[Ok-sus] Today's Environmental News

Karen Miles karen.miles at deq.ok.gov
Wed May 10 22:59:42 UTC 2017

>From the Huffingtonpost:
Tokyo's 'Sustainable' Olympics Is Being Built With Wood From Rainforests, Activists Say<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tokyo-olympics-stadium-logging-sarawak_us_59123bc2e4b050bdca6073f4?ejk&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Morning%20Email%20051017&utm_content=The%20Morning%20Email%20051017+CID_a29bdd20697d9e9cd229ffb2f7c4262a&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=HuffPost&ncid=newsltushpmgnewsThe%20Morning%20Email%20051017>
The 2020 Olympic host is facing calls to stop using suppliers accused of illegal logging on indigenous lands.
The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are using illegally logged tropical wood from indigenous Malaysians' land to build a billion-dollar wooden sports stadium<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-japan-stadium-idUSKBN0U506C20151222>, human rights activists claimed this week.
Construction on the stadium, which will be the main venue of an Olympics that Tokyo organizers claim is focused on "sustainability,"<https://www.olympic.org/news/tokyo-2020-reveals-plans-for-sustainable-and-minimal-impact-games>began in December. By April, however, nonprofits that monitor logging activities in Malaysia discovered that the construction included wood supplied by Shin Yang<http://www.marketsforchange.org/media_release_urgent_investigation_required_as_use_of_plywood_likely_linked_to_tropical_forest_destruction_and_human_rights_abuses_found_at_construction_site_of_new_tokyo_olympic_stadium>, a company that has been "deeply implicated in the illegal logging of rainforests on Borneo," according to an online petition<https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/987/don-t-sacrifice-our-rainforest-for-the-olympics#more> that circulated this month, and it has been accused by the environmental nonprofit Global Witness<file:///\\Users\bwaldron20\Downloads\Shin-Yang-HOB-briefing-AW-LOW-RES2_1lVRoWB%20(2).pdf> of "carrying out highly destructive and potentially illegal logging."
Environmental groups and activists will deliver roughly 140,000 petition signatures to the Japanese embassies in Switzerland and Germany on Wednesday. The petition<https://www.rainforest-rescue.org/petitions/987/don-t-sacrifice-our-rainforest-for-the-olympics#more> calls on the Japanese government and international sporting officials, including the heads of the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organizing committee, to help put a stop to the use of rainforest wood on Olympic construction projects.
The use of tropical wood from Sarawak, a state in northern Malaysia on the island of Borneo, the groups behind the petition say, would further threaten Sarawak's vulnerable rainforests and hurt the indigenous people who live there.
Article continues at: http://bit.ly/TokyoOlympicsNotUsingSustainableWood

>From the NY Times:
      In Win for Environmentalists, Senate Keeps an Obama-Era Climate Change Rule<https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/us/politics/regulations-methane-climate-change.html?ribbon-ad-idx=3&rref=politics&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Politics&pgtype=article>
WASHINGTON - In a surprising victory for President Barack Obama's environmental legacy, the Senate voted on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> regulation to control the release of methane from oil<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/energy-environment/oil-petroleum-and-gasoline/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> and gas wells on public land.
Senators voted 51 to 49 to block consideration of a resolution to repeal the 2016 Interior Department rule to curb emissions of methane, a powerful planet-warming greenhouse gas. Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine, all Republicans who have expressed concern about climate change and backed legislation to tackle the issue, broke with their party to join Democrats and defeat the resolution.
The vote also marked the first, and probably the only, defeat of a stream of resolutions over the last four months - pursued through the once-obscure Congressional Review Act - to unwind regulations approved late in the Obama administration.
In anticipation of Republican defections, President Trump sent Vice President Mike Pence to the Senate floor to break a tie vote. But with three members of his own party breaking away, Mr. Pence stood aside.
"We were surprised and thrilled to win on this," said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of the League of Conservation Voters, which, along with other environmental groups, has been lobbying Republicans for weeks to vote against the repeal of the methane rule. "This is clearly a huge win for our health and our climate."
Article continues at: http://bit.ly/SenatePreventsChangeToClimateChangeRule

