Lee Raymond, former ExxonMobil CEO, will resign from the JPMorgan board of directors at the end of the year.
Raymond was elected earlier this year to continue serving as the board's independent director through May 2021, a role he has held for the past seven years on a board on which he sat for one-third of a century. His early departure comes as JPMorgan faces increasing pressure from climate groups, shareholders, and the BankFwd campaign over the bank's financing of fossil fuel projects.
Raymond was the target of a major vote-out campaign by environmental groups earlier this year. At ExxonMobil, Raymond aggressively rejected the scientific reality of climate change and Exxon funneled millions of dollars to groups undermining climate science and denying climate change. JPMorgan remains the world's largest financier of fossil fuels.
For a deeper dive:
Manchin Seeks to Gut Key Climate Provision From Infrastructure Bill as West Virginia Suffers Worsening Floods
Meanwhile, their Senator, Democrat Joe Manchin has told the White House he strongly opposes a key, though relatively inexpensive, provision of the Build Back Better Act, according to reports from numerous outlets. The Clean Energy Performance Program, to which Manchin objects, incentivizes utilities to increase the amount of clean energy they supply to their customers.
Manchin's opposition puts the inclusion of the CEPP in the final legislation into serious jeopardy, and the reports were met with harsh condemnation from climate advocates.
"This is absolutely the most important climate policy in the package," climate and energy policy expert Leah Stokes told The New York Times. "We fundamentally need it to meet our climate goals. That's just the reality. And now we can't. So this is pretty sad."
Manchin has expressed concern about the overall cost of the bill, which is paid for by closing tax loopholes and increasing rates on wealthy individuals and corporations, but the CEPP costs just $150 billion out of the initial $3.5 trillion proposal. Manchin, who once shot a bullet through climate legislation in a TV ad, pulled down more than $400,000 of his $1.6 million Q3 fundraising haul from the oil and gas industry.
Joe Manchin and the fossil fuel industry don’t care if we make it out of this climate crisis dead or alive. This i… https://t.co/PKv3qAOpg4— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅) 1634395891.0
For a deeper dive:
WV Flooding: The New York Times; Manchin CEPP Opposition: The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Gizmodo, NPR, Reuters; Response: The Hill; Legislative prospects: The Washington Post, E&E News, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Axios, CBS, The Hill; Manchin fundraising: Bloomberg; Climate Signals background: Flooding, Extreme precipitation increase
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See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.
Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.
To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.
This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.
For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.
Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates
As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.
As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.
|Florida Solar Incentive||Program Overview|
|Florida Net Metering Programs||Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid|
|Florida Tax Exemptions||Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment|
|Local Incentives||Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations|
Florida Net Metering Programs
Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).
Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.
The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.
The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.
Florida Solar Tax Exemptions
Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.
Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.
Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.
You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.
For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.
FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives
Does Florida have a solar tax credit?
State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.
Is solar tax exempt in Florida?
In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.
How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?
For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.
Is Florida a good state for solar?
Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.
How much do solar panels cost in Florida?
Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.
To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.
By Jessica Corbett
While ExxonMobil's decades of sowing public doubt about climate science and the impact of fossil fuels have provoked various lawsuits, secretly recorded videos released Wednesday expose how the company continues to fight against U.S. efforts to tackle the climate emergency.
Published by Unearthed, Greenpeace UK's investigative journalism arm, and the British Channel 4 News, the footage of ExxonMobil lobbyists sparked new calls for congressional action to hold the oil and gas giant accountable.
The videos, obtained by Unearthed reporters posing as recruitment consultants, feature Keith McCoy, a senior director in ExxonMobil's Washington, DC government affairs team, and Dan Easley, who was a senior director for federal relations until leaving the company for a clean technologies firm earlier this year.
"In the midst of a deadly heatwave, the Exxon Tapes show how Exxon's climate lies have spanned from outright denial to puppeteering our government and economy," said Lindsay Meiman, 350.org's U.S. communications manager. "Exxon knew and lied about the climate crisis for decades, and our communities are bearing the costs."
"As the window for action quickly closes, this footage proves what we've known all along — Exxon continues to deliberately block necessary climate action to skirt accountability," Meiman added. "We demand Congress immediately investigate Exxon and fossil fuel companies' climate crimes, and make polluters pay for their destruction."
This tape only solidifies what we already knew: fossil fuel companies have lied to the public, regulators, & Congre… https://t.co/wZTmmWND1u— Rep. Ro Khanna (@Rep. Ro Khanna) 1625076904.0
McCoy said on the Zoom call, secretly recorded in May, that ExxonMobil cast doubt on the scientific consensus about the climate crisis and targeted centrist lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — "I talk to his office every week," the lobbyist claimed — to scale back President Joe Biden's infrastructure package.
"Did we aggressively fight against some of the science? Yes. Did we hide our science? Absolutely not," he said. "Did we join some of these 'shadow groups' to work against some of the early efforts? Yes, that's true. But there's nothing illegal about that. You know, we were looking out for our investments; we were looking out for our shareholders."
McCoy also said that "we're playing defense, because President Biden is talking about this big infrastructure package and he's going to pay for it by increasing corporate taxes. So it's a delicate balance we're asking for help with taxes over here [lobbying for subsidies for a carbon capture project] and we're saying, don't increase our taxes over here."
He further suggested that ExxonMobil's public support for a carbon tax is just an "effective advocacy tool," saying: "Nobody is going to propose a tax on all Americans and the cynical side of me says, yeah, we kind of know that, but it gives us a talking point that we can say, well what is ExxonMobil for? Well, we're for a carbon tax."
