USA

'Wrong way!' Roadside view of Alberta tarsands processing plant. Photo: Velcrow Ripper via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Wrong way! A climatic baby step forward beats a giant leap back

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 7th June 2017
The Paris Agreement is a severely inadequate response to the climate crisis the world now faces, writes Pete Dolack, full of vague aspirations and devoid of hard, enforceable commitments. But the impending US withdrawal is still bad news for us all - including the Trump-supporting Koch brothers, set to gain billions from their Alberta tarsands holdings. Short-term profits are a poor exchange for a less livable world, even for those making the money.

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Liberian Coast Guard prepares to board the Star Shrimper XXV. Photo: Alejandra Gimeno / Sea Shepherd Global.

Sea Shepherd helps arrest 'sustainable' shrimp trawler for illegal fishing in Liberian waters

Peter Hammarstedt
Sea Shepherd
| 26th May 2017
A 'Friend of the Sea' Dutch-owned trawler certified to supply 'sustainably caught' shrimp to the US and EU was arrested in Liberia after operating in an an area reserved for artisanal fishers, writes Peter Hammarstedt. The vessel, which had no licence and lacked the turtle excluders required by law, was discovered by the crew of Sea Shepherd's 'Bob Barker' in a joint mission with the Liberian Coast Guard to clamp down on rampant illegal fishing.

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If you think fossil fuel lobbyists belong in UN climate negotiations, maybe you also think Santa smokes Lucky Strikes, and the tobacco industry belongs in the World Health Organisation. Photo: Phil Wolff via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Bonn climate talks' glacial progress shows why we must kick fossil fuels out!

Pascoe Sabido
Corporate Europe Observatory
| 25th May 2017
The participation of the fossil fuel industry in UN climate talks represents clear a conflict of interest, writes Pascoe Sabido. And nowhere has this been more apparent than at this month's UNFCCC meeting in Bonn, where fossil fuel representatives have slowed progress to a snail's pace. With just six months to go before November's COP23 negotiations, it's time to defy the US, EU and Australia, and kick fossil fuel lobbyists out!

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David Headley can light his spring on fire. David asked the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection to take a look. The DEP inspector told David it was probably a rotting log. The spring bubbles almost constantly, and has now for about two years since Marcel

Whitehall's fracking science failure: shale gas really is worse for climate than coal

Paul Mobbs
| 24th May 2017
The UK government claim that fracking is a 'clean' energy source rests on the conclusions of a single scientific paper, writes Paul Mobbs. And now that paper has been conclusively invalidated: it uses misleading figures that understate the methane emissions from fracking, and subsequent findings have left it totally discredited. Yet the paper is still being quoted to justify fracking, and the fool the public on its climate change impacts.

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John Muir, full-length portrait, facing right, seated on rock with lake and trees in background, circa 1902. Photo: unknbown via Library of Congress (Public Domain).

Divine ecstasy of Nature: Selected Writings by John Muir

Terry Tempest Williams
| 17th May 2017
May this new collection of John Muir's writings reach us now and inspire another generation to fall in love with wild nature, to care for it, to know that wilderness is not optional but central to our survival in the centuries to come, writes Terry Tempest Williams - and remind us how to embrace this beautiful, broken world once again with an open heart. If we do approach the mountain, it is we who are moved.

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The Carrizo Plain National Monument, California, represents the last remnant of a once vast grassland. It is just one of 27 at risk form Trump's executive order. Photo: Steve Corey via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Trump's National Monument order could open 2.7 million acres to oil, gas, coal

Lawrence Carter
Joe Sandler Clarke
Greenpeace Energydesk
| 12th May 2017
President Trump's recent executive order could open an area of America's most precious landscapes bigger than Yellowstone to oil drilling and coal mining, write Lawrence Carter & Joe Sandler Clarke. The 27 monuments 'under review' harbour huge volumes of oil, gas and coal: just what's needed to fuel Trump's vision of fossil fuel-led development - never mind the cost to scenery, wildlife, historic sites and indigenous cultures.

