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Kayford Mountain in West Virginia has been devastated by mountaintop removal mining.

(First published in the Huffington Post.)

If you listened only to President Obama's critics in the coal industry and public officials from coal states, you'd probably think that environmentalists and others concerned by the many harmful impacts of coal and other carbon fuels would be well pleased with the administration.

Girls at the newly reconstructed Bislig Elementary School in the island of Leyte, one year after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the region.

Just ahead of this year’s climate talks in Lima, French President François Hollande, speaking at a conference on the environment, drew an important link between human rights and climate change. Noting the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in France, he called next year’s conference, which France will host, “a new step for human rights.”

The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

At a time when states should be ramping up their renewable energy efforts, at least one state that was on track to source about an eighth of its energy from renewables suddenly reversed course under the pressure of a few fossil-fuel friendly state assemblymen. Ohio had strong state goals for renewable generation seeking 12.5% of its electricity to be generated from clean sources such as solar and wind. This summer, however, progress in the Buckeye State was halted when Governor John Kasich signed a bill that froze Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard for two years.

The UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.

Delegates from nations around the globe are currently in Lima to negotiate the next climate agreement. But few may know that these negotiations don’t occur (at least not entirely) behind closed doors. In fact, non-governmental organizations like Earthjustice can join in much of the action as observer organizations.

Diamantina River in Channel Country

In a remote part of Australia, in the state of Queensland, lies a vast area called Channel Country. Winding rivers with large water holes and multiple channels braid across wide floodplains in a remarkable arid landscape. But every now and then huge floods cause the rivers to overflow, transforming the landscape into verdant wetlands that provide vital habitat for waterbirds, fish, reptiles and mammals. 

The devastating coal ash spill at Kingston, TN in December 2008.

Last night on 60 Minutes, journalist Leslie Stahl made Lynn Good, the CEO of Duke Energy, look bad during an episode about coal ash—a byproduct of coal burning that’s dumped into mostly unlined and unmonitored ponds across the country.  

As Good tried to smile and defend the decades of delay in cleaning up coal ash sites by arguing that more study is needed, the veteran newswoman blew right through her smokescreen.

“Studying is code for stalling,” said Stahl.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.