A friend on my Facebook page posted this video. I think it is a Must See. It was featured on Upworthy.com by Adam Albright-Hanna and titled: “Some Strange Things Are Happening to Astronauts Returning to Earth.”
Watch in full screen and enjoy:
I’m sick and tired of the GOP flat out lying about global warming. Evidently, the GOP has no idea that Exxon, Shell, and Conoco Phillips have already admitted to global warming and that CO2 emissions exacerbate the problem.
Way back in 2009, Exxon Mobil stated:
The world faces a significant challenge to supply the energy required for economic development and improved standards of living while managing greenhouse gas emissions and the risks of climate change, said Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Co. It’s going to take integrated solutions and the development of all commercially viable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and effective steps to curb emissions. It is also going to include the development of new technology.
Conoco Phillips stated:
ConocoPhillips recognizes that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate
Royal Dutch Shell stated:
Royal Dutch Shell’s PLS chief said the implementation of climate change agreements made at Cancun last month “won’t happen overnight”, and policymakers must take action now “because the clock is ticking.
I made sure I copied the quotes from these major oil companies not trusting that the links would be available in the future. The GOP flunkies for Corp. America have a way of scrubbing the truth when it suits their purpose.
On top of Big Oil admissions about global warming, Rolling Stone magazine featured a story about gas fracking in the U.S. that coincides with research I’ve done on that issue. It seems that gas fracking is another onerous BUBBLE not all that different from the MORTGAGE BUBBLE that got us into this “Little Depression” as it is now called. Fracking has a lot to be desired. It turns out that many of of the sites that were supposed to produce a good amount of natural gas DO NOT. It actually costs more to frack than the gas is worth. So many major fracking entities hype up those shale sites and simply sell off their leases to none other but China. Do we understand what that means for us? It means that although we many own our land, it’s quite possible that now a foreign entity owns the gas rights below us. That also applies to our taxpayer supported federal lands.
And for those of us that feel fracking is not dangerous to our water supplies as the GOP continues to deny that problem exists, I’ve recently learned that former VP Dick Cheney managed to alter the Safe Drinking Water Act as far back as 2005 to accommodate fracking without conscience for our safe, fresh drinking water. What he did for his beloved Halliburton, one of the leading fracking companies, is insert language into the 2005 Bush/Cheney Energy bill as follows:
“Paragraph (1) of section 1421(d) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (42 U.S. C. 300h (d) is amended…[to exclude] the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities.”
It’s little wonder why as far back as 2005 our Safe Drinking Water Act was amended. It’s because fracking entities like Halliburton know darn well their methods are unproven and unsafe for our fresh water supplies and wells and didn’t want to be bothered by the myriad of lawsuits that might arise against them for not complying with the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act.
Again, I have to state that if the 1% Doctrine also called the “Cheney Doctrine” was good enough to go to war over “supposed” WMD’s that never existed in Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, than that same principle should apply to global warming that affects the entire world. The principle in short states: “If there is a 1% chance that any country that is developing or has WMD’s that threaten the U.S. and/or our allies, it is our responsibility to respond with force if necessary to stop it.” It would in the world’s best interests to address global warming as the threat it is since we can now see, feel, and experience weird climate change in our own country.
There is not one denier that can prove %100 that there is no global warming or that man is not making it worse. There is far more evidence to the contrary now especially with new reports, video, and pics from Greenland that portray ice mass melting at an accelerated rate for which we did not prepare even though we’ve been warned. And that negative feedback affect that many deniers like to poo poo, is indeed in gear and causing the ice to simply turn to slush at a much more rapid rate than anticipated. Gray slush has little to no reflective properties as that of fresh white snow and ice.
Here are all the newpapers around the world that carried the article on Greenland. Articles the GOP and deniers just disregard:
Be warned. We are dealing with a GOP that is dangerous for every living thing on earth as they continue to deny, deny, deny climate change. The future is not rosy at all. Call me a Chicken Little? Well back atcha with OSTRICH! Keep burying your head in the sand while the rest of us perish. The only thing that brings us any type of satisfaction is that we can easily put a face and name on a short list of deniers that continue to perpetrate the lie. We will know where to point the big finger of blame when all hell breaks loose on us in the form of major climate change.
