A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change

Erica Goode, A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Towns in the Path of Climate Change. The New York Times, 29 November 2016. Part 6 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. Laid out on a narrow spit of sand between the Tagoomenik River and the Bering Sea, the village of 250 or so people is facing an imminent threat from increased flooding and erosion, signs of a changing climate. With its proximity to the Arctic, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States and the state is heading for the warmest year on record. The government has identified at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities at imminent risk of destruction, with Shaktoolik ranking among the top four. Some villages, climate change experts predict, will be uninhabitable by 2050, their residents joining a flow of climate refugees around the globe, in Bolivia, China, Niger and other countries.”

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Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’

Edward Wong, Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants.The New York Times, 25 October 2016. Part 5 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. China calls them ‘ecological migrants’: 329,000 people whom the government had relocated from lands distressed by climate change, industrialization, poor policies and human activity to 161 hastily built villages. They were the fifth wave in an environmental and poverty alleviation program that has resettled 1.14 million residents of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, a territory of dunes and mosques and camels along the ancient Silk Road. Han Jinlong, the deputy director of migration under Ningxia’s Poverty Alleviation and Development Office, said that although the earlier waves were not explicitly labeled ecological migrants, they had also been moved because of the growing harshness of the desert. It is the world’s largest environmental migration project.”

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Living in China’s Expanding Deserts

Josh Haner, Edward Wong, Derek Watkins and Jeremy White, Living in China’s Expanding Deserts. The New York Times, 24 October 2016. Part 4 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world.” [T]he Tengger desert “lies on the southern edge of the massive Gobi Desert, not far from major cities like Beijing. The Tengger is growing. For years, China’s deserts spread at an annual rate of more than 1,300 square miles. Many villages have been lost. Climate change and human activities have accelerated desertification. China says government efforts to relocate residents, plant trees and limit herding have slowed or reversed desert growth in some areas. But the usefulness of those policies is debated by scientists, and deserts are expanding in critical regions.”

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Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity, in Bolivia

Nicholas Casey, Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity. The New York Times, 7 July 2016. Part 3 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. After surviving decades of water diversion and cyclical El Niño droughts in the Andes, Lake Poopó [in Bolivia] basically disappeared in December [2015]. The ripple effects go beyond the loss of livelihood for…hundreds of…fishing families, beyond the migration of people forced to leave homes that are no longer viable. The vanishing of Lake Poopó threatens the very identity of the Uru-Murato people, the oldest indigenous group in the area. They adapted over generations to the conquests of the Inca and the Spanish, but seem unable to adjust to the abrupt upheaval climate change has caused.”

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A Remote Pacific Nation, Kiribati, Threatened by Rising Seas

Mike Ives, A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas. The New York Times, 2 July 2016. Part 2 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence. The government is making plans for the island’s demise.”

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Resettling the First [US] American Climate Refugees

Coral Davenport and Campbell Robertson, Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’. The New York Times, 3 May 2016. Part 1 of an 8-part series on Carbon’s Casualties. “Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world…. In January [2016], the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drainage systems. One of those grants, $48 million for Isle de Jean Charles, is something new: the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change. The divisions the effort has exposed and the logistical and moral dilemmas it has presented point up in microcosm the massive problems the world could face in the coming decades as it confronts a new category of displaced people who have become known as climate refugees.”

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Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too

Neela Banerjee, Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too. InsideClimate News, 22 December 2015. “The American Petroleum Institute together with the nation’s largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983, indicating that the oil industry, not just Exxon alone, was aware of its possible impact on the world’s climate far earlier than previously known.”

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Exxon: The Road Not Taken

Neela Banerjee, Lisa Song and David Hasemyer, Exxon: The Road Not Taken. InsideClimate News, 16 September 2015. “After eight months of investigation, InsideClimate News presents this multi-part history of Exxon’s engagement with the emerging science of climate change. The story spans four decades, and is based on primary sources including internal company files dating back to the late 1970s, interviews with former company employees, and other evidence, much of which is being published here for the first time. It describes how Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial, manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed.”

Update #1: Katherine Bagley, Environmental and Civil Rights Groups Urge Federal Probe of Exxon. “Nearly 50 diverse organizations, ranging from green groups to indigenous people’s networks, call for an inquiry into what Exxon knew about climate change.” Inside Climate News, 30 October 2015. “A coalition of nearly 50 environmental, civil rights and indigenous people’s groups sent a letter Friday to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging her to launch a federal investigation into whether ExxonMobil purposefully misled the American people on climate change. The organizations cite reporting by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times that shows Exxon ‘knew about the dangers of climate change even as it funded efforts at climate denial and systematically misled the public,’ the letter said. ‘Given the damage that has already occurred from climate change—particularly in the poorest communities of our nation and our planet—and that will certainly occur going forward, these revelations should be viewed with the utmost apprehension.'”

