Posts tagged: 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.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
21 September 2012, 2:59 PM
On way out of town, House votes industry a free pass to pollute

It's been a long two years with the 112th Congress. In that time, House leadership has often tried to "help the economy" by wiping away our basic public health and environmental protections—in the process putting thousands of Americans at risk of disease and death from exposure to toxic chemicals and carcinogens in our air and water.

And today, as a final departing gift before recessing for the fall, House leaders put through H.R. 3409—a toxic sell-out bill that decimates our fundamental public health protections with the pretext of addressing the "war on coal." The House passed the bill by a vote of 233 to 175.

To wit: H.R. 3409 includes provisions we believe will:

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
15 September 2012, 8:39 PM
Your voice can help put the environment on the political agenda
Your voice is as important as your vote—there is a lot you can do. (Jason Langheine)

After the summer we have had, my mind is on climate change, what more Earthjustice can do about it, and what’s at stake in this election.

I experienced the effects of climate change this summer during a trip through Colorado. Heat, drought and fire set an almost apocalyptic tone for the trip. There was no snow on the peaks, stream flows were down, and smoke filled the air. Similar impacts afflicted 60 percent of our nation and spread over three continents; sea ice coverage in the Arctic was at a record low.

Earthjustice is working hard to slow and reverse these climate trends by bringing cases across the country to beat down coal, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expand the market for renewable energy and efficiency. And with your support we are doing more every day: hiring more attorneys and bringing more cases in more places. We are grateful not only for your support which makes this possible, but also for your advocacy which helps get better rules adopted and enforced.

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View Chris Jordan-Bloch's blog posts
10 September 2012, 12:52 PM
Even though Larry is gone, his fight lives on

Imagine for a moment that you live in a beautiful forest. Your home is on the side of a big mountain. All around it are tall trees and elegant flowers. After a long day of work you come home. You are tired. Dinner smells delicious. You smile at your family. Everyone sits down at the dinner table. You are happy.

Suddenly there is a loud noise.

“What was that,” you wonder.

The noise rings out again. The walls begin to shake—a little at first, then a big shake. You grab your family and hold them close. The shaking continues. The cabinets open. The dishes start falling from their shelves. The sound of exploding glass and ceramics is deafening. You are terrified.

Then everything goes still and quiet.

Kayford Mountain

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View Liz Judge's blog posts
24 August 2012, 1:30 PM
Warren Haynes, My Morning Jacket oppose mountaintop removal mining
Guitarist Warren Haynes has joined the Mountain Heroes campaign.

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is one song that immediately comes to mind when you think of how music and mountains just naturally go hand in hand. Musicians are been well known for their stances on environmental issues, and artists such as Pearl Jam, The Roots, Jack Johnson, Willie Nelson, Guster, Sheryl Crow, and Moby are all outspoken advocates.

As part of Earthjustice’s Mountain Heroes campaign, two more prolific artists are joining us to stand up against mountaintop removal mining. The first is Rolling Stone’s 23rd greatest guitarist of all time: Warren Haynes. Warren has recorded with artists from every genre, and is best known for his work playing with The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh & Friends, and his own group, Gov’t Mule. Why has Warren joined us? “I want to save mountains because mountains are majestic!”

Mountain Heroes: Warren Hayes, My Morning Jacket.

View Maria Beloborodova's blog posts
06 August 2012, 2:37 PM
The law and the facts are on our side

Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg came out victorious in a recent Intelligence Squared debate over whether the natural gas boom in America is doing more harm than good. Arguing against the super intensive development of natural gas, she targeted the reckless, breakneck speed at which the industry is progressing.

She asked, “So, what characterizes a boom?" and answered her own question.

It's big. It's sudden. And it blows a lot of smoke. And the natural gas boom is doing all of that to an extreme. It's too much. It's too fast. And the hype is just over the top.

The boom is devastating the environment, wrecking communities and diverting the focus away from the much needed development of renewable energies, Goldberg said, adding:

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
27 July 2012, 1:18 AM
Plus: London smog, EPA’s petrified politics, grocery bill blues
Greenland's ice melt from July 8th (left image) to July 12 (right image). Photo courtesy of NASA

Greenland's record ice melt blows scientists’ beakers
The ice melt happening in Greenland right now is one for the record books, reports the UK Guardian. In fact, it’s so dramatic that even the scientists who have been staring at Greenland’s ice melt for decades were so surprised at just how fast the ice is melting that they thought they made a mistake in their data. They didn't. One group of researchers even had to rebuild their research camp after the snow and ice melted beneath their feet. Within a four-day period, the area of melting ice in Greenland increased from approximately 40 percent of the ice sheet surface to 97 percent. Typically, only about half of Greenland’s ice sheet melts during the summer. The unprecedented ice melt doesn’t bode well for those living near sea level, like, say, the almost four million Americans that live within just a few feet of high tide

