Daily Archives: May 5, 2020

Remembering Valentina Blackhorse, Beloved 28-Year-Old Navajo Community Activist Who Died of COVID-19

Democracy Now!

Published on May 5, 2020

After New York and New Jersey, the next highest number of coronavirus infections per capita in the United States is in the Navajo Nation, the largest Indigenous reservation in the country. We go to Kayenta, Arizona, to speak with Robby Jones, a member of the Navajo Nation and the partner of one of those to die from the virus: 28-year-old Valentina Blackhorse, a beloved community leader who promoted Navajo culture and left behind a daughter named Poet.

The Case for Prison Abolition: Ruth Wilson Gilmore on COVID-19, Racial Capitalism & Decarceration

Democracy Now!

Published on May 5, 2020

Navajo Nation Suffers Third-Highest COVID-19 Infection Rate in U.S. with Limited Healthcare & Water

Democracy Now!

Published on May 5, 2020

We get an update from two doctors treating patients with the Navajo Nation, the largest Indigenous reservation in the country, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Michelle Tom is a member of the Navajo Nation and a family physician treating COVID-19 patients at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center and Little Colorado Medical Center in northern Arizona near the Navajo reservation. In Gallup, New Mexico, Dr. Sriram Shamasunder is leading a medical volunteer group of 21 nurses and doctors from the University of California, San Francisco as part of the HEAL Initiative. He says the coronavirus hit harder on the Navajo Nation due to a “trajectory of an underfunded health system,” and notes the Indian Health Service is funded at one-third the rate per capita as Medicare. “The level of inequity that you’re seeing … it’s part of this pattern.”

Building back better: Green COVID-19 recovery packages will boost economic growth and stop climate change | University of Oxford


And Report:

International economic recovery from COVID-19 must be environmentally-conscious – for the sake of the economy, suggests new research published today.

With governments around the world urgently investigating fiscal stimulus measures to get virus-hit countries back on their feet, today’s research from some of the world’s leading economists shows that climate-friendly policies could deliver a better result both for economies and the environment.

For the UK, in particular, this research helps identify ten fiscal recovery policies which promise to bring both short-term high economic impact and long-term structural change to ensure the UK meets its 2050 climate goals.

Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford, brought together a team of internationally-recognised experts to carry out the research, including Nobel prize winner, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and well-known climate economist Professor Lord Nicholas Stern.

Their analysis of possible COVID-19 economic recovery packages shows the potential for strong alignment between the economy and the environment. They review evidence suggesting that green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spend and lead to increased long-term cost savings, by comparison with traditional fiscal stimulus.

Most G20 governments have implemented significant short-term rescue measures in the face of the pandemic. But, as yet, none has introduced any significant fiscal recovery measures. The report authors hope that countries will seize this generational opportunity to incorporate climate criteria into national plans – for their economies and the environment.

According to Professor Hepburn, ‘The COVID-19-initiated emissions reduction could be short-lived. But this report shows we can build back better, keeping many of the recent improvements we’ve seen in cleaner air, returning nature and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.’

Drawing on a global survey of senior central bank and finance ministry officials, as well as learnings from the 2008 financial crisis, the economists catalogued more than 700 stimulus policies into 25 broad groups, and conducted a global survey of 231 experts. On average, respondents saw a ‘green route’ out of the crisis as also being highly economically effective.

Examples of this include investment in renewable energy production, such as wind or solar. As previous research has shown, in the short term, clean energy infrastructure construction is particularly labour intensive, creating twice as many jobs per dollar as fossil fuel investments.

Other desirable policies include building efficiency retrofit spending, clean R&D spending, natural capital investment for ecosystem resilience and regeneration and investment in education and training to address immediate unemployment from COVID-19 alongside structural employment opportunities from de-carbonisation. For developing countries, rural support scheme spending was also highly ranked. Meanwhile, unconditional airline bailouts performed the most poorly in terms of economic impact, speed and climate metrics.

…(read more).

The Energy 202: Big Oil posts big losses during coronavirus crisis – The Washington Post

oil covid
By Dino Grandoni   May 5 at 7:58 AM   with Paulina Firozi

The numbers are in: We now know just how badly the country’s top oil drillers were hit by the coronavirus-fueled downturn.

Three of the four biggest U.S. oil and gas producers posted multimillion to multibillion dollar losses in their latest earnings reports, a sign of just how damaging the drop in energy demand because of the covid-19 pandemic has been to the domestic oil business.

