While announcing an increase in exports from a Texas liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal Tuesday, the Department of Energy (DOE) referred to the energy source as "freedom gas."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Collin Rees
We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.
Photo credit: Emma Fiala
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In part of his ruling, Mr. Justice Dove found that the government had not taken up-to-date information on climate change into account when drafting its policy. This could make it easier for campaigners to challenge new fracking sites in the future on the basis of their climate impacts, The Guardian explained.
By Zoë Ducklow
1. Where Is the Unist'ot'en blockade, and What's It About?
The gated checkpoint is on a forest service road about 120 kilometers southwest of Smithers in Unist'ot'en territory at the Morice River Bridge. Two natural gas pipelines are to cross the bridge to serve LNG terminals in Kitimat. Unist'ot'en is a clan within the Wet'suwet'en Nation.
Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs claim title to the land, based on their pre-Confederation occupation and the fact that they've never signed a treaty. Their claim has not been proven in court.
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
Nebraska National Guard<p>"One inescapable finding of this report is that JPMorgan Chase is very clearly the world's worst banker of climate change," the report, titled "Banking on Climate Change," found. "The race was not even close: the $196 billion the bank poured into fossil fuels between 2016 and 2018 is nearly a third higher than the second-worst bank, Wells Fargo."</p><p>A half-dozen environmental groups — Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Sierra Club, Oil Change International, Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth — authored the 2019 report, which was endorsed by 160 organizations worldwide. It tracked the financing for 1,800 companies involved in extracting, transporting, burning, or storing fossil fuels or fossil-generated electricity and examined the roles played by banks worldwide.</p>
Global Snapshot of Fossil Fuel Sector Finance<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTI5MjA5OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTgzMzIyMH0.6xQW2eS1GKb5Cn10Kp-nsnfeqS6g9DyG6b8nBGZFpPE/img.png?width=980" id="4268c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d48dfc0c12098871af79e8935e1b6cd9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Total fossil fuel financing, in billions of U.S. dollars, by bank and year, 2016-2018.
More Money for Fossil Fuels Since Paris Agreement<p>All told, financial backing for fossil fuel projects has grown, not shrunk, each year since the Paris agreement, the report found. Banks provided $612 billion for fossil projects in 2016, $646 billion in 2017, and $654 billion in 2018.</p><p>That's despite the fact that Article 2 of the Paris agreement <a href="https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf" target="_blank">calls</a> for "[m]aking finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development" — and in the run-up to Paris, major banks positioned themselves as supporting a strong global response to climate change.</p><p>"Scientific research finds that an increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is warming the planet, posing significant risks to the prosperity and growth of the global economy," JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley wrote in <a href="https://www.greenbiz.com/article/six-largest-us-banks-call-strong-cop21-agreement-and-carbon-pricing" target="_blank">a 2015 statement</a>. "As major financial institutions, working with clients and customers around the globe, we have the business opportunity to build a more sustainable, low-carbon economy and the ability to help manage and mitigate these climate-related risks."</p><p>In 2017, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/02/jpmorgan-ceo-dimon-disagrees-with-trumps-decision-to-withdraw-from-climate-deal.html" target="_blank">told CNBC</a> that he opposed President Trump's plan to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.</p>
Guerrilla street painting against fossil fuel pipeline investment outside Wells Fargo World Headquarters in San Francisco, Nov. 6, 2017.
