Obama gives Congress climate ultimatum: back me, or I go it alone

President vows to push for new technologies and carbon taxes ‘to protect future generations’

Reuters, guardian.co.uk, February 13, 2013

President Barack Obama on Tuesday gave Congress an ultimatum on climate change: craft a plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the dangers of a warming world, or the White House will go it alone.

“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. “I will direct my cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”

Congress should consider putting a price on climate-warming carbon emissions, Obama said, briefly nodding to his failed, first-term plan to confront climate change. Republican opposition means the president’s best chance to confront the issue will mean flexing executive power. Continue lendo

Time to Stand Against Big Oil in the Arctic

Kumi Naidoo, Yes! Magazine, November 17, 2012

Hanging from an oil platform in the Russian Arctic one day last August, I was hosed by a jet of water from above so icy it almost cut through the skin on my face. My hands and feet were blue from the cold. Though I was wrapped in layers of waterproof gear, freezing water trickled into the small openings around my neck. My body was under extreme stress, and I was sinking into a state of confusion. Suddenly I wasn’t so sure that joining this Greenpeace action was the best decision I could have made. Then I thought of the supporters who joined Save the Arctic to tell the oil industry, with a united voice, not to drill in this pristine environment. They kept me warm.

Global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is already driving climate change and extreme weather events. From drought in South Africa to severe flooding in the Philippines to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our planet is sending us warnings that could not be clearer. And the Arctic ice is melting, reaching a record summer low this year. Continue lendo

Romney’s Extremist Energy Plan and the Systematic Plundering of America

Michael T. Klare, The Nation, October 29, 2012

As he seeks the support of undecided voters in key swing states, Mitt Romney is portraying himself as a centrist at heart—not as the “severely conservative Republican” he said he was during the hard-fought GOP primaries. This kinder, gentler Romney was very much on display in his televised debates with President Obama. But a close examination of his energy plan, released on August 23, reveals no such moderation; rather, it is a blueprint for the systematic plunder of America’s farm and wilderness areas, coupled with a neocolonial invasion of Canada and Mexico. Continue lendo

Norway to double carbon tax on oil industry

Extra funding for climate change mitigation and forestry programmes also part of oil-rich nation’s radical programme

Severin Carrell, guardian.co.uk, October 11, 2012

Norway is to double carbon tax on its North Sea oil industry and set up a £1bn fund to help combat the damaging impacts of climate change in the developing world. In one of the most radical climate programmes yet by an oil-producing nation, the Norwegian government has proposed increasing its carbon tax on offshore oil companies by £21 to £45 (Nkr410) per tonne of CO2 and a £5.50 (Nkr50) per tonne CO2 tax on its fishing industry. Continue lendo

The Fracking of Rachel Carson, by Sandra Steingraber with Photographs by Nina Berman

Orion Magazine, October 8, 2012

A maioria das pessoas ainda não percebeu que como resultado da elevação do preço do petróleo nos últimos anos não tivemos uma aceleração da transição para energias renováveis, mas sim para formas mais sujas de combustíveis fósseis, em especial o gás de xisto, que passou a ser extraído principalmente com um novo método, a chamada fratura hídrica – altamente destrutiva para o meio-ambiente, envenenando os lençois freáticos  e dispersando substancias cancerígenas utilizadas para separar o gás da rocha.

É em função desta nova “fonte” de combustíveis que os EUA (e nisso Obama e Romney estão unidos) está agora com o objetivo de atingir a “autonomia energética” em poucos anos. E é por isso que a principal luta ambiental nos EUA é, hoje, contra o gasoduto Keystone, que trara gás de xisto de Alberta, no Canadá, para o Golfo do México. Muita gente famosa está se deixando prender nos protestos…

Este vídeo, todavia, aborda este problema de outro ponto e trata da extração por fratura hídrica nos próprios EUA. Faz isso a partir de uma homenagem a Rachel Carsons, cujo livro Primavera Silenciosa lançou o movimento ambiental moderno. The Fracking of Rachel Carsons alude à perseguição que ela sofreu nos últimos dias de vida, com um câncer terminal. Uma intervenção política poderosa, mas infelizmente só disponível em inglês sem legendas. [JC]

Shell receives permit to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea

The company has been granted permission to begin preparation work at exploratory drilling sites in the Arctic

Associated Press, guardian.co.uk, August 31, 2012

Royal Dutch Shell has been given a permit to begin preparation work at exploratory drilling sites in the Arctic while it awaits certification for its oil spill response barge, US interior secretary, Ken Salazar, announced onThursday. “We are allowing certain limited preparatory activities that we know can be done in a safe manner,” he said in a teleconference with reporters.

