Climate Corner: No time to waste

May 21, 2022

Eric Engle

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

The old cliche goes that, when you’re in a hole and trying to get out, you first stop digging. That is the opposite of what we’re doing when it comes to fossil fuels and derivative industries like plastics and petrochemicals amidst global climate, biodiversity loss, pollution, and contamination crises.

A study published last Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters lead by researchers at Oil Change International estimates that “40% of fossil fuel reserves at currently operational development sites across the globe must be left in the ground if the world is to have a 50-50 chance of adequately slashing carbon emissions and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius [above a preindustrial baseline] or below,” as referenced in an article for the media outlet Common Dreams. This is in addition to the finding by the International Energy Agency in 2021 that no new oil and gas exploitation and development and no new coal-fired power plants must come about in order to stay on a safe climate path and meet the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

These sound scientific findings are being ignored. According to reporting in The Guardian, the 28 largest producers of oil and gas made close to $100 billion in combined profits in just the first three months of 2022. A study soon-to-be published in the journal Energy Policy has found that fracking projects across U.S. lands and waters will release 140 billion metric tons of planet-heating gases if fully realized. The study found that the emissions from these oil and gas “carbon bomb” projects would be four times larger than all of the planet-heating gases expelled globally each year, according to Guardian reporting. Fracking, by the way, is extremely dangerous for numerous reasons. For an incredible summation of those dangers, I refer you to the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure, Eighth Edition. You can find the report at https://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/.

Even the “solutions” being proposed by the fossil fuels and related industries are mostly bunk. We’re hearing a lot about blue hydrogen (hydrogen derived from fossil fuels with carbon emissions captured). While hydrogen shows promise for decarbonization of hard-to-decarbonize sectors like aviation, shipping, and the production of steel and cement, blue hydrogen or other hydrogen color codes derived from fossil fuels will release massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 86-times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a 20-year period and continue other massive pollution and contamination problems. And Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) is prohibitively expensive, not proven at anywhere near scale, and dangerous in its own right. For more information on all of the problems with CCUS, please see carboncapturefacts.org. The only truly promising hydrogen is green hydrogen–hydrogen derived from water molecules being split by an electrolysis process powered by renewable energy.

West Virginia’s senior U.S. Senator, Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., is in an extremely powerful position right now as the key vote in the evenly divided senate and as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Instead of voting in favor of the largest and most crucial energy and environmental legislation in modern times, he decided to reject the legislation and leave his party scrambling to piece together replacement legislation he’ll support. Why? It might have something to do with the fact that, according to his 2021 financials, he made $536,869 last year from his coal brokerage Enersystems selling waste or “gob” coal to the Grant Town power station–an 80Mw totally unnecessary coal-fired station that cost MonPower ratepayers like me a total $117 million extra to keep operating between 2016-2021 alone.

Fossil fuels for energy and production of things like plastics and petrochemicals have got to become a thing of the past as quickly, efficiently, equitably, and justly as humanly possible. There is no substitute for this transition. There are no shortcuts or gimmicks to avoiding climate catastrophe. Atmospheric physics does not care about your politics or feelings. The massive and voluminous amount of science clarifying this reality and the path forward is undeniable. The best time to act was 30 to 40 years ago; the second best time is right now.

***

Eric Engle is chairman of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Climate Corner: Earth Day should be every day

May 14, 2022

Giulia Mannarino

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

One of the first pictures taken of the Earth from the Moon was snapped by astronaut William Anders on Christmas Eve 1968. Anders, as well as astronauts James Lovell and Frank Borman, were aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft, the first manned mission to orbit the moon. The photo was taken in the pre-digital age and not seen until the film was returned to Earth. “Earthrise” shows a beautiful blue planet in sharp contrast to the barren lunar landscape. This iconic image had a profound impact on humanity and helped prompt the environmental movement of the 1970s. “Apollo 8 will probably be remembered as much for Bill’s picture as anything because it shows the fragility of our Earth, the beauty of the Earth, and just how so insignificantly small we are in the Universe,” said Borman in Travel-Leisure magazine. “It was the beginning of the realization that we need to take care of it.”

The first national Earth Day, celebrated April 22, 1970, played a significant role in generating support for environmental legislation. Prior to 1970, there were few legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect the environment. It was legal for factories to spew toxic smoke into the air or toxic waste into a nearby stream. Across the country bacteria levels in rivers were high, pesticides were being used indiscriminately, millions of gallons of spilled oil was fouling beaches, city air was deteriorating and oil slicks on a river were catching fire. In July 1970, President Richard Nixon sent a plan to Congress to consolidate environmental responsibilities under one federal agency, a new Environmental Protection Agency. In December of that year, the EPA was officially established by Congress. Congress also passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, amended a federal water protection law that became the Clean Water Act in 1972 and passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973.

Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson first announced the concept of an Earth Day in the fall of 1969. A former governor of the Badger State, Nelson had a long history of promoting conservation efforts. Nelson and his Senate staff recognized the energy of grass roots student-led activism and wanted that same energy to help promote environmental priorities in national politics. The date for Earth Day was selected, not only because it was national Arbor Day, a long standing conservation effort, but also because on college campuses it fell between spring break and final exams. According to EPA’s website more than 20 million people in the U.S. participated in the first Earth Day. Protecting our planet has always been a theme of Earth Day but environmental problems have become so widespread that scientists say addressing climate change is more urgent than ever. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change reports make it clear human-induced climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying.

According to a U.N. press release, on April 4, 2022, Antonio Gutterres, U.N. Secretary General, stated, “We are on a fast track to climate disaster … This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us will result from our current energy policies … This is a climate emergency.”

During the month of May, MOVCA is promoting the important message that every day, not just April 22, should be Earth Day. Digital billboards, which feature the iconic Earthrise photo, are located at 1044 Emerson Ave. in Parkersburg and 324 Pike St. in Marietta. Billboards are a highly visible tool for messaging but it would be ideal if the billboards were powered by renewable energy resources. In June 2006, the world’s first solar powered billboard was installed in Johannesburg, South Africa. This billboard also supplies power to a local school. Pacific Gas and Electric unveiled the first solar powered billboard in the U.S. in December 2007. Installed in foggy San Francisco, it creates more energy than needed to light up the billboard at night and delivers up to 3.4 kilowatts of solar energy to PG&E customers. Coca Cola made the switch to wind power to generate the energy needed for its giant iconic billboard in Times Square in 2008. And in June 2010 the first 100% solar powered billboard in Times Square was installed. Please notice the MOVCA billboards as you travel through the area. More importantly, please help slow climate change. Take MOVCA’s message to heart and respect our planet every day of every year in every way you can.

***

Giulia Mannarino, of Belleville, is a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Climate Corner: Capitalism and cancer

May 7, 2022

Randi Pokladnik

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

Twenty years ago, I lost my mother to cancer. She died two months before her 70th birthday. Her cancer had already progressed to stage 3 by the time of her diagnosis.

At first it was hard to believe she was sick. She looked perfectly healthy but her oncologist informed us cancer cells had been slowly growing inside her body for many years.

Our family wanted to know what caused my mom’s cancer. Her lifestyle wasn’t one that might have led to the development of cancer. Her oncologist told us that “unfortunately these tumors do not come with labels,” however, he pointed out that my mom, like many of his other patients, was born and raised in the heavily industrialized Ohio River Valley. There were few regulations in place in the 1930s and 1940s to protect human health and the environment.

The National Institute of Health Sciences reports more than two-thirds of cancer is from environmental exposures to substances including pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, benzene, dioxins, and vinyl chlorides.

My folks moved from Steubenville, Ohio, (a city once noted as having the dirtiest air in the nation) to Toronto, Ohio, in 1962. In 1970, Weirton Steel began construction of its coke ovens on Brown’s Island just outside Toronto’s city limits. Coke ovens heat coal to high temperatures to remove sticky coal tars. These tarry substances are collected and used to make various aromatic solvents like benzene, which are carcinogenic.

The coke plant drew national attention in late 1972 when 21 workers were killed in an explosion at the construction site. Our home, which was less than a mile away, was rocked by the explosion. By 1982, the plant was shut down. However, the pollution in the form of coal tars and benzene containing compounds remained.

Like many people who are diagnosed with terminal cancer, my mom was willing to try anything to gain a few more months. But once the cancer spread, she had to admit she wasn’t going to beat it. She would not see her grandkids grow up or see another birthday, she wouldn’t celebrate another Mother’s Day with us. She lost her hair, her life savings, her dignity and eventually her life.

We will never know for sure if living in the Ohio Valley contributed to my mom’s cancer, but our next-door neighbor died at the age of 14 from leukemia and another friend died at the age of 11 from stomach cancer.

For years the petrochemical industry has discounted the connection of environmental toxins to cancer and they continue to deny the major role they play in the climate crisis. Many consumers are unaware of the risks associated with these toxic products, which include many personal care products, cleaning products, and lawn and garden chemicals.

Countless studies show forever chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl substances, “PFAS,” are now basically found everywhere on the planet. These compounds have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and numerous other diseases.

Environmental Lawyer, Rob Bilott said in a recent interview, “one of the things we found in the internal files of the main manufacturer of the chemical PFOS was that this company was well aware by the 1970s that PFOS was being found in the general U.S. population’s blood and was being found at fairly significant levels.” Yet the manufacturers failed to share this information with citizens.

In July 2021, a report by Physicians for Social Responsibility presented evidence that oil and gas companies have been using PFAS, or substances that can degrade into PFAS, in hydraulic fracturing. Ignoring the toxicity associated with fracking fluids and claiming a need for “energy independence,” local, state and federal politicians are calling for more fracking.

Corporate CEOs and cancer cells have this in common; their main goal is growth. The collateral damage is of no concern to them so long as their stock values climb. Scientists frantically warn us we are devastating fragile ecosystems and warming the planet to dangerous temperatures. Still CEOs, media, and politicians ignore the warnings.

Many people, including scientists, have become as desperate as cancer patients; searching for an answer, a cure, some way to stop the death of our planet. It was devastating to watch my mother slip away bit by bit until she was barely recognizable. It’s also devastating to watch the only habitable planet in our solar system, the one that harbors so many marvelous creatures and ecosystems, being killed by corporate greed and a dysfunctional economic system that requires the consumption of Mother Earth to make a buck.

***

Randi Pokladnik, Ph.D., of Uhrichsville, is a retired research chemist who volunteers with Mid Ohio Valley Climate Action. She has a doctorate degree in Environmental Studies and is certified in Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Suggested Readings for May

MOVCA April 2022 Selected Media Postings

Appearing on-line in the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

April 30, 2022 Energy and Environment article by Mike Tony

“Researchers, industry experts say numbers don’t add up for Appalachia’s largest gas and oil well owner of WV’s well inspectors”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/researchers-industry-experts-say-numbers-dont-add-up-for-appalachias-largest-gas-and-oil-well/article_43dfce05-0167-5b53-a4f3-8b6dd48c65ff.html

April 25, 2022  Op-Ed by Dan Taylor, Appalachian regional field organizer for the BlueGreen Alliance

“Dan Taylor” WV, with help, is posed to lead in clean energy”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/dan-taylor-wv-with-help-is-poised-to-lead-in-clean-energy-opinion/article_910121de-5565-5a12-b24b-73490aca94c7.html

April 22, 2022  Energy and Environment Article by Mike Tony

“PSC approves FirstEnergy’s utility-scale solar projects, but with new requirements before construction can begin”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/psc-approves-firstenergys-utility-scale-solar-projects-but-with-new-requirements-before-construction-can-begin/article_94a42451-44e8-56f0-9344-5ef950f0c68d.html

April 21., 2022 Editorial

“Gazette-Mail editorial: Coal won’t keep lights on, if rate hikes persist”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/editorial/gazette-mail-editorial-coal-wont-keep-lights-on-if-rate-hikes-persist/article_fc4af7a4-0ee8-532c-86d1-380c0ab49891.html

April 19, 2022 Op-Ed by Evan Hansen, Morgantown, WV House of Delegates 51st District

“Evan Hansen: How a federal carbon tax would benefit WV”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/evan-hansen-how-a-federal-carbon-tax-would-benefit-wv-opinion/article_0300edcb-7fe1-5ec5-b210-9ccb54ab57e6.html

April 7, 2022 Column by James Van Nostrand

“Van Nostrand: Bailing our coal on the backs of ratepayers”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/van-nostrand-bailing-out-coal-on-the-backs-of-ratepayers-opinion/article_881010fd-e3c0-5676-b09d-cc946dea85b5.html

Available from Ohio Capital Journal:

April 29, 2022 Article by Jake Zuckerman

“Clean energy future? Fossil fuel boondoggle? Chamber pushes for hydrogen hub in Ohio”

April 26,  2022 Article by Jacob Fischler

“On Earth Day, Biden signs order to catalog and conserve old-growth forests”

April 11,  2022 Article by Jacob Fischler

“Biden goal for U.S. transition to electric vehicles cast into doubt at U.S. Senate hearing”

Appearing on-line on WV Public Broadcasting or WOUB (PBS) or NPR:

April 28, 2022 Energy and Environment Article by Shepherd Snyder (text and 1:00 audio)

“Canaan Valley Institute Kicking Off Green Infrastructure Program In Berkeley County”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-28/canaan-valley-institute-kicking-off-green-infrastructure-program-in-berkeley-county

