Hot News: December 13, 2016 - The Years Project

Hot News: December 13, 2016

By Climate Nexus

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Exxon Will Control State Dept: Despite ferocious pushback over Rex Tillerson’s ties to Russia, Trump tweeted this morning that he has chosen the ExxonMobil CEO as his nominee for Secretary of State. Several of Exxon’s multibillion-dollar drilling deals in Siberia are at a standstill due to US sanctions, and could face close scrutiny with its CEO as the top US diplomat in charge of controlling those sanctions. Opposition to Tillerson’s appointment is expected to be fierce, with bipartisan politicians gearing up for a heavy confirmation fight and some Democrats eager to question Tillerson over whether Exxon misled investors and the public on climate change. (Nomination: New York Times $, Washington Post $, WSJ $, NPRNBCBloombergCBSHuffington PostPolitico. Sanctions: New York Times $, Washington Post $, NPRABCThe GuardianDallas Morning NewsPolitico Pro $, Reuters. Confirmation: Washington Post $, CNNPolitico Pro $, E&E $, The Hill. Commentary: New York Times editorial $, Washington Post editorial $, Washington Post, Chris Cillizza analysis $, The Nation, David Dayden column)

#ExxonKnew But Went Ahead With Tar Sands: Speaking of Exxon…Despite an understanding of environmental risk and knowledge that international climate action would hurt their bottom line, Exxon aggressively pursued development of carbon-heavy Canadian tar sands for decades, a new investigation from InsideClimate News finds. The investigation is published on the heels of Friday’s Canadian carbon tax announcement that could drive down tar sands pricing even further. In another blow for Exxon, a judge ordered Monday that Massachusetts AG Maura Healey would not have to appear in Dallas for a deposition. Healey is being sued with New York AG Schneiderman by the oil giant for investigating Exxon’s internal climate change research, based on InsideClimate News’s original 2015 series. (Healey: WSJ $, Politico PRO $, The HillAPBoston Globe$, Boston Herald. Commentary: Huffington Post, David Halperin op-ed)

Transition Carousel Includes Perry for DOE, Zinke for DOI: Former Texas governor and Dancing With the Stars contestant Rick Perry swung by Trump Tower Monday to discuss a job at the Department of Energy. Perry, a fossil fuel lobby darling who once forgot the name of DOE when talking about how he wants to get rid of it, is reportedly Trump’s top choice to lead the agency. Several other possible cabinet appointees also met with Trump Monday, including DOI candidates Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Rep Ryan Zinke, R-MT. While Zinke differs from Rodgers in his opposition to privatizing public lands, he is also a fossil fuel lobby favorite, pressed hard on pro-coal legislation while in Congress, and has waffled back and forth on clean energy and climate science. (Perry: Washington Post $, NBCCBSUSATodayThe Hill. Zinke: BloombergFlathead Beacon)

Divestment Is a Trillion Dollar Effort: Global divestment funds selling off fossil fuel assets have now reached over $5 trillion, according to a new report. The value of the funds has more than doubled in under a year and a half, with nearly 700 institutions and almost 60,000 individuals across 76 countries now committing to divest. The divestment campaign originated on college campuses in 2011 and quickly spread to mainstream corporations, insurers, and financial institutions. (New York Times $, The GuardianViceGristHuffington PostEcoWatchClimate Central. Commentary: The Guardian, Blair Palese analysis)

US Finally Gets Windy: The US’s first offshore wind farm officially went online Monday. The five turbines, located three miles off the shore of Block Island, RI, will provide power for 17,000 homes at peak capacity and supply about 30 MW of energy annually. Deepwater Wind, the project’s owner, is currently negotiating to build another farm off the coast of Long Island, and the Bureau of Ocean Management has awarded 11 Atlantic offshore wind leases total with another lease sale planned for today. (Washington Post $, APReutersGizmodoThinkProgressThe HillRIPRBusiness InsiderProvidence Journal. Commentary: Boston Globe, Derrick Z. Jackson column)

US News
  • Greens may seek to bar Pruitt from EPA suits he fought (Politico Pro $)
  • George W. Bush EPA chief slams Trump’s pick (GristThe Hill)
  • Pipeline 150 miles from Dakota Access protests leaks 176,000 gallons of oil (Washington Post $)
  • Bill Gates pushes green energy agenda on call with Trump (LA Times $, FT $, Bloomberg)
  • Bill Gates leads new fund as fears of U.S. retreat on climate grow (New York Times $, WSJ $)
  • Trump’s election leaves scientists in a climate of uncertainty (NPR)
  • To mobilize Trump’s America for environmental protection, invoke the past (LA Times $)
  • Trump will have a hard time reversing coal’s fortunes (EnergyWire $)
  • Father of climate change awareness talks Trump (Bloomberg TV)
  • Does Connecticut’s green bank hold the secret to the future of clean energy? (InsideClimate News)
  • The solar industry has paid off its carbon debts (The Atlantic)
  • Five people could block Trump’s pipeline promises (Bloomberg)
  • Where are residential solar and nuclear cheaper than natural gas? (Greentech Media)
  • Advocacy group finds expanding support for fossil fuel divestment (Politico PRO NY $)
  • East Coast businesses push Obama on Atlantic drilling (The Hill)
  • Can Trump upend DOE work on modernizing the grid? (EnergyWire $)
  • For Tillerson, climate change is an ‘engineering problem’ (E&E $)
  • This major museum wants to prioritize renewable energy investments (Mashable)
  • Trump team casts a cold eye on renewables (E&E $)
  • Climate scientists urged to fight back against ‘bullshit’ (Climate Home)

World News

  • Rapid rise in methane emissions in 10 years surprises scientists (The GuardianCNNTimeVoxGristChristian Science MonitorClimate Home)
  • This stunning Antarctic lake is buried in ice. And that could be bad news (Washington Post $)
  • Scientists want to give the atmosphere an antacid to relieve climate change (Bloomberg)
  • World bank highlights gas wasted by oil industry flaring (FT $)
  • New online tool sheds light on ‘invisible crisis’ of environmental activists under threat (Mashable)
  • China’s clean-energy giants on an overseas shopping spree (South China Morning Post)
  • Mountain glaciers are showing some of the strongest responses to climate change (Washington Post $,
  • Uganda starts up first solar power plant in bid to tap renewables (Reuters)
  • Royal Dutch Shell invests in green power kite (FT $)
  •  Zimbabwe drought, hunger push farmers to seek greener pastures (Reuters)
  • Climate change may force Brits to replace fish and chips with squid (NBCTimeThe GuardianMashable)
  • Why Britain could face an exceptionally cold winter (The Guardian)

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