Hot Earth Links: A Fracked Earth News report.
COP21: The Paris Climate Conference
__After four years, the world’s nations have agreed to reach an agreement concerning climate change. That stunning development left negotiators with “939 pieces of bracketed text representing the varying options for resolving points of disagreement.”
__Attention in Paris has turned to food, which is increasingly imperiled by climate change. The “Food Insecurity and Climate Change Vulnerability Map” was unveiled, showing “how food security could change at the individual country level.”
__Attention in Paris also turned to health and the climate with “an unprecedented alliance of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from every part of the health sector … calling on governments to reach a strong agreement at the UN climate negotiations.” 1700 organizations, 8200 hospitals and other facilities, 13 million professionals. Impressive.
__“Wealthy nations [Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US] spend 40 times as much money subsidizing fossil fuel production [or $80b/year] as they contribute to the Green Climate Fund to help poor countries adopt to global warming [or $2b/year].”
__A breakthrough in Paris with the US pledging “to double to $861m aid to countries on the frontline of climate change … already threatened by rising seas and powerful storms.”
__Some countries are “blocking human rights references in important parts of the climate change agreement” in Paris, says Amnesty International, including Norway, Saudi Arabia, Australia and the U.S. Indigenous people fear further displacement and deterioration of habitat if their rights are not recognized:
__Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, met with First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde, part of the Canadian delegation in Paris who explained the critical role indigenous peoples play in ensuring protection of Earth’s land, waters and biodiversity:
__10 U.S. senators were in Paris, along with Al Gore: Chris Coons (DE), Brian Schatz (HI), Ed Market (MA), Ben Cardin (MD), Al Franken (MN), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Cory Booker (NJ), Tom Udall (NM), Jeff Merkeley (OR), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).
__One reporter’s “Five unanswered questions” as the Paris conference concludes. There are many more.
Air, food, water
__If this proves to be a trend, we’ll be high-fiving: British researchers predict global carbon emissions to decline by 0.6 percent to 35.7 gigatonnes” for 2015, reversing the 2 – 3% annual growth in carbon emissions since 2000.
__India has now snatched the title “Dirtiest Air in the World” from China. Particulate matter in the Delhi air at “hazardous” levels lately, and in Mumbai and Hyderabad, too. Causes: “exhaust, dust, smoke from wood and dung-fired stoves, burning leaves and industrial output.”
__Meanwhile, China has issued its first “Red Smog Alert” for Beijing, the air’s so bad:
__Approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of GMO salmon has stirred quite a debate among experts, ranging from concern that consumers’ interest wasn’t sufficiently taken into account, to absence of an environmental impact assessment, to its being a big plus.
__The U.S. House of Representatives voted to ban plastic microbeads from personal care products. A Senate bill to do the same is also in the hopper. The federal ban will supersede state bans and “allow for a faster phase-out.” Microbeads wreak havoc in the oceans.
__Dr. Tom Oliver and his University of Reading (UK) team studied “millions of wildlife records spanning 40 years” and concluded Britain risks “a future where we will be less confident that we can effectively grow our food” because pollinators (bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, ladybirds, plants and mosses) are “at risk of disappearing.”
Fact vs denial
__ExxonMobil says that, barring government action, “average temperatures are likely to rise by a catastrophic … 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.” As we learned last week, tiny critters in the ocean that produce about two-thirds of our oxygen probably cannot withstand a 6C rise.
__Paul Krugman takes the GOP to task in a blistering run-down of their attempts to ensure climate change ignorance among the populace.
__Beaut of a sting! Greenpeace pretend-consultants got “two prominent climate skeptics,” university profs, to agree to “write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming.” One of the profs wanted about $8,000 for an article, the other (a Peabody Energy fave) wanted $15,000.
__Revealing run-down of Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)’s climate change denialism, including his major funders: “Yes, oil and gas … interests have funneled more than $630,000 into his campaign coffers” since 1987. No wonder he’s on such a rampage about earth science, scientists and research.
__You gotta love it: Florida Tea Party founding member and GOP “firebrand” has come out for solar power and she wants Floridians to vote on whether they’d prefer buying solar power from small producers or continue with “mega-bucks utilities.”
__Rhode Island’s offshore Block Island Wind Farm’s final deck platform has been installed with Deepwater Wind taking care “to minimize potential underwater noise impacts on North Atlantic right whales” during construction. “[T]urbine assembly and submarine cable installation work” are next. This will be the U.S.’ first offshore wind farm.
__Lake Erie’s Ohio shoreline will be the site of a wind farm, with Norway’s Fred.Olsen Renewables in charge of building “six wind turbines about seven to 10 miles from the edge of downtown Cleveland.”
__Orange and Los Angeles Counties in California are producing 1 million gallons of recycled water/day from their demonstration project—while exceeding “all state and federal drinking water standards.” Potentially, some 54 bn gallons of water/year could be produced by the plant.
C’mon, not the Moon!
__Quick, someone, alert the Moon! Space mining has been approved by the U.S., which “establishes the rights of investors to profit from their efforts.” As they’ve tied Earth to the profit-motive, so too space.
Not keeping it in the ground
__OPEC couldn’t agree on establishing a cap on oil production at last week’s meeting since no one knows how much Iranian oil will be on the market next year. A plunge in US oil prices and shares resulted. Oil prices everywhere dropped 50% this year, and are not expected “to rise above $50 per barrel until July 2017 at the earliest.”
__Oil prices/barrel today: $36.52 WTI, $39.85 Brent.
__”Zombies” now refers to those U.S. drillers hit so hard by the downturn they can barely make their debt payments.
__ GOPers are thinking of disappearing that ban on U.S. crude oil exports that’s been around for 40-some years. Democrats will want something in exchange for lifting the ban, perhaps wind and solar tax incentives?
__That ban on U.S. crude oil exports doesn’t affect U.S. companies buying Canadian tar sands crude and then selling it, though nobody’s sure of the volume involved. Canada is exporting crude directly to Europe, too, as “71 of Europe’s 95 refineries” can now handle the crude.
__Did Oklahoma’s Chesapeake Energy Corp. pull a “bait and switch” on some 4,000 landowners when obtaining drilling leases in the Marcellus Shale? Pennsylvania’s AG has sued for “tens of millions of dollars in restitution and penalties.”
__Colorado University-Denver researchers say natural gas “can have a similar impact on climate change as coal if it’s allowed to leak while producing electricity.”
__Shell’s Puget Sound refinery released “hydrogen sulfide, hydrocarbons, mercaptans and pyrophoric iron” into the air during a routine shut-down. People on the nearby Swinomish Reservation got sick and Shell got fined $77,000. Exact impact on wildlife and aquatic reserves isn’t known.
__Southern California Gas Company’s on-going gas leak—much methane—near Porter Ranch has been dramatically captured on infra-red video.
__Vivienne Westwood has indeed joined the protesters as they continue their 18-month opposition to iGas’ fracking plans at Upton (near Chester,) UK.
__Cause for indignation just won’t stop: Shale gas frackers have now targeted 19 sites in Scotland—“each covering 100 sq km., in heavily populated areas” including Glasgow and Edinburgh. Companies involved reportedly are Ineos, iGas and GDF Suez.
__Terrible oil rig fire in the Caspian Sea, with 33 of 63 rig workers rescued.
__US officials say oil smuggling between Turkey and the Islamic State “is economically insignificant,” ranging from $1.0 – $1.5m per day, though another source says it’s even less. Islamic State oil on the Turkish black market is going at about half the rate as oil on the global market.
… (h/t EE)
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.