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economic myopia
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News stories about "economic myopia," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?economic+myopia
Related Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ capitalist greed  ~ carbon emissions  ~ governmental idiocy  ~ global warming  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ short-term thinking  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ stupid humans  ~ contamination  ~ oil issues  



Fri, Aug 21, 2015
from NASA-funded report, via the National Post:
March, 2014: The utter collapse of human civilization will be 'difficult to avoid,' NASA funded study says
After running the numbers on a set of four equations representing human society, a team of NASA-funded mathematicians has come to the grim conclusion that the utter collapse of human civilization will be "difficult to avoid." The exact scenario may vary, but in the coming decades humanity is essentially doomed to some variant of "Elites" consuming too much, "resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society." That is, unless civilization is ready for one of two "major policy changes": inequality must be "greatly reduced" or population growth must be "strictly controlled."... The study starts by reducing human civilization into four easy-to-toggle factors: Elites, Commoners, nature and wealth. The paper explains that this was done because "ecological strain" and "economic stratification" are the only two things that consistently plague collapsing societies.... "We could posit that this buffer of wealth ... allows Elites to continue 'business as usual' despite the impending catastrophe," it continues, suggesting that these kind of "oblivious elites" destroyed the Mayans and the Romans. The only two scenarios that do not kill everyone, in fact, are the ones in which birth rates are either strictly controlled or "resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion." ...


What part of "reasonably" didn't we understand, in 2014?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 13, 2015
from Scientific American:
2015 Begins with CO2 above 400 PPM Mark
The new year has only just begun, but we've already recorded our first days with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million, potentially leading to many months in a row above this threshold, experts say. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography records of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels show that Jan. 1 was the first day of the new year above that concentration, followed by Jan. 3 and Jan. 7. Daily averages have continued at this level or higher through Jan. 9, though they could continue to dance up and down around that mark due to day-to-day variations caused by weather systems. But even with those fluctuations, 2015 will likely see many months above 400 ppm, possibly starting with the very first month of the year. ...


I'm pretty sure that 400 ppm was a Wild-Assed Guess (WAG), and so isn't really anything to fear, much, really.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jan 9, 2015
from Grist:
Challenging the divine right of big energy
... The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again. In that little junk shop on a quiet street in San Francisco, I held a relic from one of the great upheavals of the last millennium. It made me think of a remarkable statement the great feminist fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin had made only a few weeks earlier. In the course of a speech she gave while accepting a book award she noted, "We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings."... As it happens, the planet's changing climate now demands that we summon up the energy to leave behind the Age of Fossil Fuel (and maybe with it some portion of the Age of Capitalism as well). ...


This sounds as if the Age of Constant Growth might be coming to a close!

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Sat, Dec 13, 2014
from The Independent (UK):
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
The collapsing oil price that is reshaping the global economy could derail the green energy revolution by making renewable power sources prohibitively bad value, experts have warned. Oil tumbled below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years yesterday - a fall of 44 per cent since June. It is forecast to fall further. A new "era of cheap oil" would be good news for consumers and motorists - but analysts say the consequences for politics, industry and the climate could be even more radical. The ripple effects could help the Conservatives to remain in power at next year's general election by making voters feel richer as bills fall - while hurting Scotland's oil-reliant economy and setting back its campaign for independence. ...


Let's rethink ourselves, and rethink that again.

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Wed, Dec 10, 2014
from Associated Press:
As US cleans up, it's exporting more pollution
Heat-trapping pollution released into the atmosphere from rising exports of U.S. gasoline and diesel dwarfs the cuts made from fuel efficiency standards and other efforts to reduce global warming in the United States, according to a new Associated Press investigation. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. has reduced more carbon pollution from energy than any other nation, about 475 million tons between 2008 and 2013, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Less than one-fifth of that amount came from burning less gasoline and diesel fuel. Yet the U.S. is sending more fuel than ever to other parts of the world, where efforts to address resulting pollution are just getting underway, if advancing at all. U.S. exports of gasoline and diesel released roughly 1 billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere elsewhere during the same period, according to AP's analysis. This fossil fuel trade has helped President Barack Obama meet political goals to curb carbon dioxide at home, by taking it off America's pollution balance sheet. But that does not necessarily help the planet. ...


This is one of those good news/apocalyptic news type scenarios.

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Mon, Dec 8, 2014
from Climate Central:
Low Oil Prices May Bode Ill For Climate
Climate change and falling crude oil prices coalesce at the gas pump. Filling the gas tank of a Hummer for $2.18 per gallon in Texas or $2.39 per gallon in New Jersey when a year ago those prices were as much as 75 cents higher means that it's likely people will drive more, burning more gasoline and spewing more CO2 into the atmosphere, experts say.... But since the cost of gasoline fell as crude oil prices began falling earlier this year, gasoline consumption has increased by about 15 percent since January, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. ...


Hummer and Hummer to

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 4, 2014
from :
Food diversity at risk
... But fewer people have heard about another ongoing mass extinction that involves the foods that we eat. More than 75 percent of the fruit and vegetable varieties that humans once consumed have already gone the way of the wooly mammoth and the saber-toothed tiger, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. And half of all domesticated animal breeds have been lost in roughly the past century. Apple historian Dan Bussey says that of the 20,000 named apple varieties that have been cultivated in North America, only 4,000 remain. Thousands of varieties of rice once flourished in the Philippines. Today, less than 100 varieties survive. And similar numbers could be cited for virtually all of our food crops. This massive loss of diversity is - you guessed it - the result of the rapid spread of industrial agriculture and the increasing standardization of the food industry, where unconventional varieties have been squeezed off of supermarket shelves. ...


A farmer's gotta eat.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2014
from Bloomberg:
EPA Power Plant Mercury Rule Gets U.S. Supreme Court Review
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the Obama administration went too far with new power-plant pollution caps the government estimates will cost almost $10 billion a year. The justices today said they will hear industry and state contentions that the Environmental Protection Agency didn't adequately consider those costs when it limited mercury and other hazardous pollutants. ...


Our grandchildren are going to hate us.

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Mon, Nov 24, 2014
from Public News Service:
Poll Finds Support for Climate Action, Despite Some IN Opposition
Some of Indiana's leaders have voiced outspoken opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, but a new poll indicates a majority of voters don't share those views. Melissa Williams, national political director for the Sierra Club, says the group's new post-election poll of voters in six key states finds, regardless of who they supported in the 2014 midterm election, most want congressional action to address climate change. ...


If we wanted leaders who listen we would elect listeners NOT leaders.

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Wed, Nov 19, 2014
from NPR:
Senate Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, In A Close Vote
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline project to expand an oil pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico has failed the approval of Congress, after the Senate voted against the project Tuesday. The House passed its version of the bill Friday. An early tally showed 35 for and 30 against the bill; subsequent calls for senators' votes failed to net the 60 votes needed for passage. The decisive 41st "No" vote came with 55 votes in favor, and the final tally was 59-41. ...


This XL pipeline vote was Xtra close!

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Tue, Nov 11, 2014
from Kunstler, via Zero Hedge:
Crossing the Frontier of Criticality
... All of these systems have something in common: they've exceeded their fragility threshold and crossed into the frontier of criticality. They have nowhere to go except failure. It would be nice if we could construct leaner and more local systems to replace these monsters, but there is too much vested interest in them. For instance, the voters slapped down virtually every major ballot proposition to invest in light rail and public transit around the country. The likely explanation is that they've bought the story that shale oil will allow them to drive to WalMart forever. That story is false, by the way. The politicos put it over because they believe the Wall Street fraudsters who are pimping a junk finance racket in shale oil for short-term, high-yield returns. The politicos want desperately to believe the story because the background reality is too difficult to contemplate: an American living arrangement with no future. The public, of course, is eager to believe the same story for the same reasons, but at some point they'll flip and blame the story-tellers, and their wrath could truly wreck what remains of this polity. When it is really too late to fix any of these things, they'll beg someone to tell them what to do, and the job-description for that position is dictator.... ...


As long as the Internets run on time, the rest will take care of itself.

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Tue, Oct 21, 2014
from Mother Jones:
Why Did Top Scientific Journals Reject This Dr. Bronner's Ad?
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. Sample sentence, from the 18-in-1 Hemp PEPPERMINT soap bottle: "Each swallow works hard to be perfect pilot-provider-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate!" But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder (the one with the elaborate prose style), has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops, as Josh Harkinson's recent Mother Jones profile shows. But apparently, Bronner's writing on GMOs is too hot for the advertising pages of the English-speaking world's two most renowned science journals, Science and Nature--even though a slew of magazines, including Scientific American, The New Yorker, Harper's, The Nation, Harvard, and, yes, Mother Jones, accepted the Bronner ad. It consists of a short essay, known in publishing as an advertorial, that's nothing like the wild-eyed rants on his company's soap bottles. Bronner's ad (PDF) focuses on how GMO crops have led to a net increase in pesticide use in the United States, citing an analysis by Ramon Seidler, a retired senior staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. ...


I think those overly-respected journals just can't get behind 5-point type, saying 'pilot-provider-teacher-lover-mate, no half-true hate!'"

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Mon, Sep 8, 2014
from CBC:
Canada's degradation of pristine, intact forests leads world
The world's precious few remaining large forests are fragmenting at an alarming rate, and the degradation in Canada leads the world, a new analysis shows. The degradation of such pristine "intact" forests threatens species such as Canada's woodland caribou and Asia's tigers that rely on huge unbroken expanses of natural ecosystems in order to survive, said Nigel Sizer, global director of forest programs with the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based research institute focused on resource sustainability. ...


We also lead the world in tar sands!

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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
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More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Sat, Aug 30, 2014
from US Dep:
Gross Domestic Product, Second Quarter 2014 (Second Estimate); Corporate Profits, Second Quarter 2014 (Preliminary Estimate)
Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 2.1 percent. ...


I'm beginning to believe that "Growth is Theft (of the future)."

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Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Financial Review:
Coal always wins and will stay No. 1, says carbon king Boyce
Peabody Energy chief executive Greg Boyce is calling on coal producers to spend more time and money fighting "symbolic" movements against the industry and is confident China will not adopt a cap on carbon emissions. As the anti-coal collective gathers more mainstream backers, St Louis-based Mr Boyce says the industry needs to do more to counter the attacks, particularly the global fossil fuels divestment campaign. But he is confident that "coal always wins out". ...


In fact, coal will even vanquish us.

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Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows
Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists.... "Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and millions of gallons of fluids containing numerous inorganic and organic additives were injected directly into these two formations during hundreds of stimulation events," concluded Dominic DiGiulio and Robert Jackson of Stanford's School of Earth Sciences... they point out that there is no way of knowing the effects of fracking into groundwater resources because regulators have not assessed the scope and impact of the activity. ...


It's only water!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 7, 2014
from George Monbiot:
The Pricing of Everything
... Problem Two is that you are effectively pushing the natural world even further into the system that is eating it alive. Dieter Helm, the Chairman of the Natural Capital Committee, said the following in the same report I quoted from just a moment ago. "The environment is part of the economy and needs to be properly integrated into it so that growth opportunities will not be missed."(9) There, ladies and gentlemen, you have what seems to me the Government's real agenda. This is not to protect the natural world from the depredations of the economy. It is to harness the natural world to the economic growth that has been destroying it. All the things which have been so damaging to the living planet are now being sold to us as its salvation; commodification, economic growth, financialisation, abstraction. Now, we are told, these devastating processes will protect it. (Sorry, did I say the living planet? I keep getting confused about this. I meant asset classes within an ecosystem market.)... Among the most famous of these was its valuation of mangrove forests. It maintained that if a businessman or businesswoman cuts down a mangrove forest and replaces it with a shrimp farm, that will be worth around $1,200 per hectare per year to that person. If we leave the mangrove forest standing, because it protects the communities who live on the coastline and because it is a wonderful breeding ground for fish and crustaceans, it will be worth $12,000 per hectare per year(12). So when people see the figures they will conclude that it makes sense to save the mangrove forests, and hey presto, we have solved the problem. My left foot! People have known for centuries the tremendous benefits that mangrove forests deliver. But has that protected them from being turned into shrimp farms or beach resorts? No, it hasn't. And the reason it hasn't is that it might be worth $12,000 to the local impoverished community of fisher folk, but if it's worth $1,200 to a powerful local politician who wants to turn it into shrimp farms, that counts for far more. Putting a price on the forest doesn't in any way change that relationship. You do not solve the problem this way. You do not solve the problem without confronting power. But what we are doing here is reinforcing power, is strengthening the power of the people with the money, the power of the economic system as a whole against the power of nature.... ...


George Monbiot may be the worldwide ecosystem's Oscar Wilde, itemizing neoliberalism's price of everything, while showing it values nothing.

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Wed, Jul 30, 2014
from Climate Progress:
Legislators, Corporations Gather For Secret Meeting Against Clean Energy And You're Not Invited
...Going into their annual meeting in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, ALEC -- the secretive organization that brings together conservative politicians and major corporate interests -- is looking to recalibrate their approach to repealing or obstructing a range of clean energy initiatives after a year of state-level defeats. The 40-year-old group, which has been pushing a corporate-backed, free market-driven agenda for decades, is beholden to a number of utilities and fossil fuel companies that bankroll them and they are expected to show results. At the same time, with renewable energy gaining momentum across the country and homeowners increasingly eager to get in on the rapid growth and falling prices, ALEC risks alienating itself from the public yet again. ...


You dirty rats.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 8, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi Arabia
The U.S. will remain the world's biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia as extraction of energy from shale rock spurs the nation's economic recovery, Bank of America Corp. said. U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world's largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids... The U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, still imported an average of 7.5 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to the Department of Energy's statistical arm. ...


Insatiable.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from InsideClimate News:
EPA Too Fixated on the 'Global' in Global Warming, Says U.S. Chamber
Business groups opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency's crackdown on carbon pollution want the Obama administration to stop paying so much attention to the "global" part of global warming... But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the fossil fuel industry are taking the position that when considering whether regulations make economic sense, the government should consider only benefits that accrue directly to Americans--since they'll bear the cost of regulations. ...


What could wrong with that attitude?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 15, 2014
from Chronicle-Herald:
Fracking's magic-bullet moment fading fast
I was cruising the Internet a couple of weeks ago when this headline in the Los Angeles Times made my eyes pop: "U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey shale oil by 96 per cent." Ninety six per cent! Since the Monterey formation accounts for two-thirds of the supposed reserves available for fracking that would make the U.S. not only energy independent but a powerhouse exporter to the world, this was a big bubble bursting. Amazing that you haven't heard of it, but such is the tenacity of the world's built-in resistance to energy reality. ...


That bubble metaphor is so stale. The fracking ship came in and then left the station of the crossroads when failure was not an option. That's metaphoric flexibility. Got it?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 13, 2014
from Forbes:
If Antarctic Melting Has Passed The Point Of No Return, We Should Do Less About Climate Change, Not More
If it's going to happen anyway then we shouldn't waste resources in trying to stop it happening.... For however much we impoverish ourselves by killing off industrial society, or by razing all the coal fired stations to build more expensive solar installations, that flooding is going to happen anyway. So, why make ourselves poorer in order to change nothing?... We might as well face the floods being as rich, fat and happy as we can, without wasting resources on trying to prevent something inevitable. ...


When did Forbes buy The Onion?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 30, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Russia Ships First Arctic Oil, Fortifies Oil Defenses
Riding on his pride in the first export of Russian Arctic oil earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that allows oil and gas corporations to establish private armed security forces to defend their infrastructure, upping the ante for protestors. On the same day, April 22, Earth Day, Putin also met with the Russian Security Council. There he said, "Oil and gas production facilities, loading terminals and pipelines should be reliably protected from terrorists and other potential threats. Nothing can be treated as trivia here." ...


Don't let anyone tell you we are not at war.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from GreenTech Media:
FirstEnergy CEO: Renewables 'Sound Good' but Should Take Backseat to Coal
FirstEnergy CEO Anthony Alexander traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to speak in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the challenges his utility is facing. With electricity use flatlining and renewable energy eroding margins for traditional generators, Alexander was not there to call for more regulatory flexibility to help the utility industry embrace these technologies. Instead, he called for a renewed focus on fossil fuels. "We need to develop a national energy plan that will allow us to take advantage of our vast supply of domestically produced resources -- both coal and natural gas -- and our superior electric system to stimulate and support our economy," he said in prepared statements. Strong promotion of renewables, said Alexander, is a threat to the electric system. ...


Sounds like he's putting his business "first" and everything else a distant second.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 11, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
Hearings begin today in latest push against Ohio energy laws
Hearings begin today on an Ohio bill that would cancel requirements for additional renewable energy and energy efficiency after 2014. Senate Bill 310 would freeze Ohio's renewable and alternative energy requirements at 2014 levels. Those levels are about one-tenth of the current law's target of 25 percent by 2025. Energy efficiency requirements would stay at the 2014 level of 4.2 percent. Current law calls for a 22 percent cumulative reduction in retail electricity sales by 2025. That's about five times as much as the 2014 levels. ...


Sometimes it seems we are willfully trying to destroy our habitat.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from Washington Post:
Five takeaways from State Department's review of the Keystone XL pipeline
The State Department has finished its massive environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, down to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would move on to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Bottom line: The report concludes that blocking or approving the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant" impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansion. That's because, it argues, most of Alberta's oil will likely find a way to get to the market anyway -- if not by pipeline, then by rail. ...


Human conquest of Mother Earth is now complete.

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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
China approves massive new coal capacity despite pollution fears
China approved the construction of more than 100 million tonnes of new coal production capacity in 2013 - six times more than a year earlier and equal to 10 percent of U.S. annual usage - flying in the face of plans to tackle choking air pollution. While efforts to curb pollution mean coal's share of the country's energy mix is set to dip, the total amount of the cheap and plentiful fuel burned will still rise. The scale of the increase, which only includes major mines, reflects Beijing's aim to put 860 million tonnes of new coal production capacity into operation over the five years to 2015, more than the entire annual output of India. ...


Ridiculous clown-caps have to be made somewhere, right?

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Sat, Dec 21, 2013
from Rolling Stone:
Obama and Climate Change: The Real Story
If you want to understand how people will remember the Obama climate legacy, a few facts tell the tale: By the time Obama leaves office, the U.S. will pass Saudi Arabia as the planet's biggest oil producer and Russia as the world's biggest producer of oil and gas combined. In the same years, even as we've begun to burn less coal at home, our coal exports have climbed to record highs. We are, despite slight declines in our domestic emissions, a global-warming machine: At the moment when physics tell us we should be jamming on the carbon brakes, America is revving the engine. ...


Bafrack Coalbama

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Reuters:
Keystone XL pipeline loses support from U.S. customer
Continental Resources, one of the companies that has committed to ship crude on TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, now says the controversial pipeline is no longer needed. Continental has signed on to ship some 35,000 barrels of its own oil from the Bakken field of North Dakota on the 1,179-mile, $5.4-billion Keystone XL line. But construction of the pipeline has been delayed for years as TransCanada has sought regulatory approvals, and Continental has since turned to railroads to get its crude to oil refineries...The largest U.S. railroads will likely transport about 400,000 carloads of crude oil in 2013, versus just 9,500 in 2008, according to estimates from the Association of American Railroads. ...


At our current trajectory we will all end up tramps on those trains.

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Thu, Nov 14, 2013
from Ensia/Scientific American:
14 humans fed/acre vs. 3 humans fed/acre. It's Time to Rethink America's Corn System
... For corn-fed animals, the efficiency of converting grain to meat and dairy calories ranges from roughly 3 percent to 40 percent, depending on the animal production system in question. What this all means is that little of the corn crop actually ends up feeding American people. It's just math. The average Iowa cornfield has the potential to deliver more than 15 million calories per acre each year (enough to sustain 14 people per acre, with a 3,000 calorie-per-day diet, if we ate all of the corn ourselves), but with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only 3 people per acre. This is lower than the average delivery of food calories from farms in Bangladesh, Egypt and Vietnam. In short, the corn crop is highly productive, but the corn system is aligned to feed cars and animals instead of feeding people. ...


Careful. You're messing with the Free Market, here.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Americans Finding Themselves Powerless to Stop Pipeline Companies From Taking Their Land
...Michigan, like almost every other state that is crisscrossed by oil pipelines, does not stipulate how much space should separate pipelines from houses. The state's Public Service Commission asks only that pipelines be "designed and routed in a reasonable manner."... A section of the new line already has been installed about 7 feet from Marty Burke's house in Howell, Mich. -- so close that Enbridge used a special process to make sure his foundation didn't collapse. "At every level of government I contacted, they all said they had no regulations or no authority to do anything," Burke said. ...


Maybe he could hang his laundry on it.

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Sun, Sep 8, 2013
from VTT, via DesdemonaDespair:
Finnish study on climate change shows procrastination over mitigation measures could prove costly
According to Ekholm's calculations, curbing climate change to two degrees would require worldwide emissions trading and a price of approximately EUR 20 per one tonne of CO2 in 2020. Current emissions trading systems are regional, and the price in the EU system, for example, has at times been as low as EUR 2-3 per tonne. "By the end of the century, we should be looking at prices well in excess of EUR 100", Ekholm says. Ekholm portrays the setting as a question of risk management: Mitigation measures are likely to end up costing less if they are instigated straight away. If the sensitivity of climate change turns out to be lower than the consensus forecast, the intensity of measures can be pulled back. If, however, the sensitivity proves to be higher than anticipated, the cost of the then inevitable cuts to emissions may rise to intolerable levels in the short term. "In the worst case scenario, the price of one tonne of CO2 could rise to levels as high as EUR 1,000. The probability of this scenario is in the region of a few per cent. The risk is not huge but not marginal either." ...


I take a "wait and see" attitude about the perils of procrastination.

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Sun, Sep 1, 2013
from Kunstler.com:
Kunstler on impending worldwide financial collapse
The world is swiftly moving to the dangerous place where nations won't be able to do business with each other because they don't trust the institutions that control wealth, which includes central banks, commercial banks, and governments. It will happen when the purveyors of international commodities, oil especially, refuse to accept the letters of credit issued by untrustworthy intermediaries. And when that dark moment arrives, nations will throw tantrums. The USA may be the loudest baby in the playpen.... When it does blow, at least the NSA will have its prepared "to-do" list, and then perhaps all the unemployed can be enlisted at $8 an hour to harass the rest of the people trying to go about their daily lives. The roar you hear in the distance this September will be the sound of banks crashing, followed by the silence of business-as-usual grinding to a halt. After that, the crackle of gunfire. ...


It's as if he's predicting a long emergency or something.

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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Large coal power plants getting life extensions
The nation's big coal-burning power plants are not ready to become dinosaurs. Utilities are making substantial investments to keep their largest coal generating stations operating for decades -- and emitting millions of tons of carbon dioxide annually. Upgrades planned or underway at more than 100 Midwestern coal power plants will reduce emissions of mercury or other air pollutants. But they won't affect greenhouse gas emissions that the Obama administration says it will regulate in 2015 to address climate change. ...


Ol' man coal plant ... He don't say nuthin' ... He jes' keeps rollin' along

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Q&A: ALEC's new tactics to weaken renewable laws
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) continued its assault on state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) during its 40th annual conference in Chicago earlier this month, with members voting on model legislation that could limit the power of the laws to spark new clean energy construction. Though bills meant to revoke or undercut renewable standards in numerous states failed last session, clean energy advocates say the model Market Power Renewables Act and the Renewable Energy Credit Act proposed by ALEC's energy task force during the conference pose a fresh threat. The Market Power Renewables Act argues for a "voluntary market" that would allow people to invest in renewable energy if they choose without instituting mandates... ...


The only thing "voluntary" the fossil fuel industry does is voluntarily ruin the earth.

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Tue, Jul 30, 2013
from Grantham Research Institute/Carbon Tracker:
Investing in vapor: financial risks of stranded fossil fuel investments (PDF)
... The modelling used in previous analyses by Carbon Tracker and the IEA showed that the carbon budget for a 2 degree C scenario would be around 565 - 886 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) to 2050.... This budget, however, is only a fraction of the carbon embedded in the world's indicated fossil fuel reserves, which amount to 2,860Gt CO2. A precautionary approach means only 20 percent of total fossil fuel reserves can be burnt to 2050. As a result the global economy already faces the prospect of assets becoming stranded, with the problem only likely to get worse if current investment trends continue - in effect, a carbon bubble. ...


I'm banking on the bubble keeping the balloon afloat!

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Sat, Jul 27, 2013
from New York Times:
Power companies wake to 'existential threat'
For years, power companies have watched warily as solar panels have sprouted across the nation's rooftops. Now, in almost panicked tones, they are fighting hard to slow the spread. Alarmed by what they say has become an existential threat to their business, utility companies are moving to roll back government incentives aimed at promoting solar energy and other renewable sources of power. At stake, the companies say, is nothing less than the future of the American electricity industry. ...


Beware any entity fighting for its very life.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from The Hill:
Hoeven predicts efficiency bill will collapse without Keystone pipeline attached
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) predicted Wednesday that bipartisan energy efficiency legislation heading to the Senate floor faces a grim future unless it eventually includes language to advance the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A broad energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is believed to be coming to the Senate floor in late July. Hoeven, who is weighing offering a Keystone amendment to the bill, said there's not enough Republican support for the legislation on Capitol Hill unless it includes Keystone. ...


Dude, we are all facing a grim future.

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Sun, Jul 14, 2013
from The Independent:
Ancient wood to be felled for quarry
An area of ancient woodland the size of 16 football pitches in Kent will be destroyed to make way for a ragstone quarry after the government ruled that the commercial benefits of the development outweighed the habitat loss. In a ruling that raises fears for the future of more than 300 ancient woods around the country, local government secretary Eric Pickles yesterday waived through an application to extend a ragstone quarry into the 400-year old Oaken Wood near Maidstone. The resulting deforestation is thought to represent the largest loss of ancient woodland in the UK in the past five years. It would destroy about a sixth of the sweet chestnut coppice, which supports a range of plants and rare animals but is best known for two bat species - the Common Pipstrelle and the Natterer's bat.... "With just 2 per cent of ancient woodland cover remaining, we cannot afford to lose any more," she added, saying that the cover has been steadily declining in the 15 years since her group started recording the woodlands at risk from development. ...


It's not as if stuff isn't getting older every day!

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Sat, Jun 29, 2013
from Foreign Policy:
Oh, Canada: How America's friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate.
For decades, the world has thought of Canada as America's friendly northern neighbor -- a responsible, earnest, if somewhat boring, land of hockey fans and single-payer health care. On the big issues, it has long played the global Boy Scout, reliably providing moral leadership on everything from ozone protection to land-mine eradication to gay rights. The late novelist Douglas Adams once quipped that if the United States often behaved like a belligerent teenage boy, Canada was an intelligent woman in her mid-30s. Basically, Canada has been the United States -- not as it is, but as it should be.... But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It's no longer America's better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent's energy-soaked future. That's right: The good neighbor has banked its economy on the cursed elixir of political dysfunction -- oil. Flush with visions of becoming a global energy superpower, Canada's government has taken up with pipeline evangelists, petroleum bullies, and climate change skeptics. Turns out the Boy Scout's not just hooked on junk crude -- he's become a pusher. And that's not even the worst of it. ...


Ow, Canada.

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Sun, Jun 23, 2013
from Guardian:
Shale gas won't stop peak oil, but could create an economic crisis
One internal EIA document said oil companies had exaggerated "the appearance of shale gas well profitability" by highlighting performance only from the best wells, and using overly optimistic models for productivity projections over decades. The NYT reported that the EIA often "relies on research from outside consultants with ties to the industry."... Independent studies published over the last few months cast even more serious doubt over the viability of the shale gas boom.... "Shale gas can continue to grow but only at higher prices and that growth will require an ever escalating drilling treadmill with associated collateral financial and environmental costs - and its long term sustainability is highly questionable." ...


But those Enron guys seemed so trustworthy.

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from New York Times:
Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust
... And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains. This is in many ways a slow-motion crisis -- decades in the making, imminent for some, years or decades away for others, hitting one farm but leaving an adjacent one untouched. But across the rolling plains and tarmac-flat farmland near the Kansas-Colorado border, the effects of depletion are evident everywhere. Highway bridges span arid stream beds. Most of the creeks and rivers that once veined the land have dried up as 60 years of pumping have pulled groundwater levels down by scores and even hundreds of feet.... In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state's portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet -- nearly a third of the total decline since 1996. And that is merely the average. "I know my staff went out and re-measured a couple of wells because they couldn't believe it," said Lane Letourneau, a manager at the State Agriculture Department's water resources division. "There was a 30-foot decline."... "Looking at areas of Texas where the groundwater has really dropped, those towns are just a shell of what they once were," said Jim Butler, a hydrogeologist and senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey. ...


"Peak Water" was so 20th century.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
'Chemicals of high concern' found in thousands of children's products
Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams. An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America's largest companies shows that toys and other children's products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure. The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap, Mattel, Gymboree, Nike, H&M and Wal-Mart, to comply with an unprecedented state law. ...


Not totally sure the public gives a shit.

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Wed, May 1, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.us in heated controversy over political ads
Mark Zuckerberg is being unfriended by progressives angered by television ads from his political advocacy group Fwd.us that praise lawmakers for supporting the expansion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.... Though none of the ads suggest that Zuckerberg or Facebook support these policies, that distinction may be lost on the general public. ...


The general public is too busy being on Facebook to delve into the nuances of anything.

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Sat, Apr 20, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Carbon-Intensive Investors Risk $6 Trillion 'Bubble,' Study Says
The top 200 oil, gas and mining companies spent $674 billion last year finding and developing fossil fuel resources, according to research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and a climate-change research unit at the London School of Economics. If this rate continues for the next decade some $6 trillion risks being wasted on "unburnable" or stranded assets, according to the report, released today.... Bonds of fossil fuel companies could be vulnerable to ratings downgrades, pushing up their financing costs while equity valuations could plummet as much as 60 percent if industries become less carbon-intensive, the study showed, citing HSBC Holdings Plc analysis. The analysis shows that 60 to 80 percent of coal, oil and gas reserves of the 200 public companies studied could be unburnable if the world is to curb emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, a United Nations target. ...


Massive bubble, toil and trouble, BAU, and down we double.

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Tue, Apr 16, 2013
from Public Citizen:
New Report Finds: Keystone XL Would Increase Gas Prices and Reduce National Security
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline is likely to increase gas prices contradicting claims by pipeline proponents, a new Public Citizen report finds. Public Citizen also concluded that because the Keystone pipeline is designed to promote exports from Canadian tar sands, it will reduce national energy security -- not bolster it, as pipeline backers claim. The report, America Can't Afford the Keystone Pipeline, documents rapidly increasing Chinese national government interests in Canadian tar sands, further confounding security claims. ...


Helloooo. Keystone is supposed to benefit the rich and politicians they support.

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from TomDispatch:
Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the "Stonewall" of the Climate Movement?
...Recently, I had a long talk with an administration insider who kept telling me that, for the next decade, we should focus all our energies on "killing coal." Why? Because it was politically feasible. And indeed we should, but climate-change science makes it clear that we need to put the same sort of thought and creative energy into killing oil and natural gas, too. I mean, the Arctic -- from Greenland to its seas -- essentially melted last summer in a way never before seen. The frozen Arctic is like a large physical feature. It's as if you woke up one morning and your left arm was missing.... ...


And, the missing arm returned to choke you to death!

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Mon, Apr 8, 2013
from Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
286-acre solar farm OK'd for Indianapolis
A sprawling solar farm planned for Indianapolis' south side faces opposition from nearby residents worried its solar arrays will create irritating glints of reflected sunlight and harm property values.... Some said they feared reduced property values and problems with drainage and future development. ...


It's a new form of NIMBY: NOMDE, Not On My Deteriorating Earth.

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from HSBC, via GoFossilFree:
Oil & Carbon Futures Revisited
The IEA(s World Energy Outlook (2012 edition) estimated that in order to have a 50 percent chance of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees C, only a third of current fossil fuel reserves can be burned before 2050. The balance could be regarded as "unburnable."... In a low-carbon world, defined as limiting future CO2 emissions until 2050 to 1,440Gt, oil demand would fall post 2010. Gas demand would continue to grow but at a slower rate than currently. This means some potential oil and gas developments would no longer be needed. ... Price risk a material threat: Although not directly related to 'unburnable' carbon, a greater risk to the [oil] sector would be if lower demand led to lower oil and gas prices. In that case, the potential value at risk could rise to 40-60 percent of market cap. Low costs are the key: Because of its long-term nature, we doubt the market is pricing in the risk of a loss of value from this issue. ...


This bottle is half-full of risky value. Or is that half-empty of valuable risk?

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Tue, Mar 19, 2013
from NPR:
Where The Bank Really Keeps Your Money
Cyprus has about as many residents as the Bronx. All Cypriot banks combined are smaller than the 30th-largest U.S. bank. So why is the country's financial system front-page news today? The answer, in large part, comes down to two words: Deposit insurance. Deposit insurance is one of those boring-sounding finance terms that's central to the way the world works today. Everybody is freaking out over Cyprus because the country just called into question the sanctity of deposit insurance. Deposit insurance was invented because of a frightening fact: Even the most boring, safe, neighborhood bank is in a crazy, risky business. A bank takes money people put in checking and savings accounts -- money those people are allowed to withdraw at any time -- and lends it out to people who don't have to pay it back for 30 years.... In Cyprus, deposit insurance covers accounts up to 100,000 euros. At least, it was supposed to. But this weekend, the country broke the fundamental promise of deposit insurance..... ...


I thought generalized environmental collapse was scary, but this... is serious!

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from PNAS, via PhysOrg:
Global warming will open unexpected new shipping routes in Arctic, researchers find
"The development is both exciting from an economic development point of view and worrisome in terms of safety, both for the Arctic environment and for the ships themselves," said lead researcher Laurence C. Smith, a professor of geography at UCLA. The findings, which explore accessibility during the Arctic's most navigable month of the year, September, appear in the latest issue of the scholarly journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Plus. The first thorough assessment of trans-Arctic shipping potential as global temperatures continue to rise, the study is based on independent climate forecasts for the years 2040 to 2059. By mid-century, even ordinary shipping vessels will be able to navigate previously inaccessible parts of the Arctic Ocean, and they will not need icebreakers to blaze their path as they do today, the researchers found. "We're talking about a future in which open-water vessels will, at least during some years, be able to navigate unescorted through the Arctic, which at the moment is inconceivable," said co-author Scott R. Stephenson, a Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA Department of Geography. ...


Inconceivable?

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Canadian crude oil finds a new pathway through Minnesota
If President Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, large quantities of the Canadian oil it's designed to carry will still roll into the United States -- on railroads with tracks through Minnesota. The proposed pipeline across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska has provoked opposition from environmental activists who say extraction of crude oil from tar sands increases greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As anti-pipeline groups have pressed the White House to kill the project, the oil and railroad industries have been building oil-loading terminals and buying tank cars to ship Canadian crude oil by rail. ...


The show must go on.

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Mon, Mar 4, 2013
from Columbia Journalism Review:
NYT cancels Green blog - No explanation from editors following surprise announcement
At 5pm on Friday afternoon, The New York Times posted the following announcement: The Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas. This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects. But we will forge ahead with our aggressive reporting on environmental and energy topics, including climate change, land use, threatened ecosystems, government policy, the fossil fuel industries, the growing renewables sector and consumer choices. This is terrible news, to say the least. When the Times announced in January that it was dismantling its three-year-old environment pod and reassigning its editors and reporters to other desks, managing editor Dean Baquet insisted that the outlet remained as committed as ever to covering the environment. Obviously, that was an outright lie. ...


...bump bump bump... Another one bites the dust.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from Grist:
Not-so-smart ALEC: How the lobbying group uses bad data to fight clean energy
Renewable energy is clean, sustainable, non-polluting, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, improves the health of communities surrounding power plants, and protects the natural environment. Who could be against it? Answer: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a lobbying group that is active in drafting and advocating controversial state legislation.... ALEC wants to speed up the permitting process for mines, oil and gas wells, and power plants -- and to eliminate all state requirements for the use of renewable energy. The latter goal is packaged as the "Electricity Freedom Act.” ...


I hear ALEC is changing their name to Enhanced Volition for Independent Legislation (EVIL).

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Reuters:
Arctic needs protection from resource rush as ice melts: U.N. body
The Arctic needs to be better protected from a rush for natural resources as melting ice makes mineral and energy exploration easier, the United Nations' Environment Programme (UNEP) said..."What we are seeing is that the melting of ice is prompting a rush for exactly the fossil fuel resources that fuelled the melt in the first place," said Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. ...


Irony? ...or tragedy?

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Inside Climate News:
Oil Sands Mining Uses Up Almost as Much Energy as It Produces
The average "energy returned on investment," or EROI, for conventional oil is roughly 25:1. In other words, 25 units of oil-based energy are obtained for every one unit of other energy that is invested to extract it. But tar sands oil is in a category all its own. Tar sands retrieved by surface mining has an EROI of only about 5:1, according to research scheduled to be released Tuesday. Tar sands retrieved from deeper beneath the earth, through steam injection, fares even worse, with a maximum average ratio of just 2.9 to 1. That means one unit of natural gas is needed to create less than three units of oil-based energy. "They have to use a lot of natural gas to upgrade this heavy, sticky, gooky almost tar-like stuff to make it fluid enough to use," said Charles Hall, a professor at the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry. ...


EROI: Every Resource's Obituary, I think.

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Mon, Feb 11, 2013
from Politico:
John Kerry mum on Keystone XL pipeline
Secretary of State John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart refused to offer hints Friday about the biggest economic decision facing their countries: the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. But they stressed that the U.S. and Canada agree on a host of economic and environmental causes -- including climate change, the same issue that has motivated many of Keystone's green opponents to try to kill the project. ...


John Kerry to kill Keystone project: JK!

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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
Heineman approves Keystone XL route; pipeline's fate back in Obama's hands
Gov. Dave Heineman delighted supporters and deflated opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline Tuesday when he approved a new route through Nebraska, saying the project represents a minimal environmental threat while holding substantial economic promise. ...


Such myopia is to be admired.

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Mon, Jan 21, 2013
from The Daily Climate:
Sustainable development efforts mostly fail, research finds
World leaders have so far failed to raise people out of poverty by economic development while at the same time avoiding the worst effects of climate change, Swedish researchers say. A study of 134 countries published by TCO, a confederation of 15 Swedish trade unions, shows that sustainable development is not yet close to being achieved, despite it being the stated aim of many politicians. Yet it remains the official policy of the United Nations, the aim of climate negotiations, Earth summits and many international economic forums. The theory is that countries can develop and at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions by combining energy efficiency and the greater use of renewable sources of power. About 40 countries have managed to do this, but the vast majority have not - and among those that have failed, the study says, are the fastest-growing economies and the most polluting: China, the US and India. ...


The only thing sustained is their empty promises.

