Category Archives: Energy

Colorado Biomass = Clearcut=False Solutions to Climate Change

It is difficult to imagine that in 2014 we are still facing clearcut  strategies for our rapidly disappearing forested lands. Biomass is certainly a false solution to climate change. From the Summit County Colorado Summit Daily

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Is biomass all its cut up to be? 

Howard Brown    17 October 2014    Summit Daily

One possible reason for sticking to the ill-advised Ophir Mountain and other clear-cutting plans is that the clear-cut trees would go to the biomass power plant in Gypsum. Biomass power is renewable energy. It wouldn’t justify destroying Summit County’s wonderful forests and trails, but biomass is green energy right? Maybe not.

Is biomass power a good renewable energy source that we should promote here in Colorado? To answer this, we need to back up and look at where biomass energy comes from. As with most of our energy sources, it starts with energy from the sun. In photosynthesis, plants use solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrates. Energy is stored in the carbon-hydrogen bonds. (Geologic pressure over time strips the oxygen from plant material to create hydrocarbon fossil fuels.) When animals metabolize carbohydrates, or when plant or fossil fuel material combusts (burns), that energy is released as oxygen combined with the material, returning to the lower-energy carbon-oxygen and hydrogen-oxygen bonds of carbon dioxide and water.

The problem with fuels such as coal and wood is that they are solids. The combustion process requires direct contact between oxygen molecules and molecules of the fuel. For gaseous fuels such as natural gas, that is very easy, individual oxygen molecules readily mix directly with individual methane molecules. For liquid fuels such as petroleum products, vegetable oil or ethanol, that mixing is more difficult and the resulting combustion less efficient. With solid fuels, however, it is exceedingly difficult for individual oxygen molecules to contact individual fuel molecules, so the combustion process is incomplete and far less efficient.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Uncategorized

Don’t like Coal, how about Nukes?

A cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of stopping fossil fuels without addressing the problem of overconsumption and demand for energy.  And yet another example of why we need to fundamentally address the system driving ecological destruction and climate change and not just promote bandaids.

In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making



Cooling towers rise above two adjacent nuclear reactors, Watts Barr 1 and 2. Construction on the second was suspended in 1988 and resumed in 2007. CreditShawn Poynter for The New York Times 

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — When the Tennessee Valley Authority first ordered Watts Bar 2, the nuclear reactor now approaching completion here, demand for electricity was growing at 7 percent a year and coal supplies were uncertain. The mercury, soot and acid rain that coal produced were simply accepted as the way things were, and many of the people who now worry about global warming had not yet been born.

But that was 1970. Today nearly all of that is reversed as Watts Bar 2, the nuclear industry’s version of a time traveler, prepares to begin operations. Now there is barely any growth in electricity demand, and plenty of coal, but most aging coal-burning plants need expensive cleaning or replacement. Thus the reactor, the T.V.A. reasons, is arriving at an opportune moment, even if almost every projection made over the last 44 years has proved wrong. With halting progress amid changing projections, construction has taken longer than that for the Panama Canal or the Great Pyramid of Cheops.


Read the rest of the story here

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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Nuclear power, Uncategorized

Thousands march in Bolivia demanding justice for 2003 Gas War massacre

Friday's gas war march in Bolivia. Photo: Ben Dangl.

Friday’s gas war march in Bolivia. Photo: Ben Dangl.

Benjamin Dangl of Upside Down World covered Friday’s protest march in Bolivia, in which thousands demanded justice for the 2003 massacre of over 60 people during the country’s Gas War under the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) administration. Dangl provide both a quick history and photos from the march, all taken by him.

Photo Essay: Thousands March in El Alto, Bolivia Demanding Justice for 2003 Gas War Massacre
Written by Benjamin Dangl. Upside Down World. 19 October 2014

Thousands of people marched in El Alto, Bolivia on Friday, October 17th to demand justice for the 2003 massacre of over 60 people during the country’s Gas War under the Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (Goni) administration. Sanchez de Lozada is currently living freely in the US, and marchers demanded he and others in his government be brought to Bolivia to be tried for ordering the violence. October marks the anniversary of that assault on the city, and people mobilized on Friday to remember and to demand justice.