Update #2: Justin Gillis and Clifford Krauss, Exxon Mobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Lies by New York Attorney General. The New York Times, 5 November 2015. “The New York attorney general has begun a sweeping investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.”

Update #3: Neela Banerjee, Exxon’s Oil Industry Peers Knew About Climate Dangers in the 1970s, Too. InsideClimate News, 22 December 2015. “The American Petroleum Institute together with the nation’s largest oil companies ran a task force to monitor and share climate research between 1979 and 1983, indicating that the oil industry, not just Exxon alone, was aware of its possible impact on the world’s climate far earlier than previously known.

The group’s members included senior scientists and engineers from nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company, including Exxon, Mobil, Amoco, Phillips, Texaco, Shell, Sunoco, Sohio as well as Standard Oil of California and Gulf Oil, the predecessors to Chevron, according to internal documents obtained by InsideClimate News and interviews with the task force’s former director.

An InsideClimate News investigative series has shown that Exxon launched its own cutting-edge CO2 sampling program in 1978 in order to understand a phenomenon it suspected could harm its business. About a decade later, Exxon spearheaded campaigns to cast doubt on climate science and stall regulation of greenhouse gases. The previously unpublished papers about the climate task force indicate that API, the industry’s most powerful lobbying group, followed a similar arc to Exxon’s in confronting the threat of climate change.”

See also:

Bill McKibben, What Exxon Knew About Climate Change. The New Yorker, 18 September 2015.

Naomi Oreskes, Exxon’s Climate Concealment. The New York Times, 9 October 2015. “Millions of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead. The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees. Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation….”

Sara Jerving, Katie Jennings, Masako Melissa Hirsch and Susanne Rust, Global Warming and Big Oil: What Exxon knew about the Earth’s melting Arctic. Los Angeles Times, 9 October 2015.

Kate Jennings, Dino Grandoni and Susanne Rust, Exxon’s Sudden Shift: How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change research. Los Angeles Times, 23 October 2015.

Neela Banerjee, How We Got the Exxon Story: The story behind what led us to investigate what ExxonMobil knew about climate change science and when.” InsideClimate News, 10 November 2015.

Democracy Now!, Exxon’s Climate Cover-Up Just Got Bigger: Docs Suggest All Major Oil Giants Have Lied Since 1970s. 31 December 2015. “2015, the hottest on record, was also the year ExxonMobil was caught in a more than three-decade lie. Internal documents revealed Exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming in the 1970s, but hid that information from the public. Now it turns out that Exxon isn’t alone. A new exposé from InsideClimate News reveals nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company was likely aware of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change at the same time as Exxon. We are joined by Neela Banerjee, the InsideClimate News reporter who broke this story.”

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Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre

Alan Rusbridger, Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre. The Guardian, 6 March 2015. “[C]hanges to the Earth’s climate rarely make it to the top of the news list. The changes may be happening too fast for human comfort, but they happen too slowly for the newsmakers–and, to be fair, for most readers…. Alan Rusbridger explains the thinking behind [The Guardian’s] major series on the climate crisis.” Part 1, Naomi Klein, Don’t look away now, the climate crisis needs you. The Guardian, 6 March 2015. “The Guardian is embarking on a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In the first, an extract taken from the Introduction to This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the author argues that if we treat climate change as the crisis it is, we don’t just have the potential to avert disaster but could improve society in the process…. If enough of us decide that climate change is a crisis worthy of Marshall Plan levels of response, then it will become one.” Part 2, Naomi Klein, How will everything change under climate change? The Guardian, 8 March 2015. “The second in a major series of articles on the climate crisis and how humanity can solve it. In this extract taken from the Introduction to This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, the author calls the climate crisis a civilisational wake-up call to alter our economy, our lifestyles, now–before they get changed for us.” Part 3, Bill McKibben, Climate fight won’t wait for Paris: vive la résistance. The Guardian, 9 March 2015. “In the third piece in The Guardian’s major series on climate change, Bill McKibben describes how relentless climate movements have shifted the advantage toward fossil fuel resistance for the first time in 25 years. But he argues triumph is not certain–we must not rest till the industry is forced to keep the carbon in the ground.” Part 4, George Monbiot, Keep fossil fuels in the ground to stop climate change. The Guardian, 10 March 2015. “In the fourth piece in The Guardian’s major series on climate change, George Monbiot argues that once coal, oil and gas are produced, they will be used. And yet, after 23 years of UN negotiations there have been almost no steps taken to stop the production–rather than the use–of fossil fuels.”

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Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Bill McKibben, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math. Rolling Stone, 19 July 2012. “Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe–and that make clear who the real enemy is.”

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