Posts Tagged ‘greenhouse gas emissions’

OIL NUKES COAL

February 16, 2010

Oil Giants Demand Open Market for World’s Dirtiest Fuel, February 15, 2010 by The Guardian/UK

Oil Groups Mount Legal Challenge to California’s Tar Sands Ban by Terry Macalister.

A lobby group that includes BP and Shell in its membership has launched a legal challenge against low-carbon legislation in California that in effect rules out the use of oil from Canadian tar sands. The action by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) comes amid growing political, investor and consumer pressure on US oil companies not to participate in the carbon-intensive tar sands of Alberta.

A NPRA statement said the legislation was unlawful for a number of reasons, including the imposition of “undue and unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce”.

It claimed the legislation would also have “little or no impact” on greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and would harm US energy security “by discouraging the use of Canadian crude oil and ethanol produced in the American midwest”.

The refiners are joined by the American Trucking Associations and the Centre for North American Energy Security in their attempt to overturn legislation from California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wants to cut C02 emissions from transport by 10% by 2020.  READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/15-0

Nuclear Does Not Make Economic Sense Say Studies by Julio Godoy. February 15, 2010 by Inter Press Service

BERLIN – The enormous technical and financial risks involved in the construction and operation of new nuclear power plants make them prohibitive for private investors, rebutting the thesis of a renaissance in nuclear energy, say several independent European studies.

The risks include high construction costs, likely long delays in building, extended periods of depreciation of equipment inherent to the construction and operation of new power plants and the lack of guarantees for prices of electricity.

Adding to these is the global meltdown and the consequent cautious behavior of investors as also fiscal and revenue difficulties of governments in the industrialized countries, say the studies.

In the most recent analysis on the feasibility of new nuclear power plants, the Citibank group concludes that some of “the risks faced by developers … are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially.”

The Citibank paper, titled ‘New Nuclear – The Economics Say No‘, lists five major risks developers and operators of new nuclear power plants must confront. These risks are planning, construction, power price, operational, and decommissioning. According to the study, most governments in industrialized countries today have only “sought to limit the planning risk” for investors.

But, while it is “important for encouraging developers to bring forward projects, [planning] is the least important risk financially,” the survey goes on. According to the Citibank group, the most important risks are construction, power price, and operational. The paper dubs these risks “the corporate killers.”

Environmental activists would add safety issues as another major risk – both the handling of highly radioactive nuclear waste and the likelihood of accidents at nuclear power stations.

The Citibank bases its conclusions on estimated costs of construction and operation and in the necessity of setting too high electricity prices for consumers, and which have seldom been reached in the past.

According to the paper, the costs of constructing a new nuclear power plant range between 2,500 to 3,500 euros (3,420 US dollars) per kilowatt hour. READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/15-6

Republican Strategy: You Are Either with Coal, or Against Us, February 15, 2010 by Politico.com

GOP Mines Coal-Country Anxieties by Jonathan Martin

Republicans believe there are three words so powerful that they might reshape the political order in an economically beleaguered corner of the country: War on coal.

With Democrats holding total control of the federal government and a cap-and-trade bill still looming, the GOP is fanning widespread coal country fears that the national Democratic Party is hostile to the coal mining industry, if not outright committed to its demise.

Those efforts are putting a group of coal state Democrats at risk as Republicans leverage the tremendous economic anxieties surrounding the future of an industry that is a vital part of their states’ economies.

In West Virginia and Kentucky, longtime Democratic House incumbents with solid records on the issue are taking heavy flak. Across the border in Virginia, a veteran Democrat could face his most serious challenge yet in part because of his support of cap and trade. Two junior lawmakers from Ohio are facing threats for the same reason.

The issue may loom largest in West Virginia, where coal mining is an integral part of the culture and makes up a full quarter of the state’s revenues.

A well-known former state supreme court judge switched his party registration to run against 17-term incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall in the state’s coal-heavy south and wasted little time in raising the issue.

“West Virginians deserve a congressman who will fight to end this war on coal instead of standing by idly as thousands of local jobs are threatened,” said Elliott “Spike” Maynard in launching his campaign last month.

In an interview with POLITICO, Maynard said: “Our part of the world and way of life is threatened by liberal Democrats in Washington.”

He pointed out that some environmentalists want to stop all surface mining, the above-ground technique that happens to account for about 40 percent of the state’s coal jobs.

