Officials from nearly 200 countries are in Katowice, Poland, to negotiate how to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. But so are representatives from many of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies, including a lobby group that represents BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. Just last week, The Intercept reported that an executive from Shell Oil told participants at a COP side event that Shell helped draft a portion of the 2015 Paris climate agreement dealing with emissions mitigation. This week, activists protested outside an event hosted by Shell. Among them was Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian environmental activist and the director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, who says the nonbinding 2015 Paris climate agreement was popular with politicians because polluters saw they “didn’t have to do anything that science requires.” He argues, “This is just the design and the desire of the fossil fuel industry.”
The U.S. Treasury Department has fined ExxonMobil $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia three years ago, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson served as the oil company’s CEO. The Treasury said ExxonMobil showed “reckless disregard” for U.S. law in 2014 when it signed contracts with Russian oil magnate Igor Sechin to develop offshore reserves in the Arctic. The move violated sanctions placed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula. Tillerson said at the time his company opposed Russia sanctions, calling them “ineffective.” At the State Department Thursday, spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked whether Tillerson had changed his views on Russian sanctions.
Heather Nauert: “This all predates his time here at the Department of State.”
Matthew Lee: “I understand that.”
Heather Nauert: “And so, I’m going to refrain from giving any comment on that at this time.”
Matthew Lee: “I understand this predates his time as secretary of state, but now he is in a position in which he is part of the team that is supposed to enforce sanctions, not violate them or allow others to violate them, so I think it’s relevant to know what he thinks about this decision today.”
Heather Nauert: “I think—I will say this. The secretary continues to abide by his ethical commitments, including that recusal from Exxon-related activities.”
Secretary of State Tillerson is known to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who awarded Tillerson the country’s Order of Friendship decoration in 2013. The Treasury Department’s $2 million fine against ExxonMobil was the maximum amount allowed by law. It represents just over two hours’ profit for the oil giant.
Let’s have a big hand for all of my fellow Amerikans who voted for Comrade Trump. Stupid is as stupid does, and evil is what evil does.
God have mercy on your souls.
The impacts of global warming are everywhere. Wildfires are raging: the U.S. government’s interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group listed 109 active wildfires currently continuing to burn in the U.S. alone. In Phoenix last month, when temperatures reached 120 degrees F, smaller jets were unable to take off or land, and American Airlines canceled close to 50 flights, all because the air was too hot. At higher temperatures, asphalt can melt, making runways unusable.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists: “By 2035, about 170 communities—roughly twice as many as today—will face chronic inundation [flooding].” and by 2100, the number climbs to almost 500 communities. Climate change is responsible for what scientists are calling “the Earth’s sixth mass extinction,” an ongoing “biological annihilation.”
Furthest south, a section of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica has broken off, turning into an iceberg the size of Delaware, four times the size of London. Scientists predict that if all Antarctic ice melts, global sea levels could rise by as much as 160 feet. The climate action group 350.org has launched a petition to name the new iceberg “Exxon Knew 1,” referring to allegations that ExxonMobil covered up its research on climate change for decades.
Scientists are warning that the Earth’s sixth mass extinction is already underway. In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers said billions of populations of animals have disappeared from the Earth, amid what they called a “biological annihilation.” They said the findings were worse than previously thought. The scientists say the main causes of the mass extinction of wildlife is human overpopulation and overconsumption, especially by the rich; the destruction of animals’ habitats; toxic pollution; and climate change. The report also warns that humans will be impacted by this mass extinction, writing, “The resulting biological annihilation obviously will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences. Humanity will eventually pay a very high price for the decimation of the only assemblage of life that we know of in the universe.”
100 companies responsible for 71% of all global greenhouse emissions; Rex gets an award.
A separate report, also published Monday, reveals that only 100 companies are responsible for a shocking 71 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. The Carbon Majors Report, published in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute, found that ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are among the worst polluting investor-owned companies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is former longtime CEO of ExxonMobil. This weekend, as Tillerson received a lifetime achievement award from the World Petroleum Congress, a climate change-fueled heat wave shattered temperature records in Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Woodland Hills, where the temperature soared to 110 degrees on Saturday. Climate change-fueled wildfires also continue to burn uncontrolled across California and Canada’s British Columbia, forcing thousands to flee their homes.