*Davos. $100 billion in Europe could have been better spent on renewable power plants if there were “better cross-border coordination and bigger power cables between countries.” Update: Some of our oligarchs are worried. Update: Summary of the meeting at Davos (scroll down to video).
*Worldwide. It’s now 3 minutes ’til Doomsday, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Due to human-caused climate change.
*Worldwide. Ocean warming is accelerating rapidly as “more than 90 percent of human induced planetary warming goes into the oceans. Alarming charts and other info at the link. Update: Auklets are dying in unprecedented numbers from AK to CA. Update: Ice “disappearing at a truly astonishing rate in Austfonna”, Norway—very far north. Update: Melting glaciers predicted to contribute 48 million metric tons of organic carbon into the oceans by 2050, and nobody’s sure of the impact (see “Australia” below). Video.
*Worldwide. Martyn Day of law firm Leigh Day, which won a protracted legal case against Shell Oil in Nigeria, has a novel idea about legal representation of ordinary folks up against multinational corporations.
*Worldwide. BP’s Bob Dudley, sent to clean up after Tony Hayward messed up, says oil prices could remain low for 2 – 3 years. Meanwhile, an OPEC high muckety-muck said oil prices should take off “very soon” and hit $200/barrel.
*USA. Rep Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is urging the US Transportation Secretary “to take immediate action” to ensure oil-train tank cars are safe. The old, unsafe DOT-111s are still hauling oil on the rails despite the tragic conflagration in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec July 6, 2013.
*USA. The ‘80s world oil glut led to a 54% reduction in oil producers in the US. Will that be repeated? This article breaks it down, including companies that seem at greatest risk.
*USA. Around two-thirds of US conservatives support expanding oil, coal and natural gas, while large majorities of five groups of non-conservatives are for developing the alternatives. When it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, however, only a majority of “Solid Liberals” oppose it.
*USA. Republicans’ Keystone XL pipeline bill may soon be amended to include offshore oil drilling in the Atlantic from FL to DE. Update: Senate Democrats managed to stall the Keystone XL pipeline bill, much to Mitch’s embarrassment. But a bipartisan 62-to-36 vote passed the Senate, eventually.
*USA. The US Supreme Court “declined to hear an appeal [by former BP exec David Rainey] … who contested whether he can be charged with obstruction of Congress for downplaying the severity” of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
*USA. Coal production is down for the first time in 20 years and its slow decline is expected through at least 2016 as natural gas replaces coal. International use of coal is expected to grow, but at a slowed growth rate.
“Dirty Water, Dirty Money: Coal Ash and the Attack on North Carolina’s Courts”
*AK. Sen Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced a bill Friday that would allow “oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” On Monday President Obama (D) proposed putting 12.28 million acres of the Arctic under wilderness protection, which means banning oil and gas drilling.
*AK. Saga of the Kulluk, Royal Dutch Shell’s huge ocean-going oil rig—a series of major crises each step of the way.
*CA. CA’s “shale formation holds less promise than … expected. Aging conventional wells are drying up.” Only half the oil rigs are operating now and drilling new wells is down 66%. Jobs? Ensign Energy Services may ax 700 of them.
*MA. Leaky natural gas pipelines in Boston are releasing “high levels of heat-trapping methane.”
*MD. In-coming Gov Larry Hogan (R) has tossed “regulations proposed in the final weeks of the previous Democratic administration,” such as restricting spreading even more chicken manure on fields saturated with it and taking firmer action against “smog-forming air pollution from coal-burning power plants.”
*MI. Uh-oh. “The first wind farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has reduced the property values of nearby residents, ruined people’s sleep and put … birds at risk, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.” Heritage Sustainable Energy and the US are being sued “to block any expansion”.
*MT. River ice will not contain the oil leaking from the Poplar Pipeline into the Yellowstone River since the oil is coming directly up from the pipeline running beneath the river. Benzene present in public water samples downstream. Drinking water distribution center set up in Glendive. Update: Now they’re telling residents it’s ok to drink the water. Update: Pipes that were supposed to be underneath the riverbed are, in fact, on top of it.
*MT. $1 million federal fine against Exxon Mobil Corp for its Silvertip pipeline rupture “in 2011 that spilled 63,000 gallons of crude into Montana’s Yellowstone River.” That’s on top of a “$2 million to settle a [landowners’] civil lawsuit,” which is in addition to the $1.6 million settlement with MT over water pollution violations. Seems there was a huge flood in July 2011 and all companies ordered their under-the-Yellowstone pipelines shut down—except Exxon.
*NE. TransCanada has filed eminent domain petitions against those landowners fighting to keep the pipeline off their properties (h/t wendydavis). It’s “just another step in the process” for them. Update: Hillary Clinton, in Winnipeg, “‘You won’t get me to talk about Keystone.’”
*TX. With oil down from $100/barrel in June to around $46 now, TX is anticipating a 2% growth rate for 2015. Jobs and tax revenues are at risk.
*TX. Baker Hughes will be laying off some 7,000 workers (or 11%), anticipating a “downturn in orders because of the plunge in crude oil prices.”
*TX. BHP Billiton, based in the UK and Australia, is reducing its US shale oil rigs from 26 to 16 by mid-year, mainly in its Black Hawk operation in TX. They’re hurting: iron ore, one of their “core commodities” is down 47%.
*TX. More earthquakes in Irving, topping out at 3.0 mag.
*Peru. Recently we celebrated Maxima Acuna de Chaupe’s major legal victory against the mining company. Of course, this cannot go unpunished, so a local “police and [Yanacocha Mine Co.] security contingent”—with no warrants—have prevented her and her husband from “attending to their farm” and actually threatened them when they protested.
*Egypt. All eyes upon Egypt as it rolls out the “region’s most ambitious renewable energy programs” for its people, while “curbing reliance on fossil fuel imports.”
*Saudi Arabia. It’ll be eight years longer than previously thought to bring “nuclear [17 gigawatts] and solar [41 gigawatts] energy projects” to completion. Gee, wonder why.
*Iraq. Iraq has set a new record for pumping oil, some 4 million barrels/day, contributing nicely to the global glut.
*Iran. Iran says it’ll pump oil even if oil gets to $25/barrel. Iran has also agreed to “expand military ties” with Russia. And Iran says it’s ready to have far-ranging “straight talks” with Saudi Arabia.
*South Africa. Some 58,000 gallons of oil gushed from an old underground pipeline and flooded the gardens and grounds of a posh neighborhood.
*England. Parliament rejected a shale gas fracking moratorium, but did accept “13 new conditions to be met before shale gas extraction can take place.” (Labour proposed them.)
*Russia. Lessons from Siberia: the Industrial Revolution and permafrost melt.
*India. A “pact that will allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology” is on the horizon. Probably eight reactors, joining the 20 Russia plans to build and the six France is building in India. So timely, since nuclear power is otherwise on the decline—except of course in China.
*China. Slowing prices of coal and copper in China, “owing to lack of demand”—are “expected to slow further over the next three years.”
*Australia. They shortsightedly allowed dredge waste dumping on the Great Barrier Reef; now realize they should ban it, “‘once and for all’.” Finally.
*Australia. Ancient eyewitness’ memories of the last time the sea rose 10,000 years ago prove to be accurate, and accurately retold over all those generations.
*Antarctica. Unprecedented erosion of ice sheets, accelerating, irreversible.
Crossposted from MyFDL.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.