His message, he said, was simple: “If you vote for Spike Maynard, you’re voting for your job and to mine coal. If you’re against me, you’re voting against your job and against mining coal.” READ MORE:

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/02/15-3

AFL-CIO to Obama: Enough is Enough by Richard Trumka.

Today the AFL-CIO sent out the following Action Alert:

Dear xxxx,

We’ve just learned that the Senate and the White House cut a last-minute deal with obstructionist Republicans to approve some of President Obama’s nominees. But guess who was left out of the deal? Yup, that’s right: working people.

Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, highly respected labor lawyers whom President Obama nominated for seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), weren’t included in the deal. Meanwhile, the NLRB, tasked with protecting American workers’ rights, has been handicapped with vacancies for the past two years.

Enough is enough. Call the White House switchboard today and demand that President Obama fight Republican obstructionism and use his executive power to appoint Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the NLRB during the Presidents Day recess.

Call the White House Switchboard NOW: 202-456-1111 OR 202-456-1414.

Becker already has received majority backing in the Senate and both won committee support, but the Republican minority has continually blocked their appointments. America’s working people are getting short shrift and it’s past time to do something about it. Workers need an NLRB that can enforce the National Labor Relations Act and protect workers’ rights-not an NLRB handicapped by vacancies.

In solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
AFL-CIO President

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/02/12-3

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“Hell of a job, Brownie!”

November 20, 2009

"Hell of a job, Brownie!"

Rising CO2 Will Cause Catastrophic Sea Level Rise Finds Antarctic Study by Louise Gray, Environment CorrespondentThe Telegraph/UK

Sea levels could rise by up to six metres if the world fails to get pollution under control, according to the latest study in the Antarctic.

The British Antarctic Survey is the latest research to warn of the consequences of increased greenhouse gases on the Earth’s climate. Carbon dioxide is rising at record rates putting the world on a pathway for a 6C rise in temperature, which will cause a sea level rise of up six metres, threatening coastal cities like London, New York and San Francisco.

The recent studies add pressure on world leaders to agree to an international deal on climate change at a UN summit in Copenhagen this December.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/18-6

How Limousine Liberals, Water Oligarchs and Even Sean Hannity Are Hijacking Our Water Supply By Yasha Levine, AlterNet.

A group of water oligarchs engineered a disastrous privatization scheme to make a fortune out of California’s most precious natural resource.

A group of water oligarchs in California have engineered a disastrous deregulation and privatization scheme. And they’ve pulled in hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars without causing much public outrage. The amount of power and control they wield over California’s most precious resource, water, should shock and frighten us — and it would, if more people were aware of it. But here is the scary thing: They are plotting to gain an even larger share of California’s increasingly-scarce, over-tapped water supply, which will surely lead to shortages, higher prices and untold destruction to California’s environment.

California is in year three of a fairly nasty dry spell. And some very powerful forces are not letting this mini-crisis go to waste, fiercely lobbying Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Dianne Feinstein, paying off corporate shills like Fox News’ Sean Hannity and capitalizing on people’s fear of drought to push a massive waterworks project that will pump more water, build more dams and keep sucking the state’s rivers dry. …This drought hysteria is nothing more than political theatrics, a scare tactic backed by big agribusiness to strong-arm California voters into building a multi-billion dollar system of dams and canals that would not really help small farmers — of which there are very few anyway — but would deliver more water to corporations, subsidize their landholdings, fuel real estate development and enable large-scale water privatization. At its core, it is a war waged for water by California’s megarich on everyone else.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/water/144020/how_limousine_liberals%2C_water_oligarchs_and_even_sean_hannity_are_hijacking_our_water_supply

Rachel Maddow Interview with Former Evangelist Frank Schaeffer: Christian Right Is ‘Trolling for Assassins’ AlterNet.

Schaeffer: “There is a crazy fringe [receiving] messages that have been pouring out of FOX News … talking about doing away with Obama, asking God to kill him.”  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/rights/144054/rachel_maddow_interview_with_former_evangelist_frank_schaeffer%3A_christian_right_is_%27trolling_for_assassins%27

Shocking Benefits of Legalizing Pot By Ami Cholia, AlterNet.

There are some pluses to legalization that you probably haven’t heard about.

The war on drugs may be a noble intention, but the illegal growing of marijuana is destroying our environment.

Primarily run by Mexican drug cartels California’s illegal growers aren’t your typical peace-loving hippies of the 70s. These men live illegally on farms all summer, putting tons of waste into the soil and water. Pesticides drain into creeks and enter the food chain, sickening wildlife.  Each plant also uses about 15 gallons of water per day soaking up a large part of the water resources around.

