Suzanne Goldenberg

Emergency Declared by Governor as Massive Methane Leak in Los Angeles Spews Record Amounts of Pollution

California governor Jerry Brown declared an emergency on Wednesday in a Los Angeles neighborhood where a blown-out natural gas well has been spewing record amounts of global warming pollution.

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Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline in Victory for Environmental Activists

Barack Obama has rejected a proposal from TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the American heartland, the Guardian has learned, ending years of uncertainty about the project.

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Spring Coming Earlier in U.S. -  Thanks to Climate Change

Scientists have confirmed what gardeners have long suspected: spring is coming much earlier in the US, with plants projected to bud three weeks earlier by the end of the century because of climate change.

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Following Sexual Harassment Accusation, U.N. Climate Science Panel Elects First New Leader in 13 Years

The United Nations Nobel-winning climate science panel – the ultimate authority tracking the extent of global warming and its consequences for humanity – has a new leader after 13 years.

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Exxon Knew of Climate Change in 1981, Email Says - But It Funded Deniers for 27 More Years

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest oil company, knew as early as 1981 of climate change – seven years before it became a public issue, according to a newly discovered email from one of the firm’s own scientists. Despite this the firm spent millions over the next 27 years to promote climate denial.

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U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama's EPA Limits on Air Pollution

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down new rules for America’s biggest air polluters on Monday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.

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Are American Catholics Ready To Follow the Pope's 'Marching Orders' On Climate Change?

Leaders of the Catholic church in America took their “marching orders” from the pope’s encyclical on Thursday, fanning out to Congress and the White House to push for action on climate change.

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Secretive Donors Gave U.S. Climate Denial Groups $125 Million Over Three Years

The secretive funders behind America’s conservative movement directed around $125 million over three years to groups spreading disinformation about climate science and committed to wrecking Barack Obama’s climate change plan, according to an analysis of tax records.

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North American Scientists Call for End to Tar Sands Mining

More than 100 leading U.S. and Canadian scientists called for a halt on future mining of the tar sands, saying extraction of the carbon-heavy fuel was incompatible with fighting climate change.
    
In a letter published on Wednesday, the researchers said tar sands crude should be relegated to a fuel of last resort, because it causes so much more carbon pollution than conventional oil.
    
The letter, released two days after G7 countries committed to get off fossil fuels by the end of the century, added to growing international pressure on the Canadian government, which has championed the tar sands and is failing to meet its earlier climate goals.
    
“If Canada wants to participate constructively in the global effort to stop climate change, we should first stop expanding the oil sands. More growth simply shows Canada has gone rogue,” Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of governance innovation at the University of Waterloo, said in a statement.
    
The researchers included a Nobel prize winner, five holders of Canada’s highest national honor, and 34 researchers honored by Canadian and US scientific societies.
    
The researchers said it was the first time that scientists had come out as professionals in opposition to the tar sands. The letter offered 10 reasons for the moratorium call, ranging from extraction’s impact on local First Nations communities to destruction of boreal forests and climate change, and argued that foregoing tar sands production would not hurt the economy.
    
They said they hoped to present those findings to Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, who has lobbied hard in Washington and European capitals for the tar sands.
    
“We offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oil sands projects,” the scientists said in the letter.
    
“No new oil sands or related infrastructure projects should proceed unless consistent with an implemented plan to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, safeguard biodiversity, protect human health, and respect treaty rights.”
    
They said the decisions made by Canada and the US would set an important example for the international community, when it comes to fighting climate change. “The choices we make about the oil sands will reverberate globally, as other countries decide whether or how to develop their own large unconventional oil deposits,” the scientists said.
    
Since 2000, Canada has doubled tar sands production, and Harper has lobbied Barack Obama to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would open up new routes to market for Alberta oil.
    
The crash of oil prices will likely put some future projects on hold, but are unlikely to affect current production, analysts said.
    
The organizers of the letter said all future projects should be shelved unless Canada put in place safeguards to protect local people and environment and prevent climate change.
    
“The oil sands should be one of the first fuels we decide not to develop because of its carbon intensity,” said Thomas Sisk, professor of environmental science at Northern Arizona University, and one of the organizers of the letter.
    
“It is among the highest emitting fuels in terms of greenhouse gas emissions…If we are trying to address the climate crisis this high carbon intensive fuel should be among the first we forego as we move to an economy based around cleaner fuels.”
    
Wednesday’s intervention deepens an emerging political and economic distinction around coal and tar sands among climate campaigners.
    
As a fossil fuel divestment movement moves from college campuses to financial institutions, a number of prominent supporters, such as Rockefeller Brothers Fund, moved swiftly to ditch coal and tar sands holdings, but plan more gradual moves away from oil and gas.
    
Scientists agree that two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground to avoid warming above 2C, the internationally agreed threshold on catastrophic climate change.
    
The Guardian supports the fossil fuel divestment campaign, and has called on two of the world’s largest health charities, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, to rid its holdings of coal, oil, and gas.