The company was granted permission to starting digging with its drill ship in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s north-west coast, but only into the layer of ocean bottom that’s above oil reserves. Shell can dig 20-by-40ft mud-line cellars, which will eventually hold and protect a well’s blowout preventer 40ft below the seabed. The company also is authorised to drill narrow pilot holes, which reveal obstructions or gas pockets, down another 1,500ft. Continue lendo

We Were Wrong on Peak Oil. There’s Enough to Fry Us All

We were wrong on peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all. A boom in oil production has made a mockery of our predictions. Good news for capitalists – but a disaster for humanity

George Monbiot, The Guardian, July 3, 2012

The facts have changed, now we must change too. For the past 10 years an unlikely coalition of geologists, oil drillers, bankers, military strategists and environmentalists has been warning that peak oil – the decline of global supplies – is just around the corner. We had some strong reasons for doing so: production had slowed, the price had risen sharply, depletion was widespread and appeared to be escalating. The first of the great resource crunches seemed about to strike. Continue lendo

Exxon CEO: Global Climate Change ‘Manageable’; ‘Engineering’ Can Fix It

Rex Tillerson says ‘lazy’ US journalists should subscribe to industry-backed claims, not ‘fear-mongering’ independent scientists

Common Dreams staff, June 28, 2012

During a talk hosted by the conservative Council on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson claimed that ‘fear-mongering’ on climate change by environmental groups and independent scientists has been enabled by a ‘lazy’ press and a scientifically ‘illiterate’ public.

Continue lendo

Ártico é aberto à exploração de petróleo

Menos de um ano e meio após o derrame de petróleo no Golfo do México, a administração Obama ignorou alertas de ambientalistas e deu aprovação preliminar para a gigante do petróleo, Royal Dutch Shell, explorar a costa do Árctico.

Jeremy Hance, Esquerda.net, 11 de agosto de 2011

As perfurações exploratórias serão realizadas ao norte da borda ocidental do Refúgio Nacional da Vida Selvagem do Árctico no Mar de Beaufort, que abriga as baleias Beluga, focas, leões marinhos, ursos polares e uma variedade ampla de aves migratórias. Continue lendo

Errores cada vez más profundos en el Ártico

Kumi Naidoo, IPS / Rebelion, 22 de junio de 2011

La capital de Groenlandia está muy lejos de mi natal ciudad sudafricana de Durban, y llegar al mar Ártico es un largo camino para un africano que hace campaña contra el cambio climático. Pero aquí estoy en prisión, con mi compañero Ulvar Arnkvaern.

Terminé en la cárcel por violar una zona de exclusión y subir a una plataforma petrolera de aguas profundas en el Ártico, a 120 kilómetros de la costa de Groenlandia.

Traje conmigo las firmas de 50.000 personas que piden a Cairn Energy, dueña de la plataforma, que dé a conocer un “plan de respuesta a un derrame de petróleo” y pretendía reclamar el cese inmediato de las perforaciones. Continue lendo

Chevron condenada por poluir a Amazónia

Depois de dezoito anos de dura luta, o povo do Equador que tem sofrido com as consequências da poluição causada pela extracção de petróleo teve uma enorme vitória legal.

Esquerda.net, 15 de fevereiro de 2011

Grupos indígenas locais estimam que durante duas décadas foram derramados pela Texaco, empresa do grupo Chevron, 68 mil milhões de litros de petróleo, poluindo as terras e a água em redor. Continue lendo

Chevron Fined $8.6 Billion for Pollution in Ecuador

Al-Jazeera-English, February 15, 2011

A court in Ecuador has told oil giant Chevron Corp to pay $8.6bn in environmental damages, but the US company has termed the court order as “illegitimate and unenforceable” and said it would appeal. Continue lendo

A Scramble for the Arctic

With one fifth of the world’s oil and gas at stake, countries are struggling to control the once-frozen arctic.

Chris Arsenault, Al-Jazeera-English, December 1, 2010

From her office in the frozen north, Delice Calcote has watched big powers vie for control over the Arctic with little concern for its original inhabitants.