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While Trump tries to extend the wall across the US-Mexico frontier, seen here at Nogales, Mexico could build a solar farm along the border, generating 2GW of power, and attracting technology, investment and jobs from the North. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh vi

Mexico's expiring oil and Trump's wall: the future is solar

Jeremy Leggett
| 11th May 2017
Mexico's oil looks set to run out within a decade, writes Jeremy Leggett, and it can hardly rely on Trump's America to make up the difference. But Mexico enjoys abundant sunshine, and the cost of solar power generation is falling fast. Let Trump tie America's economy to debt-financed fossil fuels. Mexico's future prosperity will come from harnessing its inexhaustible solar riches.

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Judy Eckert holding water contaminated with arsenic drawn from her private well 450ft from a fracking rig in Pennsylvania, which she believes contaminated her water supply. Photo: Public Herald via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking kills newborn babies - polluted water likely cause

Oliver Tickell
| 25th April 2017
A new study in Pennsylvania, USA shows that fracking is strongly related to increased mortality in young babies. The effect is most pronounced in counties with many drinking water wells indicating that contamination by 'produced water' from fracking is a likely cause. Radioactive pollution with uranium, thorium and radium is a 'plausible explanation' for the excess deaths.

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False promise ... Wylfa 2 nuclear power station glowing in the dark on Anglesey, Wales. Photo: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

False promise: nuclear power: past, present and (no) future

David Elliott
| 12th April 2017
Nuclear power was originally sold on a lie, writes Dave Elliott. While we were being told it would make electricity 'too cheap to meter', insiders knew it cost at least 50% more than conventional generation. Since then nuclear costs have only risen, while renewable energy prices are on a steep decline. And now the nuclear behemoths are crumbling ... not a moment too soon.

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These trees along Idaho's Selway River may be harboring insects, fungi and bacteria - best cut them down quick to maintain forest health! Photo: Friends of Clearwater.

Catastrophic 'anti-infestation' logging threatens US National Forests

Brett Haverstick
| 10th April 2017
A fresh wave of logging is hitting America's national forests, writes Brett Haverstick. But this time it's all for the sake of 'forest health' and 'fire prevention'. It might look like industrial clear-cutting to you and me, but really, it's in a good cause. And if the forests and precious ecosystems they harbor just happen to perish in the process ... well ain't that just too bad?

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Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Bakken / DAPL) near New Salem, North Dakota, August 2016. Photo: Tony Webster via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Colonialism, climate change and the need to defund DAPL

Amy Hall
| 10th April 2017
British firms lie deep at the heart of the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy, writes Amy Hall. Barclays, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland have lent $800m to Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidaries, London-based Commercial Bank of China has loaned $120m, and RBS $250m, while HSBC and Barclays own over $110m worth of shares in project partner Phillips 66.

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Mmm ... but did you know the chips could be fried in oil from GMO corn or soya, and that the steak almost certainly came from an animal fattened up on GMO feed? Photo: Henry Burrows via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Hidden GMOs in our daily food? Let's get UK chefs talking, and doing!

Pat Thomas
| 31st March 2017
Increasing quantities of 'hidden GMOs' are finding their way into our diet, writes Pat Thomas. They are coming mainly in US imports for supermarkets and caterers, and in animal feeds used for meat, dairy and egg production. It's time for chefs, pubs, takeaways and restaurants to take responsibility for the food chains that supply them - labelling the GMOs in their meals, and better still, cutting them out.

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Coal mining on our lands comes with serious environmental consequences that we can no longer afford - as seen at the Black Thunder mjne in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. Photo: courtesy of Ecoflight.

Executive Order removes climate safeguards - now, the fightback

Trip Van Noppen
EarthJustice
| 29th March 2017
In a potentially devastating blow to the Earth's climate, President Trump's new executive order ends the Interior Department's moratorium on coal mining on public land and begins a repeal of the landmark Clean Power Plan, writes Trip Van Noppen. But this reckless move will not pass unchallenged - the Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA must tackle climate pollution, and clean energy policies can still be defended and advanced at state level.

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A dirt road near Dinant Corporation's El Tumbador plantation, Honduras, where the corporation is locked into a deadly land war with local campesino communities. Photo: ICIJ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World Bank claims 'sovereign immunity' to escape liability for its crimes against humanity

Pete Dolack
| 23rd March 2017
World Bank projects have left a worldwide trail of evictions, displacements, rapes, murders, forest destruction, greenhouse-gas-belching fossil fuel projects, and destruction of farmland and water sources, writes Pete Dolack. But even as internal reports admit the Bank's wrongdoing, it is asserting its immunity from legal action as terrorised communities seek redress in the courts.

