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Celebrate

Posted July 5, 2020 by Anonymous

Trudeau’s uplifting message on Canada Day:

Canada is an amazing place to call home, and its people make it even better. We’re always there for each other – in good times and bad – and we always will be. And that’s worth celebrating. Happy Canada Day, everyone! https://t.co/SDC41cWOY0 pic.twitter.com/2OKNyxGEqe

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 1, 2020

Biden’s inspiring message on Independence Day:

Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We’re all created equal. We’ve never lived up to it — but we’ve never stopped trying. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate those words, let’s commit to finally fulfill them. Happy #FourthOfJuly! pic.twitter.com/1WrATlx8Xl

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 4, 2020

Here’s another good one, from Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Happy birthday, America. Thank you for letting me live the American Dream. We must fight every day to make sure that dream is as true for a Black child born in Minneapolis as it was for a white bodybuilder born in Austria. via @attn pic.twitter.com/rM95vb3twC

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) July 4, 2020

And nothing in either of Trump’s speeches is worth repeating. But here’s a summary, in case you missed them both:

As Frederick Douglass delivered a swiff and swippy victory in Operation Desert Storm in Vietnam, protected against the oranges of totalittotalitotarianism, with super duper missiles and stock rocket records. God bless the United Schates and rid us of Obamanacare.#TrumpIsUnwell

— Trent Capelli 🇨🇦 (@TrentCapelli) July 5, 2020

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Lockdown Loneliness Inspired Me to Create a Load of Imaginary Friends

Posted July 3, 2020 by VICE Staff

Photographer Flora Maclean was stuck at home, not on a desert island – but that didn’t stop her from making her own collection of Wilsons.

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Drugs

How to Sesh Responsibly On ‘Super Saturday’

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

With pubs reopening and the nation collectively getting the bag in, here’s what you need to remember.

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Prince Andrew Is ‘Bewildered’ That the FBI Wants to Question Him About Jeffrey Epstein

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Now that Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been arrested and charged, the FBI is turning its attention to Epstein’s royal friend.

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A White Couple Was Arrested After Pointing a Gun at a Black Family In a Chipotle Parking Lot

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Viral video footage of the incident showed a white woman pulling her gun after telling the family that “white people aren’t racist.”

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Celebrating July 4th Like This Isn’t a Pandemic Will Cost Lives

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Forty states are seeing their case numbers rise. Maybe rethink the family BBQ this weekend?

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China

17 Developers Are Testing Coronavirus Vaccines on Humans. Here’s What You Need to Know About Them.

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

The race to develop a coronavirus vaccine is getting crowded — and expensive.

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BC RCMP Boss Apologizes to Woman Dragged by Cop During Wellness Check

Posted July 3, 2020 by Manisha Krishnan

Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli said he’s “deeply concerned” over video showing an officer stepping on the head of a UBC student and pulling her hair.

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Canada

Armed Man Who Allegedly Stormed Trudeau’s Residence Appears to Have Posted QAnon Content

Posted July 3, 2020 by Anonymous

Corey Hurren has been identified by several media outlets as the suspect who drove through the gates at Rideau Hall, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives. His business’ Instagram account features several right-wing conspiracies.

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Canada

Armed Military Member Rammed Truck Through Gates Where Trudeau Lives

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous

The man was arrested after driving onto the grounds of Rideau Hall, where the Prime Minister, his family, and the Governor General live.

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China

Beijing Is Furious About UK’s Offer to Welcome Hong Kongers Fleeing Harsh New Security Law

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous

In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry warned: “Any attempt seeking to undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests is doomed to fail.”

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Oil Industry and Allies Look to Pump Brakes on Democrats’ Plans to Move Transportation Off Petroleum

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous
Hybrid-electric truck charging

Read time: 8 mins

This week Congressional Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives put forward policies, including passing a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill on July 1, aimed at cleaning up the number one source of carbon pollution in America — the transportation sector. The oil and gas industry and its supporters quickly weighed in, framing “the critical role” of the industry in addressing climate pollution and in some cases outright attacking these plans’ efforts to move away from petroleum-powered transport.

