Before you do anything else, see this, because despite the fact that it is focused from a global perspective, it is extremely useful…

Fossil Fuels

FOSSIL FUELS

Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past 550 million years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

When fossil fuels are burned, they release pollutants which contribute to global warming and acid rain.

The United States gets 80% of its total energy from fossil fuels. They heat our homes, run our vehicles, power industry and manufacturing, and provide us with electricity. Eventually, the degree to which we depend on fossil fuels will have to decline as they are non-renewable resources, as the difficulty and cost of tapping remaining reserves increase, and as the effect of their continued use on our planet grows more critical 

In 1950, nearly equal amounts of U.S. residential energy came from petroleum, coal, natural gas, and wood, and relatively little came from electricity (5%). In 2018, the U.S. residential sector consumed natural gas (43%) and electricity (42%) in nearly equal shares. Similarly, the U.S. commercial sector’s 2018 energy consumption was also mostly natural gas (38%) and electricity (50%).

CURRENT NEWS

Supreme court ruling delays climate litigation big oil has sought to thwart

By Dharna Noor 06/10/24
The supreme court on Monday asked the Biden administration to weigh in on big oil’s request to thwart litigation that could put them on the hook for billions of dollars. The one-line order will delay…
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Vermont Moves to Hold Fossil-Fuel Companies Liable for Climate-Change Damage

By Elizabeth Kolbert 05/27/24
On July 10, 2023, Vermont’s state capital, Montpelier, was hit with more than five inches of rain. The city sits at the confluence of the main stream of the Winooski and its north branch; the…
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Q&A: New Legislation in Vermont Will Make Fossil Fuel Companies Liable for Climate Impacts in the State. Here’s What That Could Look Like

By Paloma Beltran 05/25/24
Vermont’s House and Senate have approved a bill that would make fossil fuel companies financially liable for their carbon pollution and its role in the climate crisis. Lawmakers pointed to consequences of these carbon emissions,…
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Democrats ask DOJ to investigate Big Oil

By Emily Atkin 05/22/24
The Democrats leading the years-long congressional investigation into Big Oil’s climate deception are formally asking the Department of Justice to step in.
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DOJ must investigate Big Oil’s “ongoing enterprise,” lawmakers say

By Emily Sanders 05/22/24
The leaders of a years-long Congressional probe into Big Oil’s decades-long climate disinformation campaigns just formally referred their investigation to the Department of Justice, calling on the nation’s biggest public law office to “pursue further…
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How Oil Companies Manipulate Journalists

By Molly Taft 05/15/24
Kill the story.” That’s what Alan Jeffers, a media relations manager at ExxonMobil, told the Houston bureau chief of Reuters in October 2016, about a year after InsideClimate News, the Los Angeles Times, and Columbia…
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New Report ‘Ringing the Alarm Bell’ for Climate Advocacy Conflict of Interest

By Joe Fassler 05/08/24
In Colorado, fossil fuel interests are vigorously opposing legislative bills meant to clean up the state’s heavily polluted air. That might seem like business as usual, but a new report reveals a more serious dynamic:…
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New internal Big Oil documents just dropped

By Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson 04/30/24
In 2021, Congressional Democrats subpoenaed Big Oil for internal documents detailing the industry’s role in worsening the climate crisis. Some of the documents have already been released. But today, we got some more. The internal…
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Energy Department finalizes rule to phase out fossil fuels in federal buildings

By Nish Amarnath 04/29/24
In a push for net-zero emissions from federal facilities by 2045, the new rule mandates a 90% reduction in on-site fossil fuel use by 2029 and complete elimination after 2030.
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Biden Administration Raises Costs to Drill and Mine on Public Lands

By Coral Davenport 04/12/24
The Biden administration on Friday made it more expensive for fossil fuel companies to pull oil, gas and coal from public lands, raising royalty rates for the first time in 100 years in a bid…
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The Biden Administration Raised the Rent to Drill on Public Lands. Here’s What to Know.

