Subscribe to DeSmogBlog feed
Updated: 2 hours 17 min ago

San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Sue Fossil Fuel Industry Over Costs of Climate Change

9 hours 44 min ago

Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell—the five biggest investor-owned fossil fuel producers in the world—over the costs of climate change.

The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12150'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: san franciscocaliforniaExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)#ExxonKnew

Why Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Won't Lead to Action on Climate Change

September 21, 2017 - 3:46pm

By Scott Gabriel Knowles, Drexel University

It’s not easy to hold the nation’s attention for long, but three solid weeks of record-smashing hurricanes directly affecting multiple states and at least 20 million people will do it.

Clustered disasters hold our attention in ways that singular events cannot — they open our minds to the possibility that these aren’t just accidents or natural phenomena to be painfully endured. As such, they can provoke debates over the larger “disaster lessons” we should be learning. And I would argue the combination of Harvey and Irma has triggered such a moment.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12147'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Hurricane HarveyHurricane Irmahurricanesextreme weatherScott Pruitt

Exclusive: Here are the Energy Companies Represented by Trump’s Nominee to Head FERC

September 19, 2017 - 11:29am

President Trump’s nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has, as a corporate attorney, personally represented a host of energy and utility companies, many of which do business that is directly impacted by FERC’s decisionmaking. According to Kevin McIntyre’s financial disclosure — obtained by DeSmog and published here for the first time — these include major utilities, fracking companies, pipeline builders, and international energy corporations.

McIntyre is a lawyer who co-leads the global energy practice for the legal and lobbying firm Jones Day, and is currently awaiting final Senate confirmation of his appointment to the nation’s top energy regulatory body. That confirmation may come as soon as this week.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12137'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: FERCKevin McIntyrejones dayDoanld Trump

Future Historians Will Look Back in Horror at Koch Network's Attacks on Climate Policy, says Author Nancy MacLean

September 19, 2017 - 7:47am

For the first few weeks after publishing, all was going pretty well.

Nancy MacLean’s book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, was “deeply important” and a “feat of American intellectual and political history,” said a review in Publishers Weekly.

The New York Times said the book joined an emerging corpus of important work of scholars and journalists that was “documenting the systematic, organized effort to undermine democracy and change the rules.”

But it didn’t take long for the apparatus of the “radical right” to swing into action, with attacks coming from many of the same individuals and institutions that the Duke University history professor documents in her book.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12125'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: nancy macleanCharles Kochjohn buchanandemocracy in chainsMPsThe Mont Pelerin Society

Defying Trump, Pentagon Moves To Protect Bases From Climate Change

September 18, 2017 - 12:22pm

The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to protect its bases and operations from rising seas and other impacts of climate change, despite an order by President Trump to halt climate planning.

On March 28th, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that rescinded all climate change actions within federal agencies. These actions had been mandated by a rule from the former Obama administration that required federal agencies to take the necessary steps to protect their respective agencies from climate threats. The original Obama order required military bases to factor climate change into their planning operations for expansions, existing structures, and future developments.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12135'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: MilitaryPentagonDonald Trumpclimate changeexecutive order

Contractor Reviewing Enbridge Pipeline Misled Michigan About its Other Work for the Company, Documents Suggest

September 15, 2017 - 1:16am

A contractor hired by the state of Michigan to independently review an aging oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was simultaneously working for the pipeline company, documents obtained by DeSmog suggest. The documents contradict the contractor’s earlier claim that it had effectively stopped working for Enbridge once hired by Michigan.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12130'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Enbridgeline 9Michiganpipelinesdynamic risk

Newsweek Gives Cato Institute Climate Denier A Platform

September 12, 2017 - 10:08pm

In the last 30 days, the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean have played host to four hurricanes, three of which reached category 3 or higher, with Hurricane Irma claiming the title as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12121'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: HarveyIrmaAlan Reynoldscato instituteNewsweek Magazinemediaclimate deniers

Where Are Canada's Missing Electric Cars?

September 12, 2017 - 2:52pm

The race is on for electric vehicle supremacy.

Last week, China — the world’s second largest economy and consumer of about one-third of new cars — announced it will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, in a move that is expected to accelerate the global push into the electric car market.

China joins Norway, France and the U.K. in announcing plans to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated that electric vehicles will make up 32 per cent of global auto sales by 2040.

So, as the world moves toward the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, where is Canada in all of this?

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12123'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: canadaelectric vehicleszero-emission vehiclesSustainable Transport Action Research TeamSuzanne Golcberg

Washington Post: Exxon, Koch, and Big Coal Cash Begat Trump Climate Denial

September 12, 2017 - 1:30pm

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12122'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: #ExxonKnewTrumpKoch brothers

National Drive Electric Week Combats Koch-Funded Lies With Real World Drivers

September 11, 2017 - 3:26pm

There’s a war being waged against electric cars, the frontlines of which are dug in on Facebook feeds and embedded Youtube videos. The ammunition, supplied by the Koch brothers and their most loyal, PR savvy affiliates, are talking points meant to sow doubt in the minds of American drivers about the quality, costs, reliability, and even environmental-friendliness of electric cars. Though many automotive experts—including some Big Oil majors—see the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) as inevitable, this war is being waged to keep the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine king for as long as possible. They are fighting to keep oil demand high enough to justify drilling, refining, and selling petroleum.

In the face of this war, Plug-In America, the country’s leading EV advocacy organization, and its partners are organizing the seventh annual National Drive Electric Week. And in the context of these PR attacks, this year’s week long event—running from September 9-17th—might be more important than ever.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12107'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: national drive electric weekplug-in americakoch vs clean

This Law Firm Is Both Representing Dakota Access Owner and Suing Its Security Firm

September 10, 2017 - 9:57am

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and others for alleged racketeering in their anti-pipeline activism related to Standing Rock. The company’s legal support comes from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, whose attorneys also represent President Donald Trump in the ongoing Russia-U.S. election investigation.  

However, federal court rules require that, in addition to the New York-based team at Kasowitz, Energy Transfer Partners must retain local legal counsel in North Dakota, where the lawsuit was filed. The bottom of the 187-page legal complaint filed on August 22 reveals that the corporation chose Vogel Law Firm, with offices in both Minnesota and North Dakota, for that job.

However, by serving as local counsel for Energy Transfer Partners, Vogel may have a potential conflict of interest. That's because, at the same time, the firm is representing the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board in its ongoing lawsuit against TigerSwan. This private security firm worked on behalf of Dakota Access during the months-long protest movement at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12115'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: North Dakota Bar AssociationVogel Law FirmDAPLBakken ShaleNorth DakotaNorth Dakota Private Investigation and Security BoardDakota AccessEnergy Transfer PartnersTigerSwanEllen Yaroshefsky

Stephen Schwarzman: Wall Street Investor, Trump Ally, Fracking Profiteer

September 9, 2017 - 12:03pm

This is a guest post by  and originally appeared on Eyes on the Ties.

By now, many people have heard of Stephen Schwarzman.

Some may know him as the billionaire founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a mammoth private equity firm that has its tentacles spread across numerous subsidiaries and companies.

Others may know Schwarzman as a close ally and advisor of Donald Trump, the chair the president’s recently disbanded Strategic and Policy Forum, who is set to profit handsomely from his relationship with the president.

Some may even know Schwarzman as the thrower of lavish, self-glorifying birthday parties — his last one included fireworks, acrobats, live camels, celebrity performers, and a slew of high-profile guests, from David Koch to Jared Kushner, as well as several Trump cabinet members.

But fewer people know about Schwarzman the fracking profiteer, with billions invested in the fossil fuel industry that is fueling the climate crisis.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12111'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Stephen SchwarzmanBlackstone GroupDonald TrumpfrackingEnergy Transfer PartnersDakota Access Pipeline

New Study Links Greenhouse Gas Emissions Directly to Fossil Fuel Companies

September 8, 2017 - 3:07pm

Less than two years ago, documents surfaced showing that in the 1970s ExxonMobil knew about the damage that fossil fuel emissions were causing to the environment and how they were contributing to global warming. Just a few weeks ago, these reports surfaced again when a recent study led by Harvard researcher Naomi Oreskes showed how the global oil giant had engaged in a decades-long misinformation campaign to cover up the damage that it and other fossil fuel companies were inflicting on the planet.

One of the immediate questions asked by climate-concerned citizens was whether or not this cover-up could result in lawsuits against the oil giant. However, due to the amount of unknown variables in the legal equation, any lawsuit filed against the company appears to be a long shot, at best.

Still, a new peer-reviewed study from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its collaborators may give us some of the missing variables in the legal equation.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12112'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: climate changeemissionsUnion of Concerned ScientistsExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)

From Homes to Refineries, Finding Pollution and Loss in Harvey's Path

September 8, 2017 - 1:50pm

When Harvey’s rain, for the most part, stopped falling on August 30, I started making my way from Louisiana to Texas to document the pollution inevitably left in the storm’s path. That day I got as far as Vidor, a small town in southeast Texas where the floodwaters were still rising. 

