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Scientists Call Northwest Heatwave the ‘Most Extreme in World Weather Records’

Wildfires rage amid a devastating heatwave in the Pacific Northwest

Flames surround the drought-stricken Shasta Lake in Lakehead, California on July 2, 2021. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

Scientists Call Northwest Heatwave the ‘Most Extreme in World Weather Records’

“Never in the century-plus history of world weather observation have so many all-time heat records fallen by such a large margin.”

A pair of climate scientists on Thursday said the record-high temperatures that have ravaged the northwestern U.S. and western Canada over the past week—killing hundreds and sparking dozens of wildfires—represent the “world’s most extreme heatwave in modern history.”

“It’s not hype or exaggeration to call the past week’s heatwave the most extreme in world weather records.”
—Bob Henson, Jeff Masters

“Never in the century-plus history of world weather observation have so many all-time heat records fallen by such a large margin than in the past week’s historic heatwave in western North America,” meteorologist Bob Henson and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane scientist Jeff Masters wrote for Yale Climate Connections.

“It’s not hype or exaggeration to call the past week’s heatwave the most extreme in world weather records,” they argued. “The only heatwave that compares is the great Dust Bowl heatwave of July 1936 in the U.S. Midwest and south-central Canada. But even that cannot compare to what happened in the Northwest U.S. and western Canada over the past week.”

In British Columbia, the chief coroner said her office has received nearly 500 reports of “sudden and unexpected” deaths since last Friday, many of which are believed to be connected to the record temperatures that the region has suffered in recent days.

Residents of the small British Columbia village of Lytton—which on Tuesday recorded Canada’s all-time high temperature of 121°F—were forced to evacuate Wednesday as a wildfire ripped through the area and quickly engulfed the small town, destroying homes and buildings.

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The ‘Big Con’ Revealed: Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry’s Deceptive ‘Net Zero’ Strategy

Big coal rig. Net Zero scam.

A brown coal mining machine operating at the Welzow-Sued lignite opencast mine in Welzow, eastern Germany. A new report out Wednesday details how so-called “net zero” pledges are simply schemes propagated by the fossil fuel industry and other powerful interests “to mask inaction, foist the burden of emissions cuts and pollution avoidance on historically exploited communities, and bet our collective future through ensuring long-term, destructive impact on land and forests, oceans, and through advancing geoengineering technologies.” (Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa / AFP via Getty Images)

The ‘Big Con’ Revealed: Report Details Fossil Fuel Industry’s Deceptive ‘Net Zero’ Strategy

“Big polluters and rich governments should not only reduce emissions to Real Zero, they must pay reparations for the huge climate debt owed to the Global South.”

A new report published Wednesday by a trio of progressive advocacy groups lifts the veil on so-called “net zero” climate pledges, which are often touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency, but which the paper’s authors argue are merely a dangerous form of greenwashing that should be eschewed in favor of Real Zero policies based on meaningful, near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Increasingly, the concept of ‘net zero’ is being misconstrued in political spaces as well as by individual actors to evade action and avoid responsibility.” —Report

The report—titled The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a “Net Zero” Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny” (pdf)—was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by over 60 environmental organizations. The paper comes ahead of this November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland and amid proliferating pledges from polluting corporations and governments to achieve what they claim is carbon neutrality—increasingly via dubious offsets—by some distant date, often the year 2050.

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13 Years Is Too Long for Victims of Shell’s Oil Spills to Wait for Justice

13 Years Is Too Long for Victims of Shell’s Oil Spills to Wait for Justice

This case has beaten a path through the undergrowth for victims of corporate crimes. Now we need strong laws to make this avenue easier to access.