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Error by Mining Giant Anglo American Undermines its Promise of No Glacier Impacts for $3bn Chilean Copper Project

Posted July 2, 2020 by Anonymous
Protesters against Anglo American's Los Bronces mine expansion in Santiago on Sept 27, 2019

Read time: 12 mins

Anglo American has undermined its plans for a controversial US$3 billion copper mine expansion beneath a Chilean nature sanctuary, 52 kilometres (32 miles) above Santiago in the Andean foothills. The multinational mining giant revealed an embarrassing technical blunder in its response to shareholders this May. According to Anglo American’s Environmental Impact Study (Spanish) released in July 2019, the first of six central design criteria for its Los Bronces underground mine expansion is avoiding impact to nearby glaciers, a critical freshwater supply already threatened by the climate crisis.

However, the mine’s design, DeSmog can now reveal, uses an entirely unrelated contamination measure for estimating impact to glaciers.

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In the Shadow of Shuttered Philadelphia Refinery, Neighbors Recall Those Lost to Decades of Pollution

Posted July 1, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
PES Refinery fenceline memorial

Read time: 11 mins

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery was —until last year — the largest and oldest gasoline refinery on the East Coast. The week it was sold began with a community rally that also served as a makeshift memorial service.

On Monday, June 22, as Black Lives Matter protests continued nationwide, members of Philly Thrive, a local grassroots group, arrived outside the perimeter of the refinery complex in South Philadelphia. They posted “in memorium” placards bearing the names of deceased Philadelphians along the facility’s chainlink borders, handwritten fenceline memorials for departed members of the refinery’s fenceline community. Speakers that day recalled less the fiery explosion that tore through the plant one year earlier and more the long-term harms caused by decades of fossil fuel production in the majority Black neighborhood.

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Democrats’ New Climate Plan Says Polluters Shouldn’t Receive Immunity From Lawsuits for Climate Impacts

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference about the new climate action agenda on June 30.

Read time: 5 mins

On Tuesday, June 30, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released a comprehensive action plan for tackling climate change. 

Some environmental groups criticized the plan for lacking ambition and not directly targeting fossil fuel production. However, the Democrats’ agenda does support a powerful provision for holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their contributions to the disastrously warming planet: Not granting them legal immunity from Congress.

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New NAFTA Trade Deal Deepens Oil and Gas Dependency During Climate Crisis

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
President Donald Trump delivers remarks with Canadian President Justin Trudeau and then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the signing the USMCA trade agreement on November 30, 2018.

Read time: 7 mins

The coronavirus pandemic and record-low oil prices dealt a blow to the fossil fuel industry this year. But the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, known as the USMCA, will provide a boost as it replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The deal goes into effect July 1.

Reading between the lines of the 2,000-plus page deal, environmentalists say it is bad news for North America’s climate future. Far from addressing the crisis, the deal provides loopholes for oil, gas, and mining companies to operate across borders, and paves the way for U.S. companies to export even more fracked natural gas across the border into Mexico.

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‘Slam Dunk’ Study Finds Trump EPA’s Move Not to Tighten Air Pollution Standards Would Prematurely Kill 140,000 Americans

Posted June 30, 2020 by Anonymous
Salem Harbor power plant soot pollution

Read time: 7 mins

A new study from public health researchers provides the strongest evidence yet that increased exposure to a type of air pollution from tailpipes and smokestacks that’s known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), or soot, can cause premature death. This peer-reviewed study of air pollution impacts on older Americans suggests that current air quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not protect public health, and that strengthening the standards could save over 140,000 American lives over a decade.

In praising this study as a “slam dunk,” one former EPA air pollution scientist warned that the Trump EPA, which is trying to maintain the current standards, “ignores it at their peril.”

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Public Health has failed us all

Posted June 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Over the last week, I have come to understand that the COVID 19 pandemic will be known as the worst North American public health failure ever. 

Here’s why:

Remember five months ago, way back in February, when COVID cases first began showing up in North America?  
That is also when doctors in Europe, who were already dealing with dozens of cases, started reporting that, unlike other recent viruses,  transmission of COVID 19 appeared to be happening from people who didn’t know they were sick and who did not display any symptoms.
It is impossible to find and quarantine such people, because nobody knows who they are. They themselves don’t even know they are carrying the virus.
The only way that someone without symptoms can be stopped from transmitting a respiratory infection is for everyone to wear a mask, so that the infected people are prevented from spraying infectious droplets every time they speak, cough, sneeze, etc. 
So if, back in February, we had all been told to wear homemade masks whenever we were out and about (like many people already do in Asia, by the way) this simple act would have protected the friends and families and coworkers and clients of the hundreds of people across North America who were already infected but didn’t know it – the dentists, the doctors, the choir members, the conference attendees, the nursing home staff, the teachers, the social workers, the waitresses, etc etc
And thus, COVID 19 virus would not have infected hundreds of thousands.  And thousands of the people who died would have lived instead.

