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Philip Radford's Posts

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Captain Peter Willcox Is a Hero, Not a “Pirate”

Peter Willcox has seen nearly everything. In 1985, he was captain of the Rainbow Warrior when French agents bombed it, killing one of the crew. He and I witnessed first hand the impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster in the Gulf. But he’s never seen the inside of a Russian jail, until now. Captain Willcox is one of the 30 Greenpeace crew, activists and volunteers who has been held for over 100 hours by armed Russian security services after taking part in a safe, peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling. This incident is unfolding against the backdrop of the …

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A “No Deniers Rule” for Solutions Companies

Is it possible for environmentally conscious companies to operate in Washington, D.C., without selling their clean energy souls? Customers asked this question earlier this year when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s lobby group  FWD.us released ads supporting the dirty tar-sands oil pipeline, Keystone XL, and again this summer when news broke that Google hosted a fundraiser for Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the zealous leader of the climate denial movement who famously called climate change a “hoax” on the Senate floor and has compared the environmental movement to the Third Reich. Both Google and Facebook also gave money to support the Competitive …

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The Keystone XL pipeline is ACTUALLY a bunch of solar panels! Who knew?!?!

People from across the spectrum have been working for years against the Keystone XL pipeline because we thought it would lock us into decades more of climate-changing dirty energy.  But it turns out, according to the TransCanada Facebook ad that’s been popping up in many of our feeds lately, we got it all backwards: The Keystone XL pipeline is ACTUALLY a bunch of solar panels!  Who knew?!?! I wish this deceptive, manipulative ad were surprising rather than fitting into a larger pattern of deception that has characterized this project. The truth is that America doesn’t need this oil; fossil fuel …

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President Unveils “Obama Climate Pollution Test” for Future Energy Projects

Today, in his speech at Georgetown University, President Obama challenged us to answer the essential question for every future energy policy decision we face - what will the net climate impact be if this project goes forward? It was a bold, monumental speech, the best by not only this president, but any president to date on the climate crisis. Greenpeace supporters have told Obama for years that the longer he waited to take sides, the worse climate change would get. Today's speech showed that the time has clearly gotten late enough for him to publicly side with the people, not …

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For Our Future, Today Can’t Be Obama’s Final #ActOnClimate

This afternoon at Georgetown University, President Obama plans to announce a series of "steady, responsible steps" to tackle climate change. It appears that the president will finally begin to make good on his climate promises, but to truly meet his obligation to future generations, this must be the foundation - not the final act - of his climate legacy. The current Congress has made it clear that it will be on the wrong side of history, so it is absolutely vital for the president to use his authority to reduce power plant pollution, move forward with renewable energy projects on …

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How Shell is trying to send a chill through activist groups across the country

One of our most important rights as Americans is the freedom to express ourselves. This takes the form of voting, it takes the form of activism, and it takes the form of our First Amendment right to free speech.

This summer, the 9th Circuit Court in California is weighing the question of whether companies have the right to take preemptive legal action against peaceful protesters for hypothetical future protests. This will be an extraordinary decision that could have a significant impact on every American’s First Amendment rights.

The case, Shell Offshore Inc. vs. Greenpeace, was filed by Shell Oil Company. Last summer, Shell assumed --based on conjecture -- that Greenpeace USA would protest the company’s drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.  Shell asked the 9th Circuit court for a preemptive injunction and restraining order against Greenpeace USA [Full disclosure: Philip Radford is the executive director of Greenpeace USA].

Despite Greenpeace’s appeal, the court granted the injunction for the entire duration of the drilling period, a decision which effectively gave a federal blessing to the company’s wish to do its controversial work in secret.

Greenpeace has asked the court for a full review, and this summer, the court will decide the ultimate fate of the case.

If the court rules in Shell’s favor, it would have a profound chilling effect on First Amendment rights across the country. Nothing would stop other corporations from taking similar preemptive legal action against anyone they deem to be likely protesters. That could be an environmental group, it could be a civil rights group, or it could be a Tea Party group -- or anyone in between.

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Let’s Not Trawl a National Treasure

Alaska’s Bering Sea is home to one of the most remarkable places in the world, “the Grand Canyons of the Sea.” These canyons are over a mile and a half deep and home to fish, crab, skates, endangered seals, orcas, and humpback whales.  It’s a truly remarkable ecosystem that starts with the fragile corals and sponges on the seafloor. Tragically, this ecosystem is under threat from industrial fishing fleets that carve up the corals and sponges with their trawl nets.  Bottom-tending fishing gear--especially trawl nets--destroys fragile corals and sponges that provide this essential habitat, including spawning and nursery areas for …

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How Obama can work around Congress to go forward on climate right now

Last month, President Obama proposed a plan that will, in his words, “pave the way toward a sustainable energy future” by using billions of dollars from offshore oil and gas leases to fund clean energy technology. While we share the vision of a sustainable energy future, the President’s proposal exemplifies two major reasons his “all of the above” energy strategy won’t get us there. First, the President’s proposal calls for more pollution today to generate money for a clean energy tomorrow.  This is absurd, especially when we can have clean energy today if the president uses the tools already at …

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Trimming astroturf from the American Petroleum Institute’s Vote 4 Energy ad

It's not surprising that the American Petroleum Institute -- Big Oil's premium lobbying entity -- is using a synthetic media strategy. Their Vote 4 Energy astroturf campaign spews misinformation like a two-stroke engine belching greenhouse gasses. It attempts to portray 'real (cough cough) Americans' who are 'energy voters,' which translates to voting for whichever politicians support Big Oil's dirty agenda. API also bought the back page of the A section of the Washington Post with a Vote4Energy ad that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's about as genuine as a gas-station burrito. If you want authentic insights on Big …

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Big Coal and Oil Play Dirty but EPA Mercury Ruling Proves We’d Rather Keep It Clean

Starting today, we can begin to breathe, eat, and drink a bit easier. The EPA begins enforcement of the Mercury and Air Toxics standard, a 20-year-old mandate that set limits on mercury emissions from coal and oil-fired power plants. These safeguards are not for show. They reflect a raft of highly credible research proving that mercury, along with other toxic metals including arsenic, chromium and nickel, is spewed in to the air as an insidious byproduct of fossil fuel burning. These metals contaminate waterways, where they infuse the bodies of commercial fish and seafood. It's no surprise that women of childbearing …

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