Enviro News Wrap: Australia's Heat; Government's Climate Assessment; Shell's Arctic Adveture
GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up and comments on the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:
Australia is becoming too hot to inhabit in some areas. Persistently high temperatures and heat waves may make Australia the first place on Earth that is too hot for humans.
We are missing the boat on climate change prevention, our focus is now shifting to climate change adaptation. Cover crops in the US could help with climate adaptation, and the government might be willing to help with the cost. The Farm Bill in the US is hugely expensive. We could put all that money to good use instead of just paying large companies to grow corn, soy and wheat.
The US government is being forced to accept the realities of climate change, but government moves too slow to rise to the occasion. A new report outlines the very clear conditions of climate change. If your government fails you then take the effort into your own hands and become a more intelligent consumer. If we don't buy dirty products and consume less resources then we can "green" our lifestyles without jeopardizing our quality of life. We can decide for ourselves how to be more environmental without giving up our quality of life. But, if you associate quality of life with driving everywhere in a gas-guzzling vehicle and eating burgers every day then maybe we are all just screwed.
The Shell oil company has been exploring for oil in the Arctic. Under the Obama administration the effort has been allowed but closely watched. In being a pragmatist with an "all of the above" energy approach Obama has essentially said to Shell that if they walk the talk of safe exploration then they will be allowed to drill for oil in the pristine, now melting Arctic. While environmentalists want this type of oil exploration just made off-limits, Obama has given Shell the chance to publicly fall on their faces. The risks for the environment are high here, but relatively small mistakes in the public eye could close off Arctic drilling all together until we develop other energy sources to the point where risky oil exploration just does not make economic sense for energy companies. In addition to exploration failures Shell is also under investigation for violating the Clean Air Act in the Arctic due to polluting the air more than they are allowed to. The Shell response? They are asking for more permits to pollute.Shell's slogan "Arctic Ready" is now an online joke; with an entire spoof website. Check it out.
Greenpeace has their go at the failure of Shell's Arctic drilling ad campaign, its funny and sad and all true.
Texas, the state of Liberty and Freedom, is also the state of drought and water is becoming too scarce to support their economy. Sorry Texans, but regulation and taxation are the means to create a water infrastructure required for modern life.
The dark side of our global market and the "developing" of poor economies is apparent in the growth of small-scale mining. Poor people are spending their days mining with their hands and the impact is not just job creation.
Natural gas is replacing oil. With the temporary cheap abundance of natural gas we could make a lot of our products with natural gas, like bottles and carpet. We may repeat history by relying on a single fossil fuel to drive our economy while the price is low and then when scarcity increases and prices increase we will be stuck with a sick economy and a polluted environment with no easy short-term fix.
Air quality in Beijing is shamefully poor. A new rating gives the city a score worse than the scale can offer. The Chinese government tries to control information like this but it gets out anyway. They even put out false and misleading numbers to compete with the truth.