Daily Archives: May 9, 2016

The fight to kill Keystone XL was a huge waste of time – iPolitics

Like a political reboot of the old Jekyll and Hyde yarn, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be trying to convince Canadians he can be a carbon warrior and a pipeline cheerleader at the same time. He’s not the only politician talking out of both sides of his mouth on the climate file, of course; in fact, split-personality seems to be the house style when it comes to the collision between politics and the environment.

Take U.S. President Barack Obama, who rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project because of the carbon footprint associated with Canadian oilsands production. Since he shot down the Keystone expansion, California refineries have continued to process their own home-grown, high-carbon oil, and U.S. Midwest refineries are still being served up with 2.3 million barrels per day of Canadian crude with no questions asked.

The United States also exports ‘petroleum coke’, the coal-like material refined from oilsands bitumen and other heavy crude; American petroleum coke exports have more than doubled since 1999, to roughly 660,000 barrels per day. This high-carbon coke is burned as coal in countries like India, Turkey and Japan. The U.S. also exports over 300,000 barrels per day of heavy fuel oil — high-carbon, high-sulphur material burned by ships travelling the world’s oceans.

So while President Obama says that “America is going to hold (itself) to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world”, he’s not really holding anybody to any standards when it comes to exporting high-carbon fuel.

But it isn’t just the politicians who are snowing the public on their commitment to fight climate change: Environmental organizations like 350.org do a pretty good job of blurring the facts as well. They’ve made the public believe that blocking Keystone XL actually had an effect on oilsands development, even in this low-price environment.

The cross-border protest movement against Keystone attracted a lot of media attention and mobilized many people to the cause — but while environmentalists were making noise about Keystone XL, pipeline companies quietly set about solving the oil industry’s transportation problems.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

The Lasting Legacy of the Keystone XL Debate Half a Year Later: Climate Change | NRDC

May 06, 2016

This blog was co-authored by Liz Barratt-Brown, Senior Advisor, NRDC.

Half a year after the president’s rejection, many of the arguments for expansion have been tempered not only by the realities of long term lower oil prices, but by the Keystone XL debate itself. No longer is Canada’s leadership making sweeping statements about being an “energy superpower”. Instead, climate change has risen to a far more important place in the dialogue between the president and his new Canadian counterpart, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

And that is perhaps Keystone XL’s lasting legacy—that after seven years of debate, the central question shifted from an elusive promise of energy security to the magnified dangers of a warming world.

In those seven years, a systematic rebuttal of arguments made by the pipeline’s proponents and a recasting of the pipeline—as our colleagues in Nebraska called it—as all risk and no reward were pivotal to its demise.

At the start of the campaign, winning was an enormous long-shot. The State Department had never turned down a pipeline permit. Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, said she was “inclined” to approve the pipeline and the vast majority of nation’s policy experts believed that the pipeline had a near certain chance of approval.

It was clear, almost from the beginning, that we’d have to prevail on five key arguments.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

NASA Calls Middle East Drought “worst In 900 Years”! | Green Prophet

Laurie Balbo May 8, 2016

A recent study released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) concludes that the current drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant – which includes Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey – is the region’s worst dry spell since 1100 C.E.

NASA scientists reconstructed our regional drought history by studying records of tree rings, from dead and live specimens, across several Mediterranean countries to determine patterns of dry and wet years over a 900-year time span. Tree rings are good indicators of precipitation since dry years cause thin rings while thick rings show when water was plentiful. They concluded that the years between 1998 and 2012 were drier than any other period, and that the drought was likely caused by humans.

Ben Cook, lead author and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, said the range of regional weather events has varied widely over the last millennium, but the past twenty years stand out as extreme, falling outside the range of natural variability.

They also discovered that drought isn’t localized, meaning that if one region is damaged by drought, those conditions are likely to exist throughout the Mediterranean basin. Kevin Anchukaitis, co-author and climate scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said in a statement on the NASA climate change website, “It’s not necessarily possible to rely on finding better climate conditions in one region than another, so you have the potential for large-scale disruption of food systems as well as potential conflict over water resources.”

Large-scale disruption of food systems as well as potential conflict over water resources.

Is anyone listening? Cook stated that the Levant region drought lasting from 1998 to 2012 was about 50% drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20% drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years.

Last year, as reported by CBC News, researchers at Columbia University and the University of California Santa Barbara found that drought triggered a collapse in agriculture in Syria and the migration of 1.5 million farmers to the cities, straining resources. The water shortage was one of several contributing factors that had worsened the situation in Syria in the lead-up to the outbreak of that country’s devastating civil war in 2011.

…(read more).

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Meet the Green Party, America’s grassroots left-wing political party


RT America

Published on May 9, 2016

Hundreds of Green Party candidates have been elected to public office across the country. Despite this, the values and policies of the party remain largely unknown to the majority of Americans. RT America’s Manuel Rapalo explains.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Raw: Tornado Touches Down in Oklahoma


Associated Press

Published on May 9, 2016

A tornado touched down in Elmore City, Oklahoma on Monday, with forecasters saying a “substantial tornado risk” could develop in portions of the Southern Plains and the Ozarks. (May 9)

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Noam Chomsky Conference – “Corporate Attack on Education”

In segments:


Noam Chomsky Videos & Quotes

Published on Feb 18, 2016

Noam Chomsky talks of the longstanding hostility of the rich to truly educating the public so they don’t realize they are victims of an economic system they need to replace with one that truly serves the public. March 16, 2012 Special thanks to Rev. Rhonda Rubinson of St. Philip’s Church of Harlem for facilitating this production. Camera, Joe Friendly.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Noam Chomsky Videos & Quotes

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice