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Does New York need a new natural gas pipeline? It’s about to decide.

Last week, more than 100 protesters tuned into a virtual rally for a milestone push in a three-year battle against the Williams Pipeline, a controversial project that would bring a new supply of natural gas into New York City and Long Island. With individual pleas, homemade signs, musical performances, and speeches from the likes of Bill McKibben, Cynthia Nixon, and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the protestors tried to summon the people power of a live event to tell New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration to stop the pipeline once and for all.

“We can’t pretend we are making progress on combating climate change if we continue to build out fracked gas infrastructure that will lock in emissions for years to come,” said Stringer, who is rumored to be considering a run for New York City mayor in 2021. “Let’s finish stopping this pipeline and move on to building out a cleaner, more sustainable city.”

The rally was held ahead of the May 17 deadline for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to rule on a key permit for the project. The pipeline would cut through northern New Jersey and then out about 23 miles into New York Harbor to connect with the existing gas system. One year ago, the agency denied the permit on the grounds that it failed to meet the state’s water quality standards. New Jersey’s environmental agency did the same. Both rejections were issued “without prejudice,” meaning Williams could reapply — which it quickly did.

National Grid, a gas utility that operates in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island, would be the sole customer of the pipeline’s gas. As the fate of the project hangs in the balance, so do National Grid’s long-term plans — and, according to many observers, the fate of New York City and New York State’s climate goals. Both the city and state passed landmark laws last year that seek to drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2050. The city’s Climate Mobilization Act specifically aims to cut emissions from buildings — the majority of which come from natural gas heating systems.

After the Williams Pipeline permits were denied last summer, National Grid began rejecting new customer applications, claiming that it would not be able to meet future demand unless the pipeline was built. Real estate developments were stalled, new restaurants were left in limbo, and homeowners finishing up repairs couldn’t get the gas turned back on. The issue came to a head in November when Governor Cuomo accused the utility of extorting New Yorkers and threatened to revoke its license. The resulting settlement required National Grid to go back to the drawing board and come up with a slate of alternatives to make sure New Yorkers aren’t left in the cold if the pipeline isn’t built.

In February, before the novel coronavirus swept the country, the utility released a report with 10 ideas. One of them was the Williams Pipeline. The rest were smaller projects, none of which would alone solve the supply problem, the report said, although a scenario with some combination of them could. Most of the solutions involved building new gas infrastructure, like a liquefied natural gas terminal where gas would be delivered by tanker, or a smaller “peak shaving plant” that would store excess gas during the summer for when demand ramps up in the winter.

Some of the solutions on the menu were projects National Grid was already working on, like the construction of a new compressor station that will increase the amount of gas received through an existing pipeline. There were also three “no infrastructure” options that would expand existing programs that reduce demand for gas, like incentives for people to weatherize their homes and to replace their gas boilers with electric heat pumps. (National Grid is already required to offer these kinds of programs under New York State law.)

Critiques of the company’s report poured in from activists, environmental groups, politicians, and even the City of New York during a series of virtual public meetings the company was required to hold and in an online forum for public comments. During the meetings, National Grid President John Bruckner asserted that the company had not decided on any particular solution yet. However, some commenters felt the company’s report continued to make it seem like the Williams Pipeline was the only viable way for National Grid to avoid another moratorium, which could scare regulators into approving it. “If targets are not met, will have to restrict new gas customer connections,” the report reads, referring to potential scenarios with minimal to no new gas infrastructure.

Several groups, like the Environmental Defense Fund and NY Renews, an environmental justice coalition of more than 200 groups across New York State, criticized the company for failing to analyze the emissions impacts of each option, which would be necessary in order to evaluate whether they’re compatible with New York’s climate targets.

In comments submitted on behalf of New York City, lawyer Adam Conway wrote that adding new gas infrastructure runs counter to the city’s policies, and therefore only the “no infrastructure” options were viable tools for National Grid to address supply and demand gaps. An analysis performed by Synapse Energy Economics, a research and consulting firm, on behalf of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, alleged that National Grid’s assessment was flawed even prior to the pandemic, and that the company does not actually face an impending supply shortage. It found that the utility did not account for city and state energy efficiency and emissions reduction programs that will reduce demand for gas in the coming years.

At both the virtual meetings and among the online comments, some parties, like a nonprofit called Heartshare that provides utility grants to low-income households and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, argued that the Williams Pipeline would be the safest option to ensure that low-income New Yorkers have an affordable way to heat their homes.

