Enviro News Wrap: Inhofe's Embrace of Breathing Mercury; Mitt Romney the Environmentalist; the Myth of Clean Natural Gas, and more...
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
- In April the EPA put a ruling into effect that limits mercury emissions so stringently that many old coal fired power plants will be de-commissioned in the next 4 years. Now Republican Senator James Inhofe, a longtime supporter of air pollution, is trying to pass a law that would undo the rule. The regular old argument is that clean air regulations will kill jobs and bring up the price of electricity. But, thousands of Americans are affected every year by death, disease and birth defects from mercury emissions. If we paid a little more for our energy then we wouldn't have to hurt ourselves to keep prices so low.
- When we extract natural gas some of it leaks into the atmosphere, if enough leaks then natural gas can have a worse effect on the climate than coal. When will the myth of clean natural gas be fully exposed?
- Carbon Capture and Sequestration technology is meant to give us "clean coal," but we have to sequester the carbon somewhere. This will surely disrupt the environment, as does any large-scale project that humans do. And, all that money we are spending on distracting technologies like CCS could be spent on proven technologies, like solar and wind.
- Mitt Romney has sold out to dirty energy (feign surprise!). As Governor he supported renewable energy and believed in climate change, now he attacks both. A Romney cabinet would be a great defeat for environmentalism.
- Despite the negative media attention the renewable energy industry is growing. Solar is doing well and the Chinese module tariff will just be a bump in the road.
- Republicans are attacking Obama for attacking the Koch brothers. Well, the Koch brothers are spending $100 million to attack Obama, and sometimes with clearly false claims. The Koch brothers are anti-environmentalists and have been involved in the development of the Canadian Tar Sands decades before you ever heard of them.
- Despite the need and urgency of adopting international agreements to address climate change and sustainability, they remain as unlikely as ever because of one country, the USA. Despite the inability for the U.S. to lead, most of the world is struggling to address climate change.
- Only a month ago the price of oil was low, now it is back up again. The market needs to recognize that the price of oil is going to stay high in the long term so that we can start spending our money to grow alternative industries.
- Batteries play a central role in the advancement of renewable energy. The less expensive, safer, smaller and lighter batteries are, the better.
- Biodiversity plays a mysterious and crucial role in all ecosystems and humans are working hard to disrupt a dynamic that we scarcely understand.