17 May 2013. Source: The Guardian
US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate ‘economic opportunities’ at the expense of everyone else
Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, January 4, 2013. Photograph: Zachary Painter/USCG
One week ago, the Obama administration launched its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, outlining the government’s strategic priorities over the next 10 years. The release of the strategy came about a week after the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House Complex hosteda briefing with international Arctic scientists.
Despite giving lip service to the values of environmental conservation, the new document focuses on how the US can manage the exploitation of the region’s vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources in cooperation with other Arctic powers.
US hinges success of Arctic strategy on diminishing sea ice
At the heart of the White House’s new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document’s preamble, describes as seeking “to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region” due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising “the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment.” Continue reading
By Stephen Leahy, May 16, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Hubbard glacier in Seward, Alaska. Photo: Bigstock
Many eyes are turning north to the Arctic, some in horror at the rapid decline of a key component of our life support system, others in eager anticipation at the untapped resources beneath the vanishing snow and ice.
“I’ve worked in the north for 21 years and the scale and speed of change up there is astonishing,” said Douglas Clark of the University of Saskatchewan.
“These changes, taken as whole, and reflected in our report, keep me awake at night,” Clark told IPS.
Rapid and even abrupt changes are occurring on multiple fronts across the Arctic, according to the Arctic Resilience Report (ARR).
And what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.
“It’s the first international report to tell the world to buckle up, we’re on a wild roller coaster ride and we don’t know what’s coming,” he said.
By Emilio Godoy, May 13 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Sea turtles are among the larger animal species whose reproduction was hurt by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Credit: Mauricio Ramos/IPS
MEXICO CITY – A group of Mexican citizens are preparing the first civil lawsuit in the Mexican courts against British oil company BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The plaintiffs are bringing the class action lawsuit under a 2011 reform of the Mexican constitution that allows a large number of people with a common interest in a matter to sue as a group.
The civil lawsuit encompasses “damages to people living in the area or who own residential and commercial property along the coast, and people indirectly affected” by the spill, lawyer Óscar Preciado, with the law firm Rincón Mayorga Román Illanes Soto y Compañía, told IPS.
“Without a doubt, this will set an important precedent. Class action lawsuits have been brought, but in questions relating to consumer, rather than environmental, rights,” said the lawyer, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs. Continue reading
Note: After Obama’s visit to Mexico last week, we can rest assured that him and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto discussed sweeping 21st Century energy reform: Privatize the state owned oil company so multinationals can drill the living hell out of the land and the sea, all the while ensuring American corporations will have access to every last drop of oil and gas on the planet. Now that is some drastic energy reform!
-The GJEP Team
By Nick Miroff and William Booth, May 7, 2013. Source: Washington Post
An engineer opens valves on the Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) Bicentennial deep sea crude oil platform in the waters off Tamaulipas, Mexico. Photo: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg
It has been 75 years since President Lázaro Cárdenas seized the country’s foreign-dominated petroleum industry and placed every drop of oil under the everlasting domain of the Mexican people.
But while it once was a source of national pride, the state-run monopoly he created — known as Pemex — has become a dinosaur, sapped by debt, sagging output and dated technology. The Mexican government siphons off the company’s revenue to cover about one-third of the federal budget, leaving insufficient funds for what has become a critical task: finding more oil.
Mexico remains the third-largest source of foreign oil for the United States after Canada and Saudi Arabia. But the country’s easy-pump crude is quickly running dry, and the company lacks the technology and know-how to drill for the vast stores of tougher-to-reach deposits that are thought to exist beneath Mexico’s deserts and seas.
Fixing the company, Petroleos de Mexico, has become a top priority for Mexico’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto. With an overhaul plan expected by late summer, U.S. and other global energy companies are waiting to see whether Mexico will once more give outsiders a crack at the country’s hydrocarbon treasures, including the massive, virtually untapped beds of shale gas south of the Texas border.
By Colin Nickerson, April 21, 2013. Source: The Boston Globe
A tanker prepared to offload crude oil recently in the deep-water port in South Portland, Maine. Photo: Fred Field
Over seven decades, the Portland pipeline has propelled some 5 billion gallons of crude oil across the mountains and beneath the pristine waters of northern New England to refineries in Quebec.
Aside from a few small spills years ago, the 236-mile-long colossus of steel pipes and powerful pumping stations boasts a sterling record. In the upcountry towns through which it passes, the underground pipeline has drawn little notice since it was constructed in 1941.
