Posts tagged: climate change

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

climate change


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S 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.

View Maggie Caldwell's blog posts
07 April 2014, 12:36 PM
Showtime series explores links between climate change, drought and war
(Image courtesy of Years of Living Dangerously)

In a world where a forest the size of Germany is leveled and burned every year... where formerly fertile farmlands have been reduced to desert...where biblical-sized drought has caused communities to crumble and pushed nations into war... humankind must either join the fight to change the course of history or risk dooming the planet.

Now read that line again with the deep timber of the late great voice-over actor Don Lafontaine, bring in Titanic director James Cameron and actors Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jessica Alba, and it sounds like you've got the breakout blockbuster event of the year. While Showtime's Years of Living Dangerously features both the Governator AND Indiana Jones, this is no post-apocalyptic popcorn flick. The 9-part documentary series, which premieres this Sunday, April 13, covers the biggest story of our lives: how years of waste and profit-driven, destructive decision-making are leading to climate calamity around the world. 

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 March 2014, 11:41 AM
Concerned communities fight back
Vice Mayor Linda Maio, joined by Mayor Tom Bates and Council member Darryl Moore, speaks out in support of resident opposition to a proposed crude by rail project. (Mauricio Castillo / Earthjustice)

Is crude by rail coming to a town near me?

For weeks, I’ve been asking myself that question as I kept hearing about the skyrocketing number of trains that are transporting crude oil throughout the U.S. to east and west coast export facilities.

And I’m not alone.

This week, I attended a protest by my fellow neighbors in Berkeley, California, to stop crude by rail shipments coming through our town. The crude oil boom is brought on by fracking in North Dakota and drilling in Canada’s Alberta tar sands. Both forms of crude are hazardous—Bakken shale crude from North Dakota is highly flammable and tar sands oil is extremely corrosive and also difficult to clean up.

Not surprisingly, once people hear how explosive and dangerous this crude can be when spilled, they really don’t want it traveling through their main streets…or anywhere else. But travel it does. Hundreds of miles, in fact, through rural towns and along main streets, along densely populated areas like Chicago and Albany, and even inside windswept and vulnerable wild lands like Montana’s Glacier National Park.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
14 March 2014, 5:58 PM
Some of the quotable best from the Senate's #Up4Climate event
(USDA Photo)

The sound of the Senate call to action on climate change from Monday evening through Tuesday morning is still ringing through our ears.

In case you missed the big #Up4Climate all-night Senate floor takeover, or in case you are still finding inspiration from it, here are some of the highlights:

  • One of the event organizers, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), reminded his colleagues, and the nation, “When America leads the rest of the world follows."
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sounded a similar refrain indicating that "The solution to climate change is American innovation ... Never bet against it."
  • And for those who may have forgotten what’s at stake in the climate fight, several Senators spelled it out, including Senator Mark Udall (D-CO): “We’ve seen megafloods and megafires, and [climate change is] threatening our way of life in Colorado. We don’t inherit this earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children. Lets act now,” he urged.
  • He was followed by his cousin, Tom Udall (D-NM), who focused on solutions: “When it comes to renewable energy, we [in New Mexico] are out there to make sure we orient ourselves toward renewables and act on climate change.”
  • And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also spoke eloquently about our potential. “I for one refuse to believe that harmful pollution is the only way to grow our economy," she said. "We have everything it takes, from sustainable sources, to manufacturing industry, to renewable know-how to power our country.”
  • Senators Whitehouse and Boxer also delivered powerful messages as the co-chairs of the Senate Climate Task Force and long-time agitators for action to combat climate change.
View Sarah Saylor's blog posts
06 March 2014, 6:13 PM
Passes wrongheaded bill to stop EPA action on climate change
(USDA Photo)

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Polluter Protection Act (H.R. 3826). This bill stops the EPA from setting modest, sensible limits for climate change pollution and allows big polluters to continue to freely dump unlimited carbon pollution at the expense of public health.

