Canadian federal officials say they are prepared to cover some of the financial losses if Kinder Morgan continues to face delays in expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia. The pipeline company told Ottawa it needs assurance by May 31 that the company will be able to build the project, and overcome the environmental objections from the British Columbia government, or it will walk away. Read more at ICN about how difficult it's become for energy companies in Canada to build tar sands pipelines.Read original story
New research shows global warming will drive many of North America's fish species northward, potentially leading to billions of dollars in losses for coastal fishing communities. The study examines 686 fish species, some of which could disappear from their current habitat. New England's cod fishery is at risk, while rockfish in the Pacific Northwest are moving toward Alaska.Read original story
Alaska's government is working on a plan to address climate change, making it among the few conservative-leaning states to do so in such a substantial way. State leaders say the evidence is too strong and damage already too great to ignore. Read more at ICN about Alaska's climate paradox: feeling the effects of climate change, while relying heavily on the production of oil and gas.Read original story
A federal judge has struck down the city of Oakland's ban on shipping coal through an export terminal in the city. The 2014 ban violates a development agreement, the judge said. The coal industry is hoping the Oakland terminal can be used to increase exports as the U.S. market continues to fade.Read original story
The EPA came very close to announcing a debate on climate change last year, going so far as to write a draft press release about it. According to the draft, obtained by BuzzFeed News, the EPA planned to lead a roster of "red team" scientists to critique a comprehensive federal report on the state of climate science. Read more from ICN about the government's National Climate Assessment.Read original story
As many nations look to reduce the use of fossil fuels, President Trump is said to be considering whether to form a group that would promote carbon energy. A newly disclosed memo describes the "Clean and Advanced Fossil Fuel Alliance," which would promote coal and natural gas as reliable and inexpensive fuels.Read original story
Most insurance companies in the United States have not adapted their strategies to address the dangers of a warming world, despite being on the frontlines of climate change. This makes them more likely to raise rates or deny coverage in high-risk areas, according to a new study. It comes as predictions show that an above-average Atlantic hurricane season is approaching.Read original story
More than a quarter of the 66 nuclear plants operating in the United States are either scheduled to close or likely aren't making money, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The study follows an earlier analysis that showed that half of U.S. coal plant capacity is on shaky ground.Read original story
Environmental journalist James Bruggers will run the first of several planned regional reporting hubs as InsideClimate News launches a national network. Louisville-based Bruggers is covering the Southeast where he will report on energy and the environment and collaborate with local newsrooms to produce more in-depth environmental reporting.Read original story
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt demanded and received unprecedented, around-the-clock protection from armed officers on his first day, the agency's internal watchdog says. That appears at odds with past claims that the stepped-up security measures came in direct response to death threats.Read original story
A new report suggests blooms of harmful algae in the nation's waters are occurring more frequently. Primarily fed by farm runoff and exacerbated by rising temperatures, these blooms are releasing climate-warming methane and CO2. Lake Erie is a prime example of the challenge.Read original story
Clean-energy advocates are increasingly critical of the way PJM Interconnection, the nation's largest grid operator, is supporting policies that give financial incentives to coal and nuclear plants. This is part of the larger debate about grid resilience, and PJM is a key player.Read original story
350.org recently endorsed the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). The PPC is about drawing attention to the systemic inequalities poor people face, uniting them to challenge systems of oppression like racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and changing the narrative around poverty. The PPC launched on May 14th with a set of nonviolent direct actions, in which our Executive Director, May Boeve, participated. Those actions will continue for 40 days including the week of June 3-9th which will focus on the Right to Health and a Healthy Planet.
Personally, 350’s endorsement of PPC means a lot to me. Two years ago, just before I began working for 350.org, my Latino family went through really tough economic hardship. Both my partner and myself were unemployed. We went from being a lower middle class family to living on food stamps on the brink of losing our home. Watching my daughter live through the type of poverty and hardship I was accustomed to as a child was almost paralyzing. The anxiety and overwhelming feeling of helplessness that it brought to me was only outsized by the feeling of guilt I had for not being able to prevent her from also experiencing poverty.
I have experienced poverty throughout my life. Because of this experience, I believe the climate justice movement has the potential to create system wide changes that will ripple through existing systems of oppression — and break them. I’m originally from Guatemala, a country where more than half of the population lives under the global poverty line. To put it in perspective: that’s living on $1.90 US a day or less!