Donald Pols (R), director of Dutch environmental organization Milieudefensie, and Channa Samkalden (L), lawyer for Milieudefensie, react following the court ruling in the case that the organization, along with four Nigerian farmers, filed against Shell over oil leaks that have allegedly polluted their villages, in The Hague, on January 29, 2021. The Nigerian branch of Shell has to pay compensation to some farmers from the African country. The company has been found liable for two oil spills. The amount must

Donald Pols (R), director of Dutch environmental organization Milieudefensie, and Channa Samkalden (L), lawyer for Milieudefensie, react following the court ruling in the case that the organization, along with four Nigerian farmers, filed against Shell over oil leaks that have allegedly polluted their villages, in The Hague, on January 29, 2021. The Nigerian branch of Shell has to pay compensation to some farmers from the African country. The company has been found liable for two oil spills. The amount must be determined later, the court in The Hague ruled. (Photo: Remko de Waal / ANP / AFP via Getty Images)

Justice has finally prevailed for the people of the oil-soaked Niger Delta. On Friday 29th January, after a thirteen year struggle for redress for lives ruined by oil spills, three Nigerian farmers, supported by Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands, beat one of the world’s most powerful transnational corporations, Shell, in court in the Netherlands. Across Nigeria’s southern Delta region, people who have never heard of the Court of Appeal in the Hague celebrated with victory parties. But no victim should have to wait thirteen years for justice. Better laws are needed now to give victims quicker and more effective ways to win remedy.

The discovery of oil in the Niger Delta has brought untold suffering to its people. Shell was there from the start in the 1950s—and with it came oil spills and pollution…

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Climate Campaigners Say ‘Listen to the Science’ as New Study Shows Earth Now Warmer Than Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

Climate Campaigners Say ‘Listen to the Science’ as New Study Shows Earth Now Warmer Than Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

The study “changes the baseline and emphasizes just how critical it is to take our situation seriously,” its lead researcher said.

A protester is seen holding a placard during a climate change demonstration. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A new study published in the journal Nature shows the Earth is now hotter than it’s been at any time during the past 12,000 years. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Climate campaigners on Thursday pointed to a study showing that Earth is hotter than it’s ever been during the entire epoch of human civilization as the latest proof of the need to treat human-caused global heating like the dire emergency that it is.

“The modern, human-caused global warming period is accelerating a long-term increase in global temperatures, making today completely uncharted territory.”
—Samantha Bova,
Rutgers University

On Wednesday, the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature published a report revealing that an analysis of ocean surface temperatures found that the planet is hotter now than at any other time in the past 12,000 years, and that it may actually be warmer than at any point during the last 125,000 years.

Researchers Samantha Bova, Yair Rosenthal, Zhengyu Liu, Shital P. Godad, and Mi Yan detemined this by solving what scientists call the “Holocene temperature conundrum.” This was the mystery of why the global heating that began at the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago peaked around 6,000 years later—before giving way to the onset of a cooling period that lasted until the Industrial Revolution, when the current anthropogenic warming period began.

It turns out that the collected data, obtained from fossilized seashells, was innacurate, showing only hot summers while missing the colder winters.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

With 10-Point Declaration, Global Coalition of Top Energy Experts Says: ‘100% Renewables Is Possible’

With 10-Point Declaration, Global Coalition of Top Energy Experts Says: ‘100% Renewables Is Possible’

“The solutions will not only save consumers money, but also create jobs and provide energy and more international security, while substantially reducing air pollution and climate damage from energy.”

"A world based on 100% renewable energy is possible, and we are able to transform the energy system fast enough to avoid the climate catastrophe."

“A world based on 100% renewable energy is possible, and we are able to transform the energy system fast enough to avoid the climate catastrophe,” said the coalition of researchers. (Photo: Getty Images/Stock Images)

Setting out to rebut defeatist and cynical claims that transitioning the entire global energy system to 100% renewables by 2035 is infeasible, a group of dozens of leading scientists from around the world unveiled a joint declaration Tuesday arguing that such a transformation of the fossil fuel-dependent status quo is not only necessary to avert climate disaster but eminently achievable.

What’s required, argue the 46 signatories of the new 10-point declaration (pdf), is sufficient political will, international coordination, and concrete action on a massive scale to institute a total “re-design of the global energy system.”

