By Jeff Turrentine
Tamara Lindeman certainly doesn't seem particularly anxious, or grief stricken, or angry. In fact, in a recent Zoom conversation, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter (who records and performs under the name The Weather Station) comes across as friendly, thoughtful, and a little shy.
Nevertheless, anxiety, grief, and anger are what fueled Lindeman's creative process for the making of Ignorance, her just-released fifth album. Over skittering drumbeats and densely layered sonic textures that hover somewhere between chilly and ethereal, Lindeman has crafted a 40-minute song cycle that examines our collective climate trauma as experienced through a single, highly agitated psyche.
"People are like, is it a political album? And I say no, it's an emotional album," she tells me. "I wasn't trying to write about these feelings; it's just that these were the feelings that I was having at the time, so they kept flowing through." Lindeman wrote more than 40 songs over the course of the winter of 2018–2019, much of which she spent in relative isolation. And when she wasn't writing, she was reading. "I had gone down the rabbit hole and had become obsessed with trying to understand the climate crisis," Lindeman says. "I was trying to figure out how I could be of use. Could I become an activist? Do I have that in me?"
Apparently she does. Lindeman joined the throngs who took to the streets as part of the "Fridays for Future" movement inspired by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. She studied the massive report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that warned of the catastrophic consequences of failing to curb global carbon emissions immediately. Lindeman even hosted a series of public talks on the subject, interviewing economists, activists, political figures, and other artists about the need for climate action.
Amid all of this, she continued to compose—moving away from the indie-folk that had defined The Weather Station's earlier albums toward a new style that incorporates jazz, chamber pop, and (especially) the lushly produced soundscapes of artists like Kate Bush and Sarah McLachlan. It's a style well suited for a song like "Robber," Ignorance's opening track, which sets a tone of foreboding that permeates the entire album. As strings swell nervously, Lindeman sings of a thief who
permission by words, permission of thanks, permission of laws, permission of banks,
white tablecloth dinners, convention centers.
It was all done real carefully.
"I wrote that song right after I had read an article about Exxon," Lindeman says. "I hadn't known the full story of Exxon—that long before most people knew about climate change, [Exxon] knew about it. Because they had researched it, as far back as 1981." After tasking its own scientists to study whether the burning of fossil fuels could lead to climate change, the oil giant sat on its findings for decades and even funded a vast network of climate deniers in order to maximize profits. "They had two paths," Lindeman says, "and they chose, actively, not just to allow it to happen, but to hide what they knew and to make it difficult for us as citizens to fight back."
Notably, "Robber" never mentions Exxon—or oil, or climate change, for that matter. As she does with all of the songs on Ignorance, Lindeman approaches her subject obliquely. There's no calling out of specific bad actors, and there's certainly no discussion of carbon emissions or sea level rise. She understands that such language would instantly and lethally deflate these songs, plunging them from the realm of art into the wide but shallow pool of didacticism.
Instead, Lindeman gives us something very much like poetry. In another song, "Trust," she makes a final appeal to a lover at what feels like the ending of a relationship:
Bring me all the evidence,
the baskets of wild roses,
the crumpled petals and misshapen heads of reeds and rushes,
the bodies of the common birds, robins, crows, and thrushes,
everything that I have loved and all the light touches,
while we still have time.
That the lover remains undefined—is it a person or a planet?—is another indication that Lindeman is less interested in preaching than in exploring feelings of profound loss through the use of concrete, if highly personalized, imagery. But this song, too, has its creative origins in a real-life incident. In this case it was the songwriter's despair at witnessing the Canadian government, in the form of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), attack and arrest members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in northern British Columbia for blocking a roadway in an attempt to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their ancestral lands.
"The RCMP was approaching with dogs and helicopters," Lindeman says, recalling the late-2019 event that led to the writing of "Trust." "They looked like an invading army. And I thought: This is my government." As she followed the conflict on social media, Lindeman recalls, all the lines of communication from the scene suddenly went dead. "No one knew why. There was, like, two hours where the WiFi in the area went down and people weren't able to communicate. And I wrote that song in those two hours, while people were waiting to find out what had happened and if people were OK."
Lindeman acknowledges some ambivalence about sharing the story, "because obviously it's not my story to tell—I'm not Indigenous," she says. "But I felt, as a citizen, an immense betrayal. This government that had been elected to take action on climate and Indigenous reconciliation had essentially invaded people's land in order to protect a pipeline company. And people were there chaining themselves to fences to stop it from happening. Somehow that filtered into the song. There are other things that went into it—from my life, from my subconscious. But that image was the crux of it. Why are we still having to argue over the value of something like water, or a landscape?"
It's not easy to make poignant, lasting art about climate change. The problem is so immense and all-encompassing that the vocabularies of music, poetry, theater, painting, or film can seem insufficient to the task, but in fact, they may be just what we need. As people and governments mobilize to address this global existential crisis, we need artists to check our work, to hold us accountable, to spur us on. And we need them to remind us of the human toll—both physical and emotional—as we head deeper into an uncertain future.
And we need to them to be as persistent as the tiny yet full-throated creature Lindeman memorializes in her song "Parking Lot":
Waiting outside the club in a parking lot
I watched some bird fly up and land on the rooftop
then up again into the sky, in and out of sight,
flying down again to land on the pavement.
It felt intimate to watch it,
its small chest rising and falling as it sang the same song
over and over and over and over again,
over the traffic and the noise.
Reposted with permission from Natural Resources Defense Council.
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By Sharon Kelly
What's the single word that fossil fuel giant ExxonMobil's flagship environmental reports to investors and the public tie most closely to climate change and global warming?
According to newly published research from Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes and Harvard research associate Geoffrey Supran, it's a simple four-letter word, one that carries overtones not only of danger, but also — crucially — of uncertainty: risk.
Oreskes and Supran argue in the peer-reviewed study published in the journal One Earth, that by repeating that word over and over as it discusses climate change ExxonMobil continues to connect climate change to uncertainty, even in its most carefully worded and most scrutinized discussions of the topic.
That tiny word is one sign of a massive change underway in how fossil fuel companies talk about climate change in places where it's no longer considered credible to contest climate science. Instead, Oreskes and Supran write, ExxonMobil's statements subtly shift responsibility for climate change onto the shoulders of consumers, while avoiding the need to describe in detail the risks that are posed by climate change.
And that, for the record, is a lot to gloss over — not just in terms of what scientists predict about the future, but in terms of what climate change has already played a role in bringing about. Last year, for example, tied with 2016 as the "warmest" year on record, according to NASA — 2020 brought a brutal drumbeat of climate-linked calamities, including a record-obliterating wildfire season on the West Coast that memorably turned skies orange and red and an extraordinarily intense Atlantic hurricane season.
The way that ExxonMobil talks about climate change, the paper suggests, lets the company thread a very specific rhetorical needle, communicating two ideas that fundamentally benefit their interests. "On the one hand, 'risk' rhetoric is weak enough to allow the company to maintain a position on climate science that is ambiguous, flexible, and unalarming," the researchers write. "On the other, it is strong enough — and prominent enough, in [New York Times] advertorials and elsewhere — that ExxonMobil may claim that the public has been well informed about [anthropogenic global warming]."
And if that approach feels a little familiar, maybe that's because it's very similar to the tactics used by another industry in the past: Big Tobacco.
"Akin to early, tepidly worded warning labels on cigarette packages, ExxonMobil's advertorials in America's newspaper of record help establish this claim, sometimes explicitly: 'Most people acknowledge that human-induced climate change is a long-term risk,' a 2001 advertorial states (emphases added)," the paper continues. "'The risk of climate change and its potential impacts on society and the ecosystem are widely recognized,' says another the following year."
And that's just one example of the ways that ExxonMobil's favored ideas about climate change — ideas like "we are all to blame" or "society must inevitably rely on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future" — can become embedded in conventional wisdom and creep into how people think and talk about climate change, the paper argues.
While the new paper is hardly the first to draw parallels between the fossil fuel and tobacco industries, what sets it apart is how the research was done.
"Our analysis is the first computational study illustrating how the fossil fuel industry has encouraged and embodied AGW [anthropogenic global warming] narratives fixated on individual responsibility," the paper says. The study used automated methods to analyze 180 ExxonMobil documents, 32 previously published internal company documents, and 76 New York Times "advertorials" where the company took positions on climate change. The authors believe that these methods of efficiently reviewing a large number of company records could prove useful later in litigation, where larger batches of documents may need review.