U.S. oil and gas exports are at their highest in 62 years! http://sfgate.bloomberg.com/SFChronicle/ Story?docId=1376-M03ZSG0YHQ0X01-5JR0G692MBGTE60AIHP5SP9EJ8. Demand for oil/gas from foreign countries has increased tremendously while the U.S. has drastically reduced demand over a short period of time. What does this mean? It means that the big push to open up drilling in pristine Arctic wildlife areas, or to abscond land from private citizens in order to run a new pipeline, or the rounding up and slaughter of our free range wild mustangs, bison, wolves, etc., in order to clear them from the land like scooping up garbage instead of living creatures has nothing at all to do with our own energy welfare but for foreign countries. It means we’ve pretty much gained energy independence from terrorist nations. It means that we’re not running out of oil for our own consumption or that we need to drill baby drill. It simply has to do with big oil supplying that which we no longer need to foreign nations for big profits because there is demand out there. And when supply keeps up with increasing demand prices go up everywhere. It’s economics 101 http://www.investopedia.com/university/economics /economics3.asp#axzz1ny6hzw4F plain and simple that has little to do with us, except the fact we pay for it dearly at the pumps, while we still subsidize big oil. http://thinkprogress.org/green /2012/03/01/436001/obama-tells-congress-to-eliminate-outrageous-big-oil-tax-breaks/.
Now do we understand why there is such an outrage among some of us over subsidies, over the destruction of wildlife, and over the destruction of land for drilling/pipelines for a private, wealthy industry like big oil? Subsidies are taxpayer dollars to help big oil find new places to drill, places we do not want them to drill, places we do not want pipelines, yet we help these mega, mega rich private entities with our money. Feels like some sort of investment to me. We helped the U.S. auto industry out one time with a finite sum of money, most of which has been paid back, but not before there was a huge outcry that we’d better get it back and we shouldn’t have done that. Yet our taxpayer dollars consistently fund big, mega rich entities like big Ag and big Oil. Our payback right now from big oil is a continual increase in gas prices at the pumps. One would think that we should have some say so over that. Oh that’s right in most of the commercials about taxing big oil, or stopping subsidies, the people on the street remark, “Oh, don’t do that. That would mean a big increase for us and we can’t afford it.” So who’s the bully here and why is the bully so free to raise prices whenever? Oh that’s right too, we’re told those pesky government regulations/interference hinder big business and jobs. What’s happening at the gas pumps is what unfettered capitalism looks like. If Obama stepped in on our behalf, all hell would break lose. http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/oil-lobbyist-publicly-warns-president-obama-xl-pipeline-or-lose-presidency/.
Now that we’ve seen the proof that there is enough U.S. oil/gas to export so much of it, we must also be aware that any new pipelines from new sources of oil, like Canada’s tar sands via the XL pipeline, isn’t destined for us either. As I explained in another blog the XL pipeline will be carrying filthy tar sands to China mostly http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2011/11/xl-pipeline-looks-to-be-a-good-deal-for-china-not-americans-alternate-route-through-british-columbia-being-considered/. It will cause demand for the stuff to go sky high, with a huge supply in the waiting, and we’ll see another hike at the pumps.
It’s almost as if this is big oil’s payback to us for declining use of their product for environmental reasons. It looks that way in congress too with lackeys for big oil stifling any incentives for wind projects even though wind looked like the most promising alternative for the U.S. The U.S. mid-section is a corridor of constant wind, as well as, our huge shoreline. But congress stifled wind subsidies/incentives http://www.democraticunderground.com/101454189. And solar, well, solar is quiet right now after the dragging of feet to get Solyndra going before China flooded the market with their cheap, incomparable products http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/solyndra-a-model-of-why-the-u-s-wont-be-a-contender-in-the-new-world-order/. All of these scenarios–threatening commercials to raise prices if subsidies decline or taxation increases, stamping out the competition through congress, and creating more and more demand abroad, look as if we’re being coerced back to using oil. And if demand for our oil gets too outrageous, a shortage crisis will emerge—MARK MY WORDS—where it will be imperative that we drill everywhere and anywhere. We will be told our own resources are dwindling and there just aren’t enough alternatives to take up the slack. What a setup. If incentives to create and nurture a new green sector for the U.S. are cut out of the picture what choice will we have though? Looks like a plan to me.