“We have lost too much time in our efforts to address global warming and the seven million air pollution deaths that occur each year, by not focusing enough on useful solutions,” said Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.

“Fortunately, low-cost 100% clean, renewable energy solutions do exist to solve these problems, as found by over a dozen independent research groups,” added Jacobson, one of the seven original signers of the declaration. “The solutions will not only save consumers money, but also create jobs and provide energy and more international security, while substantially reducing air pollution and climate damage from energy. Policymakers around the world are strongly urged to ensure we implement these solutions over the next 10-15 years.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Campaigners Say ‘Listen to the Science’ as New Study Shows Earth Now Warmer Than Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

Climate Campaigners Say ‘Listen to the Science’ as New Study Shows Earth Now Warmer Than Any Time in Last 12,000 Years

The study “changes the baseline and emphasizes just how critical it is to take our situation seriously,” its lead researcher said.

A protester is seen holding a placard during a climate change demonstration. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A new study published in the journal Nature shows the Earth is now hotter than it’s been at any time during the past 12,000 years. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Climate campaigners on Thursday pointed to a study showing that Earth is hotter than it’s ever been during the entire epoch of human civilization as the latest proof of the need to treat human-caused global heating like the dire emergency that it is.

“The modern, human-caused global warming period is accelerating a long-term increase in global temperatures, making today completely uncharted territory.”
—Samantha Bova,
Rutgers University

On Wednesday, the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature published a report revealing that an analysis of ocean surface temperatures found that the planet is hotter now than at any other time in the past 12,000 years, and that it may actually be warmer than at any point during the last 125,000 years.

Researchers Samantha Bova, Yair Rosenthal, Zhengyu Liu, Shital P. Godad, and Mi Yan detemined this by solving what scientists call the “Holocene temperature conundrum.” This was the mystery of why the global heating that began at the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago peaked around 6,000 years later—before giving way to the onset of a cooling period that lasted until the Industrial Revolution, when the current anthropogenic warming period began.

It turns out that the collected data, obtained from fossilized seashells, was innacurate, showing only hot summers while missing the colder winters.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

“Biden campaigned on eliminating fossil fuel giveaways, and voters agree by a huge margin,” said one climate activist.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a speech Wednesday outlining his new executive actions aimed at confronting the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, President Joe Biden said he plans to ask the Democrat-controlled Congress to pass legislation eliminating the tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies the federal government continues to hand Big Oil even as the planetary emergency wreaks havoc in the U.S. and across the globe.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Biden. “I’m gonna be going to the Congress and asking them to eliminate those subsidies.”

While the president did not offer specifics on what he would want a potential bill to look like, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and other progressive lawmakers introduced legislation last year that proposed ending direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and “abolishing dozens of tax loopholes, subsidies, and other special interest giveaways littered throughout the federal tax code.”

The lawmakers estimated the End Polluter Welfare Act would save taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next decade.

Watch Biden’s remarks:

Biden’s call for legislative action on fossil fuel subsidies came just before he signed an executive order that, according to a White House summary, “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law”—a move that would not touch handouts mandated by Congress.

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Humans May Have Passed the ‘Point of No Return’ in Climate Crisis, Says Study—But That Doesn’t Mean All Hope Is Lost

Humans May Have Passed the ‘Point of No Return’ in Climate Crisis, Says Study—But That Doesn’t Mean All Hope Is Lost

In order to roll back catastrophic carbon emissions, humans must “start developing the technologies for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” says one of the study’s lead authors.

Melting permafrost in Canada's Northwest Territories, a sign of accelerating global heating. (Photo: Charles Tarnocai/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Melting permafrost in Canada’s Northwest Territories sends carbon-rich sediment into the Mackenzie Delta. (Photo: Charles Tarnocai/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Humanity may have passed the “point of no return” in the climate crisis—even if everyone on the planet stopped emitting all greenhouse gases at this very moment, according to a study published Thursday.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed British publication Scientific Journals, alarmingly asserts that “the world is already past a point of no return for global warming” and that the only way to halt the catastrophic damage caused by greenhouse emissions is to extract “enormous amounts of carbon dioxide… from the atmosphere.”

“[The crisis] simply will not stop from cutting manmade greenhouse emissions.”
—Jørgen Randers, study co-author

The crisis “simply will not stop from cutting manmade greenhouse gases,” Jørgen Randers, one of the study’s two lead authors, told Future Human. Humanity, stressed Randers, “should accelerate its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions… and start developing the technologies for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.”

What exactly does a “point of no return” mean for Earth and its inhabitants? The researchers describe “a threshold which, once surpassed, fundamentally changes the dynamics of the climate system,” including “by triggering irreversible processes like melting of the permafrost, drying of the rainforests, or acidification of surface waters.”

The researchers used a computer model called ESCIMO to simulate outcomes from various levels of CO2 reductions until the year 2500. They concluded that even an immediate reduction to zero greenhouse emissions would still result in a 3°C rise in global temperatures by 2500.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What If Preventing Collapse Isn’t Profitable?

What If Preventing Collapse Isn’t Profitable?

The real downside of the green-profit narrative has been that it created the assumption in many people’s minds that the solution to climate change and other environmental dilemmas is technical, and that policy makers and industrialists will implement it for us, so that the way we live doesn’t need to change in any fundamental way. That’s never been true.

Smoky skies from the northern California wildfires casts a reddish color in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

Smoky skies from the northern California wildfires casts a reddish color in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Photo: Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)

The notion that modern industrial civilization is fundamentally unsustainable and is therefore likely to collapse at some point is not a new one. Even before the Limits to Growth report of 1972, many ecologists were concerned that our continual expansion of population and consumption, based on the ever-increasing rate at which we burn finite supplies of fossil fuels, would eventually lead to crises of resource depletion and pollution (including climate change) as well as catastrophic loss of wild nature. Dystopian outcomes would inevitably follow.

This apprehension led environmentalists to strategize ways to avert collapse. The obvious solution was, in large measure, to persuade policy makers to curtail growth in population and consumption, while mandating a phase-out of fossil fuels. But convincing political and business leaders to do these things proved difficult-to-impossible.

It’s time to ask: is there something fundamentally wrong with the eco-opportunity message?”

The folks in charge used the following arguments to justify their refusal to act.

Population Growth: The choice of whether or not to reproduce is a basic human right, said the authorities. Seeking to interfere with that right also violates religious freedoms. Besides, population growth helps economic growth (see “Economic Growth,” below).

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NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

NYT Finally Gets Around to Reporting OAS Fraud Election Claims in Bolivia Were Bogus

The Times only covered the problems with the OAS analysis after a study from three independent researchers found flawed data and analysis.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales in 2008. (Joel Alvarez, Wikimedia Commons)

More than seven months after claims of fraudulent elections sparked an undemocratic coup that led to the ouster of Bolivian President Evo Morales, The New York Times late Sunday reported on new research showing the U.S.-led Organization of American States used flawed data and analysis to support its widely cited contention the voting was rigged.

“It was clear from the start, but now even the NYT is admitting: what happened in Bolivia was nothing short of a coup by the U.S. and its OAS puppet, deposing one of the most successful democratically elected leaders in modern Latin American history,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald in response to the Times reporting.


Progressive International@ProgIntl

It was a coup.

It was — then as now — clearly a coup.

The @ProgIntl was founded to break the myths and counter the misinformation that has justified right-wing regime change around the world.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/world/americas/bolivia-election-evo-morales.html …A Bitter Election. Accusations of Fraud. And Now Second Thoughts.A close look at Bolivian election data suggests an initial analysis by the O.A.S. that raised questions of vote-rigging — and helped force out a president — was flawed.nytimes.com


As Common Dreams reported in November, U.S. officials cited the OAS report on the election as a justification for backing the coup that deposed Morales, the left-wing Indigenous former president.