By Coral Davenport 04/12/24
The Biden administration raised the royalty rates that fossil fuel companies pay the government in order to drill and mine on public lands, the first time since 1920 that those fees have increased. And it…
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Financial Firms Tout Energy Business After West Virginia Restrictions

By Isla Binnie 04/08/24
West Virginia has added Citi, HSBC and two other financial firms to a list of institutions that may be barred from some state business due to their energy finance policies, prompting three of them to…
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KEY RESOURCES

Causes and Effects of Climate Change

04/24/24
Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of…

Products Made From Oil And Natural Gas

08/23/23
When you think about oil, there is probably one thing that immediately comes to mind: motor oil for your car or lawn mower. And, when you hear about natural gas, you may think about heating…

Is Natural Gas A Fossil Fuel? Here’s What to Know

02/18/22
Is natural gas a fossil fuel? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Natural gas is, in fact, a fossil fuel, but it is not the same type of fossil fuel as coal…

What’s the Deal With This Whole Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Anyway?

11/24/21
The news that President Joe Biden is releasing millions of barrels of oil from a federal stockpile raises a question. Well, a few actually. Namely, wait, what the hell? We have a huge stockpile of…

Committed emissions from existing energy infrastructure jeopardize 1.5 °C climate target

10/06/20
Net anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) must approach zero by mid-century (2050) in order to stabilize the global mean temperature at the level targeted by international efforts.

Greenhouse gas emissions results modelling from 26 countries

10/01/20
This working paper models 26 countries and finds national average emission reductions of 6 per cent from the removal of fossil fuel subsidies.

Assessing ExxonMobil’s climate change communications (1977–2014)

10/01/20
This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change.

Revealed: the 20 firms behind a third of all carbon emissions

08/20/20
New data shows how fossil fuel companies have driven climate crisis despite industry knowing dangers

It’s time to rein in the fossil fuel giants before their greed chokes the planet

08/20/20
We’ve long known that the big fossil fuel companies are responsible for a huge share of the world’s carbon emissions. Now the Climate Accountability Institute is publishing new data quantifying how much each of these…

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth

02/19/20
With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why…

The future is now: How oil and gas companies can decarbonize

01/01/20
As the pressure to act on climate change builds, the industry should consider a range of options.

Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago

09/16/15
Top executives were warned of possible catastrophe from greenhouse effect, then led efforts to block solutions

MORE NEWS

Surge of new US-led oil and gas activity threatens to wreck Paris climate goals

By Oliver Milman   03/28/24  
The world’s fossil-fuel producers are on track to nearly quadruple the amount of extracted oil and gas from newly approved projects by the end of this decade, with the US leading the way in a…
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The Zombies of the U.S. Tax Code: Why Fossil Fuels Subsidies Seem Impossible to Kill

By Lisa Friedman   03/20/24  
As a candidate in 2020, Joseph R. Biden Jr. campaigned to end billions of dollars in annual tax breaks to oil and gas companies within his first year in office. It’s a pledge he has…
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The most epic (and literal) gaslighting of all time

By Bill MCKibben   03/05/24  
I’m listening to John Coltrane through my headphones as I type, in an effort to stay calm enough that I don’t just start sputtering. You might want to do likewise as you read.
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How the US government began its decade-long campaign against the anti-pipeline movement

By Adam Federman   02/14/24  
On the morning of March 5, 2012, Debra White Plume received an urgent phone call. A convoy of large trucks transporting pipeline servicing equipment was attempting to cross the Pine Ridge Reservation near the town…
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Gore: ‘We’ve got to stop using the sky as an open sewer’

02/04/24  
Eco-activist and former VP Al Gore says "we've got to switch away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible" if we want to save our planet from catastrophic climate change.
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Big Oil Is Doing Great … Except in California

By Matthew Zeitlin   02/02/24  
Both Exxon and Chevron reported substantial fourth quarter and full-year 2023 earnings Friday — $36 billion and $21 billion for 2023, respectively, their second highest annual profits ever. Both also called out California, however, once…
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Hidden Subsidies Prop Up New York’s Fossil Fuel Industry

