Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous” cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic fracturing sites. “This is a significant public health risk,” says Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.” Eight poisonous chemicals were found near wells and fracking sites in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming at levels that far exceeded recommended federal limits.
The recent dive in oil prices is undermining oil company earnings, projects and stock prices—at least for now—giving new ammunition to climate action groups pushing pensions, universities and others to purge their fossil fuel holdings. By themselves, the lower oil prices aren’t likely to convince institutions to divest from fossil fuels, especially since price swings are common in oil markets. But the unexpected dip could help the cause by casting doubt on the investment case for keeping them, according to Jamie Henn, communications director at 350.org, a leader in the growing divestment campaign. “The primary reason to divest remains the moral and political one—that if it’s wrong to wreck the planet, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage,” said Henn.
When the original thirty-four people started walking from Port of Wilmington, Los Angeles, they had no idea that walking across the country would turn into a life-changing experience. Traversing major cities, hiking the Appalachians, trekking the Plains, and crossing the proposed KXL pipeline route gave them eight months to consider their purpose for marching. Walking 3,000 miles has been cathartic for all of them. During the first weeks of the March, they learned to overcome the physical challenges of walking 15-25 miles a day–8 to 10 hours each day, resting one day a week. The core group stayed together from the beginning; not one person dropped out, according to Jimmy Betts, an organizer and participant.
This morning, a group of students stood in protest against Governor Shumlin’s fossil fuels infrastructure policy after a night of massive civil disobedience that saw some 64 people arrested. Yesterday’s demonstration consisted of more than a hundred community members staging a mass sit in at Shumlin’s office on the top floor of the Pavillion Building, accompanied by a dance party on the bottom floor. The sit in lasted several hours. Shumlin was not present, but requested that everyone act respectfully, stating, “While I agree that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our state, nation, and world, I disagree with the protesters’ position on the natural gas pipeline, which I believe will help hasten our state’s transition away from dirtier fuel oil and help our economy.”
The following Monday [from the Climate March], a much smaller group numbering in the thousands stormed through the Financial District en route to Wall Street and staged a “sit-in” large enough to wreak havoc on traffic and commerce in the area for the entire day. As a result, the “Flood Wall Street” action received more press coverage than the previous day and more than 100 protesters (including a large polar bear) were arrested for failing to disperse after being confronted by the NYPD. While protesters being arrested in New York City has become a common occurrence since the 2011 evolution of Occupy Wall Street, the affirmative “necessity defense” being asserted by the 12 protesters who entered a plea of not guilty is definitely worthy of note because it is so seldomly used, it could actually work.
The new edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) was released by Germanwatch and CAN Europe in Warsaw at the UN climate talks today. The results show emissions worldwide have climbed to a new peak and no single country is yet on track to prevent dangerous climate change. “Unexpectedly, for the first time our Index also draws a cautious picture of hope”, says Jan Burck, the author of the Index that ranks the climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide. “We see positive signals towards a slow down in the increase in global CO2 emissions. And China – the world’s biggest emitter – improved its performance in climate protection.” Canada and Australia are the worst performers of all the industrialised countries, also Japan dropt several ranks.
It happens, we know. You’re picking up a friend, waiting for a food order or just trying to warm up your car on cold morning—and you leave it running for a little while. It’s easy to let those minutes tick by, but getting into the habit of turning your car off when you’ll be idle for more than 10 seconds can make a big difference. Here’s why: 1. It saves gas: If you idle for 5 minutes warming up your car in the morning, 3 minutes at the bank drive-thru and 4 minutes listening to the end of an NPR story in your driveway, you’ve burned enough gas to drive 24 miles. 2. It saves money: Americans spend a whopping $13 million every day on unnecessary idling. (That’s 3.8 million gallons of fuel, wasted!) Also, idling is actually illegal in some states, and violators can pay steep fines if caught. . .