Check out the whole article and many more photos on Upside Down World!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Energy, Political Repression, Politics

Brazil to Build Huge Biomass Plant

BOLT Energias has secured the 150 MW Campo Grande biomass power plant.  The facility will be operational in 2017, and will be fueled with woody biomass. This will be Brazil’s largest biomass plant. Areva has already constructed 95 biomass plants globally with a total installed capacity of over 2,500MW.

French Energy Firm Areva will build the BOLT Energias 150MW Campo Grande biomass plant.

French Energy Firm Areva will build the BOLT Energias 150MW Campo Grande biomass plant.

 Areva secures contract to build Brazil’s largest biomass power plant

Clean Technology Business Review (CBTR)  15 October 2014

French energy firm Areva has secured a contract to build the 150MW Campo Grande biomass power plant for Brazilian utility BOLT Energias.

Planned to be built in the northeastern state of Bahia, the Campo Grande plant is claimed to be the largest biomass facility in Brazil.

The contract requires Areva to deliver engineering, procurement and construction services for the plant, which will feature three 50MW modules.

The facility, which is expected to commence operations in 2017, will be fueled with woody biomass.

Areva Renewables CEO Louis-François Durret said: “Awarded as part of the first biomass plant project undertaken in Brazil in recent years, this success illustrates BOLT Energias’ recognition of AREVA’s knowledge in construction and technological expertise.

“This contract will mark the first step of a successful collaboration with our Brazilian partner.”

Areva has already constructed 95 biomass plants globally, with a total installed capacity of over 2,500MW.

Read the whole article here

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Uncategorized

Alberta Tar Sands–Enter Kuwait

You may have heard the news recently that a Chinese business with strong ties to the Chinese government (we are shocked) has recently purchased the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan.

The historic structure with its secret underground train station, used as a private escape route for the extremely wealthy and a succession of U.S. Presidents, is also the permanent residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and hosts hundreds of U.S Diplomats during UN General Assemblies. The U.S. State Department is more than a little concerned that the announced plans by the new owners to undertake huge renovations will turn the hotel into one big infiltrated spy center by the new owners.

Read more here.

Now from the DESMOGBLOG comes a story about how another nation, Kuwait, is investing heavily in the North American Oil and Gas business. On the same day that the Bejing based Anbang Insurance Group purchased the Waldorf Astoria, the state-owned Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company purchased a $1.5 billion stake in the Alberta Tar Sands.

Steve Horn and the DESMOGBLOG bring us the story.

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Tar Sands Trade: Kuwait Buys Stake in Alberta As It Opens Own Heavy Oil Spigot

Steve Horn, DeSmogBlog, 14 October 2014

Chevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta-based Duvernay Shale basin to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $1.5 billion.

It marked the first North American purchase for the Kuwaiti state-owned oil company and yields KUFPEC 330,000 acres of Duvernay shale gas. Company CEO and the country’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, called it an “anchor project” that could spawn Kuwait’s expansion into North America at-large.

Read the whole article here.

 

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Fracking

Biomass-the Wrong Solution to Climate Change

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Energy Justice Network and the Biomass Monitor.

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Biomass Energy: Another Kind of Climate Change Denial

By Josh Schlossberg, Biomass Monitor. October 12, 2014

We’re all familiar with climate change deniers, cheerfully and/or willfully ignorant folk who refuse to accept that human-caused carbon emissions are responsible for the climate crisis — or that there even is a climate crisis. Those of us who value science and common sense typically have as much patience for these twenty-three percent of Americans as we do for anyone who believes that maggots arise spontaneously from rotting meat, witches cause disease, or the Earth is the center of the universe.

Recently, a subtler breed of climate change denier has emerged, spreading their propaganda and even infiltrating aspects of the environmental movement: biomass boosters. These advocates for the biomass energy industry often avoid detection by professing concern with carbon emissions. Yet, while cursing fossil fuels out of one side of their mouths, out of the other they bless the burning of one of the world’s greatest buffers against runaway climate chaos — our forests — for energy.

