Posts tagged: climate change

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

climate change


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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 Brian Smith's blog posts
13 May 2011, 12:33 AM
IPPC report offers hopeful vision of one possible future

What can be done about our dismal energy future?

Every day, headlines scream about the price of oil, the climate disruption caused by coal, the dangers of natural gas “fracking,” and uncontrollable nuclear accidents.

Is another future even possible, or are we stuck in a permanent crisis?

On May 9, 2011, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation authored by more than 120 scientists, technologists, and economists who dug deeply into this question.

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View Kari Birdseye's blog posts
06 May 2011, 1:25 PM
Despite powerful evidence, council 'overlooks' climate change

Polar bears are drowning. Huge glaciers are melting. Low-lying cities are worried. All because of climate change. But, when the eight nations of the "Arctic Council" meet next week, climate change won't be on their agenda—despite a frightening new report on climate change by the council's own task force.

Members of the council are those nations bordering the Arctic Ocean—the United States, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Denmark and Iceland.

The council deals with crucial Arctic issues such as climate change, black carbon, oil exploration and drilling, and arctic shipping. Their report, released this week, details how global sea levels will rise at least five feet within the century in large part because of melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Nonetheless, climate change isn't an agenda item.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 April 2011, 3:41 PM
filthy biomass, Googling the environment, MIA oil
More than one million barrels of spilled oil is still unaccounted for in the Gulf.

Drilling more won’t make summer vacation cheaper
Summer is near, which means that trips to the beach and to baseball games, and a fresh round of “drill, baby, drill” are all just around the corner, but that last item won’t make the first two any cheaper to get to, reports CNN Money. That’s because even if we ramped up oil production, the amount would pale in comparison to worldwide consumption. In addition, OPEC would just cut production to offset the extra oil. As oil analyst Tom Kloza told CNN, “It's a simplistic way of looking for a solution that doesn't exist,” adding, “This drill drill drill thing is tired.” We agree.

One million barrels of BP oil still MIA
One year after the BP oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, more than a million barrels of oil remain lost at sea, reports Scientific American. Burning, dispersing, microbe-eating and evaporating have taken care of much of the oil, but it’s anyone’s guess where the rest of it is. Sadly though, one million barrels is just a drop in the bucket for the Gulf coast region, which experiences spills on a monthly, if not daily, basis. Find out how Earthjustice is working to hold these repeat offenders accountable.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
25 April 2011, 4:41 AM
Have you ultrasonic vocalized today?
Cookie the Little Penguin is headed toward something good. Real good.

These days, it seems like the fossil fuel companies are the only ones having gigglefests.

BP checked off a tidy $9.9 billion tax deduction for its handiwork in the Gulf last year. A company calling itself “Making Money Having Fun LLC” is dumping 80 truckloads of coal ash a day onto Bokoshe, OK—a place where it’s become unusual not to know someone with illnesses like cancer or congestive heart disease. And in their rush to capitalize on the gas drilling boom, industry is exploiting loopholes in the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Air Act that are large enough to drive leaky fracking wastewater trucks through.

Fortunately, the Internet has stepped in to reassure us that giggles have in fact not been monopolized by climate changing, water polluting, dirty energy enthusiasts. Cookie, a Little Penguin from Cincinnati, has his own set of giggles—which, with a little bit of help, he shares at the end of this video:

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
21 April 2011, 6:56 AM
Climate change is the single biggest threat to wolverines.
Attorney Tim Preso has spearheaded Earthjustice's efforts to protect the wolverine

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Earthjustice is currently working to protect several wild creatures in the Crown like the wolverine. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

EJ: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently listed wolverines as endangered, but they're still not being protected, correct?

TP: That's right. The FWS determined that although the species qualifies for listing under the Endangered Species Act that they were basically going to put wolverines in administrative limbo and not actually list them. Obviously we're not satisfied with that result and we're continuing to examine ways to move the wolverine up to the top of the list. The Crown of the Continent is one of the largest undeveloped landscapes remaining in our country and it's really the stronghold for wolverines in the lower-48 states. The wolverine only persists in places that are really and truly wild, and the Crown is the last place that they're remaining in any significant numbers.

EJ: Why did Earthjustice decide to focus on wolverine protections?

TP: There are a number of reasons. One is just that the wolverine has a lot of amazing characteristics that make it a particularly cool animal to work on. Wolverines are extremely tough and they live in extremely harsh environments at high elevations. When grizzly bears, which we think of as a tough animal, are sleeping in their hibernation dens for the winter, the wolverine is out there on those snow-blasted slopes trying to eke out a living, covering 160 square miles over some of the most rugged country in the lower 48 states. It takes a tremendously large landscape for them to find enough food to stay alive, so these animals need extremely large home ranges.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
19 April 2011, 4:39 AM
How climate change impacts the Crown of the Continent
Dan Fagre

(This is the second in a series of Q & A's on the Crown of the Continent, a 10-million-acre expanse of land in northern Montana and southern Canada. Dan Fagre is a research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who has spent 15 years working to understand how climate change will affect mountain ecosystems like those found in the Crown. To learn more about this wild place and how Earthjustice is working to protect it, check out our Crown web feature.)