The number of climate liability lawsuits worldwide and in the U.S. continues to grow. A January 2021 United Nations report tallied 1,200 cases in the U.S. and 350 other lawsuits in nearly 40 other jurisdictions worldwide — nearly double the number of lawsuits underway three years ago by the report authors' count. Not all of those cases involve ExxonMobil — but some of the highest profile lawsuits include those filed by state attorneys general and state and local governments alleging that the company misled investors or consumers or others.
Supran and Oreskes have both assisted with legal briefs or served as expert witnesses in climate liability cases, but in an email to DeSmog, Supran noted that virtually all of that work has been done pro bono (with the sole exception that Oreskes once billed 3.5 hours for her work reviewing the historical accuracy of allegations in one 2017 case). Supran called their work and testimony in climate liability cases "a logical application of our knowledge and expertise."
ExxonMobil did not respond to a request for comment about their study from DeSmog.
As it has become less credible to contest the legitimacy of climate science, the paper notes, the company has shifted its rhetoric on climate to focus on "risk."
"In ExxonMobil Corp's 2005 Corporate Citizenship Report, for instance, which extensively questions whether AGW is human caused and serious, a member of the public [is quoted asking]: 'Why won't ExxonMobil recognize that climate change is real…?'" Oreskes and Supran write. "The company replies: 'ExxonMobil recognizes the risk of climate change and its potential impact' (emphases added)."
That subtle shift lets ExxonMobil "inject uncertainty" into conversations about climate change, the paper continues, "even while superficially appearing not to."
"We have also observed that, starting in the mid-2000s, ExxonMobil's statements of explicit doubt about climate science and its implications (for example, that 'there does not appear to be a consensus among scientists about the effect of fossil fuel use on climate') gave way to implicit acknowledgments couched in ambiguous statements about climate 'risk' (such as discussion of lower-carbon fuels for 'addressing the risks posed by rising greenhouse gas emissions,' without mention of [anthropogenic global warming])," the paper reports.
It's also a way of talking that also lets ExxonMobil leave out any description of what, exactly, is being put at risk, the paper notes.
The company's public messaging pits clear-cut descriptions of the benefits of using fossil fuels against the risks of climate change — but while it offers examples of the ways people find fossil fuels useful, ExxonMobil is a lot more vague about what, exactly, the risks associated with climate change are, the paper argues.
That's not for a lack of available scientific data. "Today, we are at 1.2 degrees of warming and already witnessing unprecedented climate extremes and volatility in every region and on every continent," U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said in a December 2020 address. "The science is crystal clear: to limit temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world needs to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6 per cent every year between now and 2030."
The biggest remaining questions about climate change don't concern the ways that our lives will be increasingly disrupted by extreme weather, wildfires, rising seas and the like. There's a strong body of scientific evidence that lets scientists make good predictions about what happens when we collectively burn fossil fuels at different rates. And a peer-reviewed study published last year in the journal Geophysical Research found that climate models dating back to the 1970s through 2007 have proved remarkably accurate
The biggest open questions are about policy and products, not about what the science shows.
The real source of uncertainty, in other words, is how long we will continue doing the things that cause climate change.
Polling shows that Americans' understandings of climate science have shifted dramatically in recent years. In 2014, NBC News recently reported, less than half of Americans polled believed that climate change was caused by human activity. Polls from 2020, however, show that now 57 percent of Americans cite human activity as causing climate change, a jump of roughly ten percent.
But there may still be times and places where not only is discussion of risk familiar and habitually framed in terms of risk management, but also where ExxonMobil's framing might find a particularly receptive audience.
Asked by DeSmog, Supran said that investors may be particularly vulnerable to what he called ExxonMobil's "fossil fuel savior" framing.
"Within this frame, the company is an innocent supplier, simply giving consumers what they demand. That is, ExxonMobil are the good guys who we should trust to address the climate risks that we, the public, brought upon ourselves," he said. "It's also worth noting that these modern forms of propaganda are increasingly subtle and insidious, and so being exposed to them ad nauseam, as shareholders are, could make them more vulnerable to this 'discursive grooming'."
Going forward, the new paper predicts that companies like ExxonMobil may continue to rely on the strategies developed by the tobacco industry.
"In their public relations messaging, industry asserts smokers' rights as individuals who are at liberty to smoke," the paper says. "In the context of litigation, industry asserts that those who choose to smoke are solely to blame for their injuries."
"ExxonMobil's framing is reminiscent of the tobacco industry's effort 'to diminish its own responsibility (and culpability) by casting itself as a kind of neutral innocent, buffeted by the forces of consumer demand,'" it continues. "It is widely recognized that the tobacco industry used, and continues to use, narrative frames of personal responsibility — often marketed as 'freedom of choice' — to combat public criticism, influence policy debates, and defend against litigation and regulation."
Reposted with permission from DeSmog.
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For anyone seeking a natural way to manage stress and anxiety, chronic pain, or inflammation, cannabidiol (CBD) presents an appealing natural alternative to find potential relief. Many in the CBD community claim that full spectrum CBD oils and products offer the most benefits. We'll explain the different types of CBD and offer our picks for the best full spectrum CBD oils.
If you're a newcomer to CBD oil, it is easy to get confused about the different types of CBD available and how they differ. First, you should know that CBD is one of more than 100+ cannabinoids (naturally occurring chemical compounds) found in the cannabis plant. If the word cannabis sets off alarms in your head, it's probably because you're equating it to marijuana. The difference is that marijuana gets you "high" because of the presence of another cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which possesses psychoactive properties. This is not CBD.
We'll get into the details later about how (and why) these different cannabinoids affect your body in the ways that they do, but the important thing to remember is that experiences can vary greatly based on the chemical composition of the product you're using.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Some of the most popular products on the market today are those that contain full spectrum CBD oil. While the delivery mechanism can be anything from a tincture you take under your tongue with a dropper to gummies you swallow, these are great products that contain more than just CBD.
Full spectrum CBD products incorporate additional parts of the cannabis plant, including other cannabinoids and terpenes, aromatics found in the plant's essential oils that supply the strain with its unique scent. Beyond just CBD, some of the other beneficial cannabinoids that you'll find in full spectrum CBD oil are trace amounts of THC, cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC).
Our Top Full Spectrum CBD Products
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best Overall CBD Oil - Spruce CBD Oil
- Strongest CBD Oil - CBDistillery
- Best CBD Oil for Recovery - Charlotte's Web
- Best CBD Oil for Daytime - Cornbread Hemp
- Best CBD Oil for Sleep - NuLeaf Naturals
- Best Organic CBD Oil - R+R Medicinals
- Best CBD Oil Flavors - FAB CBD
How We Chose These Full Spectrum CBD Oils
In choosing the best full spectrum CBD products, we evaluated each one on six key categories:
- Strength — How much CBD does the oil contain?
- Source — Does the company source their hemp in the USA?
- Flavor — Are the oils flavored, and do they use natural flavoring ingredients?
- Transparency — Can you easily access independent third-party lab results for the oil?
- Value — How much does the full spectrum oil cost?
- Customer Experience — What do customers say about the product?
The 8 Best Full Spectrum CBD Oils
Best Overall: Spruce Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Spruce is a family business that produces American-made, lab-grade CBD products of the highest quality. It offers its full-spectrum CBD oil in multiple strengths. The 750 mg strength provides 25 mg of CBD per serving, and comes in a natural peppermint flavor.
Why buy: We love Spruce CBD because they use organic hemp from North Carolina and Kentucky grown without pesticides. This full spectrum oil is made with organic hemp seed oil and natural flavors, and offers a potent dose of cannabinoids and beneficial plant compounds for a stronger entourage effect.
Strongest CBD Oil: CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil
CBDistillery is one of the CBD industry's most well-known and reputable brands. And when it comes to full-spectrum CBD oil, this brand delivers on its promise to create high-quality products made from non-GMO industrial hemp. At 83 mg of CBD per serving, their Maximum Strength Relief + Relax formula is the strongest full spectrum CBD oil on our list.
Why buy: We like that CBDistillery full spectrum CBD oils are all third-party lab tested and are created from U.S. Hemp Authority certified hemp grown using natural farming practices. This maximum strength oil is a great option for those who aren't getting the relief they need from lower strength oils.
Best CBD Oil for Recovery: Charlotte's Web Original Formula Full Spectrum CBD Oilcharlottesweb.comOriginal Formula CBD Oil
Made using a small-batch alcohol extraction method, Charlotte's Web Original Formula Full Spectrum CBD oil boasts a complete profile of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Their 50 mg per serving formula gives you all of the beneficial plant compounds from their Colorado-grown hemp with no artificial ingredients or flavorings.
Why buy: We love Charlotte's Web full spectrum CBD oil because it can provide a high-quality dose of plant compounds and extracts without any additives or dyes. Use this U.S. Hemp Authority certified product to help support your recovery from the gym or exercise.