Throughout my previous blogs I made comments about the progression of control I was seeing relative to energy and the environment. I began in the Bush era by saying, “The kings are polishing their crowns. From there it was, “The kings have donned their crowns but just haven’t announced it yet.” When SCOTUS announced corporations are considered citizens, my comment was, “This is the announcement (new kings).” Now we’re seeing a little more clearly those that are sporting crowns and one of them is big oil, king and ruler of U.S. energy, whether we want to move away from it or not.
Read more about U.S. oil exports:
In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he stated: ”I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”
Just the mention of the Navy leads me to believe we’re talking algae fuel here because I’ve blogged about the Navy’s successful use of the stuff in their jets along with other feedstock biofuel. Although the Navy has been doing its own research into this pond scum product, it’s been getting its supply from a company called Solazyme. http://www.algalbiomass.org/news/1499/solazyme-delivers-100-algal-derived-renewable-jet-fuel-to-u-s-navy/ Solazyme’s product was so successful in jets that the Navy ordered algae diesel fuel for its ships. And since the Navy’s foray into the world of algae fuel, United airlines flew it’s first passenger airliner on the stuff at the end of 2011.
We’re finally progressing into a world of a different kind of biofuel, especially when you look at the timeline of blogs I’ve done on algae fuel beginning in 2008. It’s not exactly new any longer. It just needed a chance to get off the ground so to speak. And fly it did. If algae fuel takes off in the public sector with the help of dedicated public land, we might finally find a viable product to fuel us completely. It renews in 24 hours. Our country is full of ponds, lakes, etc. How sustainable is that?
If you read my last blog about Solyndra and China’s cornering the market on solar panels http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2012/01/solyndra-a-model-of-why-the-u-s-wont-be-a-contender-in-the-new-world-order/ then the part of President Obama’s State of the Union address about trade practices in China didn’t go over your head. It should have peaked your interest. I caught it and was elated. The president stated that the U.S. doubled the trade cases against China than the past administration. And he will initiate an investigative unit on trade practices in China. Add to this plans for new trade/tax practices and the U.S. just may return to the an innovative manufacturing giant once again–especially in green industry.
Amen to that. No more failed Solyndras.
Going green has lost quite a bit if traction in the U.S. because of some really outrageous spin and it would appear the oil/gas industry and their lackey’s in congress to be the culprits. Despite the fact we can see climate change with our own eyes, and that some of the giants in the oil industry admitted greenhouse gas contributes to climate change, we’re heading toward more fossil fuel production with gas fracking and tar sands oil at the top of the list. Friends of fossil fuel have jumped on the Solyndra bandwagon of failure as some sort of omen that green start-ups are too risky, and therefore, unworthy business models in the U.S. during a time of renewed “drill and frack” mentality. But Solyndra is a model of a much more ominous nature. Solyndra’s failure is not due to an innovation that had no place in the market, or mishandling of funds, or was too costly compared to the competition, or because it was a vehicle of some underhanded exchange of money for political gain. While conspiracies abound around the name “Solyndra” the biggest problem Solyndra had to overcome was CHINA, one of the four new and fastest growing world economies. No the U.S. is not on that short list. We’ll never make it at all if we continue on the path of fossil fuel for energy and stall moving forward quickly with green innovation.
Don’t get me wrong. China is indeed destined to get most of that tar sand oil from Canada, and so it is in the big fossil fuel burning category of nations. But China also continues to be a mixed bag for its energy sources and moving more and more quickly into the green foray. China recently emerged as KING of solar panel producers exporting its solar panel wares worldwide in numbers far greater than its competitors. But how did this happen you say and so quickly? And how come a company like Solyndra that barely came out of the ground went under so quickly? Surely there was a market for solar just look at China.