In light of the October 10th Public Service Board decision to not reevaluate the permits for a fracked gas pipeline, and Governor Peter Shumlin’s continued support of the project, over 60 Vermonters are currently sitting in inside the governor’s office building while hundreds rally outside. “We are fed up with a broken, unaccountable, and biased process that is ignoring the clear and present danger of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure so that Gaz Metro and International Paper can increase their profit margins,” said Jane Palmer, a landowner in Monkton along the Phase 1 pipeline route. “The Shumlin administration is ignoring the thousands of Vermonters, including impacted landowners and over 500 ratepayers, who know we can’t afford this project.”
While some in the Democratic Party acknowledge that the climate crisis is real, human-made and requires action, there has been no significant action taken by Democratic party officials. Instead, there is widespread support for hydrofracking for methane gas, mountaintop removal for coal and extraction of tar sands bitumen as well as seismic testing and drilling for off-shore oil. Democrats continue to financially support nuclear energy even though it adds to climate gases, is the most expensive source of energy, takes years to come online and creates environmental problems at every step, i.e. extraction of uranium, processing of uranium, production of energy and radioactive waste. At the same time, there has been inadequate support for wind, solar, ocean and other clean energy alternatives as well as decreasing wasted energy by improving efficiency.
The fate of my country rests in your hands: that was the message which Ian Fry, representing Tuvalu gave at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen five years ago. This is also the message that the Pacific Climate Warriors have come to Australia to bring. We have come here, representatives of 12 different Pacific island nations, which are home to 10 million people, to ask the people of Australia to reject plans to double Australia’s exports of coal and to become the biggest exporter of gas in the world. We want Australia (and other industrialised countries which also rely on the burning and extraction of fossil fuels) to understand that for every kilo of coal which they dig, or every gas well they make, there is someone in the islands who is losing their home.
Brussels – Despite considerable opposition by some governments, in the early hours of Friday morning EU leaders agreed three targets for carbon emission reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency for 2030. But these targets are too low, slowing down efforts to boost renewable energy and keeping Europe hooked on polluting and expensive fuels, said Greenpeace. Next year, the new European Commission, led by Jean-Claude Juncker, is expected to table legislation which will make these targets a reality in EU countries. This legislation will have a profound impact on energy bills, energy security and efforts to cut emissions across Europe.
Police arrested 10 climate change activists who refused to leave the Minerals Council office in Forrest on Tuesday morning. The protesters were part of a 15-strong group of Canberrans and Pacific Climate Warriors from Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Fiji who “peacefully” occupied the office in an attempt to meet with the industry body’s director Brendan Pearson, the group’s spokesman Josh Creaser said. He said the group had hoped to tell the Minerals Council how fossil fuels were negatively affecting the lives of people across the Pacific region and were surprised at the reaction.
Those feisty, litigious climate-hawk kids just won’t go away. Back in 2011, we wrote about a group of witty whippersnappers that filed a lawsuit against the federal government. The premise: The government must take action to protect the atmosphere for future generations. On Oct. 3, those same five teenagers, represented by Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children’s Trust, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a legal lifeline to keep the case alive. Let’s be clear: The petition is a crazy longshot. The Supreme Court grants about 1 percent of such petitions, leaving the decisions of lower courts to stand without review in the other 99 percent of cases.
A major study recently published in New Scientist found that “scientists may have hugely underestimated the extent of global warming because temperature readings from southern hemisphere seas were inaccurate,” and said that ACD is “worse than we thought” because it is happening “faster than we realized.” As has become predictable now, as evidence of increasing ACD continues to mount, denial and corporate exploitation are accelerating right along with it. Climate Disruption Dispatches The famed Northwest Passage is now being exploited by luxury cruise companies. Given the ongoing melting of the Arctic ice cap, a company recently announced a 900-mile, 32-day luxury cruise there, with fares starting at $20,000, so people can luxuriate while viewing the demise of the planetary ecosystem.