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Updated: 19 hours 21 min ago

The Koch Brothers' Last Ditch Attempt to Kill the Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

December 14, 2018 - 1:17pm
Read time: 9 mins

As Congress debates what, if anything, to do with the federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit, the oil industry is fighting to kill the popular incentive, which is hitting some key milestones in the program.

In the final weeks of the current legislative session (and before Democrats retake control of the House), many groups with financial and other ties to Koch Industries are ramping up efforts to fight any expansion of the EV tax credit program, while throwing a Hail Mary attempt to cancel the tax incentive entirely.

Tags: kochvscleankoch industrieselectric vehiclesEV tax creditManhattan Institutepacific research institute

Final Dispatch From COP24: What Just Happened?

December 14, 2018 - 11:36am
Read time: 4 mins

For most of us, the UN climate talks — or COP24 — are drawing to a close and home is in sight.

That’s probably not the case for hundreds of negotiators who still have a lot to sort out before they can agree on the rules to implement the Paris Agreement, and are likely to work through the night and possibly beyond to do so.

After two weeks of protesting, lobbying, greenwashing, setbacks and admittedly important progress made on the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, the end of the conference offers a time to reflect.

I spent two weeks running around the long corridors of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, striving to make sense of what this was all about.

Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowice

Corporations Given a Platform to Promote Greenwash 31 Times at the UN Climate Talks

December 14, 2018 - 6:29am
Read time: 3 mins

The annual UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, are drawing to a close. But over the conference’s two weeks, major polluters have been given the platform to promote a climate-friendly image at more than 30 events, new analysis by NGO Climate Tracker reveals.

Negotiators are in the coal mining town of Katowice, Poland, to try and establish a rulebook to guide countries’ implementation of the landmark Paris climate change agreement. Around 22,000 delegates are present at the conference, known as COP24.

Companies have taken advantage of having so many climate specialists in one place to promote their climate-friendly activities, even if their business model remains reliant on polluting practices.

Tags: COP24

Permit Hearing for Taiwanese Plastic Plant in Louisiana Turns into a Referendum on Environmental Racism

December 13, 2018 - 3:43pm
Read time: 9 mins

“You don’t give a shit about brown and black people,” Louisiana activist Cherri Foytlin told government officials during a heated public permit hearing for a proposed plastics plant in St. James Parish. The parish is a predominately African-American community on the banks of the Mississippi River and has undergone rapid industrialization in recent years.

“This is a dog-and-pony show and everybody in this room knows it,” she asserted, after the hearing officer cut off the sound system while Foytlin was giving her public comments. The officer, O.C. Smith, attorney for the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management, did this declaring that the hearing was no longer on the record.

Tags: cancer alleyCherri FoytlinSt. James ParishLouisiana Department of Natural ResourcesU.S. Army Corps of EngineersFormosapetrochemical development

Inside the Tent: Big Polluters Work to Shape Paris Agreement Rules at the UN Climate Talks

December 13, 2018 - 6:52am
Read time: 8 mins

Should fossil fuel companies that knew their products contributed to climate change for nearly 40 years and did nothing about it now be allowed to have their say inside the UN climate talks?

For the International Trade Emissions Associations (IETA), a business lobby comprised of some of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers and greenhouse gas emitters such as BP, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Eni, Total and Shell, the answer is yes.

“Fundamentally,” the IETA writes, “we believe that our businesses should be part of the climate negotiations — because we intend to be part of the solution”.

Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowicecorporate captureCarbon Markets

If Democrats Want a 'Green New Deal,' These Congressional Investigations Need to Happen

December 12, 2018 - 5:34pm
Read time: 11 mins

A startling new report on climate change from the Trump administration makes clear that if the U.S. government and other major polluters don't do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the resulting climate impacts will be dramatic and costly, both to the U.S. economy and the long-term livability of the planet.

These dire warnings are nothing new, but they come at a time when the Democratic party appears potentially willing to invest serious political capital on the issue of climate change. A new generation of Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshly elected New York representative, are pushing the old guard towards a “Green New Deal.”

But if Dems want that effort to succeed, they have some work to do first.

Tags: green new dealCongressional investigationScott PruittTrump AdministrationRyan ZinkeParis Agreement

'Gas is Not a Solution to Climate Change’: Activists Interrupt Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Event at UN Climate Talks

December 12, 2018 - 12:32pm
Read time: 2 mins

Activists interrupted a keynote address by a gas industry lobbyist to demand the European Union do more to prove itself as a climate leader, and stem the flow of gas across the continent.