But what happened when, back in February, European doctors started reporting that symptom-less people were infectious? 
Well, nothing.
Faced with these early reports of symptom-less transmission, public health authorities like the World Health Organization, and the CDC and Canada Public Health did not leap into action. 

They squabbled. They denied the evidence. They quibbled about terminology. The New York Times report goes on:
Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. 
Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms. 
The two-month delay was a product of faulty scientific assumptions, academic rivalries and, perhaps most important, a reluctance to accept that containing the virus would take drastic measures. 
The resistance to emerging evidence was one part of the world’s sluggish response to the virus. It is impossible to calculate the human toll of that delay, but models suggest that earlier, aggressive action might have saved tens of thousands of lives. 
Countries like Singapore and Australia, which used testing and contact-tracing and moved swiftly to quarantine seemingly healthy travelers, fared far better than those that did not.
And another thing happened too, at the same time. 
Even without a lot of evidence, even without contract tracing and quarantining travelers and other government measures, there was one crucial step that everyone could have taken without any government program at all – wearing a homemade mask. 
It seems like at least some of those who work in public health in North America also believed that the situation with COVID 19 was so urgent that wearing masks couldn’t hurt and might help.  
But they decided not tell us. 
While public health officials hesitated, some doctors acted. At a conference in Seattle in mid-February, Jeffrey Shaman, a Columbia University professor, said his research suggested that Covid-19’s rapid spread could only be explained if there were infectious patients with unremarkable symptoms or no symptoms at all. 
In the audience that day was Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist and former U.S. energy secretary. “If left to its own devices, this disease will spread through the whole population,” he remembers Professor Shaman warning. 
 Afterward, Dr. Chu began insisting that healthy colleagues at his Stanford University laboratory wear masks. 
Doctors in Cambridge, England, concluded that asymptomatic transmission was a big source of infection and advised local health workers and patients to wear masks, well before the British government acknowledged the risk of silent spreaders.
But back in February, there wasn’t enough PPE to go around and all the medical masks we had were desperately needed by medical staff. 
So Public Health authorities had a choice — they could have been truthful, and told us that masks might help but the general public had to use homemade masks to save the medical ones for the health profession. 
But this message was too complicated and people were already hoarding toilet paper, and homemade masks might “give us a false sense of security” because we’re all just so stupid that we wouldn’t stay home anymore and besides, we likely wouldn’t wear then correctly anyway. So it was just so much easier to us not to bother with masks at all, that they weren’t necessary for anyone who wasn’t already sick.  

The American authorities, faced with a shortage, actively discouraged the public from buying masks. “Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams tweeted on Feb. 29.

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
https://t.co/UxZRwxxKL9

— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020

In other words, they lied to us.
And the politicians those public health authorities were advising — the governors and premiers and presidents and prime ministers – ended up passing on those lies because they didn’t know any better.  
So now here we are in June.
And now the public health authorities say, “Oopsie!!  Hey, you guys, we tell you now that you really should wear masks after all, because everyone would be just so much safer.”
Only its too late. Hundreds of thousands have already died. And millions are confused by the changing stories and the untruths and the squabbling and now they don’t believe anything that public health authorities are telling them. And the people who own stores and manage events and work in offices and teach in schools are just as confused. So they don’t know whether to require masks or not.
Back during the Spanish Flu, public health failed because they just didn’t know how to organize public health administration and do the scientific studies and analyze policy options and communicate widely with the public.
Now, we have all that. We have a huge public health infrastructure with thousands of experts worldwide whose whole purpose in life is to keep people safe. 
But in North America, they failed us.

“Why doesn’t the public trust us” sob the people who sold a cynical lie about masks being innefective to the press

— Kurt, myself today (@Freidland2) June 28, 2020

So first they didn’t recognize the truth, and then they didn’t trust us enough to tell us the truth when we needed it.  

[CDC head] Azar also pushed back on the idea that the new surge in cases is a result of reopening the country too fast, arguing, “That’s not so much about what the law says on the reopening than what our behaviors are within that. If we act irresponsibly, if we don’t social distance, if we don’t use face coverings … we’re going to see spread of disease.”

