Enviro News Wrap: Environmental Pioneer Russell Train Dies; Global Fracking Protest; Shell Halts Arctic Drilling, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

  • Russell Train, a pioneer of Environmentalism in the US, died recently. Mr. Train’s main contribution was his role in creating the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The US has three options to choose from if it wants to be energy independent; a focus on renewable energy, a focus on dirty energy or an even mix. Obama wants a mix, Romney wants a focus on dirty energy, and then there is reality. One fact to consider is that even if places like the Arctic have huge amounts of resources it will take at least a decade to get that energy to market. What would the US do for that decade of waiting? On the other hand, renewable energy is ready to be installed now and the industry is doing great.
  • Shell is unable to prove that it can handle a spill in the Arctic under test conditions so Shell has delayed drilling in the Arctic until next year. The U.K. is trying to learn from Shell’s ineptitude in the Arctic and some lawmakers want a moratorium on Arctic drilling and exploration.
  • It seems that since climate change has to do with guessing at the future everyone has their own take on it.
  • In many places in the world oil is extracted from below the feet of the people hurt by the oil industry. In Alaska residents get paid out from oil extraction revenues. This should happen in more places in the world.
  • Natural gas fracking was the focus of a global protest on Saturday (9/22/12).
  • Coal is facing low cost competition from natural gas. The gas industry is over supplied and new gas plants are being built while the US government is increasing regulatory pressure to shut down dirty coal plants. This is both a planned process and the result of regular old capitalism. And, the argument that natural gas is a “bridge fuel” to get the US off of coal is one of the main selling points of the natural gas industry.
  • The US federal wind tax credit is expiring soon. Some people are putting a lot of pressure on killing the credit and their reason for doing so is that an energy company should be able to survive without a payout from the government. Is there a single US energy company that does not receive money from the US government? No there is not. A false argument has been created. Since all energy companies are subsidized we should not be asking; “should wind be subsidized by the US government,” we should ask, “how should wind be subsidized by the government?” If wind is not subsidized then there is an uneven playing field tiled in the favor of the heavily subsidized dirty energy industry.
  • San Francisco is moving towards offering 100% renewable energy to its citizens – but PG&E and the mayor are trying to stand in the way.
  • Aerosmith is on a world Global Warming tour!
  • Arsenic in our rice, Beware!

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