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Peabody Energy Investigation in Late Stages: New York Attorney General Probe

Powder River Basin coal

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

Update: Peabody Energy announced today that it has reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General's office regarding its climate change disclosures to investors on the financial risks of its business.

A probe by the New York state attorney general of Peabody Energy for allegedly not warning investors about climate change-related financial risks is close to being settled, according to sources close to the investigation.

The news accompanied the announcement on November 6th by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of his investigation of ExxonMobil, which apparently will zero in on the contradiction between the company's own scientific research confirming the hazards of global warming and its subsequent funding of climate denial to protect its profits.

Schneiderman, who had been under increasing pressure to investigate energy companies for allegedly covering up the hazards of fossil fuel use, issued an 18-page subpoena for a wide assortment of records from ExxonMobil dating back to January 1, 1977. The company must respond by December 4th.

The attorney general's office also confirmed that the probe of Peabody Energy, the country's largest coal producer, originally launched in 2007 under then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, was renewed in  2013 with fresh demands for information from the company.

A source familiar with the investigation said a settlement may be forthcoming “very soon.”

Ford Motor Company Revealed As Funder of Climate Denial Group ALEC

This is a guest post by Nick Surgey of the Center for Media and Democracy.

Ford Motor Company, despite its much-hyped commitment to the environment, has been quietly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group widely criticized for its promotion of climate change denial and for its opposition to the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

A Ford spokesperson, Christin Baker, confirmed the ALEC grant to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch, but said that the funding was not intended to be used by ALEC to block action on climate change.

Coal Export Industry's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

This is a guest post by Clark Williams-Derry, crossposted from Sightline.

What a week! The bad financial news for coal export prospects in Washington, Oregon, and BC has come almost too quickly to track. So for those of you who don’t follow the coal press as religiously as I do, here’s a brief summary of all of the goings-on in Northwest coal export finance over the last week or so…

Utah's Hopes For Oil Shale Bonanza Has A Public Relations Problem, Industry Symposium Hears

By Kaitlin Butler

The new U.S. oil and gas rush brings certain places to mind: the Midwest, California, the East Coast — Josh Fox’s Gasland, Governor Cuomo’s ban on fracking, the contentious battle over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Amidst mounting public controversy over fracking practices, pipeline spills and exploding oil trains, one corner of an often-overlooked state weighs heavily on our future. Utah: home to some of the most remote landscapes left in the lower 48 and a forgotten lynchpin to an all-out domestic energy bonanza.

Creative Self-destruction: The Climate Crisis and The Myth of 'Green' Capitalism

By Christopher Wright, University of Sydney and Daniel Nyberg, University of Newcastle

The upcoming Paris climate talks in December this year have been characterised as humanity’s last chance to respond to climate change. Many hope that this time some form of international agreement will be reached, committing the world to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

And yet there are clear signs that the much-touted “solutions” of emissions reduction targets and market mechanisms are insufficient for what is required.

In our new book, Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction, we look at reasons why this has come about. We argue that businesses are locked in a cycle of exploiting the world’s resources in ever more creative ways.

Communities Pushing For Legal Rights To Regain Power Over Fracking Companies

By Blair Koch

A Colorado group with concerns about the environmental impacts of fracking are pushing for a fundamental change to the state’s legal system to give communities greater power over corporations.

Coloradans for Community Rights has set its sights on dismantling the legal system where state laws take precedence over local rules.

EPA Coal Ash Regulations Take Effect Today, But Battle Continues

United Mountain Defense

By Rhiannon Fionn

Until the Tennessee Valley Authority’s coal ash disaster shoved homes from their foundations in the middle of the night in Dec. 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, bending to pressure from industry, allowed coal plants to self monitor coal ash waste. But once the glare of the national spotlight called that conflict into question, newly appointed EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson vowed to put a coal ash regulation in place by the end of 2009.

Nearly seven years after the spill in Kingston, Tenn., that long-awaited regulation becomes effective today, Oct. 19.

A Local Watchdog's Checklist for Tackling Environmental Issues In Your Own Backyard

This is a guest post by Aaron Viles from Care2.

The environment is large, complex and cross-jurisdictional. As activists, it’s easy to jump on board with the large national and international issues—like protecting the Clean Air Act or fighting climate change—that are pursued by myriad organizations. Those causes are worthy of support, but it's easy to overlook or count out the smaller issues in your own backyard.

10 Reasons Coal Will Always Be Dirty

This is a guest post by Emily Logan from Care2.

Coal produces 44 percent of our electricity, and it’s the biggest single cause of air pollution worldwide. Now that this is becoming common knowledge, the industry has tried to salvage their reputation with complex marketing tactics and the touting of new technologies. But the environmental impacts of coal continue to be devastating.

Here are ten of the worst environmental impacts of coal, and why “Clean Coal” is just an oxymoron.

Climate Denying GWPF Wants ‘Objective Media Reporting’, Rejects UK Journalist From Annual Conference

This is a guest post by freelance journalist Victoria Seabrook, MA City Journalism graduate with work published in the Guardian and Evening Standard.

Climate change deniers assembled at a highly secretive meeting in London on Wednesday October 14 to discuss the celebration of carbon dioxide.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a think tank and charity set up by Lord Lawson, invited Canadian climate denier Dr Patrick Moore to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers at Westminster, to deliver this year’s annual GWPF lecture.

Unfortunately I was prevented from reporting what the climate change deniers discussed. Any chancers – including myself – hoping to attend were met with three officious representatives, who would only grant entrance to those already accredited.

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