Just about all the reporting relative to Solyndra from ABC, to Fox, to numerous websites has been false and totally out of context, the main one being that it is Obama’s baby. Truth is Solyndra began in 2005 with a sound standing in the field of solar panels. Solyndra was the leader in innovation for solar. While standard solar panels look like flat screen monitors and utilize costly silicon in their photovoltaics (sun’s energy converted to direct current), Solyndra’s solar panels sported a tubular design that didn’t utilize silicon chips at all.
Solyndra’s solar panels are made up of 40 individual modules, wired in parallel for high current, which capture sunlight across a 360-degree photovoltaic surface capable of converting direct, diffuse and reflected sunlight into electricity. Using innovative cylindrical copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS modules) and thin-film technology, Solyndra systems are designed to be able to provide the lowest system installation costs on a per watt basis for the commercial rooftop market. More than 1000 Solyndra systems are installed around the world, representing nearly 100 Megawatts.
Lightweight: Low Distributed Load of 2.8 lbs. per Square Foot
Designed to Last for More than 25 Years
Easier and Cheaper Installation
Superior Wind Performance: Ideal for Windy Locations
Greater and More Effective Rooftop Coverage
Design Keeps Panels and Roofs Cooler
From 2005 to late 2009, Solyndra panels were in the ballpark cost wise with standard solar panel manufacturers. Solyndra’s founder Dr. Christian Gronet earned a Ph.D. in semiconductor processing and a bachelor of science degree in Materials Science from Stanford University and was Vice President and General Manager of the Transistor, Capacitor and Gate product group at Applied Materials for 11 years. http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=54334387&privcapId=33681528. According to their website, “Applied Materials is the global leader in providing innovative equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display, and solar photovoltaic industries. http://www.appliedmaterials.com/.
Solyndra had no problem raising over $78 million in venture capital quickly. From Climate Progress and verified by the DOE: “Solyndra raises its first round of venture financing worth $10.6 million from CMEA Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. In October, Argonaut Venture Capital, an investment arm of George Kaiser, invests $17 million into Solyndra. Madrone Capital Partners, an investment arm of the Walton family, invests $7 million. Those investments are part of a $78.2 million fund.”
Funding came from the Right, the Left, and everywhere in between.
At about the same time Solyndra began, the Bush Administration’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 was initiated. Section 1703 seemed an ideal match for a company like Solyndra as follows: “Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes the U.S. Department of Energy to support innovative clean energy technologies that are typically unable to obtain conventional private financing due to high technology risks.” https://lpo.energy.gov/?page_id=39. The emphasis here is on the word “risk.”
In 2006, Solyndra applied for a DOE loan under Section 1703. Late 2007 the loan program was funded and Solyndra was on the list for a loan. According to Energy Sec’y Sam Bodman at that time: “The Energy Department had received 143 pre-applications for the guarantees and narrowed the list down to 16 finalists — including Solyndra.” Why was Solyndra mentioned that way, as if singled out? According to WashingtonMonthly.com, “Bush’s Energy Department apparently adjusted its regulations to make sure that Solyndra would be eligible for the guarantees. It hadn’t originally contemplated including the photovoltaic-panel manufacturing that Solyndra did but changed the regulation before it was finalized. The only project that benefited was Solyndra’s.” Hmmm—heavy Republican investors or what? The Bush Administration, as I often blogged about back then, was not exactly green by any stretch of the word. However, it was late 2007 and 2008 meant a new presidential race. Being able to tout investment in alternative energy might appeal to some independent voters. Whatever the case, this loan program and its admittance of Solyndra on the list was a decision made during the Bush Administration.
