Archive for tar sands

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

What I will not write about today: News stories, links, and snarkitude

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

frustrated36

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • House GOP Finalizes Demands to Raise Debt Ceiling- They want to trade a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, or for repeal of the Affordable Care Act's risk corridors. What, no Benghazi demands? You're sli-i-ip-ping, GOP.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine bulance

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Climate change? Pfft! say deniers. But money talks, and right now it's screaming.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

climate change Jack and Jill

Climate change, schlimate change, what a bunch of hooey, because, brrr, it's cold! Clearly, that means there's no global warming, right? Wrong.

Psst! Weather is not the same as climate, denier geniuses:

weath·er
noun \ˈwe-thər\

: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place

: bad or stormy weather

vs...

cli·mate
noun \ˈklī-mət\

:  a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions

a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation

Now that that's settled, let's take a little peek at how increasingly extreme weather conditions, likely caused by overall climate change, are affecting more than what we wear. As we speak, we are seeing an alarming economic impact. As I read my morning Los Angeles Times, several articles scattered throughout the Business section caught my eye, and not in a good way:

1. Stocks dive on fresh growth worries:

Stocks were pounded by discouraging data released Monday on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.

You're probably asking, "Yeah? So? What does that have to do with climate change?" Plenty:

2. GM, Ford, Toyota auto sales plunge with January's cold weather:

Arctic-like weather across much of the nation put a freeze on January auto sales. [...] General Motors said Monday that its U.S. sales fell 12% in January to 171,486 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. [...] The automaker said its sales were the worst in the South, Midwest and Northeast, all areas that suffered from the extreme cold. [...]

Ford Motor Co. said its January fell 7% to 154,644.

Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. [...]

Toyota reported January sales results of 146,365 vehicles, a 7.2% decrease from what it sold in the U.S. in the same month a year earlier.

“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s division group vice president and general manager.

but wait there's more smaller

3. Manufacturing activity slows in January; stocks slump:

"A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

4. California citrus season shortened by December freeze:

Consumers will have less time to get their hands on California citrus this year because of a cold snap in early December that damaged $441-million worth of fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, an industry study released Monday said. [...]

An estimated 40% of the [mandarin orange] crop that remained on trees were lost. That amounts to 4.7-million 40-pound cartons and $150 million in lost revenue. [...]

About 30% of the navel crop was lost in the valley, the heart of the state’s agriculture industry. That amounted to 22 million 40-pound cartons or $260 million worth of navels.

Valley lemon producers lost 20% of their crop, equal to $24 million in lost revenue.

And finally...
tadaa35. 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets:

Flights canceled in January's "polar vortex" inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to a new analysis. The $2.5-billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. [...]

To avoid the hefty fines, airlines are now more likely to cancel flights during bad weather. [...] [T]he weather woes could take a bite out of the bottom line for some of the nation's biggest airlines.

"They'll definitely take a financial hit," Counter said.

All of those stories appeared in just one day, in one section of my paper.

And while all this is taking a financial and emotional toll, we have the filthy, "game over," disaster-in-waiting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline looming.

Hope the weather's good wherever you are, because the overall climate-- whether economic, psychological, political, or meteorological-- is chilling.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Pres. Obama, just say no to addiction to (tar sands) oil. Please.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline emissions

Excuse me, Official Environmental Review, but the dirtiest oil on earth ("a mixture of clay, sand, rock, and tarry fossil fuel called bitumen, which can be hard as a hockey puck") is brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline. Then again, tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.” Did I mention that, per said report, only 50 permanent jobs would be created?

Get real, State Department. The Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Here is some of what the Los Angeles Times had to say:

Environmentalists said the study neglected research that shows the pipeline would play a central role in the planned expansion of oil sands extraction, including a report by the Canadian Assn. of Petroleum Producers. [...] About one-fifth of Alberta's bitumen deposits can be strip-mined. The rest is deeper and would be tapped by injecting superheated steam. Both methods require burning fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide. [...]

[T]he current analysis conceded that mining Alberta's bitumen would generate an average of 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil refined in the U.S. It also said that, under certain scenarios, the pipeline could add as much as 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, or the equivalent of putting 5.7 million additional cars on the road. [...]

By [2020], nearly all of Canada's emissions increase will be due to oil sands extraction, the report says.

Environmentalists also point out that the State Department's inspector general is conducting an inquiry into whether the contractor that produced the final impact statement, Environmental Resources Management, failed to disclose recent work it did for TransCanada, resulting in a conflict of interest.