But National Grid agreed to play ball and evaluate its options again. On Friday, one week after the comment period closed, the company filed a supplemental report that incorporated some of its critics’ suggestions, including a greenhouse gas analysis and an update to the way the forecasted gap between supply and demand was calculated — which slightly reduces the projected gap. The new report narrows down the solutions and proposes two viable paths forward. Option A consists of the compressor station upgrade, a combination of “no infrastructure” measures to reduce demand, and a brand new option that was not in the original report — upgrading an existing liquified natural gas plant to increase its capacity. Option B is the Williams Pipeline.

If all of the criteria National Grid considered are given equal weight — safety, reliability, cost, compatibility New York’s climate targets — the report recommends Option A. However, if greater importance is placed on reducing risk and making sure the company can meet demand, “then the preferred choice is Option B” it says — the pipeline.

The company’s settlement with New York indicates that one of these paths will have to be decided upon by early June. Whether or not Option B is really on the table now sits in the hands of the Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Cuomo.

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Does New York need a new natural gas pipeline? It’s about to decide.

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Did BP really just pledge to become a net-zero company? It’s complicated.

Net-zero promises from companies and governments are popping up as often as new Netflix shows, and just like those algorithmically driven hours of entertainment, not all clean energy commitments are created equal. The language used to describe these targets has become as meaningless as the “natural” label on your package of Perdue chicken: “Clean energy” and “net zero” can signify any number of things, and even “renewable” changes depending on who you ask.

The point is, when a fossil fuel major like BP announces its ambition to become a net-zero company by 2050, as it did on Wednesday, it’s important to read the fine print.

To start, “net-zero emissions” is different from plain old “zero emissions” in that it allows for things like carbon offsets, carbon capture technology, and natural solutions like tree-planting to make up for continued emissions. In this case, BP’s net-zero target does not mean it will stop exploring new reserves, extracting oil and gas, or selling it at the pump. Confusingly, it doesn’t even mean the emissions from all the oil and gas products BP sells will be net-zero in 2050.

But all of that aside, the company’s plan does contain significantly more aggressive goals than its peers.

“Depending on the details, it has the potential to be the most comprehensive climate strategy of any of the major oil companies,” said Andrew Logan, senior director of oil and gas at Ceres, a sustainable business nonprofit. But like Logan said, it depends on the details, because while BP’s dreams are big, the company has disclosed few details on how it will achieve them.


One of BP’s targets is to reduce emissions from all of its company operations, which it says is about 55 million tons of CO2 equivalent, to net zero. That includes emissions from things like gas flaring at the wellhead, company cars, and the electricity it buys to keep the lights on. BP’s goal here is somewhat par for the course these days — most of the major oil and gas companies have some kind of emissions reduction target for their operations (though not all of them are net zero).

What’s noteworthy, said Kathy Mulvey, the fossil fuel accountability campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, is that BP says it will measure and reduce its methane footprint at all of its oil and gas sites. “That points to the reality that BP doesn’t actually know exactly how much methane its operations are emitting,” she said.

Critics of these plans say that operational emissions are small potatoes, and that fossil fuel companies should be responsible for the emissions from the oil and gas products they produce and sell to customers, known as scope 3 emissions. This is where BP’s plan really stands out. The company aspires to zero-out the carbon emissions from the eventual combustion of all of the oil and gas it pulls out of the ground by 2050. Right now that amounts to about 360 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year.


In a speech about the plan on Wednesday, new CEO Bernard Looney tried to anticipate questions about this. He said that yes, this does mean BP’s oil and gas production will probably decline over time. “Does that mean we’ll be producing and refining hydrocarbons” — that’s fossil fuel industry–speak for fossil fuels — “in 2050? Yes, very likely,” he said. “Does that mean we’ll be producing and refining less of them in 2050? Yes, almost certainly. And our aim is that any residual hydrocarbons will be decarbonized.”

To date, only one other fossil fuel company has made this kind of commitment, the small Spanish company Repsol. But unlike Repsol, which has set near-term goals to gradually reduce emissions over time, and hinted at some of the strategies it will use to get there, BP offered no benchmarks or blueprints. Looney said the company would share more information on the “how” of its transition in September.

