Archive for category Environment
Why this is not on the table is mind-boggling. Even if you are someone who doesn’t believe in climate change or that pollution causes severe health problems (Which is just as stupid as not believing in math), then either way, oil is not going to last forever. We need fuel for our ships, our cars, our airplanes. Fuel is the reason we can cross the shores quickly, it’s how we get food from an agricultural state like California to a state like Utah that has more people than the land can provide food for. Only a fool would think this oil will last forever. It took 64 million years to make petroleum. It takes about 64 days to ferment a plant into alcohol. Even is a monetary sense, the idea of drilling is more costly because the methods of reaching oil have become pricier. Why is this not being discussed? The only thing we do have in terms of “renewable” is that 10% ethanol at the pumps and that’s only there because the Corn Lobby wanted to prove they have a bigger dick than the Oil Lobby.
To be fair, there is a push from the airlines to produce biofuels and there has been some traction going on with that. But that’s only because the airlines feel a huge weight around their neck from gas prices and it costs them money. For us, the consumer, we don’t have that type of power. It’s either fill your tank or you’re fired. Still if there was a way to make it more available, it’s better to do it now than to wait until all the problems of an oil shortage stack up.
From Climate Central:
In 1958, Charles David Keeling began making daily measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) at the Mauna Loa Observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. These measurements were begun as part of a one-year initiative, the International Geophysical Year, but because of Keeling’s persistence, the daily record has continued through the present, almost without interruption. The Mauna Loa record, now known as the Keeling Curve, continues to be collected under the direction of Keeling’s son, Ralph.
Last year, atmospheric carbon dioxide briefly crossed 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. However, it didn’t cross that threshold until mid-May. This year’s first 400 ppm reading came a full two months earlier this past week and the seeming inexorable upward march is likely to race past another milestone next month.
“We’re already seeing values over 400. Probably we’ll see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever,” said Ralph Keeling in a blog post.
To preserve a livable planet, climate scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 400 parts per million to below 350 ppm.
Right-wing Republicans remain unconcerned. Recently Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the vice chair of the notoriously anti-climate change House Energy and Commerce Committee, said on “Meet the Press”: “Now, you know, when you look at the social cost of carbon, and there is a lot of ambiguity around that, what you also need to be doing is looking at the benefits of carbon and what that has on increased agricultural production.”
“The President should realize that Congress has taken action” on climate change policies, Blackburn said. “We have said no.”
World’s Oldest Direct Measure Of Atmospheric CO2 May Lose Its Funding
“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Via Media Matters.
Be sure and watch “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.”
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz reversed his support for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday and said the United States shouldn’t allow it to be built. Last month he called the pipeline “a step in the right direction when it comes to energy independence.”
Of course, Keystone XL won’t be a pipeline TO the USA. It’s a pipeline THROUGH the USA to overseas export. It’s likely to cause a gasoline price hike in this country. What do we get from this pipeline? More groundwater pollution, and more climate change.
President Obama could stop this pipeline all by himself. The right-wing is clearly worried, and the Faux News crowd is even claiming that Keystone XL approval would be the answer to the crisis in the Ukraine!
h/t to HuffPo
While a major media news blackout provides cover, Congress is debating whether to give the president the authority to fast-track a massive free trade agreement, the secretly-negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Members of Congress haven’t even been able to read it even though corporate lobbyists have.
President Obama is at odds with Democrats in both houses of Congress concerning reauthorizing a procedure called the “trade promotion authority” (TPA), that would grant the White House power to submit free trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is strongly against it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has now publicly opposed giving President Obama fast track authority.
“We need transparency. We need a seat at the table to understand what they believe they are doing, so we can make it better. And if we don’t make it better, then we will not accept a path that is a job loser.”
TPP is part of the plan for global corporatocracy run by and for the 1 Percent. Unelected lobbyists and trade representatives are at the table, while representatives from the public at large and businesses other than huge monopolies, are conspicuously absent. From what little we know of the agreement, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, weaken environmental protections, and lead to more job losses, erosion of wages, and worsening inequality. TPP also threatens freedom of speech on the Internet because it would extend restrictive intellectual property laws and rewrite international rules on enforcement.
Keystone XL is a “go.” Count on Secretary of State Kerry to do the right thing – for the industry. The planet will have to take its chances.
h/t Roots Action:
It’s classic. Wait till late on a Friday to announce a reprehensible decision in hopes of minimizing the uproar in response. But the climate crisis doesn’t take weekends off.
…”Significant impacts to most resources are not expected along the proposed Project route assuming the following,” reads the State Department report, before listing a series of improbable assumptions.
They say it’s just one pipeline. But the point is we have to say no to ALL the pipelines and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
The Central Flaw of the Keystone XL Economic Analysis (It’s status quo bias)
Sam Stein: So What Exactly Is Obama’s Red Line On Keystone XL?
