BP isn't about to let a little worker-killing, ecosystem-wrecking, fisheries-destroying explosion and oil spill slow it down in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company deployed two more oil rigs to the Gulf in recent weeks, boosting its fleet to nine -- its largest ever in the area. It brought in the West Auriga rig, known as an ultra-deepwater drillship, and the Mad Dog platform, which was damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Fuel Fix reports:
A rural cooperative is about to cook up Iowa's biggest solar array -- in the aptly named community of Frytown.
The local board of supervisors recently rezoned nine acres of land owned by the Farmers Electric Co-op, which is planning to build a 500-kilowatt array at the site. Co-op officials say construction could be finished by March, meeting 15 percent of the power needs of its 600 members in eastern Iowa.
“It keeps our money local,” said Warren McKenna, the co-op's general manager, according to The Daily Iowan. “We’re not sending our money up to the larger companies. [It] saves everybody money.” Johnson County planning and zoning official RJ Moore said the solar farm would be the only one of its kind in the state.
So long as the U.S. government is going to stand around shrugging its shoulders over the nation's growing nuclear waste stockpile, it must stop charging nuclear power plant owners $750 million a year in waste-storage fees.
That was the ruling of a federal appeals court on Tuesday. It's the latest twist in a decades-long saga over the fate of the plutonium and other radioactive waste that's piling up at nuclear plants across the country -- more than 70,000 tons so far.
No one plans to get a massive head injury when they hop on a bike. And most of the times you bike somewhere, you do arrive safely at your destination without a massive head injury. So it's easy to rationalize riding without a helmet -- especially as bikeshares become more popular and it becomes that much easier to take a spontaneous bike ride. How many people, really, are going to carry around an unwieldy piece of dome-shaped plastic everywhere they go, just in case?
So far, most of the solutions to this problem have been along the lines of reusable helmet dispensaries linked to bikeshare stations. But here's a simpler one: Make a helmet that's easier to carry around. That's British inventor Jeff Woolf's plan, anyway. His "Morpher" is a helmet that folds flat in half.
The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.
The companies range from investor-owned firms -- household names such as Chevron, Exxon, and BP -- to state-owned and government-run firms.
The analysis, which was welcomed by the former Vice President Al Gore as a "crucial step forward," found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas, or coal. The findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change.
"There are thousands of oil, gas, and coal producers in the world," said climate researcher and author Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute in Colorado. "But the decisionmakers, the CEOs, or the ministers of coal and oil if you narrow it down to just one person, they could all fit on a Greyhound bus or two."
Last year, Strike Debt -- a small collective of New York-based academics, filmmakers, and business types -- published a short book called The Debt Resistors' Operations Manual[PDF], which alternated between dispensing advice on how to clean up credit scores and chronicling the recent history of the finance industry.
Strike Debt is also known for a project called the Rolling Jubilee, which buys up old medical and mortgage debt that people might be despairing of ever paying off, and then erases it. The Rolling Jubilee earned the somewhat backhanded honor of being named "one of the few good ideas to come out of Occupy Wall Street" by Forbes.
The next edition of the The Debt Resistors' Operations Manual -- currently in the works, and due to be finished next year -- will have something that the original lacked: a chapter on climate change.
Q. With all the large social issues that Occupy and Strike Debt have raised, why add climate change to the mix?
A. Well, Strike Debt focuses on all kinds of debt: medical debt, housing debt, credit card debt. We started the Rolling Jubilee. We really wanted to publicize how the secondary debt market worked. A lot of people didn’t know how cheaply their debts have been sold. How lenders are willing to sell your debt cheaply -- but not to you. Knowing how cheaply your debt has been bought by the person who is trying to collect from you changes the dynamic. We hoped to raise $50,000, and now we've raised about $630,000 -- and abolished $15 million worth of debt.
What changed is, Hurricane Sandy happened. A lot of Strike Debt people became involved in Occupy Sandy. It drove home links we’d been talking about when we did the Strike Debt report. People were waiting for their FEMA loans and these predatory banks were circling around them.