Foreign powers fighting for control of the Arctic is nothing new, but global warming, the search for resources and the end of the Cold War have led to a new battle for northern dominance. (Gallo/Getty)”This is our land,” said Calcote, a liaison with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, an advocacy group representing the region’s indigenous peoples. “We aren’t happy with everyone trying to claim it.” Continue lendo

A High-Risk Energy Boom Sweeps Across North America

Energy companies are rushing to develop unconventional sources of oil and gas trapped in carbon-rich shales and sands throughout the western United States and Canada. So far, government officials have shown little concern for the environmental consequences of this new fossil fuel development boom.

Keith Schneider, Yale Environment 360, October 1, 2010 

The most direct path to America’s newest big oil and gas fields is U.S. Highway 12, two lanes of blacktop that unfold from Grays Harbor in Washington State and head east across the top of the country to Detroit. Continue lendo

British Petroleum, después del derrame qué

Katia Monteagudo, Prensa Latina, 16 de septiembre de 2010

La compañía British Petroleum (BP) aún invierte millones para limpiar su imagen, aunque todavía se desconoce cuánto crudo permanece en las profundidades del Golfo de México. Según el periódico británico The Sunday Telegraph, la BP gastó un millón de dólares semanales en publicidad en los Estados Unidos, desde los inicios del accidente, ocurrido el 20 de abril pasado. Continue lendo

Did Consumers Cause the BP Oil Disaster?

Liberal journalists, pale greens and others are trivializing the BP/Deepwater oil spill and distracting attention from the social roots of environmental destruction. It’s time to dump the myth of ‘consumer sovereignty’

Ian Angus, ESSF, August 15, 2010

Following the BP/Deepwater oil well explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, many commentators have tried to explain why it happened. Many blame greed and arrogance in BP’s executive offices. Others blame it on the Military-Oil-Government alliance that views free-flowing oil (and free-flowing oil profits) as something to promoted at all costs.

But some writers identify a different cause. Bonus-seeking executives, corrupt politicians and oil-hungry generals all played a role, but they were only front men for the real villains – consumers. Continue lendo

O impasse na questão do clima: as petrolíferas tentam desqualificar o assunto como ciência

Jeffrey Sachs, Valor, 30 de julh0 de 2010

Todos os sinais sugerem que o planeta ainda está mergulhando de cabeça rumo a uma catástrofe climática. A Administração Nacional Oceanográfica e Atmosférica dos EUA publicou seu “Relatório sobre o Estado do Clima” , de janeiro a maio. Os primeiros cinco meses deste ano foram os mais quentes já registrados desde 1880; maio foi o mais quente de todos. Intensas ondas de calor estão varrendo muitas partes do mundo. E mesmo assim ainda não estamos agindo.

Modificar os sistemas energético e agrícola mundiais não é café pequeno. Não basta agitarmos nossas mãos e declararmos que as mudanças climáticas constituem uma emergência. Precisamos de uma estratégia concreta para reestruturar dois setores econômicos que estão no centro da economia mundial e envolver a população do mundo inteiro. Continue lendo

BP es una bomba de relojería para el sistema financiero internacional

Michael R. Krätke, Sin Permiso, 26 de julio de 2010

BP es una bomba de relojería para el sistema financiero. La empresa se refinancia con derivados crediticios y fondos de pensiones que ahora, y para desdicha de sus clientes, experimentan graves pérdidas. Dos elementos tan centrales como obsoletos del actual capitalismo –una economía fundada en la energía fósil y la especulación financiera a escala planetaria— nos llevan derechos a la próxima catástrofe.

Lo que empezó como crisis financiera mundial en septiembre de 2008, con la irrevocable caída del banco norteamericano Lehman-Brothers, puede ahora entrar en la próxima ronda con la previsible caída de BP. La transnacional británica es una bomba financiera de relojería, no sólo para la Gran Bretaña, sino sobre todo para el Reino Unido. Los costes del desastre petrolífero en el Golfo de México para BP se estiman que rondarán los 70 mil millones de dólares. Continue lendo

Óleo no golfo ameaça pré-sal

O acidente da BP no Golfo do México tende a deixar “no limbo” a exploração do petróleo na camada pré-sal do Brasil, afirma o jornal britânico Financial Times, na reportagem “Realismo sobre riscos substitui euforia na incipiente indústria de águas profundas do Brasil”

Sílvio Guedes Crespo, O Estado de S. Paulo, 21 de julho de 2010 Continue lendo

Fotos poco vistas del devastador desastre de BP en el Golfo de México