Climate Denial Is Immoral, Says Head of U.S. Episcopal Church

The highest ranking woman in the Anglican communion has said climate denial is a “blind” and immoral position which rejects God’s gift of knowledge.

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Lobbyist Dubbed Dr Evil Behind Front Groups Attacking Obama Power Rules

To Washington insiders he is Dr Evil: the hidden orchestrator of industry campaigns against the Humane Society, Mothers against Drunk Driving, and other seemingly uncontroversial groups.

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Obama Administration Launches Plan to Save the Monarch Butterfly from Extinction

The Obama administration and conservation groups launched a plan on Monday to halt the death spiral of the monarch butterfly.

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Children Given Lifelong Ban on Talking About Fracking

Two young children in Pennsylvania were banned from talking about fracking for the rest of their lives under a gag order imposed under a settlement reached by their parents with a leading oil and gas company.

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Scientists: Humanity's Doomsday Clock Approaches Midnight

The symbolic doomsday clock moved to three minutes before midnight on Thursday because of the gathering dangers of climate change and nuclear proliferation, signaling the gravest threat to humanity since the throes of the cold war.

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Obama Moves to Cut U.S. Methane Emissions by Almost Half

Barack Obama will unveil a plan to cut methane emissions from America’s booming oil and gas industry by as much as 45% over the next decade in an attempt to cement his climate legacy during his remaining two years in the White House.

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Stanford Professors Urge Withdrawal From Fossil Fuel Investments

Three hundred professors at Stanford, including Nobel laureates and this year’s Fields medal winner, are calling on the university to rid itself of all fossil fuel investments, in a sign that the campus divestment movement is gathering force.

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Emboldened by GOP victories, ALEC Plans to Destroy Environmental Protections

The corporate lobbying network American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as Alec, is planning a new onslaught on a number of environmental protections next year when Republicans take control of Congress and a number of state legislatures.

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Big Ag Spending Millions to Defeat GMO Labeling Campaigns

Biotech and supermarket giants are spending more than $25 million to defeat ballot initiatives in two western states that would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms. In Colorado, DuPont and Monsanto food companies are outspending supporters of mandatory labeling by 22-1 ahead of the 4 November vote, according to state campaign finance records.

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Floods Will Become Frighteningly Frequent in East Coast Cities, New Report Shows

Dozens of America’s east coast cities face routine tidal flooding under climate change, researchers said on Wednesday.

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Catastrophic Environmental Meltdown: 35,000 Walruses Stranded on Alaskan Shore

The plight of thousands of walruses forced to crowd on to an Alaska beach because of disappearing sea ice has set off an all-out response from the US government to avoid a catastrophic stampede.

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Texas Proposes Rewriting School Books to Deny Manmade Climate Change

Texas has proposed re-writing school text books to incorporate passages denying the existence of climate change and promoting the discredited views of an ultra-conservative think tank.

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Drinking Water Contaminated by Fracking Boom in Texas and Pennslyvania, Says New Study

The natural gas boom resulting from fracking has contaminated drinking water in Texas and Pennsylvania, a new study said on Monday.

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Half of North America Bird Species Facing Extinction

Half of North America’s bird species, from common backyard visitors like the Baltimore oriole and the rufous hummingbird to wilderness dwellers like the common loon and bald eagle, are under threat from climate change and many could go extinct, an exhaustive new study has found.

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8 Charts That Show How Climate Change is Making the World More Dangerous

Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.

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Oklahoma's Fracking Wells Behind the Spate of Earthquakes

Scientists have, for the first time, linked hundreds of earthquakes across a broad swath of Oklahoma to a handful of wastewater wells used by the fracking industry.

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Obama to Unveil Historic Climate Change Plan to cut U.S. Carbon Pollution

President Barack Obama will unveil a plan on Monday that will cut carbon pollution from power plants and promote cap-and-trade, undertaking the most significant action on climate change in American history.

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Landmark Report: Climate Change Is Already Wreaking Havoc in America's Backyard

Climate change has moved from the corners of the earth into the American backyard, the country's leading scientists warned on Tuesday, saying they hoped a landmark report they prepared for the Obama administration would spur action to deal with the challenge.

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Almost Half of Americans Live With Unhealthy Levels of Air Pollution

Nearly half of all Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to an American Lung Association (ALA) report released Wednesday.

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U.N. Report: At-risk Cities Hold Solutions to Climate Change

It is already taking shape as the 21st century urban nightmare: a big storm hits a city like Shanghai, Mumbai, Miami or New York, knocking out power supply and waste treatment plants, washing out entire neighbourhoods and marooning the survivors in a toxic and foul-smelling swamp.

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UN: Climate Change Has Already Cut Global Food Supply, Caused Wars

Climate change has already cut into the global food supply and is fueling wars and natural disasters, but governments are unprepared to protect those most at risk, according to a report from the UN's climate science panel.

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White House Opens Door to New Rules to Cut Methane Emissions

The White House on Friday opened the way to cutting emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, saying it would study the magnitude of leaks of the powerful greenhouse gas.

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