IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson gets a grilling on climate change during Senate confirmation hearings; Court orders Exxon to comply with Massachusetts AG's investigation into its climate science denial; Volkswagen executives indicted in emissions cheating scandal; PLUS: President Obama appeals to reason on climate in his Farewell Address... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Cuomo Confirms Deal to Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant; Is The Great California Drought Finally Quitting?; Alaskan Village, Citing Climate Change, Seeks Disaster Aid To Relocate; Groups Create Roadmap For Replacing Lead Pipes That Poison Water; Carbon Storehouse: Scientists Map Vast Peat Swamps in Central Africa; Interior Dept. Calls For Major Changes To 'Modernize' Fed Coal Program; New DOE Report Warns Of Changing 'Threat Environment' For Electric Grid... PLUS: The emotional toll of climate reporting... and much, MUCH more! ...
STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- Tillerson grilled' on climate in Senate confirmation hearings:
- Tillerson's Hearing Seals It: the US Won't Lead on Climate Change (Wired):
Tillerson may not have out-and-out denied the existence of human-caused climate change or the need for the US to help combat it. But his tepidness on global warming betrayed one clear fact: if confirmed, the US will no longer lead on climate change. It will be at the table, sure, but as a difficult guest, not the host.
- VIDEO: Secretary of State Confirmation Hearing, Part 1 - Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (C-SPAN)
- VIDEO: Secretary of State Confirmation Hearing, Part 2 - Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (C-SPAN)
- Rex Tillerson's Senate Confirmation Hearing: Live Updates (InsideClimate News)
- Tillerson doesn't deny climate change - but dodges questions about Exxon's role in sowing doubt (Washington Post):
Scientists, though, would dispute his claim that we have a "very limited" ability to predict what is happening to the planet's climate due to our emissions...Tillerson has articulated a more nuanced position on climate change than other Trump cabinet nominees. He repeatedly has acknowledged the potential consequences of climate change and the impact of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, but has questioned the reliability of climate models and suggested humanity has bigger problems to tackle.
- Climate Change Deniers: Even Exxon's CEO Has Abandoned You: But Trump's nominee for secretary of state left himself a lot of room to maneuver. (Bloomberg):
His statements do reflect ExxonMobil's evolution on the topic, starting from its early research, when Tillerson was starting out, to the late 1990s, when fossil fuel interests organized a mass-confusion campaign.
- News Reports Uncritically Portray Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson As Climate Change Advocate (Media Matters)
- Rex Tillerson's potentially huge conflict of interest over Russia and oil, explained (Vox)
- #ExxonKnew: The Road Not Taken (InsideClimate News)
- Exxon Continued Paying Millions To Climate Deniers Under Tillerson (Huffington Post):
The company, led by Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state, has supposedly shifted its stance on global warming. But the receipts suggest otherwise. Exxon Mobil Corp. promised nine years ago to stop donating to groups that spread misinformation about climate change. Yet between 2008 and 2015, the oil giant's charitable arm gave over $6.5 million to groups that deny that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, a new analysis shows.
- Exxon loses court battle in Massachusetts #ExxonKnew investigation:
- Healey wins showdown with Exxon Mobil on climate change (Boston Globe):
Healey is among the state attorneys general investigating what Exxon knew about climate change from its own research and whether the company deceived investors and consumers about the legitimacy of the risk for years.
- Volkswagen pleads guilty, 6 executives indicted in emissions cheating scandal:
- U.S. Charges 6 Volkswagen Executives in Emissions-Cheating Case (NY Times):
Extracting a guilty plea from a major corporation is a notable feat for an administration that has been accused of allowing companies to buy themselves out of indictments through so-called deferred prosecution deals. But the charges against the Volkswagen executives are just as striking and show that prosecutors are determined to hold the company's highest ranks to account.