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Sun, Jan 13, 2013
from Andrew Revkin, in the New York Times:
The Changing Newsroom Environment
What's happening in the paper's newsroom (and much more so in other newsrooms!) is not specific to the environment. As today's post noted, the religion and education desks have had a smilar fate. Revenues for conventional news operations are bound to keep shrinking. The best view of how this plays out may well be the documentary "Page One: Inside The New York Times," which chronicles a pivotal year, 2009, when 100 newsroom positions were eliminated (I took a buyout at the end of that year and write on a contract through the Op-Ed desk now). Thirty more positions are being eliminated now. These background financial pressures, building around the industry the same way that heat-trapping greenhouse gases are building in the atmosphere, are what will erode the ability of today's media to dissect and explain the causes and consequences of environmental change and the suite of possible responses.... ...


Environmental collapse -- as simile.

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from The Morning Call:
EPA successor faces fracking fight
Lisa Jackson's exit as head of the Environmental Protection Agency leaves her successor to combat global warming and set rules for hydraulic fracturing over the objections of businesses and Republican lawmakers... Jackson used a combination of technical expertise and political charm to try to ease complaints from Republicans, such as Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. "Lisa Jackson and I disagreed on many issues and regulations while she headed the EPA; however, I have always appreciated her receptivity to my concerns, her accessibility and her honesty," Inhofe said in a statement Thursday. "She was one of the few at the EPA that was honest with me." ...


So she's the one who told Inhofe global warming is a hoax!

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Thu, Dec 20, 2012
from Mother Jones:
Major News Outlets Give Fossil-Fuel-Funded Think Tanks a Free Platform
The fossil fuel industry has long been a source of talking points and "studies" aimed at spreading doubt about climate change, and over the past few years, it has broadened its scope to undermine support for clean energy, as well. Often, this criticism is published in the form of articles in major media outlets -- penned by employees of think tanks who don't disclose their groups' industry funding, a new study finds. The Checks and Balances Project, a pro-clean-energy watchdog group, surveyed stories published over the past five years in 60 news outlets, including national and regional newspapers, the Associated Press, and Politico. Researchers found that only 6 percent of the stories disclosed the funding when they cited "experts" from those think tanks. Typically, the stories referred to the groups as "free-market" or "libertarian," without mentioning the dirty-energy support. ...


Just so you know, The ApocaDocs are funded by their own ApocaSweat.

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Tue, Dec 4, 2012
from Associated Press:
Judge tosses Asian carp suit; states can amend it
A federal judge Monday threw out a lawsuit filed by five states that want barriers placed in Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes, but said he would consider new arguments if the case were filed again ... U.S. District Judge John Tharp ... said he was "mindful of, and alarmed by, the potentially devastating ecological, environmental, and economic consequences that may result from the establishment of an Asian carp population in the Great Lakes." But he said the proper way for the states to win approval of separating the waterways is through Congress. ...


The Asian carp are about to file a filibuster on the Great Lakes.

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Mon, Dec 3, 2012
from London Guardian:
Climate change compensation emerges as major issue at Doha talks
...Whether rich countries should compensate vulnerable communities like those on Kosrae, in the central Pacific, for the "loss and damage" caused by events linked to climate change has emerged as a major new issue for developing countries in the UN talks that have just entered their second week in Doha ... But the US and Europe are resisting strongly the idea that they should compensate for losses, fearing that it would lead to potentially endless financial claims. ...


"Endless financial claims" for our endless culpability.

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Sun, Dec 2, 2012
from Munich Re, via AlJazeera:
Insurance report: Extreme weather already costing us dearly
... Indeed, less than a week before Sandy first started forming as a tropical storm, global reinsurance giant Munich Re issued a report about the long-term trend of increasing extreme events, and the threats to life and property that they pose. Severe Weather in North America: Perils - Risks - Insurance runs 277 pages, focusing on the period 1980-2011 - during which losses totalled just over $1 trillion - and notes: "The number of natural catastrophes per year has been rising dramatically on all continents since 1980, but the trend is steepest for North America," adding, "This increase is entirely attributable to weather events, as there has been a negative trend for geophysical events."... While the corporate media habitually frames the environment and the economy in opposition to one another, the insurance industry generally and reinsurers like Munich Re in particular reflect the deeper reality that the economy and the environment are deeply intertwined with one another. There can be no jobs and no businesses if the environment itself is decimated. But almost no other businesses confront this reality directly. When questioned about this, Hoppe responded with typical understatement and restraint. "We must have an interest in keeping things calculable," he said. "If we get global warming of four degrees or so, we'll reach tipping points and have abrupt changes, then we'll have a problem with our business model. ...


Without the economy, the environment would have no reason to exist!

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Tue, Nov 27, 2012
from BusinessInsider:
Jeremy Grantham: We're Headed For An Economic Disaster Of Biblical Proportions
What Malthus did not foresee was the discovery of oil and other natural resources, which have (temporarily) supported this population explosion. Those resources are now getting used up... The story for metals, by the way, is the same as for oil: The low-hanging fruit has been picked. Despite the use of new technologies, the yield per ton of metal ores continues to drop.... The fact is that no compound growth is sustainable. If we maintain our desperate focus on growth, we will run out of everything and crash. We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth. ...


Perhaps cataclysmic, or globally catastrophic. But not Biblical. Let's not exaggerate!

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from Youngstown Vindicator:
City seeks input on fracking in Youngstown parks
The city doesn't have plans to lease park land to companies for oil and gas drilling, but its parks and recreation commission will take comments from the public about the issue.... City council gave the board of control approval Oct. 17 to move ahead with a plan to solicit offers from companies to lease city-owned land for fracking. The proceeds are to be used for neighborhood improvement work, primarily demolitions.... "Right now, I wouldn't be in favor of any fracking in parks," said Mayor Charles Sammarone. "But if the city has the chance to make a zillion dollars, we'd have to re-evaluate." ...


Hey, for a zillion dollars, I'd wreck the entire planet!

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Tue, Nov 6, 2012
from Reuters:
Insight: Great expectations fill Greenland as China eyes riches
...With global warming thawing its Arctic sea lanes, and global industry eyeing minerals under this barren island a quarter the size of the United States, the 57,000 Greenlanders are wrestling with opportunities that offer rich rewards but risk harming a pristine environment and a traditional society that is trying to make its own way in the world after centuries of European rule. Great expectations could lead to greater disappointments, for locals and investors. Yet a scramble for Greenland already may be under way, in which some see China trying to exploit the icebound territory as a staging ground in a global battle for Arctic resources and strategic control of new shipping routes. ...


We just can't leave anything alone.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from The Independent:
Temperatures may rise 6c by 2100, says study
The world is destined for dangerous climate change this century - with global temperatures possibly rising by as much as 6C - because of the failure of governments to find alternatives to fossil fuels, a report by a group of economists has concluded. It will now be almost impossible to keep the increase in global average temperatures up to 2100 within the 2C target that scientists believe might avert dangerous and unpredictable climate change, according to a study by the accountancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).... To keep within the 2C target, the global economy would have to reach a "decarbonisation" rate of at least 5.1 per cent a year for the next 39 years. This has not happened since records began at the end of the Second World War, according to Leo Johnson, a PwC partner in sustainability and climate change. ...


Who designs a car without brakes, Park, or Reverse?

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Dallas Morning News:
McKinney scales back green initiatives, disbands environmental office
The city of McKinney logo signals a municipal interest in the environment -- it features a green tree and the slogan "Unique by nature.” But this year that interest has come under greater scrutiny. Council members and city staff have re-evaluated how much money and effort should be spent on sustainability efforts. And residents have flooded the council with emails questioning the motives behind green initiatives, bike lanes and sustainability plans. Now, amid pressure from some outspoken groups, the city is scaling back its environmental programs. The city's three-person Office of Environmental Stewardship has been disbanded, with the one remaining employee moving to the public works department. The City Council has scrapped the idea of implementing a sustainability master plan. And city staff is scaling back its effort to win environmental or conservation grants ...


We can't afford to save our lives?

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Charleston Daily Mail:
Natural gas wells proposed on Capital High grounds
Kanawha County Schools officials say natural gas wells might be drilled on Capital High School property. School officials said Friday no plans are finalized and there would be no risks to students associated with drilling on the large property. Instead, they believe it could provide much needed savings and revenue to the school system for years to come. "Any relief to the taxpayers is always welcome," said board President Pete Thaw. ...


What could possibly go wrong?

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Thu, Sep 20, 2012
from New York Times:
The Social Cost of Carbon: How to Do the Math?
Instead, they decided, all of the agencies would use the same baseline of $21 per ton as the standard in monetizing the social costs of the seven-plus billion tons of carbon generated by American power plants, vehicles and factories each year. But a new paper published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences concludes that the costs of carbon pollution and related climate change are vastly greater -- possibly two to 12 times as much. The problem, the authors argue, is that the federal government is not adequately taking into account the impacts of climate change on future generations. ...


The future is just tomorrow's today. Can't we just agree the future doesn't exist?

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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to significantly boost U.S. fossil-fuel production while ending federal subsidies and loan guarantees for most forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. Romney's energy plan, which the former Massachusetts governor outlined on Aug. 23, sets an ambitious goal for the U.S. of reaching energy independence by 2020 through increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal, accompanied by reduced regulation. The plan does not mention climate change. "Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet," Romney said at a campaign stop in New Mexico. "That's oil and gas and coal." ...


Also underneath our feet... our graves.

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell seeks more time to drill exploratory well in Chukchi Sea
With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice. Meeting with reporters at an Arctic Imperative Summit here, Slaiby said the company's latest models for forecasting the onset of winter sea ice now show the first freeze-up occurring somewhat later than originally envisioned when federal officials imposed their initial deadline for ending operations in the Chukchi Sea. ...


When it comes to oil, hey we'll letcha slide!

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Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from Mother Jones:
Biotech Giants Are Bankrolling a GMO Free-for-All
The so-called "Big Six" agrichemical companies--Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont)--are sitting pretty. Together, they control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market, and essentially the entire market for genetically modified seeds. Prices of the crops they focus on--corn, soy, cotton, etc.--are soaring, pushed up by severe drought in key growing regions.... But two things could mess up the Big 6 here in the US: 1) any delay in the regulatory process for a new generation of seeds engineered for resistance to multiple herbicides; and 2) any major move to require labeling of foods containing GMOs, a requirement already in play in many other countries--including the European Union, China, Japan, and South Korea--and one for which the US public has expressed overwhelming support. Unsurprisingly, the Big 6 are investing millions of their vast profits into forestalling both of those menaces.... ...


I don't call it GMO -- I call it an upgraded food operating system.

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Sat, Jul 21, 2012
from Bill McKibben, in Rolling Stone:
Global Warming's Terrifying New Math
June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere - the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.... The First Number: 2 Degrees Celsius... The Second Number: 565 Gigatons... Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.... The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons... The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number - 2,795 - is higher than 565. Five times higher. ...


Is that scale algorithmic, exponential, or apocalyptic?

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Tue, May 15, 2012
from Globe and Mail:
Pushing carbon tax cost research agency its funding, Tories confirm
The federal government has confirmed what the rumour mill suspected: it shut down an arm's length, independent advisory group because it didn't like the advice it was getting on addressing climate change. Funding for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) was cut in the last budget, giving the group just one year to live. Since 1988, it has been producing research on how business and government policies can work together for sustainable development -- including the idea of introducing carbon taxes.... "It should agree with Canadians. It should agree with the government. No discussion of a carbon tax that would kill and hurt Canadian families." ...


"It shouldn't mix science with politics."

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Sat, Apr 28, 2012
from Discover Magazine:
The Limits to Environmentalism
[Environmentalism is] still anti-nuclear, anti-technology, anti-industrial civilization. It still talks in mushy metaphors from the Aquarius age, cooing over Mother Earth and the Balance of Nature. And most of all, environmentalists are still acting like Old Testament prophets, warning of a plague of environmental ills about to rain down on humanity. ... No, I'm not talking about the UK's just-published Royal Society report, which, among other things, recommends that developed countries put a brake on economic growth. I'm talking about that other landmark report from 1972, the one that became a totem of the environmental movement. I mention the 40-year old Limits to Growth book in connection with the new Royal Society report not just to point up their Malthusian similarities (which Mark Lynas flags here), but also to demonstrate what a time warp the collective environmental mindset is stuck in. Even some British greens have recoiled in disgust at the outdated assumptions underlying the Royal Society's report. Chris Goodall, author of Ten Technologies to Save the Planet, told the Guardian: "What an astonishingly weak, cliche ridden report this is... 'Consumption' to blame for all our problems? Growth is evil? A rich economy with technological advances is needed for radical decarbonisation. I do wish scientists would stop using their hatred of capitalism as an argument for cutting consumption."... "Pro-technology, pro-city, pro-growth, the green modernist has emerged in recent years to advance an alternative vision for the future. His mission is to remake environmentalism: Strip it of outdated mythologies and dogmas, make it less apocalyptic and more optimistic, broaden its constituency. In this vision, the Anthropocene is not something to rail against, but to embrace. It is about welcoming that world, not dreading it. It is about creating a future that environmentalists will help shape for the better." ...


Oh good. I can again believe in continuous and endless growth, since those greenies are old-fashioned, and can be derided.

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Sat, Apr 7, 2012
from ArtVoice:
Son of Frackenstein: Even Worse is Planned
Welcome to the post peak oil energy economy. What's online to follow fracking is even scarier. The problem is we're addicted to oil, and like most addicts, we can't take that first step and admit our addiction. For over a century, we mostly glided, enjoying the high that cheap oil gave our economy and consumptive lifestyles, while not facing many consequences -- at least none that we could yet recognize. But, like the meth-head whose body was rotting from the inside out, our addiction was poisoning our atmosphere, our oceans and in places, our land and fresh water. Now we're seeing the results of that five generation-long binge.... As China and India develop as oil hungry consumer cultures, and as hydrocarbon addiction grows amid a growing global population, energy prices will continue to rise, opening the door of economic opportunity to a plethora of fracking-like energy extraction technologies. These are wildly irresponsible, terribly dangerous processes that only an addiction-maddened mind would contemplate, and only a greed-addled sociopath would execute. Think of this as taking fracking to the next level so that we can continue to speed along on our highway to hell--peak oil, and the earth, be damned. ...


The problem is, we're really high-functioning addicts.

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Mon, Mar 19, 2012
from Washington Post:
Solar industry faces subsidy cuts in Europe
Hanover, Germany -- Shiny black solar panels are as common a sight as baroque church spires in this industrial hub, thanks to government subsidies that have helped make Germany a world leader in solar technology. Now, sudden subsidy cuts here and elsewhere in Europe have thrown the industry into crisis just short of its ultimate goal: a price to generate solar energy that is no higher than fossil-fuel counterparts. Across Europe, governments are slashing public spending to cut their deficits, and green-energy subsidies are a target, too... ...


Apparently, these people have never heard of the future.

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Fri, Mar 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study: Young People Not So 'Green' After All
They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today's young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources -- and often less civic-minded overall -- than their elders were when they were young. The findings go against the widespread belief that environmental issues have hit home with today's young adults, known as Millennials, who have grown up amid climate change discussion and the mantra "reduce, reuse, recycle." The environment is often listed among top concerns of young voters. ...


Dislike

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Wed, Mar 14, 2012
from Mongabay:
Surging demand for vegetable oil drives rainforest destruction
Surging demand for vegetable oil has emerged as an important driver of tropical deforestation over the past two decades and is threatening biodiversity, carbon stocks, and other ecosystem functions in some of the world's most critical forest areas, warns a report published last week by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). But the report, titled Recipes for Success: Solutions for Deforestation-Free Vegetable Oils, sees some reason for optimism, including emerging leadership from some producers, rising demand for "greener" products from buyers, new government policies to monitor deforestation and shift cropland expansion to non-forest area, and partnerships between civil society and key private sector players to improve the sustainability of vegetable oil production.... To meet increased demand, large swathes of land have been converted for rapeseed (canola), oil palm, sugar cane, maize (corn), and soy. Some of the area has included carbon-dense rainforest in Brazil, Malaysia, and Indonesia, a development that has alarmed environmentalists, scientists, and people who rely on forests for subsistence. ...


But I love fries with that.

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Wed, Mar 14, 2012
from London Guardian:
Dogs take lead in sniffing out Arctic oil
When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific. The dogs' ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell -- and other oil companies and government research organisations -- in preparation for the industry's entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the north-west coast of Alaska in June. ...


So much for man's best friend.

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Sat, Mar 3, 2012
from Guardian:
General Motors halts production of hybrid Volt as sales flatline
General Motors will suspend production of the Chevrolet Volt for five weeks this spring, a spokesman said on Friday. Disappointing sales of the award-winning plug-in hybrid electric car have left the car firm with too many Volts. Production of the US car and its European version, the Opel Ampera, will be on hold starting 19 March and 1,300 workers will be temporarily laid off. They are expected to return to work on 23 April. ...


Too many volts hertz? Watt's amp with that?

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
U.S. billionaire Donald Trump funds £10m anti-wind farm war chest to 'preserve nature' ...
Donald Trump, the American property tycoon, is bankrolling a £10 million fighting fund for British anti-windfarm campaigners. The move follows proposals for 11 giant turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, which Mr Trump says will spoil the view from his golfing resort on the Balmedie estate, near Menie. The billionaire believes the structures, each as high as a 64-storey building, will besmirch the unspoilt landscape surrounding the 750million, 1,200 acre complex. ...


NBMGC: Not By My Golf Course

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from London Guardian:
Windfarms axed as UK loses its taste for turbines
The government and energy industry have quietly shelved plans for windfarms equivalent to four large traditional coal and nuclear power stations, amid growing public and political anger over the cost and sight of the turbines. ...


Thank goodness the Apocalypse will be aesthetically pleasing.

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Mon, Feb 20, 2012
from PostCarbon Institute:
Animation: There's No Tomorrow (2012)
Animated documentary about resource depletion & the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet.
...


Endless growth? It's worked so far!

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Sat, Feb 18, 2012
from UBC:
Ocean acidification turns climate change winners into losers
Previous projections have suggested the effects of warmer water temperature would result in fish moving pole-ward and deeper towards cooler waters - and an increase of fish catch potential of as much as 30 per cent in the North Atlantic by 2050. Accounting for effects of de-oxygenation and ocean acidification, however, some regions may see a 20-35 per cent reduction in maximum catch potential by 2050 (relative to 2005) - depending on the individual species' sensitivity to ocean acidification. For example, in the Norwegian Sea, ocean warming by itself may result in a 15 per cent increase in fisheries catch potential. However, accounting for acidification and de-oxygenation, the increase turns to a decrease of 15 per cent, and the region from a "winner" to a "loser." ...


Careful now -- that makes it seem like climate change could make us all losers!

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Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Associated Press:
Natural resources chief wants mission statement change
The commissioner of the state's Department of Natural Resources wants to change the agency's mission statement, and the proposed changed is not sitting well with at least one lawmaker and conservation groups who are worried about a pro-development bent. The current statement says the department's mission is to "develop, conserve and enhance natural resources for present and future Alaskans," KSKA reported. The new statement removes "conserve" and "enhance," leaving only "develop" in the statement. It also removes the reference to "future Alaskans." ...


In the crazy world of doublespeak this level of honesty is downright admirable!

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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Titanic clash looms over proposed Northern Gateway pipeline
A biologist, an energy lawyer and an aboriginal geologist will sit down Tuesday in a recreation centre in the wilderness of northern British Columbia to initiate what could be the fiercest environmental standoff ever seen in Canada. Before the hearings in B.C. and Alberta are completed next year, more than 4,000 people are expected to appear before the three-member panel vetting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta through the Rockies to the B.C. coast. Like the now-stalled Keystone XL project in the United States, the planned pipeline to carry tarsands-derived crude oil across the mountains to a new supertanker port in northern B.C. is shaping up as a titanic clash of economic and environmental imperatives. ...


The other pipeline.

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Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from Canadian Press:
Keystone 'whistleblower' alleges shoddy materials along original pipeline
A former inspector for a company that did work on TransCanada's original Keystone pipeline is accusing the Calgary-based company of a cavalier disregard for the environment. Mike Klink was an engineer for construction company Bechtel Corp., a contractor that worked on the first portion of the Keystone pipeline that carries Alberta oilsands crude to refineries in the American Midwest. It was completed in 2010; the controversial Keystone XL would extend that pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries... Klink says he raised a series of concerns about alleged sub-standard materials and poor craftsmanship along the Keystone pipeline.... TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha disputed Klink's assertions, saying he "appears to have made a number of allegations against his previous employer and others, none of which have been proven." The Indiana man says he was fired by Bechtel as a result... ...


In opposition to Klink, TransCanada is tantamount to Sergeant Schultz crying "I know nothing... NOTHING!"

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Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from International Business Times:
FDA Withdraws Longstanding Petition to Regulate Antibiotics in Livestock Feed
The U.S. Food and Drug and Administration announced only days before Christmas that it has decided to back off a 34-year attempt to regulate the use of antibiotics in livestock feed for animals intended for human consumption, despite mounting scientific evidence that has linked the practice to the development of potentially fatal antibiotic-resistant superbugs in humans. With no other notice aside from an obscure posting in the Federal Register on Dec. 22, the FDA declared it will now focus on encouraging "voluntary reform" within the industry instead of enforcing actual regulatory action, in addition to the "promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health." ...


Livestock: volunteer to not be pumped full of antibiotics by raising your hoof!

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Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from Website:
The Institute for Collapsonomics
collapsonomics, n. 1. The study of economic and state systems at the edge of their normal social and economic function, including preventative measures to avoid destructive feedback loops and vicious cycles. 2. A consulting practice based on the scientific and historical understanding of collapse conditions, and responses to them. It seems we need a term for big, obvious threats that are sure to emerge - think asteroid impacts - but which few want to face. Handily, students of "collapsonomics" have already coined one: "black elephants." (New Scientist) ...


I'm doubting that 'Collapsonomics' is coming out of the Chicago School.

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Thu, Dec 29, 2011
from ProPublica:
Oh, Canada's Become a Home for Record Fracking
Early last year, deep in the forests of northern British Columbia, workers for Apache Corp. performed what the company proclaimed was the biggest hydraulic fracturing operation ever. The project used 259 million gallons of water and 50,000 tons of sand to frack 16 gas wells side by side. It was "nearly four times larger than any project of its nature in North America," Apache boasted. The record didn't stand for long. By the end of the year, Apache and its partner, Encana, topped it by half at a neighboring site. ...


Come on baby light my faucet...

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
With federal green light, Shell hits the gas on Arctic plans
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. More than 20 years after sinking its first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships. If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. ...


It will be worth all the work, if we can indeed destroy the planet!

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Thu, Dec 8, 2011
from Reuters:
"Big Three" polluters oppose binding climate deal
The world's three biggest polluters China, the United States and India refused to move toward a new legal commitment to curb their carbon emissions Tuesday, increasing the risk that climate talks will fail to clinch a meaningful deal this week. The European Union is leading efforts to keep alive the Kyoto Protocol, the world's only legal pact to tackle climate change, with a conditional promise to sign a global deal that would force big emitters to change their ways. ...


Three biggest babies, more like.

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Sun, Nov 20, 2011
from New York Times:
Older, Suburban and Struggling, 'Near Poor' Startle the Census
Down but not quite out, these Americans form a diverse group sometimes called "near poor" and sometimes simply overlooked -- and a new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood. When the Census Bureau this month released a new measure of poverty, meant to better count disposable income, it began altering the portrait of national need. Perhaps the most startling differences between the old measure and the new involves data the government has not yet published, showing 51 million people with incomes less than 50 percent above the poverty line. That number of Americans is 76 percent higher than the official account, published in September. All told, that places 100 million people -- one in three Americans -- either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it. ...


We are the 33 percent.

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Truthout:
Annie Leonard's The Story of Broke
...Wait a minute. Broke? I'm sending in my share of hard-earned cash every month and so are you! Now, what we've got to work with shrinks a lot thanks to corporate tax loopholes and unprecedented tax breaks for the richest 1 percent. But even after those, we've still got over a trillion dollars. So if we're broke, what's happening to all that money? I decided to look into it and it turns out this whole "broke" story hides a much bigger story -- a story of some really dumb choices being made for us -- but that actually work against us. The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones. ...


The revolution will be animated.

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from The Independent:
Hard-up UK puts climate change on back burner
Britain's carbon emissions grew faster than the economy last year for the first time since 1996, as a cash-strapped population relegated the environment down its league of concerns and spent more money keeping warm, according to a new report.... The rise in Britain's so-called carbon intensity increases the danger that the country will miss legally binding targets on reducing emissions, warns PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the consultancy behind the report. Furthermore, it found that Britain's rising carbon intensity is part of a worldwide trend which threatens to push global warming above a two-degree Celsius increase on pre-industrial levels. This is the temperature that the G8 group of leading economies has pledged not to breach in the hope of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change.... Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, said: "When money is tight people's attention goes elsewhere and it becomes harder to implement high-cost, low-carbon technologies. "Many people have higher priorities than climate change right now, it is probably fair to say. Maybe people are taking their eye off the ball a bit." ...


Your money or your future. D'you feel lucky, punk?

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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from Scitizen:
Time to Worry: World Oil Production Finishes Six Years of No Growth
We are entering what may be the longest stretch of no growth in world oil production since the early 1980s. But the reasons for that lack of growth differ in ways that ought to make us all uncomfortable. Starting in 1980, production slumped because for the first time in history people needed less oil. After the huge oil price increases in the 1970s, cars suddenly got smaller. People became more careful about combining trips to save gas.... Six years from the ostensible topping out of conventional petroleum production, prices remain considerably higher. Oil prices finished 2005 around $50 a barrel. As of this writing, they are around $90 for Nymex crude and around $110 for Brent crude. This, of course, is exactly the opposite of the trend which occurred in the six years following the 1980 peak.... When I ask audiences how long a billion barrels of oil will last the world at current rates of consumption, I often get replies that range anywhere from three months to 5 years. The correct answer is 12 days. Just multiply these multi-billion-barrel discoveries by 12, and you'll realize right away that they are not going to overcome the constraints we are experiencing in oil supplies. ...


When you peek at Peak, all is Oil.

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Thu, Oct 27, 2011
from Palm Beach Post News:
Wetlands restoration panel worries over loss of money for monitoring
The monitoring programs that reveal how Everglades restoration plans are working -- or not -- have been slashed by 60 percent overall -- leaving gaping holes in programs that predict algal blooms, monitor pollution, provide real-time water level data and assess the survival rates of endangered species. Gone altogether are programs that monitor the well-being of alligators, crocodiles and pink shrimp, indicator species that reveal the health of the entire ecosystem. Cuts to wading bird monitoring in Lake Okeechobee will leave scientists unable to accurately predict the start, peak and end of the nesting season -- benchmarks needed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between restoration efforts and wildlife. "Basically, the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee are like patients in an emergency room," said Paul Gray, science coordinator for Lake Okeechobee watershed programs at Audubon of Florida. "If you have a patient in the emergency room, the last thing you want to do is shut off all the monitoring equipment." ...


Can't they, like, divine the answers?

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Thu, Oct 20, 2011
from Guardian:
Shark massacre reported in Colombian waters
Colombian environmental authorities have reported a huge shark massacre in the Malpelo wildlife sanctuary in Colombia's Pacific waters, where as many as 2,000 hammerhead, Galpagos and silky sharks may have been slaughtered for their fins. Sandra Bessudo, the Colombian president's top adviser on environmental issues, said a team of divers who were studying sharks in the region reported the mass killing in the waters surrounding the rock-island known as Malpelo, some 500 kilometres from the mainland. "I received a report, which is really unbelievable, from one of the divers who came from Russia to observe the large concentrations of sharks in Malpelo. They saw a large number of fishing trawlers entering the zone illegally," Bessudo said. The divers counted a total of 10 fishing boats, which all were flying the Costa Rican flag.... The sanctuary covers 8,570 square kilometres of marine environment that provides a habitat for threatened marine species - in particular sharks. Divers have reported sightings of schools of more than 200 hammerhead sharks and as many as 1,000 silky sharks in the protected waters, one of the few areas in the world where sightings of short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, known locally as the "Malpelo monster," have been confirmed. In 2006 Unesco included the park on its list of World Heritage sites. ...


Why do you rob sanctuaries? 'Cause that's where the fins are.

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Sat, Oct 15, 2011
from Winnepeg Fee Press:
Raffi offers support, advice, for protesters
A soothing voice from the childhood of many an Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Canada protester is offering them support and a few pieces of advice. Raffi, a Canadian performer and activist known best for his children's music, has been tweeting about the growing demonstrations across the United States and the ones about to kick off in Canadian cities this week. "May the spirit of Gandhi and MLK (Martin Luther King) move your thoughts, words, & deeds -- keep it peaceful!" wrote Raffi, whose full name is Raffi Cavoukian. In an interview from his home on Saltspring Island, B.C., Raffi said he sympathizes with some of the issues that protesters have raised in their continuing demonstrations around Wall Street and elsewhere.... ...


If Raffi's behind it, it must be true.

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Fri, Oct 14, 2011
from New Scientist:
The real Greek tragedy may be the climate
GREECE is going to default, one way or another, that much is clear. The bigger question is whether it will also leave the euro and what that would mean. What is so far underappreciated is that a Greek exit would have appalling consequences for the climate.... The climate always takes a back seat when economies turn sour, but the impact of a euro break-up would be profound. Any country leaving the euro would also breach the treaties of Maastricht, Lisbon and Rome, and therefore be forced to leave the EU. A euro break-up is likely to shatter the EU, and with it the hard won architecture of climate policy. For a start, the Emissions Trading System would be unlikely to survive.... There is much more riding on the outcome of the Greek crisis than the future of Europe or even the world economy. The danger is that a euro collapse could destroy the capital and institutions needed to combat climate change. It is bitterly ironic that the meltdown of a minor economy that has little to sell but sunshine could condemn the planet to uncontrollable global warming. ...


The irony fist of the marketplace.

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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from London Independent:
Exclusive: BP to risk worst ever oil spill in Shetlands drilling
BP is making contingency plans to fight the largest oil spill in history, as it prepares to drill more than 4,000 feet down in the Atlantic in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands. Internal company documents seen by The Independent show that the worst-case scenario for a spill from its North Uist exploratory well, to be sunk next year, would involve a leak of 75,000 barrels a day for 140 days -- a total of 10.5 million barrels of oil, comfortably the world's biggest pollution disaster. ...


How refreshing to have a clear sense of what could go wrong!

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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
A GOP assault on environmental regulations
Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history. So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. But recent legislative moves in the House provide a preview of what's to come in 2013 if the balance of power shifts further in favor of a GOP that is more united than ever in opposition to environmental regulation. ...


Does Mother Earth get a vote?

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Sat, Oct 8, 2011
from Post Carbon Institute Energy Bulletin:
The peak oil initiation
I may be wrong, but I've long thought that one question above all would haunt my imagined historian of our future: why did we do it? Given that our entire civilization had plenty of warning, and that ten minutes of unprejudiced thought ought to have been enough to demonstrate to anybody the absurdity of expecting to get away with infinite economic growth on a finite planet, why didn't we do what must, to the eyes of the future, look like the obviously right decision, and downshift to a less energy- and resource-intensive steady state economy while we had the chance? Why, instead, did we keep on lurching blindly forward on a one-way street headed straight to history's compost bin, all the while angrily shouting down the few that tried to warn us of where we were going? ...


Because it's obvious: home values will go up forever. Right?

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Sat, Oct 1, 2011
from ThinkProgress:
Too Hot for Chocolate? Climate Change Could Decimate the $9 Billion Cocoa Industry, Study Finds
Half of the world's cocoa supply comes from the West African countries of Ghana and Cte d'Ivoire. But in the coming decades, climate change could severely limit production in the region -- disrupting local farmers and squeezing global chocolate supply. A new report out from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture finds that between 2030 and 2050, land area suitable for cocoa production will fall dramatically. While rising temperatures and changing rainfall pattern may shift cocoa production to land currently not suitable, the net impact to this $9 billion-per-year industry could be severe.... "Already we're seeing the effects of rising temperatures on cocoa crops currently produced in marginal areas, and with climate change these areas are certain to spread. At a time when global demand for chocolate is rising fast, particularly in China, there is already upward pressure on prices. It's not inconceivable that this, combined with the impact of climate change, could cause chocolate prices to increase sharply."b ...


The food of the Gods, in peril? What hath God wrought?

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Sun, Sep 25, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
The American 'allergy' to global warming: Why?
Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention. "I don't think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that," the author recalls. But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: "Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?" And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of "global warming" didn't set off an instant outcry of angry denial. In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the "greenhouse effect" is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.... These changes will feed on themselves: Released methane leads to warmer skies, which will release more methane. Ice-free Arctic waters absorb more of the sun's heat than do reflective ice and snow, and so melt will beget melt. The frozen Arctic is a controller of Northern Hemisphere climate; an unfrozen one could upend age-old weather patterns across continents. ...


That was more than 35 years ago. Thank goodness we've evolved since then!

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from New York Times:
For Obama, Peer Pressure from Nobel Laureates
With his approval rating among American voters at an all-time low, President Obama could use a little support from his peers. But this month nine fellow recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Dalai Lama, sent the president a letter urging him to veto the construction of a huge pipeline that would bring bring crude oil to the United States from Canada. On Monday, the letter was published as an advertisement in The Washington Post. It reads in part: "The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership -- and working together -- the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge." ...


Obama may be tarred and feathered by these otherwise peaceful souls.

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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from CBS News:
EPA grants air permit to Shell for Arctic drilling
Shell Oil Co. on Monday took a step closer to tapping vast petroleum reserves off Alaska's Arctic coasts when the federal Environmental Protection Agency approved an air quality permit for one of the company's drilling vessels. The EPA approved the air permit for the drilling vessel Noble Discover, which Shell hopes to use for exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, and its support fleet of oil spill response and supply vessels. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said the permit was a hopeful step. "The delivery of final air permits for our exploration program is another in a series of recent, positive developments and adds to our confidence that we will be drilling our offshore Alaska leases by July of next year," Smith said in an email. ...


Way to go, EPA! That'll get the GOP on your side.

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Mon, Sep 12, 2011
from Guardian:
US counts the cost of nine months of unprecedented weather extremes
As deadly fires continue to burn across bone-dry Texas and eight inches of rain from tropical storm Lee falls on New Orleans, the US is beginning to count the cost of nine months of unprecedented weather extremes. Ever since a massive blizzard causing $2bn of damage paralysed cities from Chicago to the north-east in January, nearly every month has been marked by a $1b+-weather catastrophe. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration (Noaa), there have been 10 major disasters already this year, leaving more than 700 people dead and property damage of over $35bn. In the past 31 years the mainland states have suffered 99 weather-related disasters where overall damages and economic costs were over $1bn. This year has seen three times as many than as usual. NOAA will release its August data next week but Summer 2011 is expected to be the warmest on record. Chris Burt, author and leading weather historian, has complied a list of more than 40 cities and towns that have experienced record temperatures this year. "So many heat records of various types have been shattered this past summer that it is impossible to quantify them," he said. "Not since the great heat waves of 1934 and 1936 has the US seen so many heat-related records broken as occurred this summer. ...


The rain is pain and plainly ain't explained.

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Sun, Sep 11, 2011
from New York Times:
Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny
This summer, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying oil across Montana burst suddenly, soiling the swollen Yellowstone River with an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude just weeks after a company inspection and federal review had found nothing seriously wrong. And in the Midwest, a 35-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich., once teeming with swimmers and boaters, remains closed nearly 14 months after an Enbridge Energy pipeline hemorrhaged 843,000 gallons of oil that will cost more than $500 million to clean up. While investigators have yet to determine the cause of either accident, the spills have drawn attention to oversight of the 167,000-mile system of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing the nation.... Meanwhile, budget limits and attrition have left the agency with 118 inspectors -- 17 shy of what federal law authorizes. Pipeline operators, critics argue, have too much autonomy over their lines, and too much wiggle room when it comes to carrying out important safeguards, like whether to install costly but crucial automated shut-off valves. ...


That's one inspector per 100,000+ miles of pipeline. I'm guessing: Time-and-a-half overtime!

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Sat, Sep 10, 2011
from Charles Eisenstein, via The Oil Drum:
Weekend Read: Peak Oil, Peak Debt, and the Concentration of Power
Both the energy system and the money system are based on accumulation and the concentration of power. Not only our energy infrastructure, but our dominant yet invisible way of thinking about energy, presupposes a centralized system of distribution based on a highly concentrated energy source. Many alternative energy technologies have made little headway, not because they are technologically unfeasible, but because they don't fit into our present physical, financial, and psychological infrastructure. There is a causal as well as a metaphorical parallel between the concentration of power in oil and in money. A concentrated power source that can be stored allows social and political power to concentrate in the hands of those who control it. It generates very different social dynamics from an energy source that is universally distributed and constantly renewed. For one thing, the profit potential of the latter is intrinsically less. Once you have sold the geothermal pump or the PV array, the buyer is self-sufficient, unlike the electrical power consumer who has to pay the metered rate in perpetuity. Energy dependency and economic dependency are closely linked. ...


My corporate masters want me to listen, but that elephant over there keeps distracting me.

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Wed, Sep 7, 2011
from The Ecologist:
China exports its environmental problems as consumer culture booms
Despite its well publicised investment in green technology, China today has an unenviable list of ecological problems; its reliance on coal has left it with 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world; the north of the country is prone to frequent water shortages which have created hundreds of thousands of "environmental refugees"; and the dumping of chemicals into the Yangtze and other rivers means half the Chinese population drink water contaminated with human and animal excrement. In a new book, 'As China Goes, So Goes the World', Oxford professor Karl Gerth, claims that many of these problems have been directly caused by China's move towards a more consumerist society. ...


Consumers consume. That's what we do.

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Mon, Sep 5, 2011
from New York Times:
A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment
Do environmental regulations kill jobs? Republicans and business groups say yes, arguing that environmental protection is simply too expensive for a battered economy. They were quick to claim victory Friday after the Obama administration abandoned stricter ozone pollution standards. Many economists agree that regulation comes with undeniable costs that can affect workers. Factories may close because of the high cost of cleanup, or owners may relocate to countries with weaker regulations. ...


My job is to die prematurely due to toxic pollution.

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Sat, Sep 3, 2011
from Bloomberg:
London Olympics Drops Carbon-Offset Plan
Organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games dropped a plan to cut carbon emissions during the sporting showcase, abandoning a pledge made when it defeated eight other cities to host the event. Games administrators will "no longer pursue formal offsetting procedures" to mitigate Olympics-related emissions, documents posted on the London Olympics website said. ... Scrapping the plan, which would have involved offsetting the emissions generated by the Games by investing in clean- energy projects in poor countries, underlines how carbon-saving measures are being overlooked to save money as the U.K. cuts spending and increases taxes amid an economic slowdown. By ditching the program, LOCOG may avoid spending as much as 2.7 million pounds ($4.4 million), according to prices quoted by brokers MF Global. ...


They win the charcoal medal.

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Thu, Aug 25, 2011
from BBC:
Arctic sea routes open as ice melts
Two major Arctic shipping routes have opened as summer sea ice melts, European satellites have found. Data recorded by the European Space Agency's (Esa) Envisat shows both Canada's Northwest Passage and Russia's Northern Sea Route open simultaneously. This summer's melt could break the 2007 record for the smallest area of sea ice since the satellite era began in 1979.... But the Northern Sea Route has been free enough of ice this month for a succession of tankers carrying natural gas condensate from the northern port of Murmansk to sail along the Siberian coast en route for Thailand. "They're often open at the same time in the sense that with some ingenuity you can get through them," observed Peter Wadhams, an Arctic ice expert from the University of Cambridge. "But this time they've really been open, with a proper Suez-size tanker going through the Northern Sea Route with a full cargo - that's a real step forward," he told BBC News. ...