April 19, 2022 Energy and Environment Article by Curtis Tate

“Law Will Allow State To Boycott Banks That Shun Fossil Fuels”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-19/law-will-allow-state-to-boycott-banks-that-shun-fossil-fuels

April 13, 2022 Energy and Environment Article by Curtis Tate

“Mason County Lands Coal Processing Plant, 500 Jobs”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-13/mason-county-lands-coal-processing-plant-500-jobs

April 12, 2022 Energy and Environment by Chris Schultz  Text and Audio (3:28)

“A Weekend Of Protest Ends On A Spiritual Note”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-12/a-weekend-of-protest-ends-on-a-spiritual-note

April 11, 2022 Energy and Environment Article by Curtis Tate

“Mountain Valley Pipeline Wins Key Federal Approval”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-11/mountain-valley-pipeline-wins-key-federal-approval

April 7, 2022 Energy and Environment Article by Curtis Tate

“Coal Plants Customers Will Pay To Upgrade Sat Idle For Parts of 2021”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-04-07/coal-plants-customers-will-pay-to-upgrade-sat-idle-for-parts-of-2021

April 7, 2022 Science article by Rina Torchinsky

“Solar panels that can generate electricity at night have been developed at Stanford”

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/07/1091320428/solar-panels-that-can-generate-electricity-at-night-have-been-developed-at-stanf

April 4, 2022 Climate Article by Lauren Sommer  Text and  4-min Audio heard on All Things Considered

“It’s not too late to stave off the climate crisis, U.N. report finds. Here’s how”

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/04/1090577162/climate-change-un-ipcc-report

Available on WTAP:

Sunday April 10, 2022    WTAP’s News at Six  

Video coverage of Manchin Protest at Grant Town Power Plant.

https://www.vuit.com/publishers/352/wtap#vod:20393484    (Amelia Walker interviewed)

Available from WTFR.COM:

April 4, 2022 Article by John Lynch

“West Virginia to have state’s largest solar farm on former mine site”

https://www.wtrf.com/west-virginia/west-virginia-to-have-states-largest-solar-farm-on-former-mine-site/

Appearing on-line on Ohio River Valley Institute https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org :

Thursday, April 21,2022 7-8:30PM Online EVENT – Virtual Public Information Session

“Ohio River Valley Hydrogen and Carbon Capture Hub” see recording link below:

Recording titled “Western PA Leaders Host Hydrogen Hub Information Session” posted to YouTube April 22, 2022

April 21, 2022 Blog article  by Eric de Place

“Why Worry About the Future of the Plastics Industry? Public Opinion.” The second of three reasons why petrochemical-to-plastic schemes are in jeopardy.

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/why-worry-about-the-future-of-the-plastics-industry-public-opinion/

April 15, 2022  YouTube VIDEO (3:05) posted by ORVI Video about Why petrochemicals are failing Appalachia

“Petrochemical dreams are collapsing in Appalachia”

April 12, 2022 Report by Ted Boettner, Kathy Hipple, and Antony Ingraffea

“Diversified Energy: A Business Model Built to Fail Appalachia”

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/diversified-energy-a-business-model-built-to-fail-appalachia/

April 4, 2022 Blog Article by Eric de Place

“Why Worry About the Future of the Plastics Industry? Bans.” The first of the three reasons why petrochemical-to-plastic schemes are in jeopardy.

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/why-worry-about-the-future-of-the-plastics-industry-bans/

April 4, 2022 YouTube VIDEO (2:01) posted by ORVI

“Are hydrogen and carbon capture worth the hype?”

Available from West Virginia Rivers:

April 18, 2022 Article by Morgan King, climate campaign coordinator

“Committing to Our Future- The West Virginia Climate Pledge”

See also “Take the West Virginia Climate Pledge”

Available on ReImagine Appalachia:

April 18, 2022 Press Release

“Press Statement: Appalachian groups urge Biden, Congress to ensure climate action helps energy transition communities”

MOVCA is a one of the groups included in the sign-on letter.

Available on West Virginia Climate Alliance:

April 4, 2022 Press Release

“World’s Climate Scientists Lay Out a Path to Mitigate Climate Change”

https://www.wvclimatealliance.org/blog/2022/4/worlds-climate-scientists-lay-out-a-path-to-mitigate-the-climate-change

Available on The Appalachian Chronicle:

April 14, 2022  Article by Michael M. Barrick and YouTube link to view Documentary (45:45) Mountain Media Productions

“Maury Johnson: Fierce Friend of Mother Earth” A Citizen Activist Explains His Determined Efforts to Stop The Mountain Valley Pipeline

NATIONAL ATTENTION & Relevant to our region:

Available on Politico:

April 11, 2022  Article by Adam Cancryn and Eugene Daniels

“The new White House rule: Do not talk about Joe Manchin”

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/11/white-house-joe-manchin-biden-00024340

Available on Inside Climate News:

April 23, 2022  Politics & Policy article by James Bruggers, Reporter, SE, National Environmental Reporting Network

“Two US Electrical Grid Operators Claim That New Rules For Coal Ash Could Make Electricity Supplies Less Reliable” The companies’ comments may factor into a lawsuit filed this month by a utilities group that objects to EPA’s enforcement of coal ash rules.

Available on YaleEnvironment360:

April 13, 2022 Industry article by Beth Gardiner

“Amid Hopes and Fears, A Plastics Boom in Appalachia Is On Hold”

https://e360.yale.edu/features/plans-to-make-appalachia-a-plastics-hub-face-growing-hurdles

Available on Energy Storage News:

March 23, 2022 News article by Andy Colthorpe  (This article was omitted from the March listing)

“Co-balt-free lithium battery gigafactory to help transition West Virginia away from coal economy”

Available on truthout.org:

April 8, 2022 Article by Candice Bernd, senior editor/staff reporter at Truthout

“West Virginians Gear Up for “Coal Baron Blockade” at Joe Manchin’s Coal Plant”

https://truthout.org/articles/west-virginians-gear-up-for-coal-baron-blockade-at-joe-manchins-coal-plant/

Available on E & E News:

April 26, 2022 ClimateWire article by Scott Waldman
“Manchin energy mantra collides with reality in W.Va.”

