Helen of Marlowe's Blog

#ExxonKnew. US Nightly News Still Doesn’t.

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on November 14, 2015

Pacifica has reported on this, but Pacifica is not mainstream news. I hope mainstream news, aka corporate-owned news, will pick up on this, since the larger public needs to know.

Actually, LA Times as well. Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:
For decades, Exxon has publicly questioned the science of global warming, contradicting internal findings by the company’s own scientists. Recent exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reveal that Exxon concealed for decades its own conclusions that fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate and melt the Arctic. Exxon’s climate deception is now sparking calls for a federal probe similar to that which yielded a racketeering conviction of Big Tobacco for hiding the dangers of smoking. We are joined by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California), who is calling for a Justice Department investigation of Exxon, as well as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

hearnoshit ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox

Dear Mainstream media,

This is why people hate you.

cheers,

Peter

MediaMatters:

Evening News Programs On ABC, CBS, And NBCHave Yet To Address Exxon’s Climate Deception. Nexis and Snapstream searches for “Exxon” and “ExxonMobil” revealed that the nightly news shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC all failed to air a single segment about the growing Exxon story, covering neither the media investigations, the Democratic candidates’ comments, nor the New York Attorney General’s actions.

ABC And CBS Briefly Mentioned New York Attorney General Investigation On Morning News Shows. ABC’s Good Morning America and CBSThis Morning both briefly mentioned New York Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation into Exxon in news rundowns. [ABC, Good Morning America, 11/6/15; CBS, CBS This Morning, 11/6/15]

By Contrast, Exxon Developments Have Received Widespread Coverage From Other Media Outlets

Many Media Outlets Have Covered Exxon Story.

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Environmental News on Back to the Future Day

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on October 21, 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day

Looks like the movie’s predictions missed at one thing – the announcement today that the month of September was the hottest on record.

Other enviornmental notes:

New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies.

Climate change could be killing off turtles. Temperature during egg incubation determines the gender of the hatchling. This temperature dependency is extremely sensitive, so tiny changes to the average temperature can cause a large gender skew. Skewed sex ratios are already being observed widely across turtle hatching grounds and this could cause the eventual collapse of the species.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/10/16/another-weird-effect-of-climate-change-too-many-female-sea-turtles/

Rain Forest destruction

The heart of Amazonia is its vast rivers and forests, home to thousands of plants and animals. Their delicate ecosystem has evolved over millions of years—and it’s increasingly threatened by deforestation and other human activity. As the forest diminishes, so does its ability to serve as a massive carbon warehouse for the world. Roads—164,000 miles of them, three-fourths of them illegal—crisscross the Brazilian Amazon. Ninety-five percent of all deforestation is within 3.4 miles of a road or 0.6 miles of a navigable river. (National Geographic)

Methane

The amount of methane in the Arctic hydrates alone is estimated as 400 times more than the global atmospheric CH4 burden. The question is timescale of the methane liberation: gradual, abrupt, or something in between. … There is, therefore, more than enough cause for appropriate concern and continued monitoring of what appears to be an ongoing destabilization of Arctic carbon stores — large enough to represent a variety of hazards both terrestrial and atmospheric.  http://meltfactor.org/is-the-greenhouse-gas-dragon-awakening/   They don’t mention the methane contribution of animal agriculture.


(Bloomberg) — The world’s oldest mummies are at risk of disappearing because of man-made climate change, according to a group of Harvard University scientists.


Eating less meat essential to curb climate change, says report

Global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transport but fear of a consumer backlash is preventing action, says Chatham House report … The recent landmark report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that dietary change can “substantially lower” emissions but there is no UN plan to achieve that.

Past calls to cut meat eating by high-profile figures, from the chief of the UN’s climate science panel to the economist Lord Stern, have been both rare and controversial. Other scientists have proposed a meat tax to curb consumption, but the report concludes that keeping meat eating to levels recommended by health authorities would not only lower emissions but also reduce heart disease and cancer.