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Louisiana Activists Charged with Felonies After Delivering Box of Formosa Plastic Pollution to Lobbyists

Posted June 25, 2020 by Anonymous
Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh with nurdles

Read time: 6 mins

Two Louisiana environmental activists, Anne Rolfes and Kate McIntosh, were taken in handcuffs and leg irons from a Baton Rouge police station to jail after they voluntarily surrendered themselves on felony charges after months’ earlier delivering plastic pollution pulled from Texas waters to fossil fuel lobbyists’ homes. The two posted bond and were released later the same day.

The women are accused of terrorizing oil and gas lobbyists by giving them a file box full of plastic pellets found in Texas bays near a plastic manufacturing facility owned by Formosa Plastics,” NOLA.com reports.

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DC Is the Latest to Sue Exxon and Big Oil for Climate Disinformation Campaigns

Posted June 25, 2020 by Anonymous
DC Attorney General Karl Racine

Read time: 6 mins

Washington, D.C. is suing the four largest investor-owned oil and gas companies — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell — for allegedly misleading consumers about climate change, including historically undermining climate science and even now using deceptive advertising about the companies’ role in leading solutions to the climate crisis.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced the consumer fraud lawsuit on Thursday, June 25. The lawsuit claims that the four oil majors violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by engaging in misleading acts and practices around the marketing, promotion, and sale of fossil fuel products, which produce globe-warming pollution. The D.C. lawsuit alleges that these companies knew since at least the 1950s about the harmful consequences of burning fossil fuels and that they engaged in a campaign to deceive the public about those risks.

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Exposed: West Virginia and Other States Relying on ‘House of Cards’ to Pay for Coal Mine Cleanup

Posted June 25, 2020 by Anonymous
Heavy equipment sits unused on the partially reclaimed Hobet 21 mountaintop removal coal mine near Charleston, W. Va., in late 2017.

Read time: 15 mins

For more than a century-and-a-half, the forests, streams, and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains have been scraped and gashed to unearth their heart of rich black coal. These lumps of hydrocarbons historically played a vital role in America’s electricity mix, accounting for a third of the country’s energy production as recently as 2008.

But over the past decade, a devastating combination of forces has pummeled the industry, from cheap natural gas and the falling cost of renewables to growing public pressure to respond to the climate crisis. U.S. coal production has dropped 40 percent since its peak 12 years ago, and the commodity accounted for only 14 percent of the country’s electricity generation last year.

With the coronavirus pandemic now stalling energy demand, coal production has dropped about 26 percent in the past 12 months alone, perhaps ringing the death knell for coal as an energy source in America.

The pandemic has even further depressed the use of energy, and oil prices have collapsed, making it even more difficult to compete,” said Ohio Coal Association president Mike Cope, who estimated a strong industry would need to provide a third of the country’s energy. “Nothing really to cheer about in the coal industry these days.”

Hit with another wave of bankruptcies, King Coal is on its deathbed. But even as it fades away, the industry could land a final, painful blow to communities and the environment in Appalachia.

An investigation by DeSmog has found that several key financial instruments meant to guarantee environmental cleanup have been pushed to the brink of insolvency, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions — if not billions — of dollars in reclamation costs.

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Sports will be back, sort of

Posted June 25, 2020 by Anonymous

I think the realities of getting back to sports are becoming clearer as we begin to understand that Corona Virus is not going away any time soon.

Yes, we are going to be able to play and watch sports again! 
But no, we won’t actually be able to watch the games in person — though maybe eventually we can as long as absolutely everyone wears a mask absolutely all the time. And no shouting!
Hmm — would that even work? 
Or would the silence just be too creepy, like those bizarre photos of a chamber orchestra playing to a theatre full of plants?  
I’ve been watching the Ultimate Tennis Showdown and its fun to see a newer, quicker version of tennis, though its a little odd to hear the fake crowd noises after each shot. 
Likely when sports do get going again, each sport will have to deal with continual interruptions as individual athletes come down with COVID-19 and stop playing until they are well again.
There is one thing about the sports shutdown that I will miss — the #LifeCommentaries on twitter, when sports announcers kept themselves busy by posting videos narrating ordinary life as sporting events:

