Enviro News Wrap: Halting Progress at COP 18; Koch Brother's Deception; Cyber Attack in Saudi Arabia, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- The COP18 climate talks in Doha are finishing up and some good things happened. Developing countries got recognition of the need for rich countries to compensate poor countries for continuing to ruin their environment, but the US made sure the money is all "aid," that there is no official bank to oversee the money and at no point is there any admission of guilt or use of the word "compensation." The US is one of two gorillas in the room and while they are cooperating, it's an obstructionist cooperation. Another example of this is that the convention had to have a side meeting about the Kyoto Protocol because the US Congress refuses to ratify it. The Kyoto Protocol was extended without the US, despite that the US is the largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
- Saudi Arabia was just hit by a cyber attack aimed at reducing oil flow out of the country. It does not seem to be an eco-attack but rather a political attack aimed at the wallet of the country. Organized groups are increasingly using cyber attacks to get the job done. Will extremist environmental groups ever feel desperate enough to follow through with using a virus to sabotage an oil refinery or a coal mining operation?
- With Obama re-elected he has the time to enact more policies that bring our energy industry forward and our oil use down. As citizens we need to pressure him to follow through with his promises and as voters we need to vote in 2 years to give the House of Representatives back to the Democrats.
- Colorado State University researchers have concluded that Sandy is not out of the range of storm severity under normal conditions and is not necessarily due to global warming just because of it severity. So true, but the other point is about storm frequency and if we continue to have an elevated frequency of severe storms the link to global warming is strengthened. And, the thing about climate change is that we have messed with something that we do not understand or control, then people that are gung-ho about continuing to mess with our environment demand that "climate change believers" have a crystal ball for the future. The concept of the Precautionary Principle is completely lost on climate change deniers.
- The hotter Earth gets the worse ski resorts do - will the industry go extinct or just adapt?
- More about the Koch brothers. These guys should stay in the spotlight as long as the are pouring millions into a democracy-subverting effort to keep our nation's energy supply dangerous and dirty. When corporations were birthed in the US they were for the limited purpose of providing a public service, now their existence is the public service and we are left with the consequences.
- Trading Carbon Credits is a scheme where the government limits allowable emissions and then hands out or sells permits for each unit of carbon emission - then the total number of permits decrease over time and the regulated bodies (usually large companies) need to either reduce emissions or buy credits from others who have reduced emissions so much that they have permits to sell. This is supposed to allow the cheapest emissions reduction measures to occur in the overall market, its one of those super-smart free market solutions. The problem is that politics totally mucks up the plan and industry kicks and screams the whole way through. The European Union has had difficulty with their Carbon Trading scheme, maybe the US will look at the carbon tax as more simple Free Market solution.
- The US debt and the unbalanced budget are huge deals right now. Many things have contributed our terrible financial situation, but whatever our recovery plans are, if they do not include doing something about climate change then we may go bankrupt due to storms, droughts and fires.