Best CBD Oil for Daytime: Cornbread Hemp Distilled Full Spectrum CBD Oilcornbreadhemp.com
Cornbread Hemp Distilled Full Spectrum CBD oil is crafted from Kentucky-grown USDA organic hemp and USDA organic MCT oil for a product you can trust. It offers 25 mg or 50 mg of CBD plus naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes without any preservatives or flavorings.
Why buy: We love this full spectrum CBD oil from Cornbread Hemp because it is made from a unique flower-only hemp extract for a cleaner CBD oil with a lighter taste. This product is great for promoting a sense of calm throughout the day.
Best CBD Oil for Sleep: NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Oil
NuLeaf Naturals offers a simple yet powerful full spectrum CBD oil. It contains two ingredients: their full spectrum whole-plant extract from Colorado-grown hemp and an organic virgin hemp seed oil. They use an advanced clean Co2 extraction method that results in a fuller plant extract that's also easier on the environment.
Why buy: This full spectrum CBD oil from NuLeaf Naturals can provide a full range of the beneficial plant compounds that can work together to promote the entourage effect. We recommend this oil for help promoting rest and healthy sleep cycles at night.
Best Organic CBD Oil: R+R Medicinals Full Spectrum CBD Tincturerrmeds.com
R+R Medicinals makes a USDA organic full spectrum CBD oil that offers an extra-strength blend of phytocannabinoids. The 1000 mg size contains 33.33 mg of CBD per serving plus over 4 mg of minor cannabinoids like CBC, CBN, CBG, and THC for powerful relief potential.
Why buy: We like this full spectrum oil from R+R Medicinals because it packs so many beneficial cannabinoids plus organic MCT oil and organic mint flavoring into one bottle. This is a great option for a completely USDA organic CBD supplement.
Best CBD Oil Flavors: FAB CBD Full Spectrum CBD Oils
FAB CBD makes it easy to find the full spectrum CBD oil that's right for you. Their organically-grown full spectrum Colorado hemp extract is available in four different strengths and five different flavors, including Citrus, Mint, Natural, Berry, and Vanilla.
Why buy: We really like the options that FAB offers, from the flavors to the potency. The 300 mg size is a good choice for those new to CBD as it contains just 10 mg of CBD per serving in whichever flavor you choose.
The Research on Full Spectrum CBD Oil
While further study remains to be done, CBD has shown promise in studies for a number of different potential health benefits. Scientific research conducted on mice indicated that CBD and other cannabinoids can be effective in the management of difficult to treat pain.
Other animal and human studies have illustrated potential benefits of full spectrum CBD oil that include:
- Regulation of nausea and vomiting
- Reduction in the severity and frequency of seizures
- Management of neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
The reason why CBD has such a profound effect on the body is due to the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS works hard to keep your body in a state of balance called homeostasis so that your sleep, mood, appetite and other bodily functions remain stable. It does this by interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body.
One of the most significant advantages to full spectrum CBD oil comes courtesy of something called the entourage effect. This concept reinforces that the whole of the cannabis plant is greater than the sum of its parts—meaning that when multiple cannabinoids work together, the effects of each become supercharged and work synergistically to provide greater benefits.
What's the Difference Between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate?
Full spectrum CBD oil won't be for everyone. Some might be put off by the presence of both CBD and THC, while others may not enjoy the oil's earthy and musky flavor profile. The good news is there are several other categories of CBD products to dabble in that might make you feel more comfortable or that you find easier to stomach.
We already talked about how full spectrum CBD is derived from cannabis plants, but we should also mention that it comes from industrial hemp plants. These are cannabis Sativa plants that contain high concentrations of CBD and less than 0.3% THC, a ratio that legalizes the plant's contents on a national level, thanks to the passage of the 2018 United States Farm Bill. As mentioned, these hemp plants contain other cannabinoids and terpenes, making use of the whole plant.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you will find CBD isolate. Products that feature CBD isolate have been heavily purified and distilled to remove any and all terpenes and cannabinoids besides CBD. These THC-free products are great for anyone looking to take advantage of pure CBD's therapeutic properties without worrying about THC.
Broad spectrum CBD oil exists right in the middle of full spectrum and CBD isolate. Similar to CBD isolate, broad spectrum is THC free, but it does include some of the other terpenes and cannabinoids that you might find in full spectrum like CBN and CBG.
When Should I Use Full Spectrum CBD Oil?
There are definitely advantages to full spectrum CBD oil that you just can't get with CBD isolate or even broad spectrum. We generally recommend full spectrum products over other options because these CBD products tend to provide the most benefit and a fuller effect thanks to the complete profile of plant compounds. Full spectrum CBD oils are specifically great for supporting healthy sleep cycles and support managing chronic pain.
The main reason to consider a broad spectrum of CBD isolate product is to avoid ingesting any THC. CBD should never make you feel high, but products that contain even trace amounts of THC could cause a positive drug test. You should always keep that and your personal circumstances in mind as you select your CBD products. Also know when looking for the best CBD oils you can refine your search to select from only organic options.
How to Shop for Full Spectrum CBD Oils
In order to find the best full spectrum CBD product for you, there are a few things to consider. Here is what to remember when shopping for full spectrum CBD.
What to Look For
Concentration: Always make sure you know how much CBD an oil or edible contains, both per container and per individual serving.
Source: We recommend choosing brands that use hemp grown in the U.S. using natural or organic farming methods.
Testing: The most important thing to look for in any CBD product is proof of independent third-party lab testing.
How to Read Labels
These are the key pieces of information you should look for on the label of any full spectrum CBD oil.
- Strength - This is typically shown as milligrams of CBD per 1 mL serving.
- Lab Test Results - Most brands include information, or a QR code, for the lab test results of their CBD.
- Carrier Oil - CBD oil tinctures use carrier oils like MCT oil, olive oil, or hemp seed oil. If you have a food allergy, be sure to check the type of oil used in a product.
- Dosage Guide - Some CBD brands include a dosage guide on the label to help you measure the appropriate amount of CBD per serving.
How to Use
Full spectrum CBD oils can either be taken sublingually, in which you hold the oil under your tongue for 30 seconds or so before swallowing, or can be mixed into food and beverages. Depending on the amount of CBD you need per day, this can be done either once or twice per day. If you are taking a full spectrum CBD oil to help with insomnia or sleep, it's best to take those in the evening, an hour or so before bed. For support in managing stress or anxiety, you may want to take one serving in the morning and another serving in the evening. As with all CBD products, full spectrum CBD typically works best over time as it builds up in your system through consistent use.
Safety & Side Effects
According to the World Health Organization "CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile." Like any dietary or wellness supplement, however, it can cause a few mild side effects in certain people. These can include dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and changes in appetite. One important thing to note is that there can be a drug interaction between CBD and certain prescription medicines, especially blood thinners. If you're currently undergoing a course of medication or take a prescription medication, check with your physician to ensure you can safely add CBD to the mix before beginning.
The best full spectrum CBD oils may allow you to boost your wellness and enjoy natural relief through your own body's endocannabinoid system. Use our guide to make sure that you know what to look for when shopping and which brands to consider in order to get the best possible product for you.
Josh Hall has been professional writer and storyteller for more than 15 years. His work on natural health and cannabis has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.
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Even though 2020 lending was down 9% compared to the previous year, it was still higher than in 2016, when the Paris agreement took effect, and lending to the 100 fossil fuel companies with the biggest plans to expand actually rose by 10%. American and Canadian banks accounted for 13 of the 60 banks reviewed in the report, with JPMorgan Chase providing more fossil fuel financing than any other bank.
The report comes as pressure is mounting on financial institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels driving climate change and multiple banks have touted promises to cut and offset their greenhouse gas pollution, including JPMorgan, HSBC, and Citigroup.
As reported by The Guardian:
"When we look at the five years overall, the trend is still going in the wrong direction, which is obviously the exact opposite of where we need to be going to live up to the goals of the Paris Agreement," said Alison Kirsch, at Rainforest Action Network and an author of the report. "None of these 60 banks have made, without loopholes, a plan to exit fossil fuels."
"We have seen progress in restricting financing for special places like the Arctic or greenhouse-gas-intensive forms of oil, like tar sands, but these are such a small piece of the pie," she said.
For a deeper dive:
Correction: A previous version of this story stated wrongly that the biggest banks gave fossil fuel companies $32.8 trillion in financing. It is $3.8 trillion.
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By Andrea Germanos
ExxonMobil's Monday announcement of new targets for addressing greenhouse gas emissions was met with derision by climate advocates who called the plan "too little, too late."