Organized crime groups who cash in on the drug war’s distortion of supply and demand dynamics have little regard for the environment. Even illegal growers of organic marijuana impact the environment by felling trees in national forests to make room for illicit grow sites. The plants are seasonal, but the environmental damage lasts forever.

There is a serious exception to be made. Many medical – legal – marijuana growers are among the most responsible citizens around. They buy soil in bulk, use rat traps instead of poison, water with timers and drip systems. They have very little physical impact on the land.

Outside of the obvious benefits of hemp — bio-diesel, burns cleanly, soil builder, better cheaper paper, etc. — organic and sustainable practices for growing marijuana would bring in tons of revenue for the states, clean up the environment, and save the government $150 billion on policing and courts, since 47.5% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related.

We’re not promoting drug addiction.  The positive benefits to the environment by making marijuana legal definitely seem enough to take action.

Even Glenn Beck seems to think this is worth it.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144052/world%27s_biggest_polluters_strike_a_deal%3A_u.s._and_china_agree_to_comprehensive_clean_energy_and_climate_plan?page=3

World’s Biggest Polluters Strike a Deal: U.S. and China Agree to Comprehensive Clean Energy and Climate Plan By Joseph Romm, Climate Progress.

The overall plan is much more ambitious in scope and depth than anticipated.

A comprehensive plan for U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy and climate change was announced in Beijing by President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao. The plan contains directives to create various institutions and programs addressing a wide array of cooperation on clean-energy technologies and capacity building, including very important efforts on helping China build a robust, transparent and accurate inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions.

These efforts include cooperation in the following areas:

1.      Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

2.      Joint Clean Energy Research Center. (Factsheet)

3.      Electric Vehicles. (Factsheet)

4.      Energy Efficiency. Building on the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation, government officials of both countries will “work together (Factsheet)

5.      Renewable Energy. (Factsheet)

6.      21st Century Coal. The two countries will “launch a program of technical cooperation to …develop clean coal and carbon capture and storage technologies.” (Factsheet)

7.      Shale Gas. The U.S. and China will “assess China’s shale gas potential, promote environmentally-sustainable development of shale gas resources, conduct joint technical studies to accelerate development of shale gas resources in China, and promote shale gas investment in China through the U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, study tours, and workshops.” (Factsheet)

8.      Nuclear. The two countries reaffirmed the goals of the Third Executive Committee Meeting of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to promote the peaceful use of civilian nuclear energy, and “agreed to consult with one another in order to explore such approaches—including assurance of fuel supply and cradle-to-grave nuclear fuel management so that countries can access peaceful nuclear power while minimizing the risks of proliferation.”

9.      Public-private partnerships on clean energy. A new U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP) will “leverage private sector resources for project development work in China across a broad array of clean energy projects, to the benefit of both nations.”

The two countries hope that the upcoming United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen will follow this example and focus as much on bottom-up technological strategies for achieving real reductions in emissions as it will on top-down targets for carbon caps.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/144052/world%27s_biggest_polluters_strike_a_deal%3A_u.s._and_china_agree_to_comprehensive_clean_energy_and_climate_plan?page=3

Push to Curb Credit-Card Rates Fades as Democrats resist consumer outcry by Michael KranishThe Boston Globe

WASHINGTON – Efforts in Congress to cap credit-card interest rates are faltering because of opposition from Democrats and a lack of specific support from the White House, despite growing consumer outrage over a rush by banks to impose rates as high as 30 percent.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to back a strict limit on credit-card interest rates. But the White House is not yet behind any plan.

The Senate soundly defeated legislation in May introduced by Senator Bernard Sanders, the Vermont Independent, to cap most credit-card interest rates at 15 percent. Nearly half of the Democratic senators joined Republicans in defeating the measure, 60 to 33.

Consumer groups say the problem of skyrocketing interest rates has worsened since that vote, as banks scramble to boost rates in advance of a new rule scheduled to take effect in February, requiring banks to give consumers a 45-day advance notice of rate increases.

Sanders said many of the credit cards in the hands of American consumers are issued by four banks that received taxpayer bailout money after last year’s economic meltdown: Citigroup, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo.

“People are disgusted. We bailed these [companies] out and they then had the gumption to raise interest rates on the American people,” Sanders said in an interview. Sanders said he plans to reintroduce his proposal to cap rates at 15 percent; he predicted it will have more support this time.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/18-7