Sweltering Heat Worldwide as U.S. House Tacks Anti-Environmental Riders to Budget Bills.

Headlines from around the globe show nothing but sweltering heat.

 From the NOAA website:

 Heatwave sweeps across the U.S.

http://www.noaa.gov/heat/index.html

Europe’s heat wave hit earlier in June this year:

Heat wave has Europe Sweltering

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/heatwave-has-europe-sweltering

 Europe hit record highs just last year along with Russia!

 Record-Breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian Heatwave

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110318091141.htm

As of today an estimated 10 million people already need humanitarian aid in eastern Africa but extreme drought conditions along the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia are exacerbating the situation.

Somalia drought forces more people into displacement camps

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2011/jun/28/somalia-drought-appeal-in-pictures

After suffering a tsunami, Japan hasn’t been spared. The final days of June in Japan were 6 degrees higher than the 30 year average:

Japan struggles to cope with heatwave, with 26 dead of heatstroke

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8645326/Japan-struggles-to-cope-with-heatwave-with-26-dead-of-heatstroke.html

Drought continues in SW Australia where rainfall in some places is at all time record lows:

Long-term dry conditions continue in southwest WA

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/drought.shtml

 And the cool weather of Northern Canada—not so much:

Heat scorches Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/07/17/cda-weather-heat.html

But instead of posting headline after headline across the earth, the Union of Concerned Scientists has a worldwide heat map:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/

One would think that in light of what the world is experiencing as far as climate change that our government would heed Mother Nature but new corporate lackeys in the House persist in adding anti-environmental riders to budget bills.

Most Anti-Environment House of Representatives in History Tries to Do More Damage

According to Frances Beinecke, of NRDC, and a barrage of email from my environmental charities our new U.S. House of Representatives is the worst on record for assaulting clean air, water, and our public lands.

Tea Party leaders in the House have dramatically stepped up their assault on America’s environmental and public health safeguards. Last week alone they used about 50 floor votes and more than 30 policy riders on spending bills to undermine the protections that keep our air safe, our water clean, and our public lands intact.

Another barrage of anti-environment bills is on its way. The upcoming debate in the full House on funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department will likely feature votes on even more policy riders designed to prevent the government from upholding basic environmental standards.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fbeinecke/most_anti-environment_house_of.html

Clean water is specifically under attack by new house member (R) Ohio, Bob Gibbs according to the NY Times. He thinks there may be too many clean water regulations. Bob is a former hog farmer. An enlightening read from a former post of mine relative to the hog industry, particularly CAFOS, applies here. Smithfield Foods polluted waterways clear to the ocean with runoff from their hog industry. So we see where Bob the former hog farmer might be coming from. And reading what Bob had to say in an excerpt in the NY Times, it’s all about money first, pollution later.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2006/12/spreading-pig-poo-who-knew/

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/05/03/03greenwire-anti-environmental-house-freshman-leads-charge-98149.html

The problem is that Bob isn’t alone. It looks like there may be complicity among state’s leaders with the idea that water has too many regulations. Just the other morning I caught that little ticker on GMA that stated several states have failed to report clean water violations? Hmmm. Found the story by the AP on Yahoo.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Feds-in-dark-about-some-apf-2889953000.html?x=0&.v=1

My guess is that some of the under-reporting by states is due to problems with fracking for natural gas. Fracking is a drilling process that wastes millions of gallons of clean water to blast each well with enough pressure  to fracture dense shale to release natural gas. The water mixes with gases and chemicals and is toxic. This practice has been blamed for spoiling residential water wells due to leaching from the fractures. The process pollutes nearby streams and water areas also. Exxon claims they recycle some of the water but “some” isn’t all and when we’re dealing with millions of gallons of water in exchange for a fossil gas—it’s unconscienceable. Children die from lack of water everyday.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=13353997

Besides compromising or possibly depleting our clean water supplies, fracking and drilling are costing us our public lands leased to the oil/gas industry. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for leases for drilling/fracking.