The targets cover the next five years, include "input from shareholders," and — according to the fossil fuel company — are in line with the goals of the Paris climate accord.
While some aspects of the plan, like a reduction in "flaring" of natural gas, were welcomed, others, like Exxon's goal of reducing emissions intensity — not absolute emissions — came in for sharp scrutiny.
According to Reuters,
Exxon said it would start reporting so-called Scope 3 emissions in 2021, a large category of greenhouse gases emitted from fuels and products it sells to customers, such as jet fuel and gasoline.
By 2025, Exxon would reduce the intensity of its oilfield greenhouse gas emissions by 15% to 20% from 2016 levels. It did not set an overall emissions target, however, and reducing intensity means that emissions still could rise if oil and gas output grows.
The reduction would be supported by a 40%-50% decrease in methane intensity and a 35%-45% decrease in flaring intensity across Exxon's global operations, with routine natural gas flaring eliminated within a decade, the company said.
Youth-led climate group Sunrise Movement declared the targets "grossly insufficient" and took the company to task for not announcing an end to "exploration or extraction" or "lobbying against climate action."
Oil company executives (this you, @exxonmobil?) say they want to be a part of the solution. Just not if doing so r… https://t.co/TqmUUtH4ZM— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@Sunrise Movement 🌅)1607973746.0
"ExxonMobil's newly announced five-year plan is too little, too late," said Kathy Mulvey, accountability director in the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Rejecting Exxon's description, Mulvey said the pledges "fall far short of what is needed to meet the principal goal of the Paris agreement." She further accused the company dodging "its responsibility for heat-trapping emissions resulting from the burning of its oil and gas products."
"ExxonMobil now says it will disclose these emissions, which make up the lion's share — roughly 80 to 90 percent — of company emissions," she continued. "However, in the same breath ExxonMobil attempts to shift their responsibility to the consumers using its products exactly as the company intends them to be used."
Mulvey further pointed to Exxon being "the fourth leading contributor of global carbon dioxide and methane emissions from fossil fuel and cement industries over the last 50 years, during which time the company undeniably knew about its products' harmful climate impacts. This bait-and-switch, along with ExxonMobil's decades-long record of lying to consumers about the climate risks of its products, are reminiscent of the tobacco industry's tactics."
"Any company that fails to keep pace with what science demands," Mulvey continued, "threatens its future while endangering the rest of us with escalating climate impacts and systemic risks to the global economy."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon Now Wants to Write the Rules for Regulating Methane ... ›
- Shell's Latest Annual Report: More Greenwashing? - EcoWatch ›
By Andrea Germanos
Author and climate activist Bill McKibben welcomed Friday evening what he called "a milestone moment in the history of climate action" after JPMorgan Chase announced it was ousting former Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond from his longtime leadership position on the bank's board of directors.
"A truly huge win today," McKibben said in an earlier tweet. "Power is starting to shift."
BREAKING! #LeeRaymond DEMOTED but not DUMPED - take action now to get him OFF #JPMorgan #Chase's board:… https://t.co/pssU0dISJ0— Stop the Money Pipeline (@Stop the Money Pipeline)1588433194.0
The change was revealed in new SEC filing documents in which JPMorgan touts its "focus on refreshment" that includes having a new lead independent director by the end of this summer.
Raymond, who's earned the monikers "the Darth Vader of global warming wars" and "America's #1 climate denier," was a target of the Stop the Money Pipeline climate coalition, which urged the bank's biggest shareholders to vote Raymond off the board entirely when they meet later this month.
Their demand was buoyed by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
"On Earth Day last week, we launched a campaign urging JPMorgan Chase & Co shareholders to vote against the re-election of Lee Raymond to the board, based on his role as lead 'independent' director, long tenure on the board, and ties to fossil fuels," Stringer said in a statement Friday.
Raymond's removal as independent leader of the board marks "a tremendous victory for shareholders and for the planet," Stringer said, adding that it stands to "ensure improved oversight of the board and the company's long-term strategy when it comes to transitioning to a low carbon economy."
"But our work does not stop here," he continued. "JPMorgan has been the largest global lender and underwriter to the fossil fuel sector, providing $269 billion in financing to fossil fuel expansion from 2016 to 2019. The company needs to move away from financing the dirty fossil fuels of the past and toward the big, strategic clean energy investments of the future. There must be no place for a climate change denier and former Exxon CEO on JPMorgan's board."
Send an email directly to #BlackRock, #StateStreet & #Vanguard -- tell them to vote #LeeRaymond off #JPMorgan… https://t.co/JsCqTTIZHC— Stop the Money Pipeline (@Stop the Money Pipeline)1588433424.0
Eli Kasargod-Staub, executive director of shareholder advocacy organization Majority Action, concurred.
"Shareholders have demanded that JPMorgan Chase be held accountable for its failure to address the systemic risks presented by climate change, and the announcement to remove Raymond from the lead independent director position is a clear victory for long-term shareholder value and the mitigation of climate risk," said Kasargod-Staub.
But, he stressed, "JPMorgan Chase shareholders will be best served when Raymond is removed from the board entirely."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond Quits JPMorgan Board - EcoWatch ›
- 'A Seismic Shift' for Big Oil: Activist Investors Score Surprise Win With ExxonMobil Board Seats ›
And while the oil giant has been responsible for massive methane releases, Exxon has now proposed a new regulatory framework for cutting emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas that it hopes regulators and industry will adopt. As Exxon put it, the goal is to achieve "cost-effective and reasonable methane-emission regulations."
So, why is Exxon asking to be regulated?
The answer may be simply that Exxon is very good at public relations. As industry publication Natural Gas Intelligence reported, this announcement "comes as energy operators face increasing pressure from lenders and shareholders to engage in decarbonization by following environmental, social, and governance standards."
ExxonMobil is proposing new rules to cut methane emissions. We think it makes sense for industries to work together… https://t.co/NnLNZ2yO5O— ExxonMobil (@ExxonMobil)1583281279.0
Exxon's proposed regulations have three main objectives: finding and detecting leaks, minimizing the direct venting of methane as part of oil and gas operations, and record keeping and reporting.
Casey Norton, Exxon's Corporate Media Relations Manager, explained to DeSmog that Exxon's proposal was not expected to be adopted as-is by regulatory agencies. "This is a starting point for conversations with policy makers and other regulators," he said. "For example, New Mexico, Argentina, the EU, who are all considering new regulations for methane emissions."
Under President Trump, the federal government last year rolled back Obama-era rules for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions and for restricting these emissions during drilling on public lands.
This isn't Exxon's first foray into voluntary regulations of methane. The corporation's natural gas subsidiary XTO started a voluntary methane emissions program in 2017. In June 2018, XTO noted that the voluntary program, which was mostly about replacing leaking valves, had reduced methane emissions by 7,200 metric tons since 2016.
However, leaking valves are not the biggest source of methane emissions. In February 2018, four months before XTO was touting the success of its methane reduction program, the company experienced the second largest methane leak in U.S. history. A gas well it operated in Ohio suffered a blowout, releasing huge amounts of the heat-trapping gas.
Did XTO's voluntary program accurately report this? As The New York Times reported, "XTO Energy said it could not immediately determine how much gas had leaked."
But a group of scientists using satellite data eventually did pin down the amount released — 120 metric tons an hour for 20 days. That adds up to roughly 50,000 metric tons more released than the 7,200 metric tons in reductions XTO was claiming months later. That one leak was estimated to be more than the methane emissions of the total oil and gas industry of countries like Norway.
As DeSmog reported, XTO is also flaring the most natural gas of any company in the Permian oil field (natural gas is almost 90 percent methane). While flaring isn't as bad for the climate as directly venting the methane into the atmosphere, it is increasing the levels of carbon dioxide and toxic air pollutants and is another problem the industry is saying it will address even as the practice continues on a large scale.
And now the same company is recommending that the rest of the industry and regulators adopt their approach to regulating methane emissions.
"It is not target-based, it is not volume-based," Exxon's Norton said. "Again, it's starting a conversation, saying these are things that you can look at."
Robert Howarth, a biogeochemist at Cornell University whose work focuses on methane emmissions in the oil and gas industry, drew attention to areas of Exxon's framework he thought were lacking. For starters, he pointed out that the proposed framework does not mention emissions from "imperfect well casings and from abandoned wells," which Howarth says "can be significant." He also noted that the proposal does not describe "a methodology for characterizing any of these emissions; there are techniques for doing so, but there is not much demonstrated use of these techniques by industry."
Finally — and this is the real danger with any sort of industry self-regulation — Howarth said there must be some type of independent oversight to assess actual emissions instead of relying on the industry to self-report. XTO's well blowout in Ohio is an excellent example of why this third-party verification is critical. Without oversight, the "system is ripe for abuse," according to Howarth.