"A senior ExxonMobil lobbyist has been captured on camera revealing how the oil giant is using its power and influe… https://t.co/WxbefCQs0Y— Akshat Rathi (@Akshat Rathi) 1625076595.0
Easley, who was ExxonMobil's chief White House lobbyist when former President Donald Trump was in office, "laughed when asked by an undercover reporter if the company had achieved many big policy wins under Trump, before outlining victories on fossil fuel permitting and the renegotiation of the NAFTA trade agreement," Unearthed reported.
"You should Google 'ExxonMobil announcement' and 'Donald Trump,'" Easley said. "So he live-Facebooked from the West Wing our big drill in the Gulf project, he mentioned us in two States of the Union, we were able to get investor state dispute settlement protection in NAFTA, we were able to rationalize the permit environment and you know, get ton of permits out."
"The wins are such that it would be difficult... to categorize them all," Easley added. "I mean, tax has to be the biggest one right, the reduction of the corporate rate was, you know, it was probably worth billions to Exxon, so yeah there were a lot of wins."
In a statement, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer Darren Woods doubled down on past climate pledges and tried to distance the company from the footage:
Comments made by the individuals in no way represent the company's position on a variety of issues, including climate policy and our firm commitment that carbon pricing is important to addressing climate change. The individuals interviewed were never involved in developing the company's policy positions on the issues discussed.
We condemn the statements and are deeply apologetic for them, including comments regarding interactions with elected officials. They are entirely inconsistent with the way we expect our people to conduct themselves. We were shocked by these interviews and stand by our commitments to working on finding solutions to climate change.
However, climate experts and advocates pointed to the footage as confirmation of findings from previous investigations into the company.
Harvard University researcher Geoffrey Supran, who has published multiple scientific papers on the company's efforts to mislead the public, said the videos show that "ExxonMobil has been a bad-faith actor on climate change for 30 years, and it still is."
2/n: “I don’t believe the company has ever publicly acknowledged its role in climate denial," I tell @UE's… https://t.co/B8IYDJlIfB— Geoffrey Supran (@Geoffrey Supran) 1625076834.0
Since 2017, 26 U.S. state and local governments have filed lawsuits against major fossil fuel companies for deceiving the public about their products' role in the climate emergency, according to the Center for Climate Integrity (CCI).
CCI executive director Richard Wiles said Wednesday that "this bombshell recording confirms yet again that ExxonMobil simply cannot be trusted by policymakers."
"They lie about climate science and their products' role in the climate crisis," Wiles continued. "They lie about their commitment to climate solutions. And they lie to protect their bottom line, with no regard for the catastrophic damage their products continue to cause to our planet and everyone on it."
"It's time for members of Congress to stop doing the bidding of oil and gas lobbyists and executives who have no interest in solving the climate crisis," he added, "and instead hold them accountable."
I am near speechless. An Exxon official admitting, on camera, how the company works to prevent effective climate ac… https://t.co/tsx0mEoeMl— Emily Atkin (@Emily Atkin) 1625082607.0
Amid protests by climate advocates in Washington, DC this week, Democratic leaders are working out the details of a reconciliation package to pass alongside the bipartisan infrastructure bill Biden recently announced with centrists in Congress.
In his response to the ExxonMobil videos, Fossil Free Media director Jamie Henn focused on federal infrastructure legislation.
"If you'd been wondering who was to blame for putting Biden's climate agenda on life support, we now know: ExxonMobil," Henn said. "The recordings help clarify the battle lines for the next round of infrastructure negotiations: This is going to be a showdown between Exxon and the American people."
According to Henn, "The question for President Biden and members of Congress is: whose side are you on?"
"It isn't a coincidence that many of Exxon's 'key senators' are the ones that supported the bipartisan infrastructure package, instead of an actual plan to tackle the climate crisis," he added. "They're doing exactly what Exxon asked: Protect the company's profits at all costs."
"President Biden needs to show us he's not Exxon's puppet," Henn concluded, "by putting climate back at the heart of his agenda."
Unearthed, meanwhile, promised that in the coming days, its journalists will also reveal "claims that Exxon covertly fought to prevent a ban on toxic chemicals" and "how Exxon is using its playbook on climate change to head-off regulations on plastic."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By Chris McGreal
After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America's petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes.
An unprecedented wave of lawsuits, filed by cities and states across the US, aim to hold the oil and gas industry to account for the environmental devastation caused by fossil fuels – and covering up what they knew along the way.
Coastal cities struggling to keep rising sea levels at bay, midwestern states watching "mega-rains" destroy crops and homes, and fishing communities losing catches to warming waters, are now demanding the oil conglomerates pay damages and take urgent action to reduce further harm from burning fossil fuels.
But, even more strikingly, the nearly two dozen lawsuits are underpinned by accusations that the industry severely aggravated the environmental crisis with a decades-long campaign of lies and deceit to suppress warnings from their own scientists about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate and dupe the American public.
The environmentalist Bill McKibben once characterized the fossil fuel industry's behavior as "the most consequential cover-up in US history". And now for the first time in decades, the lawsuits chart a path toward public accountability that climate activists say has the potential to rival big tobacco's downfall after it concealed the real dangers of smoking.
"We are at an inflection point," said Daniel Farber, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment.
"Things have to get worse for the oil companies," he added. "Even if they've got a pretty good chance of winning the litigation in places, the discovery of pretty clearcut wrong doing – that they knew their product was bad and they were lying to the public – really weakens the industry's ability to resist legislation and settlements."
For decades, the country's leading oil and gas companies have understood the science of climate change and the dangers posed by fossil fuels. Year after year, top executives heard it from their own scientists whose warnings were explicit and often dire.
In 1979, an Exxon study said that burning fossil fuels "will cause dramatic environmental effects" in the coming decades.
"The potential problem is great and urgent," it concluded.
But instead of heeding the evidence of the research they were funding, major oil firms worked together to bury the findings and manufacture a counter narrative to undermine the growing scientific consensus around climate science. The fossil fuel industry's campaign to create uncertainty paid off for decades by muddying public understanding of the growing dangers from global heating and stalling political action.
The urgency of the crisis is not in doubt. A draft United Nations report, leaked last week, warns that the consequences of the climate crisis, including rising seas, intense heat and ecosystem collapse, will fundamentally reshape life on Earth in the coming decades even if fossil fuel emissions are curbed.
To investigate the lengths of the oil and gas industry's deceptions – and the disastrous consequences for communities across the country – the Guardian is launching a year-long series tracking the unprecedented efforts to hold the fossil fuel industry to account.
The legal process is expected to take years. Cities in California filed the first lawsuits back in 2017, and they have been tied down by disputes over jurisdiction, with the oil companies fighting with limited success to get them moved from state to federal courts where they think the law is more favorable.
But climate activists see opportunities long before verdicts are rendered in the US. The legal process is expected to add to already damning revelations of the energy giants' closely held secrets. If history is a guide, those developments could in turn alter public opinion in favor of regulations that the oil and gas companies spent years fighting off.
A string of other recent victories for climate activists already points to a shift in the industry's power.
Last month, a Dutch court ordered Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by the end of the decade. The same day, in Houston, an activist hedge fund forced three new directors on to the board of the US's largest oil firm, ExxonMobil, to address climate issues. Investors at Chevron also voted to cut emissions from the petroleum products it sells.
Earlier this month, developers of the Keystone XL pipeline cancelled the project after more than a decade of unrelenting opposition over environmental concerns. And although a federal court last year threw out a lawsuit brought by 21 young Americans who say the US government violated their constitutional rights by exacerbating climate change, the Biden administration recently agreed to settlement talks in a symbolic gesture aimed to appease younger voters.
For all that, American lawyers say the legal reasoning behind foreign court judgments are unlikely to carry much weight in the US and domestic law is largely untested. In 2018, a federal court knocked back New York City's initial attempt to force big oil to cover the costs of the climate crisis by saying that its global nature requires a political, not legal, remedy.
Other regional lawsuits are inching their way through the courts. From Charleston, South Carolina, to Boulder, Colorado, and Maui, Hawaii, communities are seeking to force the industry to use its huge profits to pay for the damage and to oblige energy companies to treat the climate crisis for what it is – a global emergency.
Municipalities such as Imperial Beach, California – the poorest city in San Diego county with a budget less than Exxon chief executive's annual pay – faces rising waters on three sides without the necessary funding to build protective barriers. They claim oil companies created a "public nuisance" by fuelling the climate crisis. They seek to recover the cost of repairing the damage and constructing defences.
The public nuisance claim, also pursued by Honolulu, San Francisco and Rhode Island, follows a legal strategy with a record of success in other types of litigation. In 2019, Oklahoma's attorney general won compensation of nearly half a billion dollars against the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson over its false marketing of powerful prescription painkillers on the grounds it created a public nuisance by contributing to the opioid epidemic in the state.
Other climate lawsuits, including one filed in Minnesota, allege the oil firms' campaigns of deception and denial about the climate crisis amount to fraud. Minnesota is suing Exxon, Koch Industries and an industry trade group for breaches of state law for deceptive trade practices, false advertising and consumer fraud over what the lawsuit characterises as distortions and lies about climate science.
The midwestern state, which has seen temperatures rise faster than the US and global averages, said scorching temperatures and "mega-rains" have devastated farming and flooded people out of their homes, with low-income and minority families most at risk.
Minnesota's attorney general, Keith Ellison, claims in his lawsuit that for years Exxon orchestrated a campaign to bury the evidence of environmental damage caused by burning fossil fuels "with disturbing success".
"Defendants spent millions on advertising and public relations because they understood that an accurate understanding of climate change would affect their ability to continue to earn profits by conducting business as usual," Ellison said in his lawsuit.
Farber said cases rooted in claims that the petroleum industry lied have the most promising chance of success.
"To the extent the plaintiffs can point to misconduct, like telling everybody there's no such thing as climate change when your scientists have told you the opposite, that might give the courts a greater feeling of comfort that they're not trying to take over the US energy system," he said.
Fighting the Facts
Almost all the lawsuits draw on the oil industry's own records as the foundation for claims that it covered up the growing threat to life caused by its products.
Shell, like other oil companies, had decades to prepare for those consequences after it was forewarned by its own research. In 1958, one of its executives, Charles Jones, presented a paper to the industry's trade group, the American Petroleum Institute (API), warning about increased carbon emissions from car exhaust. Other research followed through the 1960s, leading a White House advisory committee to express concern at "measurable and perhaps marked changes in climate" by 2000.
API's own reports flagged up "significant temperature changes" by the end of the twentieth century.
The largest oil company in the US, Exxon, was hearing the same from its researchers.
Year after year, Exxon scientists recorded the evidence about the dangers of burning fossil fuels. In 1978, its science adviser, James Black, warned that there was a "window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategy might become critical".
Exxon set up equipment on a supertanker, the Esso Atlantic, to monitor carbon dioxide in seawater and the air. In 1982, the company's scientists drew up a graph accurately plotting an increase in the globe's temperature to date.