Ah, so now it’s clear why all those pesky WILD MUSTANG HORSES had to go. Thirty year-old laws protecting those horses were just brushed aside while helicopters were used for roundups into overcrowded conditions.  We were told wild mustangs were too numerous and destroying precious grasslands. But the BLM is leasing our public lands right from under us while we’re occupied with the economy. That land will never be the same.

http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/march/energy_publiclands_teleconf.html

http://wilderness.org/content/wild-lands-under-attack-budget-2011

The idea that it’s OK to keep forging ahead with filthy fossil fuel  as long as the fuel is our own is ludicrous and at least a decade old, a decade out of touch with the environment. By using fossil fuel we’re affecting other natural resources in the worst way.  We’re invading areas that we hold dear, tainting both water and land, and destroying animal/plant life in the process. We can’t drink natural gas or oil and that’s basically the tradeoff.  Without water we die. Without gas/oil –we’re inconvenienced. The U.S. House doesn’t have life’s best interests at all.

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New Polls Show U.S. Energy Bill Has Citizen’s Support

I caught an article that said 70% of Americans think we should put a lid on pollution. Kind of late now since the energy bill died. Maybe it died so a much better energy bill could be written with “we the people’s” backing. I started looking around at recent polls and that just might be the case. All is not lost. There are a bunch of polls with a common consensus. A good energy bill would make it to law with citizen’s wide spread approval.

January 22, 2010, Climate Progress reported:

On January 21, a Republican and Democratic pollster released separate polls that found that there is strong bipartisan support to reduce the pollution responsible for global warming.

Despite endless attacks on climate science by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other Republican leaders, Luntz [Frank Luntz, Republican pollster], found that 43% of Republicans “definitely” or “probably” believe climate change is caused at least in part by humans.

http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/22/gop-dem-polls-show-climate-and-clean-energy-jobs-legislation-has-strong-bipartisan-support/.

May 10, 2010, A new poll released by the Clean Energy Works campaign showed:

[There was] overwhelming public support for comprehensive clean energy legislation,” with 61 percent of 2010 voters saying they want to limit pollution, invest in clean energy and make energy companies pay for emitting the carbon that contributes to climate change. A healthy majority — 54 percent — of respondents said they’d be more likely to re-elect a senator who votes for the bill.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been pushing for climate change legislation for years, released its own poll numbers. NRDC’s pollsters found seven in 10 Americans want to see fast-tracked clean energy legislation in the wake of the BP oil spill, and two-thirds say they want to postpone new offshore drilling until the Gulf oil spill is investigated and new safeguards are put in place.

Going back one more day than NRDC, Rasmussen Reports found that even after the Gulf oil spill began dominating the Web, TV newscasts and newspaper front pages, 58 percent of respondents still favor offshore drilling. That’s a big majority but a 14-point drop from the 72 percent who favored offshore drilling [back when president Obama suggested new areas be opened for it].

A poll by Republicans for Environmental Preservation— a quote on their website reads “Nothing is more conservative than conservation” — that showed 52 percent of Republicans and a similar number people who consider themselves conservatives support a U.S. energy policy to boost domestic energy production and cap carbon emissions. Even among Tea Party respondents, who are generally hostile to what they call big government, the poll found more favored the policy — 47 percent — than the 42 percent who opposed it.

http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/05/10/washington-math-oil-spill-climate-bill-new-environmental-polls/.

June 10, 2010, According to the Grist: “[]Jon Krosnick’s Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford [poll] results, in sum, are as follows: large majorities believe in climate change and want the government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, make polluters pay, and support clean energy. The one thing they don’t want? Taxes. The public doesn’t like taxes. They want polluters to pay … but they don’t want taxes.[]”

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-09-new-poll-shows-again-public-likes-clean-energy-doesnt-like-taxes/#post-a-comment.

July 15, 2010, League of Conservation Voters poll:

Today we released a new poll showing that nearly 7 out of 10 voters want the Senate to act on comprehensive climate and energy legislation.

What this poll demonstrates is that the Senate is doing the right thing in moving to a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that holds polluters accountable, reduces our dependence on oil, cuts pollution and creates new American jobs,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “The opposition has been saying for years that Americans don’t want a comprehensive energy policy, but poll after poll shows the opponents are wrong.

Overall, 60 percent of 2010 voters, and 56 percent of Independents, support a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”

– The vast majority of voters believe the federal government should be doing more to hold corporate polluters accountable (67 percent) and invest in more clean energy sources (65 percent).