Sharon Wilson of environmental advocacy group Earthworks documents the oil and gas industry's current widespread practices of flaring and venting methane. Sharing her concerns about Exxon's methane emissions proposal, she told DeSmog,"Exxon's recent announcement is too little too late when it comes to the climate crisis they've help cause and are still making worse. Reducing methane emissions by any percentage is not enough when Exxon continues to expand sources of the same climate pollution."
Wilson called for the company to support federal and state rules to cut methane.
Trump Administration Reversed Existing Methane Regulations
Methane emissions have become a much bigger issue in the last decade since the U.S. boom in shale oil and gas produced by fracking. Despite overseeing a huge rise in oil and gas production, the Obama administration acknowledged the methane problem and proposed and adopted new methane emissions regulations, which the Trump administration has since repealed.
The Trump administration has staffed regulatory agencies with former industry executives and lobbyists who have been quite successful at rolling back environmental, health, and safety rules.
"EPA's proposal delivers on President Trump's executive order and removes unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry," Wheeler said. "The Trump administration recognizes that methane is valuable, and the industry has an incentive to minimize leaks and maximize its use."
The problem with this free-market assumption is that Wheeler is wrong about the industry's financial incentive to limit methane emissions.
The unreal natural gas prices in the #Permian get even more unreal: Nat gas at the Waha hub (near El Paso) have ho… https://t.co/Zfj0XfXIJh— Javier Blas (@Javier Blas)1554326358.0
There is too much natural gas, aka methane, flooding world energy markets right now. Current prices to buy it are lower than the costs to produce it. The methane currently produced in Texas' Permian Basin spent a good portion of last year at negative prices. There is no financial incentive for producers in the Permian to voluntarily cut methane emissions in the current market environment.
That is why Permian producers are flaring (openly burning) it at record levels as well as directly releasing (venting) methane into the rapidly warming atmosphere. So much for letting the free market address the issue.
Even the Remaining Regulations Are Controlled by Industry
While the Trump administration has rolled back many regulations for the oil and gas industry, the regulatory system in the U.S. was already designed to protect industry profits — not the public or environment. When the federal government creates regulations, the process can be heavily influenced by industry lobbyists, and if they don't agree with the regulations, there are many ways they can get them revised to favor their companies.
While Exxon did publicly say in 2018 that it didn't support repealing the existing methane regulations, the company also wrote to the EPA voicing support for certain aspects of the American Petroleum Institute's (API) comments on the issue, and the API approved removing the regulations. In that letter Exxon used the same language it is now using with its propsed regulations, saying any rules need to be "cost-effective" and "reasonable." But if the regulations are cost-effective, will they actually be effective in reducing methane emissions in a meaningful way?
Excerpt from Exxon letter to EPA about methane regulations. ExxonMobil
The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the influence that the oil and gas industry and its major U.S. trade group the American Petroleum Institute can have over regulations. After the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government put into place new safeguards known as the "well control rule" in order to prevent another disaster during deepwater offshore drilling.
In 2019, the Trump administration revised the rule, weakening it, even though, as the Journal reported, federal regulatory staff did not agree "that an industry-crafted protocol for managing well pressure was sufficient in all situations, the records show." The staff was ignored. (And the move is undergoing a legal challenge.)
Industry crafted protocol. Just the thing Exxon is now proposing.
This type of industry control over the regulatory process was also brought to light after two Boeing 737 MAX planes crashed and killed 346 people. Boeing had fought to make sure that pilots weren't required to undergo expensive and lengthy training to navigate the new plane.
Reuters reported on internal communications at Boeing which revealed the airplane maker simply would not let simulator training be required by regulators:
"I want to stress the importance of holding firm that there will not be any type of simulator training required to transition from NG to MAX," Boeing's 737 chief technical pilot said in a March 2017 email.
"Boeing will not allow that to happen. We'll go face to face with any regulator who tries to make that a requirement."
Boeing got its way. And 346 people died.
Nearly a year after a second crash of a Boeing 737 MAX that led to its grounding, the full extent of the company’s… https://t.co/uUHyItbBrD— The Daily Beast (@The Daily Beast)1583592004.0
For the past six years, I have reported on the failed regulatory process governing the moving of dangerous crude oil by rail (and even wrote a book about it). The only meaningful safety regulation that resulted from a multi-year process was requiring oil trains to have modern electronically controlled pneumatic brakes.
As I reported, shortly after this regulation was enacted, Matthew Rose, CEO of the largest oil-by-rail company BNSF, told an industry conference that "the only thing we don't like about [the new regulation] is the electronic braking" and "this rule will have to be changed in the future." As per the wishes of Matthew Rose, that rule was repealed despite the substantial evidence clearly showing this modern braking system greatly increases train safety.
A recent op-ed from an editor at the trade publication Railway Age referred to these oil trains as a "clear and present danger." Nevertheless, these trains hauling volatile oil through North American communities are still operating with braking systems engineered in the late 1800s.
Exxon Touts 'Sound Science' Despite Its History
Exxon's methane proposal states that any regulations should be based on "sound science." This statement is coming from a company whose scientists accurately predicted the impacts of burning fossil fuels on the climate decades ago and yet has spent the time since then misleading the public about that science.
The current regulatory system in America does not protect the public interest. Letting Exxon take the lead in the place of regulators doesn't seem like it's going to help.
Megan Milliken Biven is a former federal analyst for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that regulates the oil industry's offshore activity. Milliken Biven explained to DeSmog what she saw as the root cause of the regulatory process's failure.
"Regulatory capture isn't really the problem," Milliken Biven said. "The system was designed to work for industry so regulatory capture isn't even required."
Reposted with permission from DeSmog.
- Methane Reporting Gap Widens in Oil and Gas Industry - EcoWatch ›
- EPA Expected to Allow More Methane Emissions From Oil and Gas Industry - EcoWatch ›
- Exxon Plans to Increase Its Climate Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Scientists Say Methane Release Is Starting in Arctic Ocean. How Concerned Should We Be? - EcoWatch ›
- ExxonMobil Lambasted Over 'Grossly Insufficient' Emissions Reduction Plan - EcoWatch ›
By Nik Martin
In April, the price of oil turned negative for the first time in history, just after the coronavirus pandemic hit. As lockdowns were ordered across the world, demand for black gold plummeted, prompting producers to literally pay buyers to take the commodity off their hands.
The price collapse was exacerbated by the Saudi-Russian price war which blew up around the same time, after Moscow refused to moderate oil production to keep prices at a reasonable level. Overproduction, particularly by US shale producers, amplified the effects of the worst oil crisis in decades.
In the first nine months of this year, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Total made a total loss of $36.4 billion (€30.6 billion), compared with last year's $50 billion in profit. As investors took flight, the oil majors were forced to slash costs.
Investment Slashed, Jobs Cut
Exxon, once the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company, said in the summer that capital expenditure would shrink by 20%, and just last week, announced it would cut 15% of its workforce — shedding some 50,000 jobs. Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and others have made similar moves, with most slashing investor dividends for the first time in years.
"The next few years are going to be very difficult," Helal Miah, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, told DW. "But the oil majors have done it before. During the financial crisis, these companies were very good at slashing costs."
Dozens of smaller firms, however, will struggle to survive. The New York Times reported that more than 50 North American oil and gas companies had already sought bankruptcy protection this year. Many of them took huge risks and even bigger loans to try to compete with the majors.
This fall, the second wave of the pandemic has forced renewed lockdowns across Europe and will likely prompt a more robust response from US President-elect Joe Biden, who has vowed to create a pandemic task force as soon as he takes office in January. Those measures could cause a further shakeout.
"The longer the pandemic goes on, the more we'll see the smaller and mid-cap sized oil companies go under, or be taken over by the larger ones," Miah added.
ConocoPhillips last month bought the independent exploration firm Concho Resources, days after Chevron completed the takeover of rival Noble Energy.
Peak Demand or Bottom of Cycle?
Some analysts believe global oil demand may have already peaked, while others believe that if oil prices haven't already, they are close to bottoming out. Seven months on from the unprecedented negative oil price shock, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, one of the benchmarks for calculating oil prices, stood at $38.15 on Monday.
The price is still 67% lower than its 2014 peak of $114 a barrel, but closer to the $50 that most large oil companies need to break even. Exxon needs prices of around $75, according to analysts. All the same, the oil majors are not expected to reach their pre-COVID profitability levels until at least the end of 2022.
Already facing pressure to lead the energy transition and help the world ween itself off its fossil fuel addiction, oil giants have vowed to exploit the crisis to speed up investments in renewable energies.