London smog may send athletes sprinting for inhalers
As the Olympics in London heats up, the world’s best athletes are gearing up with top-notch running shoes, high-performance energy drinks...and their best inhalers, reports the UK Guardian. Health experts are warning that London’s forecast temperature of hot weather and easterly winds this week may result in a deadly combination that spikes smog pollution in the area, triggering breathing problems and scratchy throats. Also known as ground level ozone, smog is formed when sunlight reacts with oxygen and pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, which spews out of vehicle tailpipes and industry smokestacks. Though physicians often recommend that people reduce physical activity during really smoggy days, that’s not really an option for speedy, air-sucking Olympic athletes. Last fall, President Obama withdrew the EPA’s new smog standard, which would have tightened air toxics regulations and saved thousands of lives each year. Though the president cited economic concerns as the reason for his decision, it’s unclear whether he considered the economic impact of putting a smog-filled damper on the Olympics. As for the non-athletes attending the games this year who’d like to know when air pollution spikes, don’t worry. There’s an app for that.
 

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
24 July 2012, 12:05 PM
Bill McKibben takes us to school—and nominates Public Enemy #1
Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben,  who first alerted the non-scientific world to global climate change two decades ago with The End of Nature  has a new piece in Rolling Stone that he says is the most important thing he’s written in the past 20 years, and he’s written hundreds of articles and books during that period.

It’s titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” and it’s long but worth reading. More than worth reading.
 

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
20 July 2012, 8:52 AM
Plus: BPA’s dating game, drought doldrums, Big Ag’s big gift

Insurance agency says fracking too risky to cover
A major insurance company has announced that it won’t cover damage related to fracking, reports the Associated Press. “Fracking" is when oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of water treated with chemicals into the ground to force oil and gas from hard-to-reach places deep inside the earth. Along with a fracking-fueled gas rush have come troubling reports of poisoned drinking water, polluted air, mysterious animal deaths and sick families. In an internal memo not meant for the public, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. acknowledged these risks, writing: “After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore.” Earthjustice and other environmental and health groups agree, which is why we’re pushing to enact tougher regulations for fracking.

BPA causes fish to court curious companions
Exposure to the estrogen-mimicking chemical known as BPA can cause interspecies mating between fish, potentially harming ecosystems by reducing biodiversity, reports New Scientist. BPA, a widely-used chemical that’s used to make hard plastic, has been under fire for years for its estrogen-mimicking properties, which trigger bodily changes that are normally regulated by hormones. Previous studies have shown that BPA can feminize fish, and now this recent study, which found that exposure to BPA made male red shiners look like other species of shiners, makes the animal dating scene even more confusing. And since male red shiners are considered invasive species in some places, the possibility of red shiners shacking up with non-red shiners could have big impacts on biodiversity.

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View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
28 June 2012, 5:17 PM
Plus: Pesticide poisonings, fracking evictions and druggy meat

Bumblebees join honeybees in buzzing off
It turns out honeybees aren’t the only pollinators experiencing mysterious, massive die-offs, reports Grist. Bumblebees, those fuzzy, buzzy bees that pollinate everything from alfalfa to apples, are also disappearing. That’s bad news for farmers...and anyone who happens to like eating food. According to research published last year, the abundance of some bumblebee species has declined by as much as 96 percent in a mere two decades. One reason for the massive die-off may be a lack of wildflower-rich habitats. Another may be pesticides, which have been under increased scrutiny after two scientific studies linked a commonly used corn pesticide to the die-offs of pollinating bees. And yet still another cause may be climate change, which impacts the bees’ habitat range.
 
Pesticide poisoning all too common among farmworkers
The EPA estimates that up to 20,000 physician-diagnosed poisonings occur each year among agricultural workers but since no comprehensive database to track pesticide exposure incidents currently exists, there may be a lot more incidents that go unreported, reports iWatch News. Lack of data is just one of the many challenges in making agricultural fields safe for farmworkers, who often come in contact with toxic pesticides that can cause nose bleeds, rashes and vomiting. Another challenge  is that many farmworkers are illegal immigrants, so they're reluctant to speak up in fear of getting reported to the federal authorities. Currently, Earthjustice, along with other groups, is trying to increase protections for farmworkers by pressing for upgrades to the Worker Protection Standard, which hasn’t been thoroughly revamped in 20 years. 
 

View Sarah Burt's blog posts
28 June 2012, 3:20 PM
Vessels must avoid dirtier fuels off state coast

Twenty seven million Californians—80 percent of the state’s population—are exposed to emissions from ocean-going vessels, resulting in serious health impacts such as cancer, respiratory illnesses like asthma, as well as increasing the risk of heart disease. California estimates that the ships’ direct particulate emissions cause 300 premature deaths across the state every single year, even after excluding cancer effects.

The Ninth Circuit’s 2011 decision in Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn. v. Goldstene involved a shipping industry challenge to the Vessel Fuel Rule. The Ninth Circuit rejected industry’s claims that the ARB regulation is preempted by the federal Submerged Lands Act and contravenes dormant Commerce Clause principles. By denying certiorari, the Supreme Court has decided to let the Ninth Circuit’s decision stand.