GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Shell is building a monstrous offshore natural gas platform. The rig won’t be ready until 2017, which means that Shell is banking on the world needing large amounts of natural gas in the next 30 years. Companies like Shell tell us that they are a part of the transition to a sustainable economy, but they will continue to profit off of fossil fuels. It’s like a vampire telling you that they will save your life, just after they are done sucking all your blood.
- Obama says that he supports increased drilling for oil in Alaska. He is obviously trying to please Republicans (don’t know why though; as a political party they seem unable to be pleased by anything Obama does). This is the question: is this political posturing or real support for drilling more in Alaska?
TO BE CLEAR: increased extraction of oil domestically will not decrease oil prices in the near future (1-3 years). Also, just extracting more oil does not bring down the price. We have extracted most of the cheap oil and coal; now we have to drill a mile deep on the ocean floor, or boil oil out of sand or build pipelines that stretch thousands of miles though the ocean floor or arctic tundra – these are the things increasing the price of oil.
- Dams, they are supposed to bring cheap renewable energy to market. They may create renewable energy, but it comes at a cost. China’s Three Gorges Dam is fraught with problems as it creates trash islands, doesn’t regulate water flow correctly and has changed the water table for the worse.
- China has maneuvered itself to control most of the extraction of rare-earth-metals. Now that we are shifting our economy towards sustainable technologies our need for these metals is increasing. Yet another complicated dynamic of trying to create a sustainable future.
- A wave-power project in Northern Europe just needs a transmission line for the energy that will be generated. They have been trying to get this going for years now. Building a sustainable economy carries all the same challenges that a non-sustainable economy has, and more.
- DDT is still used around the world to fight Malaria. Which would you rather have; a community without malaria, or non-toxic food?
- The Mississippi river is flooding right now, bringing much disruption to human life. Climate Change creates more opportunities for events like this, expect more of this for the rest of your life. I will stand by that prediction, unlike Harold Camping who predicted that the rapture would happen on May 21st, 2011. Camping’s followers illustrated what happens when you don’t run your life off of logical and scientific facts.
- Homeowner’s are finally changing their behavior due to their large utility/energy bills. In California there are great rebates available for people looking to reduce their bill through energy efficiency upgrades and PV Solar.
- A Judge in San Francisco has ordered a stop to California’s CO2 Cap and Trade program. Environmentalists argued that the program would not actually reduce carbon emissions. California State is being forced to examine other programs that would actually reduce carbon emissions.
- Our increasing consumption of paper is devastating forests and the animals that live in them. Greenpeace has connected deforestation in Sumatra that is killing off a rare species of Tiger to KFC (who is a major user of this paper) and the Tea Party (who has defended the paper company’s right to sell in the US).
- As the middle class grows industrializing nations their need for more energy grows too. Environmentalism and poverty are tied to each other, because we cannot make a sustainable future unless it includes all the poor people in the world. “Poor people” are the fastest growing group on earth with the fastest growing use of energy per capita.
- The biofuel debate is furthered in a new study that claims it isn’t as bad as some think.
- Japan’s nuclear crisis at Fukushima has created a backlash against nuclear power around the world. Our energy sources should not have the potential to create the damage that Fukushima and the Gulf Oil Spill have.