- U.S. indicts six as Volkswagen agrees to $4.3 billion diesel settlement (Reuters)
- Volkswagen faces reforms, oversight for three years under U.S. settlement
- President Obama makes final push for climate action in Farewell Address:
- VIDEO: President Obama Farewell Address. (C-SPAN)
- Obama: Trump Cannot Undo All Climate Progress (InsideClimate News):
President Obama, writing in the nation's leading science journal, declared that 'the trend toward clean energy is irreversible' regardless of the different policy choices likely to come from his successor.
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- The emotional toll of climate reporting (Mashable)
- Cuomo Confirms Deal to Close Indian Point Nuclear Plant (NY Times):
In his State of the State address in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Cuomo characterized the deal as a hard bargain he had driven to rid the region of a “ticking time bomb” less than 30 miles from Midtown. He said the state would bear no costs in the shutdown or decommissioning of the plant’s two operating nuclear reactors.
- Is The Great California Drought Finally Quitting? (LA Times):
The state's biggest reservoirs are swelling. As of this date, the Sierra Nevada have seen as much snow, sleet, hail and rain as during the wettest years on record. Rainy Los Angeles feels more like London than Southern California. So is the great California drought finally calling it quits?
- Alaskan Village, Citing Climate Change, Seeks Disaster Aid To Relocate (NPR):
The tiny village of Newtok near Alaska's western coast has been sliding into the Ninglick River for years. As temperatures increase - faster there than in the rest of the U.S. - the frozen permafrost underneath Newtok is thawing. ... Now, in an unprecedented test case, Newtok wants the federal government to declare these mounting impacts of climate change an official disaster.
- Groups Create Roadmap For Replacing Lead Pipes That Poison Water (USA Today):
Nearly two dozen environmental, health, consumer and water utility groups are uniting to help communities replace old lead pipes that are the primary culprit behind the lead contamination of millions of Americans' drinking water.
- Carbon Storehouse: Scientists Map Vast Peat Swamps in Central Africa (NY Times):
Scientists have mapped what they say is the largest peatland in the tropics, an area larger than New York State in the Congo Basin in Central Africa.
- Interior Dept. Calls For Major Changes To 'Modernize' Fed Coal Program (Washington Post):
With just days until President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration, the Department of the Interior finalized a report Wednesday calling for major changes to the federal coal program by which the U.S. manages the leasing of land to companies for exploration and production across 570 million publicly owned acres.
- As Asian Luxury Market Grows, A Surge in Tiger Killings in India (Yale e360):
Poachers killed more tigers in the forests of India in 2016 than any year in the last 15. The spike is linked to demand for tiger parts in China, where the endangered animal's bones and skins are regarded as exotic luxury items.
- New DOE Report Warns Of Changing 'Threat Environment' For Electric Grid (Washington POst):
At a time of heightened focus on U.S. cybersecurity risks, the Energy Department released a comprehensive report on the nation's rapidly changing electrical grid Friday that calls for new action to protect against evolving threats.
- 640 Companies To Trump: Stay The Course On Clean Energy (Mashable):
A total of 640 businesses and investors sent a letter to President-elect Trump and Congress on Tuesday, strongly urging continued investment in the clean energy sector. The letter, coordinated by the nonprofit group Ceres, which works with investors and companies to promote sustainability, contains big tech names like Adobe, SalesForce, eBay, HP, SolarCity, Symantec and Tesla.
- Kansas Town Faces Big Bill to Clean Drinking Water (Circle of Blue):
In farm country, the cost of nitrate pollution often falls on towns." "Pretty Prairie, home to 650 people on the southern Kansas plains, is a one-well town. And that well is giving the town fits.
- Obama's Energy Department Moves To Stop Political Attacks On Scientists (Buzzfeed):
Days ahead of the Trump Administration taking power, the US Department of Energy released long-demanded rules on Wednesday to protect its scientists from political harassment.
- No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously (Vox):
If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.
FOR MORE on Climate Science and Climate Change, go to our Green News Report: Essential Background Page