Around 30 activists conducted a “symbolic walk out” during a talk by Marco Alvera, president of lobby group GasNaturally. The campaigners rose from their seats as Alvera declared that the industry “fully supports the Paris Agreement” and said there was an opportunity for the gas industry to “capitalise” as other fossil fuels are phased out.

Tags: COP24

Canadian Government Declares Oil Trains Safe and Plans to Get Into the Oil Train Business

December 12, 2018 - 12:24pm
Read time: 8 mins

As Canadian oil-by-rail numbers reach record new volumes (and expected to rise), Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) announced recently that it would no longer list shipping the hazardous material by rail as a top safety concern.

Just a month later, the Alberta provincial government — where the majority of tar sands oil is produced — announced plans to bail out the tar sands industry by getting into the oil-by-rail business.

Here's why that's bad news for the communities in both Canada and the U.S. where this influx of oil train traffic will pass.

Tags: Bomb TrainsCanada tar sands oiloil by railRachel Notleyjustin trudeaualberta tar sands

Countries that Blocked 'Welcoming' of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

December 12, 2018 - 11:55am
Read time: 3 mins

Dozens of delegates from four countries that forced the UN climate negotiations to weaken language around the acceptance of a major climate science report have ties to the oil, gas and mining industries.

At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

Tags: COP24

Controversial Australian Climate Science Denier Cardinal George Pell Removed from Vatican Advisory Group

December 12, 2018 - 11:41am
Read time: 2 mins

Australian Cardinal George Pell has been removed from his role as one of the Vatican's key advisors as Pope Francis moves to distance himself from the controversial figure.

Pell last year took an indefinite leave of absence from his job as the Vatican’s economy minister to defend himself from prosecution for historical child sexual offences.

Tags: Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)Cardinal George Pellgeorge pell

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

December 12, 2018 - 6:32am
Read time: 7 mins

What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

They’re all climate champions, apparently.

They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists - just take a look at their Twitter followings - which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

The Dream of Capturing Coal's Carbon Emissions Is Dead. Someone Should Tell Trump.

December 10, 2018 - 6:41pm
Read time: 7 mins

This week, a Trump official at the U.S. government's pro-fossil fuel event at the United Nations climate talks made clear that the idea of burying carbon emissions from coal plants is still alive. 

Wells Griffith, an advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said at the event: “For the U.S. energy policy, it’s not about keeping [fossil fuels] in the ground but about using them cleanly.”

Griffith added: “Alarmism should not silence realism. This is a forum for fact science-based discussions on climate realities.”

His conclusions make for great talking points, but they're far from reality. After more than a decade of failed demonstration projects, a recently rescinded $1.1 billion DOE research program, and the Trump administration's move to roll back requirements that all new coal plants have “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) capabilities, the promise of so-called “clean coal” technology is dead.

Tags: Trump AdministrationU.S. Department of Energycarbon capture and sequestrationcarbon capture and storageclean coalCOP24

'Shame on You': Campaigners Disrupt US Fossil Fuel Event Attended by Climate Science Deniers

December 10, 2018 - 10:38am
Read time: 7 mins

Campaigners disrupted a US event promoting “greener and cleaner” fossil fuel energy at the UN climate talks, calling it “a farce” that had no place within the global climate negotiations process.

Minutes after the start of the event on the fringe of the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, dozens of youth activists, indigenous campaigners, and community leaders burst out laughing and stood up in front of the panel chanting “keep it in the ground”.

A large banner with the message “keep it in the ground” was deployed in a way to hide the panel from the audience.

Tags: COP24UN climate talksKatowicemarc moranocraid ruckerrupert darwall

Warning of Solar Geoengineering's Dangers, Group Recommends a Global Ban

December 9, 2018 - 8:02am
Read time: 7 mins

A Harvard research team recently announced plans to perform early tests to shoot sunlight-reflecting particles into the high atmosphere to slow or reverse global warming. 

These research efforts, which could take shape as soon as the first half of 2019, fall under the banner of a geoengineering technology known as solar radiation management, which is sometimes called “sun dimming.” 

However, less than two weeks after the announcement, the climate science and policy institute Climate Analytics took aim at these ambitions in a new briefing titled ”Why geoengineering is not a solution to the climate problem,” which goes as far as recommending a global ban on solar geoengineering.