When the EPA proposed its new rule to bring the worst of the worst climate polluters in this country under control and for the first time hold them accountable, more than 4 million public comments were submitted in support of this move. Yet, in its 144th vote this Congress against public health, the House turned against those public comments and voted to handcuff the EPA. In an era of climate change, it can be hard to understand why our Congress would pass a bill that flies in the face of overwhelming science and reason.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Tom Turner's blog posts
06 March 2014, 11:30 AM
Science be damned! Senator Session relies on opinion
(Meryll / Shutterstock)

Recently, John Holdren, science advisor to President Obama, said that the punishing droughts underway in California and the Colorado River basin are consistent with the mainstream understanding of the long-term effects of climate change.

Not surprisingly he was attacked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who quoted a Colorado political scientist as follows: "Drought has 'for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century.' Globally, 'there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.' ”

View Tom Turner's blog posts
14 February 2014, 1:15 PM
Volatile rail traffic greatly increases explosion, toxic pollution risks
The fireball that followed the derailment and explosion of two trains, one carrying Bakken crude oil, on December 30, 2013, outside Casselton, ND. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration)

Maybe you've seen the riveting photographs of fireballs and burning houses and oiled and blackened streams and marshes. Train cars carrying crude oil have been derailing and exploding with frightening frequency lately, in Canada and North Dakota and Alabama and Philadelphia.

There are fears that Albany, capital of the great state of New York, may be next in line.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View Doug Pflugh's blog posts
12 February 2014, 5:35 PM
This week, the public gets to speak out on their state's air quality
A hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," site in Colorado. (Ecoflight)

Colorado has emerged as a western ground zero in the fracking boom, with more than 50,000 active wells in the state and 3,000 wells permitted annually on average in recent years. The state is struggling to deal with this staggering growth as well as the changing nature of the industry as operations have moved into communities along the Front Range.

This week, Colorado is poised to take a big step forward on protecting public health as the state considers significant revisions to the rules controlling the air quality impacts of oil and gas industry operations. Earthjustice and our partners will be there, urging the state to stand strong against an industry campaign to water down the rules.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
11 February 2014, 1:15 PM
Fossil fuel industry seeks to protect bottom line by quashing solar growth
Workers install solar PV panels on top of a building. (NREL / Craig Miller Productions and DOE)

(Clarification: This column references a letter by California Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron, who said public utilities would likely “strangle” rooftop solar if they could. In a separate part of the letter, he blamed the fossil fuel industry for preventing a national policy on climate change and energy, which as the column points out, is evidenced by the industry’s national attack on distributed energy sources like rooftop solar.)

Last month, departing California Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron sounded the alarm on an anti-clean energy trend gathering momentum across the U.S.

In a sharply worded letter to the commission, which regulates all of the state’s privately owned electric and gas utilities, he warned that The fossil fuel industry public utilities would likely "strangle" the growth of rooftop solar energy if they could. Ferron advised his colleagues to avoid putting the interests of utilities over those of the public. He was referring to a growing war on solar being waged by utilities across the nation fearful of the threat to their basic business model.

From California to Colorado to North Carolina and other states, many generators of centralized fossil fuel energy are trying to prevent individual Americans from producing clean, renewable solar energy on their own roof tops. They would deny us the opportunity to participate in the greater goal of shifting away from polluting, climate-altering fossil fuels.

66 Comments   /   Read more >>
View Adrian Martinez's blog posts
07 February 2014, 7:45 AM
At issue, investing in long range fossil fuel infrastructure
There has been a growing realization that in order to meet clean air standards, the South Coast Air Basin needs to transform how it powers the region. (EPA)

Today, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is having an important discussion about energy in the Los Angeles region at its Governing Board meeting. The vote centers around whether to initiate a process to expedite natural gas power infrastructure in one of the most polluted air basins in the nation.

This decision is exceptionally important because it will serve as a litmus test for whether this agency responsible for clean air is invested in advancing a clean power generation in the South Coast Air Basin.

View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
28 January 2014, 8:45 PM
President can't rely on fossil fuels to achieve climate change goals
President Obama delivers the 2014 State of the Union Address. (White House Photo)

(The following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.)

We are encouraged that President Obama made climate change a centerpiece of his speech tonight. We applaud his commitment to facing this challenge, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

President Obama has taken courageous actions so far to back this commitment. His leadership in achieving strong clean car standards has been a huge accomplishment, and we are thrilled with his leadership in tackling carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source of climate change pollution. And tonight, the President went further and affirmed that we can’t allow destructive energy development on our pristine public lands.

3 Comments   /   Read more >>