Senator James Inhofe to Pope Francis: Butt Out of Climate Debate
The world of climate denial has converged on the Washington Court Hotel in Washington DC this week as the rightwing Heartland Institute's 10th annual Climate Conference fills its ballrooms with a parade of denial notables intent on proving that climate change isn't occurring.
— The New Republic (@tnr) June 11, 2015
They include discredited fossil fuel-funded scientist Willie Soon; Marc Morano, executive editor of the denial website ClimateDepot.com and one of the main subjects of the documentary Merchants of Doubt; and two congressmen, including the infamous, snowball-throwing chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, James Inhofe. When you've got the author of The Solar Fraud: Why Solar Energy Won't Run the World and Bass Ackwards: How Climate Alarmists Confuse Cause With Effect (those are written by retired University of Connecticut physics professor Howard Hayden) and another speaker whose touted as "a popular guest of America's number one radio show, the Rush Limbaugh Show," it's pretty clear what direction the event is going to take.
And according to The Guardian of London, "Lamar Smith, the Texas congressman who heads the science, space and technology committee, raised cheers from the room when he said he proposed a 40 percent cut in NASA’s budget for Earth sciences last week." So the crowd clearly heard what they came for.
Inhofe opened the conference with a keynote address flogging the same narrative he's been putting out there since the 2012 publication of his book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, passing out sheets with 12 talking points for those intent on refuting the evidence of climate change.
He dismissed the upcoming Paris climate summit as nothing but a bunch of talk, saying, "They talked about it—very good. Now they say it is all going to come together in Paris, and I don’t think it is.” And he assured his audience that the Republican Party will stand firm with them on climate change, saying, "If you look at Republican candidates, they are all denying this stuff with the exception of Lindsey Graham. They're all with the people in this room."
He also took potshots at Pope Francis, who has spoken out repeatedly on climate change and is expected to deliver his long-awaited encyclical on the topic next week.
"Everyone is going to ride the Pope now. Isn’t that wonderful,” said Inhofe sarcastically. “The Pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.”
"I am not going to talk about the Pope," he said, immediately after doing so. "Let him run his shop, and we’ll run ours.”
Never mind that Inhofe's "shop" is fueled by millions from the oil and gas industry, he's already trespassed on the Pope's "shop" to make his hoax argument. In 2012, he appeared on a Christian radio program where he said, "The Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous." He repeated the "God is still up there" line in his speech at the Climate Conference.
Inhofe also warned his audiences against "appeasers," Republicans tempted by the money spent by people such as Republican businessman Jay Faison, who has committed $175 million to encourage them to address climate change as a reality.
"When they see how much money is there, and they see that the bureaucracy is on their side, they might be tempted to give them a vote,” said Inhofe. “This is why you have this last guy with $175 million claiming to be a Republican, and all it takes is one or two or three of the senators to say, maybe I’ll appease them.”
Not only was Inhofe honored with the opening keynote slot, he was also one of five individuals given awards by the Heartland Institute for "decades fighting the politicization and misinterpretation of climate science." He joined three scientists—only one a climatologist—and a TV weatherman in receiving the honor.
"The Climate Change Awards were started in 2014 as a way to recognize individuals of extraordinary ability and unflagging commitment to restoring sound science and common sense to the debate over global warming," according to the Heartland Institute. "The awards serve to increase public awareness of the global warming realism movement and send a signal to the academy and other elite institutions saying if they won’t recognize these genuine heroes, then the sponsors of these awards will. And finally, they encourage otherwise silent scientists, philanthropists, and civic and business leaders to speak up on behalf of sound science and common sense."
Listen to Sen. Inhofe and other climate deniers speak at the Heartland Institute's Climate Conference:
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By Douglas Broom
- If online deliveries continue with fossil-fuel trucks, emissions will increase by a third.
- So cities in the Netherlands will allow only emission-free delivery vehicles after 2025.
- The government is giving delivery firms cash help to buy or lease electric vehicles.
- The bans will save 1 megaton of CO2 every year by 2030.
Cities in the Netherlands want to make their air cleaner by banning fossil fuel delivery vehicles from urban areas from 2025.
"Now that we are spending more time at home, we are noticing the large number of delivery vans and lorries driving through cities," said Netherlands environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven, announcing plans to ban all but zero-emission deliveries in 14 cities.
"The agreements we are setting down will ensure that it will be a matter of course that within a few years, supermarket shelves will be stocked, waste will be collected, and packages will arrive on time, yet without any exhaust fumes and CO2 emissions," she added.
She expects 30 cities to announce zero emission urban logistics by this summer. City councils must give four years' notice before imposing bans as part of government plans for emission-free road traffic by 2050. The city bans aim to save 1 megaton of CO2 each year by 2030.
Help to Change
To encourage transport organizations to go carbon-free, the government is offering grants of more than US$5,900 to help businesses buy or lease electric vehicles. There will be additional measures to help small businesses make the change.
The Netherlands claims it is the first country in the world to give its cities the freedom to implement zero-emission zones. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht already have "milieuzones" where some types of vehicles are banned.
Tilburg, one of the first wave of cities imposing the Dutch ban, will not allow fossil-fuelled vehicles on streets within its outer ring road and plans to roll out a network of city-wide electric vehicle charging stations before the ban comes into effect in 2025.
"Such initiatives are imperative to improve air quality. The transport of the future must be emission-free, sustainable, and clean," said Tilburg city alderman Oscar Dusschooten.