But there’s one key caveat to BP’s scope 3 target. The oil and gas that the company extracts is only a portion of its business. During a Q&A session after his speech, Looney broke down how they are thinking about scope 3 on a whiteboard.

BP sells a lot more oil and gas than it digs out of the ground, he said, because it also buys these products from other companies. So while it plans to zero-out emissions from the products BP itself extracts, it’s aiming for a 50 percent reduction in carbon intensity from all the products it sells, including those it’s just a middleman for.

That leaves open the possibility for the total emissions from BP’s sold products to continue to rise, as long as the amount emitted per unit of energy decreases. In his speech, Looney estimated that right now, total emissions from all the products it sells are about 1 gigaton per year.

Ultimately, with a goal of reducing its footprint by 415 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, BP’s new plan is worlds away from companies like Exxon and Chevron, which still claim they are not responsible for the emissions from customers using their products.

BP’s vision also includes a goal to increase the proportion of money it invests into non-oil and gas energy sources, like solar and wind, over time. Right now, that’s only about 3 percent of BP’s investments. But Looney declined to quantify the company’s target in this arena. “We don’t plan to commit to an arbitrary or preset number,” he said.

While critics have already leapt on the vagueness of the plan, Ed Clowes, a business journalist for the Telegraph, described BP’s dilemma aptly on Twitter. On the one hand, BP could stop selling oil and gas and self-destruct. But if it did, another company would step in to fill the gap, because right now, the world still (mostly) runs on oil. “BP has to be in the game to change it,” Clowes wrote.

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Did BP really just pledge to become a net-zero company? It’s complicated.

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Colorado climate activists’ latest tactic: fake news

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Colorado climate activists’ latest tactic: fake news

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Lights In the Sky & Little Green Men – Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples & Mark Clark


Lights In the Sky & Little Green Men

A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials

Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples & Mark Clark

Genre: Astronomy

Price: $9.99

Publish Date: October 24, 2002

Publisher: Reasons To Believe

Seller: DIY Media Group DBA BookBaby

Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men presents a fresh look at UFOs and extraterrestrials.

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Lights In the Sky & Little Green Men – Hugh Ross, Kenneth Samples & Mark Clark

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Watch out, Big Oil. Jay Inslee’s back at it again with a greenhouse gas fee.

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Watch out, Big Oil. Jay Inslee’s back at it again with a greenhouse gas fee.

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Is geoengineering the answer to the climate crisis?


Is geoengineering the answer to the climate crisis?

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Trump the environmentalist? The president’s 2020 campaign might start touting climate victories

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In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big election coming up in a little over a year. President Trump is preparing to do battle with a crowded field of qualified Democrats. When it comes to hot button topics like jobs and immigration, Trump has got those stump speeches down pat. But a lot has changed since 2016. Climate change has become a top priority for voters and his biggest 2020 challengers have made climate action a cornerstone of their respective campaigns.

Perhaps that’s why Trump’s campaign team might be on the hunt for a list of climate-related victories to champion as the reelection fight draws nearer. Yes, you read that correctly: According to recent reporting from McClatchy, Trump’s 2020 strategy has a climate component.

McClatchy’s Michael Wilner spoke to two people close to Trump’s campaign and got confirmation from a Trump campaign spokesperson that the campaign is “gathering research for an aggressive defense of the president’s climate change record.” Of course, the Trump campaign did its standard about-face in response to the reporting that it had seemingly confirmed earlier, calling it “100 percent fake news.”

Is Trump warming up the idea of climate action? Not quite.

The White House is still mulling over a plan to establish a national security panel tasked with countering the Fourth National Climate assessment, a climate change report published in November by Trump’s own administration. If Trump decides to approve the panel, it is set to include William Happer, a physicist who once argued that CO2 is good for the planet. When a cold snap descended over parts of the U.S. this winter, Trump took to Twitter to call for some of that “good old fashioned global warming.”

Trump’s two-faced approach to climate change aside, are there any environmental victories his team can legitimately point to?

Here’s one possibility: Trump will tout his alternative to former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. His plan rolls back regulations on the coal sector, but that likely won’t stop Trump from using it to boost his green credentials.

Or perhaps he’ll emphasize a 2017 EPA report that showed emissions fell 3 percent during his first year in office. But even those numbers don’t tell the full story. “Due to the lag in data collection, that decline occurred during President Barack Obama’s final year in office, 2016, not under Trump,” Politifact said in a fact-check of the EPA’s report. Plus, emissions are on the rise again as of last year.