Dogging.#LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/05A64OcSKP

— Twittbr3 (@Twittbr3) June 18, 2020

1500mm Heat#LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/fmsIWfcfAK

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) April 14, 2020

Sooty looking for a clean sweep in the Regional Common Gymnastics pic.twitter.com/ycInWuMVTH

— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) June 15, 2020

Commentators have been turning their hands (and socks) to absolutely anything lately! pic.twitter.com/xj86k27LUI

— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) June 14, 2020

Some sports are slower. More about the strategy. pic.twitter.com/JMBaGJ1tSd

— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) April 9, 2020

International 4×4 Pushchair Formation Final. Live. #LifeCommentary #LiveCommentary pic.twitter.com/BGGh01m1k1

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) March 17, 2020

LIVE SPORT!

Today’s episode is based largely on me chasing our dog Yogi round the garden. Enjoy! 😂

Chin up people; hope you have a good weekend. 🐶😊#lifecommentary #goodboy #youbaddog pic.twitter.com/kvcgoYSr3N

— Andrew Coley (@Andrew_Coley) March 20, 2020

It was an honour to be asked to appear on this year’s unique USA @ESPYS show on @espn.

Among some incredibly poignant films, I helped provide a spot of levity as @mPinoe introduced my take on the likes of @rogerfederer @serenawilliams @lindseyvonn and @SebToots in lockdown. 🎙 pic.twitter.com/Jo1bptLV5z

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) June 23, 2020

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Minnesota Attorney General Sues Exxon, Koch and API for Climate Deception

Posted June 24, 2020 by Anonymous
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison

Read time: 7 mins

Minnesota has officially joined the climate accountability movement with the announcement on Wednesday, June 24 of a groundbreaking lawsuit against fossil fuel behemoths such as ExxonMobil and Koch Industries and the nation’s largest oil and gas lobbying group for alleged deception on climate change.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the lawsuit at a press conference Wednesday. The lawsuit names as defendants ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and Koch Industries as well as Koch subsidiaries Flint Hills Resources LP and Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend. The lawsuit claims these organizations violated Minnesota consumer protection laws for orchestrating a campaign of deception around climate science and the danger of fossil fuels.

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Fossil Fuel Companies and Their Supporters Ask Supreme Court to Intervene in Climate Lawsuits

Posted June 23, 2020 by Anonymous
US Supreme Court building

Read time: 11 mins

California communities last month got an important procedural win in their efforts to get fossil fuel companies to pay for climate-related impacts. On May 26, a federal appeals court ruled that their lawsuits could go ahead in state court, which is their preferred venue, rather than federal court. 

Similar lawsuits filed by Colorado communities, Baltimore, and Rhode Island are also marching on in state courts following unsuccessful attempts by fossil fuel companies to have the cases heard in federal courts, where they are more likely to be dismissed. Overall, the communities lodging these legal battles seem to be gaining momentum.

However, some of the companies facing those lawsuits appear to be gearing up for a larger battle, looking to the Supreme Court to weigh in and using their network of promoters to continue attacking these lawsuits outside the courtroom.

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In Break With Trump’s EPA, Nevada Announces Plan to Cut Tailpipe Emissions

Posted June 23, 2020 by Anonymous
Las Vegas traffic

Read time: 4 mins

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced on Monday, June 22, that Nevada would be developing a policy to increase the number of zero and low-emission vehicles sold within the state.

With the announcement of the Clean Cars Nevada initiative, Nevada is set to join 14 other states that have fully or partially adopted clean car standards identical to California’s stricter standards authorized by the Clean Air Act.

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Funny stuff

Posted June 21, 2020 by Anonymous

OK, here’s some funny stuff I collected over the last while — particularly enjoyed the last one:

My spouse is “attending” a virtual conference for the next few days. To help simulate the real thing, I’ll set out a picked-over tray of mini-muffins, soggy cut fruit, and some weak coffee, and then whisk them away just as he approaches the table.

