IBI Watch 8/28/11

28 08 2011

Tar Sands – Friendly Oil?

The propaganda campaign is well under way.  You have heard it.  We need oil.  Canada has lots of it.  Canada is a democracy, and a friend of the United States, unlike many countries we buy crude from.  So now we need to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. It creates jobs.   It’s close to a no-brainer.

 

Sadly, the Obama administration is buying into all this Big Oil hype.  Proof that George W. Bush did make at least one truthful statement during his reign – when he pronounced the United States ‘addicted to oil.’  Proof that we will do anything for another fix, the environment be damned.  Proof that grasping for every drop of oil, however hard to extract, however destructive to the landscape and biosphere, continues to have more political support than conservation and renewable energy.

 

I think when you know more about tar sands oil, you will agree that we need to stop it.

 

First – a disappointing news item from this week.  Remember when we thought Obama would push for strong environmental protection?  Seems like ancient history.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/26/obama-approves-pipeline-alberta-texas

 

Next – Prominent environmentalists are leading citizens of Canada and the US in opposing building the pipeline, which will encourage further development of this dirtiest oil resource.  First link – Bill McKibben, who was recently arrested in the nation’s capital while protesting the pipeline, connects greenhouse gases (tar sands oil produces far more greenhouse gas in its production than conventional crude) with hurricanes in general and Irene in particular.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/25/hurricane-irene-can-be-tied-to-global-warming-says-bill-mckibben.html

 

NASA meteorologist James Hansen –he whom the Bush administration tried to silence – has also weighed in on the issue.  I like his use of the term ‘intergenerational injustice.’  Third link is to Hansen’s latest book.  It’s on my reading list.

http://bigthink.com/ideas/17888

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/05/236978/james-hansen-keystone-pipeline-tar-sands-climate/

http://www.amazon.com/Storms-My-Grandchildren-Catastrophe-Humanity/dp/1608192008

 

Finally – a couple of more tar sands perspectives.  Read about how we are blindly pursuing the ‘scramble’ approach, and take a look at what Greenpeace is doing to try to halt this environmental disaster.

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/657135/all_the_protesting_for_naught_welcome_to_tar_sands_nation/

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/tarsands/Learn-about/

___________________________________

Sustainable Pipelines

And now for something completely different . . . and sustainable.  This comprehensive ‘outside the box’ idea was posted by my Facebook friend Joseph Segal.

We could turn the deserts and our Middle Class economy Green again!

by Joseph Segal on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 6:36pm

America is a creative, and innovative Country with a history of rising to meet and surpass our challenges. We could turn the deserts and our Middle Class economy Green again!

There are all these floods and storms in one part of the country and drought in the other. Why can’t we build reservoirs and water pipelines and move water from all those rivers having 100 year floods to the States having 100 year Droughts?

Why not build water pipelines instead of tar sands oil pipelines? The Romans did it a couple thousand years ago.  Let’s bring all our troops home and put them to work on The Great American Water Pipeline Project.  Use the savings from the cost of War to fund it and offer full employment for every U.S. Heroic Veteran.

________________________________________

 

And the Long-Term Forecast – Yet More Extreme

As I write, Hurricane Irene is churning up the eastern seaboard.  You know the usual caveat – no particular weather event, however extreme – can be traced to our messing with the atmosphere.  And yet, the records keep falling – unprecedented droughts, sudden torrential rain events, heat waves, even blizzards.  And then there is that cost angle.  Irene will almost certainly be the United States’ 11th one-billion-dollar-plus weather disaster this year.  Those darned ‘flukes!’  And an interesting story appeared this week – research on what climate change – natural or manmade – can do to human behavior.  Not pretty.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/20/weather.disasters/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/24/climate-change-contributes-to-civil-wars/?hpt=hp_t2

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/08/climate-change-can-make-hurricanes-more-intense.php

 

“Go Clean Up Your Own Hurricane Mess!”

OK, so those weren’t Congressman Eric Cantor’s exact words – but they might just as well have been.  Further proof this week that Cantor and the rest of the plutocrats disguised as populist Tea Partiers will stop at nothing to achieve their prime directive.  That would be to cut taxes on the wealthy down to an absolute minimum level, all other interests be damned.  It’s enough to make John Boehner cry, or stop crying, or whatever.  This connects nicely with stories on empathy and the leisure class, and one on what no doubt will be the next successful Republican strategy to blackmail the Obama administration into extending the Bush-era tax cuts.  And yes – this Doonesbury cartoon is right on.

http://www.politicususa.com/en/hurricane-irene-boehner-cantor

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/657134/gop’s_callous%2C_money-oriented_response_to_storm_damage%3A_”it_is_sinful”/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44084236/ns/health-behavior/#.Tlm8oKi8Bpg

http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/655313/the_gop_demand_for_higher_middle-class_taxes_reveals_they_want_tax_breaks_only_for_the_rich/

http://www.arcamax.com/thefunnies/doonesbury/s-933408

 

Modern Republican Science Policy – ‘Let’s Pretend’

You don’t have to be an atheist to find a lot to like in Richard Dawkins’ new article on ideological ignorance.  And how about a commentary from arguably the most sensible Republican presidential candidate (who therefore has less than a snowball’s chance in hell)?  For good measure, Chris Mooney’s book applies very well here.  The final link in this group connects with an Onion satirical video.  What makes this one so funny is that it is almost indistinguishable from what you can see every day on Fox News.

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/otherviews/128423408.html

http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/08/huntsman-on-gops-anti-science-stances-we-have-a-huge-problem/

http://www.waronscience.com/home.php

http://www.theonion.com/video/nations-climatologists-exhibiting-strange-behavior,21009/

 

Building the Green Economy – Overseas

How about a German town that collects, uses and sells a huge overabundance of solar energy?  How about windpower in Scotland?

http://www.zeitnews.org/energy/german-village-produces-321-more-energy-than-it-needs.html

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/08/26/am-scotlands-strong-winds-could-power-its-economy/

 

Root Cause

The granddaddy and granny of all environmental problems is not water pollution, not plastic bags, and not even climate destabilization.  It’s the root of all those problems, and more.  It’s the ever-growing human population.  We will cross an unfortunate threshold soon – 7 billion people.  And most of the growth is occurring in impoverished nations.  The first link includes an invitation to contribute to waking people up.  The next two are organizations working on this issue – and worthy of your support.

https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=7648&track=E1107A1

http://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/

http://www.overpopulation.org/

 

We are impossibly conceited animals, and actually dumb as heck. Ask any teacher. You don’t even have to ask a teacher. Ask anybody. Dogs and cats are smarter than we are. ~Kurt Vonnegut

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