"Prior to COVID this [energy transition] was a gradual trend," Peter Hitchens, oil analyst at the London-based Progressive Research, told DW. "The question is will COVID accelerate this trend?"
European firms like France's Total, the UK's BP and the Anglo-Dutch giant Shell have already begun to prioritize renewable energy, and plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. BP and Shell have announced major offshore wind projects this year.
US Oil Giants Shield by Trump
Their US counterparts, on the other hand, have enjoyed protection from outgoing US President Donald Trump's climate skepticism and continue to focus on their traditional oil and gas businesses. If the Biden administration reenters the Paris Climate Agreement, from which Trump withdrew six months after taking office, it will likely put pressure on American oil majors, although it is unlikely to curtail the drilling for hard-to- reach oil through fracking.
Biden has also hinted at building ties with OPEC members Iran and Venezuela, which are currently subject to harsh sanctions on their oil trade. The Democrats' plan for a huge infrastructure plan, dubbed the Green New Deal, to meet the climate change challenge will still require oil prices to be high enough to make clean energy alternatives to fossil fuels competitive.
Despite their moves to step up investment in renewables, the Share Centre's Miah sees oil firms still mostly profiting from fossil fuels in the medium term,
"If we look a decade ahead, I would say that they will still be majority oil and gas companies rather than renewables-focused," he told DW. He added that most investors still see oil as a sensible way of achieving "good, solid returns."
Investors Give Wide Berth
Some major London-based institutional investors have taken a different view, however. Asset managers Fidelity International and Sarasin & Partners have blacklisted the likes of Shell and BP over concerns that the green shift will cripple profits.
Last month, the Daily Mail reported that several asset managers have written to the oil majors requesting full transparency on the true value of their assets, including oil fields, which they claim could be rendered worthless if a slump in oil demand became more permanent.
Others, like Hitchens, see the fortunes of the oil industry tied in with the duration of the pandemic and how quickly oil demand recovers, once business and everyday life return to normal.
"The performance will very much reflect the movement in oil prices" and "very much depends on the economic recovery after COVID," he told DW.
Other analysts are more bullish and think big oil firms, with their deep pockets, have the strength to ride out their worst crisis. They say they'll likely acquire renewable energy firms and continue to thrive despite likely flat oil demand.
Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.
By Jessica Corbett
President-elect Joe Biden is facing renewed pressure to deliver on his promise of a bold climate agenda after a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could move forward with a Wednesday auction of fossil fuel drilling leases for federally protected lands in Alaska.
After decades of national debate over oil and gas development in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Republicans in Congress opened up the region to drilling with a provision in the so-called "tax scam" that President Donald Trump signed in 2017.
Late Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage declined to issue a preliminary injunction to block the auction. The request came from environmental groups and Indigenous people who are opposed to drilling in ANWR, which is home to over 280 species.
In a statement Wednesday, Mitch Jones, policy director at the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, urged Biden to prevent fossil fuel development in the refuge—and beyond—when he takes office in two weeks. The president-elect has previously said he "totally" opposes drilling in the ecologically sensitive region.
"Trump rushing through these lease sales as a final handout to his cronies in the oil and gas industry is outrageous, if not surprising," Jones declared. "Trump's consistent, willful ignorance of the realities of climate change has pushed our planet towards decades of increasing climate chaos."
"President-elect Biden can reverse these disastrous oil and gas industry plans by keeping his promise to ban fossil fuel extraction—including fracking—on our public lands and waters," he added. "This is a step he can, and must, take upon taking office."
Jones' call for Biden to intervene to protect ANWR's coastal plain came after environmental and Indigenous leaders expressed disappointment with Gleason's decision not to block the auction while also emphasizing that her ruling doesn't mark the end of their fight against drilling rights in the refuge.
Four lawsuits have been filed since August challenging the lease plans, according to Reuters. The National Audubon Society and other groups had argued that the auction shouldn't go forward until the broader challenge to the drilling is resolved.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that Erik Grafe, an Earthjustice attorney representing the Audubon Society, said the case "is by no means over."
"The court concluded only that for now there is no harm that justifies an injunction. It also recognized that such an action could come very soon with issuance of seismic permits," he said. "We will continue to press our case that the agency approved the program unlawfully and that its decision should be overturned."
We #StandWiththeGwichin in our collective fight to #ProtectTheArctic. Trump's last-ditch effort to extract fossil… https://t.co/uhaPPWiL6T— 350 dot org (@350 dot org)1609946284.0
Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee, which represents some of the area's Indigenous people, similarly said Tuesday that "today's ruling is disappointing but does nothing to change the strength of our lawsuit or our resolve."
Demientieff's people have relied on the region's Porcupine Caribou Herd for thousands of years. The Gwich'in call the coastal plain, which the caribou use as their calving grounds, "Iizhik Gwats'an Gwandaii Goodlit" or "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins."
As The Guardian reported ahead of the ruling Tuesday:
Oil from drilling west of the refuge, at Prudhoe Bay, has fueled the economic development the state has depended on to fill its coffers and write annual revenue checks to residents. That extraction also led to the most damaging oil spill in history, when the Exxon Valdez tanker spewed millions of barrels off Alaska's southern coast in 1989.
Prudhoe Bay "was the largest oil field ever discovered in North America. Since then we have had more than 1,500 square miles of oil and gas development in the Alaskan Arctic… but [ANWR] has been off limits," said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League.
"For us, it symbolizes just what's at stake here. If you can't draw a line at the tundra and keep this one area of the Arctic off limits, then the question is, where can you draw the line and what protected part or wildlife refuge in the United States will remain off limits?"
For the first-ever ANWR auction, the Bureau of Land Management "plans open bids from companies seeking 10-year leases," according to the Daily News. "Up for grabs to the highest bidder are 22 tracts on the refuge's coastal plain, most of them about 50,000 acres. Together, the tracts represent about 5% of the 19-million-acre refuge."
With the denial of the injunction lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will go forward today. The ind… https://t.co/B07NKdKD9w— Ctr4BioDiv Ocean (@Ctr4BioDiv Ocean)1609942310.0
It remains unclear if any fossil fuel companies will even bid on the leases—especially given that major U.S. banks, under pressure from environmental and Indigenous groups, have adopted policies of refusing to finance drilling in the Arctic, including ANWR, which was designated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1960.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Majority of U.S. Public Against Drilling ANWR; Oil Experts Think ... ›
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- ANWR Oil Lease Sale Is a Fail for Trump Admin - EcoWatch ›
- Court Ends Trump's Attempt to Allow Drilling in 128 Million Acres of Atlantic and Arctic Oceans ›
- Biden Suspends Oil Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge While Supporting Drilling Elsewhere in Alaska ›
By Jessica Corbett
"Another cog in the climate denial machine rattles loose."
So said Harvard University climate denial researcher Geoffrey Supran in response to a groundbreaking investigative report published Monday by E&E News revealing that scientists at auto giants General Motors and Ford Motor Co. "knew as early as the 1960s that car emissions caused climate change."
Those discoveries, notes E&E News reporter Maxine Joselow, "preceded decades of political lobbying by the two car giants that undermined global attempts to reduce emissions while stalling U.S. efforts to make vehicles cleaner."
Supran is co-director of the Climate Social Science Network and a research associate in Harvard's Department of the History of Science. He investigates the history of climate politics—particularly the communications, denial, and delay tactics of fossil fuel interests—alongside professor Naomi Oreskes, who also highlighted the revelations.
"There was never any doubt for a minute", former GM scientist Ruth Reck says of her pioneering climate science rese… https://t.co/DaYzkpPG7q— Geoffrey Supran (@Geoffrey Supran)1603721164.0
More details about what corporate America knew about #climatechange in the 1960s and 70s... and also how they funde… https://t.co/lSCrsvA44P— NaomiOreskes (@NaomiOreskes)1603723251.0
"From fossil fuel companies, to car manufacturers and utilities, we know it's not only Exxon that knew about the climate crisis decades ago," Lindsay Meiman of 350.org told Common Dreams on Monday, referencing previous reporting on climate research conducted and concealed for decades by oil giant ExxonMobil.
"Now, with climate disasters at our doorsteps, it's Black, Indigenous, and communities of color who bear the costs of these lies," Meiman added. "The silver lining: we know exactly who is responsible for the climate crisis. It's up to all of us to hold polluters and billionaires accountable for their deception and destruction."
Joselow's exposé is based on nearly five months of reporting as well as documents on GM from the General Motors Heritage Center and Wayne State University in Detroit, documents on Ford's climate research unearthed by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), and additional materials on both manufacturers provided by the Climate Investigations Centers.
