Enviro News Wrap: Largest Solar Concentrating Plant in Abu Dhabi; Obama's Climate Commitment; Tar Sands Pipeline Corrosion, and more

GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

The Latest Environmental News Headlines
  • The oil from the Canadian Alberta Tar Sands contains more sulfur than other oil so it is more corrosive and wears through pipelines quicker. Would you want this oil suddenly flowing through the pipelines in your community? Some people in New England are faced with this and are saying no to the dirtier fuel.
  • The world's largest solar concentrating plant just opened in Abu Dhabi. The Middle East is perfect for solar because they have lot of sun, open land and cash from dirty energy to spend on the upfront costs.
  • Some cities like Phoenix are set up for failure when it comes to climate change. These cities have a lot of people in a small area that has little resources. It is already expensive to get clean water to people in a desert so when conditions deteriorate these cities are put in a really tough spot. I wonder when we will just abandon cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix.
  • Obama has still not taken bold action on climate change, maybe because Republicans have successfully tied him up in just trying to keep the government functioning, the minority government is just being a wrench in the gears. What is happening though is that due to the recession greenhouse gas emission have declined in America, energy efficiency is going up, renewable energy is being installed at record levels and all the while we are using more natural gas while the world heats up. Obama is supporting more money for "clean" vehicles, but if he continues to not crack down on dirty energy, it will be too little too late. Maybe Obama was never going to be the environmental savior of the US, and is now thoroughly proving it.
  • Natural Gas fracking is getting attention from the federal government and some bills regulating fracking are being proposed in Congress. We need at least some focused and updated regulation at the national level and then if states want stricter rules they should make those. If so much energy is going to come from fracking in the coming decades it better be well regulated. We need energy, but not at the cost of clean water and human health.
  • Natural gas production and consumption is increasingly rapidly in the Uunited States. This increased reliance on natural gas is making the average citizen more and more dependent on a fuel source that is priced artificially low and uses an aged infrastructure. Natural gas prices are volatile and increasing and this will never change. If the infrastructure is updated, it will not be free and every homeowner using lots of natural gas will either have to pay the higher prices or pay the high cost of switching to a different heat source.
  • Getting pork to the dinner table is a dirty process. Pigs create a lot of nasty waste and even if it is contained and processed properly it still uses up a lot of resources like fresh water. In China a pig scandal has emerged where farmers dumped thousands of dead and diseased pigs into a river.
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