The wealth of oceans
__Now they’ve gone and figured out the oceans’ GDP: $2.5 trillion a year, in between the GDPs of Britain and Brazil. Nonetheless, “marine wealth is sinking fast because of over-fishing, pollution and climate change.” And the deterioration is accelerating.
__A key factor is missing in calculating GDP, according to the Vatican Science Academy: the harm done while acquiring economic wealth. By incorporating that harm into the GDP equation we can account for “depreciation of our assets—including damage to Mother Nature, the most fundamental asset we have.” Imagine the downward arrow if harm were included in the formula, including harm to our oceans.
__The gavel was passed to the US Secretary of State at the recent Arctic Council meeting at Igaluit, Canada. Six indigenous Arctic groups (Aleut, Arctic Athabaskan, Gwich’in, Inuit, Russian Indigenous Peoples, Saami) are permanent members of the Council. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US are participants. The US will be chairing the Council for the next two years.
__At the latest Arctic Council meeting, Chair John Kerry emphasized the impact of climate change on the region. He stressed protecting communities at risk (such as Galena, AK), and warned of ocean acidification. Conservative attendees emphasized economic development. This bears watching as the Arctic is a major target of the greedy (see here, here and here, for example).
__Shell is seeking “a preliminary injunction ordering Greenpeace USA to stay away from Shell’s Arctic-bound petroleum drilling fleet.” So touchy! Wonder if Shell’s famous Alaska adventure has anything to do with that.
__The Obama administration is expanding “oil and gas drilling off the coast of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia … as well as three areas for leasing in Alaska, including the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea” (where chances of oil contamination are 75%). This in spite of the years’ long, on-going, mysterious Taylor Energy Co. “spill” off he Louisiana Coast, BP’s Horizon blowout, etc. Something seems fishy here, and it isn’t just the creatures living in the deep blue sea.
VIDEO: Earth & Beautiful Oceans
Fracking, pipelines and grassroots
__ At their recent anti-fracking ban hearings, Texas House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology brought in industry reps for some pep-talkin’, since the grassroots have been acting up. The article includes industry $’s involved in all this.
__Not to be outdone by Texas, the Florida legislature has also voted to ban bans on fracking by local communities.
__Fracking freak-out as the Colorado administration (headed by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper) seems increasingly concerned about local communities banning fracking–and local communities become increasingly uncomfortable with fracking.
__Uproar in Nebraska, where Terex Energy of Colorado wants to use an old Nebraska oil well for disposal of fracking wastewater. The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ok’d it but a state senator and others are upset.
__Fracking backlog in the US as drillers try waiting out the low price of oil. On the brighter side, this does mean some 322,000 barrels of oil are being kept in the ground daily. Bloomberg’s even predicting that the number of fracking companies will be reduced by half by year’s end.
__The Mid-Atlantic Responsible Energy Project has an impressive website covering natural gas pipelines and related critical issues affecting West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania and near-by areas. Great maps of proposed natural gas pipeline routes through the area, and links to 16 project partners (e.g., Appalachian Mountain Advocates, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Save the Water Table, etc.).
__Claim is that, under Hillary Clinton, the US “State Department Sold Fracking to the World.”
Our quaking Earth is sending a message
__New US Geological Survey map shows increased earthquake activity in the eastern US—“near deep fluid injection wells or other industrial activities capable of inducing earthquakes.” 585 last year, compared to 109 in 2013. Fracking-related earthquakes have become so prevalent that the US Geological Survey is studying factoring fracking activity in to its earthquake predictions. One thing for sure: humans really don’t like all that shaking going on.
__Jon Stewart on those drilling-related earthquakes. Hilarious segue to the NSA and trash.
—Whoa, ho! “The Texas Railroad Commission [regulatory agency in charge of fracking] said Friday it’s considering shutting down two wastewater disposal wells in North Texas’ Barnett Shale after they were linked to seismic activity in the area.”
Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show”: Shakes On A Plain & Secret Agent Can
Global warming settling in
__Ah, the Pacific Northwest! Magnificent green forests and mighty snow-covered mountains. That’s changing now, and rapidly. There’s much less snow to slowly melt during the spring and summer; instead there’s more rain though not enough to compensate for all the missing snow. Adapting with appropriate water storage and thrifty water use is under study.
__Dams going dry out west—big dams—threatening hydroelectricity output.
__Catalina Island, too, is sinking, likely affecting its ability to protect Los Angeles from tsunamis.
__Insurance companies, sensing what’s coming, are urging preparation for climate change.
__Waaaah! Australia’s Abbott administration says “ambitious climate change targets recommended by the Climate Change Authority … would put an undue burden on Australia.” Experts immediately rebuffed that dodge, and soundly.
__Duke Energy to furnish bottled water to “dozens of families in North Carolina” whose well water appears contaminated from Duke’s coal waste storage areas How long has this been going on, and why? Amy Adams of Appalachian Voices: “cleaning this up would just take backhoes and plastic liners.”
__Cemex wanted to expand its lime rock mine near Brooksville, Florida, but the Hernando County Commission just wouldn’t go along with their plan.
__Krypton, Kentucky is “most seriously threatened by Appalachian surface mining.” Interactive map showing Krypton and 50 other communities at greatest risk. Heartfelt review of loss of those West Virginia mountaintops.
__”Industry groups, congressional Republicans, and nearly a dozen states are clashing with the Obama Administration over planned regulations meant to crack down on some of the most harmful effects of the controversial mountaintop removing mining process.”
__Hey, Charleston, West Virginia! Freedom Industries is going to dump 800 tons of contaminated soil in your landfill. Also, West Virginia American Water just announced they’re setting up a water monitoring system in reaction to the chemical poisoning of the Elk River by Freedom Industries last year.
__If you like lists, here’s this: “10 Worst People on Forbes 2013 Billionaires List.” Of course, it starts with the Kochs, but it does include one Whirl fave, Gina Rinehart, coal mogul of Australia.
Promotional Video: I World Indigenous Games 2015
Change of pace
__Prince Charles of England might end his fossil fuel investments, joining seven British charitable foundations currently divesting “on financial and ethical grounds” [emphasis added]. By mid-March, “28 universities, 41 cities, 72 religious institutions, 30 foundations and hundreds of individuals” had pledged to divest about $50 billion in fossil fuel investments, on “the right side of history.”
__Keep it in the ground! Carbon Tracker Initiative “provides a roadmap for oil and gas firms to diversify and move away from fossil fuels. But are they even interested”?
__Protests as Crunch Nestle of Sacramento, California finds “it extremely egregious for a company to be bottling water and being charged a pittance for it and selling it back to the public at 1,000 percent profit.” Video.
__Good news: “The state of New York is to turn off non-essential lights in state-run buildings to help birds navigate their migratory routes in spring and autumn.” Are we learning yet? Seems so, seems so.
__It’s primo ship-wreck viewing and diving time in Michi gami.
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