Cooking for the Climate: Join Chefs Collaborative for a call today at 11:30 am ET on how chefs can tackle food waste in the professional kitchen. Click here for details. 
Court Backs Govt’s Social Cost of Carbon: In an unprecedented case, a federal appeals court unanimously upheld the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon (SCC) -- an estimate of the costs of carbon dioxide either released into the atmosphere or avoided due to regulations. Set at $36 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, the government uses SCC to calculate the economic damage done by the increase in carbon dioxide emissions in a given year. Ruling on a lawsuit on 2014 energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigerators, the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided the Department of Energy has the authority to use SCC as part of cost-benefit analyses for environmental regulations. (The Hill, Greenwire $)  
 
Fed Agency Recommends Coal Cleanup Coverage: The Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) said on Tuesday that states should force coal companies to set aside collateral for future mine cleanups and that new self-bonds, a pledge by coal companies to pay for cleanup based solely on their financial returns, should not be allowed until the coal production again matches consumption. In a statement accompanying the advisory, Joe Pizarchik, OSMRE’s director, said there are “clear signs that the energy industry is undergoing a major transformation” and is moving away from fossil fuels. The majority of the 90,000 US coal workers could be retrained to work in the solar sector for a minimum of $180 million, according to a recent study. Researchers found that, for many coal companies, the cost of retraining all employees would be less than a year of pay for its CEO. (News: Reuters, The Hill, Greentech Media. Commentary: Harvard Business Review, Joshua M. Pearce op-ed)
 
States Urge Texas Court to Dismiss Exxon Suit: A dozen states are urging a US District Court in Texas to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at blocking an investigation of ExxonMobil’s climate denial. In the amicus brief filed on Tuesday, the attorneys general of the states, including Massachusetts, New York and Mississippi, argue that legal precedent nullifies the oil giant’s lawsuit because Exxon should be making a challenge to an AG in their home state, not Texas. In June, Exxon filed a complaint against Massachusetts AG Maura Healey in Texas and Massachusetts after her office subpoenaed the company for an investigation on whether the company intentionally misled the public on dangers of climate change. (News: Bloomberg, InsideClimate News, Politico Pro $. Commentary: Washington Post, Sheldon Whitehouse & Elizabeth Warren op-ed $)  
US News
  • First Zika death in Texas is Harris County newborn (KHOU)
  • Challenge to presidential candidates: Debate about science (Washington Post $)
  • Green Party candidate Jill Stein says we need a jobs program like the 'New Deal' (CNBC)
  • U.S. must bury coal to save miner jobs: Interior secretary (Reuters)
  • SolarCity losses widen on higher expenses (Wall Street Journal $, Reuters)
  • Exelon to take over Entergy’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant (Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal $, Reuters, Syracuse, Morning Consult)
  • When protest becomes sacrament: Grady sisters heed a higher call (InsideClimate News)
  • California utility found guilty of violations in 2010 gas explosion that killed 8 (New York Times $, Wall Street Journal $)
  • The lake that left town: why is this California community drying up? (Guardian)
  • Ancient ice reveals vital clues about earth's past climate (AP)
  • Four Corporation Commission candidates discount manmade climate change  (Arizona Daily Sun)
  • How an obscure piece of technology will help put more solar on the grid (Midwest Energy News)
  • Calif. doctor makes climate-sick nature his full-time patient (ClimateWire $)
  • Can a North Dakota oil town break the boom-bust cycle? (The Atlantic)
  • Car emissions aren't falling, so use cap and trade? (ClimateWire $)
  • Pressure mounts to reform our throw-away clothing culture (Environment 360)
  • How Apple is taking the tech world’s love affair with renewables to a new level (Mashable)
  • DOE pushing new air conditioner rules (The Hill)
  • Humidity unlike anything D.C. has sweated through this year is on the way (Washington Post $)
  • Meet the California couple who uses more water than every home in Los Angeles combined (Mother Jones)