RESOURCES, RESEARCH, and SOLUTIONS:

Available from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) : 

April 4, 2022       REPORT released by IPCC  

Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Working Group III Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Available from National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

April 7, 2022 Research News

“Increase in atmospheric methane set another record during 2021” Carbon dioxide levels also record a big jump

https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/increase-in-atmospheric-methane-set-another-record-during-2021

Available from University of Rochester Medical Center: 

April 11, 2022 RESEARCH by Elaine L Hill & Lala Ma published in Journal of Health Economics

“Study Links Fracking, Drinking Water Pollution, and Infant Health”

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/study-links-fracking-drinking-water-pollution-and-infant-heath

Available on the Science & Environmental Health Network  SEHN.org:

April 11, 2022  Factual RESEACH by Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, Science Director SEHN

“Carbon Dioxide Fact Sheet” (including link to download)

https://www.sehn.org/sehn/2022/4/11/carbon-dioxide-fact-sheet

Available from Physicians for Social Responsibility/The Science and Environmental Health Network:

April 8, 2022 11:30 am  Recording of Online webinar about Carbon Capture and links for other Resources

“Examining Carbon Capture Through Public Health and Environmental Justice Lenses”

Available on Carbon Capture and Storage Facts.org (sponsored by the Science & Environmental Health Network):

“What is Carbon Capture and Storage”

https://www.carboncapturefacts.org

“Carbon capture and storage is dangerous, expensive, wasteful, and unnecessary.”  Overview and Facts

https://www.carboncapturefacts.org/capture-overview

Available from Concerned Health Professionals on NY:

April 28, 2022  Announcement of Compendium released and link to download

Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure, Eighth Edition, April 28, 2022

https://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/

Available from Phys.org:

April 28, 2022  Article by Georgetown University Medical Center

“New study finds climate change could spark the next pandemic”

https://phys.org/news/2022-04-climate-pandemic.html

April 27, 2022 Chemistry article authored by University of Texas at Austin

“Plastic-eating enzyme could eliminate billions of tons of landfill waste”

https://phys.org/news/2022-04-plastic-eating-enzyme-billions-tons-landfill.html or directly from UT at this link:

https://news.utexas.edu/2022/04/27/plastic-eating-enzyme-could-eliminate-billions-of-tons-of-landfill-waste/

Available from Electrek:

April 28m 2022  Article by Michelle Lewis

“The US generated a record 18% of its electricity from wind and solar in March”

Available on RollingStone:

April 20, 2022  Article by Jeff Goodell

“The Climate Fight Isn’t Lost. Here Are 10 Ways to Win”

The clock is running on the climate crisis, but we have the tools and knowledge- and the crickets- that we need.

Climate Corner: Thank you, Mr. Bruce

Apr 30, 2022

Aaron Dunbar

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

I’d like to take a moment to honor the sacrifice of the late Wynn Alan Bruce, who departed this life following an act of self-immolation outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building this Earth Day. Bruce, a Shambhala Buddhist and photojournalist, is described by friends and family as having been a kind and compassionate man, as well as deeply concerned about the environment and the ecological breakdown of Earth’s biosphere.

“This guy was my friend,” wrote Zen priest and climate scientist Kritee Kanko. “He meditated with our sangha. This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis.”

Unsurprisingly, Bruce’s final actions have been met with criticism from some, mockery from others, as well as questions regarding the legitimacy of self-immolation as a form of demonstration. I neither endorse nor condemn the act of self-immolation, but I would strongly argue the attempt to delegitimize it as a form of demonstration is, itself, illegitimate.

Bruce’s actions appear to have been inspired in part by the demonstrations of Vietnamese monks throughout the 1960s and 70s. Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, of whom Bruce was an admirer, once wrote to Dr. Martin Luther King of such individuals:

“The self-burning of Vietnamese Buddhist monks in 1963 is somehow difficult for the Western Christian conscience to understand. The Press spoke then of suicide, but in the essence, it is not. It is not even a protest. What the monks said in the letters they left before burning themselves aimed only at alarming, at moving the hearts of the oppressors and at calling the attention of the world to the suffering endured then by the Vietnamese. To burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is of the utmost importance. There is nothing more painful than burning oneself. To say something while experiencing this kind of pain is to say it with the utmost of courage, frankness, determination and sincerity. During the ceremony of ordination, as practiced in the Mahayana tradition, the monk-candidate is required to burn one, or more, small spots on his body in taking the vow to observe the 250 rules of a bhikshu, to live the life of a monk, to attain enlightenment and to devote his life to the salvation of all beings. One can, of course, say these things while sitting in a comfortable armchair; but when the words are uttered while kneeling before the community of sangha and experiencing this kind of pain, they will express all the seriousness of one’s heart and mind, and carry much greater weight.”

What Wynn Alan Bruce had to say with his final act in this life was indeed of the utmost importance, expressed in as stark and compassionate a way as possible. Aside from nuclear war, there is no greater threat faced by civilization today than runaway, irreversible climate change

Day by day, the prospect of an unlivable planet for future, and in many places present generations, becomes more a reality. On the same day Wynn Alan Bruce’s life came to an end, U.N. Secretary General Anonio Guterres made it clear the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters must begin drastically reducing emissions within the next 36 weeks, in order to have a hope of averting climate catastrophe.

This comes as the U.S. Supreme Court, the apparent intended recipient of Bruce’s message, considers the case of West Virginia v. EPA, a suit pertaining to the Clean Air Act, with the court’s right wing extremist judges appearing poised to slash the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

As the crisis of climate change grows more and more alarming, and as the stakes become higher and higher, the industrialized world proves itself not only incapable of adapting to difficult circumstances, but indeed, bound and determined to exacerbate and accelerate its destruction every step of the way.

It is my sincerest hope the actions of Wynn Alan Bruce are not relegated to the misguided efforts of an insane man, but are instead accurately seen as the deeply compassionate actions of a kind and clear-eyed individual, as we, the living, continue with the true insanity of setting the world aflame, relentlessly fanning the fires as we watch our only home burn to the ground around us.

Thank you, Mr. Bruce, for your sacrifice. May you rest in peace, and may we keep your message forever at heart as we consider what manner of world we wish to create for ourselves, and for the children of future generations.

***

Aaron Dunbar is a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Climate Corner: Engage, inform on climate change

Apr 23, 2022

George Banziger

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

After the 52nd annual Earth Day we should celebrate by striving to get more people engaged in action to address climate change. A majority of Americans accept the fact that global warming is happening (72%) and that it is caused by humans (57%); furthermore, a majority (65%) also believes that corporations should pay a carbon tax (Yale Program on Climate Change Education, 2019).

But these survey responses do not translate into concerted action in the population and resultant legislative action by our lawmakers. Perhaps we should be mobilizing people with more facts about the impacts of climate change. Such incontrovertible facts include: the oceans are rising, becoming warmer, and more acidic; glaciers are disappearing at alarming rates (especially in the northern hemisphere), extreme weather is becoming more frequent, costly, and disastrous.

In response to these facts and to other influences, Americans are divided into six groups: alarmists (33%), concerned (26%), cautious (17%), disengaged ( 5%), doubtful (11%) and dismissive (9%) (Global Warming’s Six Americas, Leiserowitz & Maibach). Alarmists, the fastest growing group, are the most engaged in climate action; concerned are keenly aware of the dangers of climate change but are not yet fully mobilized; the cautious are persuadable but not yet fully convinced about climate; change; the disengaged are not attentive to the issue, and the dismissive are the active deniers of climate change.

