February Warmth Melts Chicago Record Book


Associated Press

Published on Feb 22, 2017

With record-breaking temperatures reaching into the high 60’s for five days in a row, short sleeves and even shorts can be spotted along Chicago’s beaches. (Feb. 22)

Wilnelia Rivera on Becoming a Just Sustainable City: The Case for Boston


WGBHForum

Published on Feb 22, 2017

This talk is part of the 2016 StreetTalks 10-in-1, where some of the best and brightest in Boston’s transportation world present their ideas for making Boston streets better. Presented by Livable Streets Boston in the Old South Meeting House.

Rex Tillerson is big oil personified. The damage he can do is immense | Bill McKibben | Opinion | The Guardian


‘It’s like appointing Ronald McDonald to run the agriculture department.’ Photograph: Brian Harkin/Getty Images
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/11/rex-tillerson-big-oil-trump-cabinet

Now a fossil fuel executive will run America’s foreign policy, right out in the open. Donald Trump gets credit for a kind of barbaric transparency

Wednesday 11 January 2017 07.00 EST Last modified on Tuesday 31 January 2017 10.36 EST

In one of the futile demonstrations that marked the run-up to the Iraq war, I saw a woman with a sign that read “How Did Our Oil End Up Under Their Sand?” In nine words she managed to sum up a great deal of American foreign policy, back at least as far as the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran and helped toss the Middle East into its still-boiling cauldron.

If the Senate approves Rex Tillerson after his testimony on Wednesday, they’ll be continuing in that inglorious tradition – in fact, they’ll be taking it to a new height, and cutting out the diplomats who have traditionally played the middleman role.

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Rex Tillerson – who has literally spent his entire working life at Exxon – is big oil personified. It’s like appointing Ronald McDonald to run the agriculture department (which is certainly a possibility, since that job is still unfilled).

“All in all, it’s hard to imagine a single hire that could do more damage to the planet”

So in one sense Tillerson’s appointment simply makes formal what has long been clear. But in another way, his announcement is truly novel: the honor (secretaries of state are usually considered the second-most important official in our government) comes after a season of disgrace at the world’s largest oil company, in a moment when the energy business is on the ropes and when its product is causing the greatest crisis the planet has yet faced.

Those three things are linked, of course. The disgrace is the long, slow reveal by investigative reporters that Exxon knew all about climate change as early as the late 1970s. Their scientists were so far ahead of the curve that management was taking precautions and planning strategy a quarter-century ago – building drilling rigs to account for the sea level rise they knew was coming, and plotting to bid for leases in an Arctic they knew would melt.

But instead of telling the rest of us, the investigations revealed their deep involvement in the effort to spread doubt and confusion about climate change. Given the consequences, this is a series of corporate crimes that makes VW’s emissions cheating seem like stealing a candy bar from the 7/11. In a rational world, Congress would be grilling Tillerson about the company’s conduct, not preparing to hand him the country’s plum unelected job.

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

But climate change means not just the collapse of the planet’s fundamental systems (after the hottest year ever measured, global sea ice has been charting record lows – literally the world looks different from outer space). It also means that the energy business is in serious trouble.

Big oil has underperformed on the stock market for years. Exxon’s once-sterling profit record is now checkered at best. And as a result it’s resorted to every kind of chicanery. USA Today reported on Monday that, through a European subsidiary, it managed to do business with Iran, Syria and Sudan while those countries were under US sanctions (sanctions the, um, secretary of state would need to enforce). Everyone knows that the company stands to make billions-with-a-B if America lifts its sanctions on Russia. With its business in decline, these are the kinds of moves that Exxon has been reduced to plotting.

…(read more).

Is the Democratic party with the resistance? This weekend might tell | Bill McKibben | Opinion | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/21/democratic-party-resistance-dnc-chair-vote-keith-ellison
The DNC votes on who will become the new chairman in a few days. If Keith Ellison wins, the party might just be able to win back its lost credibility

Tuesday 21 February 2017 06.00 EST Last modified on Tuesday 21 February 2017 10.10 EST

The

resistance is doing as well as anyone could realistically hope. Deprived by the elections of any institutional power, we’ve marched in record numbers with courage and wit. That’s helped journalists to find their footing, and President Needy’s poll numbers have begun to tumble. But only a crazy person could keep up this plate-spinning pace for long. Since he clearly will, those fighting Trump need to find a fortress to call home – a place to find shelter in and from which to sally forth.

