This week’s “Earth Watch” segment on KPFK features Dr. Rachel Smolker, Co-director of Biofuelwatch, who weighs in on President Obama’s proposals on climate change in his State of the Union Address.
Tag Archives: global warming
Note: What happened to “It’s Global Warming, STUPID!” ??
–The GJEP Team
By Lananh Nguyen, Nov 12, 2012. Source: Bloomberg.com
IEA: US to Overtake Saudi Arabia in Oil Production
U.S. oil output is poised to surpass Saudi Arabia’s in the next decade, making the world’s biggest fuel consumer almost self-reliant and putting it on track to become a net exporter, the International Energy Agency said.
The U.S. met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first six months of this year, on track to be the highest annual level since 1991, according to Energy Department data. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol discusses global oil production, U.S. imports and renewable energy. He speaks with Francine Lacqua and Guy Johnson from London on Bloomberg Television’s “City Central.” (Source: Bloomberg)
Growing supplies of crude extracted through new technology including hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations will transform the U.S. into the largest producer for about five years starting about 2020, the Paris-based adviser to 28 nations said today in its annual World Energy Outlook. The U.S. met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first six months of this year, according to the Energy Department in Washington.
“The IEA outlook feeds into the idea of a shift in the center of influence in the world oil market,” said Gareth Lewis-Davies, an analyst at BNP Paribas SA in London. “Given Saudi Arabia is willing to shift production up and down it will retain a large degree of influence, and remain important as a price-influencer.”
by Bill Weinberg, November 4, 2012. Source: WW4 Report
Paul M. Barrett has made a splash (forgive the pun) on Bloomberg Businessweek with his piece (well on its way to meme-dom) “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.” He opens:
Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.
Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it: At least 40 U.S. deaths. Economic losses expected to climb as high as $50 billion. Eight million homes without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. More than 15,000 flights grounded. Factories, stores, and hospitals shut. Lower Manhattan dark, silent, and underwater.
An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. On Oct. 29, Foley thumbed thusly: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.” Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (and former deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek), offers a baseball analogy: “We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.” Continue reading
By Jeremy Lovell, August 7, 2012. Source: ClimateWire
While many in the bird world are convinced that climate change is a major culprit for altering flowering times and therefore the relative abundance or lack of food sources, in the somewhat fustier apiarian world, the jury is out. Many, though, are willing to allow that climate change is likely to be a factor.
Honeybee colony losses have been 30 to 40 percent in the United Kingdom in the recent past and more than 60 percent in the United States.
By Stephen Leahy, August 6, 2012, Source: IPS News
At this Bonaire reef, the olive-green coral is alive, but the mottled-gray coral is dead. Credit: Living Oceans Foundation/IPS
CAIRNS, Australia, Jul 24 2012 (IPS) - Most corals thrive only in shallow waters, where there is enough light for them to grow. But the rapid rise in sea level, due to the melting of polar ice, is making these conditions increasingly scarce.
Measurements from tropical seas around the world reveal that the rise in sea level (3.3 mm/year) is happening at a faster rate than many corals have grown in the past 10,000 years, according to new research released at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS).
“The Caribbean once had 60 percent coral cover, and that has now collapsed to 10 percent,” said Jeremy Jackson, professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California, in a special address to the symposium, held Jul. 9-13 in Cairns, Australia. “Corals are critical and endangered ecosystems.”
Sea-level rise is just one threat to corals, which have been decimated by overfishing, pollution, and bleaching from warmer sea temperatures due to climate change, Jackson added.
A colorful piece of coral is made up of thousands of tiny animals called polyps, which create cup-like limestone skeletons around themselves using calcium from seawater. Coral gets its beautiful colors from microalgae that live symbiotically with it.
Note: This appeared in the paper’s Business section. ‘Nuff said.
By Dana Hull, July 31, 2012. Source: San Jose Mercury News
Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak.
A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state’s 1,100-mile long coast.
Higher temperatures in the next decade means that far more of the state’s 37 million people will depend on air conditioning–increasing demand for electricity by up to 1 gigawatt during hot summer months. One gigawatt is roughly the size of two coal-fired power plants and is enough energy to power 750,000 homes.
