Today, world governments are meeting at the United Nations for the General Assembly, with 31 more countries ratifying the Paris Agreement during a ceremony. It’s an important moment to look back at where we’ve come since December 2015 when the world gathered in Paris. What is clear when we see what’s happened so far in 2016 is that now is not the time to be complacent.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating how energy company Exxon Mobil Corp. calculates the impact to its business from the world's increasing response to climate change, according to the Wall Street Journal.Read original story
United States President Barack Obama on Tuesday called for an increase in climate finance to reduce global inequality, Climate Home reports.
"If we don't act boldly, the bill that could come due will be mass migrations, and cities submerged and nations displaced, and food supplies decimated, and conflicts born of despair," said Obama in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.Read original story
Speaking at the United Nations in New York this week, Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom would ratify the Paris climate deal this year, the Guardian reports.Read original story
On Tuesday, 375 top scientists signed an open letter warning against the consequences of backing out of the Paris climate agreement, which Republican candidate Donald Trump has vowed to do if elected U.S. president, Mashable reports.Read original story
New data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows last month was the hottest August on record, Climate Central reports.Read original story
The campaign to hold Exxon accountable for their climate cover-up just took a big step forward.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced this afternoon that they’re opening an investigation into whether Exxon has failed to account for the risk climate change and climate regulations could pose to their business model.
This investigation could fundamentally reshape how Exxon and the entire fossil fuel industry does business. If the SEC finds that Exxon has lied to its shareholders, the company could face major penalties. More importantly, a ruling that forces Exxon to account for its climate risk could help shut down new fossil fuel development and industry expansion.
This step by the SEC wouldn’t have happened without you. The divestment movement has helped mainstream the idea of stranded assets and climate risk. And the wave of voices calling out #ExxonKnew triggered the investigations that revealed the internal documents the SEC is now using to go after the company.
Now, it’s crucial that we keep up the pressure. Exxon and their cronies in Congress are already pushing back hard. Last week, Rep. Lamar Smith hosted a hearing on his authority to subpoena 350.org, our allies, and state attorneys general for our work to hold Exxon accountable. As our Executive Director May Boeve said at a press conference that morning, “This is Exhibit A in the case study of Big Oil’s stranglehold on Congress.”
If we can’t keep up our momentum, Exxon could intimidate regulators and investigators into backing down or narrowing the scope of their inquiries. If we can keep shining a light on Exxon’s lies, we’ll be closer to dismantling the power of an industry that’s still recklessly — and knowingly — driving the climate crisis.
And you can learn more about Exxon’s lies and the campaign to hold them accountable at exxonknew.org.
Let’s keep it up.
The United States and China on Monday both released their fossil fuel subsidy peer reviews, Climate Home reports. One of the largest obstacles for pushing through reform in the U.S. is that Congress must pass enabling legislation.Read original story
Some legal experts say that if Donald Trump is elected president of the United States, he has a few options for abandoning the global climate agreement, Climate Central reports. Trump, a Republican, has previously called climate change a "hoax" and threatened to "cancel" the Paris climate pact.Read original story
Forrest Lucas, co-founder of the oil products company Lucas Oil, is reportedly a leading contender for Interior secretary should Donald Trump get elected into the White House, according to Politico.Read original story
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law new standards for "super pollutants," such as black carbon and methane, The Hill reports. Under the rule, the state must reduce its black carbon by 50 percent and its methane and hydrofluorocarbons by 40 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.Read original story
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order last week directing state officials to develop rules for annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by next summer and to develop a state plan for adaptation and resiliency, the Boston Globe reports.
"This executive order signals our continuing commitment to combatting and preparing . . . for climate change impacts across state government and in our communities," said Baker, a Republican, on Friday.Read original story
by Urszula Papajak
Middelgrunden is probably the most frequently photographed offshore wind farm – 20 turbines situated just 2km outside of Copenhagen, each of 2 MW capacity, rising to 102 meters above the water line, placed side by side in a slightly arched line. It is co-owned by the state-owned utility DONG Energy and the Middelgrunden Turbine Co-operative.
Erik Christiansen, chairman of the Middelgrunden cooperative, explains how working closely with the local authorities was key to the project’s success.
How did it start?
“The cooperative was started by a small group of unemployed engineers” explains Erik Christiansen. “We had a very visionary Energy Minister and Mayor for the environment at that time, who thought that our cooperative could be a good showcase for future projects. That’s how, in March 1997, we established the first offshore wind farm cooperative”.
Shaping the policy
“We worked very closely with public authorities and received a lot of support. Without their help, I don’t think we would have ever been able to negotiate with the utility company” says Christiansen. “The company was very skeptical at the beginning, they said: “they are normal citizens and they don’t have a clue about energy””.
Since the beginning, the government has kept an eager eye on this pioneering project. It recognised the potential of citizens’ participation in the generation of electricity from renewable energy sources and has been experimenting with different support tools since.
“When we were starting, there wasn’t much support whatsoever“ says Christiansen. “That has changed over the years”.
In order to assist local authorities with an often complicated and prolonged wind turbine installation planning process, a Wind Turbine Task Force was established in 2008. Its aim is to increase support for new wind turbines and help citizens to establish new wind cooperatives.
In response to a public demand for more transparency and access to information, all available governmental information about wind energy in Denmark has been gathered and published as a website: www.vindfo.dk. This way, citizens, local authorities, and wind project developers have easy access to information.
Furthermore, new legislation that offers new wind turbine cooperatives low-interest loans for the preliminary investigations, planning, etc was established. For those that fail the implementation stage, the loan does not have to be paid back!
To restore and maintain public acceptance for new projects, the Danish government also enacted a regulatory measure obligating developers of new wind turbines to offer at least 20% of the ownership to local people living within a radius of 4.5km of the turbine.
“I know some utility companies” adds Christiansen “who offer an even higher percentage to residents because they want to avoid local resistance towards the project. Some even give loans to wind cooperatives and residents”.
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own project?
“If I could advise anyone wishing to start their own renewable energy cooperative, I think I would probably say: work closely with local authorities, be patient and persistent” concludes Christiansen.
Interested in the topic?