"The 1980s revealed an established consensus among scientists," the Minnesota lawsuit against Exxon says. "A 1982 internal Exxon document … explicitly declares that the science was 'unanimous' and that climate change would 'bring about significant changes in the earth's climate'."
Then the monitoring on the Esso Atlantic was suddenly called off and other research downgraded.
What followed was what Naomi Oreskes, co-author of the report America Misled, called a "systematic, organised campaign by Exxon and other oil companies to sow doubt about the science and prevent meaningful action".
The report accused the energy companies of not only polluting the air but also "the information landscape" by replicating the cigarette makers' playbook of cherry-picking data, using fake experts and promoting conspiracy theories to attack a growing scientific consensus.
Many of the lawsuits draw on a raft of Exxon documents held at the University of Texas, and uncovered by the Columbia Journalism School and the Los Angeles Times in 2015.
Among them is a 1988 Exxon memo laying out a strategy to push for a "balanced scientific approach", which meant giving equal weight to hard evidence and climate change denialism. That move bore fruit in parts of the media into the 2000s as the oil industry repositioned global heating as theory, not fact, contributing to the most deep-rooted climate denialism in any developed country.
The company placed advertisements in major American newspapers to sow doubt. One in the New York Times in 2000, under the headline "Unsettled Science", compared climate data to changing weather forecasts. It claimed scientists were divided, when an overwhelming consensus already backed the evidence of a growing climate crisis, and said that the supposed doubts meant it was too soon to act.
Exxon's chairman and chief executive, Lee Raymond, told industry executives in 1996 that "scientific evidence remains inconclusive as to whether human activities affect global climate".
"It's a long and dangerous leap to conclude that we should, therefore, cut fossil fuel use," he said.
Documents show that his company's scientists were telling Exxon's management that the real danger lay in the failure to do exactly that.
In 2019, Martin Hoffert, a professor of physics at New York University, told a congressional hearing that as a consultant to Exxon on climate modelling in the 1980s, he worked on eight scientific papers for the company that showed fossil fuel burning was "increasingly having a perceptible influence on Earth's climate".
Hoffert said he "hoped that the work would help to persuade Exxon to invest in developing energy solutions the world needed". That was not the result.
"Exxon was publicly promoting views that its own scientists knew were wrong, and we knew that because we were the major group working on this. This was immoral and has greatly set back efforts to address climate change," said Hoffert.
"They deliberately created doubt when internal research confirmed how serious a threat it was. As a result, in my opinion, homes and livelihoods will likely be destroyed and lives lost."
Exxon worked alongside Chevron, Shell, BP and smaller oil firms to shift attention away from the growing climate crisis. They funded the industry's trade body, API, as it drew up a multimillion-dollar plan to ensure that "climate change becomes a non- issue" through disinformation. The plan said "victory will be achieved" when "recognition of uncertainties become part of the 'conventional wisdom'".
The fossil fuel industry also used its considerable resources to pour billions of dollars into political lobbying to block unfavourable laws and to fund front organisations with neutral and scientific-sounding names, such as the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). In 2001, the US state department told the GCC that President George W Bush rejected the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions "in part, based on input from you".
Exxon alone has funded more than 40 groups to deny climate science, including the George C Marshall Institute, which one lawsuit claims orchestrated a "sham petition" denying manmade global climate change. It was later denounced by the National Academy of Science as "a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists".
Drilling DownTo Sharon Eubanks the conspiracy to deny science sounded very familiar. From 2000, she led the US justice department's legal team against nine tobacco firms in one of the largest civil cases filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (Rico) Act, which was designed to combat organised crime.
In 2006, a federal judge found that the industry had spent decades committing a huge fraud on the American public by lying about the dangers of smoking and pushing cigarettes to young people.
Eubanks said that when she looked at the fossil fuel industry's strategy, she immediately recognised big tobacco's playbook.
"Big oil was engaged in exactly the same type of behaviour that the tobacco companies engaged in and were found liable for fraud on a massive scale," said Eubanks. "The cover-up, the denial of the problem, the funding of scientists to question the science. The same pattern. And some of the same lawyers represent both tobacco and big oil."
The danger for the fossil fuel industry is that the parallels do not end there.
The legal process is likely to oblige the oil conglomerates to turn over years of internal communications revealing what they knew about climate change, when and how they responded. Given what has already come out from Exxon, they are unlikely to help the industry's case.
Eubanks, who is now advising attorneys general and others suing the oil industry, said a turning point in her action against big tobacco came with the discovery of internal company memos in a state case in Minnesota. They included language that talked about recruiting young people as "replacement smokers" for those who died from cigarettes.
"I think the public was particularly stunned by some of the content of the documents and the talk about the need for bigger bags to take home all the money they were going to make from getting people to smoke," said Eubanks.
The exposure of the tobacco companies' internal communications shifted the public mood and the politics, helping to open the door to legislation to curb smoking that the industry had been successfully resisting for decades.
Farber, the Berkeley law professor, said the discovery process carries a similar danger for the oil companies because it is likely to expose yet more evidence that they set out to deceive. He said that will undercut any attempt by the energy giants to claim in court that they were ignorant of the damage they were causing.
Farber said it will also be difficult for the oil industry to resist the weight of US lawsuits, shareholder activism and shifting public and political opinion. "It might push them towards settlement or supporting legislation that releases some from liability in return for some major concessions such as a large tax to finance responses to climate change."
The alternative, said Farber, is to take their chance on judges and juries who may be increasingly inclined to take the climate crisis seriously.
"They may think this is an emergency that requires a response. That the oil companies should be held responsible for the harm they've caused and that could be very expensive," he said. "If they lose, it's catastrophic ultimately."
