Big Data, Big Oil: Unveiling the 'Dark Forces' Behind Trump’s 2020 Reelection Campaign With Josh Fox
By Reynard Loki
Josh Fox, the Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind Gasland, the documentary that started the global anti-fracking movement, is bringing a new message to audiences across the country with The Truth Has Changed, a live theater-based project that sounds the alarm on the right-wing disinformation campaign working to secure President Trump's reelection.
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Reflecting on 2019, it is hard to grapple with the extent of this year's climate tragedies like massive wildfires and flooding. Yet even when things seem as dire as ever, there is continual news of progress, perseverance, and hope. And energy efficiency — the cheapest way to cut our energy waste and stave off climate change — is at the forefront of that progress and continues to be our planet's superhero, improving our health, creating high-quality jobs, and making our energy bills more affordable.
States Led (And Continue to Lead) the Way<p>With a Trump administration bent on stalling or dismantling efficiency efforts at every turn, states filled an important gap on setting efficiency <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/more-states-ever-are-pursuing-state-standards" target="_blank">standards</a> (so our gadgets use less energy) and in <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-ettenson/hoorah-states-pick-federal-clean-energy-slack" target="_blank">delivering building upgrades</a> (to cut energy waste and improve our comfort and health). The annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) scorecard shows where states are making progress and where more work is needed. </p><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2ODY2MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5ODQxODk2Nn0.W2qqmgvJqLaVgJLDKSSbhPVG85wabQaF29XDSREPD9g/img.png?width=980" id="d3c1e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c8733c79650104a4dc2dc0430d850945" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
State Scorecard / ACEEE
Here Are Just a Few State Examples:<ol><li><a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/more-states-ever-are-pursuing-state-standards" target="_blank">Washington</a>, <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/noah-horowitz/colorado-becomes-latest-state-safeguard-energy-efficiency" target="_blank">Colorado</a>, and <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/more-states-ever-are-pursuing-state-standards" target="_blank">Hawaii</a> adopted expanded energy and water efficiency standards, including for faucets, commercial kitchen equipment, computers, and more.</li><li>Illinois is moving forward with the <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/laura-goldberg/energy-efficiency-day-il-celebrating-ee-ceja" target="_blank">Clean Energy Jobs Act</a> to require 100 percent clean energy by 2050, including a significant <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/resources/gas-efficiency-saves-money-and-builds-stronger-illinois" target="_blank">increase in gas efficiency</a>, while ensuring that programs help the most vulnerable communities while creating good jobs. </li><li>Missouri recently <a href="https://www.efis.psc.mo.gov/mpsc/commoncomponents/view_itemno_details.asp?caseno=EO-2019-0132&attach_id=2020009017" target="_blank">approved</a> an improved set of efficiency programs that will help renters and owners of affordable multifamily housing cut costs and energy waste while protecting the health of residents.</li><li>Michigan now has its <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/ariana-gonzalez/dte-irp-find-out-what-it-means-mi" target="_blank">first long-term outlook</a> for how Consumers Energy will serve its customers with clean energy through its <a href="https://mi-psc.force.com/s/case/500t0000009haqBAAQ/in-the-matter-of-the-application-of-consumers-energy-company-for-approval-of-its-integrated-resource-plan-pursuant-to-mcl-4606t-and-for-other-relief" target="_blank">"clean and lean" plan</a>, which includes an impressive increase of energy efficiency.</li><li>New Jersey began <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/ada-statler/new-jersey-ready-realize-its-energy-efficiency-goals" target="_blank">implementing</a> groundbreaking efficiency <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/dale-bryk/catapulting-new-jersey-clean-energy-future" target="_blank">legislation</a> to ensure its utilities invest in all cost-effective energy efficiency, positioning itself to become a national leader.</li><li>New York adopted the nation-leading <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/miles-farmer/new-york-raises-bar-climate-action" target="_blank">Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act</a> setting a path to net-zero emissions (efficiency playing a major role) while helping to advance equity for disadvantaged communities.</li><li>California adopted a <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-ettenson/california-sets-bold-path-energy-efficiency-innovation" target="_blank">new framework</a> to launch innovative <a href="https://aceee.org/portal/market-transformation" target="_blank">market transformation</a> ideas to get even more efficient products onto store shelves, helping cut energy waste in the state and beyond as those improved technologies become the norm nationally.</li></ol>
Job and Emissions Benefits Were Made Crystal Clear<p>There is no doubt that with strong policies to ensure high-quality jobs (e.g., those with family-sustaining wages, good benefits, a safe work environment, and a path for advancement), efficiency can help spur significant work for all Americans.</p><p>An <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-ettenson/energy-efficiency-jobs-soar-now-make-them-available-all" target="_blank">analysis from the group E2</a> identified 2.3 million energy efficiency jobs based on <a href="https://www.usenergyjobs.org/" target="_blank">2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report</a> data. Energy efficiency accounted for half of the energy industry's overall net new jobs in 2018 and employs twice as many U.S. workers as the entire fossil fuel industry. The workers who make buildings and equipment more efficient are earning good salaries in jobs that can't be outsourced. <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/daniel-sawmiller/ohios-military-and-veterans-benefit-energy-efficiency" target="_blank">Many are military veterans</a>, just another reason why this summer's passage of the appalling <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/media/2019/190723-1" target="_blank">HB 6 bill gutting Ohio energy efficiency programs</a> was such a terrible move for the state and its workers.</p><img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjE2ODY3My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTMxOTMyMn0.jnrsnQdActswxJKUTECCqCzbjRpyvR25KCz1rmmx1QQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="4ec0c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1e6257240956c0be291cde925bf4f3f4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Denis Schroeder / NREL