— Erin Conwell (@erconwell) June 19, 2020

Had a bit more #LifeCommentary fun with my friend’s dog, Sooty. He’s fabulously bonkers. https://t.co/iLwRCv76xZ

— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) June 15, 2020

This talented pupper doing an amazing obstacle run pic.twitter.com/3l4bYkgp0e

— Back To Nature (@backt0nature) June 20, 2020

Even bears have their Felix Ungers. https://t.co/36E68JPeMJ

— Neil (@NPSusa) June 20, 2020

pic.twitter.com/SZ2u5dRVlT

— Fátima Ma. Alvarado.💙💛🇻🇦🇳🇮📿 (@Falvarado1974) June 19, 2020

This is quite possibly the greatest commercial I’ve ever seen… pic.twitter.com/t3oxiJrUr3

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 17, 2020

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After a Legal Battle, Juneteenth Ceremony Honors Enslaved Ancestors at Gravesite on Formosa Plastics Land

Posted June 19, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
Sharon Lavigne speaking at the Juneteenth ceremony at the site of a former burial ground for enslaved African Americans on the site where Formosa plans to build a petrochemical complex.

Read time: 7 mins

“I feel like our ancestors are shouting and rejoicing in heaven about what we did for them today,” Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE St. James, a community group fighting petrochemical plant construction in St. James Parish, Louisiana, said after a June 19 ceremony held in their honor. “We did not forget them on Juneteenth. We honored them by leaving roses at the site where their remains are buried.”

Late this morning, Lavigne and a couple dozen supporters held the memorial at what they say is a former burial ground for enslaved people that sits on the future site of a $9.4 billion plastics plant complex. But even as widespread protests against anti-Black racism have prompted a national reckoning, the ceremony at the former grave site was met with opposition. FG LA LLC, a local member of the Formosa Plastics Group, owns the property on a former sugar plantation and denied Lavigne’s request to have a Juneteenth ceremony there. It took a last-minute judge’s ruling to force the petrochemical corporation to make the ceremony legal; Lavigne had planned to hold the ceremony there, with or without permission.

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Transportation Fairness Alliance Revealed: Behind the Oil Industry’s Latest Attack on Electric Cars

Posted June 18, 2020 by Anonymous
gas pumps

Read time: 7 mins

Earlier this spring, while much of the nation’s attention focused on the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. oil and gas industry quietly launched a new coalition using messaging that invokes “transportation fairness.” Like other petroleum interest front groups that have campaigned against clean transportation measures, this new coalition appears poised to counter policies designed to accelerate the transition away from petroleum-powered transportation.

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With Prospects Souring for Oregon Gas Terminal, an Obscure Group Raises Pressure for State Approval

Posted June 18, 2020 by Anonymous
WSTN's "open letter to Gov. Brown" ad in The Oregonian

Read time: 11 mins

On May 24, a full-page ad appeared in The Oregonian, Oregon’s largest newspaper. The “open letter,” addressed to Gov. Kate Brown, asked her to support Jordan Cove LNG, a controversial coastal liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal. Between the “COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout,” the project would be crucial to restoring the state’s economy, the letter argued. “We’re going to need as many jobs as we can get, and very soon.”

We ask you to listen because Jordan Cove is about Oregon, but it is also about much more,” the letter said, a statement that certainly seems to describe the entity that bought the ad, the Western States and Tribal Nations Natural Gas Initiative, or WSTN. Despite its sole focus on exporting natural gas through the West Coast, the group is virtually unknown in Oregon.

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Black Environmentalists Are Organizing to Save the Planet From Injustice

Posted June 17, 2020 by guest
Black Lives Matter sign in a lawn

Read time: 4 mins

By , Grist. This story originally appeared in Grist and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

I can’t breathe.” These were among the final words that George Floyd and Eric Garner gasped before their deaths at the hands of white police officers. That plea has become part of the current rallying cry for racial justice and an end to police brutality in the U.S. But for Black people living near industrial facilities, the phrase has an additional layer of meaning: a reminder of their disproportionate pollution burden.

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For Decades, the Oil and Gas Industry Got Taxpayer Help from the Fracking Production Tax Credit

Posted June 16, 2020 by Anonymous
Stacked drilling rigs in the Permian Basin in spring 2020

Read time: 6 mins

Before the U.S. fracking boom took off, shale drillers had access for over two decades to a particular tax incentive that experts say played a key role in setting the stage for the so-called shale revolution.

Known as the Section 29 Unconventional Fuels Production Tax Credit, this subsidy resulted in more than tripling the production of unconventional gas, at a cost of at least $10 billion to taxpayers, from 1980 to 2002.

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Charles Koch’s Radical Free Market Ideology Is Not a Symptom of America’s Disastrous Response to COVID-19. It’s a Cause.