“The demand for electricity will increase as households operate existing air conditioners more frequently, and in many regions will install air conditioners where there currently are few,” read a report on residential electricity demand by Max Auffhammer of the University of California, Berkeley. “ZIP codes with a higher share of Latino population and less-wealthy households are projected to experience larger increases in consumption.”
The California Natural Resources Agency and the California Energy Commission jointly released “Our Changing Climate 2012,” a series of peer-reviewed scientific studies designed to help California prepare for and adapt to climate change. More than 25 research teams from the University of California and other academicinstitutions produced 34 peer-reviewed studies on everything from vulnerability of the agriculture industry in Fresno County to long-term wildfire risk.
Note: Evidence now linking global warming to ozone depletion. Yes, Virginia, everything is interconnected.
–the GJEP Team
Source: Harvard Magazine
A team of Harvard scientists led by Weld professor of atmospheric chemistry James G. Anderson announced today the discovery of serious and wholly unexpected ozone loss over the United States in summer. The finding,published in advance online on July 26 at Science’s Science Express website, is startling because the complex atmospheric chemistry that destroys ozone has previously been thought to occur only at very cold temperatures over polar regions where there is very little threat to humans. (A large hole in the ozone layer persists over Antarctica.) The discovery also links for the first time ozone loss (an issue around which world leaders successfully organized to ban chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs) to climate change (a global problem that has so far proven politically intractable).
The following three pieces, by Anne Petermann, Dr. Rachel Smolker, and Keith Brunner were written in response to Bill McKibben’s new article in Rolling Stone magazine, titled, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – make clear who the real enemy is.”
The System Will Not be Reformed
Response by Anne Petermann
Bill McKibben, in his new Rolling Stone article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” does an effective job at summarizing the hard and theoretical numbers that warn us of the devastating impacts of continuing to burn the Earth’s remaining fossil fuel reserves–yet it somehow falls short of its stated goal to help mobilize a new movement for climate action.
While the article is full of facts and figures and the future they portend, it falls into several traps common to US-based environmentalists, which undermine its movement-building objective.
The first and most obvious trap is relying on math to mobilize a movement. Environmentalists, often worried about attacks on their credibility, or afraid they will be labeled “emotional” by industry, tend to focus on statistics, mathematical analyses and hard science to make their case. Unfortunately statistics like “565 Gigatons or 2,795 Gigatons” do not inspire passion.
While McKibben is focusing on Gigatons and percentages and degrees Celsuis, however, corporations like Shell are running multi-million dollar ad campaigns with TV commercials that feature families having fun, hospitals saving lives, children getting good educations, because of fossil fuels. Coal = energy security; natural gas = maintaining the American way of life. And as Dr. Rachel Smolker of BiofuelWatch points out below, some of these very same companies are moving into the bioenergy realm–wreaking yet more havoc on communities and ecosystems in the name of supposedly “clean, renewable energy.” They are playing both sides of the field in the effort to ensure Americans do not feel their way of life is in any way threatened–ensuring them that they can have their cake and eat it too. For while China may have surpassed the US in total annual carbon emissions, the US still leads, by far, the per capita release of CO2 emissions.
May 22, 2012/The Hague, Netherlands – Today, Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) addressed Shell executives and shareholders at Shell’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Hague, Netherlands highlighting the communities grievances with Shell’s current and proposed tar sands projects in their traditional territory in northern Alberta.
Shell’s Chairman was provided with a copy of the report “Risking Ruin: Shell’s dangerous developments in the Tar Sands, Arctic and Nigeria” launched last week by ACFN in partnership with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). The report profiles Indigenous communities impacted by Shell’s operations in Canada’s Alberta Tar Sands, Alaska’s Arctic Ocean, Ontario’s Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Africa’s Niger Delta arguing that the impacts of Shell’s destructive activities outweigh the benefits and exposes the company to both reputational damage and political risk, including litigation.
ACFN traveled with an Indigenous delegation from Canada and Alaska, coordinated by the UK Tar Sands Network and IEN, to attend Shell’s AGM. Indigenous representative presented to Shell’s Chairman and Board about the human and ecological rights violations the company’s operations have brought to their respective communities.
