GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
Energy policy in the United States:
- The amount of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is spilled annually in Nigeria. Communities are permanently decimated. This is where the energy to power your car comes from.
- But, there is hope. In California the largest utilities source 17% of their energy from renewables.
- A large reason for the success of renewable energy has been financial support from the US federal government (the US government gives more money to dirty energy than clean energy), although government support for solar will expire in 2016, and support for wind will expire next year.
- The CEO of GE says wind does need the support anyway. Solar is taking hold on the east and west coast of the US, but the central south of the US is letting itself lose out in the new energy economy. The “South” is becoming lost in the past with their deregulated energy market, lack of government health services, lack of jobs or any steady industry that provides “good jobs” besides prisons; the South is what you get when we deregulate industry and de-fund the government. I support regulation and funding the government if what you get is the west and east coast of the US.
And in other environmental news…
- Dow Chemical claims it can produce polyethylene from sugarcane for cheaper than fossil fuels can. Wow, yes, do that then if the impact is really less. We can’t stop the global reliance on plastic products just yet, but we can at least make it less bad for the environment.
- The natural gas industry wants you to believe that they can deliver energy for less environmental impact than oil, but don’t be fooled, the overall impact is barely better, the only claim that they can cling to is that at least its “cleaner” than coal or oil when burned.
- Electric planes are in the making.
- Estimating the environmental damage and economic of CO2 emissions. If it can be shown that reducing environmental damage costs less than paying the cost to shield ourselves from continued damage, then we can make the argument that we should preserve nature instead of destroy it in some scenario that resembles The Lorax.
- The Green Revolution in the 1960s increased global food production at the cost of the quality of our natural environment, now the focus is on African food production. One paradox that must be overcome is that when you increase the amount of food suddenly the price of food drops suddenly and people are left with no ability to sell their product for a profit thus they are unable to buy food, yet there is plenty of food.
- Determining the speed and extent of global warming has some scientists wondering if ice will melt as we once thought it would. One dynamic in play is that an environmental effort to reduce pollution emissions reduces sulfur emissions as well, sulfur in the atmosphere reduces global temperatures.