Oil

Climate & Energy

Three energy developments that are changing your life — and not in a good way

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Here’s the good news about energy: Thanks to rising oil prices and deteriorating economic conditions worldwide, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that global oil demand will not grow this year as much as once assumed, which may provide some temporary price relief at the gas pump. In its May “Oil Market Report,” the IEA reduced its 2011 estimate for global oil consumption by 190,000 barrels per day, pegging it at 89.2 million barrels daily. As a result, retail prices may not reach the stratospheric …

Climate Change

The New Yorker slams oil-focused Obama for letting the planet burn

We’re screwed.Check out Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker: When Obama took office, he appointed some of the country’s most knowledgeable climate scientists to his Administration, and it seemed for a time as if he might take his responsibility to lead on this issue seriously. That hope has faded. The President sat on the sidelines in 2009 and 2010 while congressional leaders tried to put together majorities in favor of climate legislation. Since the midterm elections, Obama has barely mentioned climate change, and just about every decision that his Administration has made on energy and the environment has been wrong. …

Oil

Want more cash in your pocket? Live in a neighborhood with good transportation options

A report released Thursday by the House Democratic Livable Communities Task Force recognized that families living in auto-dependent neighborhoods spend significantly more money on transportation, with fewer dollars available for health care, food, and other family expenses. In response, the two dozen representatives proposed a “Freedom from Oil” [PDF] agenda that would reduce oil use by providing families with more transportation choices, including cars that get 60 mpg by 2025. Task force Chair Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), publicly released “Freedom from Oil” at a press conference joined by task force members Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Jim Moran (D-Va.), and Peter Welch …

Pollution

Perilous pipeline: Will Hillary Clinton give the OK to a massive tar-sands pipeline?

Oil refineries outside Channelview. Do we really need to add a tar-sands pipeline to the mix?Photo: KM&G-MorrisWill Hillary Clinton put the desires of a giant oil corporation ahead of the needs and health of low-income communities and communities of color? Will anyone else in the Obama administration stand up and stop her? With the State Department’s comment period on a proposed tar-sands oil pipeline set to end Monday, these questions are about to be answered. The State Department is considering whether to grant approval to oil giant TransCanada to construct a pipeline — the Keystone XL — to carry the …

Fossil Fuels

Carbon President: Why does Obama keep OK’ing big fossil-fuel projects?

The future’s looking hot.Photo: The White HouseThis essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades — those seem so 19th century. The Earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying. But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent’s geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state …

Critical List: Tornado hits Massachusetts; wild lands policy dies an early death

At least four people died after a tornado touched down in Massachusetts. That E. coli strain that's killing people in Europe? Yeah, it's a terrifying, never-been-seen-before mutant. Can the world stop pretending it's in a Robin Cook thriller now, please? The World Bank is going to help cities around the world finance projects that reduce carbon emissions. The Obama administration was going to keep some public lands wild. But then Republicans complained, and the Interior Department abandoned the wild lands plan. Because that's how Democrats roll. Thirty-four members of Congress asked the State Department to take a closer look at …

Canada omitted 20 percent increase in oil-sands emissions from U.N. report

Canada reported to the United Nations that the country's greenhouse-gas emissions were dropping, down 6 percent in the last year. But the government left out one teensy little detail in its report. The emissions from the oil-sands industry, which extracts hard-to-reach oil from tar sands, increased by 20 percent in 2009. Pollution from the oil sands now outweigh the emissions from all the cars on Canadian roads. The tar-sands industry is exploding in Canada as high oil prices trump expensive extraction techniques. Over the past two decades, emissions from the industry have increased 300 percent, wiping out some of the …

Oil

Gas-price spikes burden the American economy while benefiting oil companies

Cross-posted from the Wonk Room. The struggles of families and businesses over the past seven years are linked directly to high profits for oil companies due to high energy-price volatility. A new report [PDF] from the Center for American Progress (CAP) finds that families and businesses are exposed to massive price swings for the vast majority of their energy spending. CAP Senior Fellow Christian E. Weller and Special Assistant for Economic Policy Jaryn Fields explain that these large price swings for gasoline and other energy prices make it even more difficult for families, businesses, and ultimately the entire American economy …

Critical List: U.S. imported less than 50 percent of its oil in 2010

We're off foreign oil! More or less. One price we'll pay for that: ads with blue skies and green fields and a man with a reassuring voice saying that natural gas is totally, totally safe. The price of renewable energy will go down. So naturally, you should bet against its success. Unless you're a venture capitalist. Greenpeace found radiation 50 times higher than legal limits in sea creatures off the coast of Japan. Also, the plant's leaking radioactive waste water. Three-eyed Simpsons fish, here we come! The Obama administration had little luck convincing a congressional subcommittee on foreign affairs that …