To his credit, Trump did sign a massive public lands package into law just this year. It had broad bipartisan support in both legislative chambers, though, and not signing it might have been politically damaging.

There could have been hints of a new environmental strategy at the president’s speech at a recent rally in Michigan. “I support the Great Lakes,” he said, and promised to fully fund the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, funding that his own administration has tried to slash by 90 percent the past two years.

Regardless of how the president decides to portray his record on the campaign trail, here’s what we know for sure: Trump has rolled back, gutted, and slashed environmental protections and climate regulations pretty much every chance he got during his time in office thus far. His penchant for deregulation has touched everything from national monuments, to pristine Arctic wildlife refuges, to the habitat of a particularly snazzy looking bird called the sage grouse. He appointed oil, gas, and coal-loving former lobbyists to run his administration’s biggest environment agencies, and when some of those corrupt officials resigned in disgrace, he appointed equally oily men to replace them.

But don’t worry, y’all. Trump said he has a “natural instinct for science” that will guide him through this whole climate change thing. Phew.

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Trump the environmentalist? The president’s 2020 campaign might start touting climate victories

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5 House races where climate could tip the election

Earlier this fall, the world’s top climate scientists gave humanity about 10 years to avoid a future that really sucks. With the midterm elections right around the corner, that warning means voters are effectively deciding which candidates to trust with the keys to the climate. If voters are sufficiently worried about warming, that anxiety might help determine who is put in office.

According to Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, worry is a stronger predictor of policy support than other emotions. “We found that it’s not fear, it’s not anger, and it’s not disgust or guilt,” he explained. “Worry doesn’t hijack, doesn’t overwhelm, rationality. It can really spur it.”

So just how worried about the planet’s future are voters in the nation’s tightest congressional races? Grist created a map overlaying competitive elections, as identified by The Cook Political Report, with climate concern data from Yale’s 2018 Climate Opinion Maps.

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These toss-up elections are spread throughout the country. Some are sprawling rural districts, others are comprised primarily of dense cities or metro areas. (Keep in mind that congressional districts vary in size, but each holds roughly the same number of people.) Each district varies in what percentage of its constituents report being worried about climate change — represented from yellow (not that worried) to red (pretty worried).

Interestingly, even in those districts where folks seem less concerned about climate change, a majority of people worry about it. Most of the seats in play are currently held by Republicans. And while several Democrats have doubled down on environmental policies, like renewable energy, climate change is a bipartisan issue in many of these communities.

Look closely at the map, and you’ll see a handful of neck-and-neck races in places chock full of climate-worriers. These communities range from the beaches of Miami and Southern California to the suburbs of Houston. Grist examined five of these highly climate-concerned toss-up districts to see what local factors may shift the balance of power in Congress.

Editor’s note: This map is based on up-to-date data at the time of publish. Also, Grist’s analysis excludes districts from Pennsylvania, since they recently redrew their congressional maps — and Yale’s data was collected before the redistricting effort. Sorry, Keystone State!

California 48th district (67 percent of residents are worried)

Members of various political and environmental groups pose for a group picture after press conference against offshore drilling along the California coast in Huntington Beach, CA, on Wednesday, July 25, 2018.Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

California’s 48th congressional district includes much of coastal Orange County, and the local midterms are about as melodramatic as an episode of The O.C.

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Republican Dana Rohrabacher has represented this affluent, conservative bastion in a deep-blue state since 1989, but his seat is in play due in part to a few recent scandals: He had more than one clandestine meeting with Marina Butina, the former NRA darling arrested on suspicion of Russian espionage and election interference. That’s landed him on the radar of the Mueller investigation — and in hot water with voters. “They call me Putin’s best friend,” he told ABC last year. “I’m not Putin’s best friend.”

But even Republicans who deny Russian entanglements can’t get away with denying climate change in this sea-level community. The district’s stunning coastlines — from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach — could see chronic flooding by 2030. That science isn’t lost on homeowners in the area, says Ray Hiemstra, co-chair of the Sierra Club’s Angeles Chapter Political Committee. “They’re actually starting to think, ‘Maybe I should start thinking of selling my place.’”

Rohrabacher says he supports solar and nuclear energy, as well as expanding oil and gas production. The staunch Trump supporter has stated in the past that offshore drilling is safer than importing oil on tankers, pointing to incidents such as the 1984 American Trader spill. In contrast, his opponent, Democratic candidate Harley Rouda, says he’ll promote clean energy while pushing back on offshore drilling efforts.