– Voters reject the opposition’s position that “now is not the time.” Even when pressed with false opposition attacks that this is a “job-killing energy tax”, voters support action:
– When asked, only 36 percent agree with: “We need to ensure that BP pays every last dime of the damages they’ve caused, but beyond that, Senators should focus on getting our economy back on track and creating jobs, not passing some huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax.”
– Whereas 56 percent agree with: “BP must pay for the damage they’ve done. But our addiction to oil threatens our security and we need more than a band-aid for that. Senators need to pass real reforms to hold polluters accountable and invest in clean American energy.”
– Even in the face of harsh messaging from the opposition, 57 percent of likely 2010 voters support a comprehensive energy bill.

http://www.actgreen.com/2010/07/new-poll-shows-strong-public-support.html.

July 19, 2010, “A new poll released by Benenson Strategies Group shows the American people strongly support a comprehensive energy and climate bill that includes provisions encouraging alternative energy production and limits on carbon pollution.”

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/170254.

Even the Brits support pollution caps and energy legislation according to their poll. They still believe in the science of climate change even after Climategate.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/11/confidence-climate-science-poll.

The consensus among these polls is evident. Americans feel we need to keep our pollution, especially emissions, under control while we move along to cleaner alternatives and the way to do that is through government regulations for polluting industries. I like what Mayor Bloomberg had to say. No cap and trade. Just issue a penalty to polluters. I say that penalty better be big enough to get their attention (deep pockets).

We need to start somewhere. What I found interesting is that there was a drop in pollution/climate change opinion before the gulf oil leak and after Climategate about the same time the tax commercials ramped up. The energy tax commercials seem to run every commercial break during the news hour on some stations battering people with the belief the oil industry’s penalty will penalize us as the NY Times reported below. Not right. I already dedicated a blog to those lies. A penalty should be suffered/felt not passed along to consumers already paying big oil billion dollar subsidies annually.

April 2, 2010, The NY Times:

The oil and gas industry is funding an advertising campaign aimed at stopping new energy taxes, an effort that comes as it faces both a loss of tax benefits and possible new penalties as part of climate legislation.

The ads target President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal to eliminate tax breaks for petroleum companies, API said. The Department of Energy said the plan would generate $36.5 billion over the next 10 years. The industry says it would cost companies $80 billion over the same period.

The spots attempt to tie the budget proposal to people’s pocketbooks, said Adele Morris, policy director for climate and energy economics at the Brookings Institution.

‘The purpose with these ads is to make it seem these taxes will be felt by consumers at the pump,’ Morris said. ‘It’s to try to tell a story that energy consumers will be harmed.’

[But] the 15-and 30-second spots refer only to generic “energy industry taxes.’ [] Analysts and critics of the industry say the ads also could be seen as an attack on a climate bill emerging. []

‘I assumed they were talking about the climate bill,’ Morris said of her initial reaction to the API ads.

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/04/01/01greenwire-oil-and-gas-ads-target-energy-industry-taxes-10276.html?pagewanted=1.

May 11, 2010, Check this out according to Texas on the Potomac:

Just last year, the oil and gas industry reported spending $169 million in lobbying expenses — nearly eight times the $21.9 million spent by the environmental movement. BP spent $15.9 million in 2009, ranking second behind ConocoPhillips, according to the nonpartisan watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.

Among BP’s priorities was the “American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009″ that would allow increased leasing in the Gulf and drilling closer to the coast than currently permitted.

Over the past 20 years, the energy industry has pumped more than $500 million into the coffers of candidates and party committees, $334 million in the past decade, with three-fourths of it going to Republicans.

BP political committees and employees have donated more than $3.5 million since 1990. The company often has hedged its political bets: Its top two recipients in 2008, for example, were President Obama ($71,051) and Republican presidential nominee John McCain ($36,649). Its top two House candidates were Houston Republican Rep. John Culberson and his Democratic opponent, alternative energy entrepreneur Michael Skelly.

The contributions weren’t all that much, but hedging? Geez.

http://blogs.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/05/oil_industry_lobbying_
donation.html
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So it’s a duck. It looked like a duck. Big oil, and other polluting industries have the money and power to sway things their way, and have been doing it for quite some time. The recent oil spill simply brought it all out of the closet.

That kind of sway works most of the time, but in this instance it looks like the American public still has some street smarts. We know about motivation, but we can also see the growing evidence we’re taxing Mother Earth. It’s got to stop and if we can help, so be it.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/07/the-oil-spill-record-heat-wave-more-energy-tax-commercials-lies/.

