Amy Coney Barrett Unsure of Climate Change, a Scientific Fact

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 16, 2020 by Michael Wells, Attorney @slnc01

On October 14, 2020, Trump Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, told Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) she could not say whether climate change exists because it is a “politically contentious issue.” She also confessed to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) she has no firm view on climate change. A skeptic might ask what her view on climate change has to do with cases that might come before her when she sits on the Supreme Court. Quite a bit, actually, especially in light of the lawsuits filed by a number of States’ Attorneys General against Exxon in the past few years.

The New York State Supreme Court in 2019 considered whether Exxon lied to investors about the company’s contribution to climate change and thus violated securities law. The Court ruled in Exxon’s favor, according to NPR, stating there was no evidence Exxon hid evidence of climate change.

This should signal alarm bells across the globe. Climate change exists, and of course the oil companies knew and know about it. It is the greatest danger any of us will face in our lifetimes.

Moreover, when juxtaposed with Barrett’s testimony, that she could not comment on climate change even to acknowledge it exists, it does not bode well for the environment. Given the lawsuits against Exxon and other energy giants, it stands to reason that climate change is a major legal issue.

Barrett claimed she is not a scientist, but one does not need to be a scientist to accept climate change as a fact. And, if it is accepted as a fact, then that certainly affects how she would consider a case.

It is entirely possible (likely even) that, if Biden prevails, the Justice Department will pursue these climate change cases, thereby forcing Barrett to rule on this issue.

Hypothetically speaking, assume the previous New York case made it to the Supreme Court, and at the heart of the case was whether an oil company was committing fraud by hiding climate change from investors. If Barrett were to believe climate change does not exist or was unsure it existed, then her view of fraud would be very different. Then she might rule in favor of the oil giant thus allowing them to continue to pollute, destroy the environment, and unleash a further parade of horribles, possibly another COVID-19 type pandemic. 

Again, this is just speculation, but is it not all speculation as to what kinds of cases Barrett will hear? It is a question or probability. She will hear cases about abortion, birth control, searches and seizures, voting rights, climate change, and myriad other issues none of us ever hear about. In all likelihood, she will hear a case on climate change and likely very soon. 

In fact, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota against Exxon, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute, in the Spring of 2020, alleging the fossil fuel industry knew the damage these fossil fuels would cause the environment.

The cases are coming. It is only a matter of time before a case goes before the Supreme Court. 

Climate change affects everyone on the planet, and it is a problem that everyone will need to work together to solve. We can do our part such as reducing our carbon footprint and also by planting trees. But we also need to be able to count on a nominee to the Supreme Court to accept this established science because, if she does not, what hope do any of us ever have that climate change will ever get under control?

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Will Climate Action 100+ Unseat Mitch McConnell in 2020?

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Who is Climate Action 100+? A very powerful, strategic force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. One that has the potential to derail Mitch McConnell from American politics for the remainder of his days on earth… after all, McConnell is the single most culpable American connected to the US’s massive contribution to global warming during the past 35 years.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300In 1984, when McConnell began his career as a US Senator, carbon part per million was approximately 345 PPM. Scientists were alarmed. Carbon was on the rise and had to be quickly contained. Previously, it had hovered below 310 PPM for thousands of years. But McConnell, from the coal producing state of Kentucky, was determined to block all legislation that would impact coal production levels.

From 1985 to the present, there have been dozens of international conventions with representatives from the majority of countries in the world gathering to brainstorm collectively and address the rise in carbon levels and ways to curb it. At the conclusion of each meeting, agreements were reached. In America, groups of concerned legislators have tried to pass bills that align with these numerous  international agreements. But, McConnell has done everything in his power to block each bill. In fact, it was Mitch McConnell who convinced Trump to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Under Mitch McConnell and the GOP’s indifference, carbon has seen a staggering jump from 345 PPM in 1985 to the newly released 415 PPM in 2019. Hundreds of thousands of innocent victims across the globe have perished as a result.

Climate Action 100+ is a group of more than 320 global investors who have formed a coalition to collectively govern an excess of $33 trillion in assets for the purpose of:

  • improving management
  • cutting carbon
  • strengthening corporate financial disclosure about climate

The group is lead by a Steering Committee that has ten members. The additional member roles and functions are broken into five Engagement Working Groups, one group for each of the five main participating continents.

  • Asia
  • Australasia
  • Europe
  • Multi-region
  • North America

The North America Engagement Working Group is overseen by Ceres, who’s motto, “Sustainability is the bottom line,” sums up their mission.

Through superior organization, significant assets, and a life-and-property-threatening purpose, does anyone doubt that Climate Action 100+ won’t be able to leap tall buildings and move a few mountains… coal mountains to be specific. Good luck! We’ll be keeping a watch on the progress.

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Exxon Shareholder Majority Rejects Climate Action Responsibility | Votes for High Profit at World’s Expense

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

American publicly traded global fossil fuel companies are in for a turbulent next twelve months. Exxon was feeling this rough ride at it’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday May 29, 2019. Two of its largest shareholders were demanding climate action accountability and threatened to wrangle the support of fellow shareholders and vote the directors out.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300The New York State Common Retirement Fund, led by Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, along with The Church of England led the proxy fight. And although they may have missed their targeted goal of outright removal, they successfully increased shareholder support for climate responsibility. More eyes will now be closely following decision makers, and tweeting about their objections.

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The Church of England, another large Exxon shareholder, believes in ethical finance. They’ve made their shock and frustration with Exxon’s refusal to act on #climatechange very public.

“This has been a very difficult AGM for Exxon and a warning shot to management.” ~Edward Mason, Church of England

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Climate Action 100+ is a force to be reckoned with. This powerful group of 324 #climate focused international investors, control $33.4 trillion in assets. They have a reach far beyond America’s political divide with a proven ability to move mountains. American conservative investors who aren’t paying attention may find their political allegiance selling them short in the long run, maybe even the short run depending on where the next Category 4 or 5 hurricane or tornado strikes.

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Exxon’s press release, following their shareholder’s meeting  on May 29, 2019, stated: “ExxonMobil expects to increase annual earnings potential more than 140 percent and double potential annual cash flow from operations by 2025 from 2017 adjusted earning, assuming a 2017 oil price of $60 per barrel adjusted for inflation based on 2017 margins.” Seeing numbers like 140% and a doubling of “potential cash flow” without a concrete plan for climate action, is a clear statement that Exxon views profits as far more important than cutting carbon.

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The climate action world does not agree with Exxon’s disregard for their responsibility to decrease Exxon’s carbon footprint. The climate focused public will happily avoid Exxon gas stations, and instead choose Shell and BP. If dollars are the only way to connect with Exxon’s decision makers, the public will accept this and send our objections using dollars. No problem.

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