Enviro News Wrap: Fracking Regulation; Climate Change National Security Threat; Rainforest Resilience, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- Climate Change is a military issue: Even if the general public does not commonly accept this the military sure does and is taking the coming changes to our planet quite seriously.
- Rainforests and global warming: Predicting how planet Earth will respond to the epic amount of pollution that we pump into our land, air and water is a complex and ongoing undertaking. We know there are serious consequences ahead but evidence now suggests tropical rainforests may not fare as bad as we thought, at least in the near term. By near term, I mean 100 years, but if we do little to reduce pollution then the forests will change in drastic ways in the next 150 years. Imagine Lincoln making a speech in 1863 saying that the forests in the US will be in a major die off event by 2013 unless immediate action is taken and there is no political will to do anything so we will just let the people of 2013 deal with it when it is too late.
- California is proposing regulation of natural gas fracking requiring dirty energy companies to disclose the chemicals they are putting into the ground. It is a good first step, hopefully in the future more regulation is passed that does things like require prior notice of work and monitoring areas around fracking sites to ensure there is no unwanted leakage of dangerous chemicals. It is amazing that companies are allowed to just pump whatever junk they want into the ground and we the citizenry get to unknowingly suffer any consequences.
- The Tar Sands Keystone XL pipeline debate is raging, and a major issue right now is the number of jobs that the pipeline will create. The pro-pipeline interests may be overstating the number of new jobs, but even with their overstated claims we are only discussing several thousand temporary jobs and several dozen permanent jobs. Its small beans, and we should reject the Keystone XL pipeline as a meaningful way to create jobs
- Natural gas as a long-term energy source is a farce. The dirty energy companies of America and the world are using natural gas as a way to fool us in to continuing to use fossil fuels as our main energy source for the next 50 to 100 years. The rich class is funneling their oil money into natural gas and expect another large payout. Natural gas is very harmful to our environment and health during the extraction and refinement process. The big deception is that it burns "cleaner" than oil, but to say that a natural gas is cleaner burning than oil is like saying that smoking 10 cigarettes a day is not as bad as smoking 20.
- Battery technology is vitally important for the renewable energy industry. It is great to produce energy when they sun is shining and the wind is blowing but not all that power is used right away, we need to store it for use later. Batteries are lagging behind and needs to catch up for the sake of the renewable energy industry.
- Renewable Energy Standards (RES) are the machine behind State governments offering financial incentives to companies and people for developing and installing renewable energy. Conservative interests are trying to erode and repeal RESs by including existing hydro power in the renewable energy target. While hydro can be clean, it is part of the existing energy landscape and including it in the RES would fulfill some State's RES goal thus ending State government support for renewable energy.
- Before the industrial revolution of the 19th century Earth was in a cooling trend - then we sent a lot of pollution into the atmosphere and set a new warming trend. It's difficult to say what the temperature should be, but the warming trend is both clear and dangerous.
- Historically energy utility companies have had a really easy time in the market place, they own the power plant and the wires that bring you electricity. But, with the renewable energy revolution people are starting to create their own power, giving them an alternative to the local energy monopoly. Utilities will have to deal wit this new reality made possible by the free market.
- Reducing pollution is an important part of addressing global warming, but climate change is happening right now and we need to adapt to those changes (drought, sea level rise, storms, etc). Australia already experiences intense weather and unless they work to address adaption now they will see some hard times despite their effort to switch over to renewable energy sources.
- Big natural gas discovery in Qatar.