Posted June 16, 2020 by Anonymous
Charles Koch

Read time: 5 mins

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, is receiving credit for launching a COVID-19 relief fund, as he urged a “distinctly American response” of private charity — and not public benefits — to address this deadly pandemic.

Koch kickstarted the fund with a $5 million contribution, pocket change for a man who runs the second largest privately held corporation in the country, which makes about $5 million every twenty minutes.

His “distinctly American response” is not for the government to do more but for a billionaire to solicit help from Americans who make far less: his contribution amounts to 0.000125 of his net worth of roughly $40 billion, about the equivalent of a $5 donation for someone who makes $40,000 a year.

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Carbon Capture Will Require Large Public Subsidies to Support Coal and Gas Power

Posted June 15, 2020 by Anonymous
Natural gas power plant

Read time: 9 mins

In April, the Center for Global Energy Policy (CGEP) at Columbia University released a report concluding that, without major new subsidies from the American public, technologies for capturing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from coal and natural gas-fired power plants will remain uneconomical.

However, CGEP, which has a history of strongly supporting the interests of the fossil fuel industry, concludes in this report that the government should implement new publicly financed policies in order to ensure investors are willing to take the risk of investing in carbon capture — and use the public to backstop that risk so those investors make money. 

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Shell’s Falcon Pipeline Dogged by Issues with Drilling and Permit Uncertainty During Pandemic

Posted June 15, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Wolf Run Creek

Read time: 17 mins

Over the past few months, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, Shell Pipeline Company has pressed onward with the construction of a 97-mile pipeline running through Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Shell plans to use the Falcon pipeline to supply its $6 billion plastics plant currently being built in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, with ethane, a raw material pulled from shale wells in the state and from neighboring Ohio.

A DeSmog investigation found that Falcon’s construction has struggled with drilling problems and has continued even while one key water-crossing for the pipeline lacked state or federal permits. During that same time, vast numbers of other businesses in both states — including the Shell plastics plant itself — were forced to slow or stop activities in efforts to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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Trump is unwell

Posted June 14, 2020 by Anonymous

After yesterday’s West Point debacle – the water glass, the inability to say “McArthur”, the ramp, the tweet ABOUT the ramp – #TrumpIsUnwell is trending this morning on twitter. 

Along with all the jokes, there is this:

The media’s failure to meaningfully cover Trump’s cognitive and physical decline after obsessing about Hillary’s health is evidence of open misogyny at this point.

— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) June 14, 2020

Personally, I believe that Trump has a minor stroke last November – remember the fast and unscheduled “tour” of Walter Reed? – and he still has impairments on his right side. 

 On a lighter note, #ObamaDay is also trending twitter:

You’d think Republicans would be more worried about protecting the Constitution.

It’s the only thing preventing Barack Obama from being president again.#ObamaDayJune14th

— Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) June 14, 2020

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From Hurricane Maria to COVID, Gas Lobbyist-turned-Trump Energy Lawyer Uses Crises as ‘Opportunity’

Posted June 14, 2020 by Steve Horn
Bill Cooper being sworn in by Rick Perry

Read time: 14 mins

Among a string of recent environmental rollbacks, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aims to vastly narrow the scope of environmental reviews for those applying for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permits. The proposal has been guided by Bill Cooper, a former oil and gas industry lobbyist who’s now a top lawyer for the DOE.

On May 1, the DOE issued a proposal to limit environmental reviews for LNG export permit proposals so that the review applies to only the export process itself — literally “occurring at or after the point of export.” The rule would take off the table for consideration lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses, broader looks at both build-outs of pipelines and power plants attached to the export proposals, and other potential environmental impacts.

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Saturday Stories: COVID files

Posted June 13, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff
Dr. Stephan Kamholz – Chair of Medicine at Maimonides Medical Center, died of COVID19 on June 11th, 2020. May his memory be a blessing 

Sharon Begley and Helen Branswell, in STAT, spoke with 11 epidemiologists to explore what we need to ensure such that we don’t screw up dealing with COVID’s inevitable second wave.

Tomas Pueyo, in Medium, on whether we should all be striving to respond more like Sweden?

Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer, in The New York Times, with a coronavirus vaccine tracker.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, in The New York Times, moderates a discussion about whether or not a coronavirus vaccine can be produced in record time

Rachel R. Hardeman, Eduardo M. Medina, and Rhea W. Boyd, in The New England Journal of Medicine, discuss stolen breaths and racial inequities in medicine.

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