EJ: What changes have you seen in Glacier National Park since you first started?

DF: I was hired to start the climate change research program here in 1991. One of the first things that we did is look at Glacier National Park, specifically Grinnell Glacier, to monitor the impacts of climate change through time. So I've sort of had an intimate relationship with Grinnell in particular, and I've seen just without pulling out photographs or maps each year the changes that occur there. When we go up to monitor the size of the glacier we walk across rocks and land that has not been exposed to the atmosphere for probably 500 years because the glacier is retreating. So, in a sense, we're kind of the first people to walk on that in many hundreds of years since it was covered by ice.

EJ: How is a warmer climate impacting native species of the Crown?

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View Terry Winckler's blog posts
15 April 2011, 4:02 PM
We've got a plan, sez Shell, on anniversary of Gulf oil spill
Imagine this in case of an Arctic oil spill

Just one year after the nation's worst oil spill, Shell Oil is reaffirming its plans to drill the Arctic Ocean next year. While that's not exactly breaking news, what is new is Shell's announcement of an oil spill containment plan designed especially for the Arctic Ocean environment. Here's that plan as described in the Wall Street Journal:

Shell said it has a three-tier, Arctic oil-spill response system consisting of an on-site oil-spill response fleet, near-shore barges and oil-spill response vessels, and onshore oil-spill response teams staged across the North Slope of Alaska that in the event of a blowout or spill could be ready to respond within one hour.

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
12 April 2011, 3:02 PM
"Once you love something, you are willing to fight for it," says Earthjustice's Preso
Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso

(This is the fourth in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our national forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Tim Preso is attorney based in Earthjustice's Northern Rockies office in Bozeman, Montana.)

EJ: How did your fight to protect our forests begin, Tim?

TP: I walked into the Earthjustice office in Bozeman, Montana for my first day of work in March of 2000 and immediately became involved in a controversy over the federal regulation protecting our last national forest roadless lands. That marked the beginning of an 11-year campaign during which I have worked as part of a team of Earthjustice lawyers to defend the Roadless Rule against a variety of challenges. But outside the legal context, protecting our national forest lands has been close to my heart since I developed a love for wild places and wild creatures amid the rugged mountains and canyons of northeast Oregon's Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, near where I was raised. I had the now-all-too-uncommon privilege of growing up near big, open wild country filled with impressive wildlife. I want to make sure that opportunity remains for future generations instead of becoming something that kids can only read about in history books.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
08 April 2011, 3:03 PM
Earthjustice legislative counsel explains why she's dedicated to the fight
Rebecca Judd and her beloved greyhound Shooter

(This is the third in a series of Q & As with Earthjustice staff who work to protect our nation's forests and their critical natural resources and wildlife. Protecting our national forests, in particular, is essential for the future of our nation. The Obama administration recently proposed new planning rules that may leave our national forests in peril. National forests are the single largest source of clean drinking water in the United States, serving 124 million Americans. Visit our Forests For Our Future campaign site to learn more. Rebecca Judd is legislative counsel for Earthjustice, based in Washington, D.C.)

EJ: Were there any formative moments in national forests that set you about this path to fight for them?

RJ: In the summer of 2003, I clerked for Sierra Club after my first year of law school and assisted with a case challenging the logging and burning of over 5,000 acres of the Eldorado National Forest in California. A group of us was able to hike in an area slated for timber removal, and it was eerily disturbing to witness firsthand how many trees were marked for destruction. That experience motivated me to continue my work to advocate for the protection of our environment, our cherished landscapes and natural habitat, and the species that depend upon them. 

View Sam Edmondson's blog posts
07 April 2011, 4:21 PM
New report highlights prevalence, cost of asthma and the need for clean air
Photo: Chris Jordan/Earthjustice

People who suffer from asthma often say an attack feels like breathing through a pool of water or with a pillow covering their face. Unfortunately, millions of Americans know all too well what that's like.

In the United States, asthma is a bona fide public health epidemic: 17 million adults and 7 million children suffer from the disease. Every year, our society pays in excess of $53 billion to treat it. Millions of asthmatics, including hundreds of thousands of kids, make visits to the emergency room for medical attention. And in thousands of severe cases, people die.

The scope of this epidemic, broken down by state, is laid out in a report released yesterday by Health Care Without Harm, The National Association of School Nurses, and The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. The report notes that environmental triggers like air pollution can cause and exacerbate asthma, so it's critically important that we defend existing clean air protections and work for new ones.

No argument here, but many of our elected leaders in Congress apparently don't agree.