“Shell has failed to address our concerns in Canada’s tar sands by not meeting environmental standards, past agreements and refusing to address their impacts to our constitutionally protected treaty rights,” stated Deranger. “Shell’s current projects are contributing to the destruction of our traditional territory including vital watersheds and eco-systems. Now they propose to expand projects further degrading our lands and impairing our ability to practice our constitutionally protected rights to hunt, fish, trap and gather in the region.”
Shell executives refused to address the concerns brought forward by Deranger, stating that ACFN is nothing more then anomaly among First Nation communities in Alberta’s tar sands. Shell has been operating in Alberta’s tar sands since 2003 and now accounts for approximately 20% of overall operations in the region. ACFN has numerous grievances with the oil giant with disputes arising around permits, leases, applications, and unmet agreements. ACFN made headlines last year suing the oil giant for failure to meet past agreements regarding existing tar sands projects within ACFN traditional territory.
Shell’s plans to expand current projects include a new open pit tar sands mine in previously untouched regions of Athabasca Delta, more then doubling their production producing over 600,000 bpd. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation stated, “I sincerely hope that Shell executives and shareholders listen to our spokesperson. Our community is drawing the line because we’ve had enough. We have full intention of opposing all of Shell’s future tar sands projects in the region until our past grievances are met and there is full protection of our watersheds, eco-systems and our treaty rights in the region.”
By JEREMY PELZER Thursday, May 17, 2012
Cross-Posted from Star-Tribune
- CHEYENNE— It started as street theater in Cheyenne on Thursday, but by the end of summer, the group organizing the event said it will likely lead to confronting mine operators and law enforcement in Campbell County.
Anti-global warming activists from Wyoming and around the region say they’re planning a number of confrontational civil disobedience protests this summer against coal mines in the Powder River Basin.
The goal, said a High Country Rising Tide leader, is to interrupt business at the mines with “arrestable” activities designed to win publicity for its cause and cut into coal companies’ bottom lines.
High Country Rising Tide is the Wyoming chapter of the national group Rising Tide, which co-organized a rally and a series of protests last month in Washington, D.C., that resulted in dozens of arrests.
On Thursday morning, about 10 activists from the group protested outside the Bureau of Land Management’s Cheyenne office while the agency auctioned off a 243-acre coal-rich land tract in the Thunder Basin National Grassland. As people filed in for the auction, the sign-wielding protesters staged a street theater performance starring “King Coal.”
But the group soon plans do to more than performance art to advance its cause, said High County Rising Tide co-founder Kristen Owenreay, a University of Wyoming graduate student.
Organizers are currently planning a demonstration at a Powder River Basin coal mine sometime in July, Owenreay said. While they haven’t yet exactly decided what they’ll be doing, she said, they plan on doing activities designed to spark a police reaction and interrupt work at the mine.
In August, the group is planning a larger event — a week-long “radical change camp” in Campbell County that Owenreay said will attract environmental activists from around Wyoming and neighboring states.
During the “West by Northwest” camp from Aug. 2-10, attendees will be trained in civil disobedience, hold protests at area coal mines, and pitch in with community service projects, she said.
In particular, Owenreay said the group is targeting proposals to build several deep-water ports in the Pacific Northwest that would allow Powder River Basin coal to be shipped to energy-hungry Asian markets.
The goal, Owenreay said, is to eventually bring to a halt any usage of coal, one of the world’s primary sources of carbon dioxide emissions.
Such an objective is a tough sell in Wyoming, the top coal-producing state in the nation. But Owenreay said her group hopes to show coal companies, investors, and other associated industries that coal isn’t worth it economically.
“Everything that we do is aimed at either mobilizing public support or directly affecting their bottom line in a way that communicates that this is a poor investment,” she said. “This [BLM protest] is the first tiny piece in what’s going to be a big summer for us.”
Wyoming Mining Association Assistant Director Travis Deti said that while activists have a right to do what they want, it’s “disappointing” that they are trying to destroy an industry so vital to Wyoming.
“It’s important to our state, it’s important to our economy, it provides jobs in our state, and they’re just trying to shut us down,” he said.