Getting there was no easy matter. I was forced to drive west in the eastbound lane of the interstate because the lanes I should have been driving in were flooded up to the top of the highway divider. All the while, I tried not to worry about the water rushing through cracks in the cement divider, which had the potential to give way.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12114'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Hurricane HarveyHoustonPort ArthurExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)texasoil refineries

Trump Admin Quietly Pushing 'Small Scale' LNG Exports That Avoid Environmental Reviews

September 7, 2017 - 2:36pm

By Steve Horn and Joshua Frank

The Trump administration proposed regulations to expedite the permitting process for natural gas exports from “small-scale” facilities on the Friday before Labor Day.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had proposed an alteration of the rules for the export of “small-scale” liquefied natural gas (LNG) under the Natural Gas Act. The proposal will now be open to a public commenting period set to end October 16.

“The Trump Administration is focused on finding ways to unleash American energy and providing a reliable and environmentally friendly fuel to our trading partners who face unique energy infrastructure challenges. The Department of Energy and this Administration are wholeheartedly committed to strengthening the energy security of the United States and our allies,” Rick Perry, U.S. Secretary of Energy, said in a press release. var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12094'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: LNGLiquefied Natural GasSmall Scale LNGCheniereNational Environmental Policy ActNEPATellurianCharif Soukifrackinghydraulic fracturingAnkit DesaiTrump AdministrationDonald Trump

Koch-funded 'Expert' Attacks Electric Cars in PragerU’s 'War on Cars' Video

September 7, 2017 - 1:08pm

According to a recent video hosted by automotive expert and media personality Lauren Fix, there’s a “war on cars” raging in this country that is threatening the chief of all American values — our very freedom. No, this isn’t the war on electric vehicles that the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers have been waging (and which we’ve been tracking on Koch vs. Clean). Rather, says Fix, “there’s been a concerted push by government bureaucrats and environmentalists to transform car ownership from a source of pride to a source of guilt.”

What Fix doesn't mention in this video is her ties to funding from the Koch brothers. In addition, the organization behind the video she hosted, Prager University (PragerU), is a not a university but rather a non-profit founded by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, with a stated mission to spread “Americanism” through five minute internet videos. Videos, which include such titles as “Fossil Fuels: The Greenest Energy” and “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuel.”

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12099'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Charles Kochkoch vs cleanPragerUprager universitythe war on cars

Hurricane Harvey Hits Home for Texas Environmental Hero Hilton Kelley

September 6, 2017 - 1:47am

Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters were still receding from Port Arthur, Texas, on September 4, when Hilton Kelley and his wife Marie returned to their home and business for the first time since evacuating. 

Port Arthur is located about 100 miles east of Houston on the Gulf Coast. The heavily industrialized area rivals Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, with an even greater concentration of hazardous waste and petrochemical facilities.

Kelley is intimately familiar with the town’s refineries. He spent the last 17 years fighting for clean air and water in the Port Arthur community adjacent to those refineries. His work earned him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which is awarded to “grassroots environmental heroes” ― something of a Nobel Prize for environmentalists. 

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12109'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Hurricane Harveyenvironmental justiceHilton KelleytexasPort Arthur

Hurricane Harvey, Climate Denial, Fake News and ExxonMobil

September 5, 2017 - 3:09pm

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

For well over twenty years, climate deniers have tried to stymie discussion of extreme weather events and climate change. Why? Because extreme weather kills people, destroys property, trashes things and costs billions of dollars.  And that’s when people start searching for accountability and looking for who to blame.

Hurricane Harvey’s damage is breaking records. Who will pay, remains an unanswered question.  What we do know is that a concerted campaign of climate denial, over the past three decades, has measurably slowed down society’s reaction to the climate crisis and has wasted valuable time and money.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12106'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Hurricane HarveyWilliam GrayDCI groupExxon Mobil

Invisible Horseman: An Interview with Photographer Troy Moth

September 2, 2017 - 11:49am

Troy Moth is an artist and photographer living on Vancouver Island. Moth’s iconic images are featured on art gallery walls and trendy t-shirts alike, famed for their stark, smoky portrayals of landscapes and creatures, of both the human and non-human variety.

Moth recently published a provocative photo of a wild bear slouched in the smouldering landfill of a remote Canadian community. We asked him if he’d speak to us about the image, why it elicits such strong reaction in its viewers and what the apocalypse has got to do with it.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12103'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: Troy MothInterview

What Hurricane Harvey Says About Risk, Climate, and Resilience

September 2, 2017 - 11:24am

By Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M UniversityDaniel Cohan, Rice University, and Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

Hurricane Harvey has taught us many lessons, but the most valuable may be the oldest lesson of all, one we humans have been learning — and forgetting — since the dawn of time: how much we all have to lose when climate and weather disasters strike.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12105'; Click here for reuse options! Tags: hurricanesextreme weatherHurricane Harveyclimate resilience