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Adventures in Climate Change Website Deserves a Look

I was rummaging around on Science Daily’s website, (really good stuff there), and ran across “adventures-in-climate-change.com” a “Reports From Your Home Planet” website and clicked on it. There is a lot more good stuff there also like videos, blogs, and information like the 5 gyres of garbage in our oceans, or that 60% of the world’s penguins are threatened with extinction (oh no, I like all of them, who doesn’t?), and that hundreds of old toilets and tires have been found off the coast of Malibu. It’s a potpourri of news. There is also a “conversation with Elizabeth Royte to discuss her latest books, Garbage Land: On The Secret Trail of Trash and Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale and Why We Bought It.” Those conversations are on video so I thought I’d post the one about bottled water here as a sample of some of the videos available adventures-in-climate-change.com:



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I’m bookmarking this website as a good go to for new environmental information/blogs relative to our world and everything in it. I hope you like the website too.

http://www.adventures-in-climate-change.com/blogs.htm.

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Michael Mann Exonerated of Climategate Accusations

Penn State University concluded its final round of investigations into the “Climategate” scandal that accused Dr. Michael Mann of manipulating reports about global warming, a conclusion based on bits and pieces of email that were illegally hacked from the University of East Anglia’s climate research and for the most part taken out of context.

After the first round of investigations found nothing wrong, climate skeptics called it a “whitewash.” According to an article on Huff Post by Brendan DeMelle, the school’s response to the skeptics:

In order to thoroughly extinguish any lingering doubts about the panel’s findings, school administrators decided to convene a separate Investigatory Committee of Dr. Mann’s faculty peers and distinguished scientists to continue to investigate the allegation that Dr. Mann “engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.

The committee found no substance to the allegations and no wrongdoing. In the same article is part of the report:

The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann, Professor, Department of Meteorology, The Pennsylvania State University. [It was a unanimous decision].

More specifically, the Investigatory Committee determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

The report even went farther to commend Dr. Mann’s accomplishments within the research and scientific community by saying:

All of [Dr. Mann’s] awards and recognitions, as well as others not specifically cited here, serve as evidence that his scientific work, especially the conduct of his research, has from the beginning of his career been judged to be outstanding by a broad spectrum of scientists. Had Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research been outside the range of accepted practices, it would have been impossible for him to receive so many awards and recognitions, which typically involve intense scrutiny from scientists who may or may not agree with his scientific conclusions.

Of course skeptics will still poo poo the exoneration because they just know better that man can’t possibly affect the environment—except we have a really HUGE example of man’s affect on the environment playing out right in front of us . We can’t really brush the gulf disaster under the rug quite that easily now can we?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-demelle/penn-state-completely-exo_b_632810.html.

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Faith Leaders Moved to Ecological Consciousness; It Only Took a Massive Oil Disaster!

I don’t practice any brand of religion anymore. I have a disdain for organized religion no different than a corporation, but I am biblically literate, and a very spiritual person to the point I see no line of demarcation between our world and everything in it and God. God is in every beautiful thing in the world. The earth to me is His Signature piece. So for it to take this long, and a massive disaster like the gulf oil leak to move Christians to ecological consciousness is just plain heathen. I read the following on ABC news website titled: “For Evangelicals, Is Gulf Spill a Moral Issue?” Well, duh.

Yet, religious leaders like “James M. Taylor, a founding elder and Sunday school teacher at the Living Water Christian Fellowship takes pause relative to environmental issues. He said: ‘I feel that when so-called religious leaders exercise their asserted religious authority in matters that are not addressed by scripture — that are indeed tangential to scripture — they are taking the focus away from Christ and away from the primary goals of directing glory to God and saving souls by and through Jesus Christ.'” Tangential means “of superficial relevance” according Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Never mind the word “earth” is in the bible over 700 times so much so it’s doubtful the Lord feels the same superficiality toward earth. And directing glory to God just may be preserving and holding dear everything he gave us to live here on earth along with a big THANK YOU for that every day. Taylor went on to say: “‘Though nobody disagrees that humans should strive to be good stewards of the environment, by delving into such secular matters, these asserted religious leaders are dividing, rather than uniting, believers. And this is wrong in my opinion.'”

