown still further, as record after record has tumbled. April 2016broke the record for the hottest April after we had experienced the hottest February and March on record already this year.

Why the Biomass Industry’s Carbon Arguments Should Make You Spit Out Your Coffee

This is a guest post by Mary Booth from Partnership for Policy Integrity

Recently, Senate friends of industrial bioenergy proposed – and passed – an amendment to the Senate version of the Murkowski Energy Bill that compels EPA to treat burning biomass as “carbon neutral.”

Bioenergy isn’t carbon neutral, of course, at least not in any timeframe we care about for addressing climate change. Wood-burning power plants emit more CO2 than coal plants, per megawatt-hour, and re-growing trees to sequester that carbon takes decades. Even when the wood fuel comes from “waste,” the emissions from burning it exceed those from coal.

“A win for all of Indian country”: US Denies Nation’s Largest Coal Export Terminal

Lummi oppose gateway pacific

This is a guest post by Nick Abraham of Oil Check Northwest, cross-posted with permission. 

In the far off Northwest corner of the country, a five-year treaty rights saga has finally come to a head. A $665 million project, called the Gateway Pacific Terminal, has divided Whatcom County and the state of Washington over its potential export; Powder River Basin coal. The developers of the project, Pacific International Terminals, SSA Marine and two coal companies Peabody Energy and Cloud Peak Energy have pushed development over the stead-fast opposition of a coalition of local tribes lead by the near by Lummi Nation. The Lummi have asked the US Government, represented by the Army Corps of Engineers, to protect their long standing treaty fishing rights and burial grounds, claiming both would be gravely effected by the project.

After months of deliberation, Col. John Buck, commander of the Army Corps' Seattle District, made a ruling on the treaty rights of the Lummi and their petition against the terminal. After reviewing thousands of pages of documents, the Corps denied the project's permit, finding that the terminal’s effect on Lummi fishing rights would exceed the threshold of damage that is allowed under the treaty.

Sea-level Rise Has Claimed Five Whole Islands in the Pacific: First Scientific Evidence

By Simon Albert, The University of Queensland; Alistair Grinham, The University of Queensland; Badin Gibbes, The University of Queensland; Javier Leon, University of the Sunshine Coast, and John Church, CSIRO

Sea-level rise, erosion and coastal flooding are some of the greatest challenges facing humanity from climate change.

Recently at least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded.

Oil Majors Told to Adapt or Die

As profits and prices plummet, the oil conglomerates – some of the world’s biggest companies – have been warned they must change their ways or face extinction, writes Kieran Cooke at Climate News Network.

At best, big oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and BP face a period of gentle decline, but will ultimately survive.

At worst, if they do not adapt and change direction, “what remains of their existence will be nasty, brutish and short”.

Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

This is a guest post by Our Children's Trust originally published on EcoWatch

Today, in a surprise ruling from the bench in the critical climate case brought by youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session.

Judge Hill also ordered the Department of Ecology to consult with the youth petitioners in advance of that recommendation. The youths were forced back to court after the Department of Ecology unexpectedly withdrew the very rulemaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions the agency told the judge it had underway. This case is one of several similar state, federal and international cases, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.

The Paris Agreement: Have Oil Companies Got The Memo?

By David Powell, associate director, environment, at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This article has been cross-posted from NEF.

If you’re the boss of BP, Chevron or Shell, how worried are you right now? 

171 governments put pen to paper last week, formally signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The New York event was an encouraging, albeit largely symbolic, confirmation of December’s commitment to limit temperature rises to two degrees or lower.

The world has spoken; the science is clear; the likes of Mark Carney continue to warn about the economic risk of drilling like there’s no tomorrow. Paris provokes a very simple acid test: most of the world’s known reserves of oil, coal and gas will have to be kept in the ground – and you can forget prospecting for more.

There’s only one problem: oil companies don’t seem to have noticed.

Will the International Shipping Industry Finally Set a Climate Target?

By Stephen Buranyi, reporting for DeSmog UK at the IMO in London.

Climate change featured heavily at the opening of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) annual marine environment protection meeting in London today.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim called the Paris climate agreement a “landmark achievement” and said that the organisation – which sets shipping regulations, including environmental standards, for UN member states – has “a major role to play in ensuring the Paris agreement translates into a long lasting improvement in people’s lives.”

This is a change of pace for the international shipping industry which, along with aviation, continues to avoid coming under a sector-wide global emissions reduction target.  

Porter Ranch Residents Decry Rush to Reopen Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage

aliso canyon porter ranch

By Larry Buhl

Last Wednesday evening, at a meeting of the Porter Ranch Community Council, a psychologist from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Dr. Pietro D’ingillo, was invited to tell residents how to navigate the emotional impacts they experience when moving back home after being displaced by the nearly four-month gas leak resulting from an October blowout at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.
When D’ingillo mentioned that deep-breathing techniques could help with stress and fear, one resident asked how they were supposed to take deep breaths when what they feared was the air itself.
 
“Well, that’s what can make the issue murky here,” D’ingillo replied.

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