Daily Archives: August 23, 2018

Remote Sensing-Based Drought Monitoring Session 1/2


NASA Video
Published on Aug 23, 2018

This session includes an overview of drought classification, an introduction to web-based drought monitoring tools, a demonstration of drought data visualization tools, and ends with an exercise for attendees to practice downloading data. Download materials from this presentation: https://arset.gsfc.nasa.gov/water/web…

Big oil asks government to save it from climate change – People’s World

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP)—As the nation plans new defenses against the more powerful storms and higher tides expected from climate change, one project stands out: an ambitious proposal to build a nearly 60-mile “spine” of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates, and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Like other oceanfront projects, this one would protect homes, delicate ecosystems, and vital infrastructure, but it also has another priority—to shield some of the crown jewels of the petroleum industry, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and now wants the federal government to build safeguards against the consequences of it.

The plan is focused on a stretch of coastline that runs from the Louisiana border to industrial enclaves south of Houston that are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of petrochemical facilities, including most of Texas’ 30 refineries, which represent 30 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

Texas is seeking at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds. Last month, the government fast-tracked an initial $3.9 billion for three separate, smaller storm barrier projects that would specifically protect oil facilities.

That followed Hurricane Harvey, which roared ashore last August 25 and swamped Houston and parts of the coast, temporarily knocking out a quarter of the area’s oil refining capacity and causing average gasoline prices to jump 28 cents a gallon nationwide. Many Republicans argue that the Texas oil projects belong at the top of Washington’s spending list.

“Our overall economy, not only in Texas but in the entire country, is so much at risk from a high storm surge,” said Matt Sebesta, a Republican who as Brazoria County judge oversees a swath of Gulf Coast.

But the idea of taxpayers around the country paying to protect refineries worth billions, and in a state where top politicians still dispute climate change’s validity, doesn’t sit well with some.

“The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride,” said Brandt Mannchen, a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee in Houston. “You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why should they? There’s all this push like, ‘Please Senator Cornyn, Please Senator Cruz, we need money for this and that.’”

…(read more).

Big oil asks government to protect its Texas facilities from climate change – CBS News

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — As the nation plans new defenses against the more powerful storms and higher tides expected from climate change, one project stands out: an ambitious proposal to build a nearly 60-mile “spine” of concrete seawalls, earthen barriers, floating gates and steel levees on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Like other oceanfront projects, this one would protect homes, delicate ecosystems and vital infrastructure, but it also has another priority: to shield some of the crown jewels of the petroleum industry, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and now wants the federal government to build safeguards against the consequences of it.

The plan is focused on a stretch of coastline that runs from the Louisiana border to industrial enclaves south of Houston that are home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of petrochemical facilities, including most of Texas’ 30 refineries, which represent 30 percent of the nation’s refining capacity.

Texas is seeking at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds. Last month, the government fast-tracked an initial $3.9 billion for three separate, smaller storm barrier projects that would specifically protect oil facilities.

…(read more).

Texas Oil Companies Want Federal Dollars to Protect Them From Climate Change

The burning of fossil fuels is the driving force behind climate change, and now the companies responsible want the government to help pay to protect them from the consequences.

Texas is seeking at least $12 billion to build a network of seawalls, levees, gates and earthen structures that would protect a stretch of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the area south of Houston that houses 30 percent of U.S. oil refining capacity, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The Army Corps of Engineers approved $3.9 billion for smaller projects that would protect oil facilities in Port Arthur and Freeport in July, The Associated Press and The Houston Chronicle reported.

“The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride,” Sierra Club Houston executive committee member Brandt Mannchen told The Associated Press. “You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why should they? There’s all this push like, ‘Please Senator Cornyn, Please Senator Cruz, we need money for this and that.'”

Texas Republican politicians like Senators John Cormyn and Ted Cruz, who signed a letter urging President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris agreement and are generally hostile to public spending, support federal funding for the project. Many see it as a priority after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and took out 25 percent of the area’s refining capacity for a time.

“Our overall economy, not only in Texas but in the entire country, is so much at risk from a high storm surge,” Gulf Coast-area Republican Judge Matt Sebesta told The Associated Press.

DeSmog UK Weekly: Trump is a George W Bush tribute act, at best

Politics is cyclical. And that’s pretty bad news for climate change.

In the US, President Trump has finally got to rolling back Obama’s Clean Power Plan, while in Australia there’s a prime-ministerial crisis catalysed by internecine conflict over climate policy – the world has gone very noughties.

Remember that time George W Bush took a machete to the EPA, anyone? Remember Tony Abbott calling the then-PM Julia Gillard’s support for climate policy “the longest suicide note in history”? The cast may have changed, but the politics remain depressingly familiar.

This has all made a few, not particularly clued-up, people very happy.

Myron Ebell, from US fossil fuel lobbysits the Competitive Enterprise Institute, called Trump’s extremely weakened plan to tackle the US’s energy sector emissions “a huge improvement” on the Clean Power Plan. Ebell, remember, headed up Trump’s energy transition team, denies basic climate science, and was invited to speak in the UK in 2017 by the UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Meanwhile, another GWPF favourite, former Australian primte minster Tony Abbott, is celebrating current PM Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to drop the country’s emission reduction targets from key legislation (proposing to implement them through regulation instead). The U-turn was one of the opening shots in the multi-faceted (and, from a distance, hilarious) intra-party battle to oust Turnbull. At the time of writing, Turnbull was still PM. Just.

Abbott has long called the National Energy Guarantee a carbon tax in disguise – a policy that, for someone who proudly resists the urge to be seen “worshipping at the altar of the climate change gods”, is simply outrageous. Reports that Abbott celebrated Turnbull’s announcement by dancing around a pool in red speedos to the sound of Men At Work remain unconfirmed.

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Container ship to break the ice on Russian Arctic route – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45271766

Ecological restoration greens barren mountains in NW China