Religious leaders who somehow overwhelmingly lead voters to tip the polls in the past decade believe in some sort of separation between civil and spiritual matters now when it comes to the environment. Besides that, Taylor speaks from two sides of his mouth. He is also a senior fellow of environmental POLICY at the Heartland Institute, but said he was speaking for himself and not his organization. What? The Heartland Institute is one of the biggest detractors/debunkers of climate change bankrolled to the tune of $676,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. “The Heartland Institute produced the ‘Skeptic’s Handbook,’ helpfully printing 150,000 copies for distribution across the US including 850 journalists, 26,000 schools, 19,000 leaders and politicians.” This is one heck of a conflict of interest for Taylor. I’ve written more than once about the nefarious corporate friendly Heartland Institute vs the environment.

The news article also stated: “Galen Carey, director of government affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals was in the Gulf area last week. He said that when he spoke with people affected by the spill, the most often repeated request was for prayer. ‘They ask for our prayers because they believe that divine intervention really is needed to bring the oil spill to a stop and restore all that’s been damaged,’ he said. In response, he said, ‘The NAE has called for a National Day of Prayer on July 18 and is encouraging churches across the country to take some time during their services to remember the people in the Gulf region, as well as the natural environment.'” It’s a start at very least. But again, what about the words “Evangelical” (religion) and “director of government affairs” in the same sentence?

Other spiritual leaders like “Jim Wallis, president of the progressive social justice group Sojourners and author of ‘Great Awakenings’ said ‘he thinks this [oil leak] has the potential to be, some might call it, a wake-up call for the faith community. I think it’s deeper — an epiphany — a recognition that your faith is at stake in something.’ He said that over the past decade, he’s observed that, led by young evangelicals, more people in religious communities have rallied around environmental issues. ‘We’ve moved from domination to stewardship and from sort of a silence of omission to a real focus on creation care,’ he said.” Silence of omission is what I’ve referred to more than once as a total disconnect.

Baptist preacher and theologian Russell Moore believes the ongoing oil disaster, “[]is a turning point that could shape how evangelical Christians view the environment.” He said, ‘we simply can’t be at the place where some evangelicals were prior to this of simply dismissing the whole idea of environmental protection as … Al Gore’s cause and the cause of hippies on their food co-op.'” Is that what they’ve been preaching?

Moore also wrote a blog earlier where he stated: ‘Evangelicals should apply skepticism of government to corporations, individuals.’ Geez, it’s about time. In that blog he stated, “‘We’ve had an inadequate view of human sin because we believe in free markets, [so] we’ve acted as though this means we should trust corporations to protect the natural resources and habitats. But a laissez-faire view of government regulation of corporations is akin to the youth minister who lets the teenage girl and boy sleep in the same sleeping bag at church camp because he ‘believes in young people.’ He said ‘that caring for God means caring for God’s creation. And to do that, Christians need to hold the government, corporations and individuals accountable.'” Again, duh.

After reading all of this, I have to wonder where these spiritual people were all along? Life should be cherished on all levels. I seldom kill a bug. I throw it outside where it belongs. I believe religion is the main reason we treat animals in a deplorable fashion in our so-called Christian country because we believe none has a soul anyway and are therefore less in the eyes of the Lord. But in Hebrew and the Old Testament the word for soul is “nephesh” in the New Testament it’s “psuche” that means “whatever God breathes life into.” Uh oh for us on this one. Looks like we’re not the only members of the but-I-have-a-soul club, so therefore I’m special. And to say we were given domain over the earth, does not in any way condone abject cruelty, wanton abuse or misuse of what we were given.

Where we run amok is confusing soul with spirit or the word “ruach” that specifically relates to the spirit of human beings relative to consciousness of actions predicated on free will rather than the instincts of animals. Until we get this right, and discontinue our assault on wildlife or each other because of race, color, creed, or just because we can, we’re no better than animals.

As for prayer and stopping the leak, I do believe in prayers for those that are innocent and suffering but I’d be a little leery of asking my Father for help on this one. If one believes the Lord can stop the leak, then one must also believe He is capable of letting it run out of control for a really, really good lesson. But then we would be back to believing God is a puppeteer, not unlike ancient Greek gods who used people constantly, a convenient ideology that relinquishes human responsibility for all that happens on earth.