One step forward, ten steps back.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Huffington Post:
"Politics cannot deliver on what science requires": SA Foreign Minister
South Africa's foreign minister said Monday she is hoping for compromise but expects only incremental progress in climate change talks she's hosting, further lowering hopes the Durban meeting will produce a dramatic agreement to stop global warming. There are fears that "politics cannot deliver on what science requires," Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told South African business leaders in a speech Monday. She was speaking three months before talks in Durban that follow a failed round in Copenhagen in 2009 that undermined confidence the world could produce a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto provisions capping greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries expire in 2012.... "I will need to find compromises that will protect the integrity of the process," Nkoana-Mashabane said.... The U.S., a key player, has already said it does not expect this year's climate change conference to yield a binding international agreement. ...


Lowered expectations cannot deliver on what reality requires.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from New York Times:
Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers
This page opposes the building of a 1,700-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL, which would carry diluted bitumen -- an acidic crude oil -- from Canada's Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. We have two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from the tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does. The Canadian government insists that it has found ways to reduce those emissions. But a new report from Canada's environmental ministry shows how great the impact of the tar sands will be in the coming years, even with cleaner production methods. It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest -- a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution. One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020... ...


Sometimes it seems as if we want to destroy our world.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Dozens arrested outside White House during oil sands protest
A Canadian woman was among as many as 50 environmental activists handcuffed and taken to jail Sunday on the second day of peaceful White House protests against TransCanada Corp.'s controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Fifty protesters are already in a downtown D.C. jail following their arrests outside the White House on Saturday, the opening day of a two-week civil disobedience campaign.... President Barack Obama will decide by the end of the year whether to allow Calgary-based TransCanada to build the controversial, $7-billion (U.S.) pipeline. It would transport millions of barrels of Alberta oil sands crude a week through the American heartland and to Gulf Coast refineries. Opponents say Keystone is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, pointing to a number of recent spills along pipelines. They also oppose Alberta's oil sands due to their high greenhouse gas emissions. Advocates, meantime, say the pipeline will create thousands of American jobs amid a lingering recession, and will also help end U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil. ...


Someday soon, we'll all have jobs dying of the heat.

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Sat, Aug 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules
A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land. U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said... "Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury," she said. "Those injuries are supported by the administrative record." ...


Poor poor put-upon oil and gas companies!

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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Officials set to miss latest deadline for rules on ozone
The Obama administration, facing withering criticism from business that onerous environmental rules are behind the stalled economy, looks poised to miss another key deadline for new standards to clean up smog, according to lobbyists and environmentalists. After agreeing to work with environmentalists who had sued the administration over the standards, the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed issuing rules on low-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, four times since 2010. ...


You are in the Obama Ozone Zone.

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Sun, Aug 7, 2011
from Grist:
The new normal: billion-dollar disasters
The National Climatic Data Center's (NCDC) latest "Billion Dollar U.S. Weather Disasters" report finds the U.S. has racked up more mega-expensive natural disasters in 2011 than ever before. So far we've suffered more than five times the huge disasters typical at this time of year. Already damage costs have reached nearly $32 billion. Compare that to the first half of the average year -- prior to the onset of "big" hurricane season -- between 1980 and 2010, where disaster costs typically run $6 billion.... All told, the U.S. has suffered 99 weather-related disasters over the past 31 years, where overall damages and economic costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The normalized losses (that is, the numbers adjusted for the GNP inflation index) add up to more than $725 billion for those 99 disasters. ...


Ain't much compared to the shareholder value the coal and oil companies have provided to the economy.

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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Greenwire:
House Democrats Take Aim at GOP Environmental Voting Record
The Republican-led House has voted to "stop," "block" or "undermine" efforts to protect the environment 110 times since taking over the majority in January, two senior Democrats said last week. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who sponsored a bill that passed the House in 2009 that would have established a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions, said the current House has done more to scuttle environmental protections than any in history. "The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries and factories," said Waxman, who serves as top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Natural Resources ranking member Markey, meanwhile, said the Republican agenda was a rifle "pointed right at the heart of America's clean energy future." ...


Republicans are good people who just tend to prefer a crappy, deadly environment.

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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Politico:
Energy programs prepare for debt deal pain
Popular energy and environmental programs should prepare for a decade of spending cuts under the debt deal reached late Sunday between the White House and congressional leaders. Less clear, however, is the effect that the landmark agreement will have on popular tax incentives for the oil, gas, renewable and other energy industries. Constituencies fighting in the trenches for every dollar insist that their programs are small relative to other big-ticket items in the annual appropriations process. But there's still plenty of concern that everything from wastewater grants to air pollution monitoring and biofuels research and development will face the scalpel as lawmakers start cutting about $2.7 trillion in spending over the next decade. ...


What's another lost decade?

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Wed, Jul 27, 2011
from London Guardian:
Sea Shepherd could be forced to sell Steve Irwin in bluefin dispute
The Sea Shepherd director has been convicted in absentia in Norway, spent 80 days in a Dutch prison, and has had the Japanese, Icelandic and Danish navies trying to arrest him for trying to defend whales, seals and fish. But now the animal rights and environmental activist Paul Watson faces the ignominy of having the flagship of his fleet, the Steve Irwin, sold by Scotland unless he raises nearly £1m in the next two weeks. Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace and the director of the Sea Shepherd conservation society based in California, was about to leave Lerwick in the Shetland isles en route for the Faroes last week when Maltese company Fish and Fish lodged a complaint against him in the Scottish courts over alleged damage sustained when Sea Shepherd freed hundreds of bluefin tuna from the company's nets in a a clash off the coast of Libya last year. The Steve Irwin was impounded by the court on 15 July and now the man described by the Japanese as a pirate has just days left to post a bond for £860,000. ...


The Steve Irwin has been stung by the stingray of capitalism.

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Mon, Jul 25, 2011
from London Guardian:
WWF accused of failing to regulate sustainable timber scheme
Conservation group WWF let timber companies use its panda brand logo while they were razing some of the world's most biologically rich rainforests or trading in potentially illegally sourced timber, according to the investigative group Global Witness. The WWF's flagship Global forest and trade network (Gftn), which is part-subsidised by the US government and EU, promotes sustainable timber, bringing together more than 70 international logging companies and large numbers of timber sellers. The WWF says the 20-year-old scheme is now responsible for nearly 19 percent of forest products bought or sold internationally, with members' combined annual sales approaching $70bn (£43bn). However, Global Witness's report, Pandering to the Loggers, claims Gftn's membership and participation rules are inadequate, allowing companies to systematically abuse the scheme. ...


World Wildlife F**ckers.

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Post Carbon Institute:
The Peak Oil Crisis: Reality On Hold
As much of America bakes in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded and while Washington argues interminably over taxes, budget cuts and debt caps, one is struck by the unreality of it all. When the House of Representatives votes to preserve the incandescent light bulb for a while as a symbol of personal freedom, it is as if we have entered a wonderland where black is white, up is down and as a nation we have lost touch with reality.... At last count there were at least a dozen mega dangers looming on the horizon all of which have the potential to change the nature of global civilization in profound ways. Yet the body politic seems to take little or no notice and concerns itself largely with issues that will soon be swept away by change. These dangers range from the depletion of our fossil fuel and mineral resources, to shrinking food and water supplies, to rising oceans, to political upheavals.... so long as a lot of us believe that we can reestablish economic growth, and wait for the return of the climate to "normal" our politicians will try to satisfy or at least say they will try to satisfy these aspirations. Change will only come when enough people realize that a return to life-as-we-knew-it a few years back is no longer possible or is at least unlikely. Unfortunately most of our media starts with the assumption that our current woes are only temporary and if we only wait long enough economic growth will resume has it always has in living memory and climate change will not turn out to be so bad as alarmists fears. ...


As long as we stay drunk, we won't have a hangover, right?

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Reuters:
Ohio leads list of top 20 states with toxic air
People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American enviromental groups said in a report on Wednesday. Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility... "Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council...The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said. ...


Or, we can just consider this outrage as acceptable casualties.

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Reuters:
USDA chief economist: Factoring in climate effects too 'cumbersome' to be considered
"They are very elaborate models," said USDA's chief economist Joseph Glauber, referring to climate-crop forecasting in an interview on Tuesday on the sidelines of a farm lending conference at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. "Take into account all the fundamentals on crops and yields. You also have to build in all this climate variability and predictions about climate variability. The range of potential outcomes is pretty large," Glauber said. "We just don't consider that in our 10-year baseline. We assume some trend growth, we really don't even look at variabilities. That's probably proper for a 10-year forecast horizon." The USDA's crop reports, such as the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) and its 10-year baseline crop outlooks, are key benchmarks for the world food and farming industries, given the vast domestic and world data gathering the agency employs. "To take our crop forecasting models -- they are what they are -- and try to marry in a lot of climate stuff, it's pretty cumbersome," Glauber said.... "Climate doesn't make a difference much over 10 years. There is a lot more variability now relative to say 10, 15 years ago. But the real changes we are talking about here start manifesting themselves over 30, 40, 50 years," Glauber said. "World food needs will increase by 70 percent by 2050. By 2050, you can have climate issues," he added. ...


Said the grasshopper to the ant: why work so hard? Winter is months away.

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Mon, Jul 18, 2011
from Paul Gilding:
Like a Grenade in a Glasshouse: The Great Disruption
It's going to hit hard and it's going to hurt - made worse because most aren't expecting it. They think the world is slowly returning to our modern "normal" - steadily increasing growth, with occasional annoying but manageable interruptions. After all, the global recession wasn't so bad was it? Sure there was pain and things got shaky but Governments responded, bailed out companies, stimulated economies, got things back on track.... But if the limits are solid, as is the case with our economic system hitting the limits of the planet - defined by unchangeable physical capacity and the laws of physics, chemistry and biology - then it can't find its way through. So eventually, when the pain of hitting the wall gets too much, it stops.... Then it will hit. Like a grenade in a glasshouse, shattering denial and delusion and leaving it like a pile of broken glass on the floor of the old economic model. Then we'll be ready for change. ...


We're busy making money here. You expect us to pay attention to the future?

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Thu, Jul 14, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
House GOP fails to repeal light bulb efficiency requirement
Opponents of the federal phaseout of old-style incandescent light bulbs failed in the House on Tuesday to repeal the requirement for more efficient lighting but are expected to try again soon. Republicans who have portrayed the new light bulb efficiency rules as a symbol of Washington regulatory overreach fell short of the two-thirds majority required for expedited action on the repeal measure, the Better Use of Our Light Bulbs, or BULB, Act. ...


Republicans are dim.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from Guardian:
Thawing Arctic opens up new shipping routes on the 'roof of the world'
Cold is the new hot in shipping circles as melting sea ice opens up prospects for trade between China and the west to move across the roof of the world. An increasing amount of seaborne traffic is beginning to move on the so-called Northern Sea Route which traverses the Siberian coast. There are also hopes of opening up more of the North West Passage above Canada. The attraction of the voyage is that it is one-third of the distance of more traditional routes through the Suez Canal. This means less carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions and less fuel. It also means less pirates.... Canadian and American maritime experts say 2 percent of global shipping could be diverted to the Arctic by 2030, rising to 5 percent by 2050. Already cruise ships are bringing tourists and income to countries such as Greenland. But they are also raising concerns about safety and pollution from oil spills. There is a widespread view that it is only a matter of time before there is a potential emergency: a passenger ship in trouble and potential evacuation into freezing seas. ...


What a positive development for trade, growth, and the sustainability of a consumer society!

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Sun, Jul 3, 2011
from BBC:
Tanzania 'will mine uranium on Selous Game Reserve' -- World Heritage Site
Tanzania will go ahead with plans to mine uranium in the UN World Heritage site Selous Game Reserve, the natural resources minister has told the BBC. Ezekiel Maige said he told the recent UN World Heritage Centre meeting it would mean the park's size would need to be reduced by less than 1 percent. The UN body said it would approve the plans, as long as environmental assessments were carried out. Money made from the mining would help in the park's upkeep, Mr Maige said. According to the UN cultural organisation Unesco, the 5m hectare-Selous Game Reserve in the south of Tanzania has large numbers of elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles - and is relatively undisturbed by humans.... Firms could expect to earn $200m each year from mining uranium from the site, of which $5m would be paid to the government, he said. Some of this would be able to help with the costly business of managing the park, and it would provide employment for about 1,600 Tanzanians.... He said it currently costs the government about $490,000 a year to manage it and the income from mining would help pay for guards to stop poaching.... ...


Two and a half percent seems a fair royalty, at least when amortized over the next seven generations.

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Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from National Geographic:
Hold the Champagne: Highway to Split Serengeti After All?
But after a closer look at the official Tanzanian statement behind the reports, it's questions, not toasts, that are being raised, and conservationists are divided as to whether it means the highway is truly canceled.... Officially, the road was supposed to boost Tanzania's economy by linking isolated, impoverished Serengeti villages outside the park with the Tanzanian city of Arusha, to the east, and the shores of Lake Victoria and other central African nations, to the west. Some conservationists, though, have speculated that the real motive for the road is to accommodate mining interests or to lay the groundwork for a railway.... Duke's Pimm agreed. "Many in the conservation community are not popping the champagne cork just yet," he said. "This is not enough." Gravel or paved, an expanded road that bisects the park will be devastating to Serengeti wildlife, he added. "A road by any other name is still going to be a disaster," Pimm said. "I think this is sophistry. ... They're still going to build a road." ...


We just want to migrate the minerals to where they belong -- what's wrong with that?

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Mon, Jun 27, 2011
from New Zealand Herald, thru DesdemonaDespair:
Insurance industry facing a climate of fear
For an industry whose survival means managing risk, these are challenging times. Nations which are focused on their economic problems have barely begun to contemplate how they will deal with the scientists' scenario of a warming planet. Yet insurers must calculate their exposure as our assumptions - that homes will be safe, food will be secure and infrastructure will work - are tested by ever more common "Hundred Year" weather disasters, a change that reinsurer Swiss Re calls the "new normal".... Trying to get a handle on this new normal means taking climate science very seriously. And the news is not good. Last month the International Energy Agency said carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose by a record 31 billion tonnes last year, making it more likely that the temperature rise this century would exceed 2C, unleashing runaway global warming and apocalyptic changes, including famine.... "Many of the risks posed by climate change will become uninsurable," predicts Mills. Insurance survives by identifying risks in advance. But climate change is a new ballgame, both in scale and weather volatility. Insurers could also risk losses from liability suits brought against customers who are blamed for fuelling climate change - a fossil fuel company, for example. ...


There are actuarial tables for an apocalypse?

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Guardian:
UK ministers ignored 'peak oil' warnings, report shows
The government was warned by its own civil servants two years ago that there could be "significant negative economic consequences" to the UK posed by near-term "peak oil" energy shortages. Ministers were told it was impossible to know exactly when production might fail to meet supply but when it did there could be global consequences, including "civil unrest." Yet ministers consistently played down the threat with the contemporaneous Wicks Review into energy security effectively dismissing peak oil as alarmist and irrelevant.... Civil servants from the department of energy and climate change argued that while global oil reserves were still plentiful, it is "clear" that existing fields are maturing and new production is being slowed by bottlenecks. Yet it concludes that "alternative technologies to oil will take a long time to develop and deploy at scale."... Meanwhile the US Military Joint Forces Command issued its own review in 2010 predicting surplus oil production could disappear as early as next year. And the University of Uppsala in Sweden argued in The Peak of the Oil Age report that oil production may already have passed its maximum. Energy academics there have repeatedly claimed that many governments and their watchdog, the International Energy Agency, have been playing down their fears for many years. ...


The real question: Are we at the Peak of peak-oil stories?

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to Sept. 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. ...


Sounds like the EPA is having performance anxiety.

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gas emissions hitting record highs
Despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are going up instead of down, hitting record highs as climate negotiators gather to debate a new global warming accord. The new report by the International Energy Agency showing high emissions from fossil fuels is one of several pieces of bad news facing delegates from about 180 countries heading to Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of talks beginning Monday...The figures are "a serious setback" to hopes of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) above preindustrial levels, he said. Any rise beyond that, scientists believe, could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting water supplies and global agriculture, setting off more frequent and fierce storms and causing a rise in sea levels that would endanger coastlines. ...


Sounds eerily like what's happening now.

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Wed, May 25, 2011
from Politico:
Cold shoulder for climate change
Climate scientists are in a tough spot. They have never been more certain about what they know. Powerful new satellites can hone in on mountainous regions to measure ice melt. Stronger computers model changes in disruptive weather patterns. Scientists are even more comfortable attributing climate change to visible effects around the globe, from retreating Himalayan glaciers to southwestern U.S. droughts and acidifying oceans. Yet scientists are still stuck in the mud trying to get that message out in Washington, where House Republicans made one of their first orders of business passing legislation to zero out research budgets for domestic and international climate efforts and unraveling a key EPA declaration that humans have played a critical role in changing the planet. ...


Oh you Republicans what a fantastical world you inhabit!

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from BBC:
Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost sixfold, new data suggests. Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says. Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil. The news comes shortly before a vote on new forest protection rules. Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the figures were "alarming" and announced the setting up of a "crisis cabinet" in response to the news. ...


All I gotta say is that "crisis cabinet" better not be made of wood!

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Thu, May 19, 2011
from Washington Times:
Raw milk activists protest arrest of farmer, milk cow on the Hill
A resounding theme of yesterdays Rally for Food and Farm Freedom on the Hill was that the FDAs recent arrest of Amish farmer Dan Allgyer for selling raw milk was not about food safety; it was about economics and keeping control of the food supply in the hands of big business, instead of giving power to the consumer. Organizers took power -- and sustenance -- into their own hands by creating an impressive showing at the rally in Upper Senate Park, and by drinking the controversial liquid, milked fresh onsite from Morgan the cow, who was trailered in from a Maryland dairy farm. ...


I prefer my milk cooked.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Greenwire:
'Anti-Environmental' House Freshman Leads Charge Against Obama's Clean Water Agenda
Just months into his first term, Rep. Bob Gibbs admits he has much to learn. But the Ohio Republican holds strong reservations about environmental regulation in general... Republicans across the United States capitalized in the last election on a similar business-now, environment-later message, stoking an anti-incumbent mood among voters still smarting from the recession with hopeful promises of business-friendly, job-creating policies. Few in the GOP capitalized as much as this 56-year-old political unknown from rural southeastern Ohio. This white-haired Midwestern farmer has since emerged as critic-in-chief of a top Obama administration priority: strengthening clean water protections. ...


Because who needs clean water when we can be making some dirty money?

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Tue, May 3, 2011
from Reuters:
Major polluters say 2011 climate deal 'not doable'
The world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters do not expect a legally-binding deal to tackle climate change at talks in South Africa in December, two leading climate envoys said on Wednesday. U.S. climate negotiator Todd Stern and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard played down the chance of a breakthrough after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), an informal group of 17 countries including the world's top polluters, China and the United States. "From what I've heard in these last two days, the conclusion must be that it is highly unlikely that the world will see a legally binding deal done in Durban," Hedegaard told reporters. "Not that they do not think it's important -- but there is just this feeling that it's simply not doable for Durban." ...


Sorry, guys -- it's just a little too inconvenient.

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Sun, May 1, 2011
from Yale360:
Outsourced Emissions Dwarf CO2 Cuts in Developed World, Study Says
Carbon emission reductions achieved since 1990 by the world's developed nations were canceled out many times over by the increase of imported goods from nations without binding emissions targets, including China, according to a new report. While climate policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, stabilized carbon emissions in many wealthy nations from 1990 to 2008, most of these nations increased their "consumption-based" emissions significantly during this period because of large imports, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which the authors call the first global assessment of how international trade affected national carbon footprints since Kyoto, says that while developed nations reduced their CO2 emissions by 2 percent from 1990 to 2008, those emissions actually increased by 7 percent when imports were factored in. "This suggests that the current focus on territorial emissions in a subset of countries may be ineffective at reducing global emissions without some mechanisms to monitor and report emissions from the production of imported goods and services," said Glen Peters of the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research and lead author of the study. ...


Environmental default swaps gone wild.

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Sun, Apr 24, 2011
from Associated Press:
Costly gasoline clouds Obama re-election prospects
With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue....As Obama well knows, Americans love their cars and remain heavily dependent on them, and they don't hesitate to punish politicians when the cost of filling their tanks goes through the roof. ...


This Easter, give your car a big bunny hug because it's the most important thing on the planet.

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Reuters:
GOP Begins New Push to Delay EPA Rules on Toxic Power Plant Emissions
Under pressure from industry, Congressional Republicans are urging the U.S. EPA to further delay long-overdue rules that would limit more than 80 air toxics emitted by coal-burning power plants, barely a month after the agency announced them. At least one lawmaker, Rep. Edward Whitfield of Kentucky -- a state which gets more than 90 percent of its power from coal -- has said he will soon introduce legislation to postpone implementation of the regulations... According to EPA, the mercury and air toxics standards alone would prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths and 11,000 heart attacks each year. Utilities and business groups say the anti-pollution rules would be too costly to implement and would force early shutdowns of power plants, threatening jobs and economic recovery. ...


I know I'd rather die than watch a poor power plant shut down.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Discovery News:
As Gold Prices Go Up, Forests Are Coming Down
A worldwide growth in the price of gold has accelerated the pace of deforestation in some of the most pristine parts of the Peruvian Amazon, where miners are cutting down trees in order to extract the valuable natural resource. From 2003 to 2009, found a new study, the rate of deforestation in two gold-mining areas increased six-fold alongside record-setting leaps in the international price of gold. During one two-year period, as gold prices climbed steadily, forests disappeared at a rate of 4.5 American football fields a day from one of the two sites. Alongside the accelerating paces of both mining and deforestation, the study found, there has also been an exponential rise in the use of mercury, which helps miners extract gold from the Earth. ...


Someday soon we'll realize these trees were worth their weight in gold.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Associated Press:
AP Enterprise: BP is looking strong a year later
It's hard to tell that just a year ago BP was reeling from financial havoc and an American public out for blood. The oil giant at the center of one of the world's biggest environmental crises is making strong profits again, its stock has largely rebounded, and it is paying dividends to shareholders once more. It is also pursuing new ventures from the Arctic to India. It is even angling to explore again in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it holds more leases than any competitor. ...


Oil is thicker than blood.

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Fri, Apr 15, 2011
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
World markets down as commodities threaten profits
World stocks were mostly down Thursday amid concerns that rising food and fuel costs could undermine consumer demand, hurting economic growth and company profits. Oil prices hovered above $107 a barrel in Asia as a large drop in U.S. gasoline supplies suggested the two-month crude rally hasn't yet undermined consumer demand. Crude has risen about 27 percent since mid-February. In currencies, the dollar was lower against the yen and the euro.... "While softness in U.S. growth is a concern, the real issue for investors is the second-round effects of high and rising commodity prices," said Clive McDonnell of BNP Paribas in Singapore. "For Asia in particular, margins in the consumer sectors are at risk as we pass the sweet spot of rising commodity and equity prices."... ...


That "sweet spot" is kinda sour, for the rest of us.

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Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Pollution rules could be eased despite increase in asthma
Students in the South Allegheny School District, downwind of U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works, have asthma rates 300 to 400 percent higher than national rates, convincing district officials to install air filtration systems in school buildings.... a study released Wednesday by Health Care Without Harm, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the National Association of School Nurses, said the already staggering human and financial toll of asthma in the United States "is likely to increase" if Congress carries through with its threat to weaken the Clean Air Act and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from tightening air pollution regulations. Congressional action could include blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. ...


Whaddaya want? The government to actually protect us?

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from Guardian:
MBA course: 'blind pursuit of profit is destroying the planet'
"Lies, cheat, deceit, distortion, hype, and a blind pursuit of profit have poisoned the business world. The price of this has been the destruction of the planet, its ecosystems and the alienation of humans from their soul and genuine inner needs. Pollution, contamination, climate change, poverty, rising sea level, unemployment, financial crisis, social unrest, war, and a general lack of trust has taken over as a result."... [T]hese words come from the press release of a new MBA course now being offered at Marbella University in southern Spain. Yes, an MBA course: that rarefied habitat that has long been the butt of jokes due to the air of self-importance and unworldliness nurtured within. (The same is often said of the environmental movement, of course!)... So it comes as something of a shock to see an MBA course being advertised in such a way. ...


As long as it's only an elective.

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Mon, Apr 4, 2011
from Guardian:
What Japan's disaster tells us about peak oil
While the thermal power stations may restart operations soon, the overall shortfall will become even more difficult to manage over the summer period when air conditioning is utilized. The reality is that these power cuts could continue for years, especially since the one of the two Fukushima nuclear plants has effectively become a pile of radioactive scrap.... It has been difficult for Japan's notoriously efficient industries to maintain production, given that they rely on just-in-time systems and which have supply plants (for needed parts) that are located in the zone impacted by these combined disasters. One example is in car production, where major firms have had to suspend work at their factories when key parts are no longer available from the affected region. The fragility of this system of industrial production is glaringly obvious and it is something that peak oil commentators have warned of multiple times.... Under a peak oil scenario, the entire world (not just one country) would be affected by a continuous decline in global oil production.... For a country like Japan that relies heavily on the import of food, having only 40 percent self-sufficiency, the real peak oil scenario would have dire impacts. ...


Peak oil is so yesterday.

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Tue, Mar 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
S. Carolina lawmakers take dim view of new light bulbs
South Carolina lawmakers are taking a stand in favor of states' lights. With incandescent bulbs being phased out under federal law in favor of energy-efficient compact fluorescents, legislators want to exempt South Carolina from the measure, saying Washington has no business telling the state how to light its closets and countertops. The proposed state law, called the Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, "allows South Carolina to say to the federal government we are going to exercise our rights," said Republican state Rep. Bill Sandifer, a co-sponsor. ...


The Freedom to Ruin the Earth Edict (FREE)

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from St. Petersburg Times:
Bill will adversely affect environment, but will it create jobs?
Builders of homes, offices, roads and other projects have been allowed to wipe out more wetlands in Florida than in any other state. But now, in the name of sparking job growth, state lawmakers want to make it even easier to develop wetlands and just write a check for the damage. The 63 pages of CS/HB 991, which passed its latest committee vote Wednesday 14-0, are packed with changes to the state's wetlands, water pollution and development permitting rules. The bill makes it easier to build roads through wetlands, easier for polluters to escape punishment, easier to open new phosphate mines and harder for regulators to yank a permit from someone who did things wrong. ...


No worries. All this raping of the earth will create plenty of jobs in the Post-Apocalypse.

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio poised to take center stage in natural gas drilling debate as it considers tapping park lands
...geologists, energy experts and gas well drillers fully believe Ohio might be sitting atop a gold mine of natural gas embedded in the long-known, but only recently accessible shale deposit. They also are hopeful that those riches will soon be more available now that Ohio Gov. John Kasich favors and the legislature is considering allowing drilling companies on state park land to reach those deposits... The drilling and fracking questions are particularly acute in Ohio right now because of the state's financial woes and the promise that leasing of land for drilling could net untold millions of dollars, some of which could help cover a $500 million backlog in maintenance and repairs in the parks themselves. ...


I prefer we frack the wealthiest two percent instead.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Edmonton Journal:
U.S. energy giant sets up shop in Alberta
An American energy conglomerate owned by two powerful billionaire brothers who help fund the Tea Party and climate-change denial movements in the U.S. has registered to lobby the Alberta government. Alberta's lobbyist registry shows that on March 15, Koch Industries signed up to lobby the province on energy and resource development policy issues, as well as taxation and economic development. The company is run by Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world. Koch Industries spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia did not respond to interview requests Wednesday, but released a one-sentence statement. "Koch companies want to add value by providing quality services and products our customers desire and value in a way that is compliant with all laws and regulations," she wrote. ...


If it was my province, I'd show these Kochs the door.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from Forbes:
Salazar opens 750M tons of Wyo. coal to mining
nterior Secretary Ken Salazar announced plans Tuesday to auction off vast coal reserves in Wyoming over the next five months, unleashing a significant but controversial power source amid uncertainty about clean and safe energy development. ...


Salazar = Salaczar

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from AFP, via Yahoo News:
Fewer Americans worry about climate change: poll
The number of Americans who are worried about global warming has fallen to nearly the historic low reached in 1998, a poll released Monday showed. Just 51 percent of Americans -- or one percentage point more than in 1998 -- said they worry a great deal or fair amount about climate change, Gallup's annual environment poll says. In 2008, a year after former US vice president Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize, two-thirds of Americans were concerned about climate change. The rate of concern among Americans has fallen steadily since then to 60 percent in 2009 and 52 percent last year.... "The reasons for the decline in concern are not obvious, though the economic downturn could be a factor," Gallup analysts say, citing a poll from two years ago that shows that in the minds of Americans, economy takes precedence over environment.... Just over a quarter of Americans believe reports in the press about climate change are generally correct, while nearly three in 10 believe the US media understates the effects of global warming. ...


Looks like our messaging is working!

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions. Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party's 2012 election prospects. "If the EPA issues regulations that cost jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans will blast the President with it over and over," says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Not just the President. Every Democratic [lawmaker] from those states." ...


Those of you hoping the US will get its shit together... are dreaming!

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Greenwire:
Democrats Cry Foul Over GOP's Attempts to Tie Fuel Prices to EPA
House Republicans' move to join the two most politically volatile threads in the Washington, D.C., energy debate -- gas prices and U.S. EPA rules -- sparked Democratic charges of deception yesterday and silence so far from the Obama administration. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) amplified the GOP gambit as he laid out a new project, dubbed the American Energy Initiative, calling for more domestic fossil-fuel production, new nuclear power plants and an end to EPA's authority over greenhouse gases. While the Republican message had percolated all week, Boehner's decision to spotlight the anti-EPA bill now sailing through the House Energy and Commerce Committee gave the gas-price charge a far broader platform. The administration's offshore oil-production policies and regulation of greenhouse gases, Boehner said yesterday, represent a systematic hit to economic growth. "If the White House has its way -- and the EPA imposes a backdoor national energy tax -- gas prices will only go higher," the Ohioan told reporters. ...


I decree... that all politicians... abandon their limos and airplanes in lieu of riding bicycles.

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Mon, Mar 7, 2011
from Reuters:
Republicans launch bill to axe EPA carbon rules
Republicans in both chambers of Congress introduced bills on Thursday that would permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions blamed for warming the planet. President Barack Obama would veto a bill that blocks the agency from tackling climate change, administration officials have said. Obama has pledged to the world the United States will cut greenhouse gases to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.... "The EPA is pursuing a dramatic shift in our nation's energy and environmental policy that would send shock waves through our economy," said Ed Whitfield, the chair of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, a co-sponsor of the measure. Senator James Inhofe, a climate skeptic who is writing a book on global warming called "The Hoax," introduced a version of the legislation in the upper chamber. The Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under federal law. The EPA then declared the emissions endanger public health, which paved the way for its regulation of gases from smokestacks and vehicles, which began in January. ...


Self-regulation within the energy industry has been successful so far.

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Sun, Mar 6, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Gloomy Malthus provides food for thought as world's appetite builds
At some point, argued Malthus, the demands of the human race will exceed agricultural capacity, sparking violence, population decline and radical social change. A highbrow version of the man with the "End is Nigh" sandwich board, Malthus banged his "impending catastrophe" drum until his death in 1834 - hence the "dismal" sobriquet.... The United Nations index of global food prices hit yet another record high in February - the eighth successive monthly increase. The respected UN index - which tracks prices of cereals, meat, dairy, oils and sugar - is now up 40 percent on a year ago and 5 percent above its June 2008 peak. The price of corn - a widespread staple crop - is now 95 percent higher than a year ago. While there were many factors behind the outbreak of dissent in Libya, soaring food prices were the catalyst. A wave of price-related resentment has swept across a number of North African nations and could yet cause a political eruption in the Gulf. Since before the days of Malthus, economists have tracked the natural swing and counter-swing of food prices, as production has responded with a lag to price signals and the vagaries of the weather. But maybe Malthus was right and that self-correcting cycle is now over. ...


Relax! We'll just make a bigger pie!

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from The Nation:
The Story of 'Citizens United' vs. the FEC
This is the best short history of the growth of corporate power I've ever read, heard or seen. It's also a primer on exactly why the Supreme Court's closely divided Citizens United decision is incompatible with basic notions of democratic governance. Created by the good folks at The Story of Stuff project, founded by Annie Leonard to creatively amplify public discourse on environmental, social and economic concerns, The Story of Citizens United v FEC explores the crisis in American democracy sparked by the Court decision that gave corporations the right to spend unlimited funds to influence elections... The ultimate solution is the Free Speech for People Amendment to the US Constitution. Corporations are not people, they do not vote, and they should not be able to influence election outcomes. ...


The revolution will be animated.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Equipment Failure at Refinery Leads to Toxic HF Release
A hydrofluoric acid leak from an oil refinery in Ohio last week sent a worker to the hospital and required the use of a "water cannon" to disperse the poisonous gas, underscoring the potentially perilous nature of a chemical used at 50 refineries across the country. The Marathon Oil Corp. refinery in Canton, Ohio, has estimated in a report to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center that 145 pounds of the acid, known as HF, escaped during the Feb. 23 incident. The company blamed equipment failure. Workers were evacuated....The refining industry is experiencing a rash of fires, explosions and mechanical breakdowns, putting workers at risk. Such incidents may signify weaknesses that could lead to a calamity. Over the last five years, the Ohio refinery has been cited more often than all but three other refineries using HF for failing to manage hazardous processes. ...


The more we deregulate, the more our equipment will magically cease to fail.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Greenwire:
Regulators Face Deep Cuts as Governors Close Budget Gaps
As they battle record deficits, governors nationwide are digging into state environmental regulatory bodies in budget proposals, many in the name of increasing efficiency and creating states that are "open for business." In some states, environmental groups say budget proposals unfairly target those departments over other state agencies and would set back conservation efforts by years. They also argue that cutting environmental spending will end up costing more jobs than are created by bolstering other state programs.... Industry supporters and budget hawks say environmental agencies have to face the ax like everyone else. ...


I know. Let's let the US have this planet to kill, and the rest of us can go find a new one.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Issa Oversight Committee Staffs Up with Industry Insiders
First as ranking minority member and now as chairman of one of the most powerful committees in Congress, San Diego Republican Darrell Issa has built a team that includes staff members with close connections to industries that could benefit from his investigations. Issa took control of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last month, and asked companies, nonprofits and industry associations for guidance on federal regulations. The committee, which includes 23 Republicans and 17 Democrats, has broad powers to investigate government and industry, and to issue subpoenas. Issa's staff already has released findings sympathetic to industries bent on softening or eliminating certain government regulations. ...


This is what happens when power shifts to the GOP: the environment goes to shit!

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from Topeka Capital-Journal:
House seeks to choke EPA regs
Nearly every member of the Kansas House is convinced air-quality regulators at the federal Environmental Protection Agency are spewing toxic rules. Rep. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, took the lead on pushing through a resolution declaring convergence of EPA carbon-limiting edicts, tied to anxiety about greenhouse gases and global warming, should be likened to a runaway railroad engine screaming down the tracks toward certain disaster... 116 members of the House voted for a resolution urging Congress to prohibit EPA by any means necessary -- such as stripping funding from the federal agency -- to block regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. ...


Kansans have a proud history of undermining their own existence.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from Albany Times Union:
An assault on the environment
The new House Republican majority likes to say that the American people spoke last year. If the GOP's spending bill is any indication, it seems the American people are clamoring for more mercury in their fish, oil on their coasts and pollution in their drinking water. Those would be just some of the environmental highlights of a House spending bill to keep the government running through Sept. 30. Or perhaps anti-environmental highlights would be more apt. Anti-health, too. ...


It's simply ... anti-life.

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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Charleston Daily Mail:
W.Va. Marcellus gas legislation ready for review
West Virginia lawmakers hope to focus this week on a single, catchall bill for developing the Marcellus shale natural gas field. The legislation up for review seeks to address industry needs, environmental concerns, and the rights of mineral and surface owners. The proposal would cover everything from applying for needed permits and drawing boundaries for drill sites to storing the large volumes of water needed to extract the gas. Operators face $10,000 permit fees in the bill, along with paying $100 annually for the water storage impoundments. The measure also increases potential civil penalties, from a maximum of $2,500 to one of $10,000. ...


Gee, I wonder whose needs will come first?

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Fri, Feb 18, 2011
from Huffington Post:
House Votes To Block EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gases
The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming. The 249-177 vote added the regulation ban to a sweeping spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30. The restriction is opposed by the Obama administration, which is using its regulatory powers to curb greenhouse gases after global warming legislation collapsed last year. The administration also says the ban would cost thousands of construction jobs. EPA has already taken steps to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles and the largest factories and industrial plants. It is expected to soon roll out rules that target refineries and power plants. Texas Republican Ted Poe pressed the anti-EPA measure. His Texas district is home to many oil refineries. ...


The Republican™ brand just got hotter.

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Mongabay News:
Cambodia approves titanium mine in world's 'most threatened forest'
The Cambodian government has approved a mine that environmentalists and locals fear will harm wildlife, pollute rivers, and put an end to a burgeoning ecotourism in one of the last pristine areas of what Conservation International (CI) recently dubbed 'the world's most threatened forest'. Prime Minister, Hun Sen, approved the mine concession to the United Khmer Group, granting them 20,400 hectares for strip mining in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains. The biodiverse, relatively intact forests of the Cardamom Mountains are a part of the Indo-Burma forest hotspot of Southeast Asia, which CI put at the top of their list of the world's most threatened forests. With only 5 percent of habitat remaining, the forest was found to be more imperiled than the Amazon, the Congo, and even the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia. ...


Like I always say: If you're heading for the cliff might as well accelerate!

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Huffington Post:
UN's Figueres Warns Of 'Climate Chaos,' Urges Militaries To Invest In Prevention
Global warming is a looming threat to stability and national security around the world, and militaries should spend some of their ever-expanding budgets on reducing carbon emissions to avoid "climate chaos," the U.N.'s top climate official said Tuesday. Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. climate secretariat, warned of the destabilizing effects created by growing water stress, declining crop yields and damage from extreme storms in some of the world's poorest countries, which could set off mass international migration and regional conflicts. Figueres said the world's military budgets grew by 50 percent in the first nine years of this century. Rather than continue that growth in weaponry, she said, the generals should invest in preventative budgets to "avoid the climate chaos that would demand a defense response that makes even today's spending burden look light." ...


It's as if she thinks a collapsing economy in a hypermilitarized security state is a bad thing.

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
Global warming heats up Republican attacks on EPA
Vowing to curb the authority and the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, congressional Republicans are attacking the agency to a degree not seen since President Richard Nixon created it 40 years ago. The EPA's effort to tackle the latest and perhaps most challenging environmental problem -- global warming -- has made it a central target of the new Republican leadership's anti-regulatory agenda. Having failed last year to enact new legislation to curb global warming, the administration is left to use existing law -- the Clean Air Act -- to start reducing the pollution causing the planet's temperature to rise. During a hearing on Wednesday, GOP members of a House subcommittee contended that such actions will only raise electricity prices and penalize industries that otherwise could be creating jobs. ...


...ack...

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Business Groups' Target: EPA
The Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces rules that affect the U.S. economy from factories to farms, is the No. 1 target of complaints from business groups collected by House Republican leaders. EPA rules were cited more than those from any other agency in more than 100 letters sent by trade associations, businesses and some conservative groups to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) in response to his call for businesses to identify regulations they deemed burdensome, according to documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal. The letters are scheduled for release today. ...


I have this sneaking suspicion Issa is gonna pissa me off!

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Fri, Feb 4, 2011
from London Guardian:
Communities not getting a say in how forests are managed
Governments have been accused by grassroots groups and scientific researchers of reneging on commitments to give communities a say in how forests are managed, and doing little to address the causes of worldwide deforestation. The charges came as the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, declared 2011 to be the international year of forests, and politicians from around the world meet in New York for the high level segment of the UN's ninth forestry forum (UNFF). Non-government groups released a report showing that indigenous peoples and forest communities have done a much better job at conservation than governments. ...


When are going to go ahead and declare an international year of panic!!!

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from New York Times:
Once Popular, Car Pools Go the Way of Hitchhiking
Remember the 1970s? Watergate, disco, oil embargoes and, of course, car-pooling. Many big companies organized group rides for their employees, and roughly one in four Americans who drove to work shared a ride with others. But now far more people are driving alone, as companies have spread out, Americans are wealthier and cars have become cheaper to own. The percentage of workers who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980, the first time the Census Bureau started systematically tracking the numbers, according to new data from the bureau. ...


And thus we shall drive / one person per vehicle / unto our ruin

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Thu, Jan 27, 2011
from Reuters:
Arctic short-cut shipping to leap in 2011 -Russia
Russia predicted on Tuesday a surge in voyages on an Arctic short-cut sea route in 2011 as a thaw linked to climate change opens the region even more to shipping and oil and mining companies. High metals and oil prices, linked to rising demand from China and other emerging economies, is helping to spur interest in the Arctic and the route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as an alternative to travelling via the Suez canal. ...


The Apocalypse is nigh -- LET'S PARTY!!!

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Industry Group's Self-Depiction Raises Eyebrows
At first glance, the Waters Advocacy Coalition could be mistaken for a typical environmental group. The home page of its Web site, protectmywater.org, features a banner reading "Protect the Clean Water Act" across a photo slide show of flowing streams and clear mountain lakes. On Facebook and Twitter, where the group's handle is @ProtectCWA, its bio reads: "Our coalition is made up of diverse organizations that have an interest in and actively protect our nation's waters and wetlands resources." ...As it turns out... the Waters Advocacy Council is not an environmental organization, but a lobbying outfit for some of the nation's largest industrial and agricultural concerns, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Industrial Sand Association and the National Mining Association. ...


Protect is the new destroy.

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on Global Warming
No one does more to spread dangerous disinformation about global warming than [Rupert] Murdoch. In a year of rec­ord heat waves in Africa, freak snowstorms in America and epic flooding in Pakistan, the Fox network continued to dismiss climate change as nothing but a conspiracy by liberal scientists and Big Government. Glenn Beck told viewers the Earth experienced no warming in the past decade -- the hottest on record. Sean Hannity declared that "global warming doesn't exist" and speculated about "the true agenda of global-warming hysterics." Even Brian Kilmeade, co-host of the chatty Fox & Friends, laughed off the threat of climate change, joking that the real problem was "too many polar bears." ...


This is the dirtiest dozen of all.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Frederick News-Post:
American Farm Bureau files suit to stop Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts
The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit in federal court to halt the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman announced the lawsuit Jan. 10 at the AFBF's 92nd annual meeting in Atlanta. "We all want a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay," Stallman said in a recent news release. "This lawsuit is about how we get there. Farm Bureau believes EPA's 'diet' for the Chesapeake is dangerous and unlawful." ...


Bob Stall-man... now THERE'S an aptly-named impediment to environmental restoration.

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Mon, Jan 24, 2011
from McClatchy:
With health care 'repealed,' GOP turns to climate change
Now that the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the health care law, Republicans say they're likely to move soon to another target -- a rewrite of the Clean Air Act so that it can't be used to fight climate change.... "Standing up for American workers and addressing EPA's rampant regulations is a top priority, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said Thursday. "We will be active and aggressive using every tool in the toolbox to protect American jobs and our economy by rolling back the job-destroying (greenhouse gas) regulations." Like the health-care repeal, though, it's largely a symbolic effort since the Senate retains its Democratic majority and President Barack Obama wields his veto pen. ...


Repealing climate chaos is our only option.

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Fri, Jan 21, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Seeking permission to pollute
A monitor at George Washington High School on the Southeast Side shows that air in the neighborhood has the distinction of containing the state's highest levels of toxic heavy metals, chromium and cadmium, as well as sulfates, which can trigger asthma attacks and increase the risk of heart disease. The school sits across from a long-shuttered industrial site where Leucadia National Corp. plans to build a $3 billion coal-to-gas plant that would add even more pollution to one of the nation's most polluted areas. Two hurdles remain for the plant to become reality. Gov. Pat Quinn only needs to sign a bill that muscled its way through the General Assembly during the recent lame-duck session. And the state Pollution Control Board must decide whether the owners of the industrial site can sell their permission to pollute to New York-based Leucadia. ...


You certainly have my permission to let rich people get richer while ruining the environment.

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from Reuters:
Climate change growing risk for insurers: industry
Insurers are struggling to assess the risks from climate change, industry officials say, with the floods in Australia and Brazil highlighting the potential losses from greater extremes of weather. Scientists say a warmer world will cause more intense drought, floods, cyclones as well as rising sea levels and the insurance industry says the number of weather-related disasters has already soared over the past several decades.... "There is still a fair amount of uncertainly as to climate change and the attribution of climate change to natural events or man-made and therefore it has not translated yet into the pricing," Yves Guerard, secretary-general of the Ottawa-based International Actuarial Association, told Reuters.... Overall losses from weather-related natural catastrophes rose by a factor of 3 in the period 1980-2009, taking inflation into account, while insured losses from such events increased by a factor of about 4 during the same period. Total insured losses from natural disasters in 2010 was $37 billion, it says. While taking into account rising wealth, population and urbanization, "there is evidence indicating that the growing number of weather-related catastrophes most probably cannot be fully explained without climate change," the company says. ...


Insurance is only worth the economy it's printed on.

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from The Independent, via DesdemonaDespair:
Bees facing a poisoned spring
A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government's leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory.... Bayer, the German chemicals giant which developed the insecticides and makes most of them, insists that they are safe for bees if used properly, but they have already been widely linked to bee mortality. The US findings raise questions about the substance used in the bee lab's experiment, imidacloprid, which was Bayer's top-selling insecticide in 2009, earning the company 510m. The worry is that neonicotinoids, which are neurotoxins - that is, they attack the central nervous system - are also "systemic", meaning they are taken up into every part of the plant which is treated with them, including the pollen and nectar. This means that bees and other pollinating insects can absorb them and carry them back to their hives or nests - even if they are not the insecticide's target species.... The American study, led by Dr Jeffrey Pettis, research leader at the US government bee lab in Beltsville, Maryland, has demonstrated that the insects' vulnerability to infection is increased by the presence of imidacloprid, even at the most microscopic doses. Dr Pettis and his team found that increased disease infection happened even when the levels of the insecticide were so tiny that they could not subsequently be detected in the bees, although the researchers knew that they had been dosed with it. ...


Bee there, dead that.

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Wed, Jan 19, 2011
from Politico:
More mountaintop mining decisions loom
The Obama administration is facing a string of politically difficult decisions over one of the country's most contentious environmental issues: mountaintop removal coal mining. Few issues can generate equivalent outrage among the administration's environmentalist allies as does mountaintop removal, a mining technique common in West Virginia and other Appalachian states where operators use explosives to open mountaintops and access coal seams, and then dump the resulting waste in adjacent streams. Green groups say the practice is among the worst abuses of the fossil fuel industry, saying it is ruining Appalachia's ecosystems and poisoning its drinking water supplies. But Appalachia's mining industry calls itself the economic lifeline to one of the country's poorest regions. ...


Perhaps we can agree to call it an economic deathline.

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from WWF, via EurekAlert:
Oil giant plans new platform near feeding ground of critically endangered whale
Sakhalin Energy Investment Company - part owned by Shell - has announced plans to build a major oil platform near crucial feeding habitat of the Western North Pacific gray whale population. Only around 130 whales of the critically endangered Western population exist today, and their primary feeding habitat - off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East - is already besieged by multiple oil and gas exploration and development projects. The construction and operation of an additional off-shore platform could have numerous negative impacts on the whales, potentially disrupting feeding behaviours and increasing the chance of fatal ship strikes. Also, a third platform heightens the risk of an environmentally catastrophic oil spill in this sensitive habitat. "Just around 30 female western gray whales of breeding age remain - the population is already on the brink of disappearing forever," said Aleksey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Environmental Policy Officer for WWF-Russia. "The loss of even a few breeding females could mean the end for the population." ...


Why can't those whales find a new restaurant?

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Sun, Jan 16, 2011
from Slate, via DesdemonaDespair:
The Chinese Eco-Disaster
He had traveled 100,000 miles crisscrossing China, from Tibet to the deserts of Inner Mongolia, and everywhere he went, he discovered that the Chinese state had embarked on a massive program of ecological destruction. It has turned whole rivers poisonous to the touch, rendered entire areas cancer-ridden, transformed a fertile area almost twice the size of Britain into desert--and perhaps even triggered the worst earthquake in living memory. In his extraordinary book When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind--or Destroy It, Watts warns: "The planet's problems were not made in China, but they are sliding past the point of no return there." The ber-capitalist Communists now have the highest emissions of global-warming gases in the world (although the average Chinese person generates one-seventh the emissions the average American does). We are all trapped in a greenhouse together: Environmental destruction in China becomes environmental destruction where you live. This story will become your story. ...


We may be looking at a Cultural Devolution.

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Sat, Jan 15, 2011
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
'Stepping off the GDP escalator' path to sustainable economies
Buy, buy, buy; that is the message that most of us hear, and for the last few decades rampant consumerism certainly seems to have ensured that the economic bubble continued to grow. But like all bubbles, the economic one eventually had to burst, and the current global recession is causing some people to question the wisdom of pursuing an ever-growing economy. "Right now the only way we know to keep an economy going is to consume more and more, but I'm asking if we could do better than this," says Jackson, author of Prosperity Without Growth: Economics For A Finite Planet. "Previously it has been taboo to raise the question of economic growth within government - economic stability is seen to rely on growth," says Jackson. But he thinks that the global recession, change in UK government and failure to reach a climate deal in Copenhagen last year have all helped to break down the taboo and open up debate. "It is now possible to question whether GDP is the best measure of how well we do as a nation, and to ask what happiness really means," says Jackson. ...


As long as you don't question the wisdom of pursuing obesity as a means of improved health.

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Sat, Jan 15, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Climate change could happen much faster than previously thought
Humans are in danger of making large parts of the Earth uninhabitable for thousands of years because of man made climate change, according to new evidence based on geological records. The US study predicted that if society continues burning fossil fuels at the current rate, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide could rise from the current level of 390 parts per million (ppm) to 1,000 by the end of this century.... But unlike last time, when it happened over millions of years, temperatures will rise too fast for species to adapt and change. In the short term he said temperatures could rise by more than 10.8F (6C) by the end of the century, which will also wipe out species.... "A truly conservative position is to conserve what we have, to not radically change things and if we do not want to radically change the environment then the conservative approach is to conserve the Earth as the human species has known it ever since we have been around on this planet." ...


Perhaps wiping out millions of species will decrease the atmospheric CO2, since they'll no longer be exhaling.

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Tue, Jan 11, 2011
from Reuters:
EPA "pollution diet" starves agriculture: farm group
The head of the largest U.S. farm group called on Congress to stop ruinous EPA "over-regulation" of agriculture and announced on Sunday a lawsuit against EPA rules to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution. Bob Stallman, president of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, announced the lawsuit during a speech that opened the group's annual meeting. He said the Environmental Protection Agency's "over-regulation endangers our industry." Farmers have been leery of EPA for years. Opposition has grown in the past couple of years out of concern that regulation of greenhouse gases will drive up farming expenses and that EPA may tell farmers to limit dust from fields. ...


And YOUR pollution endangers OUR environment!

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Sun, Jan 9, 2011
from WGBH Climatide:
Discovery of the year: ocean acidification is happening NOW
ocean acidification is the phenomenon in which carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves in the surface waters of the ocean, producing carbonic acid that (in sufficient quantities) shifts the pH balance of the ocean toward acidity and impairs the ability of animals like oysters and corals to extract the calcium carbonate they need to build their skeletons or shells. In the past 200 years, the ocean has absorbed nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in a 30 percent increase in ocean acidity. Talmage and Gobler reared quahogs (Mercenaria mercenaria) and bay scallops (Argopecten irradia) under conditions simulating past, present, and likely future carbon dioxide levels. Not surprisingly (because numerous previous studies have documented similar findings), the shellfish of the future had severe shell defects, higher death rates, and slower growth than their modern-CO2 counterparts. What was less expected was the observation that modern conditions produced shellfish with thinner shells, slower growth, and death rates almost double those of shellfish grown in pre-industrial water conditions. ...


As if the health of bivalves has anything to do with me!

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Sat, Jan 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Japanese whalers, activists clash off Antarctica
SYDNEY - Japanese whalers shot water cannons at anti-whaling activists on Saturday, the conservationist group's founder claimed, hours after the activists tracked down the hunting fleet in the remote and icy seas off Antarctica. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is chasing the fleet in the hopes of interrupting Japan's annual whale hunt, which kills up to 1,000 whales a year. The two sides have clashed violently in the past, including last year, when a Sea Shepherd boat was sunk after its bow was sheared off in a collision with a whaling ship.... New Zealand-based Glenn Inwood, spokesman for Japan's Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which sponsors the whale hunt, said he had no comment. ...


I'd like to do a little "research" on their asses.

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Thu, Dec 30, 2010
from Guardian:
China's green gift to the world
In a mostly dismal year for US and international climate policy, China's coal imports are skyrocketing to record levels. The environmental community and policy pundits have rushed to decry this new development, arguing that China's expanding imports undermine global climate efforts, and even that countries should block coal exports to China. But the conventional wisdom has it backwards. In reality, record Chinese coal imports are better for global CO2 emissions than any climate policy to come out of Washington or the United Nations this year - because they strengthen incentives for the rest of the world to switch to less polluting fuels.... As a result, the entire globe is now rushing to figure out how to sell more coal to China. Environmentalists have balked, suggesting that coal sales to China should be blocked and that China's imports are evidence that it isn't taking real steps to fight global warming.... Because burning natural gas emits roughly half the CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity compared to coal, the possibility of switching to natural gas generation when coal becomes expensive is one of the most significant opportunities to reduce emissions globally. ...


The economics of supply and demand have worked out great for the world so far!

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Politico:
President Obama under pressure to deliver on climate
Jan. 2 isn't just your ordinary Sunday. It's the day the Obama administration will officially start regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and critics have issued dire predictions of economic destruction. With all the fiery rhetoric about how damaging the regulations could be, the White House is under pressure to fulfill its pledge to tackle climate change while avoiding the appearance that it's hindering job growth.... Incoming House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) last week accused EPA of advancing a "long regulatory assault" against domestic energy producers. "The EPA has its foot firmly on the throat of our economic recovery," he said. "We will not allow the administration to regulate what they have been unable to legislate." ...


Better than a noose firmly on the throat of the planet's neck!

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Thu, Dec 23, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Polar bear status pits environmentalists vs. administration
A dispute about how much the government should protect polar bears has turned into a battleground for environmentalists and some of the country's most powerful business organizations over the larger question of global warming. On Wednesday, the Interior Department filed arguments in federal court defending its decision to classify polar bears as "threatened" rather than "endangered" despite widespread shrinkage of the sea ice that forms the bears' natural habitat. What makes the issue so sensitive is that, if polar bears received the stricter endangered classification, the Obama administration would be pressured to attack the problem at its source: the petroleum, coal and manufacturing companies that emit the greenhouse gases scientists say are a major factor in climate change. ...


I propose a third category for polar bears: screwed.

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Thu, Dec 16, 2010
from New Scientist:
Carbon trading tempts firms to make greenhouse gas
A handful of Chinese and Indian chemicals companies seemingly have the world over a barrel - or rather a large number of barrels of a super-greenhouse gas called HFC-23, which is 14,800 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This week, apparently following Chinese threats to vent stockpiles of HFC-23 into the atmosphere, a UN panel issued two million valuable carbon credits to a company called Juhua. It has a factory in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, where the gas can be destroyed. Nobody needs HFC-23. It is a waste by-product of the manufacture of a refrigerant called HCFC-22, used mostly in developing nations.... The offer only applies to HCFC-22 plants that were built before 2000. Even so it has proved highly lucrative. By some estimates, the value of the carbon credits is up to 100 times the cost of incinerating HFC-23. The resulting income of Chinese companies alone is estimated to reach $1.6 billion by 2012.... As a result, the "waste gas" HFC-23 has become much more profitable to refrigerant factories than HCFC-22 itself. ...


Blackmail once again leads to murder.

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Thu, Dec 16, 2010
from NASA, via environmentalresearchweb:
Humans consume increasing amounts of the biosphere
NASA satellite images have revealed that the biosphere is being placed under increasing strain as rising population on a global scale is accompanied by increased consumption of crops and animals per capita. If population and consumption continue to grow at present rates then by 2050 more than half of the new plant material generated on Earth each year will be required for humans. These findings were presented on Tuesday by NASA scientists at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco.... "These images tell us very dramatically that we do need to look at what kind of impact human consumption rates have on the ability of the biosphere to generate the supply," said Imhoff. He believes that the need for more plant products will have big implications for land management. As more land is required for agriculture, planning authorities will be faced with difficult decisions as they try to protect important ecosystems, such as boreal forest. ...


Don't worry -- the natural law of "supply and demand" means that the biosphere will just produce more widgets.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from BBC:
City lighting 'boosts pollution'
Bright city lights exacerbate air pollution, according to a study by US scientists. Their research indicates that the glare thrown up into the sky interferes with chemical reactions. These reactions would normally help clean the air during the night of the fumes emitted by motor cars and factories during the day. The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. All those people going about their business in a city put a complex cocktail of chemicals into the air. From the tailpipes of cars to the chimneys of factories, it makes for a heady mix of molecules that nature then has to try to clean up. It uses a special form of nitrogen oxide, called the nitrate radical, to break down chemicals that would otherwise go on to form the smog and ozone that can make city air such an irritant on the chest. This cleansing normally occurs in the hours of darkness because the radical is destroyed by sunlight; it only shows up at night. ...


Bright lights, big city... noxious air.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from London Guardian:
Chernobyl: now open to tourists
...the heavily contaminated area around the Chernobyl power plant will be officially open to tourists with an interest in post-apocalyptic vistas, late-period Soviet history, or both. Ukraine's emergency situations ministry said today that visitors would be offered tours inside the 30-mile exclusion zone set up after reactor four at the plant exploded on 26 April 1986, showering northern Europe in radioactive fallout. The disaster killed an unknown number of people - estimates for deaths from radiation exposure range from dozens to thousands - and forced around 350,000 people to leave their homes forever. While the area remains heavily contaminated, a ministry spokeswoman said, tourism routes had been drawn up which would cover the main sights while steering clear of the dangerous spots. ...


I'm only going if they serve hot pretzels on site.

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Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Reuters:
Analysis: Next climate test: how to adapt
...Because nations are unlikely to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change, world leaders must work out how developing nations will adapt to more severe weather predicted in coming years that will hit food and water supplies...Until now, most efforts have been on curbing greenhouse gases from factories, power plants and vehicles -- not on adapting to a changing climate of droughts, floods and a creeping rise in sea levels. The Cancun deal asks countries to submit ideas by February 21 about steps to set up an "Adaptation Committee." ...


I can get used to anything but committees.

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Sat, Dec 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
Feds dismiss need to recall lead drinking glasses
A federal agency reversed itself Friday and said lead-laced Wizard of Oz and superhero drinking glasses are, in fact, for adults -- not children's products subject to a previously announced recall. The stunning about-face came after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said last month the glasses were children's products and thus subject to strict federal lead limits. Lab testing by The Associated Press found lead in the colored decorations up to 1,000 times the federal maximum for children's products. The CPSC has no limits on lead content on the outside of adult drinking glasses. "A premature statement was made regarding two sets of glasses identified in (AP's) story that has now been determined to be inaccurate," said agency spokesman Scott Wolfson. It was Wolfson who said the day after the AP published its investigation Nov. 21 that the two sets of four glasses each -- one featuring characters including Superman and Wonder Woman, the other Dorothy and other characters from the classic Oz movie -- were children's products and that the agency would investigate them. ...


I can't get through a day without a stiff drink in my Wonder Woman glass.

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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 Year in Review from the ApocaDocs
The shocking truth ripped from the headlines! An appalling sense of humor in full display! The TOP 100 STORIES selected from the 1600+ news items archived and bequipped by the ApocaDocs in 2010, our The Year in Review displays not just the most holy shit, death-spiral-ish stories of the year, but also many of our favorite quips ("holy shit" stories tend to bring out the quipsters in both of us). All displayed in staggering CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER to help recap the year. You'll find yourself asking "What, all this, and it's only June!?!" Groans, grimaces, and guffaws abound in this rollercoaster reprise of a most eventful year. ...


How could you keep it to only a hundred?

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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Again Delays Tighter Ozone Restrictions
The Obama administration is delaying a decision on whether to tighten limits on ground-level ozone, the third time in less than a year that it has put off the potentially costly environmental rule in the face of congressional and industry pressure. The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday that it won't be prepared to decide until next July whether to tighten a national air-quality standard for ozone. That would be nearly a year after the agency's original self-imposed deadline for settling the matter. Ground-level ozone is a primary ingredient in smog linked to respiratory illnesses. As recently as last Thursday, the agency said it remained committed to finalizing the new standards by the end of the year. The agency has said tightening the standard could save as many as 12,000 lives a year and yield health benefits worth as much as $100 billion annually in 2020. ...


To keep our economy robust, I'd say 12,000 dead a year is an acceptable loss.

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Fri, Dec 3, 2010
from TalkingPointsMemo:
US House Republicans kill climate change committee
US President Barack Obama's Republican foes in the House of Representatives said Wednesday they were disbanding the chamber's committee on battling global warming, calling it a waste of money. Democrats immediately assailed what they branded the "very disappointing" decision to dismantle the Select Committee on Global Warming, which did not have the power to approve legislation. "We have pledged to save taxpayers' money by reducing waste and duplication in Congress," said a spokesman for Republican House speaker-designate John Boehner, Michael Steel. The committee "was a clear example, and it will not continue in the 112th Congress," he told AFP by email. A spokesman for outgoing Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, set to hand Boehner her gavel when a new US Congress convenes in January, said the panel had played an important role in the debate on climate change and energy. ...


Is it true we elect the politicians we deserve?

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Mon, Nov 22, 2010
from Journal of Electronic Publishing:
University Presses in the Ecosystem of 2020
In the short term--perhaps the next three to seven years--we'll be able to continue to pretend that everything's normal--just like we've been pretending, in policy and practice, that 95 percent of climate scientists might have it wrong. However, I've come to believe that the marketplace, the economy, the basis on which we have been making so many of our decisions, actually has no clothes, and that the greater likelihood is one of dramatic nakedness. This will have profound effects on university presses--not to mention effects on this essay.... Overall, we've overshot our world's resources, using them up much faster than they can recover. And in the boom times of the last few decades, we've put systems in place--profit motives, giant centralization, organizational inertia--that virtually guarantee that we'll continue to overshoot, and virtually guarantee, I fear, that we'll be facing a collapse of the economy that we've mistaken for an ecosystem.... Further, this essay is not the natural place to address the interrelationships of warming oceans, dying coral, monocrops and corporate farming, antibiotic resistance, hermaphroditic fish, amphibian collapse, climate chaos, dead zones, and the rest. This is, after all, an essay about university presses. But for the purposes of this essay, let's imagine I'm possibly right, that a thousand days of daily investigation may lead to useful conclusions, and let's then explore the possible impacts of an ecosystem and economic collapse on university presses, over the next decade or two. ...


What are ya thinking? Now you'll never get tenure.

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Sun, Nov 21, 2010
from AFP, via DesdemonaDespair:
Fading fish stocks driving Asian sea rivalries
Maritime incidents in the East and South China Seas, such as the one that sparked a major row between China and Japan, could intensify in a fight over dwindling fish stocks, experts say. Past incidents have been sparked by regional competition for strategic sea routes and the search for oil, but fishermen from Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam are increasingly heading outside their own territorial waters -- and into disputed areas -- to earn a living.... "Fish stocks are depleting very rapidly in eastern Asia and there is a scramble for fish," Jonathan Holslag, a researcher at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary Chinese Studies, told AFP.... Fish has become "a kind of new gold in Asia", he said.... "China is consuming more and more fish, and global fish stocks are down, especially in that region -- it makes perfect sense that Chinese boats are going to go farther and farther" and into disputed waters, he added. ...


It's strangely as if the more we overfish, the more reason there is for overfishing.

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from Climatewire:
Can Social Scientists Help Ease the Nation's Rift Over Climate Change?
Stop being so skeptical of climate skeptics, says one researcher who believes there's been a failure to understand the mounting cultural doubt around atmospheric warming. The national discussion on climate change is brimming with economic models, scientific findings and wonky plans to fix it. But something is missing: academic explanations of why people flout reams of scientific conclusions, bristle at the notion of cutting carbon and regard climate change as a sneaky liberal plot.... She came away with themes that will sketch an outline of the skeptical movement for future research: Adherents tend to be middle-aged, white males who resent government, are suspicious of scientists and their peer-reviewed protocols, and believe global warming is made up to hit them in the wallet. ...


They'll eventually die off... won't they?

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Thu, Nov 11, 2010
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill clean-up plans are 'thoroughly inadequate', industry warned
The next big offshore oil disaster could take place in the remote Arctic seas where hurricane-force winds, 30ft seas, sub-zero temperatures and winter darkness would overwhelm any clean-up attempts, a new report warns. With the ban on offshore drilling lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, big oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell are pressing hard for the Obama administration to grant final approval to Arctic drilling. Shell has invested more than $2bn to drill off Alaska's north coast, and is campaigning to begin next summer. But the report, Oil spill prevention and response in the US Arctic Ocean, by the Pew Environment Group, warns that oil companies are not ready to deal with a spill, despite the lessons of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. ...


Why don't we just wait to worry about this?

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Mon, Nov 8, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Bluefin Tuna Black Market: How A Runaway Fishing Industry Looted The Seas
The rapid demise of Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna, the source of prized sushi around the world, is due to a $4 billion black market and a decade of rampant fraud and lack of official oversight, according to Looting the Seas, a new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. As regulators gather in Paris this month to decide the fate of the threatened bluefin, ICIJ's investigation reveals that behind plummeting stocks of the fish is a supply chain riddled with criminal misconduct and negligence, from fishing fleets to sea ranches to distributors. Each year, thousands of tons of fish have been illegally caught and traded, the seven-month investigation found. At its peak - between 1998 and 2007- this black market included more than one out of every three bluefin caught, conservatively valued at $400 million per year. "Everyone cheated," said Roger Del Ponte, a French fishing captain. "There were rules, but we didn't follow them."... The widely hunted bluefin has also become a bellwether, the latest threatened species in a feeding frenzy that has seen the disappearance of as much as 90 percent of the ocean's large fish. ...


Rules? We're talkin' the rules of the marketplace!

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Tue, Nov 2, 2010
from Reuters:
U.S. wind power posts slowest quarter since 2007
The U.S. wind power industry had its slowest quarter since 2007 in the just-ended third quarter, as investors turned away from the sector after Congress did not pass a renewable power mandate, an industry group said. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said U.S. developers added 395 megawatts of electricity capacity at wind farms in the third quarter -- the slowest quarter since 2007. Year-to-date installations of 1,634 MW, were down 72 percent versus the same period last year. The U.S. Senate has not passed a national renewable energy mandate that would have required power utilities to generate minimum amounts of power from sources like wind and solar power. ...


At this point, 'bout all we have is breeze power.

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Tue, Nov 2, 2010
from Guardian:
Is climate science disinformation a crime against humanity?
Although there is an important role for scepticism in science, for almost 30 years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science. While it may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.... According the New York Times article, the fossil fuel industry has "created and lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global warming studies, paid for rallies and websites to question the science, and generated scores of economic analyses that purport to show that policies to reduce emissions of climate-altering gases will have a devastating effect on jobs and the overall economy." Disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily - if not criminally - irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change: * Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world; * Will be experienced in the future by millions of people from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted but not yet felt due to lags in the climate system; and, * Will increase dramatically in the future unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced from existing global emissions levels.... We may not have a word for this type of crime yet, but the international community should find a way of classifying extraordinarily irresponsible scientific claims that could lead to mass suffering as some type of crime against humanity. ...


The tobacco executives all retired rich.

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Mon, Nov 1, 2010
from The Vancouver Tyee:
US Tea Party's Deep Ties to Oil Sands Giant
The Tea Party movement, poised to help shift the U.S. legislature to the right and stymie President Obama's green agenda, has financial and organizational ties to Koch Industries, one of America's biggest processors of Alberta oil sands crude. Congressional midterm elections on Tuesday could create a U.S. government less amenable to climate change action, partly a result of Tea Party influence. That would likely bode well for Alberta's carbon-intensive oil sands industry, which has long worried that national greenhouse gas standards south of the border will reduce profits and restrict future growth.... Koch Industries provides critical support for the Tea Party movement through Americans for Prosperity (AFP), an advocacy group it established in 2003 and now helps fund. AFP sponsored and helped organize nearly 1,000 Tea Party rallies in April. ...


Sounds like a bunch of dicks to me.

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Thu, Oct 21, 2010
from Mongabay:
World needs to protect 32 million square kilometers of ocean in two years
According to goals set in 2002 by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, nations must spend the next two years catching-up on creating ocean reserve. Currently, about 1.17 percent of the ocean is under some form of protection, but the 2002 goal was 10 percent by 2012. That means protecting over 32.5 million square kilometers of the ocean, twice the size of Russia. According to a recent report, Global Ocean Protection by the Nature Conservancy, not only is the world failing on its goals to protect a significant portion of the ocean, it's also failing to protect 10 percent of various marine ecosystems. "Overall the shortfall in our achievements is quite shocking," says Mark Spalding with The Nature Conservancy and an editor of the report. "We attained only one tenth of our target. Even that statistic is buoyed up by a handful of giant marine parks, leaving a greater shortfall in many areas where the pressures are most intense. We need to realize that marine protection isn't just about nature, it's about ourselves. If we can't manage and sustain our seas in their entirety, humans will be high on the list of losers." ...


These aren't the management practices taught in B-school.

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Fri, Oct 15, 2010
from Jerry Mander, in the Guardian:
Climate change v capitalism: the feast is almost over
So, while Obama talked climate change in Copenhagen, he pushed for accelerated growth and consumption, emphasising such climate-deadly industries as private automobile production, new road construction, nuclear power generation, and continued coal extraction (including horrendous "mountain top removal") while extolling an entirely theoretical "clean coal".... Whether it's the political left or right, Obama, or Cameron, or Sarkozy, or Putin, or Wen, or Harper or Miliband or Gingrich or Palin, or any political candidate for any office, they're all talking about the necessity to stimulate growth. The media does, too, whether it's the Guardian or the Murdoch press, the Financial Times or the New York Times. They all agree on the one thing: growth, growth, growth. That's the lifeblood of the system. Everyone is hunting the magic elixir to revive rapid growth. How to build and sell more cars? How to increase industrial production, from computers to heavy equipment to industrial agriculture? How to increase exports? But there's a missing link in the discussion, ignored by nearly everyone in the mainstream debate: nature. They speak about our economy as if it were a separate entity, its own ever-expanding universe, unconnected to any realities outside itself, not embodied within a larger system from which, actually, it emerged and can't escape. Nature cannot be left out of the discussion. It may be the most important detail of the entire conversation. Leaving it out of consideration is, well, suicidal. Here's the point: never-ending growth on a small planet with finite resources is a profound impossibility. It's an absurdity. A fantasy. It's time to wake up. ...


Just so's you know, that fantasy has been makin' me rich.

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Wed, Oct 13, 2010
from Washington Post:
U.S. lifts ban on deep-water drilling
Under pressure from Gulf Coast lawmakers warning of job losses, the Obama administration Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deep-water drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico weeks ahead of schedule, pledging closer oversight in the wake of the worst spill in U.S. history. "We are open for business," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters in a phone call Tuesday afternoon, adding, "We have made, and continue to make, significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deep-water drilling." ...


And so another moment of reckoning has passed.

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Mon, Oct 11, 2010
from London Independent:
Green fatigue hits campaign to reduce carbon footprint
Britons are less environmentally conscious than they were five years ago, with twice as many people now "bored" by talk of climate change as in 2005. Four in 10 take no action at all to reduce their household carbon dioxide emissions. Experts warn that green fatigue is a major reason why there are more cars on the roads, more planes in the sky and no reduction in the mountain of packaging waste. As a new energy report reveals that too few people are making an effort to reduce their household CO2 emissions, environmentalists believe the recession is further undermining public commitment. ...


For those "bored" ones, things are about to get really exciting.

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Thu, Oct 7, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
A ringside seat at the end of the world: Call 'em economentalists
The presiding predicament of our time is that many of us know we need to confront climate change, but there is concern that doing so will "hurt the economy."... The semantic problem, as I see it, is that in articles you read, the position is always "environmentalists say" versus what "politicians or business people or common folks say." So it's always environmentalists under one giant umbrella; and the naysayers nay-saying under their own niche auspices. I say let's even the score. Let's give the people who believe the economy is more important than the environment a name, a label. Let's call them economentalists. ...


Healing the planet through neologisms!

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Tue, Oct 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Oil industry has yet to adopt lessons of BP spill
Oil industry and government officials could get caught flat-footed again by another deep-water blowout in the coming months because they have yet to incorporate many of the lessons learned during the BP disaster, experts inside and outside the business tell The Associated Press. For one thing, it could be another year before a bigger, better cap-and-siphon containment system is developed to choke off leaks many thousands of feet below the surface. Also, existing skimmers still don't have the capacity to quickly suck up millions of gallons of oil flowing at once.... And despite an overhaul of the federal agency that regulates the industry, there are lingering doubts about whether the government can effectively police Big Oil at the same time it relies on the industry for revenue. ...


Why should they learn their lessons... people are still driving their cars around like there's no tomorrow!

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Mon, Oct 4, 2010
from Politico:
Environmental Protection Agency rules could hurt Barack Obama in 2012
President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is putting some hazardous speed bumps on his 2012 electoral road in key swing states. Controversial rules covering everything from power plants to petroleum refiners, manufacturers, coal mines and farmers could come back to haunt the White House in industrial and Midwestern states that carried Obama to the presidency two years ago. Political battlegrounds like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia that Obama won in 2008 will be watching how the EPA moves on climate change. Coal-reliant states such as Missouri -- which Obama lost by less than 1 percentage point -- will be monitoring clean air rules and coal ash standards. And farm states that Obama carried, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are waiting on a proposal to tighten air quality limits for microscopic soot. ...


By all means let's play it safe!

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Fri, Oct 1, 2010
from Reuters:
Analysis: Soaring Chinese Economy At Odds With Climate Goals
Just last year experts at the International Energy Agency proposed a target for China's carbon emissions to peak in 2020 before declining if the world were to be saved from devastating climate change. Too late now. Figures from energy firm BP showed earlier this year that Chinese emissions will steamroll through the Paris-based IEA's 2020 peak target next year, nearly a decade early, with no sign of slowing down. China, which hosts U.N. climate talks next week for the first time, is promoting what it calls ambitious plans to boost energy efficiency and curb emissions. But its supercharged growth means even with rapid efficiency gains it cancels out other global efforts to combat climate change. China already emits a quarter of the world's CO2, the main gas contributing to global warming, making it the world's top emitter ahead of the United States. Its emissions have more than doubled since 2000. ...


There is no stopping this bull in the china shop called earth.

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Thu, Sep 23, 2010
from Reuters:
Big economies don't see climate pact this year-U.S.
World powers are not aiming for a legally binding pact to fight global warming at a U.N. meeting in Mexico this year and are trying to stop backsliding from a 2009 agreement, the United States said on Tuesday. U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern, speaking after a meeting of the Major Economies Forum in New York, reiterated the U.S. pledge to cut its emissions some 17 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels but declined to outline how that would be done in the absence of U.S. climate legislation... Stern said some countries from the roughly 190-nation U.N. grouping had moved away from commitments made under the non-binding "Copenhagen Accord" last year to curb greenhouse gas emissions and acknowledged what has become largely accepted among climate watchers: no treaty would come out of Cancun. ...


This sounds suspiciously like pre-surrender.

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Tue, Sep 21, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
ARGENTINA: Fighting to Save Glaciers as They Retreat
BUENOS AIRES, Sep 19 (IPS) - Argentina's glaciers, along with Chile's the most extensive of South America, manifest the damage caused by climate change, while they also face threats from mining and major transportation infrastructure projects. A law to protect them has been postponed yet again. Glaciers are vast reserves of freshwater, vital for feeding rivers, lakes and underground water tables. But rising global temperatures are shrinking their ability to serve that function. "Climate change is the main cause of glacier retraction, but also affecting them are the petroleum industry, large-scale mining, high-impact tourism and infrastructure projects," glaciologist Ricardo Villalba, director of the Argentine Institute of Snow and Glacier Research and Environmental Sciences (IANIGLA), told Tierramerica. From 1984 to 2004, glacier decline in eight areas studied averaged between 10 and 15 percent, he said. In some cases, the loss was greater, such as the Upsala glacier, in the southern province of Santa Cruz, which is shrinking rapidly. It is the second largest glacier in South America, with an area of approximately 870 square kilometres. ...


No country for old glaciers.

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Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from Guardian:
An alternative to the new wave of ecofascism
It is time to acknowledge that mainstream environmentalism has failed to prevent climate catastrophe. Its refusal to call for an immediate consumption reduction has backfired and its demise has opened the way for a wave of fascist environmentalists who reject democratic freedom. One well-known example of the authoritarian turn in environmentalism is James Lovelock, the first scientist to discover the presence of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. Earlier this year he told the Guardian that democracies are incapable of adequately addressing climate change. "I have a feeling," Lovelock said, "that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while." His words may be disturbing, but other ecologists have gone much further. Take for example Pentti Linkola, a Finnish fisherman and ecological philosopher. Whereas Lovelock puts his faith in advanced technology, Linkola proposes a turn to fascistic primitivism. Their only point of agreement is on the need to suspend democracy.... Humanity can avert climate catastrophe without accepting ecological tyranny. However, this will take an immediate, drastic reduction of our consumption. ... Only by silencing the consumerist forces will both climate catastrophe and ecological tyranny be averted. Yes, western consumption will be substantially reduced. But it will be done voluntarily and joyously. ...