Meat Consumption and Climate Change

by Tom Levitt – December 8, 2014

Government indifference is matched by widespread public ignorance about the climate impact of high levels of meat-eating

As negotiators in the Peruvian capital of Lima engage in the latest round of multinational talks aimed at finding ways of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, one issue will be conspicuous in its absence — animal farming. …

To be successful, argues sustainability analyst Alejandro Litovsky, founder of the Earth Security Group, both consumers and the meat industry need an alternative scenario for protein consumption, industry and jobs, which renders meat obsolete. (Earth Island Journal)


And, from Forbes of all places:

Eating Less Meat Is World’s Best Chance For Timely Climate Change, Say Experts

A widely cited 2006 report estimated that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. However, analysis performed by Goodland, with co-writer Jeff Anhang, an environmental specialist at the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation, found that figure to now more accurately be 51%.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemaisto/2012/04/28/eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-climate-change-say-experts/


Stern Warns Humanity Is at Climate Crossroads, Radical Action Needed in Paris

The lead author of the 2006 Stern Review on the economics of climate change says that although there will be an agreement at the UN climate conference in Paris, COP21, in December, it’s what happens afterwards that is crucial.

Professor Nicholas Stern warns: “Whatever way we look at it, the action we need to take is immense.”

If governments delay taking decisive measures to halt greenhouse gas emissions, he is convinced that a tipping point on climate will be reached. “In Paris, we need recognition of what we need to do—and how radical that change will be.” http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/21/nicholas-stern-climate-change/


With more than 10,000 traffic crashes reported every year, Chennai has one of the highest rates of road deaths in India. In June 2012, the city government launched the Chennai Street Design Project to address this problem. This project aims to reclaim the city’s streets for pedestrians and cyclists by prioritizing modes of transport other than private automobiles. The policy requires at least 60 percent of the city’s transport budget be allocated to constructing and maintaining infrastructure for nonmotorized transit. This includes widening sidewalks, building safe bicycle infrastructure, better managing intersections, and even implementing street furniture. By 2018, the city aims to have built safe and continuous footpaths on at least 80 percent of all streets, increase the share of walking and cycling trips to over 40%, and, most significantly, eliminate pedestrian and cyclist deaths.

From http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/19/solutions-sustainable-planet/2/


And finally, Bill McKibben is angry …

Climate activist Bill McKibben has already written editorials about recent revelations that ExxonMobil had deep knowledge of climate change as far back as the 1970s. He had taken to social media to spread the word. But last week, he felt that wasn’t enough and decided to protest and get himself arrested at an ExxonMobil station in Burlington, Vt.

That’s how angry McKibben was that the energy giant had known for four decades that burning fossil fuels was changing the earth’s climate—and then chose to ignore it and fund efforts to deny it.

The findings were reported in two separate investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times into how much Exxon knew about climate change and when.

The stories “change the accepted narrative of the fight I’ve spent almost my whole adult life engaged in,” McKibben, co-founder of the environmental organization 350.org, told InsideClimate News the day after his arrest. “Had Exxon been forthright in the late 80s or early 90s, they could have short-circuited the faux debate we’ve been engaged in all these decades. They were the ones that had the unique credibility to do it.”

Holding a sign that read “This pump temporarily closed because ExxonMobil lied about (#Exxonknew) climate,” McKibben was arrested by Burlington police for trespassing. He was released later in the day.

The green leader said he hoped his action would inspire people—including his approximately 165,000 Twitter followers—to read the two investigations. Whether it will also encourage others to undertake similar civil disobedience remains to be seen.

“I started my life as a newspaperman and it never occurred to me I’d be getting arrested to get people to read someone else’s story, but the level of clutter in our information world is so great that sometimes it takes novel measures to break through,” he said.

McKibben has written editorials about the stories in The New Yorker and The Guardian.