This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
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Researchers Warn of Looming Oil Spill Four Times Larger Than Exxon Valdez if Urgent Action Not Taken
By Andrea Germanos
A team of scientists issued a stark warning Tuesday that the possibility of averting an oil spill bigger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez catastrophe and "disastrous environmental and humanitarian consequences" posed by an abandoned oil tanker in the Red Sea are "quickly disappearing."
At issue is the corroding Safer, moored off the coast of Yemen and under control of Houthi rebels since 2015.
After blocking such efforts for years, Houthi authorities last month approved a United Nations plan to visit the tanker early in 2021. U.N. Environment Program executive director Inger Andersen warned in July that the vessel's deteriorating condition and the over 1 million barrels of oil it holds threaten long-term damage to local ecosystems.
In a policy brief published in Frontiers in Marine Science, researchers said the need to pump off the oil is urgent.
"A massive leak of over 1 million barrels of oil (4 times the Exxon Valdez tanker spill) is anticipated shortly off the coast of Yemen, in the Red Sea, where the Safer floating storage and offloading unit (FSO) is in the final stages of decay." That quantity, they continued, "guarantees a regional environmental and humanitarian disaster," with impacts certain to affect dozens of coastal countries and the sea's rich biodiversity, including its coral reefs.
Given the stakes, the paper called for the U.N. International Maritime Organization and U.N Secretary-General António Guterres to "take coordinated action and achieve access to the Safer by all means necessary in order to pump off the oil."
That action must happen before winter, they added, pointing to models showing that "winter oil dispersion will extend further north and into the center of the Red Sea as compared to a spill dispersing during summer."
"The time is now to prevent a potential devastation to the region's waters and the livelihoods and health of millions of people living in half a dozen countries along the Red Sea's coast," lead author Karine Kleinhaus, MD, MPH, an associate professor of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University, said in a statement.
"If a spill from the Safer is allowed to occur," she continued, "the oil would spread via ocean currents to devastate a global ocean resource, as the coral reefs of the northern Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba are projected to be among the last reef ecosystems in the world to survive the coming decades."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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In recent days, now-houseless survivors of Oregon's Bootleg Fire surveyed their incinerated communities, dozens huddled in a Colorado tunnel seeking shelter from a mudslide, and across the Eastern Hemisphere fires and landslides forced evacuations and took lives.
These, and other, impacts of human-caused climate change come as the U.S. Senate considers an infrastructure package largely stripped of its initial ambitions to combat climate change.
"West of the Mississippi we have droughts, fires and smoke, and east of the Mississippi there's flooding," Anne Golden, whose home was destroyed by the Bootleg Fire, told The New York Times. "It's biblical. It just feels like the plague and everything else."
In Colorado, mudslides set off by three days of heavy rainfall cascaded down a mountainside burned by the Grizzly Creek wildfire last year. The compound disaster blocked portions of I-70 with boulders and stranded motorists, including more than 100 forced to remain in their cars overnight.
Wildfires, fueled by dry heat linked to climate change, are also raging around the Mediterranean including on the Italian peninsula and in Sicily. In Turkey, "The animals are on fire," Kacarlar resident Muzeyyan Kacar told CNN; at least eight people have died in the more than 100 fires across the country. Wildfires and extreme heat also prompted closures and evacuations across Greece.
"Welcome to global warming!" George Papabeis, a Greek-American tourist in Athens told Reuters. Farther East, at least seven people were killed in a landslide in northern India set off by heavy monsoon rains. "I am 58-years-old and I have never seen such a severe flood in my life," Ved Prakash, a resident of Rajouri, told Reuters.
As reported by Truthout:
" ...infrastructure negotiations have done more to frustrate Democratic lawmakers and progressive movements than to give them something to celebrate. Progressives have been saying for months that they wouldn't support a bill that didn't sufficiently address the climate crisis, adopting the mantra "no climate, no deal."
The sharp cuts to climate provisions in the bipartisan deal are a sharp contrast from the $10 trillion climate, justice and infrastructure bill that progressives had introduced earlier this year, called the THRIVE Act. The bill aims to reduce emission while boosting justice initiatives over the next decade, and climate advocates have lauded it as one of the only proposals in Washington that comes close to matching the scale of the climate crisis.
For a deeper dive:
Global climate devastation: NPR; Infrastructure legislation: Truthout; Bootleg Fire: The New York Times; Colorado: Colorado Public Radio, AP; Mediterranean region: The New York Times; Italy: The Guardian, AP; Turkey: CNN, Axios, AP, The Guardian, AP; Greece: Reuters; India: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Wildfires, 2021 Western wildfire season; Extreme heat and heatwaves; Extreme precipitation increase
- Environmentalists Seek Climate Action in U.S. Infrastructure Bill ... ›
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- 'This Looks Like the Exxon Infrastructure Bill': Bipartisan Deal Omits Key Climate Protections ›
By Kenny Stancil
In a historic rebuke of fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil, shareholders on Wednesday voted to elect at least two people to the company's board of directors who were backed by activist investors eager to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
During Exxon's annual shareholder meeting, an activist hedge fund called Engine No. 1 — which "owns only about 0.02%" of the oil company's stock, according to climate reporter Emily Atkin — ran four of its own director candidates in opposition to the fossil fuel corporation's hand-picked board members. At least two of Engine No. 1's candidates won, with the races for additional boardroom seats too close to call as of this writing.
"The outcome is a sign that Exxon's morally inept and fiscally questionable long-term climate strategy is finally catching up with it," wrote Atkin.
