Daily Archives: January 6, 2015

News Wrap: Keystone fight looms as 114th Congress convenes


PBS NewsHour

Published on Jan 6, 2015

In our news wrap Tuesday, Republicans took control of the House and the Senate. Despite warm words for getting much accomplished in the new year, there was confrontation between Republicans and the White House over the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline. Also, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was sentenced to two years in federal prison for taking bribes while in office.

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White House Says It Will Veto Keystone Bill


Associated Press

Published on Jan 6, 2015
The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the first piece of legislation introduced in the Republican-controlled Senate, a bill approving the much-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 6)

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Inhofe sworn in for fourth term


Senator Jim Inhofe

Published on Jan 6, 2015
Senator Inhofe is sworn in for his fourth term in the 114th Congress.

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Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future: Dale Jamieson

From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life.

In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.

Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality — it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate change, to adapt to it and restore a sense of agency while living meaningful lives in a changing world.

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SHIFT CHANGE – 2012 preview

from Melissa Young and Mark Dworkin Plus 2 years ago / Creative Commons License:

At a time when many are disillusioned with big banks and big business, the economic crisis and growing inequality in our country, employee ownership offers a real solution for workers and communities. Shift Change: is a new documentary that highlights worker-owned enterprises in North America and the remarkable Mondragon cooperatives in he Basque region of northern Spain. Broadcast nationwide on PBS in July of 2014.

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Obama’s Keystone veto threat is proof that climate activism works, no matter what the ‘insiders’ say | Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben

Our fight, from indigenous people in Canada to ranchers in Nebraksa, now challenges the fossil-fuel industry at every turn. If the president sticks to his word, this will be a landmark win

It’s not as if we’re winning the climate fight – the planet’s temperature keeps rising – but we’re not losing it the way we used to. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters

Tuesday 6 January 2015 14.54 EST

When the news arrived from the White House on Tuesday that Barack Obama would veto the GOP’s Keystone pipeline bill – or at least “that the president would not sign this bill” as is – I thought back to a poll that the National Journal conducted of its “energy insiders” in the fall of 2011, just when then issue was heating up. Nearly 92% of them thought Obama’s administration would approve the pipeline, and almost 71% said it would happen by the end of that year.

Keystone’s not dead yet – feckless Democrats in the Congress could make some kind of deal later this month or later this year, and the president could still yield down the road to the endlessly corrupt State Department bureaucracy that continues to push the pipeline – but it’s pretty amazing to see what happens when people organize.

The fight against the XL pipeline began with indigenous people in Canada, and spread to ranchers along the pipeline route in places like Nebraska. And then, in the spring of 2011, when the climate scientist Jim Hansen pointed out the huge pool of carbon in the Canadian tar sands, the fight spread to those of us in the nascent climate movement. We had no real hope of stopping Keystone – as the National Journal poll indicated, this seemed the most done of deals – but we also had no real choice but to try.

(read more).

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For the Planet and Future Generations, New Congress May Be Most Dangerous Yet

by Wenonah Hauter

The longtime Oklahoma senator is Capitol Hill’s most flamboyant critic of climate research. But he’s not alone. (Photo: Getty)

The swearing-in of the 114th Congress this week spells trouble for our food, water and environment, and for all those who seek to champion healthy, safe communities for our families. We may be looking at the most hostile Congress ever in terms of protecting the environment.

Here are a few examples of what we could face over the next few years:

James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a notorious climate change denier and an unabashed champion for the fossil fuel industry, will likely chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Expect the committee to intensify its bullying of environmentalists, especially in light of the game-changing decision by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban fracking.
We’ll also see attacks on the credibility of groups that do environmental work – in fact, we already have, and it will only get worse.

Last July, Inhofe released a report that targeted environmental groups and their funders in an attempt to silence groups working in the public interest. This should surprise no one, given that David Vitter (R-LA), who headed the minority staff at the time, receives a majority of his campaign cash from the oil and gas industry.

Then, in November 2014, a subcommittee released a report on fracking calling its opponents “extremists.” It’s chilling to see policymakers taking a page from industry-backed astroturf campaigns and front groups whose discredited attacks have no place in serious policy discussions.

…(read more).

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