By 2008, Solyndra planned on building 2 new facilities in the U.S., and private investment in Solyndra reached an accumulated $450 million. It still looked like a great venture. Prices for silicon remained high and Solyndra’s costs were still competitive. But by late 2008, the loan still hadn’t been approved. According to themoderatevoice.com:
January 2009: In an effort to show it has done something to support renewable energy, the Bush Administration tries to take Solyndra before a DOE credit review committee before President Obama is inaugurated. The committee, consisting of career civil servants with financial expertise, remands the loan back to DOE “without prejudice” because it wasn’t ready for conditional commitment.
March 2009: The same credit committee approves the strengthened loan application. The deal passes on to DOE’s credit review board. Career staff (not political appointees) within the DOE issue a conditional commitment setting out terms for a guarantee.
Once taxpayer money was involved, the Obama administration was reluctant to let Solyndra fail.
June 2009: As more silicon production facilities come online while demand for PV (photovoltaics) wavers due to the economic slowdown, silicon prices start to drop. Meanwhile, the Chinese begin rapidly scaling domestic manufacturing and set a path toward dramatic, unforeseen cost reductions in PV. Between June of 2009 and August of 2011, PV (photovoltaic) prices drop more than 50%.
Some reports suggested that President Obama was warned several times via email that the deal was risky. On the contrary, Media Matters stated:
There was no email to Obama that the deal wasn’t ready for prime time relative to financial risk. Instead Email Concerned Timing Of Announcement, Not The Merit Of The Loan Guarantee. The email argued that ‘This deal is NOT ready for prime time’ because there were more steps to be completed before the loan guarantee could be finalized — namely, OMB had to review the credit rating and Solyndra needed to raise an additional $200 million in private capital. [House Energy and Commerce Republicans,9/14/11]
The merit of the loan guarantee lies with the OMB or Office of Management and Budget.
By September 2009 Solyndra raised the money, an additional $219 million dollars and the $535 million loan from the DOE went through. Around one billion dollars had been invested in Solyndra, the bigger portion coming from the private investment sector. The Walton’s (the Wal-Mart family) Madrone Capital Partners and the Kaiser Foundation’s Argonaut Venture Capital, the Right and Left money respectively, being the biggest investors.
At this point, early 2010, China trumped everyone in the solar game “dump[ing] $30 billion into its solar industry. That is a lot of money for infrastructure as well as research and development. There is little doubt that the companies making solar panels in China benefited from the money.” http://www.solarcompanies.com/news/china-and-united-states-to-enter-trade-war-on-solar-panels
However, China did so in violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which prohibits government subsidies for corporations/businesses that plan to export. To do so allows that country to possibly corner the worldwide market in any segment, which China has done with solar panels. The thinking goes this way. A corporation is limited in growth if all its goods and services remain in the country. In the U.S., a corporation is limited by the fact that we only have 300 million people and consumers are only going to buy so many goods/services over a period of time. But if that same corporation decides to export—the sky is the limit. So for any government to heavily subsidize a corporation that also plans to export, tips the playing field badly on competition that can’t possibly keep up. Since China has over 3 times our population the playing field is already tipped to say the least. The $30 billion dollar Chinese “illegal” dump into the solar industry was a death knell for Solyndra. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/business/global/09trade.html?pagewanted=all
It’s not unforeseen or unusual that from December 2010 through February 2011, the two largest private investors, DOE, and Solyndra “negotiated the terms and conditions of an agreement to restructure the Solyndra loan guarantee. Throughout this process, DOE consulted with OMB about the proposed terms and conditions of this arrangement.” NY Times: Experts Said DOE’s Decision To Restructure “Is Routine In The Commercial World.” From a September 16, New York Times article
By the end of February 2011,
Media Matters further stated that the decision to fund Solyndra, which in turn built brand new state of the art facilities, is in much better shape to garner more when they liquidate. “DOE determined, as part of the restructuring, that the facility would be more valuable, even in the event of a future liquidation, once complete.” He went on to say that “DOE determined that restructuring the loan guarantee gave the U.S. taxpayer the best chance of being repaid”
So there you have it. Advanced solar technology like Solyndra had a foothold in the industry when it began 7 years ago, but failed during the slow, slow process of funding during which time a giant like China decided to dump an “unforeseen” 30 billion into the solar panel industry in a very short time. Did they know about Solyndra? China’s panels are ho hum standard cheap, nowhere near the innovation of Solyndra. It’s a shame we have segments of our population that scream about government helping new industry get a start when our competition does it all the time. It’s not socialism by any stretch, especially when it’s about energy and infrastructure. It’s investment in the U.S. future if we’re going to compete with the likes of China, India, Russia, or Brazil—the top 4 economic powers now. Government certainly needs to rethink trade agreements too now that we know how China plans to play the game.