Journalist Brian Kahn tweeted: "Hard to overstate how much Big Oil is getting its ass kicked today by courts and shareholders alike," before proceeding to highlight three major victories claimed by climate activists on Wednesday.
In addition to the shareholder revolt at Exxon, 61% Chevron's shareholders voted Wednesday in favor of slashing carbon emissions, and Royal Dutch Shell earlier in the day was ordered by a court in the Netherlands to reduce its carbon emissions 45% by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, as Common Dreams reported.
Hard to overstate how much Big Oil is getting its ass kicked today by courts and shareholders alike. 🔥Shell loses… https://t.co/1K6NY9xB1a— Brian Kahn (@Brian Kahn) 1622049489.0
"It's important to understand," explained a news dispatch by The New Republic about Exxon's board election, that Engine No. 1 "is fundamentally a financial company, not some kind of environmental justice collective." The outlet continued:
As such, its criticism of Exxon, outlined in an investor presentation, stems from the fundamental principle that "ExxonMobil has significantly underperformed and has failed to adjust its strategy to enhance long-term value." But the source of this underperformance, the hedge fund claims, is something approaching climate denial: "A refusal to accept that fossil fuel demand may decline in decades to come has led to a failure to take even initial steps towards evolution, and to obfuscating rather than addressing long-term business risk."
Environmentalist Bill McKibben emphasized that the election of Engine No. 1-nominated candidates to Exxon's board happened despite the company's "strenuous objections."
Jess Shankleman of Bloomberg News, meanwhile, described the news this way: "A tiny activist investor has just held a proxy referendum on Exxon's climate plans — and won."
The Guardian reported that the "rival upstart" received a boost when BlackRock — the world's biggest asset manager and the second largest shareholder at Exxon with a 6.7% ownership stake — threw its support behind three of Engine No. 1's four director candidates, all of whom "have a background in fossil fuels but leadership experience in green energy innovation... due to frustration with the company's refusal to take climate concerns seriously."
As Atkin noted:
Exxon's long-term strategy, you may remember, is to significantly ramp up oil production over the next decade, climate crisis be damned. The company released an absolutely laughable "climate plan" a few months ago, which allows the company to increase its carbon emissions in line with that strategy.
The oil giant has also faced heat in recent months for refusing to fully explain to investors how climate change poses a risk to the company; how much and to whom is it giving political contributions; and where its political lobbying efforts are focused.
While BlackRock "has previously pledged to make climate change central to its investments, and has received a good deal of praise for it," Atkin wrote, the financial giant "did not back all of Engine No. 1's candidates... [and] still likely voted to retain Exxon CEO Darren Woods — who has been central to pushing the oil giant's current strategy — as director of the board."
Environmental campaigners echoed Atkin, simultaneously celebrating Wednesday's surprise boardroom victory while calling for more far-reaching changes that are consistent with what scientists and climate justice advocates say is necessary.
"Make no mistake: the shareholder vote to shake-up Exxon's board represents a seismic shift for the company," said Ben Cushing, financial advocacy campaign manager at Sierra Club. "It's a culmination of years of activist energy and a result of massive shareholder frustration with the company's failure to change course on climate."
"However," Cushing added, "change must come from the top as well. And with Darren Woods still in charge of Exxon, we question if the new board members will be able to change course quickly or drastically enough. Exxon needs to stop greenwashing, align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and phase-out oil and gas production, starting now."
Roberta Giordano, finance program campaigner at The Sunrise Project, said that "what Engine No. 1 could accomplish with such a small ownership stake at Exxon is remarkable."
"Imagine what BlackRock, Vanguard, and other major asset managers could do if they really wanted to effect change at the major polluters of the world," Giordano continued.
"New board members are a start," she added, "but Exxon needs new leadership at the very top."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Citigroup and Exxon Make Important Climate Moves - EcoWatch ›
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Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.
Analysts said the layoffs are part of an effort by the beleaguered company to maintain its stock dividend despite sharply reduced demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
While other oil majors have leaned into reducing emissions and building out renewable energy, Exxon has doubled down on oil.
It plans to increase its greenhouse gas pollution in the coming years.
News of the layoffs comes as a former Exxon employee, who consistently received strong performance reviews and was widely respected by his colleagues, says he was pushed out of the company after he raised Exxon's climate denial in a Q&A session with company executives.
For a deeper dive:
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- Exxon Goes on Trial for Lying About the Climate Crisis - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon Sues Massachusetts Attorney General to Block Climate Fraud ... ›
- Citigroup and Exxon Make Important Climate Moves ›
ExxonMobil plans to increase its annual carbon-dioxide pollution by more than 20 million tons per year over the next five years, Bloomberg reports.
The increases, which come from the company's own analysis of its direct emissions, are equivalent to 17% of its current carbon pollution — about the yearly emissions of the country of Greece — but account for only about one-fifth of the total greenhouse gas pollution caused by burning Exxon's fossil fuel products. Unlike many European oil majors, Exxon has refused to make efforts to curb its greenhouse gas pollution. Earlier this year, Exxon was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average and it is currently facing lawsuits from about a dozen jurisdictions alleging it knew, withheld, and denied important information about the impact of fossil fuel consumption on climate change.
As reported by E&E News:
The Bloomberg report shines a spotlight on Exxon at a time when its large European rivals are announcing plans to boost investments in renewables and slash carbon emissions. The gulf has been building slowly for years.
BP and Shell are now among a host of European oil giants committing to net-zero emissions by midcentury. BP has gone further still, pledging to cut oil production 40% over the next decade. Shell is reportedly mulling a similar move.
For a deeper dive:
- Exxon Now Wants to Write the Rules for Regulating Methane ... ›
- 415 PPM: We Are All Part of Exxon's Unchartered Climate ... ›
- Why Is ExxonMobil Still Funding Climate Science Denier Groups ... ›
- ExxonMobil on Trial Over Climate 'Lies' - EcoWatch ›
- ExxonMobil Lambasted Over 'Grossly Insufficient' Emissions Reduction Plan - EcoWatch ›
- Citigroup and Exxon Make Important Climate Moves ›
- In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Rules Shell Must Abide by Paris Agreement ›
The plant is spewing high and dangerous amounts of smelly hydrogen sulfide gas and soot into the air above Catawba, South Carolina and nearby counties. While emergency orders have been issued to stop the smell created by the New-Indy Containerboard paper mill, no regulatory actions have been taken to curb their air pollution.
Issues began after an investment group led by Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots football team, acquired the mill in 2019 for about $300 million, Reuters reported. It was previously owned and run by Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Towards the end of 2020, the plant shut down to convert to making cardboard instead of bleached paper products. This manufacturing switch also led to a build up of fiber waste in collection bins, which likely elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide output, a New-Indy corrective action plan filed with regulators said, Reuters reported.
"Hydrogen sulfide is a gas formed by decaying organic matter — in this case waste from the paper mill," WFAE reported. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), absorbing hydrogen sulfide through the skin or inhaling it can cause everything from nausea and headaches to skin and eye irritation to delirium and convulsions.
In February, the New-Indy plant reopened after completing its processing conversion, and complaints began pouring in of a noxious smell, reported WBTV.
"Sour, pungent, sharp distinct smell," said Bridget Francis, who also lives in the nearby Legacy Park neighborhood, reported WBTV in March. The news agency described the fumes as "a smell so strong it is almost indescribable" and likened it to "rotten eggs, nail polish, sewage and more."
In March, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) told WBTV that the smell was not toxic and that they thought it could be related to the paper plant switching from white to cardboard processing. New Indy Containerboard paper plant is 25 minutes from the Legacy Park neighborhood.
Nevertheless, DHEC set up a complaints hotline. Since its inception in March, over 30,000 complaints have been filed about the smell, some even from North Carolinians. And, the issue wasn't just an olfactory nuisance: Some residents reported symptoms of nausea, headaches and burning in their eyes, throats and lungs, WBTV reported. These are the same symptoms that the CDC associates with exposure to hydrogen sulfide.
By April, DHEC discovered that the manufacturing change had indeed created a total reduced sulfide ("TRS") residual, which does often smell like rotting eggs. An Environmental Affairs Bureau of Air Quality Inspection/Investigation Report found that the New-Indy mill is exceeding its annual capacity for burning fuels by almost double the maximum allowed, WBTV reported.
According to Reuters, an April site visit to the mill by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uncovered hydrogen sulfide levels as high as 15,900 parts per billion. Breathing problems, headaches and nausea can occur from prolonged exposures between 2,000 and 5,000 parts per billion, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said, Reuters reported. Death can even occur from concentrated exposures, the news report added.
DHEC's investigation also uncovered issues related to the mill's handling of wastewater. WFAE reported that the mill began diverting "foul-smelling liquids" into an open-air lagoon instead of to their incinerator and steam stripper — devices used to remove contaminants from industrial waste before they are released — when it began its conversion to cardboard manufacturing in Nov. 2021.
Unfortunately, along with hydrogen sulfide, the mill also releases dangerous levels of soot. The amounts of soot even rival and beat the release levels of the country's largest oil refineries, Reuters reported. Despite this, no regulatory action has been taken against New-Indy for this air pollution crisis.
Soot is actually small particulate pollution, which is "among the most harmful pollutants," Reuters noted. In New-Indy's case, the soot comes from burning wet bark and old tires in power milling operations.
New-Indy's most recent stack test, from 2020, revealed small particle pollution that maxed out at nearly 300 pounds an hour, Reuters reported. This is as much as 50 times higher than other large U.S. paper mills, the news report noted after an examination of disclosures with the EPA. For contrast, the news report offered Exxon Mobil Corp's Baton Rouge oil refinery, which averaged 138 pounds an hour during its latest available stack test. This was already the highest among U.S. refiners, Reuters noted.
Despite this, regulators told Reuters that the mill's performance was "within federal limits."
New-Indy's 2016 stack test, conducted when it was still run by Resolute Forest Products, measured particulate matter production at the same boiler averaging around 100 pounds per hour, or 36% less than the 2020 average rate, the news report added.
Other comparable paper mills can operate with "only 13 pounds per hour of small particle pollution," Reuters noted.
"I haven't seen anything like this in 20 years," Amy Armstrong, executive director of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project (SCELP), told the news report.
In May, state and federal orders were finally given to New-Indy. The EPA issued an emergency order for the New-Indy plant to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions and to install air pollution monitors around the plant, Reuters reported. According to The State, DHEC's order merely asks New-Indy to check its regulations and equipment in order to decrease emissions.
In July, the federal government issued an injunction under the Clean Air Act against New-Indy, WSOC reported. Data from July 9 showed that hydrogen sulfide was still detected in all five neighborhoods where the monitors have been placed, the report noted. The injunction will serve "essentially [as] a follow-up" to make sure the company continues to follow requirements set by the EPA.
Additionally, three federal lawsuits have been filed against the mill owners, alleging that the odor is harming local families, WFAE reported.
Currently, residents are still awaiting a solution to their health and air pollution crisis. As one resident told the EPA, "We are prisoners in our own smelly home."