By Colin Kinniburgh and Julia Rock   02/02/24  
ON A CRISP EVENING last spring, nearly 100 people packed into an elementary school auditorium in the Hudson Valley town of Athens. They had shown up to weigh in on the future of the town’s…
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US: Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’

01/25/24  
The fossil fuel and petrochemical industry in the Louisiana area that has come to be known as “Cancer Alley” has devastated the health, lives, and environment of residents, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
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A Fossil Fuel Miseducation

By Keerti Gopal   01/23/24  
On a balmy day in December, in Oblong, Illinois, I sat on a folding chair in a small, windowless room and watched a ’90s VHS tape about a high school student who couldn’t live without…
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A Long-Delayed BLM Resource Management Plan in Southwest Wyoming Pits Conservation Against Resource Extraction

By Jake Bolster   01/21/24  
For the last 16 years, Joy Bannon has been leading tours of the land near Rock Springs, Wyoming. Usually, Bannon and her cohort mosey through Wyoming’s southwest landscape—home to the sandstone badlands and slithering dunes…
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OPEC Plus cuts oil production to blunt falling oil prices

By Evan Halper   11/30/23  
The coalition of oil-producing nations led by Saudi Arabia and Russia moved to blunt falling prices Thursday with plans for a fresh 1 million barrel cut to daily production, in addition to an extension of…
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Chartbook Carbon Notes 8: Betting on climate disaster. The possible futures of the (US) oil and gas industry.

By Adam Tooze   11/27/23  
In the last few years, the energy transition has moved from being a wished-for hypothetical to becoming a large-scale global trend. As this happens, it shakes up our understanding of the future. Some analysts are…
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Chartbook Carbon Notes 8: Betting on climate disaster. The possible futures of the (US) oil and gas industry.

By Adam Tooze   11/27/23  
In the last few years, the energy transition has moved from being a wished-for hypothetical to becoming a large-scale global trend. As this happens, it shakes up our understanding of the future. Some analysts are…
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Oil and gas industry needs to let go of carbon capture as solution to climate change, IEA says

By Spencer Kimball   11/23/23  
The oil and gas industry needs to let go of the “illusion” that carbon capture technology is a solution to climate change and invest more in clean energy, the head of the International Energy Agency…
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Exxon Urges the World to ‘Get Real’ on Climate Change

By Kevin Crowley   11/16/23  
Riding high on $65 billion worth of recent acquisitions and a 60% share-price rally during the past two years, Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods delivered a tough message to government officials and…
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New Report Reveals Big Oil’s Playbook to Silence Climate Protests

By Juliana Broad   11/07/23  
A new report by Greenpeace USA details the widespread coordination between the public and private sectors to monitor activism, punish protesters both physically and legally, and grease the wheels for proposed anti-protest bills that criminalize…
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Exxon, Chevron Profits Surged Ahead of Megadeals

By Collin Eaton   10/27/23  
On the heels of competing megadeals, Exxon Mobil XOM -0.13%decrease; red down pointing triangle and Chevron CVX -0.40%decrease; red down pointing triangle reported a combined $15.6 billion in profits Friday, as oil and fuel prices…
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Fossil fuel money lurks behind anti-offshore wind power political ads in New Jersey

By Dave Anderson   10/23/23  
A Republican group that paid for anti-offshore wind power ads targeting Democrats ahead of New Jersey’s November 7 state legislative elections raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel industry earlier this…
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Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure, Ninth Edition, October 19, 2023

10/19/23  
The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure (the Compendium) is a fully referenced compilation of evidence, spanning many scientific and social scientific…
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Fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere

By David Gelles   10/12/23  
It wasn’t long ago that big fossil fuel companies were making bold claims about their plans to embrace a low-carbon future. Yet over the past year, many of those companies have walked back those commitments…
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Exxon Mobil Strikes $60 Billion Deal for Shale Giant