Here is what Chris Hayes had to say:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hayes's astute Special Comment on breaking our, and President Obama's, addiction to fossil fuels included this:

Trillions of dollars of crude oil, of tar sands oil, of coal and natural gas, we have to leave it in the ground. Abandon it there. In other words, we have to stop...

The [Keystone XL] Pipeline is the line in the sand... It is quitting time if we are serious... We have to say no...

No single project is going to be the project that does us in, just like no single drink is what does the drunk in...

If we say we're going to quit today and then push it off to tomorrow, we are not quitting, so let us not fool ourselves. If we spend billions of dollars to tap an entire new keg, a dirty keg at that, we are not quitting. We are sinking further into our dependence and self-destruction...

This fight is far from over. ... The president will have the ultimate say. And he has set the standard very recently in his own State of the Union...

The miracle of those who break addiction is the incredible resolve they somehow manage to find within themselves to counter the inner addict logic... and anyone who breaks free of any addiction digs down and finds some inner strength to say, "No." To stop. To say, "This is the day I start to turn my life around."

And the question is whether we as citizens and Barack Obama as a president, as a human being, can find that strength within himself.

tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline map

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

California billionaire may be liberals' answer to the Koch brothers

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

austinpowersw393h222

 

There is a lot of good info to read in this article in the Los Angeles Times, but I'll try to concisely sum it all up for you. In as nut shelly a recap as I can muster up, the story goes a little something like this:

There's this evil French Kenyan Marxist liberal tree-hugging progressive California billionaire who also happens to believe there's such a thing as climate change. He's doing what he can to block that infamous disaster-in-waiting project, the dirtiest oil on earth brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline, because he's no dummy, and he's a no-dummy with a whole lot of money.

And thanks to our ludicrous campaign finance laws, part of that stash o' cash is being used to influence national elections on behalf of environmentalists and the Democratic party. Or as I like to call them, people with foresight. Take that, Koch brothers. The Times calls him the "liberals' counterpoint" to the Kochs. Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

[I]n [Tom] Steyer, liberals have a billionaire on their side. Like the Kochs, he is building a vast political network and seizing opportunities provided by loose campaign finance rules to insert himself into elections nationwide. In direct contrast to them, he has made opposition to fossil fuels and the campaign against global warming the center of his activism.

The former financier is an unlikely green icon. Steyer built his fortune with a San Francisco-based hedge fund of the sort that drove protesters to occupy Wall Street. Some of the investments that landed him on the Forbes list of America's wealthiest went into companies he now says are destroying the planet. Adversaries and, in private, at least some erstwhile allies call him a dilettante.

Yet, unlike many others in a parade of super-rich Californians who have made forays into politics, Steyer has proved himself skilled at bringing attention to his cause and himself.

He's racked up some impressive victories, which you can read about in the Times piece.

He may not be every die-hard liberal's cup of political tea, but for those of us who have been concerned about the lack of one percenter lefties who are willing to compete with all those filthy rich conservative donors and activists, this is welcome news.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Huh wha? EPA wants to cut environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

now what smallerThe Environmental Protection Agency has a proposal for America: Let's cut the amount of environmentally friendly biodiesel in the nation's fuel supply. By 25%. Got that? LESS environmentally friendly biodiesel. What more could Big Oil ask for? Well, a lot more, but let's just say it's a very merry Christmas gift to the oil industry, because less biodiesel means more diesel.

Oh, come on, you say with that all too familiar skeptical look on your face. There must be another choice here. But no-o-o. There is no third option to put in diesel cars and trucks.

See, biodiesel is made from recycled cooking oil and soybean oil and doesn't compete with food (most of us don't pig out on soy sauce and soybean pie). In fact, EPA has certified biodiesel an advanced biofuel because it burns cleaner than diesel and it won’t push up food prices. Biodiesel is the "good" advanced biofuel and we should have more of it, not less. Even someone as dim as Michele Bachmann can understand that. Okay, that's a serious stretch, but you get the idea.

So why would President Obama be okay with this? One could surmise that he is going to say no to the controversial disaster-in-waiting project, the dirtiest oil on earth brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline. Then again, tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.”  The Los Angeles Times:

An October report by [Environment Canada] forecast sharp, sustained growth through 2020 in carbon dioxide emissions from the exploitation of oil sands. By that year, nearly all of Canada's emissions increase will be due to oil sands extraction, the report says. [...]

