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IPCC climate change report: averting catastrophe is eminently affordable

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Landmark UN analysis concludes global roll-out of clean energy would shave only a tiny fraction off economic growth

      • reposted from
  • The Guardian,
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The landmark UN report on climate change concludes moving to renewable energy is achievable. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable.
“It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team.

The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.

The authoritative report, produced by 1,250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, dismisses fears that slashing carbon emissions would wreck the world economy. It is the final part of a trilogy that has already shown that climate change is “unequivocally” caused by humans and that, unchecked, it poses a grave threat to people and could lead to wars and mass migration.

Diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%, the IPCC report concluded.

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“The report is clear: the more you wait, the more it will cost [and] the more difficult it will become,” said EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said: “This report is a wake-up call about global economic opportunity we can seize today as we lead on climate change.”

Last Updated ( Monday, 14 April 2014 01:26 ) Read more...

Chemical Valley

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The coal industry, the politicians, and the big spill.

Letter from West Virginia / reposted from the New Yorker (see below)


(PHOTO caption: When a chemical leaked at a facility in Charleston, West Virginia, lawmakers at the State Capitol were close enough to smell it. Photo Illustration by Spruce.)

On the morning of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the people of Charleston, West Virginia, awoke to a strange tang in the air off the Elk River. It smelled like licorice. The occasional odor is part of life in Charleston, the state capital, which lies in an industrial area that takes flinty pride in the nickname Chemical Valley. In the nineteenth century, natural brine springs made the region one of America’s largest producers of salt. The saltworks gave rise to an industry that manufactured gunpowder, antifreeze, Agent Orange, and other “chemical magic,” as The Saturday Evening Post put it, in 1943. The image endured. Today, the Chemical Valley Roller Girls compete in Roller Derby events with a logo of a woman in fishnet stockings and a gas mask. After decades of slow decline, the local industry has revived in recent years, owing to the boom in cheap natural gas, which has made America one of the world’s most inexpensive places to make chemicals.

At 8:16 A.M., a resident called the state Department of Environmental Protection and said that something in the air was, in the operator’s words, “coating his wife’s throat.” Downtown, the mayor, Danny Jones, smelled it and thought, Well, it’s just a chemical in the air. It’ll move. A few minutes passed. “I stuck my mouth up to a water fountain and took a big drink, and I thought, We’re in trouble,” he recalls. People were calling 911, and the state sent out two inspectors. Eventually, they reached a chemical-storage facility run by Freedom Industries, a “tank farm,” with seventeen white metal pillbox-shaped containers clustered on a bluff above the Elk River.

Read the full story HERE
From the New Yorker, April 7th, 2014

Last Updated ( Monday, 31 March 2014 15:01 )

Exxon CEO Profits Huge As America's Largest Natural Gas Producer-But Frack In His Own Backyard And He Sues!

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Sometimes, the hypocrisy expressed in real life is so sublimely rich that one could never hope to construct a similar scenario out of pure imagination.

Meet Rex Tillerson, the CEO of oil and gas superstar ExxonMobil Corporation—the largest natural gas producer in these United States of America—and a newly emerging giant in the world of exquisite hypocrisy.

A key and critical function of Mr. Tillerson’s day job is to do all he can to protect and nurture the process of hydraulic fracturing—aka ‘fracking’—so that his company can continue to rack in billions via the production and sale of natural gas. Indeed, so committed is Rex to the process of fracking that he has loudly lashed out at those who criticize and seek to regulate hydraulic fracturing, suggesting that such efforts are a very bad idea, indeed.

According to Tillerson, “This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness.”

Thus, according to Rex Tillerson, nobody should have much of a reason to be disturbed or concerned when ExxonMobil comes knocking on your door to deliver the news that fracking is about to become a part of your daily life…unless, or course, you happen to live in Mr. Tillerson’s neighborhood.

In that case, the rules are, apparently, very, very different.

You see, while Tillerson believes that the inevitable noise pollution that accompanies the fracking process—not to mention the potential for water contamination and other dangerous side-effects even when it is done safely (and some would strenuously argue that it is not possible to frack safely)— is of no real significance when it affects someone else’s neighborhood, he surely thinks it to be a pretty big deal when someone dares to get involved in fracking in Rex Tillerson’s neighborhood.

So much is this the case that Tillerson—ExxonMobil CEO and proud proponent of fracking as a key to both America’s and his company’s great energy future—has joined a lawsuit seeking to shut down a fracking project near Mr. and Mrs. Tillerson’s Texas ranch.


Because the water tower being built next to Tillerson’s house that will supply the water to the near-by fracking site, means the arrival of loud trucks, an ugly tower next door, and the general unpleasantness that will interfere with the quality of his life and the real estate value of his sizeable ranch.

Making this all the more entertaining is the content of the lawsuit which, in an attempt to get rid of the water tower, goes to great effort to lay out the problems experienced by those who are subjected to the fracking process—problems that Tillerson has always been quick to dismiss when his company picks a location that is not in his own neighborhood. Of course, none of the concerns set forth in his lawsuit ever seemed to trouble Mr. Tillerson when these issues were relevant to someone else’s home and quality of life—particularly if that ‘someone else’ lacked the resources to challenge the practices in court as Mr. Tillerson has elected to do.

The Wall Street Journal, says it all quite nicely—

“BARTONVILLE, Texas—One evening last November, a tall, white-haired man turned up at a Town Council meeting to protest construction of a water tower near his home in this wealthy community outside Dallas.

The man was Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp.

He and his neighbors had filed suit to block the tower, saying it is illegal and would create “a noise nuisance and traffic hazards,” in part because it would provide water for use in hydraulic fracturing. Fracking, which requires heavy trucks to haul and pump massive amounts of water, unlocks oil and gas from dense rock and has helped touch off a surge in U.S. energy output.

It also is a core part of Exxon’s business.”


(Continue reading)

Making this even more deliciously enjoyable is the name of the lead plaintiffs in the case.

That would be Mr. and Mrs. Dick Armey…as in former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey who is also the former Chairman of FreedomWorks Dick Armey.

FreedomWorks is, of course, the well financed (thanks to the Koch Brothers) Tea Party organization that has been been a vocal and avid proponent of fracking.

In reporting on a 2012 legislative hearing in North Carolina to consider fracking in the state, Facing South noted—

“Other pro-fracking proponents included activists with FreedomWorks, a nonprofit organization chaired by former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) that has been heavily involved in the tea party movement. They repeated a slogan — “Shale YES!” — that was also emblazoned on their T-shirts and the signs some waved outside the civic center before the hearing.”

If anyone has a better nominee than Rex Tillerson for this month’s Hypocrite Hall of Fame I’d like to know who it is.

In my mind, Tillerson now stands tall not only as a giant of the natural gas and oil industry but has managed to scale the loftiest of heights where he shall breathe that rarest of air inhaled only by a very special breed—corporate giants who will gladly profit from your misfortune and misery so long as what they peddle to you does not impinge on their own fine quality of life.

Way to go Rex. I’m sure you can expect one hell of a great stock option bonus in your Christmas stocking this year.

Contact Rick at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Reposted from HERE

Last Updated ( Sunday, 02 March 2014 02:57 )
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