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Friday, Dec 09th

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Fracking Goes on Trial for Human Rights Violations

Fracking goes on trialAs convoys of heavy trucks carry fracking equipment into new oil fields in neighborhoods and wildlands around the world, an alliance of human rights organizations is making plans to put the entire practice of hydraulic fracturing on trial. The court is the Permanent People's Tribunal, a descendant of the Vietnam War-era International War Crimes Tribunal. The Peoples' Tribunal is a branch of no government on Earth. It has no power of enforcement. It has no army, no prison, no sheriff.

So what's the point?

The point is that it matters to tell the truth in a public place. It matters to affirm universal standards of right and wrong, to clearly say, "There are things that ethical people do not do to one another and to the Earth."

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Fracking Boom Bonus: Oklahoma Now No. 1 in Earthquakes

Oklahoma first in earthquakesOklahoma may be only No. 12 in college football this year, but the Sooner State is now No. 1 in earthquakes.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission — a regulatory body tasked with ensuring the safety of oil and gas exploration in the state — told the Enid Rotary Club that Oklahoma now experiences more earthquakes than anywhere else on planet Earth.

"We have had 15 [earthquakes] in Medford since 5 o'clock Saturday morning," spokesman Matt Skinner said Monday, according to the Enid News. “We’ve got an earthquake issue.”

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Coal Giant Peabody Accused Of Misleading Investors About Climate Change Risks

Peabody CoalNew York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says coal giant Peabody Energy made false and misleading statements to investors about the financial risks it faces because of climate change.

As part of an agreement with Schneiderman's office, the company has agreed to revise the disclosures it makes to investors about the risks in its quarterly report released today, and has promised to include the disclosures in future filings.

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Ex-BP engineer pleads guilty in Gulf oil spill probe

BP engineerA former BP engineer accused of deleting text messages after the Gulf oil spill and ensuing investigation pleaded guilty Friday to lesser charges and avoided prison time.

Kurt Mix has been fighting an obstruction charge for more than three years. In federal court on Friday, he pleaded guilty to intentionally causing damage without authorization to a protected computer. Prosecutors suggested no prison time for Mix, and a judge sentenced him to six months of probation.

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Blame Western companies for Southeast Asia’s toxic haze

palm oil causing pollutionI arrived in Singapore two weeks ago, landing in a cloud of haze. For the last two months, my business school classmates in Southeast Asia’s leading financial center have not seen the blue sky and have been warned not to spend time outside, as the haze can get so heavy that breathing becomes dangerous. When they do go outside, they wear masks.

The same haze hangs over Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and an ever-growing swath of the region — and it has been happening annually. This year, it has reached record levels of pollution because of El Niño and the resulting delay in the rainy season.

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United Nations says pledges to limit emissions don't go far enough

UN: emissions pledges don't go far enoughPlans submitted by 146 countries to cap greenhouse gas emissions do not go far enough to keep global temperatures from exceeding the danger threshold, the United Nations said.

Pledges, submitted by all developed nations and three-quarters of developing countries, deliver "sizable" emission reductions and slow emissions growth in the coming decade, but they will not be sufficient to reverse by 2030 the upward trend of global emissions, the UN's climate change secretariat said in a report released in advance of a global climate summit.

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Greenland Is Melting Away

Greenland melting awayThe midnight sun still gleamed at 1 a.m. across the brilliant expanse of the Greenland ice sheet. Brandon Overstreet, a doctoral candidate in hydrology at the University of Wyoming, picked his way across the frozen landscape, clipped his climbing harness to an anchor in the ice and crept toward the edge of a river that rushed downstream toward an enormous sinkhole.

If he fell in, “the death rate is 100 percent,” said Mr. Overstreet’s friend and fellow researcher, Lincoln Pitcher.

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