ACTION ALERT: Demand Fossil Fuel Companies Pay for Hurricane Destruction!
September 16, 2017
Naomi Ages / Greenpeace USA & Max Greenwood / The Hill & Sarah van Gelder / Yes! Magazine
Right before Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida, and while Texas was still recovering from Harvey, EPA chief Scott Pruitt grabbed the media stage to deny climate change yet again. He said it's "insensitive" to talk about climate during a hurricane! We can't sit back and make Pruitt's fossil fuel industry backers happy. Fossil fuel-fueled climate change made Harvey and Irma stronger. And that's why the oil and gas giants must be made to pay for the costs of fighting wildfires and recovering from hurricanes.
ACTION ALERT: Demand Fossil Fuel Companies Pay for Hurricane Destruction!
Pruitt Calls Climate Critics "Insensitive"
Naomi Ages / Greenpeace USA
(September 15, 2017) -- Right before Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida, and while Texas was still assessing the damage from Harvey, EPA chief Scott Pruitt used his national stage to deny climate change yet again. He said it's "insensitive" to talk about climate during a hurricane!
I disagree, and I won't sit back and make Pruitt's fossil fuel industry backers happy. I owe it to my friends and family in Puerto Rico and Florida -- who are busy rebuilding -- to seize this moment and call out the fossil fuel industry in the strongest way possible: demanding it pays for climate-induced destruction.
Fossil fuel-fueled climate change made Harvey and Irma stronger. While the nation talks about climate and extreme weather we need to go big.
Join me in calling for justice. Demand that fossil fuel companies pay for a swift and equitable hurricane recovery. And demand that recovery effort puts the most impacted communities first and paves the way for a just transition to 100% renewable energy.
Right now the nation is talking about extreme weather. Our movement needs to push the needle beyond just talking and strike at root causes -- fossil fuel industry pollution that makes storms worse and climate denial that leaves us less prepared.
The first step is adding your name to thousands of others. Over the next weeks and months we'll organize the resistance in Florida and across the nation to shift the national debate from merely talking about climate change and stronger storms to holding polluters accountable.
We can't wait. Climate denial puts our friends and family in danger. Florida Governor Rick Scott banned environmental officials from using the words 'climate change,' making it harder for Florida to prepare infrastructure and emergency plans for stronger storms.
But the fossil fuel industry's grip on politicians is slipping. The Republican mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado, slammed Scott Pruitt this week: "This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change… If this isn't climate change, I don't know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come."
Now is the time for big, bold voices like yours. Demand the fossil fuel industry pay for hurricane destruction instead of making the next storm worse!
Naomi Ages is a Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace USA
Make Fossil Fuel Companies
Pay for Hurricane Destruction
The science is clear: pollution from fossil fuel companies drives climate change. Warmer oceans made Harvey's unprecedented rains worse and has made Irma's unprecedented winds stronger.
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey killed at least 120 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. Hurricane Harvey's flooding has caused a pollution crisis in Texas as hazardous chemicals spill from damaged oil refineries, including Exxon's Baytown facility -- the second largest oil refinery in the USA.
Exxon knew for 30 years that climate change could cause this kind of destruction. But instead of warning us, it misled us about climate change science and ensured climate inaction with a massive, intentional campaign.
It's time fossil fuel companies to pay for their greed. And it's time for big, bold moves to protect climate and communities.
ACTION: Sign on to demand fossil fuel companies pay for an equitable hurricane recovery that puts the most impacted communities first and paves the way for a just transition to 100% renewable energy.
I demand fossil fuel companies pay for the destruction caused by storms worsened by fossil fuel-fueled climate change. A recovery must put the most impacted communities first and pave the way for a just transition to 100% renewable energy.
Miami Mayor Rips Pruitt
Climate Change Criticism in Light of Irma
Max Greenwood / The Hill
(September 13, 2017) -- Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado (R) on Wednesday slammed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt's suggestion that it is inappropriate to discuss climate change in the wake of Hurricane Irma as "insensitive."
"It is insensitive on his part, because I wish that he would have been here when people ran from high rises, because of the storm surge," Regalado said on CNN. "I wish that he would have been here when we were told that we were facing apocalyptic moments with a Cat 5 hurricane."