Our political world has become highly polarized, and climate change is fully enveloped in this polarization. Facts are important, but they are not enough. The problem with facts is that in our highly divisive political context of “them versus us,” facts about climate change are, on the one hand, readily accepted or, on the other hand, resisted, denied, refuted or reinterpreted.

In her book, Saving Us, Katherine Hayhoe writes that opinions on climate change are driven less by facts and more by values, ideologies, world views and political orientation. Dr Hayhoe, an evangelical environmental scientist, urges those in the alarmist group, when speaking to someone from one of the non-alarmist groups, to find out what that person might be interested in and build on that personal interest. For example, a hunter might be touched by facts about the decline in habitat of wild animals; a scuba diver might be attentive to the depletion of coral reefs and its effect on marine life; and a beer lover might be interested in the fact that beer companies are taking action on climate change because of threats of climate change to barley and malt harvests.

As a devoted Christian, Hayhoe is sensitive to the importance of seeking some common ground with other Christians on climate change, White evangelicals are among the least concerned with climate change. She points out that the word “dominion” in the Book of Genesis does not refer to domination but to stewardship. Nothing is more Christian than to be good stewards of the planet and to love the global neighbor as oneself.

Human agency is an important part of many faith traditions including Christianity. An individual can make a difference, especially when working in concert with others and as a model to others who are in the cautious and concerned categories. An individual can adjust his/her thermostat (reducing a couple of degrees in the winter and raising a couple of degrees in the summer), can use renewable energy when possible, can car pool or take pubic transit, recycle, cut back on plane trips, reduce consumption of red meat.

It is important for the climate activist, i.e., alarmist, not to be obsessed with the dismissive category but to deal constructively with the other 91% who are persuadable to taking action on climate change. Besides the climate groups I am affiliated with, I am also a member of Braver Angels (braverangels.org) , a group dedicated to bridging the political divide. In their workshops Braver Angels encourages those of opposing viewpoints to actively listen to each other, to reflect what the other is trying to say, to avoid direct refutation, to find common ground, and to seek a sustainable personal relationship with the political other. These principles of bridging the divide also apply aptly to coming together on climate change. If we don’t convince the political other to take action on climate change, we can at least reach a better understanding between opposing groups.

***

George Banziger, Ph..D., was a faculty member at Marietta College and an academic dean at three other colleges. Now retired, he is a volunteer for the Mid-Ohio Valley Interfaith, and Harvest of Hope. He is a member of the Green Sanctuary Committee of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta, Citizens Climate Lobby, Braver Angels, and of the Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action team.

Climate Corner: Youth vs. government

Apr 16, 2022

Giulia Mannarino

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

Across the globe, youth are dissatisfied with their governments’ responses to the climate crisis. Recently, Lancet Planet Health published a report about the first large-scale investigation of climate anxiety in young people and its relationship with perceived government response. Ten thousand young people (ages 16-25) in ten countries were surveyed. The findings show climate anxiety and dissatisfaction with government responses are widespread in young people everywhere and this negatively impacts their daily lives. Another study published in a recent issue of Science shows an inter-generational inequality of climate change. This study determined the average six-year-old of today will endure many more environmental disasters than their grandparents. It was estimated children born in 2020 will experience a two- to seven-times increase in extreme events, particularly heat waves, compared with people born in 1960.

This issue of fairness across generations has “fueled” a surge of global climate protests led by youth as well as climate litigation filed on their behalf. Young people are taking their countries to court over their failure to address the climate crisis. All cases make the similar argument that the climate crisis compromised their basic rights to life, water and health. Research like that noted above help strengthen arguments in court for harms caused by governments. And there have been some victories!

In April of last year, German youth activists won a rewrite of the country’s emission laws after they argued the previous plan was insufficient. In Portugal, six young people are taking their country and 32 of the most polluting European governments to court over the climate change risks that threaten their health and future. The case filed in 2020 with the European Court of Human Rights has been fast-tracked and could see a ruling by next year.

Here in the U.S. youth climate crisis lawsuits have been filed in many states. A case filed in Montana had a recent victory. The constitutional climate lawsuit, Held v. State of Montana, filed March 13, 2020 by 16 youth from across the state, asserts that by supporting a fossil fuel-driven energy system which is contributing to the climate crisis, Montana is violating their constitutional rights to a clean and healthful environment; to seek safety, health, and happiness; and to individual dignity and equal protection of the law. The youth plaintiffs also argue the state’s fossil fuel energy system is degrading and depleting Montana’s constitutionally protected public trust resources, including the atmosphere, rivers and lakes, and fish and wildlife. On Aug. 4, 2021, in a historic decision, Judge Kathy Seeley ruled the youth plaintiffs could proceed to trial. Scheduled for Feb. 6-17, 2023, Held v. State of Montana will be the first ever children’s climate trial in U.S. history!

The groundbreaking constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was filed Aug. 12, 2015. That complaint, filed by 21 youth aged 11-22, from different states and cultural backgrounds, asserts the U.S. government had willfully acted over six decades to create the climate crisis, thus endangering their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. Going up against evidence from climatologists, whistle blowers, scientific experts, and the testimonies of the plaintiffs, the government took extraordinary measures to get the case dismissed. But these empowered youth refused to back down. They are awaiting a ruling on their Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint and the Motion to Intervene filed by 18 states. Regardless of the court’s decision, future generations have a right to a livable future and it is our moral duty to ensure those who come after us have clean air, water and a stable climate.

The monumental legal battle of these courageous youth against the world’s most powerful government is detailed in the film “YOUTH v GOV.” The movie follows the courageous young Americans suing to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate and demanding a recovery plan that will stabilize the crisis they’ve inherited. Producer/Director, Christie Cooper, in addition to being a film maker, is a PhD scientist. In keeping with their Faith Climate Action Week theme of “Our children’s right to a livable future,” Interfaith Power and Light has an agreement with the filmmakers of “YOUTH v GOV” to make the documentary available for special screenings to faith communities.

The Green Sanctuary Committee of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta will be hosting a virtual screening via Zoom April 21 at 7 p.m. Interested people must register in advance at https://tinyurl.com/2jrry85c to receive a confirmation email with a link to the screening.

***

Giulia Mannarino, of Belleville, is a member of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action.

Climate Corner: What can one person do?

Apr 9, 2022

Linda Eve Seth

editorial@newsandsentinel.com

In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket. — David Suzuki

***

As our climate changes, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense; sea levels are rising, prolonged droughts are impacting food crops, and many animal and plant species are being driven to extinction. It’s hard to imagine what we as individuals can do to resolve a problem of this scale and severity.

The following suggestions, while all valuable and do-able, are simplistic and just scratch the surface of what individuals can do to help the planet.