By Clifford Krauss   10/11/23  
Exxon Mobil announced on Wednesday that it was acquiring Pioneer Natural Resources for $59.5 billion, deepening its reliance on fossil fuel production even as many global policymakers grow increasingly concerned about climate change and the…
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Trillions in G20 fossil fuel subsidies fuel profits and climate change

By Michael Barnard   10/04/23  
According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2022 direct subsidies for the fossil fuel industry rose to US$1.3 trillion. In previous years, the industry averaged profits of $1.5 trillion, but last year their global profits…
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What the world would look like without fossil fuels

By Shannon Osaka   09/30/23  
In any given year, the world produces staggering quantities of fossil fuels. Roughly 36.5 billion barrels of oil. Over 8 billion metric tons of coal. The United States alone extracts and processes over 100 billion…
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How do we raise trillions of dollars to fight the climate crisis? The answer is staring us in the face

By Gordon Brown   09/25/23  
After a summer of ever-more deadly floods, droughts and firestorms, two autumn summits – the G20 and the UN general assembly – have come and gone. Both failed to deliver the long-promised global plan to…
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Pincushion America revisited: The legacy of fracking on our drinking water

By Kurt Cobb   09/24/23  
Eleven years ago, I wrote about the how millions of holes drilled deep into American soil were already destined to pollute groundwater across the United States, making many areas uninhabitable to humans who rely on…
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California opens the floodgates on Big Oil

09/18/23  
The state of California just launched a game-changing climate lawsuit against oil majors, bringing the weight of one of the world’s largest economies and the most populous state in the nation to bear against some…
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California sues five major oil companies for ‘decades-long campaign of deception’ about climate change

By Louis Sahagún   09/16/23  
California is suing five of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, alleging that they engaged in a “decades-long campaign of deception” about climate change and the risks posed by fossil fuels that…
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Meet the Oil Man in Charge of Leading the World Away From Oil

By Max Bearak   09/15/23  
On a craggy desert plateau in Uzbekistan, a renewable energy company from the United Arab Emirates is putting up more than 100 wind turbines.
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Inside Exxon’s Strategy to Downplay Climate Change

By Christopher M. Matthews and and Collin Eaton   09/14/23  
Mobil issued its first public statement that burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change in 2006, following years of denial. In public forums, the company argued that the risk of serious impact on the environment…
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Big Oil’s Climate Fix Is Running Out of Time to Prove Itself

By Stephen Stapczynski   09/13/23  
Get within a few dozen meters of one of the world’s biggest carbon capture projects on Australia’s remote Barrow Island, and normal conversation quickly becomes impossible.Emanating from the dense maze of pipes and towers the…
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Group of 20 countries agree to increase clean energy but reach no deal on phasing out fossil fuels

By Sibi Arasu   09/09/23  
Group of 20 leaders agreed Saturday to triple renewable energy and try to increase the funds for climate change-related disasters but maintained the status quo with regards to phasing out carbon spewing coal. At a…
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Oil giant led by COP28 boss to spend an ‘eyewatering’ $1 billion a month on fossil fuels this decade, Global Witness says

By Sam Meredith   09/04/23  
UAE oil giant ADNOC — run by the president of the COP28 climate conference — is expected to spend more than $1 billion every month this decade on fossil fuels, according to new analysis by…
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An “Unabated” Disaster

09/02/23  
Last month, COP28 president, oil CEO Al Jaber unveiled his "action plan" for this year's climate summit. Amidst a lot of big talk about fossil fuel phase down was one little word that puts the…
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The staying power of fossil fuel subsidies

By Ben Geman   08/25/23  
Well over a decade after high-profile international vows to rein in subsidies for producing and using fossil fuels, they remain deeply woven into government policies. Driving the news: Two new reports reach similar conclusions, 14…
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API, State of Louisiana, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. Challenge Lease Sale 261 Final Notice of Sale

