April 23, 2014. Source: Biofuelwatch
Campaigners have disrupted Drax Plc’s AGM in London today, calling for the power station to be closed down because of the environmental and social impacts of the biomass and coal that it is burning. Three campaigners were removed from the meeting after unfurling a banner reading “No to biomass and coal – shut down Drax” and accusing company directors of misleading the public over claims that their biomass conversion is low-carbon, renewable energy. The protest happened against a backdrop of falling company share prices as the UK Government announced that it would not be awarding a lucrative new subsidy scheme, a Contract for Difference, to Drax’s second converted unit, sparking investment uncertainty.
Biofuelwatch campaigner Duncan Law was one of the campaigners removed from the AGM today. He said:
“Drax is calling itself the world’s biggest renewable energy power station, but looking past the shiny green façade you see it’s actually still a giant incinerator, only now fed on ancient wetland forests as well as opencast coal. And what’s more, it will be pumping out more CO2 than ever despite company claims that it’s doing the opposite.
It is clear that Drax and the UK government aren’t listening to evidence that big biomass power stations in the UK are fuelling forest destruction in the southern US and increasing carbon emissions. We feel we have no choice but to take this further action to highlight how, in the name of renewable energy, energy companies and their allies in government are causing yet another environmental disaster.”
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By Steve Horn, April 22, 2014. Source: DeSmog Blog
Gen. James Jones; Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
American Petroleum Institute (API) deployed one of its paid consultants — former Obama Administration National Security Advisor General James “Jim” Jones — to deliver an Earth Day address in the home state of the presidential caucuses at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
James Jones used his time on the podium to promote the KeystoneXL tar sands pipeline, which another James — retired NASA climatologist James Hansen — once called a “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”
“General James Jones…will discuss the benefits of the pipeline initiative, including more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper energy costs for Americans,” explained an April 15 Drake University press release promoting the event.
March 27, 2014. Source: Biofuelwatch
Activists drop a banner and lockdown at Forth Energy’s offices in 2012. Photo: bioenergyaction.com
Forth Energy, formerly a joint venture between Forth Ports and SSE, have confirmed that they are dropping plans to build their consented 100 MWe biomass power stations in Grangemouth and Rosyth, as well as withdrawing plans for a similar plant in Dundee. Campaigners and community members have expressed their joy at hearing the announcement. Whilst Forth Energy will now be looking to sell their consents at Grangemouth and Rosyth on to other developers, campaigners are warning that any new attempts to revive the plans will be fiercely opposed.
Walter Inglis, formerly Chairperson of Grangemouth Community Council said: “This is certainly good news for us in Grangemouth, as it casts even more doubt on these plans. After having opposed Forth Energy’s plans for so long it’s great to see them walking away. However, the consent remains in place so we’ll be watching closely to make sure no other developers try to take it on.”
Andrew Llanwarne, Co-ordinator of Friends of the Earth Tayside, welcomed the announcement. “This removes a dark shadow which has been hanging over Dundee for the past four years and it’s great news for all who campaigned against the project. It would have been highly inefficient as a means of producing electricity and required enormous Government subsidies of about £1m each year for every job – there must be better ways to create much-needed employment in Dundee.
It would have added to Dundee’s existing problems of air pollution and had a negative visual impact on the waterfront, as Dundee Councillors decided last June. But it would also have made a major contribution to carbon emissions which are disrupting our climate, and had devastating effects on communities and biodiversity in other countries.”
By Dan Fischer, February 16, 2014. Source: Capitalism vs. the Climate
Ivanpah solar power facility
“Some people look out into the desert and see miles and miles of emptiness. I see miles and miles of gold mine.”
-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the start of Ivanpah Solar Power Facility’s construction
The world’s largest solar thermal energy facility, the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, opened last Thursday in California’s Mojave Desert. Unfortunately, this is bad news for neighboring Indigenous peoples, the desert tortoise, and local birds. It is an example of solar done wrong.
Ivanpah use mirrors to reflect sunlight, in order to heat and boil water. This produces steam, which spins turbines to produce electricity. When done at a small scale, it can be a clean and sustainable process. Photovoltaic solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, are even more democratic. They are easy to decentralize and put on rooftops.
In fact, Ivanpah’s grassroots opponents tend to strongly support solar power. The group Solar Done Right advocates decentralized solar energy as an alternative to mega-solar projects like Ivanpah. They argue that there is plenty of already-paved surface where we can safely install solar panels: rooftops, vacant parking lots, and former industrial sites known as brownfields.
Note: Surely the best route to environmental and energy sustainability will be through billionaires buying their own private islands…
Last summer, organizers with Global Justice Ecology Project interrupted “Sir” Branson at a Rio+20 side event, calling attention to his role in pushing greenwashed corporate false solutions to climate change. Some things never change…
-The GJEP Team
By John Vidal, February 8, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Richard Branson says Caribbean islands could use renewables for most of their energy needs within five years. Photograph: Jenny Bates for the Observer
The palm trees and billiard table have been shipped in, work on the infinity pool overlooking the coral reef is progressing and the tennis courts are celebrity-ready. But few of the super-luxury buildings rising on Moskito island’s beaches are finished yet.
Moskito is Sir Richard Branson‘s number two Caribbean island, but it will soon be his new family complex. It is just over a mile from Necker island, which he bought in his 20s for £250,000 and now rents for £40,000 a night.