I bet Wall Street gets behind this plan!

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Tue, Sep 14, 2010
from PR Watch:
Lauria Quit Cigarettes, But Now He's on the Bottle
...Bottled water means big money for beverage manufacturers, but people are starting to realize that it's also big drain on their wallets and the environment. Bottled water costs a whopping 2,000 times more than tap water, and about 40 percent of mass-produced bottled water brands come from the same sources as tap water. Tap water is also subjected to more regulations than bottled water. Moreover, bottled water also siphons money from taxpayers' pockets. Last March, Corporate Accountability International surveyed the budgets of five states and found that taxpayers in those states were shelling out between $78,000 and $450,000 for bottled water, a resource that essentially flows free from public taps. People are discovering this information to the detriment of the bottled water companies, which made $11 billion on the product in 2008.... When he worked for the tobacco industry, Tom Lauria used to deny smoking was addictive. He denied the connection between secondhand smoke and respiratory disease. He also denied the health affects of parental smoking on children, opposed restrictions on cigarette vending machines and told us that efforts to end smoking in public places would lead to Prohibition. Now Lauria works for the International Bottled Water Association, which occupies the same address as the American Beverage Association, the soft drink companies' lobbying group. Lauria is running a campaign to try to convince people that bottled water is indisposable. ...


When Lauria's free, I'd like to hire him to convince people that the planet is not warming!

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Thu, Sep 2, 2010
from Jeffrey Sachs, in Scientific American:
The Deepening Crisis: When Will We Face the Planet's Environmental Problems?
During the four years of this column, the world's inability to face up to the reality of the growing environmental crisis has become even more palpable. Every major goal that international bodies have established for global environmental policy as of 2010 has been postponed, ignored or defeated. Sadly, this year will quite possibly become the warmest on record, yet another testimony to human-induced environmental catastrophes running out of control. This was to be the year of biodiversity. In 2002 nations pledged, under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to slow significantly the planetary loss of biodiversity by 2010. This goal was not even remotely achieved. Indeed, it was barely even noticed by Americans: the U.S. signed the convention in 1992 but never ratified it. Ratification fell victim to the uniquely American delusion that virtually all of nature should be subdivided into parcels of private property, within which owners should have their way.... The Senate, true to form, sustained its 18th year of inaction on global warming since ratifying the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992.... Fifth, vested corporate interests have mastered the dark arts of propaganda, and they can use their deep pockets to purchase a sea of deliberate misinformation to deceive the public. ...


The free market of corporate politics is my friend! They told me so!

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Thu, Sep 2, 2010
from Mongabay, via DesdemonaDespair:
Morgan Stanley to underwrite coal mining on Borneo
Morgan Stanley, CIMB Securities, and Credit Suisse will underwrite the initial public offering of PT Borneo Lumbung Energi (Borneo Energy), a company that owns Asmin Koalindo Tuhup, a mining company that operates in Central Kalimantan in Indonesia Borneo, reports ANTARA. The news comes on the same day that India's state-run National Aluminum Co. Ltd (NALCO) said it plans to "buy stakes in Indonesian coal mines to secure supplies for its aluminum project in East Kalimantan," according to Reuters. Nalco said it is seeking to buy 8-10 million metric tons per year of thermal coal, half of which would go towards its Borneo operation and half of which would be shipped abroad.... The Borneo Energy offering may prove controversial for the underwriters, with environmentalists ramping up campaigns around coal production in Borneo. Green groups fear that increased coal production could increase deforestation and pollution on the rainforest island, while boosting greenhouse gas emissions globally. Today, two UK-based organizations published reports on coal mining: Mines and Communities, an activist network, released Dark Materials, a paper which details increased coal use in Asia, while Down To Earth issued a sister report on coal mining in Indonesia. ...


Thank you for watching over our financial well-being, financial overlords.

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Mon, Aug 30, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Low prices stoke coal sales, despite pollution concerns
Coal trading is poised to rise to a record high this year as prices at less than half their 2008 peak stoke demand, defying governments' efforts to phase out the most-polluting fossil fuel. The volume of coal derivatives bought and sold around the world may jump as much as 46 percent this year to 2.3 billion metric tons, based on data from exchanges and brokers, according to Guillaume Perret, founder of Perret Associates Ltd. and a former trader at RWE AG, Germany's second-biggest utility. That would exceed the record 2.2 billion tons traded in 2007. "It's looking pretty good for coal," Kris Voorspools, director of 70Watt Capital Management, a Luxembourg hedge fund that specializes in trading spreads in energy and carbon markets, said last week. "It's the fuel for the developing world. China and India are using it to grow." ...


That sucking sound you hear is humanity's last gasp of growth.

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Mon, Aug 30, 2010
from Globe and Mail:
Elevated levels of toxins found in Oil Sands' Athabasca River
A study set to be published on Monday has found elevated levels of mercury, lead and eleven other toxic elements in the oil sands' main fresh water source, the Athabasca River, refuting long-standing government and industry claims that water quality there hasn't been affected by oil sands development. The author of the study, University of Alberta biological scientist David Schindler, criticized the province and industry for an "absurd" system that obfuscates or fails to discover essential data about the river. "I think they [the findings] are significant enough that they should trigger some interest in a better monitoring program than we have," he said.... The study, to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the oil industry "releases" all 13 of the United States' Environmental Protection Agency's so-called priority pollutants, including mercury and lead, into the Athabasca at concentrations that are higher near industry during the summer. In winter, before a melt, only levels of mercury, nickel and thallium were elevated near industry Overall levels of seven elements - mercury, lead, cadmium, copper, nickel, silver and zinc - exceed those recommended by Alberta or Canada for the protection of aquatic life, it said, concluding the "oil sands industry substantially increases loadings" of toxins into the river. ...


Good thing that water goes away somewhere!

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Tue, Aug 24, 2010
from PhysOrg:
The world is running out of helium: Nobel prize winner
A renowned expert on helium says we are wasting our supplies of the inert gas helium and will run out within 25 to 30 years, which will have disastrous consequences for hospitals and industry. Liquid helium is vital for its use in cooling the superconducting magnets in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. There is no substitute because no other substance has a lower boiling point. Helium is also vital in the manufacture of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and fiber optics.... Professor Richardson warned the gas is not cheap because the supply is inexhaustible, but because of the Helium Privatisation Act passed in 1996 by the US Congress. The Act required the helium stores held underground near Amarillo in Texas to be sold off at a fixed rate by 2015 regardless of the market value, to pay off the original cost of the reserve. The Amarillo storage facility holds around half the Earth's stocks of helium: around a billion cubic meters of the gas. The US currently supplies around 80 percent of the world's helium supplies.... the reserve is a collection of disused underground mines, pipes and vats extending over 300 km from north of Amarillo into Kansas. He warned that when helium is released to the atmosphere, in helium balloons for example, it is lost forever. There is no chemical way of manufacturing helium, and the supplies we have originated in the very slow radioactive alpha decay that occurs in rocks. It costs around 10,000 times more to extract helium from air than it does from rocks and natural gas reserves. ...


That "Contract with America" really paid off.

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Fri, Aug 20, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Scientists map and confirm BP origin of large, underwater hydrocarbon plume in Gulf
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science, the researchers measured distinguishing petroleum hydrocarbons in the plume and, using them as an investigative tool, determined that the source of the plume could not have been natural oil seeps but had to have come from the blown out well. Moreover, they reported that deep-sea microbes were degrading the plume relatively slowly, and that it was possible that the 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume had and will persist for some time.... The levels and distributions of the petroleum hydrocarbons show that "the plume is not caused by natural [oil] seeps" in the Gulf of Mexico, Camilli added.... The plume has shown that the oil already "is persisting for longer periods than we would have expected," Camilli said. "Many people speculated that subsurface oil droplets were being easily biodegraded. "Well, we didn't find that. We found it was still there."... Reddy said the WHOI team members know the chemical makeup of some of the plume, but not all of it. Gas chromatographic analysis of plume samples confirm the existence of benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenestogether, called BTEX at concentrations in excess of 50 micrograms per liter. The plume is not pure oil, Camilli said. But there are oil compounds in there. ...


A "plume" is too pretty. How about we call it a "massive man-made storm of ocean toxicity"?

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Wed, Aug 18, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Mankind is using up global resources faster than ever
Think tank the New Economics Foundation (NEF) look at how much food, fuel and other resources are consumed by humans every year. They then compare it to how much the world can provide without threatening the ability of important ecosystems like oceans and rainforests to recover. This year the moment we start eating into nature's capital or 'Earth Overshoot Day' will fall on 21st August, a full month earlier than last year, when resources were used up by 23rd September.... He said people in developing countries like China are consuming more meat and demanding cars and other energy-intensive goods. Even with green developments and energy efficiency, rich countries are also consuming more as individuals demand the latest technology, food fad or car.... "The banking crisis taught us the danger of a system that goads us to live beyond our means financially," he said. "A greater danger comes from a consumer culture and economic policy that pushes us to live beyond our means ecologically." ...


You're challenging consumer culture? But what about the economy?

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Sat, Aug 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
Climate talks appear to slip backward
Global climate talks appeared to have slipped backward after five days of negotiations in Bonn, with rich and poor countries exchanging charges of reneging on agreements they made last year to contain greenhouse gases. Delegates complained that reversals in the talks put negotiations back by a year, even before minimal gains were scored at the Copenhagen summit last December. "It's a little bit like a broken record," said European Union negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger. "It's like a flashback," agreed Raman Mehta, of the Action Aid environment group. "The discourse is the same level" as before Copenhagen. ...


We're a planet full of slackers.

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Fri, Jul 30, 2010
from BusinessGreen:
Keep the coal fires burning a bit longer, says energy analyst
Britain should renegotiate its commitment to close old coal- and oil-fired power stations by 2015, so it can decarbonise generating capacity without racking up high costs for business and consumers, claims a report from energy analysts to be published next week.... The report, Realigning UK Energy Policy, states: "The recession and global energy prices have conspired to ensure that these plants are unlikely to reach their 20,000 hours running time limit by 2015, when they must close, according to current commitments. "At a time when this type of plant will be needed the most, it makes sense from both security of supply and cost perspectives to allow this flexible capacity to remain on the system, while still limiting their operations to 20,000 hours, providing some much-needed breathing space within the energy infrastructure supply chain." ...


Heck yeah! We have plenty of time!

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from Bloomberg:
China's Environment Accidents Double as Growth Takes Toll
China, the world's largest polluter, said the number of environmental accidents rose 98 percent in the first six months of the year, as demand for energy and minerals lead to poisoned rivers and oil spills. "Fast economic development is leading to increasing conflicts with the capacity of the environment to absorb" demands, the environmental protection ministry said in a faxed statement in response to Bloomberg questions. ...


But... but... growth is good isn't it?

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Mon, Jul 26, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Activists frustrated at Obama's environmental record
...recently, Obama and his administration have been taking flak from the left on the environment. This past week, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the US Forest Service for failing to monitor and protect endangered species and habitat in Arizona and New Mexico national forests....But it is the inability to get comprehensive energy and climate legislation that environmental advocates see as Obama's biggest failure. "Obama is the first president in history to articulate in stark terms both the why and how of the sustainable clean energy vision," writes physicist and author Joseph Romm. "But the question now is whether he really believed what he said." ...


Give it a rest, activists. With all your complaining... you'd think the world was at stake!

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Sun, Jul 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
As federal panel probes oil spill, picture emerges of a series of iffy decisions
After months of oil-spill misery and endless recriminations about what happened and why, it is increasingly clear that the complex operation of drilling an exploratory well in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico failed in a complex way. No single decision or misstep in isolation could have caused the blowout, but any number of decisions might have prevented it had they gone the other way. The calamity, the evidence now suggests, was not an accident in the sense of a single unlucky or freak event, but rather an engineered catastrophe -- one that followed naturally from decisions of BP managers and other oil company workers on the now-sunken rig. ...


"...a series of iffy decisions" pretty much describes all of human history.

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Fri, Jul 23, 2010
from Reuters:
Senate climate bill in peril as Democrats delay action
The U.S. Senate on Thursday dealt a potentially fatal blow to President Barack Obama's push to curb greenhouse gas emissions, postponing its bid to pass broad legislation to combat climate change. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he plans to bring up a narrower energy bill next week that would revamp offshore oil drilling rules in the wake of the BP oil spill. But he will put off consideration of broader legislation sought by Obama until September at the earliest. The delay means that Obama's fellow Democrats, who control Congress, have little time to advance the complex legislation amid intense political pressure in the weeks before November congressional elections. It also could derail global climate change initiatives, as the world's major economies and greenhouse gas emitters insist the United States play a leading role. ...


Sometimes I think the US should just secede from the planet.

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Sun, Jul 18, 2010
from New York Times:
Rethinking the Measure of Growth
...Gross domestic product has come in for some particularly hard knocks since the global financial crisis, notably after a report last year whose co-author was Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, that said reliance on gross domestic product had blinded governments to the increasing risks in the world economy since 2004. Overlooking that risk has possibly cost future economic growth, the report said, and has contributed to a looming environmental crisis. "Market prices are distorted by the fact that there is no charge imposed on carbon emissions," the report said. "Clearly, measures of economic performance that reflected these environmental costs might look markedly different from standard measures." ...


The gross domestic product is aptly named.

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Tue, Jul 13, 2010
from Reuters:
Climate-related farmer suicides surging in eastern Kenya
Eastern Kenya is seeing a surge in suicides after farmers hit by unusual weather and unable to repay loans are taking their lives, police say. As many as 2,000 people in Kenya's Eastern Province, many of them farmers, have committed suicide in the past year, up from a normal suicide rate of 300 per year in the area, Kenyan police records show. The deaths come as eastern Kenya has experienced extremely poor crop harvests as result of prolonged drought and unusual rainfall at harvest time, which has led to contamination of maize harvests with aflatoxins, produced by fungus that grows in wet grain. ...


As our habitat deteriorates, voluntary exit will become all the rage.

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Sat, Jul 10, 2010
from Martinsburg Journal:
Coal advocate condemns administration
The Obama administration is as bad as any William B. "Bill" Raney has dealt with in 35 years, the president of the West Virginia Coal Association told members of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce at its Rise and Shine Breakfast Friday. "We're under attack by the Obama administration," he said. "They don't care about West Virginia - they don't care about Appalachia." Raney spoke highly of U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., for being a strong voice for coal, although he disagrees with Rockefeller's stand on so-called cap-and-trade legislation. "We don't need cap and trade," Raney said. "It will raise your power bills. Power companies will charge you all more money." ...


We care so much about Appalachia we are willing to blow it to smithereens w/ mountaintop removal.

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Thu, Jul 8, 2010
from Word Resources Institute, via Mongabay:
Goodbye to the Gulf: oil disaster hits region's 'primary production'
According to a new analysis by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the many ecosystem services provided by the Gulf of Mexico will be severely impacted by BP's giant oil spill. 'Ecosystem services' are the name given by scientists and experts to free benefits provided by intact ecosystems, for example pollination or clean water. In the Gulf of Mexico, such environmental benefits maintain marine food production, storm buffers, tourism, and carbon sequestration, but one of the most important of marine ecosystem services is known as 'primary production'. The backbone of the marine food chain, primary production refers to the process whereby some marine organisms turn carbon dioxide into organic compounds--in this case corals, sea grass, algae, and the most important of all phytoplankton.... Although considered 'free' by most economists, ecosystem services are worth far more than most people realize. According to Earth Economics one acre of Mississippi Delta produces approximately $13,000 in ecosystem services annually. But oil pollution will greatly diminish such long depended on and cryptic returns.... The WRI argues that from now on ecosystem services must be taken into account when officials grant offshore drilling licenses. They are currently ignored by public officials handling oil drilling. ...


Jeez, Mom, you want me to help pay for groceries? I'm only 51!

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Thu, Jul 8, 2010
from IRIN:
Look beyond "cost-benefit" analysis in adaptation
You can put a price tag on the cost of building a dyke to protect people from sea-level rise brought on by climate change, but not on how they will benefit from it, say the co-authors of a new paper calling on countries not to restrict themselves to cost-benefit analysis.... Quantitative cost-benefit analysis is "information-intensive", making it expensive to use in small-scale projects, so planners at community level usually do not use it. Besides, "Some development NGOs take the view that the local people should usually decide themselves what they want to invest in, using their own criteria," said Berger and Chambwera.... "The problem is that in our society the language with the most weight is that of money, so there will always be pressure to reduce the complexity of decision-making to tallying up the costs and benefits in some oversimplified currency metric." ...


Without money as your metric, what are you left with? Satisfaction? Stability? Happiness? You can't measure those.

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Wed, Jul 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned wells
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing. The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells -- those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned." ...


We have perforated the earth with our neglect.

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Wed, Jun 30, 2010
from Guardian:
Barack Obama fails to rally support for energy bill
Barack Obama's hopes of leveraging public anger at the Gulf oil spill into political support for his clean energy agenda fell flat today after he failed to rally a group of Democratic and Republican senators around broad energy and climate change law. The standoff suggests the Senate would formally give up on climate change law, and recast energy reform as a Gulf oil spill response, that would roll in far more limited proposals such as a green investment bank, or a measure to limit greenhouse gas emissions that would apply only to electricity companies. Such a move would come as a personal rebuff to Obama who has put energy and climate change at the top of his agenda, and who called on the 23 senators at the White House meeting to establish a cap and trade system.... Republican Senators, even those purportedly supporting energy reform, have been adamant in their opposition to putting an economy-wide price on carbon. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican at the meeting, told reporters such moves would be too costly for the average family. ...


After all, what could be more important than this moment's economy?

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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Alaska state official objects to polar bear plan
The federal plan for designating more than 187,000 square miles as polar bear critical habitat is too large and will lead to huge, unnecessary costs for Alaska's petroleum industry, opponents of the proposal told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday night. Critical habitat by definition is the area that contains features essential to the conservation of the species, said Doug Vincent-Lang, endangered species coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game... The Endangered Species Act requires protections to be balanced against their costs, Vincent-Lang said. The additional protection for bears was minimal but the costs for people were huge, he said. ...


Easy for YOU to say, human.

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Tue, Jun 15, 2010
from Politico:
Henry Waxman puts Big Oil on trial
Henry Waxman's war on Big Oil has begun. The California Democrat, along with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will force top oil executives to defend or condemn industry practices and profits, according to series of pre-hearing questions obtained by POLITICO, foreshadowing an intense, made-for-TV hearing Tuesday that could create an iconic Washington moment for the petroleum industry... BP may be first in the line of fire, but experts said the whole industry will be on trial Tuesday. Executives from BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron are scheduled to testify. ...


The Waxman Cometh!

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Mon, Jun 14, 2010
from New York Times:
Twilight of the Coal Era?
On Monday, Siemens is announcing [pdf] that it has won contracts to supply five new high-efficiency gas plants to Progress Energy at two sites in North Carolina that have old coal-fired generators. The H.F. Lee Energy Complex, near Goldsboro, has three coal-fired generators that began operating in 1951, 1952 and 1962. The three coal-fired generators at the Sutton plant, near Wilmington, went into service in 1954, 1955 and 1972. The six plants are among 11 that Progress owns in North Carolina that do not have sulfur scrubbers. The company has said it will eventually close all 11. "I think they came to the conclusion with all the uncertainty, and the likelihood that the rules for pollutants like mercury, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides will be further tightened, it's not worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the back end" of an old power plant, Mr. Zwirn said. What is more, he said, in the decades that a new plant would run, there is a possibility that restrictions will be imposed on carbon dioxide emissions. Per kilowatt-hour generated, the new gas-fired generators will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent and nitrogen oxides by 95 percent from levels produced by their coal-fired predecessors. Nearly 100 percent of sulfur dioxides will be eliminated, and all of the mercury, Siemens said. ...


Don't forget that Twilight is a story about undead vampires.

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Mon, May 31, 2010
from London Guardian:
Presence of world leaders 'paralysed' climate summit, UN letter claims
A leaked letter from the United Nations' climate chief suggests the Copenhagen climate summit failed because the presence of 130 world leaders paralysed decision-making and the Danish presidency backed the US and other western nations over the interests of the poor. The revelations - made as the UN climate talks resume in Bonn tomorrow - come in Yvo de Boer's candid letter, written to colleagues days after the summit broke up in acrimony in December. More than 130 world leaders had been persuaded by Britain and other countries to go to Denmark, where they were expected to put the finishing touches to a historic global agreement to limit carbon emissions, protect forests and put in place a mechanism to transfer billions of dollars from rich to poor countries each year. Instead, they arrived at a summit seething with mistrust. ...


Egopocalypse

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Tue, May 25, 2010
from New York Times:
Inspector General's Inquiry Faults Regulators
Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil -- and then turned them over to the regulators, who traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency, according to an inspector general's report to be released this week. The report, which describes inappropriate behavior by the staff at the Minerals Management Service from 2005 to 2007, also found that inspectors had accepted meals, tickets to sporting events and gifts from at least one oil company while they were overseeing the industry. ...


From an efficiency standpoint this is genius!

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Tue, May 25, 2010
from New York Times:
Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead
In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records. The records also indicate that since the April 20 explosion on the rig, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits, most of which were for types of work like that on the Deepwater Horizon shortly before it exploded, pouring a ceaseless current of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. ...


It's not so much a moratorium as it is a lessatorium.

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Tue, May 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP
...the Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years... The Conservancy, already scrambling to shield oyster beds from the spill, now faces a different problem: a potential backlash as its supporters learn that the giant oil company and the world's largest environmental organization long ago forged a relationship that has lent BP an Earth-friendly image and helped the Conservancy pursue causes it holds dear. ...


Beware the strange fellows with whom you bed.

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from Post-Tribune:
Feds: State pollution regulations too soft
MERRILLVILLE -- The state of Indiana is too lax in its proposed rules for when polluters can discharge more pollution into Lake Michigan and other lakes and rivers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. In some circumstances, revamped state rules would allow up to 2.5 times more pollution than federal law allows, the EPA says. By request from environmentalists, the agency has intervened to require the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to change the rules to make them acceptable. ...


Hoosiers tend to be 2.5 times more resilient than average Americans.

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from DC Bureau:
Poseidon's Desalinization Plant: Dream Water Supply or Draining the Pacific and Taxpayers?
...After 12 years of permitting battles, the [Poseidon] desalination plant - which could open the floodgates for many others on the California coast - may finally be built. Best of all, the developers promise, it will cost the public nothing to build... But dozens of interviews and a review of available records by the Public Education Center's DCBureau.org shows that while private equity and bonds would be used for upfront construction, southern Californians would pay at least $640 million over 30 years for the project, including as much as $374 million in public subsidies...But critics say that far from being a New Age answer to water woes, the plant and others like it are costly, unnecessary boondoggles that often malfunction and carry damaging environmental side effects. They argue keeping water prices artificially low through subsidies for costly desalination plants is the wrong approach, and that conservation, recycling wastewater, and other far cheaper alternatives should be tried first. ...


Sounds like a Poseidon adventure waiting to happen.

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Wed, May 12, 2010
from HousingWatch:
Gulf Coast Real Estate Threatened by Oil Spill
Five years after the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, real estate players are predicting that BP's oil spill has the potential to hinder the Gulf Coast more severely than that epic storm. "This will be 100 times worse," says Christine Weber, a real estate agent near Biloxi, Miss., who says she can already smell the fumes from her house five miles from the shoreline. "It is not something that can be cleaned up like a hurricane where you can replace a roof. You can't remove oil from the sand or the water."... "We won't have anything around here," she adds. "It will be desolate."... It is still not possible to really know for sure just how costly this debacle will prove to be to both the region's and nation's economy: It is a tragedy that is still very much unfolding--or, in this case, flowing. Often, initial guesstimates of economic damage from natural (or man made) disasters prove to be wildly overstated. But why do I have a feeling that, in this case, the initial estimates will prove to be largely understated? ...


On the bright side, it saves the hassle of dealing with sea level rise.

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Tue, May 11, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
Adding More Coal to the Fire
Bucking recommendations to build up renewable energy sources, Argentina is forging ahead with a plan that will increase its dependence on coal, regarded as the most polluting fossil fuel. Next to the Rio Turbio coal mine, in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz, a group of private companies is building a coal-fired thermoelectric power station that will supply electricity to the national grid. Environmentalists are opposing the power plant, designed to have a capacity of 240 megawatts, consume 5,400 tonnes of coal a day and produce 1.6 million tonnes of waste a year, the disposal of which is not clearly addressed in the environmental impact study, they say. ...


I'd say it's about time to start crying for Argentina.

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Tue, May 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Energy Interests Spend Millions for Their Seat at the Climate Table
Businesses with significant stakes in the outcome of climate and energy legislation ramped up lobbying spending earlier this year as they worked to shape the Senate bill scheduled to be unveiled this week. Electric utilities and the coal, chemical and natural gas industries in particular boosted influence efforts and appear poised to receive key parts of what they sought in new climate policies. Utilities and coal are likely to see language that lets power plants escape most penalties for greenhouse gas emissions in the early years of a carbon restriction program, according to those familiar with the draft legislation. Chemical companies could garner a delay in having to comply with new rules. Natural gas hopes to win incentives that would help companies increase their share of the energy market. ...


We wouldn't want to be in a hurry would we?

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Sun, May 9, 2010
from The Gillette News-Record:
Barrasso: Finding cleaner ways to use coal is best way to cut greenhouse gases
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., says his efforts to pass carbon capture legislation are all part of a plan to make energy as clean as possible, as fast as possible and as cheap as possible. Barrasso believes that finding cleaner ways to use coal is one of the most viable methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while still meeting the energy demands that continue to grow around the world. "We need the renewables," Barrasso told The News-Record on Saturday. "But (renewable energy development) is not keeping up with the overall demand for energy." ...


The quest for the Great Albino Coal continues...

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Wed, May 5, 2010
from Politico:
Obama biggest recipient of BP cash
While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they've taken from the oil and gas giant over the years. BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company's political action committees -- $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals. ...


Say it ain't so, O!

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Wed, May 5, 2010
from BBC:
'Profound' decline in fish stocks shown in UK records
Over-fishing means UK trawlers have to work 17 times as hard for the same fish catch as 120 years ago, a study shows. Researchers used port records dating from the late 1800s, when mechanised boats were replacing sailing vessels. In the journal Nature Communications, they say this implies "an extrordinary decline" in fish stocks and "profound" ecosystem changes. Four times more fish were being landed in UK ports 100 years ago than today, and catches peaked in 1938. "Over a century of intensive trawl fishing has severely depleted UK seas of bottom living fish like halibut, turbot, haddock and plaice," said Simon Brockington, head of conservation at the Marine Conservation Society and one of the study's authors.... "If you get a 50 percent increase from 2 percent of a species' former abundance, you get to 3 percent of its former abundance, so you shouldn't celebrate too hard," he said. "That's why this perspective is important." ...


Peak Ocean? How do we geoengineer our way out of that?

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Tue, May 4, 2010
from Purdue, via EurekAlert:
NASA, Purdue study offers recipe for global warming-free industrial materials
Let a bunch of fluorine atoms get together in the molecules of a chemical compound, and they're like a heavy metal band at a chamber music festival. They tend to dominate the proceedings and not always for the better. That's particularly true where the global warming potential of the chemicals is concerned, says a new study by NASA and Purdue University researchers. The study offers at least a partial recipe that industrial chemists could use in developing alternatives with less global warming potential than materials commonly used today.... "What we're hoping is that these additional requirements for minimizing global warming will be used by industry as design constraints for making materials that have, perhaps, the most green chemistry," says Joseph Francisco, a Purdue chemistry and earth and atmospheric sciences professor. The classes of chemicals examined in the study are widely used in air conditioning and the manufacturing of electronics, appliances and carpets. Other uses range from applications as a blood substitute to tracking leaks in natural gas lines.... ...


Hope may be the triumph of imagination over reality!

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Mon, May 3, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
Jordan River could die by 2011: report
The once mighty Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptised, is now little more than a polluted stream that could die next year unless the decay is halted, environmentalists said on Monday. The famed river "has been reduced to a trickle south of the Sea of Galilee, devastated by overexploitation, pollution and lack of regional management," Friends of the Earth, Middle East (FoEME) said in a report. More than 98 percent of the river's flow has been diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan over the years. "The remaining flow consists primarily of sewage, fish pond water, agricultural run-off and saline water," the environmentalists from Israel, Jordan and the West Bank said in the report to be presented in Amman on Monday. ...


Humans, why have you forsaken your planet?

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Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Oil disaster as metaphor
Some are calling it a "river of oil" now, instead of an oil spill. "Spill" makes it sound like the oil rig exploded, then "spilled" some oil, which is now creeping toward the coast. Instead, the broken rig is pouring 210,000 gallons of oil into the sea each day, and might continue, according to estimates, for two months or more. I could weep, I could scream, I could wax holy as I did not use petroleum products to get to work today. Except for all I know the asphalt I rode my bicycle on -- as well as parts of the bicycle itself (and my helmet), were made of petroleum. Or the keyboard I type on. But I don't want to go there. I want to see this event as larger, as a metaphor. Think of it this way. We humans are the initial explosion. ...




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Tue, Apr 27, 2010
from Business Insurance:
Insurance risk managers worry climate may change rules: Survey
More that three-quarters of risk managers say they are concerned about regulatory risk arising from climate change, according to a survey released Monday during the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s Annual Conference & Exhibition in Boston. In a survey of more than 200 risk managers across a variety of industries, nearly 79 percent of respondents indicated that they believe their organizations will have to address regulatory risks imminently or in the near term, within two to 10 years.... Nearly 31 percent said their companies would have to pay closer attention to climate risks, while 26 percent said they would have to change some products in response to increased liability or to take advantage of subsidies. Twenty-five percent said they would change pricing to compensate for increased risk, and 22 percent were not sure of the effect on risk management. About 16 percent said they would assess their current insurance coverage, and almost 15 percent said climate regulation would not affect their company. ...


Regulatory risk is way more likely than climate risks. Whew!

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Tue, Apr 27, 2010
from NPR:
How Cap And Trade Was 'Trashed'
It's not clear whether climate-change legislation has any chance in the Senate this year. What is clear is that even if the chamber does manage to pass a bill, it will be much less ambitious than the version approved by the House last year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) spent months negotiating with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) over what was expected to be the Senate's blueprint for action on the issue. Over the weekend, Graham pulled out of the effort, canceling the bill's introduction, which had been set for Monday... Graham has been castigated in his home state for working with Democrats on the issue and had not been able to win over any GOP co-sponsors. Climate change has become an increasingly partisan issue. ...


The planet is not partisan, though the poor will suffer far more than the rich.

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Mon, Apr 26, 2010
from Reuters:
Climate debate gets ugly as world moves to curb CO2
Climate scientists, used to dealing with sceptics, are under siege like never before, targeted by hate emails brimming with abuse and accusations of fabricating global warming data. Some emails contain thinly veiled death threats. Across the Internet, climate blogs are no less venomous, underscoring the surge in abuse over the past six months triggered by purported evidence that global warming is either a hoax or the threat from a warmer world is grossly overstated. A major source of the anger is from companies with a vested interest in fighting green legislation that might curtail their activities or make their operations more costly. ...


Livelihoods ... over lives.

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Sun, Apr 25, 2010
from :
Full Godwin, complicity, and consumption
'Doc Michael muses on the Weltanschauung of the Germans during the Nazi period, the worldview of pride and certainty, economic expansion, and a belief in natural hierarchy, and finds parallels with our current worldview of human dominance, economic expansion, and pride and certainty. The parallels aren't pretty. "In the mid-1930s, after a deep depresion, the German economy was rolling again. The Nazi programs had brought them out of their depression, and they were riding high. A hundred thousand upper-middle-class careers were entwined with the worldview.... It created a framework of it-must-be-so, of organizations and commissions and businesses and offices and departments, each with territory to protect, and a mission to further the cause. The Weltanshauung produced a set of legal government policies that were intrinsically self-justifying, and a set of business rules that were self-rational. The bureaucracy then mobilized to manifest and profit from the policies implicit in their laws and rules." ...


It's the complicity, stupid.

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Sat, Apr 24, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Global warming ballot initiative: Teamsters and cities weigh in
The California Teamsters, one of the state's most powerful unions, Friday joined opponents of a proposed ballot initiative to delay enforcement of the Global Warming Solutions Act. The Teamsters, representing more than 250,000 union members in California, is the first major union to officially oppose the measure, which is backed by a group of oil companies, Republican legislators and conservative activists. The group is gathering signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot. "We must reject efforts to move backwards on protection of the environment," said Randy Cammack, co-chair of the Teamster's Public Affairs Council, which voted against the ballot measure. "Our members are citizens and neighbors as well as workers. We breathe the same air, drink the same water, and live on the same planet with every other human being. ...


And as we know, there is no "I" in team!

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Wed, Apr 21, 2010
from Great Falls Tribune:
FWP: Monsanto knew paint was harmful
Property owners are teaming with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to try to force Monsanto Chemical Co. to pay millions to clean up chemicals contaminating a blue-ribbon trout stream here, but the company says the contamination is FWP's fault. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, a long-lasting pollutant, have tainted waters downstream from the Big Spring Trout Hatchery five miles south of here. The PCBs were contained in the paint FWP used since the 1960s to paint raceways at the hatchery. Paint chips eventually made it into the creek, contaminating fish downstream. The hatchery's raceways are concrete, rectangular-shaped pools where fish are reared... Monsanto attorney Thomas Carney disputed Oaas' allegations. He also said Monsanto "didn't have anything to do with putting paint chips in to the creek." ...


We call that The Monsanto Clause.

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Wed, Apr 21, 2010
from Associated Press:
International Court of Justice backs paper mill, says Uruguay and Argentina must cooperate
A U.N. court rejected Argentina's claims Tuesday that a Uruguayan pulp mill is pumping dangerous pollution into the river on their mutual border, angering Argentine protesters who have waged a three-year campaign against the mill. The dispute over the mills has soured normally friendly relations between the countries, with Argentine protesters blockading a key bridge over the river. Uruguayans hoped that the court ruling would lead quickly to the reopening of the international bridge between Guayleguachu, Argentina, and Fray Bentos, Uruguay. But activists blocking the bridge Tuesday reacted angrily to the verdict and vowed not to give up their fight, raising the possibility of a violent confrontation if Argentine police intervene. Watching on a big screen beside their roadblock, many shouted and cried, complaining that the court let them down. ...


Father, why have you forsaken us?

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Tue, Apr 20, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Foes of California's global warming law pour money into a campaign to delay it
Oil companies and conservative activists poured nearly $1 million last week into their campaign to place an initiative on the November ballot that would delay enforcement of California's global warming law. The effort, which also sought to enlist "tea party" activists, came as organizers failed to meet their original goal of gathering the 433,000 necessary signatures by Friday. But with the infusion of $930,000 to pay signature gatherers, bringing the total to $1.9 million, "We will all do what it takes to win," said Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Marysville), an initiative backer. "This will be an epic battle like no other between environmental extremism and job growth." ...


This makes me feel all logey.

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Mon, Apr 12, 2010
from BBC:
'Slim' prospects for climate deal this year
Prospects of finalising a new binding agreement on climate change by the end of the year are "slim", according to UN climate convention chief Yvo de Boer. He was speaking at the first UN climate talks since the Copenhagen summit. A negotiating process was agreed, but big divisions remain between nations. The EU vowed to step up efforts to achieve a legally binding treaty. Analyses show pledges in Copenhagen are not likely to keep the global average temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).... Negotiators eventually decided here that there should be three more negotiating meetings between now and the Cancun summit. "It is a very involved process - it is not a sprint, it is a decathlon," noted India's delegate Vijai Sharma. ...


When I feel the hot breath of a predator on my neck, I sprint.

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Sun, Apr 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Paul Krugman: Building a Green Economy
You might think that this uncertainty weakens the case for action, but it actually strengthens it. As Harvard's Martin Weitzman has argued in several influential papers, if there is a significant chance of utter catastrophe, that chance -- rather than what is most likely to happen -- should dominate cost-benefit calculations. And utter catastrophe does look like a realistic possibility, even if it is not the most likely outcome. Weitzman argues -- and I agree -- that this risk of catastrophe, rather than the details of cost-benefit calculations, makes the most powerful case for strong climate policy. Current projections of global warming in the absence of action are just too close to the kinds of numbers associated with doomsday scenarios. It would be irresponsible -- it's tempting to say criminally irresponsible -- not to step back from what could all too easily turn out to be the edge of a cliff.... And in a more general sense, given the twists and turns of American politics in recent years -- since 2005 the conventional wisdom has gone from permanent Republican domination to permanent Democratic domination to God knows what -- there has to be a real chance that political support for action on climate change will revive. If it does, the economic analysis will be ready. We know how to limit greenhouse-gas emissions. We have a good sense of the costs -- and they're manageable. All we need now is the political will. ...


"Political will"? What's that?

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Sun, Apr 11, 2010
from Paul Kedrosky:
Hundreds of ApocaDocs visitors from Paul Kedrosky
Financial blogger Paul Kedrosky, writing in his "Infectious Greed" blog, included in his "Readings" segment an ApocaDocs item (Natural World Vanishes: How Species Cease to Matter), a quipped shout-out to Yale360's full story. Hundreds, via his site, its RSS feeds, its email outreach, and other sites' republishing, ended up visiting ApocaDocs. The story focuses on the key take-away: "Every generation takes the natural environment it encounters during childhood as the norm against which it measures environmental decline later in life. With each ensuing generation, environmental degradation generally increases, but each generation takes that degraded condition as the new normal." It names a particular beast: the ever-changing "new normal," in which extant nature becomes "normal," no matter how threadbare and tattered. While the stock-watchers at Kedrosky are seemingly not a natural audience for the ApocaDoc message, we hope to see more of them -- since, after all, environmental collapse is and will be the single most important economic drive of the next decade. ...


Anyone who thinks the environment drives the economy doesn't recognize the innovative talent of Homo sapiens!

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Fri, Apr 9, 2010
from BBC:
UN climate talks to resume amid fear of more divisions
The first round of UN climate talks since December's bitter Copenhagen summit opens in Bonn on Friday with the future of the process uncertain. Developing countries are adamant that the UN climate convention is the right forum for negotiating a global deal and want it done by the year's end. But others, notably the US, appear to think this is not politically feasible. Some delegates are concerned that the whole process could collapse, given the divisions and lack of trust. ...


Bonn appetite!

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Tue, Apr 6, 2010
from Reuters:
Tense standoff in Peru as protest turns deadly
The violence broke out near the town of Chala, 372 miles south of the capital Lima, on Sunday when police tried to clear a roadblock set by the miners on the Panamerican Highway leading to Chile. Two of the dead were bystanders, including a taxi driver struck by a stray bullet and a woman who suffered a heart attack. Police said 20 protesters and nine officers were injured in the country's latest conflict over natural resources. Protesters wielding clubs and rocks continued to block a stretch of the road on Monday and traffic was snarled in both directions. Interior Minister Octavio Salazar vowed to try again in the coming hours to break the blockade, where some 3,800 miners are pitted against 1,200 police officers. President Alan Garcia, whose term has been marred by periodic clashes over his natural resources policies, said wildcat miners must pay taxes and stop polluting....Miners say Garcia's new measures, which aim to limit dredging in rivers and prevent wildcat mining in nature reserves, would leave them without jobs and that they need the work to support their families. ...