Florida 26th district (67 percent are worried)

REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

The tides are already lapping at the door in the low-lying Florida Keys. Within the century, scientists predict that much of South Florida could be underwater.

It’s no wonder that residents in Florida’s 26th congressional district — the state’s southernmost region which includes all three of its national parks, as well as part of Miami-Dade County — are some of the Americans who are most concerned about climate change in the nation. Almost 70 percent of its constituents are Latino, most of them Cuban-American. Polls show that Latinos consistently want climate action more than the population at large.

So what are people most concerned about? In addition to king tides, Elizabeth Bonnell, chair of the Sierra Club’s Miami Group, points to “climate gentrification” — when developers buy up future beachfront properties in low-income neighborhoods, pushing out current residents. Then, there’s the stifling heat, toxic algae, and dangerous hurricanes that have been brewing in the Atlantic recently.

The seat is one of the top 10 House races to watch in 2018, according to Politico. But District 26 is a special place where both candidates running for the House seat — yes, including the Republican — have explicitly backed climate action.

Incumbent Carlos Curbelo is one of only a handful of Republicans to openly address climate change. In February 2016 he co-founded the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which earned him a spot on the 2017 Grist 50 list. But this year, in the wake of Hurricane Michael, Curbelo called people who linked the historic storm, which intensified rapidly thanks to the Gulf of Mexico’s warmer-than-normal waters, climate change “alarmists.” The stance earned him some criticism.

“Those of us who truly care about #climatechange must be sober when discussing its connection to #HurricaneMichael or any other storm,” Curbelo tweeted. “Florida has had hurricanes for centuries. There’s no time to waste, but alarmists hurt the cause & move our fight for #climatesolutions backward.”

One week out from the election, the race is narrowing. And Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a former associate dean at Florida International University, has made the environment a key component of her political ads.

Texas 7th district (65 percent are worried)

Residents of the Houston neighborhood of Meyerland wait on an I-610 overpass for help during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017.Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The Texas 7th is affluent, well-educated, largely residential — and as a result of Hurricane Harvey, still recovering from being underwater for a chunk of 2017.

While the east side of Houston has long been infamous for its oil and gas infrastructure, the more affluent west side is becoming increasingly vulnerable to climate change in the form of freak storms. It has suffered extensive flooding from Harvey and at least two other storms in the past five years.

Republican John Culberson has represented Texas 7th since 2001. As he faces a tough reelection this year against Democratic challenger Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, he’s largely avoided talking about climate change, including declining an invitation in January to a community climate forum held in his district. While he has eschewed those exact words during his re-election bid, Rep. Culberson has used last year’s hurricane as a major talking point, name-dropping the storm in more than half of his emails to voters this year.

“He hasn’t been one of the snowball throwers calling climate change a hoax,” said Daniel Cohan, an environmental engineering professor at Rice University. “But he takes a wait-and-see attitude, falsely indicating that the science isn’t clear.”

For a district that’s borne the brunt of so many environmental disasters, it’s unclear how much sway climate change will have over the results of this race. According to Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, there may not be enough swing voters in the Texas 7th who care about the issue. Those that do care already know how they’re voting. But Jones adds, there are “not an insignificant number” of voters who are still grappling with Harvey and could be potentially influenced by talk of climate policy.

Read more coverage on how climate politics are playing out in west Houston.

Texas 32nd district (65 percent are worried)


Texas has a lot of skin the game when it comes to climate change. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist once dubbed the state “the disaster capital of the United States” for its unique meteorological conditions.

Texas’ 32nd congressional district, which includes the suburbs northeast of Dallas, saw unprecedented rains and flooding in September and October. The storms led to multiple deaths in the Dallas area. An extreme drought and heat wave this past summer resulted in a remarkable uptick in heat-related hospital visits.

Like Texas overall, the 32nd is a “majority-minority” district: 49 percent white, 25 percent Latino, 15 percent black, and eight percent Asian. Environmental polls have shown that people of color are more likely to care about climate change compared to white people. And the district’s demographics are now colliding with extreme weather to drive climate concern.