Both islands are eco-trophies for Britain’s best-known entrepreneur, but his plans to ditch the use of diesel power and to generate electricity from wind and solar are expected to have a profound impact on dozens of far poorer nearby islands facing crippling debt, hurricanes and climate change.
Last week Branson hosted a summit of financiers, politicians, energy companies, lawyers and others on Moskito and Necker to work up a plan to “green” the Caribbean, island by island. Five prime ministers and 12 governments, as well as international bankers and investors, heard renewable energy experts explain how the region’s islands, which currently generate nearly all their electricity from diesel, could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year and reduce emissions by 50% or more. Continue reading
Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, discusses President Obama’s comments on energy and climate change in Wednesday’s State of the Union address.
You can read Anne’s blog post on the SOTU address here.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK radio for a weekly Earth Minute and Earth Watch interview.
By Global Justice Ecology Project
Introduction to Part II
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, a paper in four parts, 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.
Download it here:
THE GREEN SHOCK DOCTRINE: Part II of IV
by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
During Obama’s State of the Union address last night the presence of the star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty might have been the most real part of a very surreal evening.
Of particular note were Obama’s comments on energy and climate change.
While the US Southeast was being hammered by a highly unusual winter storm which stranded thousands in the metro Atlanta area, (no, this does not disprove climate change you nitwits, climate scientists have warned for years that a warming globe means extreme and unpredictable weather) Obama was proclaiming a desire to address climate change so that “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, [we can say] yes we did.”
This sounds wonderful until we consider the “all of the above” energy strategy Obama touted earlier in the speech, which gives a nod to some of the dirtiest, most polluting and destructive energy sources. It includes shale oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota–the gas flares of which can be seen from space. This shale oil is so extremely volatile that in the past year two trains carrying bakken oil have exploded. It means more coal; it means more deep water offshore drilling of the type that caused the BP oil spill disaster. It means more nukes, even in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. And it means more fracking. Obama made a big show of his support for natural gas “if extracted safely,” which it is not.
Obama spent exactly one paragraph on climate change. He declared it a fact. That anyone even needs to do that in this day and age, decades after global warming was identified as a problem, after the Northeast US was smashed by not one but two hurricanes in two consecutive years, after Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, after the record droughts in Australia, Africa and the US Midwest–to name just a few climate-related catastrophes of the past 8 years–is astounding. However, climate change is not only a fact. In my opinion it is the single greatest threat to future generations of humans and most other species. Yet it merited only a passing mention. One paragraph out of a 13 page speech.
Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann
Note: Biomass mill explosions, biodiesel explosions, Bakken shale oil train explosions. Toxic chemicals used in coal refining spilling into groundwater. Maybe the time has come for a re-think on United States’ massive overconsumption of energy…
GJEP will be posting on the ground coverage of the ongoing water contamination crisis in West Virginia and have staff there participating in the deliveries of fresh water to victims of the spill.
– The GJEP Team
January 22, 2014. Source: Reuters
In this photo provided by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, a fire at a biodiesel facility near New Albany, Miss., burns early Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. The fire was so hot that firefighters could not get close enough to fight it, the Mississippi Highway Patrol said. The plant is located near New Albany on Mississippi Highway 15, which has been closed to traffic. Firefighters are letting it burn out. (AP Photo/Mississippi Highway Patrol via The Mississippi Department of Public Safety)
A fire raged at a biodiesel complex after an explosion that was felt miles away in northern Mississippi on Wednesday, the Highway Patrol said, but to its knowledge, all workers at the plant had been accounted for.The fire at the plant, some 3-4 miles north of New Albany, the Union County seat, broke out at about 5:30 a.m. CST (1130 GMT) after an explosion that was felt and heard miles away.
“The fire is still burning and they haven’t started trying to fight it yet because of the intense heat,” Trooper Ronny Hall, Mississippi Highway Patrol, said by telephone from the scene of the fire.
He spoke at around 10:00 CST, almost five hours after the fire began.
“At this time, we have had no injuries reported and all of the workers have been accounted for as far as we know,” Hall said, adding he did not know who the owners of the plant were.
Earlier, in an interview with local television station Action News 5, Hall said the fire may burn for as long as two days.
Note: US imperialism, powered by farms, fields, and forests — and soon, quite possibly genetically engineered trees. One can only hope this pipe dream falls by the wayside in the midst of budget cuts and crises in Washington.
-The GJEP Team
By Sandra I. Erwin, January 20, 2014. Source: National Defense
Green fuels command small money by Pentagon standards. But there will be a big payday for producers eventually, insist U.S. Navy officials.
The Navy needs the biofuel industry to believe this in order to achieve Secretary Ray Mabus’ goal to replace half of the Navy’s conventional fuel supply with renewables by 2020.
But with just six years to go, the industry and the government remain stuck in the proverbial chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. The Navy says it is ready to buy hundreds of millions of gallons of fuels as soon as they are price competitive with petroleum, but the industry needs massive cash infusions to scale up production and drive down cost.
Mabus says the Navy is doing its part to prop up the industry. Under a 2011 presidential directive, the Navy teamed with the Energy and Agriculture Departments and committed $510 million toward the development of a national biofuel industry. The Pentagon claimed authority to do this under the Defense Production Act, which Congress passed in 1950 as a vehicle to fund struggling industries that are considered critical to national security. Biofuels fall into that category, Mabus contends, because they allow the military to diversify its energy supply and become less exposed to volatile oil prices. Continue reading