God is supposed to be our Father. What would a good father do if his children absolutely ruined a beautiful gift they were given by him in exchange for more money, greed, power, convenience, comfort, etc., that also had a terrible and direct affect on our brothers/sisters elsewhere? Then the same children who gladly partook in the ruination of the beautiful gift want HELP. Yup, those of you out there that are good parents and practice tough love so as to teach responsibility and self discipline so that future generations grow to be upright citizens and an improvement over the present as a whole would quickly reply, “I’m disappointed in you. Now sit in your mess, and think about what you did and who you hurt, so it never happens again.”

Read the ABC news article: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/evangelicals-bp-oil-spill-moral-issue/story?id=11037539&page=2.

http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute-skeptics-handbook-get-out-shovel.

http://www.wcg.org/lit/spiritual/soulspirit.htm.

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Energy Bill Losing Steam Rapidly

It’s getting harder and harder to pass any legislation in the U.S., that doesn’t have the approval of major corporations and energy is right at the top of the heap. Moving forward and away from fossil fuels steps on the toes of the coal, oil, and utilities industries. They don’t like it. These industries had a decade of deregulation, growth, and huge profits. They want to continue as is, but we see now the consequences of the fox watching the henhouse, or in other words lax governmental oversight relative to the current gulf disaster.

Personally, I’m glad the Kerry Lieberman bill will more than likely die an early death. From most accounts it’s money for nukes, clean coal, and oil with veritable crumbs for “real” clean energy. Too many lobbyists got involved again. It stinks.

So even though President Obama talked about this being an opportunity to advance the U.S. investment in truly clean energy, it’s not likely anything will happen in that area this year. Too many reps are paralyzed by the November vote.

Read more:
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1659761720100616.

This website has a pretty good assessment of all I’ve read about the Kerry-Lieberman energy bill:

http://www.carbontax.org/blogarchives/2010/05/14/kerry-lieberman-%E2%80%9Cclimate%E2%80%9D-bill-is-worse-than-nothing/.

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Clean Air Under Attack; Bill Written by Lobbyists May Come Up for Vote This Week

While we still don’t know how badly the pollution from oil in the Gulf will play out, our clean air is under attack. I wrote a blog about Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski’s amendment that would pretty much trash the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Coal lobbyists wrote the amendment. It’s pretty much a Republican bill with 35 Republicans and 3 Democrats from fossil fuel states backing it. How is this in American’s best interest? Deregulation is at the heart of industry’s problem with cleaning up and that abuse eventually makes its way to us. Industry is run by numbers and that’s all industry cares about. There is no ethical consideration for people’s health and welfare in the mix. Our health is measured by industry in parts per million, a little toxicity here, a little there. If our health were a consideration we wouldn’t have tainted food, toys, tap/well water or be in a battle over clean air like this. I just heard reports about the relationship between air pollution and heart attacks last week, but this is going ahead.

Murkowski calls the move by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions back door politics. Massachusetts vs. EPA in 2007 was an epic decision by a conservative Supreme Court to curb CO2 emissions. All was passed by congress. The public was well aware of it. The Clean Air Act specifically DIRECTS the EPA to regulate air pollution that poses health/safety risks for citizens. So the coal industry with the aid of Murkowski, wrote legislation to stop the EPA. If Murkowski and the coal lobby can do this, why can’t someone undo the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to contribute to campaign funds? Why is that decision a done deal, but Massachusetts vs. EPA not?

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/01/murkowski-seeks-thwart-epa-emission-regulations-again.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/01/murkowski-amendment-to-thwart-epa-was-written-by-coal-lobbyists-come-on/.

Email your Senators/Reps to uphold the Supreme Court decision and the Clean Air Act for our own good. If we don’t look out for ourselves, our health, who will? Industry sure doesn’t “have our back.” This will be a very close decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.

Sign petition:
https://secure2.edf.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1657.

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Offshore Wind; U.S. Finally Catching Up with the Competition

The U.S. is finally able to build the offshore wind farm, Cape Wind, a project by Jim Gordon of Energy Management, Inc., that has been battling for almost a decade to begin off of Nantucket Sound. Secy. of Interior Salazar signed off on the project yesterday. Not a month too soon. The U.S. is lagging behind not only Europe for offshore wind production who have been at it for 20 years, we got behind our greatest competitor for offshore wind farm production, China.