Arctic Nations to Meet Amid Unsettled U.S. Stance on Climate Change<https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/climate/arctic-nations-to-meet-amid-unsettled-us-stance-on-climate-change.html?emc=edit_cn_20170510&nl=first-draft&nl_art=&nlid=76356440&ref=headline&te=1>
FAIRBANKS, Alaska - As Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson heads to Alaska on Wednesday for talks on Arctic issues, he finds himself in climate policy limbo, preparing for a meeting at which global warming<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/globalwarming/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> will be front and center yet representing an administration that is still on the fence about fighting it.
Mr. Tillerson's appearance Thursday morning at a meeting of the Arctic Council, with the foreign ministers of Russia, Canada and the five other nations with Arctic territory, is expected to be taken up largely by formalities. Officials will most likely approve a measure to improve scientific cooperation in the region, and Mr. Tillerson will turn over the rotating chairmanship of the intergovernmental organization, which the United States has held for two years, to Finland.
Mr. Tillerson is also expected to hold one-on-one talks with some of his counterparts, although an anticipated meeting between him and the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, will now take place earlier on Wednesday in Washington before the men fly separately to Alaska.
If there is to be drama in Fairbanks, it may come in the form of the traditional closing statement, and how much it refers to global warming broadly or specifically to the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord, in which the United States and most other nations agreed to reduce their carbon emissions. Negotiations have been continuing for weeks on the language of the statement, which is approved by consensus.
Article continues at: http://bit.ly/ArcticNationsMeet

With Government in Retreat, Companies Step Up on Emissions<https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/climate/with-government-in-retreat-companies-step-up-on-emissions.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-2&action=click&contentCollection=Climate&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article>
The Trump administration may be pondering a retreat<https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/us/politics/trump-advisers-paris-climate-accord.html> from the United States' climate commitments, but corporate America is moving ahead with its own emissions goals. Nearly half of the Fortune 500<http://beta.fortune.com/global500/> biggest companies in the United States have now set targets to shrink their carbon footprints, according to a report published Tuesday<https://www.worldwildlife.org/publications/power-forward-3-0-how-the-largest-us-companies-are-capturing-business-value-while-addressing-climate-change> by environmental organizations that monitor corporate emissions pledges. Twenty-five more companies adopted climate targets over the last two years, the groups said.
Almost two dozen companies, including Google, Walmart and Bank of America, have pledged to power their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, with varying deadlines, compared with just a handful in 2015. Google's data centers worldwide will run entirely on renewable energy<https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/technology/google-says-it-will-run-entirely-on-renewable-energy-in-2017.html> by the end of this year, the technology giant announced in December. "We believe that climate change is real, and it's a severe crisis," said Gary Demasi, who directs Google's energy strategy. "We're not deviating from our goals."
There are outliers to the trend toward reduced emissions and greater disclosure. The laggards, by far, are energy companies. Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Phillips 66 - the largest emitters of the pack - all have no specific public targets to reduce greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency or shift to renewable energy. Neither did nine out of 10 other companies in the energy sector.
Other large corporations stand out for their lack of climate targets. Among the biggest companies, Berkshire Hathaway and Costco have no public climate or energy targets. Neither do Comcast or Tyson Foods. Costco said it was working toward maintaining its carbon footprint growth "to less than our company sales growth." The other companies did not respond to requests for comment.
The companies' disclosure of their greenhouse gas emissions<https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/greenhouse-gas-emissions> remains voluntary, and difficult to verify independently - a problem that has also dogged countries' pledges under the Paris climate accord, which commits nearly every country to reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
Article continues at: http://bit.ly/CompaniesDecreaseCarbonFootprint
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