Besides McKibben’s arrest, the stories have led to a growing cry for the justice department to investigate whether ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies intentionally misled the American public on climate change—similar to the probe into the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Two California congressmen called for a federal investigation on Friday.

An online petition by the political advocacy group ClimateHawks Vote to “prosecute Exxon for deliberate climate denial” has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

http://insideclimatenews.org/news/19102015/bill-mckibben-mad-exxon-climate-change-denial-arrest-burlington-vermont

Summer’s End

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on October 18, 2015

Active Advisory: Freeze Warning

This is an unwelcome time of year for me. WeatherUnderground tells me to bring all my plants in but there is no room for them all. A front porch, and side deck, and a screened porch on the back, all with assorted vines hanging from pots and wall pockets, and aloe and sansevieria, jade and agave and  various succulents, cherry tomatoes …
backdeck
The dragons wing begonias are still flaunting their coral flowers in the sun, and will not like coming indoors. The geraniums will be sacrificed.

I count eleven avocado trees. We eat lots of avocados, and I toss the pits into water. I don’t go through the elaborate toothpick method, just toss them into water.  Some will sprout and become trees.  None will produce avocados.

Several pots of setcreasea will live indoors, leggy by alive.
Where can we put the papyrus out of reach of Jellico, who loves to chew the papyrus stems but shows no interest in stems of other plants? Can’t put it up high, for the plant is too tall and will almost reach ceiling even sitting on a plant stand. It’s now on the deck, on a high rail, where there is no ceiling to scrape, though it may scrape the sky and puncture the clouds.

I must get to it. Take some last cuttings of basil and parsley.

Let the coleus go.

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The Right to Avoid the Presence of Guns

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2015

E. J. Dionne says “we need to insist on protecting the rights of Americans who do not want to be anywhere near guns.” Lots of us have been thinking that for a long time, but maybe we needed someone of prominence to articulate it. But, as Dionne goes on to say, as long as the National Rifle association and its allies claim a monopoly on arguments about individual rights, reasonable gun regulations will be ground to death by the Washington Obstruction Machine. We need, as Dionne says, a public service offensive on behalf of the health and safety of all of us.

Dionne quotes Guy Molyneaux , “The evidence is overwhelming that having a gun in your home increases the risks of suicide, domestic violence and fatal accidents, and yet the number one reason given for gun purchases is ‘personal safety.’ We need a public health campaign on the dangers of gun ownership, similar to the successful efforts against smoking and drunk driving.”

The NRA has kept the conversation focused on “rights” – the “rights” of Americans to own guns. No one has succeeded in changing the conversation to talk about the rights of those of us who want to walk and shop and attend meetings in gun-free places. Who will speak for parents who want to take their children to play in a local park, but don’t want their children playing in the presence of guns?  Kids in our country are at least sixteen times more likely to be killed in unintended shootings than in other advanced countries. The NRA positions itself as a defender of freedom, and yet they even curtail the freedom of medical practitioners with their “physician gag rule” which punishes doctors who talk to their patients about gun safety.

The NRA positions itself as a defender of rights, and yet wants to curtail the right of restaurant owners to ban guns from their own restaurants.  They say that owners of bars where alcohol is the main course should not be allowed to restrict guns.   And they get a pass on their Orwellian claim that they are the defenders of individual freedoms.

I hope E.J. Dionne’s recent column in The Washington Post will start a new conversation, one about the rights of people who want to go about their lives without being surrounded by guns. The American conversation about guns does not have to be about what the 2nd Amendment means, it does not have to be about whether our constitution allows you to have a gun, but about whether you should have a gun.

As Molyneux said. “This is not about the government saying you cannot own a handgun. This is about society saying you should not have a gun, especially in a home with children.”

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Major Moral Issue

Posted in "North Carolina", Environment, NC, Planet Care by helenofmarlowe on July 2, 2015

Wrong on many levels

Our local newspaper has recently published articles about industrial chicken farms around Pilot Mountain. These chicken farms are wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to focus on just one.