According to E&E News:
Researchers at both automakers found strong evidence in the 1960s and '70s that human activity was warming the Earth. A primary culprit was the burning of fossil fuels, which released large quantities of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide that could trigger melting of polar ice sheets and other dire consequences.
A GM scientist presented her findings to at least three high-level executives at the company, including a former chairman and CEO. It's unclear whether similar warnings reached the top brass at Ford.
But in the following decades, both manufacturers largely failed to act on the knowledge that their products were heating the planet. Instead of shifting their business models away from fossil fuels, the companies invested heavily in gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. At the same time, the two carmakers privately donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that cast doubt on the scientific consensus on global warming.
While spokespeople for each company responded to the revelations by recognizing the reality of human-caused climate change and detailing to E&E News their respective efforts to reduce emissions by increasing production of electric vehicles, climate action advocates were outraged.
"It's jaw-dropping," Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media and co-founder of 350.org, told Common Dreams. "GM and Ford not only knew their cars were fueling the climate crisis, but anytime a political effort came together to address the emergency, they helped steer it into a ditch. Think of the millions of premature deaths from air pollution that could have been prevented if the world's largest automakers had committed to go all-electric back in the 1970s."
"This reporting drags the automakers back into the center of the climate fight," added Henn. "It puts immense pressure on them to support any new climate legislation or regulations, especially around electric vehicles and auto emissions. I think it also raises the question of whether GM and Ford should be included in future climate liability lawsuits."
Henn explained that unlike the major fossil fuel companies, who he called "irredeemable polluters," big auto companies like Ford and GM now have a choice to make. "They can get swept away with the likes of Exxon and Chevron or embrace a clean energy future by going all-electric and supporting mass transit," he said. "Activists will be working hard to make sure it's the latter."
Just like #ExxonKnew, General Motors + Ford have known for decades how they contribute to the climate crisis. Inst… https://t.co/noRVIUGiBt— 350 dot org (@350 dot org)1603728598.0
A critical, and damning, look at how #FordandGMKnew that vehicle emissions were driving climate change and they lob… https://t.co/nXJyEZQd4W— Allison Considine (@Allison Considine)1603723820.0
In a statement, CIEL president Carroll Muffett said the investigation "demonstrates auto companies were aware of emerging climate science and on notice of potential climate risks decades earlier than was previously recognized." The group also detailed key takeaways from the reporting:
- In a 1956 letter, Ford scientist Gilbert Plass rejected the idea that excess warming from burning fossil fuels poses "little danger to the Earth," observing that burning known reserves of fossil fuels would raise global temperatures by 7⁰C.
- In multiple articles written while at Ford, Plass detailed the science linking fossil fuel combustion to the planetary "greenhouse effect.""
- Ford continued an active program of climate-relevant research into the 1970s and beyond.
- General Motors employed its own climate scientists from the early 1970s, with a research focus on establishing competing theories of global warming.
- In testimony to Congress in 1967, a Ford executive argued against federal investments in electric vehicle research, arguing that industry was actively developing EV technology and would be ready to bring electric cars to market within a decade.
"Like the oil industry, leading car companies had early notice that the carbon dioxide emitted by their automotive products posed potential risks for the climate at a planetary scale," said Muffett. "Ford and GM had both the opportunity and the responsibility to design products that would reduce emissions, and warn the public of risks that couldn't be eliminated. Instead, they spent decades denying climate science and obstructing climate action."
In other words, Muffett added, "like the major oil and gas companies, leading car companies took a calculated risk that they—and the world—could delay action to address the drivers of climate change. We are all paying for that gamble."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By Martin Kuebler
More than 700 climate lawsuits have been filed around the world since 2015, according to the Climate Change Litigation Databases. That's a huge increase, considering there have only been about 1,700 of these types of cases since the late 1980s, most of them in the U.S.
In a recent long-running case, the Dutch Supreme Court — citing the European Convention on Human Rights — ruled in favor of environmental group the Urgenda Foundation and 900 citizens and ordered the Dutch government to reduce its greenhouse emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020. A few months later, the government announced €3 billion ($3.5 billion) in measures to drastically cut coal use and fund renewable energy projects.
Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma called it "an enormous win," telling The Guardian that the move would show "it is possible to use the law as a strategic instrument for change."
Here's an overview of this tactic, and others, that environmentalists are using to force climate action.
1. Defending Human Rights
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet believes the Urgenda case will set a precedent. "This landmark ruling provides a clear path forward for concerned individuals in Europe — and around the world — to undertake climate litigation in order to protect human rights," she said after the decision. The International Bar Association even released a model statute for such cases challenging government failure to act on climate change in early 2020.
Citizen groups have filed similar human rights cases in several EU countries over the past five years, including in France, Belgium and Ireland — the latter decided in the activists' favor in July 2020.
In February 2020, a group of nine young Germans led by Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer filed a human rights challenge to Germany's Federal Climate Protection Act (KSG). They're arguing that these targets — which aim to reduce emissions by 55% over the next decade — don't go far enough.
And in September 2020, six young Portuguese activists between the ages of 8 and 21 launched an unprecedented climate case at the European Court of Human Rights against the 27 EU member states, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Backed by the Global Legal Action Network, their aim is to force the nations to respect the 2015 Paris climate agreement and cut their emissions at home and abroad, where their multinational companies operate.
With many of the cases still ongoing, it's too soon for activists to know whether their strategy will prove successful in the long run. But they say wins in Ireland and the Netherlands have given them hope.
2. Standing up for Indigenous Rights
Another strategy focuses on the violation of Indigenous rights and racial discrimination, arguing that climate change exacerbates these contentious issues.
In November 2020, a group of political parties backed by NGOs filed a complaint against the Brazilian government for alleged failures to curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, a major contributor to climate change. They argue that government inaction has "violated the fundamental rights of Indigenous peoples" present and future. The case was in part inspired by a 2018 ruling by Colombia's highest court, which found that the Colombian rainforest was entitled to "protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration."
Earlier in 2020, representatives of the Wet'suwet'en Indigenous group in British Columbia filed a legal challenge against the Canadian government for failing to meet its commitments under several climate accords since the late 1980s.
"None of Canada's international commitments […] even if met, would have or will enable it to make its equitable contribution to reducing global warming to non-catastrophic levels," they said, arguing that this failure had breached their constitutional and human rights.
Legal challenges by Indigenous groups have met with less success over the years, especially in North America. But as the effects of climate change become more apparent, that could change.
3. Holding Major Polluters to Account
Activists and municipalities, especially in the U.S., are increasingly targeting major oil and gas companies directly, aiming in some cases to use awarded fines to fund climate mitigation plans.
In early 2018, New York City took five of the world's largest oil companies — BP, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC — to court for billions of dollars in compensation for the effects of climate change. Referencing devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was seeking damages to fund climate-resilient infrastructure and heat mitigation measures.
"The city is standing up and saying we will take our own action to protect our people," he told reporters. A federal judge threw out the lawsuit later that year, though the city has launched an appeal.
Local cases like these have also gone international. In 2015, Peruvian farmer Saul Luciano Lliuya filed a claim against German electricity producer RWE, alleging it had "willingly and knowingly" contributed to climate change and was responsible for increased flooding caused by glacial melt near his mountain home. He has asked the court to order RWE to reimburse him for 0.47% of the costs he is expected to incur for flood protection — RWE's estimated share in global total emissions from 1751 to 2010.
"Fossil fuel companies, like tobacco companies before them, have allowed governments to pay for the harms caused by their products," Korey Silverman-Roati, a climate law fellow at the Sabin Center, told Bloomberg in a recent interview. "As climate harms and costs continue to rise, more jurisdictions are likely to attempt to recoup their costs in court, and the pressure on courts to apportion those costs in a just way will only grow."
4. Protecting Livelihoods
Chevron, Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies are tied up in another climate case on the U.S. West Coast, where a fishing industry trade group took them to court in late 2018 for damaging their "productive livelihood and way of life."
The fishers allege the oil giants have contributed to increased ocean temperatures which have led to prolonged closures of the Dungeness crab fisheries, "the most lucrative and reliable fisheries on the West Coast."
Also in 2018, a group of families from across the EU, Kenya and Fiji filed a lawsuit against the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union for failing to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change and the threat to their livelihood.
Among the plaintiffs are lavender farmers from France, beekeepers in Portugal, an Italian family who works in the Alpine winter tourism industry and a group of Indigenous Sami youth from Sweden, who fear their reindeer herding culture is at risk. The group claims the EU's existing climate targets don't protect fundamental "rights to life, health, occupation and property."