A baby born in the new year can expect to live in a world that suffers the effects of catastrophic climate change, according to an article in The Guardian based on a new scientific study published in the journal Nature.
Professor Steven Sherwood at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who led the new research, said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases are cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100. The study found that as the planet heats, fewer sunlight-reflecting clouds form, causing temperatures to rise further in an upward spiral.
“4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,” Sherwood told the Guardian. “For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet,” with sea levels rising by many meters as a result.
…”Climate skeptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect,” said Sherwood. “But what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by the models which predict less warming, not those that predict more.”
For the sake of argument, it’s customary to say that climate models only predict what is likely to happen unless we do something fast. I am starting to doubt that there is anything that can be done now to prevent catastrophic climate change, or even slow it down. This is because certain tipping points, for example rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet, may have already been reached. Once a trigger is pulled, it cannot be un-pulled. The bullet is on its way.
The Republican Shutdown of the federal government began October 1. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are furloughed, government services have slowed to a stop, and our cherished public lands are closed for business — or are they?
Yes and no: Our public lands are closed to the public, but landowners and corporations still have free rein to graze, mine, log, and drill for oil and gas there.
Americans who have traveled thousands of miles to hike and camp in our public lands are being turned away from the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, and other national monuments and parks across the country. But for the oil and gas industry, business as usual goes on without a hiccup.
Even more alarmingly, the shutdown has sent everyone in charge of enforcing the rules that protect our lands and wildlife home without pay.
Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) is taking a stand for our environment. He’s calling on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to stop mining, drilling and other dirty energy extraction activities on federally protected lands during the Republican Shutdown. It’s common sense: If the public is shut out, industry should be too.
Take action now with Rep. Grijalva to close public lands to fossil fuel companies during the government shutdown.
I’ve been waiting to see the master interviewer sit down with Tim for a long time!
The wait is over:
Chris Hayes is the first cable host to interview Tim DeChristopher. Rachel Maddow announced such an interview a couple of years ago, but then substituted some hack from EarthJustice who didn’t approve of civil disobedience.
My favorite part is when Tim explains that it’s already too late to avoid the tipping points that trigger drastic climate change, but that makes it even more urgent to reform our political system. The current corrupt regime won’t be able to cope with a planetary emergency.
Stories like this give me hope. Whenever people can fight the oil guys with a funny joke we all come out ahead. Jokes about green jobs wouldn’t fly, and besides, if green energy got the kind of subsidies as big oil, we could train the oil workers to make future energy resources that would protect their children.
Let’s face it; even the – sort of – big oil guy’s children will benefit from clear air, water, and fire-free faucets.
Did somebody from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service division actually say:
“Any time anybody uses Smokey’s image for anything other than wildfire prevention,” said Helene Cleveland, fire prevention program manager for the Forest Service, “it confuses the public. What we’re trying to do is keep Smokey on message.” Cleveland added that the 1952 Smokey the Bear Act takes the character out of the public domain and “any change in that would have to go through Congress.”
Since I was BORN in 1952, I can’t remember the “Smokey the Bear Act”, but I’ll just bet you that Helene Cleveland got a little call from the now-oily “Ad Council” to make that statement, but, then again, we’re now living in the 21st century.
Also, since I was born in 1952, I can remember the great ad the “Ad Council” made which featured an American Indian shedding tears over what consumerism had already done to his land. That was before the ridiculous “this is your brain on drugs” ad came out.
What happened, “Ad Council”?
The Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted today’s hearing on Gina McCarthy, President Obama‘s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lacking the votes to defeat approval of McCarthy’s nomination, they decided to deprive the committee of a quorum. Apparently Republicans are worried that the EPA might enforce the Clean Air Act, thus helping to reduce the effects of climate change.
Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was not happy.
“Their opposition, even to allowing us to vote, shows how outside the mainstream they are, it shows how obstructionist they are,” the senator continued. “It shows how their pledge to do better with women voters is false. How could you have a more qualified woman than Gina McCarthy? This is outrageous.”
“They’re fringe, they’re out of the mainstream,” she reiterated — and trying to impose their “pro-pollution stance” on the Obama administration. Boxer further noted that they’d be examining their parliamentary options, which would include potentially changing committee rules.
To the opposition, Boxer offered some advice: Take a page out of the mainstream Republicans’ playbook and “get out of the fringe lane.”
McCarthy has already answered over 1,000 written questions from GOP committee members, more than any other Obama nominee.
This is how the tail wags the dog in the U.S. Senate. Nice work, GOP
UPDATE: An instrument near the summit of Mauna Loa in Hawaii has recorded a long-awaited climate milestone: the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere there has exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in 55 years of measurement—and probably more than 3 million years of Earth history.
350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments consider to be the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.