Let me get this straight. In Peru, the government is fighting for the environment?

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Tue, Mar 30, 2010
from Bloomberg:
BP's Solar Retreat Signals Exodus of U.S. Renewable-Energy Jobs
BP Plc's decision to halt U.S. output of solar panels may help short-circuit President Barack Obama's plan to create thousands of jobs in renewable energy. BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, said March 26 that it's stopping manufacturing at its Frederick, Maryland, solar plant and cutting 320 jobs because of high costs and declining panel prices. The announcement came seven weeks after London- based BP said the division that includes solar and wind power was losing almost $183,000 an hour.... "We're creating green jobs, for sure, but they're in China or Malaysia or India," Maryland State Senator Alex Mooney, a Republican whose district includes the shuttered BP factory, said today in a telephone interview. "We're losing these valuable manufacturing jobs, and that's a concern." ...


Where's all the Bullshit Propaganda?

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Mon, Mar 29, 2010
from BusinessGreen:
Proposed shipping industry climate regulations left all at sea
Negotiations over how to fit shipping into any post-Kyoto climate change treaty ended in another stalemate on Friday, after the United Nations shipping agency failed to reach agreement on a proposal aimed at curbing carbon emissions from new ships.... The proposals included plans for an energy efficiency index designed to help operators assess the environmental credentials of new vessels, as well as the development of clearer fuel efficient best practices for existing and new ships. But delegates failed to reach a consensus and said more work was needed on the plans. "Development of the technical issues did not progress to a degree that the measures could be considered complete"... ...


Cap'n! Iceberg ahead! Should I take action?

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Sun, Mar 28, 2010
from London Guardian:
The trillion-dollar question is: who will now lead the climate battle?
Some of the planet's most powerful paymasters will gather in London on Wednesday to discuss a nagging financial problem: how to raise a trillion dollars for the developing world. Those charged with achieving this daunting goal will include Gordon Brown, directors of several central banks, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, the economist Lord (Nicholas) Stern and Larry Summers, President Obama's chief economics adviser. As an array of expertise, it is formidable: but then so is the task they have been set by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. In effect, the world's top financiers have been told to work out how to raise at least $100bn a year for the rest of this decade, cash that will be used to help the world's poorest countries adapt to climate change. ...


Since nothing else has worked, I'd say let's give the antichrist a shot!

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Fri, Mar 26, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Sickness Stalks Indian Farmers Using Chemical Banned in Europe
Seven-year-old Yeshaswini Gowda lies on the floor of her home in southern India unable to talk or walk. Her mother blames the severe disability on endosulfan, an insecticide banned in 60 countries... While a 2007 European Union report tied endosulfan to physical and mental illnesses and deaths, India's federal government says there's no evidence that long-term exposure carries health risks. Indian companies led by Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. are the world's biggest producers and the government has vowed to vote against including the pesticide on a United Nations list of dangerous chemicals at a conference in Geneva from Oct. 11. The dispute underscores the dilemma India faces in balancing health concerns while feeding the world's second-most populous nation after the weakest monsoon since 1972 propelled food-price inflation to among the highest in Asia. ...


I wonder what would happen if the cows were getting sick from the chemical?

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Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from Reuters:
Higher birth-defect rate seen in Chernobyl aread
Rates of certain birth defects appear higher than normal in one of the Ukraine regions most affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new study. The findings, reported in the journal Pediatrics, stand in contrast to a 2005 U.N. report stating that there is no evidence of an increased risk of birth defects or other reproductive effects in areas contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident....The 2005 position statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency and other U.N. bodies may have had a "chilling effect" on research into congenital defects in Chernobyl-affected areas, Wertelecki notes in his report. The current findings, he said, "suggest that we should re-evaluate that position." ...


Position statements are so much sexier than actual science.

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Mon, Mar 22, 2010
from BBC:
Internet threatens rare species, conservationists warn
Conservationists say the internet has emerged as one of the biggest threats to endangered species. Campaigners say it is easier than ever before to buy and sell anything from live baby lions to polar bear pelts on online auction sites and chatrooms. The findings were presented at the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), which is meeting in Doha, Qatar. Several proposals to give endangered species more protection were defeated.... A proposal from the US and Sweden to regulate the trade in red and pink coral - which is crafted into expensive jewellery and sold extensively on the web - was defeated. Delegates voted the idea down mostly over concerns the increased regulations might impact poor fishing communities. ...


Internet doesn't kill species, profit kills species.

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Sun, Mar 21, 2010
from National Geographic News:
Silent Streams
...Lakes, swamps, and rivers make up less than 0.3 percent of fresh water and less than .01 percent of all the water on Earth. Yet these waters are home to as many as 126,000 of the world's animal species, including snails, mussels, crocodiles, turtles, amphibians, and fish. Almost half the 30,000 known species of fish live in lakes and rivers, and many aren't doing well; in North America, for instance, 39 percent of freshwater fish are imperiled, up from 20 percent only a few decades ago. Freshwater animals in general are disappearing at a rate four to six times as fast as animals on land or at sea. In the United States nearly half the 573 animals on the threatened and endangered list are freshwater species.... ...


These fish ... are up a crick!

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Fri, Mar 19, 2010
from Times Online:
World votes to continue trading in species on verge of extinction
Proposals to ban trade in bluefin tuna and polar bears were overwhelmingly rejected yesterday at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), meeting in Doha, Qatar.... Campaigners reacted with dismay. Oliver Knowles, of Greenpeace, said: "It is an own-goal by Japan. By pushing for a few more years of this luxury product it has put the future of bluefin, and the future of its own supply, at serious risk. The abject failure of governments here at Cites to protect Atlantic bluefin tuna spells disaster for its future, and sets the species on a pathway to extinction."... The Cites process, which requires a two-thirds majority for a proposal to be adopted, is vulnerable to well-funded lobbying by countries and industries that depend on trade in a species. The vested interests exploit uncertainties in the estimates of population numbers, and strike backroom deals to secure the votes of developing countries where endangered species are far down the list of political priorities. ...


The "world" didn't vote -- the moneyed status quo voted.

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Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
US coal town above mine fire claims massive fraud
Residents of a coal mining town in the state of Pennsylvania have long believed the government's demolition of it was part of a plot to swipe the mineral rights to anthracite coal worth hundreds of millions of dollars - and not, as officials said, the solution to an out-of-control underground mine fire that menaced the town with toxic gases. Centralia was all but wiped off the map as the slow-burning mine fire that began in 1962 at the town dump spread to the network of mines beneath the town, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. A $42 million government relocation program was largely completed by 1993, when officials forced dozens of holdouts to leave. Now, in a last-ditch effort to save their homes from the wrecking ball, the few holdouts who remain in the Pennsylvania town are taking their claims of a conspiracy to court. ...


After almost 50 years of poisoning, we can forgive a little paranoia.

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Wed, Mar 10, 2010
from American Chemical Society:
World crude oil production may peak a decade earlier than some predict
In a finding that may speed efforts to conserve oil and intensify the search for alternative fuel sources, scientists in Kuwait predict that world conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014 -- almost a decade earlier than some other predictions. Their study is in ACS' Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal.... The new study describe development of a new version of the Hubbert model that accounts for these individual production trends to provide a more realistic and accurate oil production forecast. Using the new model, the scientists evaluated the oil production trends of 47 major oil-producing countries, which supply most of the world's conventional crude oil. They estimated that worldwide conventional crude oil production will peak in 2014, years earlier than anticipated. The scientists also showed that the world's oil reserves are being depleted at a rate of 2.1 percent a year. The new model could help inform energy-related decisions and public policy debate, they suggest. ...


I better sell my Hummer -- and fast.

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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA delays action on mountaintop removal plan
The Obama administration has delayed action on a set of broad-ranging and specific measures to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal, after details of the plan were leaked to coal-state mining regulators...Agency officials are pushing for more stringent water pollution standards, tougher permit requirements and more extensive monitoring downstream from mining operations. Among the initiatives are initial steps toward tighter mining discharge limits on the toxic pollutant selenium and on electrical conductivity, which serves as a measure of harmful salts and metals and has been identified by scientists as an indicator of coal-mining water damage. An announcement had been planned for Wednesday, but has been delayed for at least several weeks. ...


If you've been to the mountaintop, then you know there is no more time to waste.

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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from Bard College, via Reuters and DesdemonaDespair:
Arctic melt to cost up to $24 trillion by 2050: report
Arctic ice melting could cost global agriculture, real estate and insurance anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $24 trillion by 2050 in damage from rising sea levels, floods and heat waves, according to a report released on Friday.... "The Arctic is the planet's air conditioner and it's starting to break down," he said. The loss of Arctic Sea ice and snow cover is already costing the world about $61 billion to $371 billion annually from costs associated with heat waves, flooding and other factors, the report said. The losses could grow as a warmer Arctic unlocks vast stores of methane in the permafrost. The gas has about 21 times the global warming impact of carbon dioxide. Melting of Arctic sea ice is already triggering a feedback of more warming as dark water revealed by the receding ice absorbs more of the sun's energy, he said. That could lead to more melting of glaciers on land and raise global sea levels. ...


Sorry, can't repair it -- I can't find anyone who carries the parts!

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Thu, Mar 4, 2010
from Mother Jones:
The Chamber of Commerce vs. Climate Science
William Kovacs, the US Chamber of Commerce's vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs, last year famously called for a "Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century" on climate change. Kovacs was referencing the lightning-rod 1925 court case that made it illegal to teach anything other than divine creation in Tennessee public schools -- and he wanted a similar public hearing in which climate science would be put on the stand. The remark drew plenty of bad press, and Kovacs soon recanted his "inappropriate" analogy. But it looks like the chamber is angling for that monkey trial after all, by way of a lawsuit it's filed against the Environmental Protection Agency that could be the first wave of a big-business assault on greenhouse gas regulations. ...


We need a US Chamber of Climate.

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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Mongabay:
Madagascar traders ready $50m shipment of illegally logged rainforest timber
Traders in Vohemar, a port in northeastern Madagascar, are preparing for to ship $54 million worth of timber illegally logged from the Indian Ocean island nation's rainforest parks, report local sources. Some 270 containers are being loaded with valuable hardwoods cut during a logging frenzy that ensued following a military coup nearly a year ago. Delmas, a French shipping company, was last week cleared by the "transition authority" army-based to pick up the timber. A local timber syndicate -- alleged allied with top advisers in the current regime -- has been pushing for resumption of shipments. The shipment is expected to escalate the already rampant logging of protected rainforests, especially Masoala National Park, a World Heritage site, since stocks of valuable timber trees have been largely exhausted in unprotected areas. ...


MORE. I want MORE.

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Mon, Mar 1, 2010
from New York Times:
Rulings Restrict Clean Water Act, Foiling EPA
Thousands of the nation's largest water polluters are outside the Clean Water Act's reach because the Supreme Court has left uncertain which waterways are protected by that law, according to interviews with regulators. As a result, some businesses are declaring that the law no longer applies to them. And pollution rates are rising. Companies that have spilled oil, carcinogens and dangerous bacteria into lakes, rivers and other waters are not being prosecuted, according to Environmental Protection Agency regulators working on those cases, who estimate that more than 1,500 major pollution investigations have been discontinued or shelved in the last four years. ...


Supreme fiddling while Home turns.

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Mon, Mar 1, 2010
from Sydney Morning Herald, from DesdemonaDespair:
Rampant logging 'destroying Papua New Guinea'
Brother Jim Coucher worked in and near Vanimo on the north-west coast of PNG for 43 years until five years ago. Just returned from his first visit since, he was utterly horrified at the changes, he said yesterday, the speed of destruction caused by logging and corruption, and the plight of the local people.... ''I don't think anyone has an idea of the extent of logging, and I don't think anything can be done,'' Brother Coucher said. He does not want his religious order identified for fear of reprisals against members still working in Papua New Guinea.... The landowner, a sub-clan chief, said loggers destroyed a creek that had provided fish for his villagers. They bulldozed breadfruit trees, sago and coconut palms, and built a wharf in the harbour that meant villagers could not fish. They hired almost no villagers, he said. Instead, they brought in unskilled Asian workers. ''Malnutrition is rampant. It is horrible to see young mothers who are skin and bone. There is no sanitation, no running water -- it is a time bomb,'' the landowner said. ''They are logging Vanimo to its death.'' ...


Gotta make a profit, right? What's the point otherwise?

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Wed, Feb 24, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
State sidesteps climate change survey
When the National Association of Insurance Commissioners decided it would require large insurance companies to publicly disclose the risks they face from climate change -- and the steps they are taking to combat them -- insurers across the country had every reason to believe they would make their first disclosures on May 1 this year, as agreed upon by state insurance commissioners. Not so for Indiana's insurers. Or for insurers in several other states that seem to be following Indiana's lead... At least two more states have abandoned the survey altogether. NUVO confirmed with state insurance commissions that Mississippi and North Carolina have joined Indiana. Meanwhile, Alabama, Connecticut and Utah told NUVO they were reconsidering it. ...


The domiNO effect of states who say NO.

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Sun, Feb 21, 2010
from Reuters:
Senate weighs final push to move climate bill
A last-ditch attempt at passing a climate change bill begins in the Senate this week with senators mindful that time is running short and that approaches to the legislation still vary widely, according to sources. "We will present senators with a number of options when they get back from recess," said one Senate aide knowledgeable of the compromise legislation that is being developed. The goal is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say threaten Earth. ...


Can Sisyphus help with that?

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Fri, Feb 19, 2010
from Guardian:
World's top firms cause $2.2tn of environmental damage, report estimates
The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world's biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found. The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils.... "What we're talking about is a completely new paradigm," said Richard Mattison, Trucost's chief operating officer and leader of the report team. "Externalities of this scale and nature pose a major risk to the global economy and markets are not fully aware of these risks, nor do they know how to deal with them." ...


One-third of our profits in exchange for a sustainable planet? That's too high a price to pay!

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Sat, Feb 13, 2010
from New York Times:
Arizona Quits Western Cap-and-Trade Program
Citing financial worries, the State of Arizona has backed out of a broad regional effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the West through a cap-and-trade system. In an executive order issued last week, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said a cap-and-trade system -- which would impose mandatory caps on emissions and allow pollution credits to be traded among companies -- would cripple Arizona's economy.... Instead, the state will support initiatives to expand the use of solar power, nuclear power and other renewable energy sources, said Benjamin Grumbles, the head of the state's environmental agency. ...


It's the eco-economy, stupid. You can do both.

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Thu, Feb 11, 2010
from BBC:
Industrialised nations' carbon cut plans 'are pathetic'
Industrialised nations have set "pathetic" targets to reduce carbon emissions, says one of India's senior negotiators at the Copenhagen summit. One of the summit's requirements was for countries to spell out by 31 January how they would cut emissions. But industrialised nations had failed to set the "truly ambitious" targets needed, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta said.... "If you see figures that industrialised countries have submitted in response to the Copenhagen Accord, these are truly pathetic." He added: "The European Union had envisaged a reduction of from 25 percent to 30 percent from developed countries, they're nowhere near this." ...


Another spurious rumor spread by enviro-nazis.

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Wed, Feb 10, 2010
from Independent (UK):
'Climate emails hacked by spies'
Interception bore hallmarks of foreign intelligence agency, says expert.... A highly sophisticated hacking operation that led to the leaking of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was probably carried out by a foreign intelligence agency, according to the Government's former chief scientist. Sir David King, who was Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser for seven years until 2007, said that the hacking and selective leaking of the unit's emails, going back 13 years, bore all the hallmarks of a co-ordinated intelligence operation -- especially given their release just before the Copenhagen climate conference in December.... In an interview with The Independent, Sir David suggested the email leaks were deliberately designed to destabilise Copenhagen and he dismissed the idea that it was a run-of-the-mill hacking. It was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States, he said. ...


Now who could possibly benefit from disrupting Copenhagen?

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Wed, Feb 10, 2010
from Earth Institute, via EurekAlert:
Urbanization, export crops drive deforestation
The drivers of tropical deforestation have shifted in the early 21st century to hinge on growth of cities and the globalized agricultural trade, a new large-scale study concludes. The observations starkly reverse assumptions by some scientists that fast-growing urbanization and the efficiencies of global trade might eventually slow or reverse tropical deforestation. The study, which covers most of the world's tropical land area, appears in this week's early edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.... "The main drivers of tropical deforestation have shifted from small-scale landholders to domestic and international markets that are distant from the forests," said lead author Ruth DeFries, a professor at the Earth Institute's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation. "One line of thinking was that concentrating people in cities would leave a lot more room for nature. But those people in cities and the rest of the world need to be fed. That creates a demand for industrial-scale clearing." ...


Yummy!

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Sat, Feb 6, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Movement to suspend California's global-warming law gathers steam
Republican politicians and conservative activists are launching a ballot campaign to suspend California's landmark global-warming law, in what they hope will serve as a showcase for a national backlash against climate regulations. Supporters say they have "solid commitments" of nearly $600,000 to pay signature gatherers for a November initiative aimed at delaying curbs on the greenhouse gas emissions of power plants and factories until the state's unemployment rate drops.... "We are on fire," said GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue, a sponsor of the proposed initiative. "People are calling from all over the country. This will be the most intense campaign the state has seen in 50 years." ...


A rather unfortunate metaphor, dude.

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Fri, Feb 5, 2010
from New York Times:
U.S.D.A. Plans to Drop Program to Trace Livestock
Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak....The system was created by the Bush administration in 2004 after the discovery in late 2003 of a cow infected with mad cow disease. Participation of ranchers and farmers in the identification system was voluntary, but the goal was to give every animal, or in the case of pigs and poultry, groups of animals, a unique identification number that would be entered in a database. The movements of animals would be tracked, and if there was a disease outbreak or a sick animal was found, officials could quickly locate other animals that had been exposed. In abandoning the program, called the National Animal Identification System, officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.... ...


Y'all ain't going Big Brother on my pigs!

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Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Obama urges greater use of biofuels
The Obama administration gave a boost to the corn and coal industries Wednesday, announcing a series of moves to accelerate biofuel use and deploy so-called clean-coal technology on power plants. Unveiling the actions in a meeting with energy-state governors at the White House, President Obama said the steps would create jobs in rural areas, reduce foreign energy dependence and curb the emissions that scientists blame for global warming... Most notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made final a regulation that could give corn ethanol a much larger share of the renewable-fuel market mandated by Congress in 2007. ...


So much for leading us into The Promised Land.

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Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from Climate Wire:
'All Kinds of Yelling' Expected From Obama's Lobbyist Crackdown
The Obama administration's call for a lobbying crackdown created confusion on K Street yesterday even as it spawned cheers among environmental and watchdog groups. The issue came to the forefront this week after Norm Eisen, White House special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, blogged about how the administration plans to revolutionize how lobbyists disclose their activities and contribute money to candidates for federal office... Considering that climate change is an issue producing lobbyists from almost every industry in the United States, the plans, if enacted, could generate a flood of data about the discussions and attendees at pivotal meetings during the drafting of global warming legislation. ...


No matter what, a reduction in lies and bullshit is good for the planet.

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Wed, Feb 3, 2010
from Associated Press:
UN says nations' greenhouse gas pledges too little
The reduction goals announced by the nations responsible for the bulk of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are likely to fall short of what many scientists say is needed to limit the disastrous effects of climate change, a U.N. official said Monday... "It is likely, according to a number of analysts, that if we add up all those figures that were being discussed around Copenhagen, if they're all implemented, it will still be quite difficult to reach the 2 degrees," Pasztor told The Associated Press. "That is the bottom line, but you can look at it negatively and positively. The negative part is that it's not good enough," he said. "The positive side is that for the first time, we have a goal, a clear goal that we're all working toward, and we know what the commitments are. ... Before we would just talk." ...


Now that's what I call p-p-progressssh.

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Tue, Feb 2, 2010
from BBC:
Brazil grants environmental licence for Belo Monte dam
Brazil's government has granted an environmental licence for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest. Environmental groups say the Belo Monte dam will cause devastation in a large area of the rainforest and threaten the survival of indigenous groups. However, the government says whoever is awarded the project will have to pay $800m to protect the environment... However, critics say diverting the flow of the Xingu river will still lead to devastation in a large area of the rainforest and damage fish stocks. They say the lives of up to 40,000 people could be affected as 500 sq km of land would be flooded. ...


Shouldn't the river itself have something to say about this?

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Mon, Feb 1, 2010
from London Guardian:
Global deal on climate change in 2010 'all but impossible'
A global deal to tackle climate change is all but impossible in 2010, leaving the scale and pace of action to slow global warming in coming decades uncertain, according to senior figures across the world involved in the negotiations. "The forces trying to tackle climate change are in disarray, wandering in small groups around the battlefield like a beaten army," said a senior British diplomat. An important factor cited is an impasse within the UN organisation charged with delivering a global deal, which today will start assessing the pledges made by individual countries by a deadline that passed last night. ...


What's the hurry?

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Sun, Jan 31, 2010
from Washington Post:
Tough choices follow in wake of invasive species
Which is worse? Closing two locks on a waterway that's used to ship millions of dollars' worth of goods from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi basin? Or allowing a voracious Asian carp to deplete the food supply of native fish sustaining a Midwestern fishing industry that nets $7 billion a year? And how do you put a price tag on the damage caused by the Burmese python and other constrictor snakes that are strangling the precious ecology of the Everglades? Invasive species, long the cause of environmental hand-wringing, have been raising more unwelcome questions recently, as the expense of eliminating them is weighed against the mounting liability of leaving them be. ...


Why don't we just sit back, relax, and let these deck chairs on the Titanic re-arrange themselves?

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Sun, Jan 31, 2010
from Rolling Stone:
As the World Burns
How Big Oil and Big Coal mounted one of the most aggressive lobbying campaigns in history to block progress on global warming... This was supposed to be the transformative moment on global warming, the tipping point when America proved to the world that capitalism has a conscience, that we take the fate of the planet seriously.... Over the past year, the corporations and special interests most responsible for climate change waged an all-out war to prevent Congress from cracking down on carbon pollution in time for Copenhagen...."In the long term, the fossil-fuel industry is going to lose this war," says Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "But in the short term, they are doing everything they can to delay the revolution. For them, what this fight is really about is buying precious time to maximize profits from carbon sources. It's really no more complicated than that." ...


Our guiding light should be all our children but sadly ... these are the last days of our lives.

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Wed, Jan 27, 2010
from New York Times:
Iceland Leads Environmental Index as U.S. Falls
A new ranking of the world's nations by environmental performance puts some of the globe's largest economies far down the list, with the United States sinking to 61st and China to 121st. In the previous version of the Environmental Performance Index, compiled every two years by Yale and Columbia University researchers, the United States ranked 39th, and China 105th. The top performer this year is Iceland, which gets virtually all of its power from renewable sources -- hydropower and geothermal energy. It was joined in the top tier by a cluster of European countries known for their green efforts, including Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. ...


We are so good at getting worse and worse!

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Wed, Jan 27, 2010
from Environmental Defense Action Fund:
Today: National Climate Action Day
Tonight, President Obama will announce his legislative priorities for 2010 in his State of the Union speech. We need your help to make sure fighting global warming is at the top of the agenda. That's why we've declared today National Climate Action Day in support of a strong climate and energy bill in the Senate. Here are 5 things you can do today to help make our National Climate Action Day a big success: 1) Write Letters: Watch the State of the Union speech tonight with your family and use the opportunity to write letters to your Senators. Our goal is to collect 100,000 letters from around the country. We've already received about 55,000 and we will start delivering them to Senate offices tomorrow, so please get your letters in now. Go to our 100,000 Letters for Climate Action page for instructions. 2) Call Your Senators... ...


Here in America we have to REMIND people global warming matters.

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Sun, Jan 24, 2010
from Sydney Morning Herald, via DesdemonaDespair:
Koala forest to be logged for wood chips
LOGGING is set to start within weeks in a forest that supports the last known koala colony on the NSW far south coast. The NSW Government is yet to release data from a comprehensive survey of koala habitat and population in Mumbulla and Murrah state forests, near Tathra, even though some trees have been marked for removal.... One source described a map of the area that had been drawn and redrawn in search of a compromise between felling trees and maintaining enough forest to allow the koalas to survive.... The logging operation, due to begin in early March, would involve taking some high-quality timber and some timber for woodchips. Most of the timber from felled trees in the region goes to a mill in Eden, which exports woodchips to Japan. ...


With these chips, the koalas are forced to go "all in." Holding a pair of threes.

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Wed, Jan 13, 2010
from Guardian:
Last-minute agreement at Copenhagen marks turning point for the world
Depending on whether you live in Beijing, Berlin or Boston the assessment ranges from catastrophe to success to somewhere in between. But what lies ahead? First let us take stock. In important ways the Copenhagen accord signals significant and promising changes in the world's approach to global warming under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, not just in what it says, but also in how it was negotiated. The dramatic story of a last-minute agreement fashioned in a meeting among the leaders of the "Copenhagen 5", Brazil, China, India, South Africa, and the United States reveals a profound change in global politics. One in which, for the first time, the rapidly developing giants of Asia, Africa, and Latin America emerged as key to the solution. The ad hoc leadership by the so-called Copenhagen 5 (C-5), representing 45 percent of the world's population and 44 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, constitutes a new and potentially historic alliance, a symbol, perhaps, of a new world order. ...


Mild applause for a slight movement trending in the right direction.

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
White House, EPA at Odds Over Coal-Waste Rules
Agency's Move to Designate Ash as Hazardous Is Slowed by Regulatory Czar's Assessment of Impact on Industry... The Obama administration is engaged in an unusual internal spat as the White House and Environmental Protection Agency tussle over how to handle millions of tons of waste from coal-fired power plants. Utility and environmental groups are watching the coal-ash dispute as an indicator of the administration's pliability on the regulatory front.... environmental groups are pointing to a flurry of industry meetings on the coal-ash issue as evidence that utilities and other companies are using a foothold within the White House to fight back against potentially far-reaching new rules. ...


"Pliability" meaning... we bend over & take it from the coal industry!

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Indianapolis Star:
State Fair to celebrate Indiana's hogs
This year's Indiana State Fair will celebrate the state's $3 billion hog industry by putting hogs and pork products center stage during the 17-day fair. A series of events, exhibits and displays will toast Indiana's 3,000 hog farming families during the fair's "Year of Pigs" tribute. Indiana Pork Producers executive director Mike Platt says the Aug. 6-22 fair will highlight the large role the hog industry plays in the state's economy. Last year, Indiana hog farmers raised some 8 million pigs. ...


Displays include a booth that emits manure and urine smells!

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Wed, Jan 6, 2010
from Washington Monthly:
The Environmental Consequences of War
...With the United States now pondering a postwar future in Iraq and Afghanistan, some policymakers will wind up examining whether -- or how --America might pay for any damage done to the Afghans' and Iraqis' environment and health. Already, for instance, doctors in Iraq are reporting higher-than-normal levels of cancer and birth defects in cities like Fallujah where the fighting was heaviest. So defense planners are looking to the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam for clues. Yet history shows that America's use of Agent Orange was hardly the first instance in which a country has ignored the environmental and health impacts of its wartime strategies. Indeed, almost without exception, countries do not pay for these legacies, for a number of reasons: the cost of cleanup is prohibitive; policymakers worry about the impact of paying on national security; and international law cannot hold a polluter accountable. ...


Seems our primary war is the one against the environment itself.

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Sun, Jan 3, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Battle to save tigers intensifies with only 3,200 left on Earth
Conservationists say there are just 3,200 tigers left in the world as the future of the species is threatened by poachers, destruction of their habitat and climate change. The world population of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent in the past century. The WWF said it intends to intensify pressure to save the Panthera tigris by classifying it as the most at risk on its roster of 10 critically endangered animals. ...


What hath man wrought?

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Tue, Dec 29, 2009
from Associated Press:
Malaria and other diseases coming back worldwide in new and more deadly forms
...Malaria is just one of the leading killer infectious diseases battling back in a new and more deadly form, the AP found in a six-month look at the soaring rates of drug resistance worldwide. After decades of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and staph have started to mutate. The result: The drugs are slowly dying. Already, The Associated Press found, resistance to malaria has spread faster and wider than previously documented. Dr. White said virtually every case of malaria he sees in western Cambodia is now resistant to drugs.... People generate drug resistant malaria when they take too little medicine, substandard medicine or -- as is all too often the case around O'treng -- counterfeit medicine with a pinch of the real stuff. Once established, the drug-resistant malaria is spread by mosquitoes. So one person's counterfeit medicine can eventually spawn widespread resistant disease. ...


That's a bit self-serving of those mosquitoes, don't you think?

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from POLITICO:
Senate Democrats to W.H.: Drop cap and trade
Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year... The creation of an economywide market for greenhouse gas emissions is the heart of the climate bill that cleared the House earlier this year. But with the health care fight still raging and the economy still hurting, moderate Democrats have little appetite for another sweeping initiative -- especially another one likely to pass with little or no Republican support. "We need to deal with the phenomena of global warming, but I think it's very difficult in the kind of economic circumstances we have right now," said Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who called passage of any economywide cap and trade "unlikely." ...


Thank God tomorrow never comes.

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from The Center for Public Integrity:
The Climate Lobby from Soup to Nuts
The next round of the battle over climate change policy on Capitol Hill will involve more than the usual suspects. Way more... the overall number of businesses and groups lobbying on climate legislation has essentially held steady at about 1,160, thanks in part to a variety of interests that have left the fray. But a close look at the 140 or so interests that jumped into the debate for the first time in the third quarter shows a marked trend: Companies and organizations which feel they've been overlooked are fighting for a place at the table... Take the concerns raised by the world's largest maker of soup, Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Company... "It wasn't until we analyzed what was going on in the House that we thought, 'Oh, gosh, we are being affected by this,'" said Kelly Johnston, Campbell Soup's vice president for public affairs, in an interview. ...


Surprise, Campbell's soup VP!

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Need for power coal threatens Zimbabwe national park
Zimbabwe's already dim electricity supply faces a new threat, as the country's main power plant says it needs to dig for new coal reserves under a river inside a national park to keep running. Hwange Colliery says it only has enough coal to power its 940 megawatt plant for three more years. Shortages of coal and working capital, as well as ageing and broken equipment, have already forced the shutdown of three smaller power stations across Zimbabwe, causing daily blackouts that have plagued the country for years. The company says its only viable new deposits of coal suitable for power generation lie in the heart of the Hwange national park, under a river that supplies nearby towns -- including the world-famous Victoria Falls -- as well as thousands of endangered animals. Accessing the new coal would mean strip mining one of the environmentally delicate region's few water supplies. ...


Zimbab-we hardly knew ye.

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009
from Muncie Star Press:
Lawyers target pig, dairy farms
WINCHESTER -- Neighbors who are fed up living next door to factory farms have found three high-powered trial lawyers who vow to make Randolph County "ground zero" in a courtroom food fight over how Indiana produces pork and milk. Highly aggressive flies, harmful odors, stacks of dead animals and mismanagement of millions of gallons of manure are among the complaints of neighbors suing pork and dairy producers. The trial lawyers are bringing multiple lawsuits challenging Indiana's industrial or factory model of producing milk and pork in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) promoted by Gov. Mitch Daniels' agriculture department. ...


"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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Tue, Dec 22, 2009
from London Financial Times:
UN agrees to reform climate process
The United Nations bowed to intensifying pressure yesterday to start sweeping reforms of its processes for reaching agreement on climate change. Developed and developing countries have condemned the bureaucratic and unwieldy process of reaching unanimous agreement from 192 countries, which many blamed for the chaotic end of the Copenhagen climate change conference at the weekend... Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, led the calls for reform yesterday, saying: "What happened at Copenhagen was a flawed decision-making process." He attacked, without naming, the small group of countries that prevented the formal adoption of the accord. The group is known to include Venezuela, Bolivia and Sudan. Ed Miliband, the British climate secretary, also blamed China yesterday for the outcome, as China had vetoed two important commitments that other countries wanted left in. ...


Just so the new process includes even more blaming!

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Mon, Dec 21, 2009
from London Times:
Gordon Brown calls for new group to police global environment issues
A new global body dedicated to environmental stewardship is needed to prevent a repeat of the deadlock which undermined the Copenhagen climate change summit, Gordon Brown will say tomorrow. The UNs consensual method of negotiation, which requires all 192 countries to reach agreement, needs to be reformed to ensure that the will of the majority prevails, he feels. The Prime Minister will say: Never again should we face the deadlock that threatened to pull down those talks. Never again should we let a global deal to move towards a greener future be held to ransom by only a handful of countries. One of the frustrations for me was the lack of a global body with the sole responsibility for environmental stewardship..." ...


Hopefully this global body will carry big sticks.

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Sun, Dec 20, 2009
from Associated Press:
Climate reality: Voluntary efforts not enough
Around the world, countries and capitalism are already working to curb global warming on their own, with or without a global treaty.... But the impact of such piecemeal, voluntary efforts is small. Experts say it will never be enough without the kind of strong global agreement that eluded negotiators at the U.N. summit this past week in Copenhagen... Dozens of countries - including the top two carbon polluters, China and the United States - came to the climate talks with proposals to ratchet down pollution levels. But analysis by the United Nations and outside management systems experts show that those voluntary reductions will not keep temperatures from increasing by more than 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with now. ...


Let's consider putting ourselves out of our misery.

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Fri, Dec 18, 2009
from Associated Press:
UN document shows Copenhagen summit falling short
COPENHAGEN — Carbon emissions cuts pledged at U.N. climate talks would put the world on "an unsustainable pathway" toward average global warming 50 percent higher than industrial countries want, a confidential U.N. draft document showed Thursday... Scientists say such rises in average temperatures could lead to catastrophic sea level rises, which would threaten islands and coastal cities, kill off many species of animals and plants, and alter the agricultural economies of many countries. ...




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Tue, Dec 15, 2009
from New York Times:
Trusting Nature as the Climate Referee
Imagine there's no Copenhagen. Imagine a planet in which global warming was averted without the periodic need for thousands of people to fly around the world to promise to stop burning fossil fuels. Imagine no international conferences wrangling over the details of climate policy. Imagine entrusting the tough questions to a referee: Mother Earth.... To end this political stalemate, Dr. McKitrick proposes calling each side's bluff. He suggests imposing financial penalties on carbon emissions that would be set according to the temperature in the earth's atmosphere. The penalties could start off small enough to be politically palatable to skeptical voters. If the skeptics are right and the earth isn't warming, then the penalties for burning carbon would stay small or maybe even disappear. But if the climate modelers and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are correct about the atmosphere heating up, then the penalties would quickly, and automatically, rise. ...


Unfortunately, temperature is just an observational theory.

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Mon, Dec 14, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Walk out throws Copenhagen into crisis
The G77 group of developing nations has reportedly staged a mass walk out at the Copenhagen Summit this morning, accusing rich nations of trying to ditch the Kyoto Protocol. After several days of escalating tensions over perceived efforts by industrialised countries to replace Kyoto with a new deal, a group of African nations this morning led a boycott of the summit's main session. The move immediately secured the backing of the G77 group of 130 developing nations. The group has said it will not continue negotiations until talks about extending Kyoto are given priority over the wider discussions on a new deal.... Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong told Reuters that the walk out was "regrettable", but insisted that it was "a walk out over process and form, not a walk out over substance". ...


I think it was a walkout about not walking the walk.

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Sun, Dec 13, 2009
from Than Nien News (Vietnam):
Pollution soon to render Dong Nai River unusable
The Dong Nai River supplies water to some 15 million people in southern Vietnam, but that has not stopped callous companies from dumping so much toxic sludge in the river that scientists say it will soon be too poisonous to use. "Tests since 2006 have found pollution near the Hoa An Pump Station has increased to serious levels with an especially high concentration of organic [toxic] substances," said Truong Khac Hoanh, vice director of Thu Duc Water Supply Company in Ho Chi Minh City. "With such an increase in pollution, this water supply will soon be unusable," he said. A top official at the Binh An Water Plant in HCMC also said the Dong Nai would soon be like its tributary the Thi Vai, where aquatic life can't survive due to the high levels of pollution. ...


Chwistmas Wish: widdle aqualungs for the widdle cweatures.

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Tue, Dec 8, 2009
from London Guardian:
Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after 'Danish text' leak
The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations. The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals....The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as "a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks". ...


Hey you developing countries, emitting carbons just... just ain't that much fun. Really it ain't. Really.

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Tue, Dec 8, 2009
from London Guardian:
Naomi Klein kick-starts the activism at Copenhagen with call for disobedience
The Copenhagen deal may turn into the worst kind of disaster capitalism, Naomi Klein said last night. In her speech to Klimaforum09, the "people's summit" she told the thousand or so campaigners and activists that this was a chance to carry on building the new convergence, the movement of movements that began "all those years ago in Seattle, fighting against the privatisation of life itself". Here was an opportunity to "continue the conversation that was so rudely interrupted by 9/11". "Down the road at the Bella Centre [where delegates are meeting] there is the worst case of disaster capitalism that we have ever witnessed. We know that what is being proposed in the Bella Centre doesn't even come close to the deal that is needed. We know the paltry emissions cuts that Obama has proposed; they're insulting. We're the ones who created this crisis... on the basic historical principle of polluters pays, we should pay." ...


Easy for her to say, she's Canadian...

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Tue, Dec 8, 2009
from London Guardian:
Copenhagen climate change conference: 'Fourteen days to seal history's judgment on this generation'
Today 56 newspapers in 45 countries take the unprecedented step of speaking with one voice through a common editorial. We do so because humanity faces a profound emergency. Unless we combine to take decisive action, climate change will ravage our planet, and with it our prosperity and security. The dangers have been becoming apparent for a generation. Now the facts have started to speak: 11 of the past 14 years have been the warmest on record, the Arctic ice-cap is melting and last year's inflamed oil and food prices provide a foretaste of future havoc. In scientific journals the question is no longer whether humans are to blame, but how little time we have got left to limit the damage. Yet so far the world's response has been feeble and half-hearted... We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics. ...


We call on these leaders: to wo/man up!

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Sat, Dec 5, 2009
from Mother Jones:
Blowing In The Wind
Cape Wind, the bitterly contested proposed offshore wind farm in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound, is approaching a critical juncture. After eight years of delays, the project will likely be approved or denied before the end of 2009. If it proceeds, the 24-square-mile, 130-turbine wind farm could generate enough electricity to power 420,000 homes -- and kick-start an offshore wind industry in the United States. But opposition to the project has been fierce, and Cape Wind needs all the help it can get. So where is the state's senior senator? John Kerry is among Capitol Hill's most ardent advocates of addressing climate change, but he has refused to weigh in on one of the most significant debates over the future of alternative energy -- and one that's occurring in his own backyard. ...


Our backyard now is ALL of earth.

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Fri, Dec 4, 2009
from Center for Public Integrity:
Canada's About-Face on Climate
...Since [Stephen] Harper became prime minister in 2006, his message has consistently been that action on global warming cannot stand in the way of Canada's economic growth, that the terms of the Kyoto agreement are economically irresponsible, and that Canada could act in concert with the United States. He has maintained that position despite a recent report, sponsored by one of Canada's largest banks, which concluded that meeting Canada's Kyoto commitments would not significantly harm the economy. Shaped by oil-rich Alberta, Harper's position represents a stunning about-face in Canada's policy on climate change. It is a shift environmentalists and other critics attribute to the legions of lobbyists who represent the big industrial greenhouse gas emitters that for years have struggled to weaken Canadian climate change legislation. ...


O Canada! We stand on guard for thee profit!

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Sun, Nov 29, 2009
from Sports Illustrated:
Ski resorts fight global warming; Utah gov unsure
...Warmer temperatures at night are making it more difficult to make snow and the snow that falls naturally is melting earlier in the spring. In few places is this a bigger concern than the American West, where skiing is one of the most lucrative segments of the tourism industry and often the only reason many people visit cash-strapped states like Utah during winter. But even as world leaders descend on Copenhagen next month to figure out a way to reduce carbon emissions blamed in global warming, the industry is still grappling with leaders in some of their own ski-crazy states who refuse to concede that humans have any impact on climate change. Chief among them is Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who says he will host what he calls the first "legitimate debate" about man's role in climate change in the spring... it openly infuriates industry officials elsewhere who liken it to having a debate about whether the world is flat. "That's just kind of raging ignorance," said Auden Schendler, executive director of sustainability for Aspen (Colo.) Skiing Co. "We're not environmentalists, we're business people. We have studied the hell out of the climate science. To have a neighboring governor not believe it ... It's absurd." ...


Bring it on, little man.

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Fri, Nov 27, 2009
from Associated Press:
The challenge in Copenhagen: reshaping the world
Next month's climate summit in Copenhagen seeks to transform the way we run the planet, from the generation of energy, to the building of homes and cities, to the shaping of the landscape. It would also shift wealth from rich to poor countries in the process. No wonder a deal will be tough to cut. In recent weeks, prospects brightened, then dimmed, then revived again... The divide over Copenhagen's goals reflects an abiding distrust between manufacturing powerhouses that built vast riches over 200 years, while spewing carbon dioxide and other industrial gases into the atmosphere, and countries still struggling to end hunger within their borders. ...


Where's the Antichrist when you need him/her?

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Fri, Nov 27, 2009
from Washington Post:
'Cash for Clunkers,' household edition
In U.S. history, there may have been no better time to own a junk car, a rattling old fridge and a leaking dishwasher. On the heels of its ballyhooed "Cash for Clunkers" program for cars, the federal government is expected to finalize details in the coming weeks of another tax-supported shopping extravaganza, known as "Cash for Appliances." Supported by $300 million from the economic stimulus, the program will offer rebates to consumers who buy energy-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners and other appliances to replace their older models. ...


Anything... to prop up this crumbling empire... just a little while longer.

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Sat, Nov 14, 2009
from COP15:
UN looks at COP15.5 option
Acknowledging that the COP15 conference in Copenhagen this December is not likely to produce a final agreement on climate change, an extra summit in spring 2010 is considered, UN official reveals.... The main reason why a final deal is not expected to be reached at the COP15 conference in Copenhagen is the fact that the US Congress will not have national legislation in place before December. Short of a clear picture on which commitments the world's second largest emitter is likely to take, a number of other key players will most likely hide their cards. This situation may have changed by spring 2010, but then one can't be certain right now, which is why the UN has not decided yet if it will recommend a spring conference. ...


Six more months of dithering is great for the economy!

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Sat, Nov 14, 2009
from Helmhotz, via EurekAlert:
TEEB: on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity for policy makers
Policy makers who factor the planet's multi-trillion dollar ecosystem services into their national and international investment strategies are likely to see far higher rates of return and stronger economic growth in the 21st century, a new report issued today says.... Subsidized commercial shrimp farms can generate returns of around $1,220 per hectare by clearing mangrove forests. But this does not take into account the losses to local communities totaling over $12,000 a hectare linked with wood and non-wood forest products, fisheries and coastal protection services (Barbier 2007). Nor does the profit to the commercial operators take into account the costs of rehabilitating the abandoned sites after five years of exploitation -- estimated at over $9,000 a hectare.... The economic invisibility of ecosystems and biodiversity is increased by our dominant economic model, which is consumption-led, production-driven, and GDP-measured. This model is in need of significant reform. The multiple crises we are experiencing -- fuel, food, finance, and the economy -- serve as reminders of the need for change. ...


Placing a value on ecosystem services is so... arbitrary.

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Tue, Nov 10, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
World energy body 'exaggerated oil stocks under pressure from US'
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has been underplaying the rate of decline at existing oil fields and overestimating the potential of new reserves to avoid panic buying, a senior official alleged. The agency last year claimed that oil production could be raised from its current rate of 83 million barrels a day to 105 million.... "Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90 million to 95 million barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further," the newspaper quoted the whistle-blower as saying. ...


Change we wanted to believe in.

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Mon, Nov 9, 2009
from George Monbiot:
Death Denial
There is no point in denying it: we're losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere which cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.... A survey last month by the Pew Research Centre suggests that the proportion of Americans who believe there's solid evidence that the world has been warming over the past few decades has fallen from 71 percent to 57 percent in just 18 months.... On Amazon.co.uk, books championing climate change denial are currently ranked at 1,2,4,5,7 and 8 in the global warming category(5). Never mind that they've been torn to shreds by scientists and reviewers, they are beating the scientific books by miles. What is going on? ...


Could it be that denial is an evolutionary survival instinct?

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Sat, Nov 7, 2009
from Catskill Daily Mail:
Lafarge permit would allow 176 lb. of mercury a year
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has made Lafarge Cement Plant's Title V Operating Air Permit available for public comment. The permit, which is up for renewal, would limit mercury emissions at the plant to 176 pounds a year -- more than the company's own estimated emissions for 2008, which were 146 pounds....In September, state Wildlife Pathologist Ward Stone released his findings on mercury levels in the area around the Lafarge plant. He said that in parts per million, there was much more than the average level of mercury to be found and he also reported that he found mercury in everything he tested in the food chain, from grasshoppers to larger animals. The plant is located in close proximity to both the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk junior and senior high schools. ...


That's getting tough with 'em!

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Fri, Nov 6, 2009
from Climate Wire:
Climate Insurance Is in the Cross Hairs as Negotiators Prep for Copenhagen
Advocates for nations vulnerable to climate change are accusing the United States of trying to "kill" a prominent global warming provision that would create a massive insurance program for countries that face rising destruction from natural disasters. The controversial measure -- which currently is part of the voluminous draft treaty text leading up to international climate talks in Copenhagen -- seeks financial payments for countries that might slip underwater sometime this century, as well as for those that increasingly suffer from drought, floods and cyclones. The program could cost the United States and other developed nations billions every year, and perhaps amount to an admission that Americans are largely responsible for warming the world. ...


Admission... Emission... potato... potahto...

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Thu, Nov 5, 2009
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Clunker pickups traded for new pickups
The most common deals under the government's $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road, replaced old Ford or Chevrolet pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press. The single most common swap -- which occurred more than 8,200 times -- involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers. ...


Seems we flunked the Clunker program.

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Mon, Nov 2, 2009
from London Guardian:
World leaders accused of myopia over climate change deal
...Senior officials and negotiators are increasingly gloomy about the prospects for a global warming deal next month, with the British government admitting there is now no chance of a legally binding treaty. Speaking as officials gather in Barcelona tomorrow for a final round of negotiations, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said: "I gave all the world's leaders a very grim view of what the science tells us and that is what should be motivating us all, but I'm afraid I don't see too much evidence of that at the current stage. "Science has been moved aside and the space has been filled up with political myopia with every country now trying to protect its own narrow short-term interests. They are afraid to have negotiations go any further because they would have to compromise on those interests." ...


Problem is -- myopia is youropia, too.

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Sun, Nov 1, 2009
from New York Times:
Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen
Even as drought kills off Yemen's crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.... Meanwhile, the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years, pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding aquifers. "It is a collapse with social, economic and environmental aspects," said Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, Yemen's minister of water and environment. "We are reaching a point where we don't even know if the interventions we are proposing will save the situation." Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long. ...


You'll pry my qat from my cold, emaciated hands.

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Sat, Oct 31, 2009
from Der Spiegel:
Copenhagen Heads for a Crash
She was once celebrated as the "Climate Chancellor" and seen as an important campaigner for the environment on the international political stage. Now it appears that it is Angela Merkel, of all people, who is dealing a death blow to international climate deals -- by navigating a shortsighted course within the European Union. On the first day of the EU summit meeting, with bloc leaders gathered in Brussels, Merkel adopted a stance which enraged environmentalists. The EU, Merkel was quoted as saying, should not be overly hasty in offering financial aid to developing countries for climate-related projects and should wait on China and the US. Concrete pledges should not be made, she said. ...


Maybe she just needs a nice shoulder massage from W.

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Sat, Oct 31, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Farmers fight climate bill, but warming spells trouble for them
...The Missouri Farm Bureau started the letter campaign early, weeks before the bill was fully written and made public. It was followed this month with a pitch from the American Farm Bureau , the nation's largest agriculture lobby, to get farmers to take farm caps, sign their bills and send them to senators with notes that say, "Don't cap our future." Agriculture is likely to have a central place in the debate on the bill later this year about the short-term costs of acting to curb climate change -- and the costs of failing to address the long-term risks. Farm lobby groups and senators who agree with them argue that imposing limits on the nation's emissions of heat-trapping gases from coal, oil and natural gas would raise the cost of farming necessities such as fuel, electricity and natural gas-based fertilizer. A government report, however, warns of a dire outlook for farms if rising emissions drive more rapid climate shifts in the decades ahead. ...


Ultimately, "long-term" is as vague a concept as "tomorrow."

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Sun, Oct 18, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Tribe teams with Google to make stand in Amazon
The chief of an endangered Amazon tribe will unveil today the product of an unusual partnership with Google Inc. that pairs high tech with indigenous knowledge in an effort to rescue ancient rain forests and a dying culture....The data-rich maps include layers of videos, pictures, text and historical markers gathered by tribe members. It promises to underscore the importance of the land and propel the Surui people's efforts to become self-sufficient.... "Forests are very important for the welfare of the indigenous people and for the world," [Chief Almir] said. "We want to show concretely, practically that you can have quality of life and economic development, with an intact forest." ...


Have you caught my shadow puppet show about Bhopal?

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Mon, Oct 12, 2009
from Cleantech Blog:
Energy Efficiency: How NOT To Do It
On October 5, First Energy (NYSE: FE) announced a planned energy efficiency program, involving the delivery of two compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) to each of its residential and small commercial customers in Ohio.... the plan would have had each customer pay $21.60 on bill surcharges over 36 months for this package of two CFLs -- whether they were used or not, or even wanted or not.... The $21.60 in extra charges not only covered the cost to First Energy of acquiring and delivering the two CFLs, but also would reimburse First Energy for the reduction in revenue associated with the use of these more efficient CFLs in lieu of traditional incandescent bulbs. ...


Paying for energy not used! What a great idea!

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Thu, Oct 8, 2009
from COP15:
Cost of climate change: Pay now, or pay a lot more later
"As the news keeps sounding worse and worse, what we're talking about is not that the cost of doing something has changed -- the cost of doing nothing is really what's escalating." says Frank Ackerman, an economist at the Stockholm Environment Institute and Tufts University and lead author of the report "The Benefits and Costs of Climate Stabilization". The report was released this week by Economics for Equity and the Environment, a network of 200 economists that is a project of Portland-based Ecotrust. The economists estimate that it will cost around 2.5 percent of the gross world product to change the way we live and work, but such radical action would create jobs and could hurry technological advances just as the Cold War did in the 1950s and 1960s, The Oregonian reports. The study looks at what it would take to meet the recommendations of climate scientists who call for reducing atmospheric carbon concentrations from their current level of 387 parts per million to 350 parts per million -- compared to pre-industrial levels of 275. ...


Let's just pay the bill with our credit card!

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Wed, Oct 7, 2009
from Mother Jones:
Inside the 'Chamber of Carbon'
Apple Computer's announcement Monday that it was quitting the US Chamber of Commerce was just the latest high profile defection from the country's most powerful business lobbyand one of the most prominent opponents of climate change legislation. In the preceding two weeks, three major electric utilities and Nike also said they'd be leaving the Chamber's board of directors or dropping out altogether to protest its antiregulation stand....went beyond a simple policy disagreement, describing a lack of transparency and accountability that conflicted with the organization's own supposedly democratic principles and suggested the outsized influence of a few Chamber members in setting its climate stance.... Several Chamber members representing USCAP recently met with president Tom Donohue to request that he alter the group's climate stance, according to the spokesman. "They were totally rebuffed," he says. Donohue "said that they should continue the dialogue, but offered no methods or avenues for changing the Chamber's position." ... At least 49 of 118 board members represent oil and gas companies, chemical companies, utilities, transportation companies, the construction industry, or companies that build machines that burn large amounts of petroleum. ...


The Chamber is beating a dead horse & buggy. Hello? Twenty-first century?

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Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from London Guardian:
UN's forest protection scheme at risk from organised crime, experts warn
A revolutionary UN scheme to cut carbon emissions by paying poorer countries to preserve their forests is a recipe for corruption and will be hijacked by organised crime without safeguards, a Guardian investigation has found. The UN, the World Bank, the UK and individuals including Prince Charles have strongly backed UN plans to expand the global carbon market to allow countries to trade the carbon stored in forests. If, as expected, this is agreed at crucial UN climate change talks taking place in Bangkok this week and concluding in Copenhagen in December, up to $30bn a year could be transferred from rich countries to the owners of endangered forests. ...


I'd like to get in on a little action myself.

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Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from London Guardian:
China leads accusation that rich nations are trying to sabotage climate treaty
The US and other developed countries are attempting to "fundamentally sabotage" the Kyoto protocol and all-important international negotiations over its next phase, according to coordinated statements by China and 130 developing countries at UN climate talks in Bangkok today. As 180 countries started a second week of talks, the developing countries showed their deep frustration at the slow pace of the negotiations on a global climate deal, which are planned to be concluded in two months' time in Copenhagen. "The reason why we are not making progress is the lack of political will by Annex 1 [industrialised] countries. There is a concerted effort to fundamentally sabotage the Kyoto protocol," said ambassador Yu Qingtai China's special representative on climate talks. "We now hear statements that would lead to the termination of the protocol. They are introducing new rules, new formats. That's not the way to conduct negotiations," said Yu. ...


Copenhagen... is going to be one giant bitchfest!

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Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Is the Arctic ready to give up its treasures?
For all the talk among world leaders of the perils of climate change, many are scenting an opportunity. As the Arctic ice retreats, surrounding nations are looking to plunder those natural resources under the surface, estimated by the US Geological Survey to constitute as much as 13 per cent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 per cent of its undiscovered natural gas -- as well as precious metals including iron ore, gold, zinc and nickel. There is the prospect of a dramatic new shortcut between Europe and Asia, slashing journey times by as much as a third. Last month, two German ships completed their journey along the Russian coast from South Korea to Bremen without any icebreaker escort. There are also hopes that Canada's Northwest Passage could offer a viable alternative to the Suez and Panama canals. The claim-staking and posturing has started: last year, Russia sent a submarine to plant its flag beneath the North Pole; next spring, it plans to drop paratroopers there. ...


It's not climate collapse -- it's an opportunity!

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Wed, Sep 30, 2009
from Minneapolis MinnPost:
Scientist offers dire scenario at climate-change symposium in Minneapolis
Dire projections on global warming effects issued recently by the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may prove to be as comparatively tranquil as "a Sunday school picnic" when the next scientific reports come out, a renowned earth scientist told an international symposium in Minneapolis. The sober assessment Monday by David Schindler of the University of Alberta follows an IPCC report last week that said that even if world leaders realize their most ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the earth would still warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by century's end.... Schindler said he's "not looking forward" to what he fears are even more grim reports on climate change by world scientists that will follow in the coming months.... Another speaker at the University of Minnesota's Transatlantic Science Week agreed with Schindler that a cascading synergy of adverse climate-change effects could outrun snail-paced efforts to reduce of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels in power plants and transportation sources mostly in developed and developing nations. ...


A "Sunday school picnic" in a hailstorm, between warring street gangs, in the middle of a busy intersection.

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Tue, Sep 29, 2009
from London Times:
Third World population controls won't save climate, study claims
The population explosion in poor countries will contribute little to climate change and is a dangerous distraction from the main problem of over-consumption in rich nations, a study has found. It challenges claims by leading environmentalists, including Sir David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt, that strict birth control is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The study concludes that spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate because poor countries have such low emissions. It says that Britain and other Western countries should instead focus on reducing consumption of goods, services and energy among their own populations. ...


Door #3: Rich nations should have population controls!

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Tue, Sep 29, 2009
from DC Bureau:
Fish and Paint Chips Part II: The Politics of Ocean Trash
When it comes to reducing garbage in the world's oceans, the political angle is just as important as the scientific, to judge by industry's behavior. On Aug. 18, Seattle voters passed by a 53-47 margin a referendum to overturn a 20-cent fee approved last year by the city council for using plastic bags at supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other public information, the referendum was backed primarily by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the plastics industry trade association, and the 7-11 chain of convenience stores. The ACC made local headlines with its all-out summer media blitz to promote the referendum, ultimately spending $1.4 million before the vote was held. In comparison, the Seattle Green Bag Campaign to support the fee raised less than $100,000. In a press release trumpeting its victory, the ACC argued that whatever its environmental implications, plastic is good for the economy. ...


Sometimes... I just don't think we deserve the earth.

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Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from Bangor Daily News:
Herring catch limits could plummet
The availability of herring along the coast of Maine, where much of the catch is used as bait for the state's $250 million lobster industry, is a little bit better this fall than it was last year. Next year, however, could be a different story.... The scientists who reviewed this summer's stock assessment for Atlantic herring came up with a lower recommendation of the allowable catch than regulators and officials had made in prior years. As a result, the annual overall quota for herring in 2010 likely is going to be 90,000 metric tons, which is 104,000 metric tons less than this year's limit of 194,000 metric tons. That larger quota is parceled among four fishing areas that include both inner and outer areas of the Gulf of Maine, one directly south of the gulf, and another west of Nantucket. ...


We'll just switch to himming, eh?

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Wed, Sep 23, 2009
from Johannesburg Business Report:
High level of toxins detected in shoes
High levels of toxic chemicals have been found in the shoes of well-known South African retailers, raising concern about the health hazards contained in these "throwaway items" the world over. In a study released last week, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) found high levels of a toxic chemical known as diethyl-hexyl phthalate (DEHP) in 17 out of 27 pairs of shoes manufactured in various countries including India, Indonesia, Tanzania, The Philippines, Sweden and South Africa. The chemical can cause cancer, severe damage to a developing foetus and the central nervous system. Following an analysis for different types of harmful chemicals, a pair of sandals from Woolworths (imported from Brazil) was found to contain the highest concentration of DEHP of all the shoes in the global sample, with the substance constituting 23 percent of the total weight of the shoe. ...


Walk a mile in my (toxic) shoes.

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Sat, Sep 19, 2009
from Washington Post:
Left in the Flat-Screen Dust
...America's unquenchable craving, even in a recession, for the latest and greatest in electronics, and the nation's switch to digital television broadcasting in June, have combined to send consumers racing for flat-screen TVs -- and has made them anxious to rid their homes of their tube-based relics... nobody will take their old TVs, not even for free, and local governments are scrambling to stop the rejects, laden with lead, from being dumped in landfills or poor Asian countries.... As new TVs enter the home, many people hide the old ones in basements, garages or closets. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 99 million TVs were stored this way two years ago. But many TVs are simply tossed. In 2007, 27 million units were discarded, and 77 percent of them were tossed out with the trash (most of the rest are recycled). ...


I know! Let's turn the TVs into aquariums to replace our collapsing ocean and lake ecosystems!

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Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from BBC (UK):
EU proposes billions annually for poor nations' climate protection
The European Commission says the EU should provide $2-15bn each year to help poor countries protect themselves against impacts of climate change. The UN estimates that poor nations will need about $100bn per year for climate adaptation, with much of that coming from levies on carbon trading. The commission hopes its proposal will stimulate negotiations leading up to December's UN summit in Copenhagen.... The commission sees about 40 percent of the $100bn coming from the global carbon market that is supposed to emerge from the Copenhagen treaty.... "The EU is trying to get away with leaving a tip, rather than paying its share of the bill to protect the planet's climate," said Joris den Blanken, climate and energy policy director of Greenpeace-EU. ...


A tip of the hat, at least.

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Mon, Sep 7, 2009
from COP15:
G-20 talks on climate 'not satisfactory'
Finance ministers from the Group of Twenty meeting in London on Saturday were unable to find common ground on how to finance climate change. Differences between rich and developing countries were too big, Reuters reports. British Finance Minister Alistair Darling said there had been "very substantial" discussion on the topic, but no specific measures were agreed. "I am also a little disappointed by the lack of positive commitment today," European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg, representing the European Union, agreed the outcome was "not satisfactory." ...


Maybe that's because the rich countries want to keep what they have, and not pay for it?

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Sun, Sep 6, 2009
from Financial Times:
Thumbs up to geo engineering, thumbs down to carbon taxes from Lomborg group
We now have the results of the study by the Copenhagen Consensus -- a group of economists brought together by Bjorn Lomborg, author of The Sceptical Environmentalist -- showing which options for averting dangerous climate change they judge to offer the best value for money. Five economists -- Finn Kydland, Thomas C. Schelling, Vernon L. Smith, Nancy L. Stokey, and Jagdish Bhagwati (the first three are Nobel laureates) decided the rankings. ...


So stupid they're not just wrong, but criminally wrong.

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Sat, Sep 5, 2009
from Mongabay:
Investing in conservation could save global economy trillions of dollars annually
By investing billions in conserving natural areas now, governments could save trillions every year in ecosystem services, such as natural carbon sinks to fight climate change, according to a European report The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). As reported by Reuters, a one time investment of 45 billion dollars in protected areas the global economy could save ecosystem services worth 4.5-5.2 trillion annually, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters, adding that this was more than the value of the global car, steel and information technology sectors. ...


That's kind of risky. I'll stick with credit default swaps.

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Wed, Aug 26, 2009
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Illegal fishing evades U.N. crackdown
Illegal fishing is depleting the seas and robbing poor nations in Africa and Asia of resources, but a lack of global cooperation is undermining efforts to track rogue vessels, an environmental group said on Tuesday. The Pew Environment Group, a Washington-based think-tank, has found that a United Nations scheme to oblige ports to crack down on illegal fishing boats is handicapped by a lack of accurate information, implementation and participation.... Pew estimates that a fifth of all fish landed come from illegal, unregulated or unreported vessels -- and this figure rises to around half for valuable species like blue fin tuna. ...


Let them eat kelp.

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Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from Climate Wire:
How the World Bank Let 'Deal Making' Torch the Rainforests
The World Bank ignored its own environmental and social protection standards when it approved nearly $200 million in loan guarantees for palm oil production in Indonesia, a stinging internal audit has found. The report, detailing five years of funding from the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank, lambastes the agency for allowing commercial pressures to influence four separate loans aimed at developing the industry. "The IFC was aware for more than 20 years that there were significant environmental and social issues and risks inherent in the oil palm sector in Indonesia," auditors wrote. "Despite awareness of the significant issues facing it, IFC did not develop a strategy for engaging in the oil palm sector. In the absence of a tailored strategy, deal making prevailed." ...


It's a small-minded world bank after all.

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Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from New York Times:
Oil Industry Backs Protests of Emissions Bill
Hard on the heels of the health care protests, another citizen movement seems to have sprung up, this one to oppose Washingtons attempts to tackle climate change. But behind the scenes, an industry with much at stake Big Oil is pulling the strings. The event on Tuesday was organized by a group called Energy Citizens, which is backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industrys main trade group. Many of the people attending the demonstration were employees of oil companies who work in Houston and were bused from their workplaces. ...


Fieldtrip!

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Mon, Aug 17, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Developed countries' demand for biofuels has been 'disastrous'
The production of biofuels is fuelling poverty, human rights abuses and damage to the environment, Christian Aid warned today. The charity said huge subsidies and targets in developed countries for boosting the production of fuels from plants such as maize and palm oil are exacerbating environmental and social problems in poor nations. And rather than being a "silver bullet" to tackle climate change, the carbon emissions of some of the fuels are higher than fossil fuels because of deforestation driven by the need for land for them to grow.... [I]ndustrial scale production of biofuels is worsening problems such as food price hikes in central America, forced displacement of small farmers for plantations and pollution of local water sources.... Developed countries have poured subsidies into biofuel production -- for example in the US where between 9.2 billion dollars and 11 billion dollars went to supporting maize-based ethanol in 2008 -- when there are cheaper and more effective ways to cut emissions from transport, the report said.... "[T]he best approach to biofuels is to grow them on a small scale and process them locally to provide energy for people in the surrounding countryside." ...


Small-scale production for local needs? What economy are they from?

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Thu, Aug 13, 2009
from Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento judge tentatively rules against bid to list styrene as carcinogenic
A Sacramento judge sided with the styrene industry and against state environmental officials on Wednesday in ruling that the chemical doesn't have to be listed under Proposition 65 as a cause of cancer. Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang said the listing would have had a "devastating effect" on a $28 billion industry that uses the product widely in food packaging, as well as in thousands of plastic items ranging from bicycle helmets to synthetic marble... "The court agrees with plaintiff that the designation of a product as a carcinogen, particularly associated with food, could have a devastating effect on that product's use," Chang wrote. "Such a designation would likely have the intended 'stigmatizing' effect.'" ...


Sounds like styrene is just too big to fail...

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Thu, Aug 6, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Occupiers of Vestas wind turbine factory face eviction tomorrow
Vestas obtained a repossession order from Newport county court on Tuesday, more than a fortnight after 25 employees began a sit-in to try to save the factory from closure with the loss of more than 600 jobs. Their action has seen trade unionists and climate change campaigners join forces to maintain a vigil outside the plant, where many protesters have set up a permanent camp.... The men remaining in the factory called on supporters to gather tomorrow morning in advance of the arrival of the bailiffs.... "The government has spent billions bailing out the banks, and 2.3bn pounds in loan guarantees to support the UK car industry. They can and should step in to save the infrastructure we are really going to need to prevent a climate catastrophe." ...


Vestas: Vapid Economic Senselessness Toward Anthropoid Survival.

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Tue, Aug 4, 2009
from The Nation:
Unpopular Science
...It's no secret the newspaper industry is hemorrhaging staff writers and slashing coverage as its business model collapses in the face of declining readership and advertising revenues. But less recognized is how this trend is killing off a breed of journalistic specialists that we need now more than ever--science writers ... uniquely trained for the most difficult stories, those with a complex technical component that are nevertheless critical to politics and society...even in places where you'd expect it to hold out the longest, science journalism is declining. ...


Just so we don't start getting rid of tabloid reporters, too!

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Mon, Aug 3, 2009
from :
From the ApocaDesk
In the intro to the new film Food, Inc., writer Michael Pollan narrates the following: "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000." Pollan emphasizes that our food now comes from factories, not farms. Factories where animals -- and the workers -- are being abused. Section one of Food, Inc. focuses on the work of writer Eric Schlosser, who wrote Fast Food Nation... Food, Inc. begins with fast food, for as Schlosser says, the "industrial food system began with fast food." And how do you start with fast food, without addressing the primordial fast food: McDonald's -- the largest buyer of ground beef in the country. And since they want their hamburgers to taste exactly the same everywhere you go, you can see a compelling reason why farms are now factories. To feed the voracious appetite for fast and cheap food, chickens are now raised to slaughter in half the time -- and at twice as size. Says one chicken farmer, "if you can grow a chicken 49 days, why would you want a chicken that takes three months to grow?" A couple reasons explored in the film involve the dangers of the overuse of antibiotics (which are administered to the animals in a "preventative" gesture) as well as the fact that the animals' bone structure can't keep up with the growth of their meat, and so they can't walk -- even if there was room to move in their packed animal enclosures. By and large, farmers are reluctant to talk about corporate farming, whether they raise animals for slaughter or grow Monsanto crops for harvesting. One farmer does talk and her heartbreaking account -- along with hidden camera footage of heartless chicken wranglers -- is enough to make you wonder why you ever eat meat. In section two, Pollan riffs from his work, especially Omnivore's Dilemma. "Corn has conquered the world," he states, pointing out that the big fat kernel of starch pretty much finds its way into most of the products you find on the grocery shelves and beyond (disposable diapers, for example). Evolution designed cows to eat grass -- not corn -- but corn is cheaper (encouraged by government subsidizing). And the conditions are ripe that new strains of E coli will be created -- spread by the manure that cows stand in as they're being slaughtered in the slaughterhouse. As Food, Inc. begins to follow food safety advocates as they try and communicate issues of concern to their government, the story moves into heart-wrenching territory. One advocate turns out to be a mother -- a mother whose two and half year old son, she tells us, "went from perfectly healthy to dead in 12 days ... from eating [E coli contaminated] meat." Home movie footage of this now dead child is enough to send you running for the aisles, but fortunately Food, Inc. is also here to create solutions. A good portion of the film is directed toward remedies to our corporate-dominated food world. If you enjoyed Omnivore's Dilemma, you get to see in living color, the irascible and fascinating Joel Salatin, whose Polyface Farms is testimony to how a farmer can create nutritious, pesticide-free food in a balanced ecosystem. We visit with Gary Hirshberg, the owner of Stoneyfield Farms, whose organic yogurt is another exemplary foodstuff -- and is now being featured on Wal-Mart shelves. Still, when you learn what happens to these corporately-raised animals, and the stranglehold (by government and corporations) over our farms and farmers, and facts like 1 in 3 children born in the United States after 2000 will develop diabetes ... well, Food, Inc. might just give you heartburn. As Pollan says toward the end: "I think it's one of the most important battles for consumers to fight: The right to know what's in your food and how it's grown. Not only do they not want you to know what's in it, they've managed to make it against the law to criticize their products." But criticize we can, three meals a day, by learning what is in the food we're buying, by buying in season, and by buying local. And by saying bye-bye to fast food, period. ...


Two hungry thumbs up!

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Thu, Jul 30, 2009
from AlterNet:
Naomi Klein: Let's Put an End to Sarah Palin-Style Capitalism
...Think about it: Sarah Palin stepped onto the world stage as Vice Presidential candidate on August 29 at a McCain campaign rally, to much fanfare. Exactly two weeks later, on September 14, Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial meltdown. So in a way, Palin was the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south.... This is the most comforting and dangerous lie that there is: the lie that perpetual, unending growth is possible on our finite planet. And we have to remember that this message was incredibly popular in those first two weeks, before Lehman collapsed. Despite Bush's record, Palin and McCain were pulling ahead. And if it weren't for the financial crisis, and for the fact that Obama started connecting with working class voters by putting deregulation and trickle-down economics on trial, they might have actually won. ...


Dude, I just got the chills reading this!

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Wed, Jul 29, 2009
from The Charleston Gazette:
DuPont reports chemical leak -- two days later
Management at DuPont Co.'s chemical plant in Belle waited more than two days before reporting a toxic material leak to state and local authorities last week, government and company officials confirmed Tuesday. The leak of sulfur trioxide started at 11 a.m. on July 22, but was not reported to the state until 4:36 p.m. on July 24, according to state Environmental Protection and Homeland Security officials. No injuries were reported, and DuPont officials described the leak as a minor incident. ...


When I ignore my problems they almost always go away!

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Sun, Jul 26, 2009
from Denver Post:
Organic goes down a slippery road
Here's the sad news: Even as the demand for organic food continues to explode, organic farmers in America are getting thrown under the very beet cart they helped build. The Chinese are taking over market share, especially of vegetables and agricultural commodities like soy, thanks to several American-based multinational food corporations that have hijacked the organic bandwagon they only recently jumped onto. When mega-corporation Dean Foods acquired Silk soy milk -- which I used to drink as if it were the staff of life -- the prospects looked good for American organic soy farmers. Silk had always been committed to supporting domestic organic farmers, and with the new might of Dean Foods behind it, I assumed that Silk would likely grow. Silk did grow, but it also dropped its commitment to domestic soy. When Midwestern farmers and farmer cooperatives in the heart of American soy country were told by Silk they had to match the rock-bottom cost of Chinese organic soybeans, they found it was a price they simply could not meet. Organic agriculture is labor-intensive, and China's edge comes largely from its abundance of cheap labor. ...


Globalganic trade, anyone?

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Thu, Jul 23, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Wind turbine protesters continue sit in as police accused of blocking food
A handful of men -- tired, hungry and soon to be unemployed -- stood cheering on the balcony of a wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight, in what has become an unlikely front line of a clash over the future of Britain's green economy. About 25 workers were last night still inside the Vestas plant outside Newport, three days into a sit-in which has grown increasingly bitter. The occupiers of Britain's only significant wind farm factory have accused managers of trying to starve them out and yesterday three people were arrested as protesters outside tried to deliver food supplies. Last week The Times revealed that the factory was closing down its production line within hours of the Government pledging a five-fold increase in the number of wind turbines in Britain. More than 600 people are due to be made redundant on July 30 -- 525 in Newport and 100 at a related facility in Southampton. ...


Workers of the Wind -- UNITE!

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Wed, Jul 22, 2009
from Socialist Worker Online:
Windpower Manufacturer Vestas workers occupy: 'A fight for jobs and the planet'
Workers at Vestas, the UK's only wind turbine manufacturer, occupied their factory in Newport, Isle of Wight on Monday evening against plans to close it. Dave is one of the occupying workers: "Weve occupied our factory to save our jobs -- and to save the planet. Six hundred people work here. That many jobs going will have a devastating effect. But there's even more to it than that. We need renewable energy if we're going to stop global warming. When the government says it wants green energy and green jobs, it's criminal that it's closing Vestas. I've worked here for a year and a half but some people have worked here for eight or nine years. We had a meeting on Monday where we talked about what to do. We decided we were going to go for it. People thought, "It's now or never". We went in as two teams, from both sides of the factory. All of the doors were locked -- apart from the front door! ... ...


Someone's closing? A wind power plant?
What planet is this?

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Sun, Jul 19, 2009
from Columbus Dispatch:
House-passed global-warming bill proposes barrage of regulations
...Because the Senate is nowhere near approving its own version of the [1,428-page global-warming bill approved last month by the U.S. House of Representatives], these regulations might never become law. But as details of the House bill emerge, they have provoked intense criticism from conservative Republicans and business organizations. "That bill is so bad, it's really pathetic," said Bill Kovacs, a chamber lobbyist. "I'm not sure what they thought they were accomplishing by focusing the power of the federal government on the tiniest details of life versus creating a clear path for replacing fossil fuels with cleaner technologies." ...


Appears to me letting business and conservatives run amok didn't work out so hot!

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Mon, Jul 13, 2009
from Sunday Independent:
G8 leaders slammed over climate targets
Greenpeace has called for massive public pressure to demand that the world's wealthiest nations take decisive action on climate change. The call came as G8 leaders emerged from two days of climate talks in Italy without reaching agreement on firm commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ahead of December's UN climate change talks to finalise a post-2012 climate regime. Greenpeace activists on inflatable boats marked the failure to agree by painting the message "G8: FAILED" on the side of a coal ship - which had loaded its cargo in Richards Bay - in Civitavecchia, near Rome....In Italy this week, more than 100 activists occupied, painted, blocked and hung off cranes at five Italian coal-fired power stations, pointing to coal as the world's worst climate killer, and calling for G8 leadership to address climate change. ...


The arts are fighting back!

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Sun, Jul 12, 2009
from European Space Agency via ScienceDaily:
Declining Aral Sea: Satellite Images Highlight Dramatic Retreat
New Envisat images highlight the dramatic retreat of the Aral Sea's shoreline from 2006 to 2009. The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, but it has been steadily shrinking over the past 50 years since the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation projects. As the Aral Sea evaporated, it left behind a 40 000 sq km zone of dry, white salt terrain now called the Aral Karakum Desert. Each year violent sandstorms pick up at least 150 000 tonnes of salt and sand from the Aral Karakum and transport it across hundreds of km, causing severe health problems for the local population and making regional winters colder and summers hotter. In an attempt to mitigate these effects, vegetation that thrives in dry, saline conditions is being planted in the former seabed. ...


This "salt and sand" stuff makes me parched!

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Fri, Jul 10, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Despite Obama's pledge, G-8 makes little headway on global warming
Reporting from Washington and L'Aquila, Italy -- Addressing leaders of the world's most important economies early Thursday, President Obama wasted no time in proclaiming a new day for U.S. policy on climate change. "I know that in the past, the United States has sometimes fallen short of meeting our responsibilities," he said. "So let me be clear: Those days are over." But by the end of the day, when the Group of 8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, wrapped up its deliberations on climate, Obama found himself stymied by many of the same roadblocks that plagued previous efforts to tackle global warming. Leaders of the most developed nations again declined to commit themselves to any specific actions now or in the immediate future to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming -- actions that would require increasing energy prices, raising taxes or imposing other unpopular economic measures on their people. Instead, they embraced the high-sounding goal of reducing their own emissions by 80 percent and worldwide emissions by 50 percent by 2050 -- without pledging to take any specific steps to get there. ...


Our leaders need to get the lead out!

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Sat, Jun 20, 2009
from New Scientist:
Explore how climate change might affect the US
The White House has released a detailed report on climate change, titled Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The report summarises and synthesises a number of in-depth studies on both past and projected future effects of greenhouse gases on the US. It outlines projections for high-emissions and reduced-emissions scenarios.

New Scientist has compiled this Google map to show what the report has to say for various regions and cities in the US. ...


Where am I? Not near an urban area marked on this GoogleMap. Whew!

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Wed, Jun 17, 2009
from USA Today:
Clean-energy windmills a 'dirty business' for farmers in Mexico
...The isthmus -- Mexico's narrowest point -- is becoming the Saudi Arabia of alternative energy as U.S. and European companies, emboldened by new technology and high oil prices, rush to stake their claims in one of the world's windiest places. The Mexican government wants the isthmus to produce 2,500 megawatts within three years, a goal that will require thousands of windmills and would catapult Mexico into the top 12 producers of wind energy....But the energy gold rush has also brought discord, as building crews slice through irrigation canals, divide pastures and cover crops with dust. Some farmers complain they were tricked into renting their land for as little as $46 an acre annually. ...


Echoing the proverb: Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

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Mon, Jun 15, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Is Obama caving in to coal?
...The administration last week announced a number of new restrictions on mountaintop coal mining in the six Appalachian states where it occurs. They are minimal steps that, among other things, will make it harder for mining companies to escape environmental review when seeking permits to blow up mountains. For this, Obama merits polite applause. That's in contrast to the much-deserved boos he received last month from environmentalists after his administration quietly sent a letter to coal industry loyalist Rep. Nick Rahall II (D-W.Va.) saying the Environmental Protection Agency wouldn't stand in the way of at least two dozen new mountaintop-removal projects... Obama is clearly intimidated by coal's powerful lobby. ...


Yes we coal!

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Sat, Jun 13, 2009
from London Guardian:
'We are fighting for our lives and our dignity'
Across the globe, as mining and oil firms race for dwindling resources, indigenous peoples are battling to defend their lands -- often paying the ultimate price... Peru is just one of many countries now in open conflict with its indigenous people over natural resources. Barely reported in the international press, there have been major protests around mines, oil, logging and mineral exploitation in Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America. Hydro electric dams, biofuel plantations as well as coal, copper, gold and bauxite mines are all at the centre of major land rights disputes.... What until quite recently were isolated incidents of indigenous peoples in conflict with states and corporations are now becoming common as government-backed companies move deeper on to lands long ignored as unproductive or wild. As countries and the World Bank increase spending on major infrastructural projects to counter the economic crisis, the conflicts are expected to grow. ...