The goal of court cases like this isn't always to win — in fact, the plaintiffs in the EU case aren't seeking compensation. Stefan Küper, press spokesperson for the NGO Germanwatch, told DW that such cases "draw attention to the issue and show other people suffering from the negative impacts of climate change that they are not alone."
5. Influencing Climate Investments
But financial incentives are still a proven path to success, as seen most recently in a landmark case in Australia where a $41 billion pension fund was sued by a fund member for investing in fossil fuels, an increasingly risky venture. The case was settled in early November 2020, with the pension fund pledging to achieve a "net zero carbon footprint for the fund by 2050."
Analysts expect the case to spur similar litigation around the world. "If investors are legally required to apply a climate risk lens to their portfolios, this could, for example, result in a significant reduction in investments in fossil fuels, many of which are already being viewed as stranded assets in a low-carbon future," said David Barnden, of the law firm that argued the case.
Reposted with permission from DW.
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- In Historic Ruling, Dutch Court Rules Shell Must Abide by Paris Agreement ›
By Julia Conley
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday denounced the "audacity" of oil giant Shell after it waded into the global discussion about the climate crisis by asking members of the public what they would do to reduce carbon emissions.
"I'm willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire time that fossil fuels emissions would destroy our planet," the New York Democrat and co-sponsor of the Green New Deal legislation replied.
I’m willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire t… https://t.co/0gwuy5P9h5— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1604335470.0
In the poll it posted to Twitter, Shell offered choices to the public including "stop flying," "buy an electric vehicle," and shifting to renewable electricity.
📊 What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions? #EnergyDebate— Shell (@Shell)1604306699.0
Coming from the world's third-largest company, which knew as early as 1988 that its extraction of oil and gas was linked to the heating of the planet, the question was seen by Ocasio-Cortez and other critics as a gross deflection of Shell's own responsibility.
"The audacity of Shell asking YOU what YOU'RE willing to do to reduce emissions," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "They're showing you RIGHT HERE how the suggestion that individual choices—not systems—are a main driver of climate change is a fossil fuel talking point."
The "good choices" American voters and lawmakers can make, the congresswoman added, are ones that will help "reign in fossil fuel corporations" that are actually fueling the destruction of the planet.
The journalism initiative Covering Climate Now called Shell's tweet "a textbook example of greenwashing."
Here’s a textbook example of “greenwashing” + corporations making it seem like climate change is a symptom of every… https://t.co/wL55Zx3yCh— Covering Climate Now (@Covering Climate Now)1604342982.0
Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Texas Tech Climate Center, echoed Ocasio-Cortez's disgust at the company as she noted that out of 90 companies in the world, Shell is the sixth-highest contributor to fossil fuel emissions in history.
"Yes, everyone must do their part—starting with the biggest emitters," Hayhoe tweeted, adding that the company has previously publicly suggested that individuals making changes to their daily habits is what will help save the planet.
Royal Dutch Shell is #6 on the list of 90 companies responsible for 2/3 of greenhouse gas emissions since the dawn… https://t.co/VKnFVwXtBm— Prof. Katharine Hayhoe (@Prof. Katharine Hayhoe)1604338110.0
Shell's tweet drew outrage from international climate action group Greenpeace, international lawmakers, and climate experts.
Hey Shell: you willing to change your entire business model? https://t.co/CnjSBScTFr— Leah Stokes (@Leah Stokes)1604345202.0
You polluted our planet, you funded climate change deniers, you fund the lobby to slow down climate protection laws… https://t.co/zgcXDaVjRA— Michael Bloss (@Michael Bloss)1604343245.0
We’re willing to fight for climate justice and for people not to fall for your dirty tricks, @Shell. Individual cho… https://t.co/s7ZyawxM4V— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1604349037.0
"What am I willing to do?" Hayhoe wrote in reply to Shell's poll question, which she later said was hidden on Twitter by the company. "Hold you accountable for 2% of cumulative global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to those of my entire home country of Canada. When you have a concrete plan to address that, I'd be happy to chat about what I'm doing to reduce my personal emissions."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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By Julia Conley
A new campaign unveiled this weekend by the nonprofit organization Fossil Free Media aims to expand on the goals of the fossil fuel divestment movement, cutting into oil and gas companies' profit margins through their public relations and ad campaigns.
Along with the support fossil fuel giants get from Wall Street, the industry has been propped up for decades by PR and advertising agencies that aren't always transparent about their relationships with companies including Shell, Exxon, and BP.
"PR and ad agencies pollute the airwaves so that fossil fuel companies can pollute the atmosphere," said Duncan Meisel, campaign manager for Fossil Free Media's project, titled Clean Creatives. "The spread of climate misinformation can be directly traced back to firms with names like WPP, Omnicom, and Edelman. As long as they continue to engage in polluter relations, these firms will be one of our greatest barriers to climate progress. It's time for PR and ad agencies to come clean."
Fossil fuel companies have spent more than $3.6 billion on advertising since the 1990s, increasingly focusing their efforts on convincing the public that they're concerned about the climate crisis and committed to "sustainability" even as they continue extracting planet-heating oil and gas.
Tens of millions of dollars also go into advertising by industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute (API), which paid PR firm Edelman $327.4 million between 2008 and 2017.
Clean Creatives' campaign will be a multi-pronged one, engaging directly with PR and ad firms as well as the creative artists who work for them—often helping to prop up the reputations of companies whose work is increasingly unpopular with the public—non-fossil fuel clients, and lawmakers.
The campaign "will be reaching out to creatives directly, including high profile directors and artists...who likely feel conflicted making propaganda for oil and gas companies," Clean Creatives said.
PR and ad companies' work for the fossil fuel industry is pushing the planet past the breaking point.… https://t.co/wOuDBM26ne— Clean Creatives (@Clean Creatives)1605974060.0
At its website, Clean Creatives urged creative artists in the PR and ad industries to take a pledge stating, "We are the heart of our industry, and our best brands want creatives that will help them find their purpose and make a difference—not take their money and then sit down with the biggest polluters on the planet."
"Sign the pledge if you are committed to using your power for good, not fossil fuels," the website reads.
The campaign will run targeted ads on LinkedIn and other social media to find employees who are willing to sign the pledge.
Clean Creatives will also expose the fossil fuel companies that major ad and PR agencies work with—information that often isn't made public by the agencies.
"Despite their sustainability goals and past pledges to stop working with climate deniers, nearly all of the world's largest PR and ad firms continue to work with fossil fuel industry clients," said Jamie Henn, founder of Fossil Free Media and producer of the Clean Creatives campaign. "WPP does business with Shell and Chevron, Omnicom's BBDO does much of ExxonMobil's advertising, Ogilvy runs branding exercises for BP. Our campaign will expose the depth and breadth of these relationships."
As the relationships are made public, Clean Creatives will engage with other clients who work with the agencies, calling on them to withhold their business unless they stop "spinning fossil fuel industry propaganda."
"Clean Creatives will be circulating a business sign-on letter via networks like the American Sustainable Business Council and the Ceres BICEP Network (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy) in the coming days," the group said.
Fossil Free Media was encouraged recently by global PR firm Porter Novelli, which announced it would cut ties with the American Public Gas Association (APGA) at the end of the year after 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben wrote about the relationship in The New Yorker in an article published Saturday.
Starting in 2017, the firm helped the APGA develop a campaign called "Natural Gas Genius," the message of which "was 'I choose natural gas to live better,' and the firm found a mid-tier Instagram influencer to help disseminate it."
According to the APGA, the campaign's "target audience is homeowners who are looking to buy or renovate a home in the next five years. We are confident in the ability of this new type of message that speaks to the emotional aspect of natural gas, to help us achieve our goal of increasing consumer consideration of natural gas direct use in their homes."
That is, they were trying to do the opposite of what climate science suggests. If you're buying a new home or renovating an old one, you can install an electric air-source heat pump instead of a gas boiler. It will heat (and also cool) your home effectively and cheaply, and produce far fewer greenhouse gases in the process. You can also install, instead of a gas stove, an induction cooktop—an appliance whose use is growing rapidly in Asia and Europe.
Responding to McKibben's inquiries, Porter Novelli announced it had "determined our work with the American Public Gas Association is incongruous with our increased focus and priority on addressing climate justice."
Fossil Free Media applauded the move, and the climate action movement's role in pushing the agency, on social media.
Porter Novelli isn't some small shop: they've got offices and clients in 60 countries and are part of @Omnicom, the… https://t.co/iw0BCmrdzx— Jamie Henn (@Jamie Henn)1605980652.0
"It's a BIG deal that they're dropping fossil fuel clients—let's make sure it's the drop that starts a flood," wrote Henn.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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