Hot Earth Links: A Fracked Earth News report.
Earth’s soaring temperature
__NOAA shows many “hot spots” on the globe in their 2015’s “Selected Scientific Anomalies.” As the Union of Concerned Scientists says, “A massive ramp-up of renewable—and low-carbon—energy will be essential to stay within two degrees Celsius.” Do we have the time? Do our policy-makers have the commitment?
__When asked what is “the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016,” 750 experts responded, “Global warming.” There’s also major concern “that inter-connections between risks [are] becoming stronger,” such as the impact on national security as people begin migrating in search of water, food and higher ground.
__Scientists confirm “that the consequences of fossil fuel burning and deforestation are accumulating far below the planet’s surface,” deep in our oceans. 90% of greenhouse gases produced in the 1970s were absorbed by the oceans and “a little more than a third of that seafaring heat has worked its way down to depths greater than 2,300 feet.”
__University of British Columbia oceans and fisheries scientists project a whopping 50% decline in First Nations fisheries by 2050, and economic losses as high as $12m. Ocean warming, shifts in ocean salinity and oxygen levels were factored in. Warming oceans are predicted to impact the normal range of sockeye and herring, leaving some First Nations devastated.
__By 2050 the plastic in the ocean will outweigh all the fish that live therein. There are about 150m tons of the stuff there now. Urgent action is required.
CO2 producers’ news
__Oil prices at 1:00 pm up a smidge: $30.15/barrel WTI, $29.70/barrel Brent.
__Wall Street firms that made big loans to drillers and frackers seem a tad nervous nowadays. Wells Fargo has $17b in loans to oil and gas firms and has set up a $1.2bn reserve to cover anticipated losses; JPMorgan Chase has set aside $124m, but may have to go to $740m; and Citigroup has a $300m reserve.
__Bill McKibbon reminds us of all the projects the extractive industry is pushing vigorously to accomplish as the inevitable decline sets in. It’s predicted that 50% of shale fracking operations will go under this year.
__ExxonMobil’s apparent efforts to suppress its research into climate change in the ‘80s indicates it “repeatedly lied about the risk to its business from climate change.” Both California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) are investigating.
__Methane levels at Porter Ranch, California are now 2 to 67 times typical readings—and at distances “up to eight miles” away. Meanwhile, botched attempts to “fix” the leak have had the opposite effect, and officials are deeply concerned about a fiery explosion. Update (whew!): “Calif. regulators scrap plan to burn off methane leaking from Los Angeles facility.”
__Kure Beach, North Carolina is gearing up in opposition to opening up the Atlantic seabed for oil drilling. Expect more, as word spreads along the coast from Maryland to Georgia about the dangers and impacts.
__That Florida bill to ban bans on fracking by local communities is being debated in the state house. The immediate prize seems to be approval for exploratory drilling for oil—in the Everglades, sensitive habitat for multitudes of creatures and nearby humans, too. Seepage of fracking chemicals into the Biscayne Aquifer is a possibility. One legislator observed, the Florida bill “is nothing more than a ‘welcome mat’ to promote fracking.”
__Some 200 Oklahomans trekked to the state capitol, “imploring leaders to stop the dramatic increase in earthquakes caused by wastewater injection wells from fracking operations.” They know that Gov. Mary Fallin (R), who’s against local communities banning fracking and who supports big oil and gas tax breaks, receives nice contributions from those entities in return.
__Things got “testy” down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as the community heard Taylor Energy’s president say his company didn’t cause that 10-year Gulf oil leak. Nope. God did.
__A 4.8 quake was recorded near Fox Creek, Alberta, Canada where Repsol was “injecting liquids at high pressure into subterranean rocks to create fissures and extract oil and gas.” The operation was shut down. Local residents are increasingly upset that fracking is depleting water “from our rivers, streams and lakes at rates we feel far exceed their capabilities to replenish themselves.” BTW, that big quake last August in British Columbia has been confirmed related to Petronas’ fracking activity.
__Gosh darn it, Canadian pipelines can’t catch a break. British Columbia’s government is “officially opposing the expansion of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain tar sands pipeline.” Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, TransCanada’s Keystone XL–even TransCanada’s Energy East–are facing “more hurdles every day.” “People power is stopping tar sands expansion” and pipelines, too.
__Parts of the U.K. are under Frack Attack. Immediate attention is focused on Nottinghamshire where a committee has approved plans for monitoring methane in groundwater — one of the steps in advance of fracking. iGas is involved; 40 boreholes have been approved.
__Over in Ryedale, Yorkshire, resistance to fracking is growing quickly as people learn about fracking fluid, including dangers of injecting of it deep underground near water supplies, the millions of gallons of water it takes for fracking, subsequent earthquakes, etc.
__China engaged in “provocative actions” when it moved its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig into a disputed area of the South China Sea, say angry Vietnamese officials, still upset about other recent provocations.
__What could possibly go wrong? China National Offshore Oil Corp and China General Nuclear Power Corp plan to construct “a demonstration floating nuclear reactor that could be used for offshore oil production.”
Local water woes
__Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) finally requested and got a federal declaration that Flint’s lead-contaminated water is “both an emergency and an expedited major disaster.” Snyder promised he would, but now he won’t, be releasing relevant Flint water emails. General Motors has quit using Flint’s water at its engine plant. Meanwhile, the state prosecutor is investigating “to see if any laws were broken—as the local sheriff said ‘people lied to us.’” Federal prosecutors are checking it out, too. People of Flint behind on paying their water bill are getting overdue notices, Michael Moore is in town, U.S. House Oversight Committee has scheduled a February hearing over this; and protests are growing.
__Over in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christi (R)’s appointed emergency manager (shades of Flint!) wants to privatize fire-fighting and—somehow—profit off Atlantic City’s drinking water. He wants to lay off part of the public work-force, too. New Jersey taxpayers have paid $2.62m for this great plan.
__Drought in Honduras and Guatemala is so severe the U.N. estimates 2.8 million people “are in drastic need of humanitarian aid” and has activated its Humanitarian Response Plan. The drought is an El Nino-related event.
_Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau says his government will invest $12 million in the Southern Ontario Water Consortium to “advance clean and innovative water technologies. Perhaps he can also take a look at Canadian mining companies’ impact on other societies, including their water.
Mining costs and impacts
__Coal extracted by those who hold 310 coal leases on federal lands is 40% of all coal produced in the US. 11% of natural gas and 5% of oil produced in the US also come from federal land leases. Is the administration considering raising costs, limiting what can be taken (e.g., by tying it to emissions) or simply “leaving it in the ground”?
__About 20m tons of bauxite (aluminum ore) are taken from Malaysia annually. It’s used for many things, including fracking for oil and gas. Bauxite mining has caused rivers to run red, hills clogged with huge trucks, small farmers’ holdings destroyed. Finally, a halt to the chaotic mining has been called, while the government assess what it has created.
__“Buffalo Bees” are reappearing on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, to the considerable benefit of the bees, the people and the environment.
__Will the mighty American Chestnut return to its rightful place in Eastern US forests? Several dedicated University researchers are hoping to safely re-establish the American Chestnut — and they’re on the brink of doing just that.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.