Most people realize that the seas are rising, hurricanes are becoming more ferocious, and oceans are turning to acid because we keep digging up fossil fuels, burning them, and poisoning the atmosphere.
Jeez, it seems a wealthy white dude can't even flick mindlessly between Fox News and golf broadcasts these days without being rudely interrupted by a message about the evils of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Last week at the Texas Open, a professional golf tournament sponsored by oil giant Valero, one of the signs being held by volunteer Doug Fahlbusch was changed at the 18th hole from stating players' names and scores to reveal this message: "TAR SANDS SPILL. ANSWER MANCHESTER."
Some of the tar-sands oil that would be piped to the Gulf Coast by Keystone XL would be processed by Valero in Houston's East End, which includes the neighborhood of Manchester, where pollution from industrial operations has long sickened residents.
As you can imagine, Fahlbusch's statement caused quite the kerfuffle among hoity-toity golf officials and he was carried away by security and arrested by police. Watch the video below and you'll see one security guard is particularly anxious to wrestle the dastardly sign from the protestor's hand, even as he is being carried away, perhaps worried that the offensive message might hurt the innocent eyes of any women or children. Which is not bloody likely, given that most golf fans are wealthy middle-aged white men.
New science education guidelines will formalize the teaching of evolution and climate change in American classrooms. But before they were finalized, recommended global warming lessons were watered down.
We mentioned the draft guidelines last month, noting they are expected to be adopted by the 26 states that helped draft them and that other states might also use them (not Texas, though). The final version of the guidelines was unveiled Tuesday.
The extractive industries don't loathe her because she started her career as a petroleum engineer and went on to become a commercial banker working with natural resources companies. “It’s been a while since I fracked a well; I think it was 1979,” she said at her confirmation hearing last month.
“How’d you get appointed by this administration?” GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) joked at that hearing. “Sounds like someone a Republican president would appoint. That’s a remarkable background.”
The oil industry isn't the only business flexing its muscle in Washington. The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy coalition, aka BICEP, today released a “Climate Declaration" urging Congress to do some heavy lifting on climate change and "asserting that a bold response to the climate challenge is one of the greatest American economic opportunities of the 21st century.” Signatories include Nike, Starbucks, eBay, and 30 other companies, with a combined annual revenue of about $450 billion.
“The signers of the Climate Declaration have a clear message for Washington: Act on climate change. We are, and it’s good for our businesses,” Anne Kelly, director of BICEP, said in a statement.
From the statement: "The signatories of the Climate Declaration are calling for Congress to address climate change by promoting clean energy, boosting efficiency and limiting carbon emissions -- strategies that these businesses already employ within their own operations."
Though the clean coalition's efforts are aimed at policymakers, its business is really aimed at the rest of us. And that's where this effort starts to feel a bit self-serving.
Americans are burning less coal every year, but thousands more of them are making a living from mining it.
The average number of coal-mining jobs under the Obama administration has been 15.3 percent higher than the average under George W. Bush, according to a new report [PDF] from the nonprofit Appalachian Voices. The report tries to debunk the claim made by coal-mining companies that Obama is waging war on them. The growth in coal-mining jobs in all of the leading coal-mining states is attributable, the group says, to a surge in exports and to a decline in mining efficiency as workers attempt to scour the last deposits from mines.
Neighbors of a 56-turbine wind farm built last year in Mason County, Mich., have filed a lawsuit claiming that the turbines have negatively affected their health and wealth and should be shut down.
The lawsuit [PDF], filed by 17 property owners in a community along the east shore of Lake Michigan, alleges that Lake Winds Energy Park keeps them awake at night and has left them fatigued and stressed, unable to concentrate properly, and stricken with headaches, dizziness, nausea, and ringing and aching in the ears. They also say it has decreased their property values. They are seeking financial payouts and a shuttering of the facility.
Florida has the world's largest population of manatees, around 5,000 of the adorable, curious, endangered sea cows. In 1996, a red algae bloom killed 151 of them. Until this year, it was the most lethal red tide on record. But Florida has outdone itself this time.
So far this year, 241 manatees have been killed by a red algae bloom off the southwestern coast of the state. All across Florida, at least 463 manatees have died from a variety of causes, "more deaths than had been recorded in any previous comparable period,” reports The New York Times — more than 9 percent of the population in just over three months.