July 14, 2013
Facing Mass Extinction: Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt

The Observer/The Guardian:

A study has shown that the speed of evolutionary change is far outstripped by the rate of global warming, meaning many creatures will face extinction

July 4, 2013
Why Don't We Have More Desert Solar Power Plants?

Big Think via Scientific American:

Progress towards increasing the number or energy output of these projects has been slow, despite engineers’ beliefs that policy and market dynamics, not technology, are the primary hindrances.

July 2, 2013
Koch Pledge Tied to Congressional Climate Inaction

Jane Mayer, The New Yorker:

The Koch-funded nonprofit group, Americans for Prosperity, devised the “No Climate Tax” pledge. It has been a component of a remarkably successful campaign to prevent lawmakers from addressing climate change.

June 25, 2013
Fracking puts environment, human life at risk

In the US, oil and gas companies are exploiting relatively little regulation and expanding extraction of shale gas, a process that pumps carcinogenic chemicals into the ground and is associated with causing earthquakes as well as “poisoned drinking water, polluted air, unexplained animal deaths, industrial accidents and explosions.” In addition to chemical contamination, the exploitation of natural gas, a fossil fuel, is an important contributor to catastrophic climate change.

Adding to the evidence, yesterday USA Today reported that, “Drinking water wells near natural gas ‘fracking’ sites were six times more likely to be contaminated than others, finds a new study of New York and Pennsylvania homes.”

The fossil fuel industry needs strict constraints on extraction, not weak rules and federal subsidies. Safe and technologically realistic substitutes already exist. Shouldn’t those billions of public dollars be going toward investment in a renewable energy infrastructure before we render our habitat completely uninhabitable?

Fracking for natural gas is officially banned in France.

To learn more about fracking, see Josh Fox’s excellent Gasland.

April 22, 2013

Earth Day Exclusive: Tim DeChristopher Speaks Out After 21 Months in Prison for Disrupting Oil Bid

In a Democracy Now! exclusive on Earth Day, climate change activist Tim DeChristopher joins us for his first interview since being released from federal custody after serving 21 months in detention. DeChristopher was convicted of interfering with a 2008 public auction when he disrupted the Bush administration’s last-minute move to sell off oil and gas exploitation rights in Utah. He posed as a bidder and won drilling lease rights to 22,000 acres of land in an attempt to save the property from oil and gas extraction. The auction itself was later overturned and declared illegal, a fact that DeChristopher’s defense attorneys were prevented from telling the jury. His case is the subject of the documentary, “Bidder 70,” which will screen all over the country today to mark his release and Earth Day. The founder of the climate justice group Peaceful Uprising, Tim DeChristopher joins us to discuss his ordeal, his newfound freedom, and his plans to continue his activism in the climate justice movement.

March 4, 2013
Climate Change Science Poised to Enter U.S. Classrooms

Inside Climate News:

New standards recommend teaching man-made global warming in all science classes. Some textbook publishers to incorporate curriculum immediately.

March 3, 2013
New poll: Americans support a carbon tax

Friends of the Earth:

recent poll (see a short summary) commissioned by Friends of the Earth and conducted by the leading polling firm Mellman Group found that about 70 percent of Americans had a favorable response to a carbon tax.

February 19, 2013

Report:Right-Wing Group Funding Climate Change Denial Propaganda at Previously Unknown Scale

Democracy Now:

While the secretive Donors Trust has given millions to a variety of right-wing causes, denying climate change appears to be its top priority. An analysis by the environmentalist group Greenpeace reveals Donors Trust has funneled more than one-third of its donations — at least $146 million — to more than 100 climate change denial groups over the past decade. In 2010, 12 of these groups received between 30 to 70 percent of their funding from Donors Trust. We’re joined by Suzanne Goldenberg, U.S. environment correspondent for The Guardian, who has written a series of articles detailing the ties between Donors Trust and opponents of climate change science. “The goal here is to create this illusion that there is a really strong movement against the science of climate change and against action on climate change,” Goldenberg says.

February 17, 2013

Media giant Comcast, the owner of NBCUniversal, censored this climate change ad targeting state support of the fossil fuel industry after Exxon threatened to sue.

January 27, 2013

Award-winning animated video outlining the history of fossil fuels and humanity, produced by the Post Carbon Institute

November 28, 2012
World Bank Climate Report: Stand Still for the Apocalypse?

Chris Hedges, Truthdig:

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank.

November 27, 2012
Michael Klare: A Thermonuclear Energy Bomb in Christmas Wrappings

Tomdispatch:

Let’s face it: climate change is getting scarier by the week.  In this all-American year, record wildfires, record temperatures in the continental U.S., an endless summer, a fierce drought that still won’t go away, and Frankenstorm Sandy all descended on us.  Globally, billion-dollar weather events are increasingly dime-a-dozen affairs, with a record 14 of them in 2012 so far.  So is a linked phenomenon, the continuing rise in the volume of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, especially from burning fossil fuels, that get pumped into the atmosphere.  The latest figures from 2011 indicate that those gases once again made an appearance in record amounts with no indication that abatement is anywhere on the horizon.

With new studies and more data, it seems, come ever more frightening projections of just how much the temperature of this planet is going to rise by 2100.  After all, as Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author of the invaluable The Race for What’s Left, points out, the International Energy Agency’s latest study suggests a possible temperature rise by century’s end of 3.6 degrees Celsius.  That should startle the imagination, involving as it would the transformation of this planet into something unrecognizably different from the one we all grew up on.  And keep in mind that it’s by no means the top estimate for temperature disaster.  A new World Bank report indicates that a rise of 4 degrees Celsius is possible by century’s end, a prospect that bank president Jim Yong Kim termed a “doomsday scenario.”

In the meantime, the most comprehensive study to date of how humans have affected the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere predicts that the planet’s temperature could rise by an unimaginable 6 degrees Celsius by 2100.  These days, it increasingly looks like we’ve entered the lottery from hell when it comes to Earth’s ultimate temperature — especially now that a recent report from the United Nations Environment Program suggests carbon in the atmosphere has increased by 20% since 2000 and that “there are few signs of global emissions falling.” 

With this in mind, consider the latest “good news” reported (and widely hailed) in the world of fossil fuels, courtesy of Michael Klare.

Read more..

November 20, 2012

Why did the percentage of Americans who say they believe that climate change is caused by human activity drop from 71% all the way down to 44% between 2007 and 2011?

Why is climate change denial most pronounced is the states that have been most deeply affected by it? 

Is the business model of the fossil fuel industry really ‘at war with life on this planet’?

For anyone seeking a clearer understanding of climate change politics in the United States, listen to this excellent interview of Naomi Klein by Bill Moyers.

November 18, 2012
Stunning: BP Settlement Is Worth a Fraction of Last Year's Profits

Public Citizen:

We’re stunned. This settlement is pathetic. The $4 billion penalty is equivalent to just a fifth of the company’s 2011 profits.
The point of the criminal justice system is twofold: to punish and to deter. This does neither. It is a weak-tea punishment that provides zero deterrence to BP or other companies. Consider that after the 2005 Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 people, BP pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and paid a fine. Now, after a 2010 event that killed 11 people, BP is again pleading guilty and paying a fine. Zero deterrence.
Although the government is right to pursue manslaughter charges against two individuals BP employees, the settlement is inadequate to address BP’s repeated criminal conduct. 
The government must impose more meaningful sanctions. Nothing in this settlement stops BP from continuing to get federal contracts and leases. BP will earn more in annual federal contracts than it will pay in penalties as a result of this. That’s appalling.

November 14, 2012
Global warming talk heats up in U.S., revisits carbon tax

Associated Press:

Climate change is suddenly a hot topic again. The issue is resurfacing in talks about a once radical idea: a possible carbon tax.