Europe Takes Action
Research by Renault shows that many other European cities are heading in the same direction as the Netherlands, starting with Low Emission Zones of which Germany's "Umweltzone" were pioneers. More than 100 communes in Italy have introduced "Zonas a traffico limitato."
Madrid's "zona de baja emisión" bans diesel vehicles built before 2006 and petrol vehicles from before 2000 from central areas of the city. Barcelona has similar restrictions and the law will require all towns of more than 50,000 inhabitants to follow suit.
Perhaps the most stringent restrictions apply in London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which charges trucks and large vehicles up to US$137 a day to enter the central area if they do not comply with Euro 6 emissions standards. From October, the ULEZ is being expanded.
Cities are responsible for around 75% of CO2 emissions from global final energy use, according to the green thinktank REN21 - and much of these come from transport. Globally, transport accounts for 24% of world CO2 emissions.
The Rise of Online Shopping
Part of the reason for traffic in urban areas is the increase in delivery vehicles, as online shopping continues to grow. Retailer ecommerce sales are expected to pass $5billion in 2022, according to eMarketer.
The World Economic Forum's report The Future of the Last-Mile Ecosystem, published in January 2020, estimates that e-commerce will increase the number of delivery vehicles on the roads of the world's 100 largest cities by 36% by 2030.
If all those vehicles burn fossil fuels, the report says emissions will increase by 32%. But switching to all-electric delivery vehicles would cut emissions by 30% from current levels as well as reducing costs by 25%, the report says.
Other solutions explored in the report include introducing goods trams to handle deliveries alongside their passenger-carrying counterparts and increased use of parcel lockers to reduce the number of doorstep deliveries.
Reposted with permission from the World Economic Forum.
The bill, SB467, would have prohibited fracking and other controversial forms of oil extraction. It would also have banned oil and gas production within 2,500 feet of a home, school, hospital or other residential facility. The bill originally set the fracking ban for 2027, but amended it to 2035, The AP reported.
"Obviously I'm very disappointed," State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), one of the bill's two introducers, told the Los Angeles Times. "California really has not done what it needs to do in terms of addressing the oil problem. We have communities that are suffering right now, and the Legislature has repeatedly failed to act."
The bill was introduced after California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would sign a fracking ban if it passed the legislature, though his administration has continued to issue permits in the meantime, Forbes reported. Newsom has also spoken in favor of a buffer zone between oil and gas extraction and places where people live and learn, according to the Los Angeles Times. The latter is a major environmental justice issue, as fossil fuel production is more likely to be located near Black and Latinx communities.
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Historically, California has been a major U.S. oil producer. Its output peaked in 1986 at 1.1 million barrels a day, just below Texas and Alaska, according to Forbes. However, production has declined since then making it the seventh-most oil-producing state.
Still, California's fossil fuel industry is at odds with state attempts to position itself as a climate leader.
"There is a large stain on California's climate record, and that is oil," Wiener said Tuesday, according to The AP.
Wiener and Democrat co-introducer Sen. Monique Limón from Santa Barbara vowed to keep fighting.
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The report, Changing Our Ways: Behavior Change and the Climate Crisis, found that nearly half the growth in absolute global emissions was caused by the world's richest 10%, with the most affluent 5% alone contributing 37%.
"In the year when the UK hosts COP26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain's biggest polluters through tax credits, the commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the UK's climate targets," the report's introduction states.
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The report found that the "polluter elite" must make "dramatic" lifestyle changes in order to meet the UK's goal — based on the Paris climate agreement's preferential objective — of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels.
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Newell said that wealthy people "simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV, that's still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place."
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The new report follows a September 2020 Oxfam International study that revealed the wealthiest 1% of the world's population is responsible for emitting more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50% of humanity combined.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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Not only that. Cactuses can also be harvested, processed and turned into a form of leather used to make fashion accessories like purses and wallets.
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No Animals Involved
This is a bold claim in an industry struggling with its poor environmental record. According to McKinsey and Co. the worldwide fashion industry emits about the same amount of greenhouse gases as France, Germany and the United Kingdom combined. But CACTO gives Mexico's cactuses special treatment.
CACTO's products are vegan and so allow a growing class of consumers to buy leather objects that are made without any animal products.
The research into the ability of cactus to extract carbon from the atmosphere and store it was carried out on one cactus species, the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), which can grow to 40 feet.
It is native to the Sonoran desert in Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora, and shares with all other cactus varieties the same abilities for dealing with carbon. This has proved a bonus for CACTO because cactuses are the most numerous plants in Mexico.
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Jesus Chavez said: "If we want to succeed in reaching net zero carbon emissions well before 2050 and avoid the worst consequences of climate change, we must all work in concert in whatever capacity we are able to.
"Industries across the board need to benefit from existing technology and offsetting programs to become carbon-negative, and to invest in new research and innovation to reach that goal faster. The decisions we make this decade will determine the fate of humanity for centuries to come. It is up to us now."
He said customers around the world wanted alternatives to materials that increased pollution and to unethical manufacturing processes.
CACTO hopes to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to make clear what has been evident to specialists for decades, that decoupling emissions from economic growth is not only feasible, but is the smartest, fastest and most responsible way to grow. Mexico's cactuses bear a heavy responsibility on their ears − or leaves − or branches.
Reposted with permission from Climate News Network.
Climate change, activities that contribute to it, and dams pose grave threats to America's rivers, according to American Rivers.
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