China already has an offshore wind farm and is set to have a world exhibition of it June 2010. But the U.S. Cape Wind project is bigger than China’s, about 4 times bigger. According to CNN.com, “The 130 turbines, spaced a third- to a half-mile apart, will cover about 25 of the 500 square miles of Nantucket Sound. They will stand more than 40 stories tall and provide up to 75 percent of the power to the Cape and islands.” It also said they would be a couple of miles offshore. The whole reason this was held up for so long is that some people did not want to look at them, that the wind farm represents an aesthetic loss for the landscape. I have to disagree. Of all the beautiful places in the world, Oahu, Hawaii’s north shore has wind turbines on the side of a mountain that is also a point on the island and for some reason all the white spinning towers together reminds me of seagulls. They are onshore but nonetheless… It’s a peaceful site depicting a reverence for nature. I also think that the turbines off of Nantucket Sound are going to attract people who want to get a gander at them. If I was vacationing in Nantucket, I would check out the fuss over the turbines. But at my age and the two mile distance of the towers, I might not see anything at all.

As far as China, well the “first Chinese offshore wind farm in Shanghai went online in 2009 as a demonstration project, (we are behind), followed by further ambitious plans to build more offshore wind farms in the costal provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang. Fujian, Guangdong and Shandong. It is estimated that Jiangsu province will establish the offshore wind farm with the total capacity of 7GW and Zhejiang province of 2.7 GW by the year of 2020,” according to offshorewindChina.com’s website. It also stated: “34 wind turbines at the offshore wind farm near Donghai Bridge were installed on Jan. 27, 2010. This farm is expected to be in use before the 2010 World Expo.” And yes there is an Offshore Wind 2010 China World Premier Event for Asian Offshore Wind Power, that is a conference and exhibition in Shanghai in June.
Read about Cape Wind and watch video on CNN.com:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/29/cape.wind.ceo.profile/?hpt=C2.

Read a bunch of stuff about China and wind power:

http://www.offshorewindchina.com/english/index.aspx.

About Expo 2010 in Shanghai: http://en.expo2010.cn/.

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2010 Tornado Season Started Slow, Belied What Was to Come

This year’s tornado season started out slow even though forecasters claimed it would be exceptionally nasty due to all the late precipitation in the form of snow that is just now melting in the middle of the country keeping things cool there while warm air from the south moves in to collide. We all know what that collision means—twisters, big, big twisters. And we got them this weekend.

This morning the final tally for tornadoes that ripped through 9 southern states yesterday is 61. At least one of them created a swath of destruction in some places a mile and a half wide. The group of tornadoes together covered some 250 miles. It was first reported that the 160 mile per hour winds may have been on the ground for 97 miles, but according the Good Morning America this morning, climatologists are thinking that quite possibly they were on the ground 200 of the 250 miles breaking a record set in 1925. More news about this is sure to surface as climatologists surmise where the tornado’s path of destruction began and ended finally ended. Twelve people are dead as people search through rubble what used to be their homes in multiple states. Mississippi one of the worst hit, claims that the destruction is on par with Hurricane Katrina.

I have two questions.

1. How long before groups of 50 or more tornadoes at a time manage to unite into one mammoth mother lode of wind destruction? Something like that has the power to suck a person right out of their basement. It was reported on ABC that the roar of the twisters this weekend left one man partially deaf after his shoes were sucked off his feet.

2. How long can the insurance industry keep paying claims for the annual weather destruction prevalent in the U.S.? We do have quite a variety—tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, mudslides, fire, hale, and snow that have caused sustained power outages, forced evacuations, and great property losses in a great many states.

This was a frightening prediction model done for a mass of tornadoes like this weekend’s on a path toward the Dallas/Forth worth area of Texas, and the resulting cost of lives and property: http://www.nctcog.org/weather/features/tdramsc.pdf.

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See Disney’s Oceans for Earth Day 2010

There is so much we don’t know about our oceans, which used to be called Earth’s seven seas that Disney spent 4 years making this movie about the creatures that live there. And it’s from the creature’s point of view, so it should be interesting. For those of us that are old enough to remember, think “Diver Dan” episodes where the likes of “Barron Barracuda,” and “Trigger” take on a human persona.

It’s supposed to be a wet weekend. Take the kids to a matinee and reconnect with the creatures of our oceans! We just might learn something. Disney’s movie “Earth” for last year’s Earth Day was superb. Disney never disappoints.

Watch:

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