At least for now, climate politics in the 32nd — which is more affluent than much of the state — are traditionally partisan. Pete Sessions, the incumbent Republican who’s represented the district (and its previous incarnation, District 5) since 1997, has a lifetime score of two percent from the League of Conservation Voters, indicating a strong anti-environment record. Sessions’ campaign platform includes “reining in the EPA” and opening public lands for drilling. When Sessions was questioned early last year about his support for controversial EPA head Scott Pruitt, he hanged the subject, putting the blame on New York and the Northeast for polluting America.

Sessions’ main opponent, Democrat Colin Allred, is an ex-football player and current civil rights attorney whose main focus is on reducing voter disenfranchisement. His environmental platform states he believes in promoting investment in renewable energy, “rejoining” the Paris climate accord, and defending the independence of the EPA and NOAA.

New Jersey 7th district (64 percent are worried)

The lower level of Lambertville Inn is covered in water as the Delaware River crests August 29, 2011, in Lambertville, New Jersey.William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

New Jersey’s 7th congressional district stretches from New York City’s western suburbs all the way to the banks of the Delaware River. Not only does the river serve as the water supply for more than 15 million Americans, but it’s also a source of considerable climate worry for constituents.

Polluted runoff finds its way into waterways which add to the district’s rising rivers, damaging families, homes, and businesses. Climate change-related flooding threatens the quality of life across the district according to Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. “That’s where lack of action by Congress has left families vulnerable,” he told Grist.

New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S., and the district runs the socioeconomic gamut, with a mix of suburban, exurban, and rural communities.

Republican Congressman Leonard Lance has represented the district since 2009. He’s also a member of the Climate Solutions Caucus. Though Lance has been a rare voice espousing the reality of climate change within the GOP, he also has a track record of siding with big business and the fossil fuel industry on legislation. Lance has a lifetime score of 23 percent on the League of Conservation Voters’ scorecard, hardly the marks of an environmentalist.

Lance’s opponent, Democrat Tom Malinowski, is new to New Jersey, but not to politics. He served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor under President Obama. According to the League of Conservation Voters, he has dedicated his career to people’s rights to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Like his opponent, Malinowski has stated he believes that humans are exacerbating climate change. He has promised to oppose pipelines that will run across the state and has spoken out against offshore drilling,

Additional Reporting Credit:

Map development: Lo Benichou (Mapbox)

Map data: The Cook Political Report and Yale’s 2018 Climate Opinion Maps (as of 10/30/2018)

Community profiles: Justine Calma, Kate Yoder, Stephen Paulsen, Eve Andrews, Paola Rosa-Aquino

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5 House races where climate could tip the election

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Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling



Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $14.99

Publish Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Seller: Macmillan

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “One of the most important books I’ve ever read—an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” — Melinda Gates " Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases." – Former U.S. President Barack Obama Factfulnes s: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. When asked simple questions about global trends— what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school —we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers. In Factfulness , Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens . They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective —from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them ) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. — “This book is my last battle in my life-long mission to fight devastating ignorance…Previously I armed myself with huge data sets, eye-opening software, an energetic learning style and a Swedish bayonet for sword-swallowing. It wasn’t enough. But I hope this book will be.” Hans Rosling, February 2017.


Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling

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Even Scott Pruitt’s friends have given up on him

This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt may still be clinging to his job despite his ever-expanding list of controversies, but his inner circle of allies is shrinking fast.

Since April, seven key EPA staffers have resigned, four of whom had once worked for him or were longtime friends he brought to the EPA from Oklahoma. And while not directly affiliated with the EPA, Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican who has been a key ally of Pruitt’s, recently revealed some cracks in his support. On Wednesday, when Fox News personality Laura Ingraham observed that Pruitt was “hurting the president”and it was time for him to go, Inhofe replied,“I’ve seen these things. They upset me as much as they upset you, and I think something needs to happen to change that.” He suggested that one solution “would be for him to leave that job,” and that the deputy EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler “might be a good swap.”

Inhofe’s connection to Pruitt runs deep. His former chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, became Pruitt’s chief of staff and reportedly wanted to quit the agency, according to an E&E report in early April. So far, he has remained in his position, and the House oversight committee plans to interview him as part of its investigation into Pruitt’s conduct. Four of his former EPA colleagues who have since left have also been asked to appear before the committee.

A turning point in staff loyalty may have occurred in April, when news broke that Pruitt had rented a $50-a-night condo co-owned by an energy lobbyist for six months. After that, a series of stories about his questionable behavior appeared, and one by one, his formerly loyal staff began to exit the EPA.