Peg Hunter /Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0<p>Activist pressure campaigns focused on individual banks have recently claimed successes. This week, <span style="background-color: initial;">JPM</span>organ Chase and Wells Fargo both <a href="https://news.littlesis.org/2019/03/18/private-prison-stocks-reel-from-big-banks-decisions-to-stop-providing-financing/" target="_blank">announced</a> plans to stop financing private prisons, which Moody's Investment Services said in a comment "builds on the trend of negative publicity and uncertainty prevalent in the sector."</p><p>The past year has brought increasing awareness of climate-related risks in some financial circles — but banks headquartered in the U.S. and Canada have lagged behind.</p><p>"According to a survey conducted by Boston Common Asset Management in 2018, European banks are far ahead of large banks in the U.S. and Canada in implementing climate-related risk assessments," American Banker <a href="https://www.americanbanker.com/news/why-banks-should-stress-test-for-climate-change" target="_blank">reported</a> in January. "Specifically, 80 percent of European banks surveyed are, in some way, stress-testing their loan and investment portfolios for a 2-degree-Celsius increase in global temperatures, versus just 44 percent of banks in North America."</p><p>A report issued last month by U.S.-based Morgan Stanley tallied $650 billion in climate-related disasters over the past three years — and predicted $54 trillion in damages worldwide by 2040, citing figures from the UN. "We expect the physical risks of climate change to become an increasingly important part of the investment debate for 2019," the Morgan Stanley strategists <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/14/climate-disasters-cost-650-billion-over-3-years-morgan-stanley.html" target="_blank">wrote</a>.</p><p>The Banking on Climate Change report finds that nonetheless, Morgan Stanley offered fossil fuel companies $19.48 billion in financing in 2018 (down from $23.7 billion the prior year), making it the world's 11th largest financier of fossil fuel projects.</p><p>"Alarming is an understatement," said lead author Alison Kirsch, a Rainforest Action Network researcher. "This report is a red alert."</p>
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By Julie Dermansky
Louisiana is ground zero for the devastating impacts of climate change. Even though the state is already feeling the costly impacts to life and property due to extreme weather and an eroding coastline linked to a warming planet, its government continues to ignore the primary cause—human use of fossil fuels.
The impacts to the region, such as worsening floods, heat waves and sea level rise, will only be intensified as the globe continues warming, warn federal scientists in the latest National Climate Assessment report.
By Andreas Hoffrichter
Transportation represents a large portion — about 29 percent — of U.S. emissions, and the share has been rising in recent years. Rail proponents often argue that investment in trains and public transportation is a key part of making transportation cleaner, and indeed, the Green New Deal calls for greatly expanding high-speed rail.
Chart: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND
TOE is tonne of oil equivalent, a unit of measure to indicate the amount of energy released in burning one metric ton of crude oil.
The U.S. freight train system is more developed than passenger rail, which is the opposite of Europe.
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The former coal lobbyist, who critics say is even worse for the environment than his scandal-plagued predecessor Scott Pruitt, secured a key approval by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, sending President Trump's nominee to the full Senate for approval.
By Shawn Olson-Hazboun and Hilary Boudet
A year after Washington state denied key permits for a coal-export terminal in the port city of Longview, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would proceed with its review—essentially ignoring the state's decision.
This dispute pits federal authorities against local and state governments. It's also part of a larger and long-running battle over fossil fuel shipments to foreign countries that stretches up the entire American West Coast.
By Dan Serres
As highlighted by the article Why Does Climate Change Matter to the Columbia?, we are in the the fight of our lives to stop dirty fossil fuels and transition to clean energy. The good news? You are making a difference right now. As activists, you have a tremendous impact on greenhouse gas pollution in the Pacific Northwest. Over the past decade, you defeated the region's largest fossil fuel proposals. From stopping liquefied natural gas (LNG) developments on the Lower Columbia River, to blocking mind-blowing quantities of coal exports, to persuading Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to deny North America's largest oil train terminal, your efforts register on a global scale.
By Steve Horn
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced a bill to fast-track the regulatory process for the export of small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The bill, titled "Small Scale LNG Access Act," was introduced on Oct. 18 and calls for amending the "Natural Gas Act to expedite approval of exports of small volumes of natural gas." The proposed legislation follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) proposed rule which would assume that all U.S. small-scale exports of LNG, with the gas mostly obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), is in the "public interest" as defined by the Natural Gas Act.
By Sharon Kelly
The petrochemical industry anticipates spending a total of over $200 billion on factories, pipelines, and other infrastructure in the U.S. that will rely on shale gas, the American Chemistry Council announced in September. Construction is already underway at many sites.
This building spree would dramatically expand the Gulf Coast's petrochemical corridor (known locally as "Cancer Alley")—and establish a new plastics and petrochemical belt across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
By Daniel Ross
For decades, the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts has been hemmed in by dangerous pollutants.