The Journal stories focus mainly on the financial cost to the nearby homeowners. Families who have lived there for decades, putting their life savings into their property, now have their homes made almost unlivable by “the unbearable stench of death,” putting them into the bind of being unable to enjoy their land and unable to sell it. Surely our legislators can protect taxpaying citizens from what amounts to a take-over of their property by industrial
chicken farms that pollute the land, air and water and destroy the value of area properties.

Even more important, I think, than the injustice done to these individuals is the damage to our children and grandchildren who will have to deal with the environmental devastation caused by CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). Since animal farms are the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, this is an issue we should all care about. Pollution from chicken farms kills fish and other wildlife and makes people sick.

And this does not even take into account the suffering of these sentient creatures who live their entire lives locked in cages so small they cannot spread their wings.

I believe history will show that the way humans treat other animals is the major moral issue of our times.

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The Pope is With Us

Posted in Environment, global warming by helenofmarlowe on June 18, 2015

This is great fun to watch.   It’s a two-minute video.

http://climatecrocks.com/2015/06/15/pope-goes-rope-a-dope-on-climate-villains/

I don’t know who created the video.

Straw Pollution

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on April 15, 2015

Reduce your plastic footprint. Say no to plastic straws.

Some time ago I heard of towns in England where plastic drinking straws
are banned.  Curiosity led me to learn more about how straws harm and
kill fish and coastal birds.  Some coastal cities in the US now have
bans against restaurants serving straws.

I don’t suggest banning straws, but I do want to encourage
thoughtfulness.  If you’re not going to use it, decline the offering?

Many of our ecological choices, like driving, are not so easy.  In our city of
Winston-Salem, as in many US cities, you can’t get where you need to go
without a car, and this won’t change until our city pays more attention
to public transportation.  Until then, to give up cars is not within our
reach.

But other ways to reduce our harm to the environment, such as giving up
meat, taking our own re-usable bags when shopping, and taking our own
containers to restaurants for bringing home leftovers, are easy and cost
us nothing.  Many of us have already made those changes.

I’d like to add plastic straws to our consciousness.  I’m not proposing
that we ban plastic straws.  I am proposing that restaurants give straws
only to people who want them.  Instead of including a straw with every
glass of water or tea, why not just ask when bringing the drink – Would
you like a straw? Or provide a straw only when requested.  If customers
want a straw, they can ask and receive.  It’s one small way we can
reduce the damage we’re doing to our (and our children’s) oceans.

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Our Jellico is six months old now.

Posted in "North Carolina" by helenofmarlowe on January 6, 2015
Why should I curl up in that silly basket when I can have a beer?

Why should I curl up in that silly basket when I can have a beer?

Jellico

Posted in Winston-Salem by helenofmarlowe on September 2, 2014

We have a brand new kitten. Her name is Jellico.
Where she came up with that name, I’m sure I’ll never know.

Dr. Vorsteg is her master, though he doesn’t tell her so.
It’s she told him, in fact, when we said, One cat, to go.

She jumped upon his shoulder, said, I want to go with youJellico1
Of all the cats in all the cages, she’s the one we knew
would make us laugh and love the life she will contribute to.

We asked her what her name is.
My husband says she whispered it, into his ear, her own true name.
I think the whisper came from T. S. Eliot.

I offered Tabby, Tumbles, Mittens,
Can we name you Chloe ? Bo?
No! she said, I’ll stop my ears! My name is Jellico!                                    Jellico2

Let’s sleep on that, we told our cat
and she curled up and purred.
When morning broke, she knew she’d won
We had to keep our word.

So, tiny kitten, here she is!

.           World,

.                     meet Jellico.