08/24/23  
The American Petroleum Institute (API) today joined with the State of Louisiana and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in filing a challenge to the Department of the Interior (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Management’s (BOEM) Final Notice of…
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The Climate Culprits Hiding Their Role In California’s Extreme Weather

By Rebecca Burns   08/21/23  
One of the nation’s most important climate fights is currently playing out under the radar in California, where state residents are weathering an unprecedented tropical storm. Oil and industry lobbying groups are spending millions in…
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Stop Giving Big Oil a Carbon Fig Leaf

By Dr. Jonathan Foley   08/17/23  
Record heat waves. Widespread fires. Devastating storms. The tragic toll of climate change is becoming more evident every day. To avoid even more severe impacts in the future, we must quickly and dramatically cut greenhouse…
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Texas sues Shell over May fire at Houston-area petrochemical plant

08/15/23  
Texas is suing Shell and is seeking more than $1 million, alleging a fire at the oil giant’s Houston-area petrochemical plant damaged the environment.
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Maui is suing Big Oil

08/15/23  
The county is seeking to recover the costs of climate-fueled disasters Big Oil knowingly caused — including increasingly destructive wildfires.
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Opinion: The terrible climate hypocrisy at the top of Southern California Edison

By Leah C. Stokes   08/05/23  
With nearly 200 million Americans frying under extreme heat, and water off the coast of Florida reaching hot tub temperatures, Americans can see the climate crisis with their own eyes. We know we must cut…
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Corporate Cash Derails Train Safety Bill

By Matthew Cunningham-Cook and Julia Rock   08/03/23  
The company that manufactured the toxic chemicals that were released and incinerated in the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment this winter gave $2 million to the primary Senate GOP super PAC as…
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BLM proposes end to new oil leases on 1.6M acres in Colorado

By Scott Streater and Heather Richards   08/03/23  
The Bureau of Land Management proposed Thursday removing more than a million acres of public lands in Colorado from future oil and gas leasing, while also designating tens of thousands of acres of new protected…
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‘Vicious cycle’: Heat waves ramp up global burning of fossil fuels

By Timothy Puko   07/28/23  
The United States is setting records for natural gas consumption this week at the power plants that keep the nation’s air conditioners humming, according to estimates from S&P Global Commodity Insights. In China, power plants…
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Pollution from fossil fuel combustion deadlier than previously thought

07/24/23  
A new study found that fine particulate pollution generated by the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for one in five early deaths worldwide in 2018—far more than previously thought. Harvard T.H. Chan School of…
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She’s on a Mission From God: Suing Big Oil for Climate Damages

By David Gelles   07/19/23  
Missy Sims carefully picked her way through a field of ruined tombs in central Puerto Rico, in a cemetery where walls of water from Hurricane Maria had smashed open some coffins and sent others careering…
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Mountain Valley pipeline turns to Supreme Court

By Niina H. Farah   07/19/23  
The Supreme Court may soon step into a legal brawl over whether Congress violated the Constitution when it passed a law ensuring completion of the Mountain Valley pipeline — a fight that could have important…
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Big oil quietly walks back on climate pledges as global heat records tumble

By Dharna Noor   07/16/23  
It was probably the Earth’s hottest week in history earlier this month, following the warmest June on record, and top scientists agree that the planet will get even hotter unless we phase out fossil fuels.
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Big Heat and Big Oil

By Bill McKibben   07/16/23  
In the list of ill-timed corporate announcements, historians may someday give pride of place to one made by Wael Sawan, the new C.E.O. of Shell, the largest energy company in Europe. In 2021, Shell said…
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Mea Culpas Are Great, But Climate Leaders Need to Model Real Accountability

By Amy Westervelt   07/14/23  
This week, Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 2010-2016, key architect of the Paris Agreement, and longtime supporter of the idea that fossil fuel companies…
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Fossil fuel workers are dying inhaling gases – despite US warnings to big oil

By Sara Sneath   07/13/23  
After multiple worker fatalities, the US government warned manual gauging was dangerous. The oil industry seems to have not taken note, activists say...
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