GO CAR-FREE: This is one of the most effective actions an individual can take. Cars are more polluting compared to other means of transportation like walking, biking, public transportation.

Walk, ride your bike, take a bus, ride-share with neighbors, travel less, combine errands. Try doing them each on just one day each week. Choose more efficient vehicles and, whenever possible, switch to electric vehicles

CHANGE YOUR DIET: After fossil fuels, the food industry — especially the meat and dairy sector — is one of the most important contributors to climate change. The meat industry contributes to global warming in three ways: cows’ burping releases lots of methane, a greenhouse gas. Secondly, we feed them with other potential sources of food, like maize and soy, which makes for a very inefficient process. And they require lots of water, fertilizers that can release greenhouse gases, and plenty of land — increasing amounts of which come from cleared forests, another source of carbon emissions. To make your diet more climate-friendly:

Eat more meat-free meals

Buy organic and local whenever possible

Don’t waste food

Grow your own

You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan to make a difference; cut down gradually. By reducing your consumption of animal protein by half, you can cut your diet’s carbon footprint by more than 40%?

USE ENERGY WISELY: By becoming more energy-efficient, you pollute less and save money too.

Swap your furnace for a heat pump, which extracts heat from one location and transfers it to another.

Install a programmable thermostat. Let the house remain cooler/warmer when no one is at home.

Swap your gas stove for an electric stove, which actually lowers indoor air pollution.

Unplug energy vampires (computers, printers, TVs, other electronics) when you’re not using them.

Wash clothes in cold water. Hang-dry your clothes when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t (they help fluff and dry your clothes).

Winterize your home to prevent heat from escaping and to keep it cool in the summer without an air conditioner.

Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.

URGE THE GOVERNMENT — SPEAK OUT: Write letters and emails, make phone calls, attend meetings … encourage our legislators and officials to take bold, ambitious climate action now. Voting is important. Keeping action going at governmental levels and national levels to fight climate change is critical.

Join the members of Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action in calling on our government to cooperate and encourage more action on climate change with the urgency this crisis requires.

Where climate change is concerned — KIDS COUNT! Young people can write notes asking for more pro-climate actions. Their voices may be especially impactful when heard by local officials like mayors and city council members.

While climate change won’t be solved by one individual’s buying or driving habits alone, these actions are important and can influence others to make changes, too. Studies have demonstrated that when one family makes a conscious, helpful change designed to aid in slowing climate change, others around them will also become motivated to undertake similar changes in their daily habits. By doing some of the things we’ve mentioned here, you and your family can become citizen climate leaders.

Whether you are a farmer in Colombia or a homeowner in West Virginia, climate change will have an impact on your life. Your actions will influence the planet for the coming decades — for better or for worse.

You can take action NOW. You can make a difference NOW.

Until next time, be kind to your Mother Earth.

***

Linda Eve Seth, SLP, M.Ed. is a mother, grandmother, concerned citizen and member of MOVCA.

Suggested Readings for April

MOVCA March – April 4, 2022 Selected Media Postings

Compiled by Cindy Taylor

Appearing in The Marietta Times:

April 4, 2021 AP International News article by Frank Jordans and Seth Borenstein

“Climate panel says world approaching danger zone”

https://www.mariettatimes.com/news/2022/04/climate-panel-says-world-approaching-danger-zone/

Appearing online in Patch:

March 8, 2022  Politics and Government Article by Chris Mosby, Patch Staff

“ ‘Dangerous Pollutants’ In Ohio Water, Lawmakers Want Change” A group of Ohio politicians want to ban the use of radioactive waste as de-icing spray on roads and implement new drinking water standards.

https://patch.com/ohio/cleveland/dangerous-pollutants-ohio-water-lawmakers-want-change

Appearing online in The Parkersburg News and Sentinel: 

April 2, 2022  Letter-to-the-Editor by William Ambrose.

 “A look at letter’s points”

https://www.newsandsentinel.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2022/04/a-look-at-letters-points/

March 26, 2022 Business News by Steven Allen Adams

“Chemical Reaction: West Virginia submits hydrogen hub plan, opponents call it a ‘boondoggle’”

https://www.newsandsentinel.com/news/business/2022/03/chemical-reaction-west-virginia-submits-hydrogen-hub-plan-opponents-call-it-a-boondoggle/

March 23, 2022  Business News by Evan Bevins, Staff Reporter

“$233K in federal funds going to Pickering Energy Solutions solar array” Nearly 1,400 panels installed at West Virginia Wesleyan

https://www.newsandsentinel.com/news/business/2022/03/233k-in-federal-funds-going-to-pickering-energy-solutions-solar-array/

March 12, 2022  Community News Staff Report

“Marietta church runner-up in Cool Congregations Challenge”

https://www.newsandsentinel.com/news/community-news/2022/03/marietta-church-runner-up-in-cool-congregations-challenge/

Appearing on-line in the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

March 30, 2022  Op-Ed by Eric Engle

“Eric Engle: Stop letting those who profit set the agenda”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/eric-engle-stop-letting-those-who-profit-set-the-agenda-opinion/article_43053bba-0bf3-53f2-95ef-a4933972832b.html

March 26, 2022  Energy and Environment Article by Mike Tony

“FirstEnergy and AEP solar proposals raise cost concerns, respond to corporate demand in coal-dependent West Virginia”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/firstenergy-and-aep-solar-proposals-raise-cost-concerns-respond-to-corporate-demand-in-coal-dependent/article_a1bc0f14-84e2-50fc-b46f-3db5d79b0aa1.html

March 24, 2022  Energy and Environment Article by Mike Tony

“WV leaders, fossil fuel companies chase federal hydrogen hub opportunity that opponents say is uneconomic”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/wv-leaders-fossil-fuel-companies-chase-federal-hydrogen-hub-opportunity-that-opponents-say-is-uneconomic/article_adc08986-fad0-538f-a15f-0c68bf38f822.html

March 17. 2022 Column by Eric Engle

“Eric Engle: Coal’s comeback is greatly exaggerated”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/eric-engle-coals-comeback-is-greatly-exaggerated-opinion/article_9d521eef-2034-5c23-b132-b86b1b74f7cf.html

March 12, 2022  Energy and Environment Article by Mike Tony

“WV leaders prioritize oil and gas production over renewables after Russian oil ban, risking long-term fossil fuel dependence”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/legislative_session/wv-leaders-prioritize-oil-and-gas-production-over-renewables-after-russian-oil-ban-risking-long/article_2a4686f8-4271-54ec-9076-ee0ea41f3418.html

Eric Engle is quoted “[T]he only real energy independence is renewable energy” and MOVCA mentioned as signing the letter to President Biden asking “to use the Defense Production Act to scale up production and deployment of renewable energy”

March 1, 2022 Op-Ed by Eric Engle

“Eric Engle: WV plays key role in enabling climate disaster”