Climate debt isn't a part of the political discourse, but climate debt needs to be honored and repaid. It's unusual compared to other kinds of debt because it tends to be the more affluent populations that are the debtors.
WARSAW, Poland -- The masters of the black-rock industry gathered at the International Coal & Climate Summit in Warsaw this week -- strategically hosted just a stone’s throw from the U.N. climate conference (COP19) — and they would like you to believe that coal has a place in a climate-friendly future.
At the summit, hosted by the World Coal Association (WCA), industry reps are promoting “high-efficiency” coal plants, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and other, wacky tech “breakthroughs” (gasification, anyone?).
The overall theme of the coal summit is that countries can keep burning coal and meet climate targets. They can have their cake and eat it, too.
Probably because CCS and other breakthroughs are still entirely unproven commercially, there’s been particular hype around so-called “high-efficiency coal.” In its Warsaw Communique that preceded the summit, the WCA called for “the immediate use of high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies as an immediate step in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
It’s a claim oft-repeated this week in Warsaw: High-efficiency coal is a climate solution.
Except it isn’t, says a group of 27 scientists from around the world who together released a report on Monday on how coal is absolutely incompatible with current internationally agreed-upon climate goals.
Clouds of coal dust and petroleum coke, a waste product from the refining of tar-sands oil, have been enveloping neighborhoods on Chicago's southeast side. Federal, state, and city officials are finally moving to temper the dangerous air pollution.
The villains: KCBX Terminals (a division of Koch Industries) and Beemsterboer Slag Co.
The villainous acts: The companies own three terminals along the Calamut River that are storing huge piles of coal and petroleum coke, aka petcoke, which is coming from a nearby BP refinery. But they aren't bothering to cover all that gunk to make sure it stays on site, so it's being picked up by winds and blown over neighboring homes, forcing residents to stay indoors.
The plot: The piles of petcoke are expected to grow in Chicago and elsewhere around the country as refineries switch to processing tar-sands oil from Canada. Detroit suffered a similar problem (also courtesy of the Kochs) until city, state, and federal officials banded together to chase it away with lawsuits and legislation.
The victims: Residents of Chicago's East Side and South Deering neighborhoods.
Colorado health officials announced new rules on Monday that would work to cut the air pollution produced by oil and gas operations in the state. The rules would force companies to capture 95 percent of all toxic pollutants and volatile organic compounds they emit. In addition, the rules include a requirement that companies control emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane, marking the first time a state has drafted rules to directly address the methane emitted by oil and gas operations, according to The Denver Post.
“These are going to amount to the very best air quality regulations in the country,” Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said.
Methane is a key driver of climate change; the greenhouse gas is 25 times more potent than CO2 over a century and 72 to 100 times more potent over a 20-year period. As oil and gas production booms in Colorado, the resultant air pollution is becoming a serious concern. Last year, air sampling conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded a 4 percent methane emissions rate over Colorado, more than double the rate reported by the industry. A 2011 study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that “unless leakage rates for new methane can be kept below 2%, substituting gas for coal is not an effective means for reducing the magnitude of future climate change.”
Colorado’s new rules will require companies to detect leaks from tanks, pipelines, wells, and other facilities using devices such as infrared cameras, and to inspect for leaks at least once a month at large facilities and plug leaks. In addition, companies must adhere to stricter limits on emissions from equipment near where people live and play.
Through a simple, horrendous policy: growth at all costs.
In other words, forget about public health, screw happiness, trample justice, and fuck the environment. Just go out there and make as much damned money as you can.
But as the country begins grasping the environmental and social carnage that unchecked growth has inflicted, its leaders are realizing that "growth at all costs" is no way to live.
"A subtle shift in China is under way," Scotiabank commodity market analyst Patricia Mohr said during a recent mining conference. "They are no longer determined to have economic growth at any cost; they want economic growth which meets their objectives."