Two years ago, the Obama administration's approval of a permit for the $7-billion Keystone XL project, which would carry oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, appeared all but certain. Now, after problems with environmental impact statements and relentless opposition by environmentalists and major Democratic donors, the pipeline's fate appears in doubt.

"I think at the end of the day he will say no, but there will be some twists and turns before we get there," said Carol Browner, Obama's former chief climate change advisor.

Yay

Maybe the president wants to appear fair and balanced to the Big Oil Gang Who Couldn't Leak Straight. Regardless of why it is happening, the EPA is about to do Big Oil a big favor by eliminating their competition.  By reducing the amount of biodiesel in our fuel supply next year, many small producers of this green fuel will simply go out of business.

Then again, why does Big Oil need anything? They're hardly on the brink of bankruptcy, although they are lacking proper neatness and do-unto-others skills.

Want to know more about biodiesel? Here are a few excerpts from a recent press release issued by...

bio diesel

Biodiesel Supporters to Voice RFS Concerns with EPA

Proposed Volumes Would Cause Plant Shutdowns, Layoffs

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON – Nearly two dozen representatives of the U.S. biodiesel industry are slated to testify at an EPA hearing Thursday about the threat to their businesses and surrounding communities under the EPA’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for biodiesel.

Biodiesel – made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats – is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. Yet in its recent RFS draft, the EPA proposed reducing biodiesel production to 1.28 billion gallons, down sharply from the industry’s production rate of about 2 billion gallons since July.

Tim Keaveney, vice president for Erie, Pa.-based biodiesel producer HERO BX, plans to tell the EPA that the company is producing a record amount of biodiesel this year, reducing the cost of production as a result and helping revitalize the local economy. But the proposed EPA rule threatens jobs at the plant and its surrounding area, and has already frozen a planned expansion that would add to the company’s current work force of 43 full-time employees. [...]

Biodiesel is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel - meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared with petroleum diesel. Produced in nearly every state in the country, the industry has exceeded RFS requirements in every year of the program, producing more than 1 billion gallons annually since 2011. It is on pace to produce at least 1.7 billion gallons in 2013, supporting more than 62,000 jobs nationwide.

I hope progressives around the nation will demand that President Obama intervene and stop EPA from giving Big Oil the best Christmas gift they could ever hope for!  EPA is supposed to be in charge of keeping our air clean. Biodiesel produces fewer greenhouse gasses than diesel.  It seems like it should be a no-brainer for EPA to push for more biodiesel next year – not the opposite.

So what's up with that, EPA?

you got some 'splainin' to do smaller

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Koch "Carbon Bomb" Brothers Could Cash in Billions on Alberta Tar Sands Holdings

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

tar sands dirtiest oil on earth

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

A recent study by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), provides evidence that the Koch Brothers could earn at least $1 billion from Alberta tar sand land holdings (with additional profit from their processing plants and related products and services).  This is despite the unconvincing Koch Brothers claim that they have no personal interest in the pipeline.

That disconnect reflects a larger problem that befuddles the northern section of the Keystone XL Pipeline decision. Tar sands oil is already flowing into the US and the Koch Brothers are already profiting from it through its conversion into petroleum coke. [...]

Major tar sands oil pipeline spills have already occurred in Michigan and Arkansas.  And the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline -- the one Obama approved -- has already needed 125 repairs from faulty pipes, and it hasn't even started flowing yet. [...]

The carbon bomb come at either end of the process: primarily in the extraction of tar sands oil in Alberta and in the refining or conversion to petroleum coke at the other end of the pipeline. [...]

The carbon bomb comes from the increased processing that will result from a northern pipeline with more capacity; in short the size of the carbon bomb will be increased because more tar sands oil will be able to be extracted and carried efficiently (otherwise more train tankers and land transport options will need to be used, which will slow the processing and profit down). [...]

CommonSenseCanadian.com:

"The Kochs have repeatedly claimed that they have no interest in the Keystone XL Pipeline, this report shows that is false.” Said Nathalie Lowenthal-Savy, a researcher with IFG. “We noticed Koch Funded Tea Party members and think tanks pushing for the pipeline. We dug deeper and found $100 billion in potential profit, $50 million sent to organizations supporting the pipeline, and perhaps 2 million acres of land. That sounds like an interest to me.”

The report also asserts that the more money the Kochs and their ilk make from accelerating climate change beyond the tipping point, the more funds they will have to continue lobbying to increase the impact of their destruction of planet earth.

Please read the entire post here.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare