climate change

Biomass Industry Intensifies Fight For Carbon-Neutral Status As Obama Admin Carbon Rules Draw Near

The science is fairly convoluted but also entirely clear: Bioenergy — burning wood and other forest biomass as a fuel source — produces more carbon emissions than coal.

Even if all the forests we fed into power plants were to one day regrow, in theory sucking all that carbon back out of the Earth’s atmosphere, it would be far too late to be any kind of solution to the global climate crisis.

Yet 21 members of Congress recently wrote a letter urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to “take action to remove regulatory ambiguities in the treatment of utility-scale biomass power as a renewable resource.”

Nexen’s Brand New, Double-Layered Pipeline Just Ruptured, Causing One of the Biggest Oil Spills Ever in Alberta

A pipeline at Nexen Energy’s Long Lake oilsands facility southeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, spilled about five million liters (32,000 barrels or some 1.32 million gallons) of emulsion, a mixture of bitumen, sand and water, Wednesday afternoon — marking one of the largest spills in Alberta history.

According to reports, the spill covered as much as 16,000 square meters (almost 4 acres). The emulsion leaked from a “feeder” pipe that connects a wellhead to a processing plant.

At a press conference Thursday, Ron Bailey, Nexen vice president of Canadian operations, said the company “sincerely apologize[d] for the impact this has caused.” He confirmed the double-layered pipeline is a part of Nexen's new system and that the line's emergency detection system failed to alert officials to the breach, which was discovered during a visual inspection. 

Shell To Proceed With Arctic Drilling Despite Damaged Icebreaker Ship Carrying Critical Emergency Gear Heading To Portland For Repairs

Shell officials are still hoping to launch exploratory drilling this month at the company’s Burger prospect, 70 miles off the coast of Alaska in the Chukchi Sea, even though a key ship in its fleet was forced back to port before it had even left the harbor last week after a 3-foot-long gash was discovered in its hull.

The company has to send the MSV Fennica to Portland because Terminal 5 at the port of Seattle, where Shell’s two drilling rigs were stored before they departed for Alaska, is a cargo terminal that doesn’t allow heavy repairs.

It is expected to take several weeks to repair the Fennica, according to FuelFix. The trip to Portland alone will take more than a week, and the Fennica appears to still be in Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands right now. But Shell has already begun moving its fleet into place in the Chukchi Sea, and does not plan on waiting for the Fennica to return before commencing drilling activities.

Drillers Under Pressure as Low Prices, Broad Uncertainties Put Oil & Gas Industry's Financial Prospects 'In Limbo'

At a climate change conference in Paris last week, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, had a blunt message for energy companies.

“We see some moves from energy companies in the direction of sustainable development. However, it is not at the level you would like to see,” Mr. Birol, who will be promoted to chief of the IEA in September, told those assembled. “If they think that their businesses are immune to the impacts of climate policy, they are making a strategic mistake.”

Other experts sound a similar note, calling for changes so fast and sweeping that they would be like an “induced implosion.”

That Time When George W Bush Delivered a Nasty Shock to the Oil Industry

In this DeSmog UK epic history series post, we remember the moment when George W. Bush declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

President George W. Bush delivered a nasty shock to his oil industry sponsors when, on 31 January 2006, he delivered his State of the Union Address – watched by millions – and declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

This was a precipitous alarm raised at the beginning of what would be a truly miserable year for ExxonMobil in terms of its climate change public relations campaign.

Experts Confirm Coal Industry’s “Global Poverty” Campaign Is Bogus

When Peabody Energy isn't busy trying to have the lyrics of a folk song struck from the evidentiary record in a Wyoming lawsuit, the company is aggressively pushing fossil fuels like coal — conveniently, Peabody’s main product — as a solution to global poverty.

As Media Matters has thoroughly documented, however, experts say that not only are renewable energy and mini-grids a far better solution to uplift the world’s poor than centralized production of fossil fuel electricity, but also renewables are more affordable and impose a far lower social cost, to boot.

The Case For Letting Canada’s Forest Fires Burn

Boulder Creek Wildfire

As climate change is fingered as a culprit behind the early rash of forest fires across northern and western Canada, experts say the most prudent approach at this stage is to, whenever possible, let the fires burn.

It’s a grim situation. But those studying the issue say the human toll of wildfire needs to be balanced against the reality that vulnerable forests are going to burn either way — especially given the mounting pressures presented by climate change.

The question becomes, if we’ve got areas where fire can burn, the most responsible thing to do ecologically, fiscally and for long-term health is to let those fires burn,” said Toddi Steelman, executive director of the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan.

If we don’t let them burn, we have to pay that account down the line … the forest will burn eventually.”

Are the Koch Brothers Trying to Influence TTIP Negotiations?

The latest release of lobbying data on the European Commission’s Transparency Register has raised concerns that the fossil-fuelled Kochs are trying to influence the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.

Digging through the data, DeSmog UK found that the European arm of Koch Industry’s legal, lobbying and public affairs branch – known as Koch Companies Public Sector LLC – has spent up to £0.5m lobbying EU policymakers on the environment, energy and free trade.

And according to the voluntary register, Koch Industries – the largest privately owned energy company in the United States, known for funding climate denial groups – has a particular interest in lobbying on the “EU’s free trade agreement negotiations.”

Which Advanced Country Has the Most Climate Sceptics? Hint: It's Not the United States

It's not necessarily a competition you should be particularly keen to win, but which country in the world has the most climate change “sceptics”?

Most people would probably hazard a guess at the United States, what with its preponderance of climate science denialist think tanks, conservative television and radio hosts and politicians who think it’s all a hoax.

But a new study that analysed identical surveys carried out across 14 industrialised nations has found that when it comes to climate science denial, Australia tops the pile.

Discover The Hidden Oil Wells of Los Angeles

Big Oil will stop at nothing to pump every last drop of oil out of the ground, from paying scientists to say that oil spills, fracking and other routine matters of oil development projects aren’t harmful to the environment or human health, to deliberately poisoning the debate about how best to rein in climate change and bribing politicians to weaken environmental standards and other regulatory hurdles.

But this is still somehow shocking: An oil well on a high school campus? Outside a mall? At a farmer’s market?


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