National Standards Despite Trump<p>Several <a href="https://appliance-standards.org/national" target="_blank">new efficiency standards</a> approved by previous administrations took effect <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/furnace-fan-dehumidifier-efficiency-standards-take-effect" target="_blank">this year</a>. And while the Trump administration's DOE <a href="https://appliance-standards.org/sites/default/files/Missed_deadlines_as_of_June_2019.pdf" target="_blank">missed more legal deadlines for review of product standards</a>, NRDC and others are holding them to account. A federal appeals court recently <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/victory-trump-administration-must-publish-delayed-energy-efficiency-standards" target="_blank">ordered</a> the agency to take the final step on four standards, ensuring upward of $8.4 billion in utility bill savings and substantial reductions in carbon pollution.</p><p>Even with this great progress, we're still fighting over the rules for setting standards. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed new process would make it far <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lauren-urbanek/does-process-rule-more-harm-good" target="_blank">more difficult</a> to advance products that give us the same (or even better) service but use far less energy, which would mean lower energy bills.</p>
Looking Ahead<p>We are far from where we need to be in terms of cutting greenhouse gases and serving all communities. As we reflect on 2019, we can <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/ralph-cavanagh/electric-utilities-energy-efficiency-progress-2019" target="_blank">learn from our successes</a> and build upon our challenges to make even more progress in 2020.</p><ul><li>Make sure everyone has access to clean energy. Getting sufficient funding to serve the most vulnerable communities has been difficult, but the opportunities are enormous, <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/marissa-ramirez/new-video-achieving-energy-efficiency-all-renters" target="_blank">including cutting energy waste, improving health</a>, and reducing the <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/khalil-shahyd/study-highlights-energy-burden-households-and-how-energy-efficiency-can-help" target="_blank">energy burden</a>. Focusing efforts on these communities will not only help stave off climate change, it will improve their well-being, stimulate investment in their neighborhoods, and ensure that everyone is part of the clean energy transition. </li><li>Fight for our lighting rights. The Trump administration continues its crusade to turn back time on light bulbs. In its <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/noah-horowitz/does-latest-illegal-proposal-save-incandescent" target="_blank">latest proposal</a>, DOE would illegally permit energy-wasting versions of the regular pear-shaped bulbs to remain on store shelves indefinitely. <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/noah-horowitz/california-leads-way-again-time-light-bulbs" target="_blank">California, however, is again leading the way on efficiency</a> by prohibiting the sale of inefficient light bulbs in the state as of January 1, but the federal attacks on energy efficiency must end.</li><li>Keep up the state level work. Given the administration's denial of climate change and focus on advancing <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/trump-watch/list" target="_blank">industry interests</a> at the expense of everyday Americans, states MUST continue their leadership. Many states have great <a href="https://aceee.org/sector/state-policy" target="_blank">efficiency policies</a> in place and are poised for exciting progress, such as Virginia's opportunity to adopt an <a href="https://www.richmond.com/opinion/columnists/walton-shepherd-column-general-assembly-can-move-past-partisan-paralysis/article_a9050d22-6881-5c0a-bc53-b0925ff611e3.html" target="_blank">ambitious energy efficiency resource standard</a>, but other states require more work. Governors across the country have stepped up on <a href="http://www.usclimatealliance.org/" target="_blank">climate action</a>. It's time to do even more.</li></ul><p>There is no doubt that the <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-climate-change-what-you-need-know" target="_blank">climate crisis</a> is real. But as we come to the end of a harrowing year for the earth, we have much to look forward to in 2020. Working in collaboration with equity and workforce advocates, industry, and governments, we can create scalable, comprehensive, and effective energy efficiency actions to cut pollution, make energy more affordable for everyone, clean our air, and create high-quality jobs.</p>
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An international group of scientists released a report today detailing how the fossil fuel industry actively campaigned to sow doubt about the climate crisis and what steps need to be taken to undo the damage, as the Los Angeles Times reported.
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By Andy Rowell
Earlier this month, we collectively walked into the unknown.
We are all now a living experiment. Never before in human history have carbon dioxide levels reached 415 parts per million.
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Google has continued to curry political favor with staunch conservatives by making substantial financial contributions to more than a dozen groups that deny that the climate crisis is real, as The Guardian revealed in a bombshell investigation.
Thomas Hawk / Flickr
The country's largest fossil fuel company goes on trial today to face charges that it lied to investors about the safety of its assets in the face of the climate crisis and potential legislation to fight it, as the AP reported.
The attorney general for Washington, DC filed a lawsuit on Thursday against four of the largest energy companies, claiming that the companies have spent millions upon millions of dollars to deceive customers in about the calamitous effect fossil fuel extraction and emissions is having on the climate crisis, according to The Washington Post.
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In a 1965 speech to members, American Petroleum Institute president Frank Ikard outlined the findings of a report by then-president Lyndon Johnson's Science Advisory Committee, based in part on research the institute conducted in the 1950s.
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By David Korten
Our present course puts humans on track to be among the species that expire in Earth's ongoing sixth mass extinction. In my conversations with thoughtful people, I am finding increasing acceptance of this horrific premise.
By Ben Jervey
Billionaire libertarian activist and oil industry tycoon David Koch died on Friday, leaving a toxic legacy that includes helping birth the climate denial movement, fighting against regulations that protect worker and public health, and — critical to our work here on DeSmog's KochvsClean project — helping fund and coordinate a decades-long attack on clean energy and low carbon energy solutions.