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/opinion/op_ed_commentaries/eric-engle-wv-plays-key-role-in-enabling-climate-disaster-opinion/article_c0e7eb2d-62a7-5419-ada1-cf65d6a7ba21.html

Available from Ohio Capital Journal:

March 18, 2022 Article by Jake Zuckerman

“Both FirstEnergy and its shareholders seek secrecy around company’s bribes”

Appearing on-line on WV Public Broadcasting or WOUB (PBS) or NPR:

March 16,  2022 Energy and Environment article by Jessica Lilly

“Southern W.Va. HS Students Shine In National Spotlight For Environmental Work”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-03-16/southern-w-va-hs-students-shine-in-national-spotlight-for-environmental-work

March 16,  2022 Energy and Environment article by Curtis Tate

“Coal-Burning Pleasants Power Station To Be Shut Down or Sold”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-03-16/coal-burning-pleasants-power-station-to-be-shut-down-or-sold

March 12,  2022 Energy and Environment article by Curtis Tate

“Energy Bills Move Forward As Legislature Winds Down Session”

https://www.wvpublic.org/energy-environment/2022-03-12/energy-bills-move-forward-as-legislature-winds-down-session

Appearing on-line on ReImagingeappalachia.org:

Tuesday March 29, 2PM – 3PM  “ReImagining Your Community”  Webinar Series Launch

Available from West Virginia Center on Climate Change https://wvclimate.org :

March 23, 2022 Webinar hosted by West Virginia Center on Climate Change (WV3C)

“What Are The Poles (North and South) Telling Us About Earth’s Climate Future?” Recording available at link below.

Available from West Virginia Rivers:

March 15, 2022  WV Rivers News Blog

“UPDATE: WV v. EPA – What You Should Know about the Supreme Court Case and its Impact on Public Health, Climate Action, and Environmental Justice”

Appearing on-line on Concerned Ohio River Residents (CORR):

March 10, 2022  CORR blog post by Sean O’Leary, Researcher at Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI)

“The PTTGC cracker retreats further into mystery”

https://www.concernedohioriverresidents.org/post/the-pttgc-cracker-retreats-further-into-mystery

Appearing on-line on Ohio River Valley Institute https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org :

March 30, 2022  Article by Ted Boettner

“Maximizing Impact of Federal Orphaned Well Program in States”

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/maximizing-impact-of-federal-orphaned-well-program-in-states/

March 28, 2022 Video posted to ORVI YouTube channel. On the proposed Ohio River Valley hydrogen hub 1:32:12

Panel Discussion – “The Ohio River Valley Hydrogen Hub: Boon or Boondoggle?”

March 18, 2022 Article by Sean O’Leary about new RESEARCH

“The Ohio River Valley Hydrogen Hub: A Boondoggle in the Making”

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/the-ohio-river-valley-hydrogen-hub-a-boondoggle-in-the-making/

March 11, 2022 Article by Ben Hunkler

“Listen: A Model for Economic and Clean Energy Transition”

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/listen-a-model-for-economic-and-clean-energy-transition/

Repost of Yale Climate Connections – ORVI’s Sean O’Leary discusses with  Dr. Anthony Lieserowitz about Centralia , Washington and link provided to ORVI’s July report.  

March 8, 2022  Article about new research by Ted Boettner

“Federal Orphaned Well Funding, Explained”

https://ohiorivervalleyinstitute.org/federal-orphaned-well-funding-explained/

Available on The Appalachian Chronicle:

March 12, 2022 Article by Paula Mann

“Manchin Lying about Mountain Valley Pipeline, Says Landowner”

NATIONAL ATTENTION & Relevant to our region:

Available on Department of Energy (energy.gov) :

March 29, 2022  News Release from Department of Energy

“DOE Will Assist 22 Communities With Locally Tailored Pathways to Clean Energy” – Communities LEAP Program Helps Environmental Justice and Energy Communities Leverage Tools to Lower Energy Bills, Develop Plans for Sustainable Economic Empowerment.  (Manchin quoted.)

https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-will-assist-22-communities-locally-tailored-pathways-clean-energy

March 18, 2022 News Release from Department of Energy

“DOE Announces $5 Million to Launch Lithium-Battery Workforce Initiative” – Industry and Labor Partner on Five Pilot Programs to Train Battery Manufacturing Workers and Bolster the Domestic Battery Supply Chain. (Manchin quoted,)

https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-5-million-launch-lithium-battery-workforce-initiative

See current news on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law site: https://www.energy.gov/bil/bipartisan-infrastructure-law-homepage

Available on U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:

March 21, 2022 Press Release by US Securities and Exchange Commission

“SEC Proposes Rules to Enhance and Standardize Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors”

https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-46

Available on AP NEWS.com:

March 17, 2022 Article by Leah Willingham

“Energy startup to bring electric battery factory to W.Va”

https://apnews.com/article/technology-business-west-virginia-charleston-united-mine-workers-of-america-ebfa638695a5344262ad0ecdae88e9bd

Available on Energy-Storage News:

March 23, 2022 News article by Andy Colthorpe

“Cobalt-free lithium battery gigafactory to help transition West Virginia away from coal economy”

Available on Forbes:

March 15, 2022  Article  by Silvio Marcacci, communications director at Energy Innovation

“So Much For Coal’s Rebound – Plant Closures Coming Roaring Back. It’s Time To Unlock A Just Transition”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2022/03/15/so-much-for-coals-rebound-plant-closures-come-roaring-back-smart-policy-must-unlock-a-just-transition/?sh=3bef2a5e74e9

Available on STAND.earth:

March 9, 2022  Letter to President Biden calling for action. (MOVCA is a signatory)

“Over 200 groups call on Biden to use the Defense Production Act to help Ukraine by accelerating the clean energy transition” 
https://www.stand.earth/bidendpasignon

Available on Sierra Club (sierraclub.org):

March 10, 2022 Article by Juliet Grable in Sierra, the magazine of the Sierra Club

“Federal Agency Charts New Course on Environmental Justice and Climate” FERC moves to reform its decision-making, despite criticism from fossil fuel companies.

https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/federal-agency-charts-new-course-environmental-justice-and-climate

Available on Inside Climate News:

March 21, 2022 Fossil Fuels Article by Zoha Tunio

“FERC Says it Will Consider Greenhouse Gas Emissions and ‘Environmental Justice’ Impacts in Approving New Natural Gas Pipelines”

March 15, 2022 Fossil Fuels Article by Phil McKenna

“Coal Mining Emits More Super-Polluting Methane Than Venting and Flaring From Gas and Oil Wells, A New Study Finds” So much methane is released from coal mining, the Global Energy Monitor says, that it exceeds the carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal at over 1,100 coal-fired power plants in China. (link to GEM Report provided)

March 10, 2022 Inside Clean Energy Article by Dan Gearino

“Inside Clean Energy: Three Charts to Help Make Sense of 2021, a Year Coal Was Up and Solar Was Way Up”

March 9, 2022 Fossil Fuels article by Nicholas Kusnetz
“Carbon Capture Takes Center Stage, But Is Its Promise an illusion?” The oil industry, Biden administration and even some environmentalists see sucking carbon dioxide from smokestacks and the atmosphere as critical to solving climate crisis. But the IPCC says relying on it presents a “major risk.”