Here they are:

Samantha Dravis: One of Pruitt’s first and closest advisers, she worked for the EPA Office of Policy and was often seen by his side. She knew Pruitt from her days as general counsel to the Republican Attorneys General Association and president of its affiliate dark-money group Rule of Law Defense Fund, both of which Pruitt chaired during his time as Oklahoma attorney general. On April 20, she officially left the EPA for the private sector after taking a three-month leave from the agency between November and January. Unnamed agency officials told CBS and the Washington Post that her decision had nothing to do with the bombardment of news that came days later about Pruitt renting a condo from the lobbyist and approving inappropriate pay raises for two staffers.

Albert “Kell” Kelly: Two weeks after the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation fined Kelly for his alleged involvement in a loan that hadn’t received FDIC approval, Scott Pruitt hired his old friend “Kell” at the EPA in 2017 to lead the Superfund Task Force. The former banker’s company had issued three mortgages to the Pruitts and provided a loan to finance Pruitt’s stake for co-ownership of a minor league baseball team, according to an investigation by the Intercept. Kelly, seen as a close confidante of his EPA boss, left the agency in early May (on the same day as another official, Pasquale Perrotta). In a statement, Pruitt praised the “tremendous impact” Kelly had on the Superfund program, which Pruitt has singled out as his personal achievement, adding, “Kell Kelly’s service at EPA will be sorely missed.”

Pasquale Perrotta: Pruitt’s head of security, Perrotta, quit the agency on the same day as Kelly, accelerating his retirement after serving under four EPA administrators. Perrotta came under fire for helping to enable Pruitt’s expansive spending, signing off on regular first-class flights that Pruitt had justified as necessary because of security concerns. The EPA hired Perrotta’s business partner at his private security firm, Sequoia Security Group, for security sweeps when Pruitt arrived.

Liz Bowman: A four-year veteran of the chemical lobby American Chemistry Council, Bowman arrived at the EPA to run its communications team. During Pruitt’s tenure, the press shop has shut out reporters who cover the EPA from events while turning to conservative media to create an echo chamber amplifying Pruitt’s message. Bowman sent her resignation letter as the chief spokesperson for the agency on April 30 and, in early May, assumed her position to handle communications for Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa. Just after her resignation letter, the Atlantic reported that a communications staffer had been reportedly shopping negative stories about another Cabinet member, the Department of Interior’s Ryan Zinke.

John Konkus: Konkus was second-in-command in the press shop, and his departure was announced on May 4, making him the fourth staffer to leave that week. Last year, the aide was tasked with cutting contracts from the Obama years, and reportedly combed through grants and contracts looking for the phrase “climate change.” True to his communications roots, on his LinkedIn page, Konkus frames this experience in a positive light: “Completely reformed the $4B/annual grant award and solicitation process at the agency to adhere to the new EPA strategic plan and better reflect the policies of the Trump Administration.” He also sparked a minor controversy for receiving an ethics waiver to work as a Republican political consultant while at the EPA. A former field office director in Florida for Trump’s presidential campaign, Konkus is headed to another federal agency — this time, the Small Business Administration, where he will be in charge of communications.

Sarah Greenwalt: Another Oklahoma aide from when Pruitt worked as state attorney general, Greenwalt, a senior counsel, announced her departure in early June. She was one of the two aides who received a 53 percent raise from Pruitt, who used the Safe Drinking Water Act to approve the raises after the White House rejected them. She is leaving to become an attorney for the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission.

Millan Hupp: Once an employee of Pruitt’s in Oklahoma, Hupp came to the EPA to do his scheduling. She was one of the five staffers interviewed by the House oversight committee for her involvement in finding Pruitt a used Trump hotel mattress and housing with the energy lobbyist, which Democrats say violates federal law forbidding Pruitt from using EPA staff and resources for private gain. The Atlantic quoted an anonymous staffer saying she left because she was “tired of being thrown under the bus by Pruitt.” Hupp was one of the two staffers to receive a raise unauthorized by the White House from Pruitt. Her sister Sydney Hupp also worked at the agency and left last year. She helped Pruitt’s wife, Marlyn, set up a meeting with Chick-fil-A in an unsuccessful bid to own a franchise. She may not have a franchise, but she was responsible for yet another possible violation of federal law.

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Even Scott Pruitt’s friends have given up on him

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