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By Jake Johnson
Footage of New Yorkers struggling to wade through filthy, waist-deep water at a Manhattan subway station as heavy rainfall engulfed the city's aging and long-neglected infrastructure on Thursday added fuel to progressive demands for a robust federal spending package that confronts the climate crisis — which is making such extreme weather more frequent and destructive.
"It's been raining for two hours and our infrastructure is flooding and overwhelmed," tweeted Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.). "Our infrastructure package must address the climate change crisis with the urgency it deserves — with massive investments in decarbonization and clean energy."
"The impacts of climate change are already here," Bowman added. "It is urgent that our infrastructure package makes significant investments to prepare for and mitigate future emergency weather events."
One New Yorker who witnessed the scene at Manhattan's 157th Street Station told Gothamist that "people were pacing back and forth deliberating whether they were going to brave the waters or not." The person described the water as "real disgusting."
Rain flooding the platform at spring street on the @mta 6 line... #mta #nyc #Elsa https://t.co/9jzqQcMaz0— ISSA KHARI (@ISSA KHARI) 1625779398.0
Other videos posted to social media on Thursday showed cars nearly halfway submerged in water as commuters attempted to navigate through the storm. One person was seen driving a jet ski on a badly flooded street.
"A 'bipartisan' infrastructure bill isn't big enough to stop climate change," said Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), referring to a $579 billion White House-endorsed package that includes hardly any climate funding — an omission progressives are attempting to remedy with a separate multitrillion-dollar bill that will move through the budget reconciliation process.
When there’s a flood in NYC, you know the Bronx was prepared to bring the jet skis out 😂😂😂 https://t.co/X8kgvh1G4b— Truthfully ‘THE EXCEPTIONAL’ Ruthless (@Truthfully ‘THE EXCEPTIONAL’ Ruthless) 1625783731.0
The fierce rainfall and heavy winds came as Tropical Storm Elsa made its way up the East Coast of the U.S., sparking tornadoes in Georgia and North Carolina and prompting warnings of additional flooding in the Northeast on Friday.
"Flash flood watches were in effect for parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut until noon on Friday, as Elsa was expected to deliver heavy rain across the area," the New York Times reported. "Transit officials, already girding for Elsa's arrival, said they had crews out across the city addressing the flooding problems as quickly as possible and warned against entering stations that might still be inundated."
The tropical storm hammered the Eastern U.S. as the Pacific Northwest grapples with a heatwave that experts have characterized as "the most extreme in world weather records." The historic temperatures, which reached as high as 121°F in British Columbia, killed hundreds of people — and more than a billion intertidal animals — in the U.S. and Canada.
On Wednesday, officials in Multnomah County, Oregon deemed the devastating heatwave a "mass casualty event" as the death toll in the state rose to 107.
A rapid-response analysis published earlier this week by a group of more than two dozen scientists found that the heatwave "would have been virtually impossible" in the absence of the human-caused climate crisis, and warned that such extreme events will become increasingly common without a major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
"Firenados in northern California. Ocean fires in the Gulf of Mexico. Subway waterfalls in New York City. A heat dome in the Northwest melting power cables, killing hundreds, and frying marine animals," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, tweeted Friday. "I have been told that combating climate change is expensive. Compared to what?"
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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'This Is Our Future' Without Climate Action, Advocates Warn After Pipeline Causes Fire in Gulf of Mexico
By Julia Conley
A fire that raged for hours in the Gulf of Mexico Friday offered the latest illustration of the climate emergency and the urgent need to end fossil fuel extraction and invest instead in burgeoning renewable energy industries.
An underwater gas pipeline controlled by Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, also known as Pemex, burst in the early morning hours, sending flames "resembling molten lava" to the water's surface.
The "eye of fire," as news outlets and observers on social media called the blaze after Pemex publicized the incident Friday night, happened about 150 yards from a drilling platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap offshore field. According to Bloomberg, the field produces more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day.
It took emergency workers about five hours to put out the flames.
"Having to put out a fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico feels just too difficult to believe," tweeted HuffPost editor Philip Lewis. "And yet..."
Having to put out a fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico feels just too difficult to believe and yet https://t.co/8OFNNiKyrj— philip lewis (@philip lewis) 1625263714.0
"The frightening footage of the Gulf of Mexico is showing the world that offshore drilling is dirty and dangerous," Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity, told the Washington Post. "These horrific accidents will continue to harm the Gulf if we don't end offshore drilling once and for all."
Pemex has seen production declining recently, according to Bloomberg, with output falling every year for the past decade and a half and putting the company into $114 billion in debt.
Entrepreneur and fair wage advocate Dan Price catalogued several of the past week's climate-related emergencies, including the fire in the gulf as well as deadly heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, which sparked outraged calls for climate action in recent days.
"The Gulf of Mexico is on fire, it's 112 degrees in Portland, roads and rails are crumbling from the sun, wildfire and hurricane season are here in record time and people are concerned about the cost of going green," said Price. "COMPARED TO WHAT?"
The pipeline burst days after undercover journalists released footage of lobbyists from fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil, in which the lobbyists discussed their fight against climate science and their reliance on centrist lawmakers such as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), and Jon Tester (D-Mt.) to ensure the failure of far-reaching climate action legislation.
The progressive advocacy group RootsAction released a version of the Gulf of Mexico fire footage with images of the centrist lawmakers.
We looped the Exxon lobbyist talking about the company's relationship with Joe Manchin and Joe Biden over the video… https://t.co/sy0kzVaSqS— RootsAction (@RootsAction) 1625273085.0
"This is our future," the group said of the image of the world's largest gulf on fire. "Don't forget who is responsible."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.