090214

The Money Behind the Climate Debate

Posted in Environment by helenofmarlowe on June 30, 2014

In   Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming , James Hoggan reports and discusses dramatic stories of projects funded by the fossil fuel industry designed to confuse and mislead the public, to mislead reporters and newspaper editors, and to confuse and misinform our elected officials. The deniers want to confuse the public into thinking there is still scientific debate, when in fact, among scientists, there is no debate.  For years, this misinformation campaign has been largely funded by the oil and coal industries, often under the guise of industry front groups and fake grassroots groups.

A few of the cases Hoggan reported were so outrageous that I had to check them out for myself.  For example, there is The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which describes itself as a small research institute, but is in reality a farm shed. They circulate online a deceptive “scientists’ petition”  signed by 31,000 “scientists” who are either skeptics or deniers of global warming.  The Oregon Institute lists six faculty members, two of whom are dead, and two others who are the founder’s 20-something sons.   Although they identify their six members as “faculty” they have no classrooms and no students.

The  31,000 endorsers of The Oregon Petition give only names, with no contact information or institutional affiliation.  Some of the names are in fact the names of legitimate climate scientists, who, when contacted, had no idea their names were on this petition and demanded their names be removed.  But the petition still circulates with a claim of more than 31,000 scientists.   You can see it  here http://www.oism.org/project/    (I wonder why the few scientists with recognizable names don’t sue.  Maybe they have, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just too costly to challenge the legal staff of the oil and coal giants.)  The Oregon Institute’s news releases are treated by many newspapers as legitimate contributions to some ongoing debate.

At the bottom of their web page, you’ll see

Note: The Petition Project has no funding from energy industries or other parties with special financial interests in the “global warming” debate. Funding for the project comes entirely from private non-tax deductible donations by interested individuals.

In Climate Cover-Up, Hoggan says that the Petition Project was funded by  the Exxon-backed George C. Marshall Institute.  Much of the deliberate misinformation is promoted by Exxon. (See http://www.ExxonSecrets.org)

Other “scientific” papers published in editorial sections of small-town newspapers are authored by the climate deniers under different names. They instruct their people that, although they are not likely to get published in  major newspapers, if they can get their articles printed in enough small-town papers,  they can reach as many people as they  would in the Washington Post. And speaking of the Post, when George Will wrote a column incorrectly stating facts about global warming (such as, that sea ice is advancing, rather than retreating) critics called for a correction. The Post’s editor Fred Hiatt said that Will may be wrong – he’s not a scientist — but he has a right to voice his opinion. Critics responded that this is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact. But George Will didn’t offer corrections and the Post stood by him.

Hoggan tells stories of climate scientists whose reputations and careers have been damaged by fake “scientists” who not only challenge the climate research, but also defame the characters of the researchers, who often simply don’t have the time or financial resources to fight the legal battles funded by the oil industry. (See Siegfried Frederick Singer, but don’t question his integrity unless you have a bank account to match The Heartland Institute.)

One of the most outrageous of the stories Hoggan tells is the story of  Christopher Walter Monckton, the third Viscount of Brenchely, a British politician affiliated with the UK Independence Party. Though he has a degree in classics and a diploma in journalism, and no further qualifications, according to Hoggan, he is quoted by think tanks as an expert in the field of global warming.  In biographical information supplied to news media, he claims to have received a Nobel Peace Prize for correcting inaccurate information put out by IPCC (actually, it was the IPCC panelists who received the Nobel) and he says  “The right response to the non-problem of global warming is to have the courage to do nothing.”

At least as culpable as the fossil fuel industry in climate disruption is the livestock industry.  Methane from landfills and livestock, and the destruction of rain forest for cattle grazing are at least as much a cause of global warming as fossil fuels.  But Hogan doesn’t talk about the impact of the livestock industry on climate change, and I wonder why. Since we hear so little in “mainstream” media about the environmental damage of the meat industry, I wonder whether there is a similar funded cover-up.  If I had Hoggan’s ear, I would encourage him to discover and tell us why only those of us who care to do our own research are finding the facts on CAFOs and their substantial contribution to global warming.

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