Another positive development is the explosive media coverage (from Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times) into the role of Exxon in funding and promoting climate denialism, triggering government investigations of the corporation that could parallel the exposure of Big Tobacco’s lies 20 years ago. On the legislative front, Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and several colleagues have introduced the Keep It in the Ground Act, which calls for ending federal government approval of leases to extract oil, gas and coal on public lands – which account for about half of all unexploited fossil fuels in the U.S. It’s not like the law is going to pass in the Republican-dominated Congress, but spotlighting this issue is key to raising awareness that U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing private profit and the destruction of our planet.
Of course, at the same time, all the bad old stuff keeps happening. One of the worst pieces of news is that China recently announced it has been burning 17 percent more coal than previously reported, generating almost a billion more tons a year of carbon pollution than previously estimated. And other projects, like Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export terminal, are under construction in Maryland on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Opponents are working hard and creatively to stop it. If it goes online it will suck even more fracked gas out of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other states, because Dominion can sell the gas for way more to India and Japan (for which it has contracts dotted and crossed) than it can sell it domestically. Opposition to proposed pipelines that would bring the gas to Cove Point is ramping up throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
All this against the backdrop of the climate talks in Paris, scheduled to begin Nov. 29 and run until December 12. Massive demonstrations that were scheduled on both those dates have been cancelled by the French government in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks. Organizers like 350.org and many others are emphasizing that people demonstrating where they live is even more important now. Visit 350.org to learn of one near you. And because none of us are expecting much to come out of the talks (even if all the countries followed through on their pledges to cut carbon, it wouldn't be enough to keep global temps from rising more than the red-lined 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), the talk is of the road through Paris, to more climate actions next spring.
P.S. The words in the graphic above are super-imposed on a rally of 35,000 on a frigid day in February 2013 to stop the KXL. Can you find me there? :)