One of those fortresses may be the Democratic party, depending on how this weekend’s vote for a new DNC chairman comes out.

There are a number of candidates, but two appear to be in the lead: former labor secretary Tom Perez, and Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison. Both, by all accounts, are good guys, and not greatly divided by ideology. But they clearly represent the two wings of the party.

Democrats must decide: are they part of the resistance or not?

Daniel José Camacho

Perez is from the ruling wing, the institutional party. He is closely identified with Barack Obama, who he worked for, and Hillary Clinton, who he supported. Ellison is from the movement wing. He is closely identified with Bernie Sanders. Indeed, he was one of the few members of Congress who actively supported his insurgent candidacy.

The choice is actually about the best way to unite the opposition to Trump, at least for the purposes of winning elections.

We don’t need the Democratic party to tell us what to think – we have vibrant and engaged movements out there that are reshaping public opinion every day, in the airports and on Facebook. Black Lives Matter leads our movement intellectually in a way that the Democratic party never will. But we may need the Democratic party for the fairly limited purpose of winning elections and hence consolidating power. What would best serve that utilitarian need?

The answer, I think, is pretty clear.

Ellison – and by extension the movements he represents – offers the party the items it lacks and needs. Credibility, for one. You could (and this is the argument of Perez and his establishment team) begin in the middle, with as unthreatening and centrist a party as possible, and then reach out to the various movements and try to bring them on board. But I doubt that will work.

The deep-seated anger at the elites, who have compromised serious principle time and time again, is simply too strong. If the polls are to be believed, most Americans don’t trust any of Washington’s power centers, the DNC included. No one looks at Steny Hoyer and thinks, “What barricade can I die on?” The last chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, was the embodiment of this kind of non-principled power-based thinking, and she did tremendous damage.

…(read more).

Did Pruitt Prove He’s In the Koch’s Pocketbook Today?


The Big Picture RT

Big Picture Panel: Bryan Pruitt, Contributor at RedState & Sarah Badawi, Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Today was Scott Pruitt’s first day on the job as EPA administrator – and everybody’s worst fears about him are coming true. In his opening speech before the agency he’s about to lead – Pruitt didn’t mention climate change at all a

Bill McKibben: “Massachusetts Will Play A Big Role” In Climate Fight Against Tr ump | WGBH News

http://news.wgbh.org/2017/02/22/boston-public-radio-podcast/bill-mckibben-massachusetts-will-play-big-role-climate-fight

Members of the scientific community, environmental advocates, and supporters demonstrate Feb. 19 in Boston to call attention to what they say are the increasing threats to science and scientific research under the Trump administration. Credit: Steven Senne/AP

February 22, 2017

Tori Bedford

As a candidate, Donald Trump was clear: climate change, a hoax imagined by China, would not be a priority in his administration. As president, Trump has more than delivered. The big-business mogul nominated ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, oil-industry ally Rick Perry for Energy Secretary, and Scott Pruitt — an Attorney General from Oklahoma who has sued the Environmental Protection Agency a whopping 14 times — to head the EPA. Trump’s pick for Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, has a history of siding with corporations over environmental interests, and Trump has repeatedly criticized pro-climate policies as “harmful and unnecessary.”

With a stacked anti-climate cabinet, administration, Congress, and Supreme Court, environmentalist Bill McKibben says the battle for environmental awareness has to come —slowly but surely— from the states. “Massachusetts will play a big role,” McKibben said in an interview with Boston Public Radio Wednesday. “States are going to be increasingly important because nothing is going to happen in D.C., so there will be a lot of pressure that goes to the state level, and in some places, that will be very effective.”

President Trump’s environmental policies have faced plenty of criticism from local leaders including Attorney General Maura Healey, who finds herself embroiled in several lawsuits against the Trump administration and a contentious case against ExxonMobil.

“Maura Healey is really a hero,” McKibben said.

Gov. Charlie Baker has been criticized for his lack of resistance to federal approval of local pipeline plans, including a recent lackluster response regarding a controversial gas compressor. “It will be interesting to see if people like Charlie Baker really are willing to try to use their weight to try to stop the expansion of natural gas infrastructure across Massachusetts,” McKibben said. “These are questions, fights that are going to take a lot of work to get anywhere, because Washington is very powerful, but the states will be more important.”

…(read more).

FutureCoast | Listen to your futures.

http://futurecoast.org/