Kudo’s to California. Despite adversity from the deep pockets of the fossil fuel industry out to stall progress for a sustainable energy future, California completed the installation of one gigawatt of solar power capable of powering 750,000 homes the equivalent of 2 coalburners.
I just wrote about the GOP holding the payroll tax bill hostage for the XL Pipeline, http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2011/12/congressional-allies-of-big-oil-hold-payroll-tax-bill-hostage-to-extort-xl-pipeline-deal/. And now an oil industry lobbyist, Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, warns President Obama, “It would be a “huge mistake” (very Soprano like), for President Barack Obama to reject the 1,700-mile, Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Obama faces a Feb. 21 deadline to decide whether the $7 billion pipeline is in the national interest.” He went on to say that some 15 unions were backing the pipeline because of jobs, which I assume will be the issue—JOBS vs. ENVIRONMENT. However, many union members are against the pipeline, and especially Hoffa of the Teamsters:
Global warming is for real. Air pollution is killing people and making our children sick. And you know what? We share some of the blame. In the past, we were forced to make a false choice. The choice was: Good Jobs or a Clean Environment. We were told no pollution meant no jobs. If we wanted clean air, the economy would suffer and jobs would be sent overseas. Well guess what? We let the big corporations pollute and the jobs went overseas anyway. We didn’t enforce environmental regulations and the economy still went in the toilet. The middle class got decimated and the environment is on the brink of disaster. Well I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! No more false divides. The future, if we are to prosper as a nation, will lie in a green economy.
Gerard reiterated that it was in the national interest to erect the pipeline (just like Hoffa stated happened before) and, “Gerard said the oil group has teamed up with at least 15 unions to support the pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs.” So let’s see the roll call on those unions. Are Teamsters involved after all and speaking from both sides of their mouth too?
Um, someone really should tell both the oil industry and politicians involved that we are in a technical age and cannot lie about jobs lost from not erecting the pipeline. It was just 1 ½ months ago Trans Canada retracted their statements about all the direct and indirect jobs created. The Washington Post broke the story:
TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said Friday that the three-year review process has already imposed costs on his company, including $1.9 billion on pipe and other equipment stored in warehouses.
The carrying costs on those are material, and we continue to incur those costs,” he said, adding that further delays beyond the end of the year could force U.S. refineries that have signed contracts with TransCanada to look at alternatives, either other sources of supply or other transport means.
A key question for the administration is how many jobs the Keystone XL project would create. TransCanada’s initial estimate of 20,000 — which it said includes 13,000 direct construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among supply manufacturers — has been widely quoted by lawmakers and presidential candidates.
Girling said Friday that the 13,000 figure was “one person, one year,” meaning that if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500. That brings the company’s number closer to the State Department’s; State says the project would create 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs, a figure that was calculated by its contractor Cardno Entrix.
As for the 7,000 indirect supply chain jobs, the $1.9 billion already spent by TransCanada would reduce the number of jobs that would be created in the future. The Brixton Group, a firm working with opponents of the project, has argued that many of the indirect supply jobs would be outside the United States because about $1.7 billion worth of steel will be purchased from a Russian-owned mill in Canada.
On top of the admission that the jobs just aren’t there, I already posted that the oil is not meant for us but China and that Canada wants more money from the U.S. for its tar sands oil but has to create demand to do so and that means getting it to Asia.