Tags: geoengineeringSolar Radiation ManagementTermination Shock

'Conceivably the Worst': Groups, Lawmakers Blast Confirmation of Climate Denier to FERC

December 8, 2018 - 9:10pm
Read time: 4 mins

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Bernard McNamee, a climate change denier who helped write the Trump administration's failed coal and nuclear bailout plan, was confirmed Thursday as a commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The Senate approved the nominee on a straight party-line vote of 50-49 after Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, withdrew his support due to his concerns about McNamee's stance on climate change.

President Trump's nomination of the fossil fuel lawyer as one of the FERC's five commissioners was strongly opposed by environmentalists, public health groups and elected leaders.

Tags: U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory CommissionBernard McNameeTrump Administrationcoal lobbyingKoch brothersfederal energy regulatory commission (FERC)

‘We Cannot Accept an Unjust Energy Transition’: Future of Coal Communities Becomes Crucial Issue at Climate Talks

December 8, 2018 - 12:58pm
Read time: 8 mins

For the first time, the future of coal workers and communities across the world has become one of the most pressing issues of the global climate negotiations — infusing a sense of social reality within what is otherwise a very technical and political process.

“We have been waiting for this for 30 years,” said Brian Kohler sustainability director for IndustriALL, a union representing 50 million workers across 140 countries.

In the corridors of the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, Kohler is “delighted” that the topic has found its way high on this year’s agenda. It couldn’t have come soon enough.

One of the first to have coined the term “just transition” in the 1990s, Kohler is well aware of challenges facing workers and communities relying on fossil fuels extraction for their livelihoods and the necessity to ensure the energy transition will leave no-one behind.

Tags: COP24KatowiceUN climate talksjust transitiontrade union

Heavy Police Presence Accompanies March for Climate at Katowice UN Talks

December 8, 2018 - 12:23pm
Read time: 5 mins

More than a thousand people marched amidst heavy police presence to demand negotiators and ministers attending the UN climate talks in the southern Polish city of Katowice take more ambitious action on climate change.

Campaigners and activists from around the world took part in the March for Climate, which marked the end of the first of two weeks of global climate negotiations in Katowice.

Protesters chanted “keep the coal in the hole”, urged negotiators to “wake-up”, and demanded “climate justice now” while waving colourful banners and flags. Some were also wearing pollution masks to highlight Katowice’s heavily polluted air due to local coal mining.

Tags: KatowiceCOP24UN climate talks

Bayou Bridge Charged $450 for Trespassing and Building Oil Pipeline Without Permission on Louisiana Parcel

December 7, 2018 - 5:44pm
Read time: 7 mins

After three landowners filed a legal challenge against Bayou Bridge Pipeline, LLC’s right to build a pipeline on their land — which it did without their permission — the case concluded this week with a very small fine for the company.

On December 6, Louisiana State Judge Keith Comeaux fined the pipeline company $450 for trespassing during construction before properly obtaining permission. The judge also granted the company the permission it sought to expropriate the land it had already built on.

Tags: Bayou Bridge pipelineenergy transferEnergy Transfer Partnersoil pipelinesLouisianaAtchafalaya Basinkeeper

What a New Governor Means for Renewable Energy in Maine

December 7, 2018 - 1:59pm
Read time: 6 mins

Short days and frequent snows can make Maine winters seem gloomy. But for renewable energy companies and supporters, the gloom has persisted for the last eight years under a governor openly hostile to solar and wind energy. With the 2018 election, a pro-environment Democratic governor and Democratic majorities in both chambers of the state legislature were swept into power.

“One of the more frustrating things over the last eight years has been the inability to have a conversation around a shared goal that is based in reality,” said Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association (MREA). He said they’re now looking forward to having “a positive, fact-based discourse around energy policy.”

Tags: MaineMaine Renewable Energy Associationrenewable energytransmission linesQuebec HydroPaul LePageJanet Mills

Kochs Fund Study to Kill Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Via Same Group That Defended Tobacco Industry

December 6, 2018 - 1:25pm
Read time: 4 mins

When Koch Industries needs a study to cast doubt on the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), where does it turn?

Unsurprisingly, to an industry-funded study mill that infamously produced a key report defending the tobacco industry that was deployed by Philip Morris in the 1990s, and which has since published studies commissioned by the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, the coal industry, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As Congress debates whether to extend, end, or leave alone the federal EV tax credit, a study critical of the incentive has been making the rounds in conservative media outlets and Koch-affiliated free market advocacy groups.

Tags: kochvscleanNERA Economic ConsultingCharles Kochkoch industriesAmerican Energy Alliancetom pyle

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