I didn’t spend all of my life in Guatemala. My family fled to Canada in the 1980’s. We left Guatemala because of the civil war, funded by US military intervention. Right-wing military dictatorships committed genocide against indigenous peoples, destroyed social movements, and deepened inequality. More resources and money were spent on the war economy than on the wellbeing of Guatemalans. The war made life impossible for us; to survive we left everything we knew.
The lasting effects of that civil war mean the few in power continue to maintain that stronghold, and the wealth that comes with it. The wealthiest 1% of Guatemalans own or control 65% of the wealth. Despite the fact that Guatemala has always been at the economic mercy of foreign powers, like the US and Spain, poverty in the country is linked to certain myths: including the idea that Indigenous and Black people are lazy, that our culture somehow prevents us from advancing in life, and that with just a little grit everyone can have a better future. Sound familiar?
If it does, it’s because many of the same poverty myths pervade the United States and Canada, two countries where I’ve experienced poverty. In Canada, I thought much of my experience deeply entrenched in poverty was because a refugee family of five led by a single dad, with only a grade 6 education, had many hurdles stacked against it. What I’ve learned as I’ve become more educated is that poverty isn’t a necessary evil. Families who face inequity and deep challenges can overcome those if there are welfare nets that both sustain families when they experience shocks, and that uplift them when they get caught in a circle of poverty. Poverty exists because the status-quo economic systems make it acceptable for the few to hoard the largest amount of wealth while the masses can barely get by. Currently in Canada the top 20% of Canadians own over 67% of the wealth and this gap continues to increase.
Life in Canada wasn’t easy, but my dad instilled the importance of education and working hard in all of us. In my experience, and in the experience of many working-class families, that idea means nothing when you are only one season of unemployment away from living under the poverty line, or have difficulty finding work in your own field.
We deserve better than a system that condemns so many people to poverty so a few can enjoy the privileges of wealth. Take a stand with the Poor People’s Campaign to change the conversation on poverty and push for real policy solutions.
In the US, my experience of poverty has been different, yet the same. How is it that my family went from being seemingly lower middle class to living under the poverty line? Simple: we have no wealth. We don’t come from wealth, and when we lost our jobs we lost our only source of income. Jobs with good wages and benefits in our field were scarce and hard to access. We ended up spending a year and a half looking for work and taking what we could get. In that time our unemployment benefits ran out, as did the little savings we had. It’s no coincidence that African Americans and Latinos are often in much more precarious financial situations than white Americans. In the United States, the unemployment rates for African Americans and Latinos have always been higher than the unemployment rate for whites.
At a time when poverty within countries is increasing, the United States’ huge wealth gap means 10% of the richest families own 3/4 of wealth — this is deeply segmented along racial lines. Add to this, the fact that existing welfare programs in the US do not put people above or on the poverty line. For our family of three, the federal poverty level is $20,780. We actually survived under that for the better part of a year and a half. After this experience of economic hardship and trauma, we are both gainfully employed and back on our feet more or less. It never escapes me that we are only another job loss away from ending up under the poverty line.
For those of us, like me, who were born in poverty and are part of the climate movement, the struggle is not just to save the planet – it’s to save ourselves from systems of oppression that allow a few to hoard wealth while the rest struggle to survive. For me, the climate justice movement has the most potential to have a system wide effect to not only care for the planet and move away from dirty energy, but also to make sure the fossil free transition is a just one for workers and communities. It’s my hope that this transition would not only move us away from fossil fuels, but also to a more equal society that dismantles systems of oppression which sustain the dirty fuel economy and the current capitalist system.
Enbridge's controversial Line 5, which carries oil under the Straits of Mackinac near where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet, has dents from an apparent anchor strike of as much as three-quarters of an inch, the company said. Enbridge is considering wrapping the sections in protective sleeves but hasn't set a timeline. Read more from ICN on calls to shut down the aging pipeline.Read original story
This year's low snowpack in the West is raising concerns. The Rio Grande and the Colorado River are both seeing low flow in places, prompting concerns about water shortages and wildlife. Officials are urging states in the Colorado River Basin to finalize drought contingency plans this year. Wildfire risk is also high due to dry conditions.Read original story
The number of air conditioning units worldwide is projected to grow from 1.6 billion today to 5.6 billion by midcentury, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The units are major users of electricity, contributing to climate change.Read original story