Don’t think that Steven Donziger’s legal issue is abstract and has no meaning for you.
As energy giants come under increasing pressure, the precedent of corporate directed prosecution is a concern to us all.

Above, short clip. Full interview below.

Amnesty International:

In this joint letter, Amnesty International and other civil societies, express their concerns about the situation of Steven Donziger, a US human rights lawyer who has been sentenced to six months in prison and denied the opportunity to be granted bail while he appeals a conviction on a politically motivated contempt of court charge, after having spent more than two years in pre-trial house arrest. They are seriously concerned that the case against him appears to be in retaliation for his work in defence of the rights of Indigenous peoples in Ecuador who were victims of Chevron Corporation’s oil dumping.

Really, really stunning ad.
The monster is real.

Guardian:

A clear majority of people believe that climate change will have a more significant effect on humanity than will Covid-19, which has already claimed about five million lives worldwide, according to a new poll conducted ahead of the Cop26 summit being held in Glasgow this weekend.

The survey, carried out as part of a study into “eco-anxiety” by the Global Future thinktank in conjunction with the University of York, also finds that concern about global warming is almost as common among older and working-class people as it is among those who are young or middle-class. Overall, 78% of people reported some level of eco-anxiety.

The authors of the report say that their findings should serve as a warning to politicians who may believe that worries about the climate emergency are confined to younger, middle-class and metropolitan voters.

The YouGov poll of more than 2,100 people found that 56% believe the implications of climate change will be greater for the world than will those of the coronavirus pandemic, with a majority of all age groups and social classes holding this view.

Similarly, climate change is considered a top global priority among people of all age groups and backgrounds, and across all regions of the UK.

Despite this widespread concern about the climate crisis – with some 42% of middle and upper-class people reporting high eco-anxiety against 39% of working-class voters – people lack faith in political leaders to act. Some 31% of those questioned believe that the Cop26 summit will have little or no effect, 32% think it will have a moderate effect, while only 18% think it will have a big effect.

The polling found that the biggest difference in levels of eco-anxiety was not between rich and poor or young and old, but between men and women. Some 45% of female participants reported high levels of worry about climate change compared with 36% of men.

Rowenna Davis, author of the report and director of Global Future, said: “Everyone – rich and poor, young and old, north and south, men and women – is suffering eco-anxiety. Therefore, some cynical politicians who seek to use wedge issues like petrol prices to divide the public are not only wrong, they are also making a strategic error.

“Whoever hopes to win the next election will need to win the ‘red wall’. This will mean responding to concerns these voters actually hold rather than perceptions of them. From our research, this must include a meaningful response to climate change.”

Pavlos Vasilopoulos, politics lecturer at the University of York, added: “These findings contest commonly held views that the environment is only an issue for the southern middle class. Instead, climate change appears to be becoming more similar to issues such as unemployment or crime, which are recognised as priorities by the majority and are used to evaluate government performance.”

Above: Creative use for abandoned pipelines.

In yesterday’s Oversight Committee hearing (“Oil’s Tobacco moment”) Republican members repeated over and over a familiar talking point – that President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline cost “11,000 jobs”.

Here’s a fact check.

Austin American-Statesman:

A Facebook post: Says that “By revoking the Keystone pipeline permit, Biden is destroying 11,000 jobs.”

PolitiFact’s ruling: Half True

Here’s why: President Joe Biden spent his first day in the White House signing a spate of executive orders aimed at undoing the policies of the Trump administration. One of them sparked outrage on Facebook over its effect on American jobs.

On Jan. 20, Biden signed an order that revoked the permit for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. In a Facebook post published the same day, one user said the move would cost thousands of jobs.

“By revoking the Keystone pipeline permit, Biden is destroying 11,000 jobs and roughly $2 billion in wages,” the post says. “Democrats couldn’t even get through Day 1 without killing jobs for middle class Americans.”

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. 

We’ve seen several similar posts offer other figures for how many jobs were lost as a result of Biden’s executive order, ranging from 12,000 to 83,000. So we wanted to take a closer look.

TC Energy Corp., the Canadian company that owns the Keystone XL pipeline with the Alberta government, has said more than 1,000 people are out of work because of Biden’s executive order. The 11,000 and $2 billion figures cited in the Facebook post are estimates published by the company, but most of the jobs would be temporary.