So there you have it. Lies about jobs relative to the XL pipeline have been resurrected, as well as, lies about boosting the U.S. economy through our supply chain. I read a comment on one blogsite by a Canadian that stated they felt bad the U.S. was falling for the jobs claim when Canadians were promised the most jobs from the project, not Americans. Hmmm. Pushing for jobs wouldn’t be as bad if some of the biggest leaders in our oil industry had not already admitted greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. They know perfectly well that pushing for the pipeline will more than likely cause a magnitude of natural disaster down the line but hey money comes first and apparently China.
The results of the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES back in 2002 is worse than expected. An elephant holocaust is taking place in parts of Africa. The gentle giants will be extinct in some areas if unethical, amoral, and ruthless poaching doesn’t cease. Back in 2002 members of the U.N.’s CITES meeting in Chile decided in favor of 3 African nations Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa to release stockpiles of ivory for one time only sales. The U.N. had previously put an overall ban on international sales of ivory in 1989-90 and that was extended for 9 years in 2007. Prior to that poaching was out of control, i.e., Kenya alone poached on average 3,000 elephants annually. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2457965.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2320901.stm
The 2002 decision was largely contested by animal welfare groups claiming it would ignite illegal poaching again. The head of that convention, Willem Wijnstekers, professed to see no correlation between making that ivory available on the market for a quick sale and an increase in elephant poaching. Organizations like IFAW, Born Free, WWF, and Kenya’s Wildlife Service speaking on behalf of the elephants predicted what would happen with comments like:
Despite warnings and an actual run-up of poaching in Kenya before the CITES decision, the all wise and knowing members of the committee on TRADE and not animal welfare decided to allow the sale of 60 tons and another 50 tons of ivory between the 3 countries on 2 occasions in 2004. Willem said, “The move did not imply a re-launch of the ivory trade, nor authorization to hunt.” He said, ”Instead, it would benefit local communities economically.” Ahh, there it is—economics. Damn the elephants. It’s political. WWF: “The level of political wheeling and dealing and trading on the decisions is worse than I’ve ever seen at any Cites conference previously.” Almost sounds like the U.S. grey wolf—literally thrown under the bus. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2435663.stm
The CITES decision was also based on strong management programs for elephants in the 3 countries petitioning for sales and that “the proceeds [would] be used to conserve elephants.” Mind you other African nations with elephants did not have strong management programs and were unable to ensure the elephant’s safety. After all, Africa is a big, big continent of geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries. The U.N. knows this. And money from ivory sales being used for conservation sounds a whole lot like the U.S. hunting industry constantly donating to conservation. The lines purposely get blurred and the gesture ultimately amounts to more ways to kill critters that aren’t plentiful. In other words, when the foxes decide to renovate and upgrade the henhouse, most assuredly the prize hens will come up missing.
The U.N. CITES committee also needed to develop a system of monitoring legal sales of ivory to see if the decision did indeed lead to increased poaching. The actual sales couldn’t occur until 2004 because CITES was tasked with collecting all the data for hunting, artisans, and vendors that legally sold ivory in all 3 countries and whatever country purchased the ivory, plus a tally of elephant populations in order to ascertain whether or not it would be detrimental or not relative to poaching. Does anyone honestly think this monumental task would be done well in just 2 years?
Oh there were articles back then that just couldn’t seem to confirm the correlation between increased elephant poaching and the 2002 decision even though Kenya has continuously opposed the sale of ivory stockpiles from the beginning. Kenya suffers a severely diminished elephant population due to poaching even though Kenya has very good policing and enforcement policies. http://www.aseanbiodiversity.info/Abstract/51006445.pdf
None of the articles correlating the sale of ivory and poaching came anywhere as close to predicting the long term effects of the U.N. decision as those organizations dedicated to the preservation of wildlife. Conservationists clearly based their opposition not only on the science of managing elephant populations but also GREEDY HUMAN NATURE and the blatant politicizing of the 2002 CITES meeting relative to ivory.