Available on VOX:

March 5, 2022 Article by Rebecca Leber

“America can’t solve its gas price problem (or its Russia problem) with drilling” The four myths Republicans have been spreading about oil and gas prices, explained.

https://www.vox.com/22959903/russia-ukraine-oil-gas-price-europe-us-exports-climate-change

Available on Evergreen Action:

March 7, 2022 Blog article

“Why clean energy is Our Best Response to Free the energy Market from Russian Aggression” Increasing investment in renewables would weaken petro-dictators like Vladimir Putin, who rely on international fossil fuel demand to prop up their national economics.

https://www.evergreenaction.com/blog/why-clean-energy-is-our-best-response-to-free-the-energy-market-from-russian-aggression

Available on UTILITY DIVE:

March 22, 2022 Article by Ethan Howland, Senior Reporter

“Coal plant owners seek to shut 3.2 GW in PJM in face of economic, regulatory and market pressures”

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/coal-plant-owners-seek-to-retire-power-in-pjm/620781/

RESOURCES, RESEARCH, and SOLUTIONS :

Available from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) : 

April 4, 2022       REPORT released by IPCC

Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Working Group III Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report

Available from NASA Global Climate Change. Vital Signs of the Planet:

Released March 15, 2022  Video: Climate Spiral  (one minute and ten seconds)

https://climate.nasa.gov/climate_resources/300/video-climate-spiral/

Excellent visualization showing monthly global temperature anomalies (changes from average) between years 1880 and 2021.

Available from U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) :

March 7, 2022   Today in Energy, Suparna Ray is Principal contributor

“Solar power and batteries account for 60% of planned new U.S. electric generation capacity”

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=51518

Available from Climate Central (climatecentral.org): Researching and reporting the science and impacts of climate change

March 2, 2022  Climate Central research;  Climate Matters Resource

“Spring Package”

https://medialibrary.climatecentral.org/resources/2022-spring-package

Available from Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)

https://irecusa.org/career-maps/       Clean Energy Career Maps

February 28, 2022 Guide developed by IREC & SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) through the U.S. Dept of Energy Solar Ready Vets Network   (missing from previous media report)
“Dynamic Careers in the Solar Industry: A Guide for Career Counselors and Job Seekers”

Available on The Guardian.com:

March 26, 2022 Energy Efficiency Article by John Vidal – Interview with Amory Lovins

“Energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins: ‘It’s the largest, cheapest, safest, cleanest way to address the crisis’”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/26/amory-lovins-energy-efficiency-interview-cheapest-safest-cleanest-crisis

Available from Fractracker Alliance:

A Guide to Petrochemicals, The Fossil Fuel Blindspot

Maps of Oil & Gas Activity by State

February 8, 2022 Article by Erica Jackson (missing from previous media report)

“Ten Things I learned from Taking Break Free From Plastic’s Toxic Tours”

Available from Project DRAWDOWN:

March 15, 2022 Press release

“Project Drawdown launches “Drawdown’s Neighborhood” beginning with focus on Pittsburgh, PA

https://www.drawdown.org/news/insights/project-drawdown-launches-“drawdown’s-neighborhood”

to view programs: https://www.drawdown.org/programs/drawdown-stories/neighborhood

Episode #1 – Tuesday, March 15, 2022 “Clara Kitongo: Going To The Roots To Find Your Climate Superpower”

https://www.drawdown.org/programs/drawdown-stories/neighborhood/clara-kitongo (12:09 min. video)

Episode #2- Fueling A New, Cleaner Era of Mobility”/ Drawdown’s Neighborhood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhIPLkfpv-Y (11:29 minute)

Episode #3 – Climate Solutions & Equity Go Hand in Hand/” Drawdown’s Neighborhood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l23X5RSixEQ  (10:47 min)

Episode #4: “Using Your Passion to Power a Cleaner Fleet”/ Drawdown’s Neighborhood

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVGeNd8lyLQ  (8:53min)

Available from Environmental Health Project: Defending Public Health 2012-2022:

March 29, 2022   Post to Environmental Health Project Blog

“Respiratory Hazards and Your Health”

https://www.environmentalhealthproject.org/post/respiratory-hazards-and-your-health

The war we cannot afford to lose

Marietta Times

Apr 6, 2022

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Dr. Svitlana Krakovska, a Ukrainian climate scientist and member of the International Panel on Climate Change recently said, “Human induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots, fossil fuels, and our dependence on them,” Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels from Russia is “funding the war” in Ukraine.

Russia, the second largest producer of natural gas, has been accused of using the resource in a geopolitical way against European countries dependent on its gas.

Europe views the worsening situation in Ukraine as justification to double up its investments in renewable energy and cut Europe’s demand for natural gas. The IEA and EU leaders want to fast-track permitting for wind and solar projects, revisit decisions to phase out nuclear energy, and double the rate of conversions from natural gas boilers to electric heat pumps in buildings.”

However, oil and gas companies in the US, along with many politicians including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Johnson of Ohio CD 6 are using the war to rationalize more drilling and fracking in the US, basically, ignoring the real war at our doorstep; the war for a livable planet. Natural Resource Chair Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) said in a recent op-ed, “Doubling down on fossil fuels is a false solution that only perpetuates the problems that got us here in the first place.”

The newly released UN Climate Report clearly shows we are losing the battle against climate change. UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteras said “the evidence detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is unlike anything he has ever seen, it is an “atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”

Make no mistake, we all are witnessing a war; a war waged on our planet by the fossil fuel industry and those who benefit financially from these industries. Like most wars, money is needed to fund this endeavor. Federal taxpayer-funded grants, subsidies, and tax incentives help fuel the climate crisis by providing financial incentives for continued extraction.

“Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year, with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil.”

Just like a conventional war, propaganda and lies are used to mold public opinion. “The fossil fuel industry has perpetrated a multi-decade, multibillion dollar disinformation propaganda and lobbying campaign to delay climate action by confusing the public and policymakers about the climate crisis and its solutions.”

It is difficult to win a war when the cards are stacked against you, but the war for a livable planet is one we cannot afford to lose. It is time to demand renewable energy and stop subsidizing the companies responsible for the destruction of our planet. As Dr. Svitlana Krakovska of Ukraine said, “We will not surrender in Ukraine, and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate-resilient future.”

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Uhrichsville