We reached out to the user who published the post for their evidence, but we didn’t hear back.

What Biden’s order does

The Keystone XL pipeline is an international project years in the making. Without support from the U.S. government, it’s effectively halted.

The 875-mile pipeline would carry a heavy crude oil mixture from Western Canada to Steele City, Neb., where it would connect with another leg stretching to Gulf Coast refineries.

Biden’s order revokes the permit that was granted March 29, 2019, by then-President Donald Trump on the grounds that it is harmful to the environment.

While an 11-volume State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline found in 2014 that it would not significantly contribute to carbon pollution, critics say the project threatens Alberta’s rivers and forests. And the project has become a symbol for the political debate over fossil fuels. 

The Obama-era State Department had denied TC Energy’s request for a permit in 2015. Trump revived hopes for the project once he took office, ultimately approving it with an executive order. Construction began in April 2020, but that same month, a federal court said that the project had to go through a full endangered species review. TC Energy appealed the ruling, but the Supreme Court upheld it in July.

Before Biden signed his executive order, only a 1.2-mile section of the pipeline had been completed in Montana near the U.S.-Canada border.

Cornell University Global Labor Institute:

  • »  The industry’s US jobs claims are linked to a $7 billion KXL project budget. However, the budget for KXL that will have a bearing on US jobs figures is dramatically lower—only around $3 to $4 billion. A lower project budget means fewer jobs.
  • »  The project will create no more than 2,500-4,650 temporary direct construction jobs for two years, according to TransCanada’s own data supplied to the State Department.
Read the rest of this entry »

UPDATE: Jennifer Granholm this morning:

Above, Biden advisor Kate Beddingfield on the status of the infrastructure bill, in particular mentions climate package up front.

Below, Pramila Jayapal is a leader in the critical progressive caucus. Her take on passage – “absolutely yes”.

Sample from today’s confrontation between Oil Company chieftains and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Emily Atkin’s quick take below.

Emily Atkin in Heated:

The CEOs of Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP revealed very little about their company’s past and current efforts to spread climate misinformation and delay climate policy during today’s six-hour hearing before the House Oversight Committee

So, at the very end of the historic hearing, committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) announced she will issue subpoenas to the oil companies—as well as the American Petroleum Institute and Chamber of Commerce—for internal documents detailing their role in worsening the climate crisis.

The subpoena announcement makes good on a threat Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) issued in July, after a secretly-recorded video showed an Exxon lobbyist admitting the company joins “shadow groups” to stop climate policy. In that video, the now-former lobbyist also bragged that Exxon had successfully lobbied Democratic and Republic Senators to remove climate provisions from the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The subpoenas announced today will force Big Oil to provide information on companies’ payments to “shadow groups” that promote climate denial, Maloney said, as well as payments to “over 150 public relations companies” that may help the companies spread climate misinformation.

The subpoenas will also seek funding information for Big Oil’s social media advertisements, and “board materials the committee needs to examine corporate strategies on climate change.” HEATED has extensively covered Big Oil’s social media and news advertisements, as well as corporate strategies on climate change. (We published our latest story on this yesterday).

“I have tried very hard to obtain this information voluntarily,” Maloney said. “But the oil companies employ the same tactics they used for decades on climate policy: delay and obstruction.” She said the oil companies missed multiple deadlines for information requested by the committee, only to provide them with thousands of unrelated, publicly-available documents at the last minute.

The committee’s ranking member, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), quickly issued a formal objection to the subpoenas. “The oil and gas executives here today have provided over 100,000 pages of documents,” he said. “We feel that’s an infringement on their First Amendment rights.”

But Maloney said the quantity of documents did not matter, because they were not what the committee had asked for. “We are at code red for climate, and I am committed to doing everything I can to help rescue this planet and help save it for our children,” she said. “We need to get to the bottom of the oil industry’s disinformation campaign, and with these subpoenas, we will.

If successful, the subpoenas could provide useful evidence for some of the dozens of ongoing lawsuits seeking to hold oil companies financially accountable for climate change damages. These lawsuits are similar to those that held Big Tobacco responsible for the health consequences of cigarettes, and financially crippled the industry. 

But if today’s hearing was any indication, Republicans on the committee will fight tooth and nail to stop anything that could represent a threat to Big Oil. So this is likely far from over.

More at the (highly recommended) Heated Newsletter.