Pruitt said in an interview with CNN in the days before Irma struck Florida that it would be insensitive to discuss climate change as a potential catalyst for catastrophic hurricanes because the focus should be instead on the victims of such storms.
"To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced," he said, adding: "To use time and effort to address it at this point is very, very insensitive to this people in Florida."
Pruitt's comments, however, drew criticism from climate advocates, who accused the EPA chief of dismissing the threats posed by climate change.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Regalado rejected Pruitt's claim, saying that Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey, which devastated swaths of Texas and Louisiana late last month, offered opportunities to discuss climate change.
"This is the time to talk about climate change. This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change," Regalado said. "If this isn't climate change, I don't know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come."
90 Companies Helped Cause the
Climate Crisis -- They Should Pay for It
Sarah van Gelder / Yes! Magazine
(September 15, 2017) -- Pacific Northwest forests are on fire. Several blazes are out of control, threatening rural towns, jumping rivers and highways, and covering Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and other cities in smoke and falling ash. Temperatures this summer are an average of 3.6 degrees higher than the last half of the 20th century, according to the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group analysis published in The Seattle Times.
Fire crews have been battling fires for months. In spite of all the effort, though, officials expect the fires to continue burning until major rains come sometime this fall. Meanwhile, firefighting coffers are running dry as costs run into the hundreds of millions.
The scale and costs of these disasters pale in comparison to the impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma: Accuweather is estimating the combined cost of these unprecedented storms at $290 billion. (Then there is the flooding in India and Bangladesh -- less noted in US news media -- where 40 million were affected and 1,200 died.)
What these disasters have in common is that they are all exactly the sort predicted by climate models -- and they will get terrifyingly worse over coming years.
So who will cover the costs? Who will pay for the first responders, for sheltering and relocating climate refugees, and for rebuilding homes, businesses, and infrastructure?
Our planet is quickly getting hotter, more volatile, and more dangerous. But Republicans are working to cut nearly $1 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and to give large corporations and the wealthy a big tax break. So who should pay for the climate disasters?
A report published in early September by the journal Climatic Change helps pinpoint a possible answer. According to the report, 90 companies are responsible for 42 to 50 percent of the increase in the Earth's surface temperature and 26 to 32 percent of sea level rise.
Some say we are all to blame for the climate crisis -- at least all of us who get around in cars and planes. But there are reasons these 90 companies owe a major debt to the entire planet.
First, many of them knew what damage they were causing. According to the report, more than half of the carbon emissions produced since the industrial revolution were emitted since 1986, when the dangers of global warming were well-known. But these companies buried their own research findings and doubled down on fossil fuel extraction.
Second, many of these companies spend vast sums promoting climate denial and undermining support for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other responses to the climate crisis. Industry lobbyists and think tanks, flush with money from fossil fuel companies and their executives, distort our democracy, making government accountable to their interests rather than to We the People.
Third, by doing these things, these companies prevented action during the brief window of time between climate science becoming clear and it becoming too late to avert disaster.
Now we are very short on time. This year's fires and floods are just the beginning. But we can still make choices that would curb catastrophic outcomes. To make that difference, we need an all-out effort now on all fronts -- in agriculture, transportation, and energy generation, conservation, and efficiency upgrades. That will take a lot of money.
A good place to start would be requiring those who caused the climate catastrophe to pay. The 90 companies could start by helping families and communities recover from the floods, wind damage, and fires, and helping homeowners and cities everywhere build resilience for withstanding the effects of future disasters. But they shouldn't stop there. The companies that are responsible for the damage should pay their share for the transition to a carbon-free future.
There is a precedent for this. Tobacco companies too had been hiding and dismissing the evidence that their product caused massive damage. Big Tobacco and Big Oil even hired some of the same scientists and public relations firms to obscure the damage their industries were causing, according to ClimateWire.
The 1998 tobacco settlement of lawsuits brought by nearly every US state required the major tobacco companies to pay over $200 billion toward the increased cost of health care resulting from smoking and for prevention education.
There are far more victims of the fossil fuel industries' deception -- billions of people today, future generations, and many other species.
We've got a precedent, we've got a dire need, and we have clearly defined culprits.
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