If the climate movement wants to win over the American people and influence policy, it needs to have credibility, which only comes through consistency, and that means distancing itself from the climate change deniers in our midst.

Read the whole article here.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change

Air emissions from open pit oil and gas waste threatens our health and well being

Four airborne and highly toxic chemicals associated with oil and gas wells and fracking sludge, (Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, and Xylene) are amongst those dumped in cheap and relatively unregulated waste disposal pits. Years ago the oil and gas industry lobbied Congress to exempt their waste from federal hazardous waste regulation.  The story below, “Pits of Despair” comes from the Center for Public Integrity and shared to us by New York State anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber. This story focuses on Nordheim, Texas and the exposure of that communities residents and children at a nearby school, to a 240 acre open pit dump that will receive millions of gallons of toxic sludge. But it could be your community.

A protest placard hangs on a fence a few hundred feet from where a 204-acre commercial waste facility is being developed. Signs voicing the discontent of the community pepper the landscape around the site and in the town of Nordheim. Eleanor Bell/Center for Public Integrity

A protest placard hangs on a fence a few hundred feet from where a 204-acre commercial waste facility is being developed. Signs voicing the discontent of the community pepper the landscape around the site and in the town of Nordheim. Eleanor Bell/Center for Public Integrity

 

Pits of Despair – Open Pits offer cheap disposal for fracking sludge, but health worries mount

Center for Public Integrity  David Hasemyer,  Zahra Hirji  October 2, 2014

NORDHEIM, Texas — School Superintendent Kevin Wilson tugged at his oversized belt buckle and gestured toward a field less than a mile from Nordheim School, where 180 children attend kindergarten through 12th grade.

A commercial waste facility that will receive millions of barrels of toxic sludge from oil and gas production for disposal in enormous open-air pits is taking shape there, and Wilson worries that the ever-present Texas wind will carry traces of dangerous chemicals, including benzene, to the school.

Read the whole story here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Energy, Fracking, Human made disasters, Hydrofracking, Uncategorized

The Green Shock Doctrine

Earlier this year the Global Justice Ecology Project published the Green Shock Doctrine.

The publication announced a new understanding of exactly what the people of the world are facing in the context of both the onrushing climate crisis, and the resurgent global corporate and business reaction to address these issues.  That reaction includes the United Nations corporate trade show approach to fixing the problems, and the unwavering economic and so-called “sustainability” approach of the various Kleptocracies that rule governments local and national. It all amounts to superficial tinkering with and slight adjustments to the status quo.  Behind the scenes it is even more sinister as the hidden hands guide us over the precipice of unlimited wealth extraction, exponential disparity, warmongering, and an ecological crisis that is driving an extinction episode that may see the end of humanity as we know it within a few decades.

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The Global Justice Ecology Project has drawn the line with the publication of Green Shock Doctrine.  We must demand system change. Our very survival depends on this.

Global Justice Ecology Project’s Intro to Green Shock Doctrine

There is much being said and written today about how to effectively address the oncoming catastrophe of climate change, which is already, for many, tragically real.

There is a crucial and obvious need for a powerful global movement to tackle the climate crisis. But this movement will not be based on reform. Capitalism and the markets have led us to the brink of the abyss. They will not provide our parachute. The system cannot be reformed. It must be transformed.

The more we understand how the roots of the many issues we are fighting are intertwined, the better we can cooperate to change the system driving them. In diversity is strength, as any ecologist understands, and our movements for change are no exception.

Global Justice Ecology Project is publishing The Green Shock Doctrine as a means to help expose and examine the deeper issues behind the climate crisis and their links to many of the other crises we are facing. In doing so, we hope to help advance the effort to transform the global system driving climate catastrophe.

Read the GREEN SHOCK DOCTRINE here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests and Climate Change, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Occupy Wall Street, Uncategorized