World News
  • For oil companies $110 billion debt wall looms over next 5 years (Bloomberg)
  • Seas aren’t just rising, scientists say. They’re speeding up. (Washington Post $, Bloomberg)
  • India mulls green power exchange to spur Modi’s renewable target (Bloomberg)
  • UK coal industry presses for rethink on carbon capture (Financial Times $)
  • Paul McCartney and Ranulph Fiennes back Amazon tribe threatened by dams (Guardian)
  • Oil groups’ optimism shortlived as pressure mounts (Financial Times $)
  • Portugal to phase out power subsidies, avoid Spain example (Reuters)
  • Chinese city backs down on proposed nuclear fuel plant after protests (New York Times $)
  • China drafts new rules to curb mining pollution (Reuters)
  • Paris Agreement on climate change could go into effect this year (Mashable)
  • Europe aims to close loophole on wood energy (Climate Central)
  • Climate change prompting Hamilton to modify its heat bylaw for apartments (CBC News)
  • Would you buy patched up clothes to tackle textile waste? (Guardian)
  • CAP sues SunEdison, alleging poor quality PV modules (PV Magazine)
  • Greenko to pay $100 million to take over SunEdison’s assets here (Economic Times)
  • Study addresses the connection between technology development and emissions-reduction policies (Phys.org)
  • Climate change will claim 160,000 lives a year in India by 2050 (Third Pole)
  • Twister numbers not unusual, climate-change expert says (Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Low cost funds for revamping wind power projects (Mint)
  • With a new Climate Plan, Austria braces for winter's retreat (InsideClimate News)
  • Giving carbon credit where credit isn’t due (Vancouver Business)
Miss AG Supports Mass AG’s ExxonMobil Investigation
 
Different courts have different reputations, with some regions seen as more friendly to industry than others. So when Exxon was hit with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s subpoena for documents, it filed objections in both Mass. and in a US District Court in Texas. Texas, of course, is generally thought to be pro-industry and pro-fossil fuel biased.
 
In the pair of filings forming her response, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey argues that the Texas court should toss out ExxonMobil’s case, since it’s duplicative of their Mass. filing, and because the federal Texas District Court has no jurisdiction over another state’s investigation. And according to Healey, it’s a “transparent attempt at forum-shopping” as Texas has zero relevance to the investigation.
 
Healey also points out that ExxonMobil’s technical defenses are nullified by their cooperation with the NY AG’s investigation. Since it’s already provided over 700,000 pages of documents to New York, the company’s claims that turning over documents would be too costly and would cause irreparable harm are clearly false.
 
One of the cases Healey cites for precedent is Mississippi AG Jim Hood’s suit against Google, wherein the tech giant tried to prevent documents being handed over to the AG. Healey’s reference to Hood could be why he joined 11 AGs from other states, the Virgin Islands and DC to file an amicus curiae brief supporting Healey. This is noteworthy because although he’s a Democrat, he’s the first from such a deep red state to signal support for the investigations and sided against the EPA and with ExxonMobil-friendly Texas AG Ken Paxton in a lawsuit last year.
 
Regardless, Hood’s involvement suggests he may soon join the ranks of fossil fuel enemies besieged by vexatious FOIAs from fossil-fuel-funded EELI, which recently sued for and won the release of a document signed by the group of AGs investigating what #ExxonKnew. The document sought to keep the investigation confidential, and was described by the NY AG office as “a standard, routine, and responsible law enforcement practice.” After all, if someone knows you’re investigating, they might do something to hinder that process.
 
Where AGs see standard practice, EELI dreams up conspiracies, calling it a “sweeping cloak of secrecy” and that if they’re not conducting “a purely political campaign, they should have no problem explaining to the public what they are doing.”
 
This is ironic, given that the same exact thing could easily be said of ExxonMobil, who for all the sound and fury of their op-eds and lawsuits, remain silent on their $30 million in climate denial funding. Surely then they should have no problem explaining to the public what they were doing with that money.

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