But my toaster and my car and my job have to run on something!

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Fri, Jun 12, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Agricultural panel jeopardizes climate bill
Democratic lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday threatened to derail controversial legislation to combat climate change unless it does more to support forestry and farming interests. "As this bill stands today, I can't vote for it," said Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa. "I don't know anyone else here who can. We've got a lineup of people ... who are very uneasy." Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the agriculture panel chairman and an outspoken critic of the sweeping climate change legislation, said the measure could be in jeopardy... Peterson is leading a growing Democratic mutiny against the measure. He claims support of more than 40 lawmakers who represent rural interests and worry the legislation tilts too heavily in favor of urban communities. ...


Maybe in seven or eight billion years newly-evolved hominids might have the courage to tackle this.

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Wed, Jun 3, 2009
from Greenwire:
Low-key governor becomes leading GOP voice on climate
Since their drubbing in last year's election, Republicans have been looking for someone who can go toe-to-toe with President Obama and other top Democrats, with most suggesting that person must come from beyond Washington. On energy and climate, at least, such a Republican has emerged. Indiana's two-term governor, Mitch Daniels, has delivered an energy message that has drawn praise from conservatives and raised the rumored presidential candidate's profile in what is likely to be a crowded Republican field in 2012. ...


What do you expect from a governor who campaigned by driving a gas guzzling RV all over Indiana!

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Wed, Jun 3, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
California Senate approves ban on BPA in plastics
Despite a fierce lobbying effort by the U.S. chemical industry, the state Senate narrowly approved a proposal Tuesday that would ban the use of a substance in baby bottles, toddler sippy cups and food containers that independent scientists say is a threat to childhood development. The bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) that would prohibit the use of bisphenol A -- commonly dubbed BPA -- now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to face a wall of resistance from manufacturers of the products that contain the chemical... Researchers from the chemical industry say the public health threat has been vastly overblown, and manufacturers of BPA argue that it has passed muster with nearly a dozen regulatory agencies in Europe and the United States. ...


Perhaps these chemical industry researchers have been hitting the bottle a bit too much!

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Mon, Jun 1, 2009
from Mongabay:
Nike, Unilever, Burger King, IKEA may unwittingly contribute to Amazon destruction, says Greenpeace
Major international companies are unwittingly driving the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest through their purchases of leather, beef and other products supplied from the Brazil cattle industry, alleges a new report from Greenpeace. The report, Slaughtering the Amazon, is based on a three-year undercover investigation of the Brazilian cattle industry, which accounts for 80 percent of Amazon deforestation and roughly 14 percent of the world's annual forest loss. Greenpeace found that Brazilian beef companies are important suppliers of raw materials used by leading global brands, including Adidas/Reebok, Nike, Carrefour, Eurostar, Unilever, Johnson and Johnson, Toyota, Honda, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, IKEA, Kraft, Tesco and Wal-Mart, among others. ...


Does that make me unwittingly complicit, just by buying crap?

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Sat, May 30, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
BPA industry seeks to polish image
Frustrated at media portrayals of bisphenol A as a dangerous chemical, food-packaging executives and lobbyists for the chemical makers met this week at an exclusive Washington, D.C., club where they hammered out a strategy, including showcasing a pregnant woman to talk about the chemical's benefits....A pregnant woman would be "the holy grail" to serve as a spokeswoman, the memo says. Attendees said they doubted they could find a scientist to serve as a spokesman for BPA....Richard Wiles, executive director of the activist Environmental Working Group, said he was surprised by the content of the memo. "I mean, it seems over the top, even by industry," Wiles said. "I'm amazed in this day and age they'd write this stuff down." He said the document suggests that the chemical industry can't rely on science to sell its product. ...


If only they could have found a pregnant scientist!

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Sat, May 30, 2009
from Associated Press:
GOP belittles Democrats' climate change proposal
...Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address, said the House's climate bill was "a classic example of unwise government." The address culminated a week of coordinated Republican attacks on the Democratic proposal, which would require the first nationwide reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for global warming... The proposal to cap greenhouse emissions "will cost us dearly in jobs and income and it stands no chance of achieving its objective of a cooler earth" because other nations such as China and India will not have to follow, Daniels said. "The cost for all American taxpayers will be certain, huge, and immediate. Any benefits are extremely uncertain, minuscule, and decades distant," he contended. ...


Then by all means let's just destroy the habitat, together, ASAP!

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Fri, May 29, 2009
from London Financial Times:
Argentina pressed to ban crop chemical after health concerns
Argentina's government is coming under pressure to ban the chemical used in the world's best-selling herbicide, which has helped turn the country into an important world food exporter in the past decade, after new research found that it might be harmful to human health. A group of environmental lawyers has petitioned the Supreme Court to impose a six-month ban on the sale and use of glyphosate, which is the basis for many herbicides, including the US agribusiness giant Monsanto's Roundup product.... Research by other Argentine scientists and evidence from local campaigners has indicated a high incidence of birth defects and cancers in people living near crop-spraying areas. One study conducted by a doctor, Rodolfo Páramo, in the northern farming province of Santa Fé reported 12 malformations per 250 births, well above the normal rate. ...


Don't die for me, Argentina.

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Thu, May 28, 2009
from The Telegram (Canada):
David Suzuki hunts for the real bottom line
Want to know how to make David Suzuki upset? Talk to him about Stephen Harper's approach to environmental conservation. "We're told over and over that the bottom line is the economy, and our own prime minister says we can't afford to do anything about climate change if it jeopardizes the economy. That's absolutely wrong -- it's a lie. What kind of government puts the economy before a global environmental crisis?" Suzuki asked The Telegram in an interview from his Toronto office Tuesday.... Suzuki is also calling on provincial governments to put the planet before politics, including the government of B.C., his home province. Earlier this month, he, along with a half a dozen local mayors and others, wrote an open letter in the Globe and Mail calling for an organized approach to addressing climate change in that province. Among their suggestions was that the provincial government increase the low-income carbon tax-credit at the same rate as price increases on greenhouse gas emissions, and that a portion of carbon-tax revenues be invested in public transit and renewable energy projects. ...


What kind of government? One that is bought and paid for.

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Tue, May 26, 2009
from Denver KUSA-TV:
Contamination concerns rise out of gas wells
..."We're starting to see complaints by people that live in the area," said Geoffrey Thyne, a professor at Colorado School of Mines. For years, Thyne has been studying the technique often used to remove gas from the ground. It's called hydraulic fracturing, or fracing (pronounced "fracking"), and it involves injecting chemical-filled fluid thousands of feet below the surface, which expands existing fractures in the rock and allows gas to rise. Allegations are now popping up across the country that fracing is contaminating groundwater and causing illnesses and environmental problems. But Thyne says no one can prove a link because no one outside the oil and gas companies knows what chemicals are going into the ground. "Without that knowledge, then there's always going to be some ambiguity or lack of positive assignment of responsibility," Thyne said. The oil and gas industry won the right to keep their chemical mixture secret in 2005, when the government exempted fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. ...


What's really freaky about fracing is the freakin' fibbing going on!

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from London Guardian:
Climate change summit hijacked by biggest polluters, critics claim
A vital meeting in Copenhagen this weekend that will help shape the agenda for the most important climate change talks since the Kyoto protocol has been hijacked by some of the biggest polluters in the world, critics claimed today. Among those attending the World Business Summit on Climate Change is Shell, which has just been named by environmentalists on the basis of new research as "the most carbon-intensive oil company in the world". There is concern that the big energy companies will be pushing carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a way of keeping the oil-based economy running....Six of the companies involved in the summit have been nominated for Climate Greenwash Awards because of their failure to live up to their PR spin on tackling climate change. ...


You mean the foxes are watching the foxhouse AGAIN?

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from Associated Press:
Renowned climber warns Everest facing climate damage
A Sherpa from Nepal who holds the world's record for scaling Mount Everest said Monday the planet's highest peak was littered with trash and warned that its glaciers were melting because of global warming. Appa, who like most Sherpas goes by only one name, scaled the peak last week not to draw attention to his own amazing feat -- he has now climbed Everest a record 19 times -- but to the impact that global warming is having on the majestic site. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow. "We have only one Everest, we need to clean it, protect it," said Appa, who flew back to Katmandu on Monday after reached the 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) summit last Thursday for the 19th time. ...


Everest, the poster child for beleaguered peaks.

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from Sandusky Register:
Latta: Energy bill could destroy Ohio jobs
Global warming is billed as one of the most dire problems facing the Earth. But will the burden of fixing it fall unfairly upon residents and businesses in Ohio? U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, is trying to sound the alarm. He warns a new bill making its way through the House will destroy jobs in Ohio and increase the costs of energy for almost everyone -- all in the name of reducing greenhouse gases. "If you use coal, you're whacked," said Latta, whose district includes Huron County. He notes in Ohio, unlike states such as California where "green" legislation is popular, everyone depends on electricity produced by coal plants. ...


Poor widdle buckeyes...

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Mon, May 25, 2009
from London Times:
Manta rays next on restaurant menus as shark populations plummet
Conservationists fear a falling shark population is prompting Asian chefs to look for manta and devil rays to help meet the voracious demand for shark fin soup. Found in coastal waters throughout the world, rays present an easy target as they swim slowly near the surface with their huge wings. So far, they have escaped commercial exploitation and have been hunted only by small numbers of subsistence fishermen, who traditionally catch them using harpoons.... Until now, getting caught in nets intended for other fish has been the biggest threat to rays, listed as "near threatened" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. ...


Manta rays will now officially be listed as "near screwed."

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Tue, May 19, 2009
from London Guardian:
Peru army moves into Amazon after tribes blockade rivers and roads
Peru's army is poised to deploy in the Amazon rainforest to lift blockades across rivers and roads by indigenous people opposed to oil, gas, logging and mining projects. The government has authorised the military to move into remote provinces where a state of emergency has been declared in the wake of a month-long stand-off between indigenous people and police... Indigenous groups, backed by environmentalists and Catholic bishops, have protested that the developments will devastate the area's ecology and their culture. About 65 tribes have mobilised 30,000 people to disrupt roads, waterways and pipelines, leading to skirmishes with police. Up to 41 vessels serving energy companies are stuck along jungle rivers, paralysed by the protests, one private sector source told Reuters. ...


If this was a movie, the rainforest animals would join forces with the environmentalists.

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Sun, May 17, 2009
from Newark Star-Ledger:
With no other ship in sight, a common crime spoils sea
...the amount of oil illegally dumped by oceangoing ships has a far greater impact on the environment than accidental spills. Some estimates... put shipboard waste-dumping at more than 88 million gallons a year -- some eight times the amount of crude oil spilled when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound 20 years ago. Sludge filtered out from the low-grade fuel burned by many ships is particularly bad for the environment. It is supposed to be incinerated or off-loaded in port... One study has estimated 300,000 seabirds are killed annually along Canada's Atlantic coast from the type of routine discharge of oily waste, federal officials said. A chemical "oil fingerprint" analysis conducted by the Coast Guard found the bilge waste from one ship charged with environmental crimes was consistent with oil found on nearby beaches. ...


Perhaps we should just go take a leak on their shoes!

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Sun, May 17, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
FDA relied heavily on BPA lobby
As federal regulators hold fast to their claim that a chemical in baby bottles is safe, e-mails obtained by the Journal Sentinel show that they relied on chemical industry lobbyists to examine bisphenol A's risks, track legislation to ban it and even monitor press coverage. In one instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's deputy director sought information from the BPA industry's chief lobbyist to discredit a Japanese study that found it caused miscarriages in workers who were exposed to it. This was before government scientists even had a chance to review the study.... The FDA relied on two studies - both paid for by chemical makers - to form the framework of its draft review declaring BPA to be safe. ...


Government in bed with industry...? Sounds SEXY!

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Sat, May 16, 2009
from Charleston Gazette:
Obama's EPA clears 42 of 48 new mountaintop removal mining permits
The Obama administration has cleared more than three-dozen new mountaintop removal permits for issuance by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, drawing quick criticism from environmental groups who had hoped the new president would halt the controversial practice. In a surprise announcement Friday, Rep. Nick J. Rahall said 42 of the 48 permits already examined by the U.S. Environmental Protection had been approved by EPA for issuance by the corps. "It is unfortunate that, when EPA once again began reviewing proposed coal mining permits earlier this year, alarmists claimed that a moratorium on permit issuance was being proposed," Rahall said in a telephone news conference. "That was not that case then, and it is not the case now." The West Virginia Democrat is chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees the federal strip mining law, and represents a district that includes most of the state's southern coal counties. ...


Sometimes "hope" can cut both ways.

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Fri, May 15, 2009
from Inter Press Service:
West Bank Becomes Waste Land
Israel has found a cheap and easy way to get rid of its waste, much of it hazardous: dump it into the West Bank. A few Palestinians can be bought, the rest are in no position to complain... "Israel has been dumping waste, including hazardous and toxic waste, into the West Bank for years as a cheaper and easier alternative to processing it properly in Israel at appropriate hazardous waste management sites," Palestinian Environmental Authority (PEA) deputy director Jamil Mtoor told IPS. Shuqbah, a village of 5,000, lies near the border of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, not far from Ramallah. Israeli companies have been using land owned by a Palestinian middleman in the village to dump tonnes of garbage for as little as 30 dollars per tonne, significantly cheaper than dumping it at Israeli waste sites. ...


Great. Let's just call it the Waste Bank.

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Fri, May 15, 2009
from London Guardian:
Barack Obama's climate change bill is weakened, but still intact
Barack Obama's plans to move America towards a cleaner energy economy have survived but not unscathed. Democratic leaders in Congress said late yesterday they were confident of getting enough support from about a dozen Democratic hold-outs conservatives, and members from oil and coal producing states to move forward on a climate change bill. But the ambitious global warming and energy agenda introduced to Congress six weeks ago, has been weakened in a number of key areas by the compromises with the Democratic hold-outs... and it now seems clear that the US will come nowhere close to European targets... ...


Always lagging behind the Europeans... Sheesh!

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Thu, May 14, 2009
from Toronto Star:
High food prices pushing world to tipping point
Food riots undermining poor countries' governments. Millions of starving refugees fleeing war zones. Droughts of dangerous proportions overtaking already hungry people. At a time of sharp economic downturn, the world's poorest have been hit with a triple whammy. The head of the global agency that feeds the hungriest says problems are escalating because of a spike in food prices unaffected by the crash in the cost of commodities. "For the first time in human history one out of every six people on the planet is going to bed hungry," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the $5 billion annual United Nations World Food Program. The largely silent humanitarian crisis, Sheeran says, is often caused by local markets that have created dire shortages. "Over the past five years when food prices were going up, national (food) purchase budgets were not. That drew down the stocks, and they became dangerously low around the world." ...


Please stop the sound of stomachs growling!

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Wed, May 13, 2009
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Chief Says CO2 Finding May Not 'Mean Regulation'
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday a finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are a public health danger won't necessarily lead to government regulation of emissions, an apparent about-face for the Obama administration. The comments follow revelations of an administration document warning the EPA of potential economically harmful consequences from an agency finding last month that proposes declaring greenhouse gases a danger to the public. The document represents comments from various federal agencies, prepared by the Office of Management and Budget for EPA rule-making. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson previously has said that such a decision "will indeed trigger the beginning of regulation of CO2," echoing similar remarks by White House climate czar Carol Browner. But speaking before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Ms. Jackson said Tuesday: "The endangerment finding is a scientific finding mandated by law...It does not mean regulation." ...


What's already "economically harmful" is having health insurance I can't afford for illnesses that were caused by a toxic planet!

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Thu, May 7, 2009
from Sacramento News and Reviews:
An outsider's view of Earth
Believing that an outsider perspective may be illuminating in evaluating todays news, we imagine here what The Briefer would tell "a volunteer" about Earths present situation.... How serious is the situation with the biosphere? Very serious. Humanity will either build new renewable energy-powered economies and live, or fail to do so and die. As in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, people will have to consume far less and invest far more in building a new economy. They will have to live with less now so that they -- and their kids and grandkids -- will not only live well but simply live. Doing so is technically feasible but politically difficult.... What evidence is there for the magnitude of this threat? The world's scientists, traditionally competing for grants and laurels like the Nobel Prize, rarely agree. For the first time in scientific history, however, climate scientists have not only reached a near-unanimous consensus that human-made global warming threatens humanity, but have formed a global organization -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- to try and prevent it. ...


Could an outsider truly understand human problems? As if!!!

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Tue, May 5, 2009
from Kansas City Star:
New governor approves one coal-fired power plant for Kansas
In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor. In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency. "We have been at an energy impasse for the past couple of years," said Parkinson, a Democrat. "I thought it was time to bring an end to that impasse." ...


With Dorothy gone to Washington, looks like the Wicked Witch is taking over.

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Tue, May 5, 2009
from New York Times:
Justices Limit Liability Over Toxic Spill Cases
The Supreme Court made it harder on Monday for the government to recover the often enormous costs of environmental cleanups from companies with only minor or limited responsibility for toxic spills. The decision tightened the reach of the Superfund law, known formally as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, by limiting both the kinds of companies subject to liability and the situations in which partly culpable companies can be made to bear the entire cost of cleanups. ...


The High Court... must be high!

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Sun, May 3, 2009
from Washington Post:
MD Men Who Overfished Rockfish Sentenced to Prison
Three fishermen accused of dramatically underreporting their rockfish harvests received prison terms last week, as federal prosecutors continued a crackdown on a black market fish trade involving more than a dozen people, including several in St. Mary's County, authorities said.... The three men sentenced last week overfished about $2.15 million worth of striped bass. Crowder was responsible for about $956,000; Dean, $100,000; and Quade, $151,000, prosecutors said.... Golden Eye Seafood, a Southern Maryland fish wholesaler and check-in station, and its owner, Robert Lumpkins, 55, of Piney Point, were also charged last month with violating federal fishing laws. ...


Ahh, rockfish, we hardly knew ye.

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Wed, Apr 29, 2009
from CBC (Canada):
Deep emission cuts needed to limit global warming: scientists
The bottom line is that avoiding dangerous change to climate will be difficult, said NASA space scientist Gavin Schmidt and University of Chicago researcher David Archer in a related commentary in Nature. "Unless emissions begin to decline very soon, severe disruption to the climate system will entail expensive adaptation measures and may eventually require cleaning up the mess by actively removing CO2 from the atmosphere," they wrote. "Like an oil spill or groundwater contamination, it will probably be cheaper in the long run to avoid making the mess in the first place." ...


The "long run"? What's that? I want my profit now.

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Fri, Apr 24, 2009
from Sacramento Bee:
Fuels must clean up act
California became the first state in the nation Thursday to mandate carbon-based reductions in transportation fuels in an attempt to cut the state's overall greenhouse gas emissions. The California Air Resources Board approved a phased-in reduction starting in 2011, with a goal of shrinking carbon impacts 10 percent by 2020. Fuel producers can comply in different ways, such as providing a cleaner fuel portfolio, blending low-carbon ethanol with gasoline or purchasing credits from other clean-energy producers. California's low-carbon fuel standard could lead to a national measure under President Barack Obama, as well as shape how the transportation sector evolves. But businesses and oil industry critics warned that more research is necessary and that its action would lead to higher costs for consumers in a recessionary economy. ...


It's super important my financial portfolio is robust during the Apocalypse!

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Wed, Apr 22, 2009
from The Charleston Gazette:
Bayer safety lapses 'could have eclipsed Bhopal'
Significant safety lapses by management of Bayer CropScience's Institute plant caused a fatal August 2008 explosion that could have turned into a disaster worse than Bhopal, according to evidence presented Tuesday to a congressional committee. Bayer plant officials continued to use long-deficient equipment, leading employees to bypass safety gear in the plant's Methomyl-Larvin unit where the explosion occurred, U.S. Chemical Safety Board officials told a House subcommittee. The runaway explosion sent a 5,000-pound chemical vessel rocketing into the air and across the plant, where it could have easily smashed into a nearby methyl isocyanate tank, "the consequences of which could have eclipsed the 1984 disaster in India," congressional committee staffers concluded in their report. ...


Given that it's Bayer, though, at least it wouldn't have hurt as bad.

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Sun, Apr 19, 2009
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Tons of released drugs taint US water
U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation. Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives... trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in American drinking water supplies. Including recent findings in Dallas, Cleveland and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery counties, pharmaceuticals have been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans. ...


But I like having manboobs.

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Wed, Apr 15, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Study: Spammers scourge to inbox and environment
There are plenty of reasons to hate spammers. Add this to the list: They're environmentally unfriendly. A report being released Wednesday by security company McAfee Inc. finds that spammers are a scourge to your inbox and the environment, generating an astounding 62 trillion junk e-mails in 2008 that wasted enough electricity to power 2.4 million U.S. homes for a year. The "Carbon Footprint of E-mail Spam Report" estimated the computational power needed to process spam -- from criminals tapping their armies of infected PCs to send it, Internet providers transmitting it, and end users viewing and deleting it. The report concluded that the electricity needed to process a single spam message results in 0.3 grams of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere -- the equivalent of driving 3 feet in a car. ...


At least I'm lasting longer in bed.

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Tue, Apr 14, 2009
from London Guardian:
Mass arrests over power station protest raise civil liberties concerns
Police have carried out what is thought to be the biggest pre-emptive raid on environmental campaigners in British history, arresting 114 people believed to be planning direct action at a coal-fired power station. The arrests - for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass - come amid growing concern among protesters about increased police surveillance and infiltration by informers. Police said the raid on a school in Nottingham was made just after midnight yesterday, and was linked to a planned protest, thought to be at nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. Nottinghamshire police said action had been taken because "in view of specialist equipment recovered by police, those arrested posed a serious threat to the safe running of the site". The mass arrest, involving three police forces, prompted renewed concern about the tactics of officers policing environmental protests, particularly over expansion of airports and coal power. ...


Well then the protesters are just going to have to pre-plan a pre-protest.

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Sat, Apr 11, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Organic farmers feel the squeeze
At least two organic farmers a week are leaving the movement as consumer demand for premium food stagnates and costs rise. As evidence emerges that the organic revolution has stalled in the face of rising food prices and job uncertainty, the industry's two biggest certification bodies have told the Guardian that a total of at least eight members each month are quitting their schemes. In addition, the National Farmers' Union said, "a small number at breaking point" wanted to leave but could not, because they had converted less than five years ago and would have to pay back all the subsidies they had received. ...


I like cheap everything. It reminds me of back when we didn't know better.

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Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Dow to sue over Quebec pesticide ban
Dow AgroSciences LLC has decided to sue the federal government over Quebec's ban on the residential use of pesticides. The U.S.-based company, maker of the herbicide 2,4-D, is claiming $2-million (U.S.) in damages, using controversial provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement that allow businesses to sue governments over regulations that harm their interests.... The case has attracted wide interest because so-called cosmetic pesticide bans are becoming increasingly popular, with Ontario recently following Quebec's lead in introducing one and many retailers removing chemical bug and weed killers from their shelves. ...


Is there a pesticide for pests like Dow?

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Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from London Guardian:
Health risks of shipping pollution have been underestimated
Britain and other European governments have been accused of underestimating the health risks from shipping pollution following research which shows that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50 million cars. Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760 million cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles....pollution from the world's 90,000 cargo ships leads to 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and costs up to $330 billion per year in health costs from lung and heart diseases. ...


Looks to me like it's time to give these cargo ships das boot!

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Wed, Apr 8, 2009
from New York Times:
Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama's Green Lead
The Obama administration wants to reduce oil consumption, increase renewable energy supplies and cut carbon dioxide emissions in the most ambitious transformation of energy policy in a generation. But the world's oil giants are not convinced that it will work. Even as Washington goes into a frenzy over energy, many of the oil companies are staying on the sidelines, balking at investing in new technologies favored by the president, or even straying from commitments they had already made. ...


Obama might have to pull a "wagoner" on these oil companies, eh?

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Tue, Apr 7, 2009
from US News and World Report:
Five Hot Spots in Congress's Upcoming Climate Change Debate
When Rep. Henry Waxman of California and Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts released a draft of a much-anticipated global warming bill last week, it effectively marked the start of this year's debate over regulating greenhouse gas emissions . But even with a Democratic majority in Congress and a sympathetic Obama administration, it's going to be a long, tough fight. The debate centers on a proposal to create a cap-and-trade program, which, if passed, would set national limits on greenhouse gas emissions and require big polluters to get credits, or permits, for their emissions, which could then be traded between cleaner and dirtier companies. Among the questions that remain to be answered: how to design a cap-and-trade program that not only works but also protects average Americans from potentially higher energy costs and how to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars the program is expected to raise. ...


What's so complicated about trading caps? I'll wear whatever it takes!

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Sat, Apr 4, 2009
from ProPublica:
CDC Study Finds Rocket Fuel Chemical in Baby Formula
Perchlorate, a hazardous chemical in rocket fuel, has been found at potentially dangerous levels in powdered infant formula, according to a study [1] by a group of Centers for Disease Control scientists. The study, published last month by The Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, has intensified the years-long debate about whether or how the federal government should regulate perchlorate in the nation’s drinking water. According to the CDC, perchlorate exposure can damage the thyroid, which can hinder brain development among infants. For nearly a decade, Democratic members of Congress, the Department of Defense, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency have been fighting about how much perchlorate in water is too much. ...


That'll put hair on those babies' chests!

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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from Washington Times:
Coal is winner even in 'green' Congress
After two years of campaign rhetoric and months of hearings, Congress is set this week to begin testing whether it can turn the push for renewable energy sought by President Obama into reality. But the result is likely to fall short of Mr. Obama's goals and, ironically, preserve the primacy of the most abundant and dirtiest fossil fuel: coal. Lawmakers this spring plan to keep their distance from the president's most ambitious and controversial proposals, including a mandate for utilities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the creation of a system to reduce such emissions called "cap and trade." Yet they appear eager to appropriate billions of dollars for a little-tested technology that would prevent carbon dioxide from polluting the air by burying it underground, a process called "sequestration." Coal - and the many parts of the country that rely on coal for power generation - would be the prime beneficiaries of such funding. ...


Coal... it is still king.

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Sun, Mar 29, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Consumers beware the costly spin of wind turbines
The view from the top could not be clearer: Ed Miliband, the minister for energy and climate change, said last week that opposing the onward march of wind turbines -- on which the government is pinning its hopes of meeting its targets on renewable energy -- should be as "socially unacceptable" as not wearing a seatbelt or failing to stop at a zebra crossing. Hmm. Tell that to the people who believe the view over Britain's last remaining wildernesses is about to be destroyed for ever -- and for a very dubious set of returns. Will wind farms turn out to be a truly revolutionary source of energy for the future or an expensive folly? Whatever the final answer, there's no doubt about the expense. Over the past decade developers have grown rich on lavish -- and, critics would say, misdirected -- government subsidies. Wind farming is the new gold rush. ...


Long-term survival?
Not folly.

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Sat, Mar 28, 2009
from Daily Kos:
The Golden Days: Bedtime, 2020
Are you sure you want stories from way back then? It's so long ago. You're sure? Ok, then, my sweet one, here it is. Let me think back a bit: In those golden days, we had something called the "pilot light." It was a small flame burning in our stoves, all day and night long. It was natural gas, burned for our convenience -- to let us light other fires on our stoves, piped from hundreds, even thousands of miles away, for our convenience. Because of that pilot light, we didn't have to strike flint, or use a match. ...


The future is just a figment of our imagination. I'm so sure of this.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 27, 2009
from MIT, via EurekAlert:
'Alarming' use of energy in modern manufacturing methods
Modern manufacturing methods are spectacularly inefficient in their use of energy and materials, according to a detailed MIT analysis of the energy use of 20 major manufacturing processes. Overall, new manufacturing systems are anywhere from 1,000 to one million times bigger consumers of energy, per pound of output, than more traditional industries. In short, pound for pound, making microchips uses up orders of magnitude more energy than making manhole covers.... Solar panels are a good example. Their production, which uses the same manufacturing processes as microchips but on a large scale, is escalating dramatically. The inherent inefficiency of current solar panel manufacturing methods could drastically reduce the technology's lifecycle energy balance -- that is, the ratio of the energy the panel would produce over its useful lifetime to the energy required to manufacture it.... One message from the study is that "claims that these technologies are going to save us in some way need closer scrutiny. There's a significant energy cost involved here," he says. ...


Let's make stuff now, while energy's cheap! I'm sure that "climate stuff" will work itself out.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 26, 2009
from Associated Press:
Biologists worry over increased turtle harvest
Surging demand for turtle meat in southeast Asia has prompted a huge jump in turtle harvesting, leading to concerns that populations of the reptiles could suffer permanent damage. Freshwater turtle populations have plunged in Asia, where the meat is a delicacy, leading to increased trapping in U.S. ponds and streams, said Fred Janzen, an Iowa State University professor who studies ecology. In Iowa, harvests have increased from 29,000 pounds in 1987 to 235,000 pounds in 2007. And during that period the number of licensed harvesters more than quadrupled to 175 people. In Arkansas, an average of 196,460 aquatic turtles a year were harvested from 2004 to 2006, according to the state Fish and Game Commission. ...


The hare no longer naps.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Mar 22, 2009
from Merced Sun-Star:
Overrun by waste: Large agriculture operations add billions to our economy but what price are we paying?
Welcome to one of the most serious tradeoffs of the 21st century: as America and the world gird to become green, they're finding that ecology and economy sometimes don't stroll hand in hand into an unpolluted sunset. The cost of cleaning and greening has to come from somewhere. Increasingly, that cost is being paid by consumers in the form of higher prices passed along by businesses trying to meet ever-stricter environmental regulations. Another factor is that residents of communities where some companies may pollute have to decide whether the jobs offered at those companies are enough to offset any environmental harm that may occur. With an unemployment rate pushing 20 percent, Mercedians have to ask themselves whether the fate of a fairy shrimp or more chicken guano in their soil matters more to them than a world-class research university or a decent-paying blue-collar job. ...


Me... I'd always be on the side of the fairy shrimp.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 18, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Shell halts wind and solar spending in favour of biofuels
Oil giant Shell has announced it is to focus its future renewable energy strategy on biofuels and halt investment in technologies such as wind and solar, which it maintains are failing to offer sufficient economic returns. Executives at its annual strategy presentation said that the company remained committed to building a "material business in alternative energy", but would take a more targeted approach to investment and primarily focus on biofuels.... "If there aren't investment opportunities which compete with other projects we won't put money into it," she said. "We are businessmen and women. If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it." ...


Hard to argue with that! Money makes the the world go around!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 4, 2009
from New Energy Finance, via EurekAlert:
Clean energy investment not on track to avoid climate change
The world economic crisis has hit investment in clean energy and means its growth is no longer on track for the world to avert the worst impact of climate change, according to leading clean energy and carbon market analysts, New Energy Finance.... Investment in clean energy -- renewables, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage -- increased from $34bn in 2004 to around $150bn in each of 2007 and 2008. New Energy Finance's latest Global Futures report demonstrates that investment needs to reach $500bn per annum by 2020 if CO2 emissions from the world's energy system are to peak before 2020. ...


Hey man, my portfolio is down -- why should I invest in the future?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 28, 2009
from Mongabay:
Of China's 45 percent CO2 rise (2002-2005), a third was Western demand
Thirteen-and-a-half percent of China's 45 percent rise in greenhouse gas emissions between 2002 and 2005 can be attributed to export production for Western countries, reports a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters. In other words, outsourcing of manufacturing by American and European firms accounted for larger share of carbon dioxide emission growth than rising domestic consumption in China (which made of 7 percent of the figure). The results, which indicate that Western companies are effectively outsourcing emissions along with manufacturing, have implications for future climate treaties, says one of the authors. ...


Outsourcing our secondary emissions doesn't change the total?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 28, 2009
from New York Times:
Obama's Greenhouse Gas Gamble
In proposing mandatory caps on the greenhouse gases linked to global warming and a system for auctioning permits to companies that emit them, President Obama is taking on a huge political and economic challenge. Business lobbies and many Republicans raised loud objections to the cap-and-trade program Mr. Obama proposed as part of his budget this week, saying the plan amounted to a gigantic and permanent tax on oil, electricity and manufactured goods, a shock they said the country could not handle during economic distress.... "Lets just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch, pure and simple," said John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader. "And if you look at this whole budget plan, they use this carbon tax as a way to fund all of their big government ideas." ... "It's a coal state stickup," ... ...


How 'bout we call it a survival tax, eh?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Windmills flap helplessly as coal remains king
If you flick a switch today, the light goes on because of coal. Almost half the power generated in Britain on Tuesday came from coal and a bit more than a third from natural gas. Nuclear power stations were contributing 17 per cent and windmills provided 0.6 per cent.... After all the politics, we are breathless as our bright new whirligigs stand motionless on a beach horizon. The wind has failed, as it does during periods of intense heat and cold, and although we have built, with enormous subsidy, enough wind turbines to generate 5 per cent of our electricity, no more than 1 per cent is operational when we need it.... The reason why we are still stuffing black lumps of carbon into furnaces is simple: it makes economic sense and the financial markets are shouting this message louder than ever before. ...


And if the financial markets say it makes sense, then it must be so!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 29, 2009
from New York Times:
Detroit Calls Emissions Proposals Too Strict
DETROIT A -- automakers said Monday that they were working toward President Obama's goal of reducing fuel consumption, but rapid imposition of stricter emissions standards could force them to drastically cut production of larger, more profitable vehicles, adding to their financial duress.... The California regulations, if enacted today, "would basically kill the industry, said David E. Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, an independent research organization in Ann Arbor, Mich. "It would have a devastating effect on everybody, and not just the domestics." ...


I'm not thinking Detroit has shown much reason to trust its judgment, recently. Isn't that what they said about seat belts? Air bags?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 6, 2008
from Times Online (UK):
Recycling waste piles up as prices collapse
Thousands of tonnes of rubbish collected from household recycling bins may have to be stored in warehouses and former military bases to save them from being dumped after a collapse in prices. Collection companies and councils are running out of space to store paper, plastic bottles and steel cans because prices are so low that the materials cannot be shifted. Collections of mixed plastics, mixed paper and steel reached record levels in the summer but the "bottom fell out of the market" and they are now worthless. The plunge in prices was caused by a sudden fall in demand for recycled materials, especially from China, as manufacturers reduced their output in line with the global economc downturn. ...


Supply and demand may require that we demand that we recycle.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Oct 26, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Britain threatens plan for climate spy in space
A major programme to monitor climate change from space could be in jeopardy after it emerged that the British government is poised to slash funding for the project.... [Kopernicus satellite programme] has the specific purpose of providing accurate data for policymakers around the world. The first of the five satellites, packed with scientific instruments, Sentinel 1, is due to be sent into orbit in 2011. 'It's essential that we recognise that the Earth is changing and that we put an Earth-management plan in place. Kopernikus is that global view of a changing environment,' said Monks. ...


Cutting off an arm to save its finger.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 28, 2008
from ScienceAlert (Australia and New Zealand):
Climate code red -- the case for emergency action
"Very few, if any, people in government get the whole story, so there's a gaping hole between what the science is telling us and the policy response," says Spratt. "Politicians think you can negotiate with the laws of physics and chemistry, but you do so at the planet's peril. If business-as-usual pollution continues there will be catastrophic consequences." 'Code Red' refers to the system employed in hospitals to alert staff that a patient needs advanced life support; it activates an emergency response. The planet, the authors contend, needs that level of life support now. ...


You mean to tell me you can't negotiate with the laws of physics and chemistry? Hold the phones!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 29, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
US environmental agency silences employees on climate change
Amid intensifying scrutiny of its failure to act on climate change, the US environmental protection agency (EPA) has ordered employees not to talk to internal auditors, Congress or the media, according to a leaked email released yesterday by green campaigners. The EPA has refused repeated requests from Congress to explain its December denial of California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions -- a move that overruled the agency's own career scientists. Three Democratic senators have scheduled a press conference today to discuss the controversy. ...


See no evil, hear no evil, and above all,
shut up about it.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 25, 2008
from Good Magazine:
The Economy: America Love It Or Fix It 2008
"If were addicted to oil, our twelve-step program should begin with admitting that we have a problem. As the price of oil creeps ever higher, finding new energy sources is more important than ever. But the search for alternatives, combined with environmental disruptions, is putting new pressures on other essentials like food. There are some things that are going well in the world. Right now, the economy is not one of them." ...


Click on the link for an ApocoDoc-recommended video. And thanks to Rachel for the tip!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 26, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Cost of tackling global climate change has doubled, warns Stern
The author of an influential British government report arguing the world needed to spend just 1 percent of its wealth tackling climate change has warned that the cost of averting disaster has now doubled. Lord Stern of Brentford made headlines in 2006 with a report that said countries needed to spend 1 percent of their GDP to stop greenhouse gases rising to dangerous levels. Failure to do this would lead to damage costing much more, the report warned - at least 5 percent and perhaps more than 20 percent of global GDP. ...


Gee -- that's expensive. Maybe we should just hope that all those scientists are wrong.
Hope is so much cheaper.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 25, 2008
from Houston Chronicle:
Tufts global warming study eyes cost of doing nothing
Doing nothing about global warming would cost America dearly in the rest of this century because of stronger hurricanes, higher energy and water costs, and rising seas that would swamp coastal communities, according to a new study by economists at Tufts University. ...


But it will make for some great reality TV!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 26, 2008
from The Star (Malaysia):
Cost remains a factor in recycling industrial waste
Much dumping of industrial wastes was due to the high cost of recycling, even though such wastes had reusable materials. With the problems of climate change and pollution increasing, Yeoh said it was a challenge for corporations to translate the economies of waste management into the daily processes of its business operations. ...


"Cost" may need to be reconsidered, given Gaia's current attitude.
She's fed up.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 4, 2008
from Associated Press:
US: Fighting global warming costly
"BANGKOK, Thailand - With global markets in turmoil and the U.S. threatened by recession, negotiators at a climate change conference are asking: can nations afford to make rapid cuts in emissions to fight global warming without going into an economic tailspin? ... U.S. climate negotiator Harlan Watson said such costs need to be factored in when deciding how deep the world ought to require industrialized nations to reduce emissions. "If you push the globe into recession, it certainly isn't going to help the developing world either," he said. "Exports go down, and many of the developing countries of course are heavily dependent on exports. So there's a lot of issues which need to be fleshed out ... so people understand the real world." ...


I think the real world is that we will pay a helluva a lot more later if we don't act now.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 22, 2008
from Mongabay.com:
Markets could save forests: An interview with Dr. Tom Lovejoy
"Market mechanisms are increasingly seen as a way to address environmental problems, including tropical deforestation. In particular, compensation for ecosystem services like carbon sequestration -- a concept known by the acronym REDD for "reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation" -- may someday make conservation a profitable enterprise in which carbon traders are effectively saving rainforests simply by their pursuit of profit. Protecting rainforests and their resident biodiversity would be an unintentional, but happy byproduct of money-making endeavors." ...


We haven't been impressed with the market system's results so far, but heck,
let's give it a try!

ApocaDoc
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