By Bernard Lagan, April 16, 2013. Source: The Guardian
Kiribati: Toani Benson stands on the ruins of the store that sold him petrol for his school’s generator in the mid-1990s. Photo: Mike Bowers/The Global Mail
Australia, a close neighbour of small, low-lying South Pacific states at the frontline of climate change, should be the first country to formally recognise climate change refugees, the country’s main refugee advisory body has said.
The Refugee Council of Australia has told the Australian government that it should create a new refugee category for those fleeing the effects of climate change so that they can be offered protection similar to those escaping war or persecution.
The key legal document that defines refugees, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, defines a refugee as a person who has a well-founded fear of persecution in their homeland because of their race, religion, nationality of membership of a particular group.
The convention – forged in 1951 in the aftermath of world war two – does not offer protection to those claiming to be endangered by climate change. Its limits were tested in New Zealand last year by a 36-year-old Kiribati man who argued before an immigration tribunal that he should not be deported because he feared for his own future and that of his children’s because of the effects of climate change in his country, barely two metres above sea level.
By Tsuyoshi Inajima, April 11, 2013. Source: Bloomberg
Photo: Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Bloomberg
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s discovery of leaks in water storage pits at the wrecked Fukushima atomic station raises the risk the utility will be forced to dump radioactive water in the Pacific Ocean.
Leaks were found in three of seven pits in the past week, reducing the options for moving contaminated water from basements of reactor buildings. Water in the basements is from the months after the earthquake and tsunami disabled the plant two years ago, when disaster teams used hose pipes and pumps to try and cool the reactors.
While the company has since built a makeshift sealed cooling system, underground water is breaching basement walls at a rate of about 400 tons a day and becoming contaminated, according to Tepco’s estimate. With Japan’s rainy season approaching, contaminated water levels are likely to increase at the plant 220 kilometers (137 miles) northeast of Tokyo.
Reducing radiation levels in the water and pouring it into the sea is one of two options the utility has, said Kazuhiko Kudo, a research professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University. The other option is “to keep building above-ground storage tanks,” said Kudo. That’s a fight Tepco can’t win without stopping the underground water pouring into the basements, Kudo said.
By Michael Winter, April 8 2013. Source: USA Today
On Feb. 25, the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker collided with a refueling tanker for the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru in the Antarctic Sea. Photo: Institute of Cetacean Research/AP
Japanese whalers have returned from Antarctic waters with a record-low catch, and the government blamed what it called “unforgivable sabotage” by the activist group Sea Shepherd.
The annual 48-day hunt killed 103 minke whales, just 11% of the 935 the Japanese had hoped to take. The hunters also wanted 50 humpback and 50 fin whales but killed none, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. That’s the smallest catch since 1987, a year after “research whaling” was exempted under the international treaty that bans hunting the marine mammals.
Japanese ships spent 21 days trying to avoid four vessels from Sea Shepherd Australia, which disrupted the hunt four times, said Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, who called the group’s tactics sabotage. Sea Shepherd vessels collided with a factory ship and a fuel tanker to prevent refueling.
“We will seek more support from other countries to conduct research whaling in a stable manner,” he said. Continue reading
Note: Not that we though BP investing in mega-wind farms was any kind of solution either, but…reinvesting in oil and gas to position itself for “sustainable growth”? Now that is what we call a perfect paradox.
-The GJEP Team
By Matt Cover, April 3, 2013. Source: CNS News
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico
BP will sell its entire American wind power business in an effort to “position the company for sustainable growth” and return to its core business of oil and gas production.
BP is the No. 6 largest oil and gas companies in the world, according to Forbes, producing 4.1 million barrels of oil per day.
“BP has decided to market for sale our U.S. wind energy business as part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company and re-position the company for sustainable growth into the future,” BP said in an emailed statement to CNSNews.com.
BP operates 16 wind farms in nine states that together produce about 2,600 megawatts of power. It is also selling undeveloped projects that could produce an additional 2,000 megawatts.
By Andrea Vance, March 31 2013. Source: Stuff.co.nz
Photo: Curso ER
The government is set to crack down on environmental protesters with fines of up to $100,000 or a year in jail for those who target offshore oil and gas operations.
Energy minister Simon Bridges today announced “stronger measures to protect offshore petroleum and minerals activity from unlawful interference”.
Individuals who intentionally damage or interfere with mining structures, like rigs, or vessels face a 12-month prison sentence or a $50,000 fine. Organisations face a penalty of up to $100,000.
Activists who break a 500-metre “no-go” zone around structures would be liable for a $10,000 fine.
Green party MP Gareth Hughes has branded the moves the “Petrobras law” – after the Brazilian oil giant – and said the government was criminalising protests in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Continue reading