Despite reporting from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) casting doubt on those claims within 24 hours of the OAS making them, the Times only covered the problems with the U.S.-dominated organization’s analysis after a study (pdf) from three independent researchers found the same results. 

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Pandemic Response Requires Post-Growth Economic Thinking

Pandemic Response Requires Post-Growth Economic Thinking

The end of growth is painful. We had a foretaste of it in 2008, but the current crisis promises to be much worse.

New Yorkers make some noise to show appreciation to healthcare workers due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in Manhattan, New York City, United States on April 8, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
New Yorkers make some noise to show appreciation to healthcare workers due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in Manhattan, New York City, United States on April 8, 2020. (Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Amid a horrific human tragedy of sickness and death, much of it taking place in hospitals staffed by brave but overworked and under-equipped doctors and nurses, we are all learning once again what it feels like when economic growth comes to a shuddering stop and the economy goes into reverse—shrinking and consuming itself. Millions have been thrown out of work, untold numbers of businesses shuttered. The St. Louis Federal Reserve estimates that Q2 unemployment could clock in as high as 32.1 percent (for comparison, unemployment at the depths of the Great Depression was 25 percent, and during the Great Recession of 2008-2010 it peaked at 10 percent). Though radical measures must now be adopted to slow the spread of the coronavirus, those measures are having toxic side effects on the economy.

Yet, economic growth was bound to end at some point, with or without the virus. A few moments of critical thought confirm that the exponential expansion of the economy—whose physical processes inevitably entail extracting natural resources and dumping polluting wastes—is destined to reach limits, given the obvious and verifiable fact that we live on a finite planet.

However, we also happen to live in a human social world in which a decades-long spurt of economic and population growth, based on the snowballing exploitation of a finite supply of fossil fuels, has become normalized, so that world leaders have come to agree that growth can and must continue forever.

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‘A Breath of Fresh Air’: Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World Uses

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’: Offshore Wind Power Could Produce More Electricity Than World Uses

“Let’s get going!”

Shanghai Donghai Bridge's 100mw offshore wind power project is China's first national offshore wind power demonstration project in the early morning light of morning in Shanghai, Oct. 4, 2019.
Shanghai Donghai Bridge’s 100mw offshore wind power project is China’s first national offshore wind power demonstration project in the early morning light of morning in Shanghai, Oct. 4, 2019. (Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Getty Images)

A new report from the International Energy Agency released Friday claims that wind power could be a $1 trillion business by 2040 and that the power provided by the green technology has the potential to outstrip global energy needs. 

“Talk about a breath of fresh air,” tweeted writer Steven E. de Souza.

The IEA report looks at the business of wind power and opines that as investment increases and the technology becomes cheaper, the sector could explode. 

The IEA finds that global offshore wind capacity may increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040. This is driven by falling costs, supportive government policies and some remarkable technological progress, such as larger turbines and floating foundations. That’s just the start—the IEA report finds that offshore wind technology has the potential to grow far more strongly with stepped-up support from policy makers.

“Offshore wind currently provides just 0.3% of global power generation, but its potential is vast,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

It would take a major infrastructural commitment to develop wind power to the point that the renewable energy resource could take over the majority of global energy needs, but it’s not impossible. As The Guardian pointed out Friday, “if windfarms were built across all useable sites which are no further than 60km (37 miles) off the coast, and where coastal waters are no deeper than 60 metres, they could generate 36,000 terawatt hours of renewable electricity a year.”

“This would easily meeting the current global demand for electricity of 23,000 terawatt hours,” added The Guardian.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Beekeepers File Suit Against Trump EPA Charging ‘Illegal’ Approval of Insecticide Linked to Mass Die-Off

US Beekeepers File Suit Against Trump EPA Charging ‘Illegal’ Approval of Insecticide Linked to Mass Die-Off

“Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restriction just to please the chemical industry.”

"It is inappropriate for EPA to solely rely on industry studies to justify bringing sulfoxaflor back into our farm fields," said Michele Colopy of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, a party to the suit. "Die-offs of tens of thousands of bee colonies continue to occur and sulfoxaflor plays a huge role in this problem. EPA is harming not just the beekeepers, their livelihood, and bees, but the nation’s food system." (Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

“It is inappropriate for EPA to solely rely on industry studies to justify bringing sulfoxaflor back into our farm fields,” said Michele Colopy of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, a party to the suit. “Die-offs of tens of thousands of bee colonies continue to occur and sulfoxaflor plays a huge role in this problem. EPA is harming not just the beekeepers, their livelihood, and bees, but the nation’s food system.” (Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A group of beekeepers joined forces on Friday against Trump’s EPA by filing a lawsuit over the agency’s move to put a powerful insecticide—one that scientists warn is part of the massive pollinator die-off across the U.S.—back on the market.

The lawsuit (pdf) charges that the EPA’s approval of sulfoxaflor—touted by its manufacturer, agro-chemical giant Corteva, as a “next generation neonicotinoid”—was illegally rendered as it put industry interests ahead of the health of pollinators and ignored the available science.

“EPA is harming not just the beekeepers, their livelihood, and bees, but the nation’s food system.”

“Honeybees and other pollinators are dying in droves because of insecticides like sulfoxaflor, yet the Trump administration removes restriction just to please the chemical industry,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney with Earthjustice, the legal aid group representing the beekeepers. “This is illegal and an affront to our food system, economy, and environment.” 

According to a statement by Earthjustice:

EPA first approved sulfoxaflor in 2013, but thanks to a lawsuit brought by Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Beekeeper Federation, and Earthjustice, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision. The Court ruled EPA failed to obtain reliable studies regarding the impact of sulfoxaflor on honeybee colonies.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden

Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden

“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech.”

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via video link as he takes part in a round table meeting on March 15, 2019. (Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates raised alarm Thursday after the Trump administration called on Congress to reauthorize an NSA mass surveillance program that was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The New York Times, which obtained the Trump administration’s request to Congress, reported that “the administration urged lawmakers to make permanent the legal authority for the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans’ domestic communications, the USA Freedom Act.”

“It’s long past time that this surveillance program was shuttered once and for all.” 
—Patrick Toomey, ACLU

“The law, enacted after the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, is set to expire in December, but the Trump administration wants it made permanent,” according to the Times.

The administration claimed in its letter to Congress—which was signed by outgoing National Intelligence chief Dan Coats—that the NSA has suspended the spying program, but Free Press Action government relations director Sandra Fulton said in a statement that this “should give little comfort to those whose privacy rights are routinely violated by authorities.”

“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech,” said Fulton. “The NSA program permits the mapping of relationships among members of marginalized communities and distant associates of targeted individuals, even when most individuals in those communities were never suspected of wrongdoing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article….

Playing Role of Pesticide ‘Cheerleader,’ EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

Playing Role of Pesticide ‘Cheerleader,’ EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

“It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, not the pesticide protection agency.”

Roundup

 “It’s a little bit sad,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, “the EPA is the biggest cheerleader and defender of glyphosate.” (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency was accused of being a pesticide “cheerleader” last week after the agency said it would not approval labels that say that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers—is known to cause cancer.

In a statement released Thursday announcing the move, the EPA dug in on its assertion that glyphosate does not cause cancer, though critics have said that is “an industry-friendly conclusion that’s simply not based on the best available science.”

The new guidance takes aim at California’s 2017 move, in adherence with its Proposition 65, to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer and require warning labels. The state cited the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer 2015 assessment that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA, however, said those labels provided consumers with false information.

“We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the statement.

The EPA also sent a letter to manufactures on Aug. 7 saying that “pesticide products bearing the Proposition 65 warning statement due to the presence of glyphosate are misbranded” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The letter, signed by Michael Goodis, head of EPA’s registration division in its Office of Pesticide Programs, said EPA would not approve labeling with that warning, and that “EPA requests the submission of draft amended labeling that removes such language within ninety days of the date of this letter.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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