Daily Archives: January 13, 2017

Rex Tillerson’s Jaw-Dropping Testimony Just Completely Disqualified Him | The Nation

Rex Tillerson testifies on Capitol Hill at his confirmation hearing. (Patsy Lynch / MediaPunch / IPX)

The former ExxonMobil CEO is too conflicted, too ill-prepared, and too disengaged to be seriously considered for the position of secretary of state.

By John Nichols   Yesterday 1:23 pm

Rex Tillerson’s witless, contradictory, and obfuscatory testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed fears that the ExxonMobil CEO is too conflicted, too ill-prepared, and too disengaged from accepted understandings with regard to diplomacy, sustainable development, and human rights to be seriously considered for the position of secretary of state.

But the most unsettling exchange took place after an initial round of questioning by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. The veteran member of the Foreign Relations Committee asked what should have been a simple concluding question.

Tillerson’s response was incredible.

Senator Menendez: “For all of these answers you’ve given me, does the president-elect agree with you?”

Rex Tillerson: “The president-elect and I have not had the opportunity to discuss this specific issue or this specific area.”

College career-training programs leaving more students in debt

Thom Connects the Dots Between Climate Change and the Arab Spring

The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Trump’s Presidency

One-Third of the Trump Team Has Ties to the Koch Brothers

AlterNet Jan. 11, 2017 04:04PM EST

By Alex Kotch

The Trump White House is going to be very, very Koch-y.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, billionaire industrialists and Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch made headlines by refusing to endorse a candidate. But ads in U.S. Senate races paid for by Koch-linked independent political groups hurt the image of Donald Trump’s foe, Hillary Clinton, whom they criticized while associating Democratic Senate candidates with her. And the massive ground game of the Kochs’ well-known political group, Americans for Prosperity, helped turn out thousands of Trump voters in battleground states.

From the time Trump picked his vice presidential running mate, Koch favorite Mike Pence, the brothers’ influence on Trump World has grown ever stronger.

From transition team staffers to his cabinet, Trump has brought numerous Koch lieutenants and allies into his inner circle. His taunting of Marco Rubio for being a “puppet” of the Koch brothers is long gone. It’s very likely that Trump is eager to work with Charles and David Koch, who represent exactly what Trump values most—wealth and power—which is also reflected in his potential Cabinet of billionaire executives. And though the Kochs may object to Trump’s Islamophobia or other select viewpoints, they stand to add to their combined $88 billion through Trump’s planned environmental deregulation, privatization, corporate tax cuts and other policies favoring the wealthy to be carried out by his U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pick, who recently sued that agency; his secretary of state choice, the CEO of Exxon; his labor pick, a fast-food CEO who doesn’t believe in the minimum wage; and others.

…(read more).

5 Key Takeaways From Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing

By Andrew Seifter
Media Matters for America

Secretary of state nominee and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 11. Tillerson is already under fire for making the seemingly false claim that Exxon has not lobbied against sanctions on Russia and other nations that would affect Exxon’s business dealings, but here are five other climate change-related takeaways that reporters should keep in mind in their coverage of the hearing and Tillerson nomination going forward.

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Exxon Ordered to Fork Over 40 Years of Climate Research

ExxonMobil was dealt a major blow on Wednesday after a Massachusetts judge ordered the company to hand in more than 40 years of climate research.

On Wednesday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Heidi E. Brieger denied the oil giant a protective order that would have blocked Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s subpoenas for Exxon’s internal research on climate change.

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Northeast warming more rapidly than most of US

By David Abel GLOBE STAFF JANUARY 13, 2017

New England is likely to experience significantly greater warming over the next decade, and beyond, than the rest of the planet, according to new findings by climate scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The region’s temperatures are projected to rise by an average of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2025, according to the study, published this week in PLOS One, a journal published by the Public Library of Science.

The scientists found that the Northeast is warming more rapidly than any other part of the country except Alaska — and that the 3.6 degree Fahrenheit rise in the region is likely to come two decades before the rest of the world gets to that point.

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Boston, Sea-Level Rise (SLR) – Resilient Resolutions


Last month Climate Ready Boston released a new report—a year in the making—that greatly improves knowledge regarding the expected impacts of climate change and the people and places in the city of Boston who will be most vulnerable. Marking the end of the first phase of Climate Ready Boston, an initiative led by the City of Boston in partnership with the Green Ribbon Commission, and supported by Barr, this report provides both the technical foundation and an implementation framework for long-term climate preparedness.

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • We will experience more intense rainfall and more extremes of heat.
    These changes are already underway; “cloudbursts” (sudden, heavy rainstorms) will expose more than 11,000 structures and 85,000 people to frequent storm water flooding by about 2070.
  • Boston will experience sea-level rise greater than the global average, as a result of a unique set of geographic and oceanographic factors.
    Because of the inertia already built into the ocean system, seven inches to 1.5 feet of sea-level rise are likely between now and 2050 irrespective of the trend in the global emissions of greenhouse gases. At least three feet of sea-level rise is likely sometime after 2070—with considerably more possible if the world does not get serious about reducing emissions.
  • The frequency of flooding events will increase over time.
    As the level of water in Boston Harbor rises, flooding along the waterfront that now has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year will increase to 10% after mid-century, and it will occur on a monthly basis—or even more often—by the end of the century. There is not yet any evidence that the intensity or frequency of hurricanes has changed, however.
  • Some of Boston’s fastest-growing neighborhoods are also its most vulnerable.
    Several waterfront neighborhoods will be especially vulnerable to flooding associated with sea-level rise in the near term, including Downtown, East Boston, Charlestown, and the Seaport area of South Boston. Over the longer term, parts of Dorchester and the South End become increasingly vulnerable as flood waters penetrate inland via the Fort Point Channel and other locations.
  • Flooding events will cause significant economic losses.
    Sea-level rise will expose 18,000 people and $20 billion of real estate to flooding by about 2030—just 13 years away. Some 85,000 people and $85 billion of property will be exposed by about 2070—based only on what already exists today and not counting future growth and development. Annualized losses from physical damage, displacement, and business interruption are projected to exceed $1 billion by about 2070, unless corrective action is taken.

…(read more).

Ethics of Climate Change and Climate Engineering