A drilling rig in Midland, Tex. (Callaghan O’Hare/Bloomberg News)

ConocoPhillips, the third-biggest U.S. oil driller by market capitalization, announced late last week that it lost $1.7 billion during the first three months of the year. Phillips 66, the fourth-largest, reported a first-quarter loss of $2.5 billion.

And ExxonMobil, long the nation’s top energy company, bled $610 million during the first three months of 2020, when oil globally lost two-thirds of its value. It is the first time the company has posted a quarterly loss in the past three decades.

“We’ve certainly weathered the ups and downs of many price cycles,” its CEO Darren Woods said during an earnings call Friday. “However, I have to say, we’ve never seen anything like what the world is experiencing today.”

The U.S. oil majors operate around the world, but it’s their Texas operations that will be taking a hit.

The companies will try to sustain their bottom lines by cutting production in the Permian Basin. The storied oil-rich region stretches through western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and enjoyed a surge in production with the advent of hydraulic fracturing technology.

But now with the drop in the price of oil making Permian crude too expensive to get out of the ground, that boom is quickly turning into a bust.

Exxon said it expects to ramp down Permian rigs by about 75 percent and end the year with only about 15 rigs. Altogether, the company is slashing its capital spending for 2020 by 30 percent.

…(read more).

‘A Bomb in the Center of the Climate Movement’: Michael Moore Damages Our Most Important Goal | Portside


f you’re looking for a little distraction from the news of the pandemic — something a little gossipy, but with a point at the end about how change happens in the world — this essay may soak up a few minutes.

I’ll tell the story chronologically, starting a couple of weeks ago on the eve of the 50th Earth Day. I’d already recorded my part for the Earth Day Live webcast, interviewing the great indigenous activists Joye Braum and Tara Houska about their pipeline battles. And then the news arrived that Oxford University — the most prestigious educational institution on planet earth — had decided to divest from fossil fuels. It was one of the great victories in that grinding eight-year campaign, which has become by some measures the biggest anti-corporate fight in history, and I wrote a quick email to Naomi Klein, who helped me cook it up, so that we could gloat together just a bit. I was, it must be said, feeling pleased with myself.

Ah, but pride goeth before a fall. In the next couple of hours came a very different piece of news. People started writing to tell me that the filmmaker Michael Moore had just released a movie called Planet of the Humans on YouTube. That wasn’t entirely out of the blue — I’d been hearing rumors of the film and its attacks on me since the summer before, and I’d taken them seriously. Various colleagues and I had written to point out that they were wrong; Naomi had in fact taken Moore aside in an MSNBC greenroom and restated what she had already laid out to him in writing. But none of that had apparently worked; indeed, from what people were now writing to tell me, I was the main foil of the film. I put together a quick response, and I hoped that it would blow over.

But it didn’t. Perhaps because everyone’s at home with not much to do, lots of people watched it — millions by some counts. And I began to hear from them. Here’s an email that arrived first thing Earth Day morning: “Happy Dead Earth Day. Time’s up Bill. You have been outed for fraud. What a MASSIVE disappointment you are. Sell out. Hypocrite beyond imagination. Biomass bullshit seller. Forest destroyer. How is it possible you have led all of us down the same death trap road of false hope? The YOUTH! How dare you! Shame on you!” More followed, to say the least. (If you’re wondering whether it hurts to get this kind of email, the answer is yes. In a time of a pandemic, it’s hard to feel too much self-pity, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to read someone accusing you of betraying your own life’s work.)

Basically, Moore and his colleagues have made a film attacking renewable energy as a sham and arguing that the environmental movement is just a tool of corporations trying to make money off green energy. “One of the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies, like wind and solar, are somehow different from fossil fuels,” Ozzie Zehner, one of the film’s producers, tells the camera. When visiting a solar facility, he insists: “You use more fossil fuels to do this than you’re getting benefit from it. You would have been better off just burning the fossil fuels.”

That’s not true, not in the least — the time it takes for a solar panel to pay back the energy used to build it is well under four years. Since it lasts three decades, it means 90 percent of the power it produces is pollution-free, compared with zero percent of the power from burning fossil fuels. It turns out that pretty much everything else about the movie was wrong — there have been at least 24 debunkings, many of them painfully rigorous; as one scientist wrote in a particularly scathing takedown, “Planet of the Humans is deeply useless. Watch anything else.” Moore’s fellow filmmaker Josh Fox, in an epic unraveling of the film’s endless lies, got in one of the best shots: “Releasing this on the eve of Earth Day’s 50th anniversary is like Bernie Sanders endorsing Donald Trump while chugging hydroxychloroquine.”

…(read more).