So what did the U.N. CITES do in 2007 despite the upward trend in poaching and ivory demand? They allowed the same type of sale to the same 3 countries once again. And t appeared to be with an even bigger approval by the likes of Great Britain:
To the horror of conservationists, many countries – including Britain – argued that the sale would satisfy demand and reduce poaching. In fact, it has had the opposite effect and led to a surge in elephant slaughter by poachers who launder their ivory through the legal trade. The decision to allow the sale led to China and Japan being approved as trade partners and demand for ivory, in China in particular, has soared. Last year, China approved 37 new retail ivory stores.
By 2008-09, African elephant poaching was at an unprecedented high and auctions for ivory were taking place. http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/leakey-poaching834.html#cr
Elephant Massacre Revealed in Chad
Here we are in 2011. See what man has done? Not just the low life poachers but respected members of the United Nations CITES team that made a stupid, stupid decision against protests for the welfare of elephants worldwide. It was a wrong decision not once but twice. According to an article in the U.K. Telegraph:
Elephant populations in Senegal, Mali and Niger are on the brink of extinction. Chad has just over 600 elephants left, more than 80 per cent down from the 3,800 it had in 2006, while Zimbabwe lost more than 3,000 elephants last year, according to conservationists.
In the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, militias sell ivory from elephants to buy weapons. ‘Elephants are being killed all over Africa,’ says Ian Redmond, a British wildlife biologist and elephant expert. ‘The ivory trade is rampant.
Now despite the U.N. CITES attempts at more enforcement against poaching, too little, too late, the technical world has made tracking elephants even easier. That taste of ivory sold on the market in 2004 and 2007 sparked demand in Asia. Remember the “illegal” trade was loosed by that demand. Criminals don’t follow rules. And the proof is in the numbers of elephants decimated last year. It’s sparking the bush meat trade among elephants now. Not satisfied with carcass meat from ivory poachers, hunters put out snares catching young orphaned elephants too:
Ninety miles north-east of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a baby elephant hobbles slowly towards a water hole on the slopes of Mount Kenya. Its rear leg is caught in a snare which it drags around with it.
The snare has torn open the elephant’s flesh which has become infected. Unable to keep up with the herd, the elephant has been abandoned and without help will soon die of its wounds.
The elephant was not a target of ivory poachers (it has no tusks) but was caught in a snare placed in the forest by another breed of poacher who is back in serious business. This is the ‘bushmeat’ poacher, who kills animals for their meat.
Elephants are highly intelligent, social animals that show emotion. From the same article:
Jolson Kitheka, the volunteer ranger, is still haunted by one detail of his encounter with the poachers’ handiwork.
The body he found was strewn with mud, leaves and twigs, tossed there by other elephants who had tried to cover up their friend; this is how elephants mourn their dead.
For now much of mankind does not get a connection between all living things as being our general salvation. More and more I truly understand Chief Seattle’s statement: “What happens to the beast, happens to the man.”
Read more about the plight of elephants:
The African elephant population has fallen from 1.3 million in 1980 to between 300,000 and 450,000 today. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/2454249.stm
Born Free annual reports on ivory http://www.bornfree.org.uk/animals/african-elephants/projects/ivory-trade/
http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=555686?flattr amount of ivory allowed for sale over the decade.
http://banivory.wildlifedirect.org/2010/07/22/massive-haul-of-ivory-seized-in-thailand/ Just one of many stories of seized illegal ivory.
SAVE THE ELEPHANTS ORGANIZATION: http://www.savetheelephants.org/
If you can, watch this wonderful presentation by PBS Nature series called “Christmas in Yellowstone” about wildlife and one of the U.S. most famous parks. It has breathtaking scenery and wonderful accounts of animals in the wild. Hopefully, it will remind viewers of all that’s at stake relative to the plight of our LIVING natural resources in the U.S. and how some have lost protection and are facing ill managed plans by state agencies.
Watching the film, it’s easy to see and understand better that nature balances itself. These ecosystems should be preserved and protected for generations to come. I can’t imagine a world without wonderful places like this.
Link to the schedule for this PBS presentation in your area: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/schedule/.