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Coyote Springs Natural Gas Plant, Oregon, USA. Photo: Portland General Electric via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Natural gas leaks from power plants, refineries, 100 times greater than thought

Steve Horn
DeSmogBlog
| 22nd March 2017
Natural gas is meant to be a far lower carbon fuel than coal, writes Steve Horn. But a new study shows that methane leaks from gas power plants and oil refineries are 20-120 times higher than thought. And with methane a greenhouse gas almost 100 times stronger than CO2 over 20 years, the leaks are equivalent to about a tenth of the US's CO2 emissions.

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The 'pro-science' chemical industry boosters have a guilty secret: they are funded by the same 'anti-science' right-wing foundations that finance climate change denialism. Photo: Sucralose packaging by Mike Mozart via Flickr (CC BY).

Propaganda wars: 'pro-science' GMO, chemicals boosters funded by climate change deniers

Stacy Malkan
| 28th February 2017
They promote GMOs, defend toxic chemicals, and attack people who raise concerns about those products as 'anti-science'. But behind the slick 'astroturf' PR fronts lurk some very dubious funders: the same arch-conservative foundations that finance climate science denial. Stacy Malkan exposes the key players in the agribusiness and chemical industry propaganda wars.

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Photo: takomabibelot via Flickr (Public Domain).

Trump's multi-trillion dollar fraud on America: 'public-private' infrastructure partnerships

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 23rd February 2017
Donald Trump's scheme to rebuild US infrastructure could be among the world's greatest ever financial heists, writes Pete Dolack. He has chosen the most expensive, anti-democratic way to do the job, through the mass privatization of priceless public assets - sticking users and taxpayers for exorbitant charges for decades to come, while banks and speculators reap the profits.

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Bisect this landscape with a wall, and how will the wildlife fare? Photo: Near the US-Mexico border in Arizona by Corey Taratuta via Flickr (CC BY).

Trump's 'beautiful wall' threatens 111 endangered species

Shonil Bhagwat
The Open University
| 20th February 2017
The 3,100km concrete wall Donald Trump plans to build along the US-Mexico border would be a disaster for the border zone's ecosystems, writes Shonil Bhagwat. Among the species at risk: ocelots, bears, Bighorn sheep, the US's last wild jaguars facing genetic isolation north of the border, and the Bald eagle, the US's national bird.

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Nov 16: Coalition strike destroys 116 ISIL fuel trucks near Abu Kamal. Photo: from video (see embed).

Why did the US need toxic uranium munitions to destroy fuel tankers in Syria?

Doug Weir
| 20th February 2017
Depleted uranium (DU) munitions may not be regulated but their severe long term health impacts mean they should be, writes Doug Weir. So why did 'Coalition' forces fire 5,265 armour-piercing DU rounds on IS fuel convoys in Syria? When non-DU munitions would have done the job just as well? Just because they knew they would never be held to account? All the more reason to act now!

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Cage in a 500-puppy puppy mill, raided by voluntary organisations on 8th July 2009. Photo: Josh Henderson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

And then he came for the animals - is Donald Trump trying to make puppy mills great again?

JP Sottile
| 15th February 2017
Whatever people were voting for when they elected President Donald Trump, very few were seeking to remove the already scant protections afforded to dogs and puppies kept in unregulated 'factory farm' breeding sheds, writes JP Sottile. But that's the effect of the deregulatory whirlwind that's hit USDA: more profit for the animal abusers, and more suffering for the animals.

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Herbicide spraying in Arkansas, USA. Photo: Kevin Wood via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Suppressed EPA toxicologist: 'it is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer'

Carey Gillam
| 14th February 2017
Letters from an EPA toxicologist to the EPA official in charge of assessing whether glyphosate, the active ingredient of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, causes cancer, reveal accusations of 'staff intimidation' and 'political conniving games with the science' to favour pesticide corporations, writes Carey Gillam. Could this be a game-changer for cancer-suffering plaintiffs?

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