High Gas Prices Result of Huge U.S. Oil/Gas Exports; New Drilling/Pipelines Obviously Not Meant for U.S.

 

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:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-31/united-states-export/52298812/1

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/column-us-exports-energy-independence-idUSL5E7MU6OT20111130

 

 

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Solyndra a Model of Why the U.S. Won’t Be a Contender in the New World Order

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

http://www.solyndra.com/technology-products/

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.

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/09/13/317594/timeline-bush-administration-solyndra-loan-guarantee/

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.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_09/solyndras_republican_paternity032460.php

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.

http://themoderatevoice.com/122532/solyndra-and-bush/

Cleantechnica.com reported:

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%.

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/09/15/solyndra-advanced-by-bush-for-2-years-solyndra-timeline/

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.

  • OMB reviews and must approve credit subsidy cost estimates for all loan and loan guarantee programs, including the credit subsidy cost estimates generated by DOE for the Title XVII program, to ensure that costs are accounted for appropriately.
  • OMB assesses cost estimates on a loan-by-loan basis because the Title XVII program provides relatively large-dollar guarantees and because their characteristics, terms, and risks vary greatly from project to project.
  • OMB delegates the modeling of credit subsidy costs to agencies, and issues implementing guidance to ensure consistent and accurate estimates of cost.
  • OMB works closely with agencies to create or revise credit subsidy models for new programs or programs issuing their first loans or loan guarantees, such as the Title XVII program in 2009,
  • Based on these models, OMB reviews and exercises final approval authority over credit subsidy costs to ensure that the costs of direct loans and loan guarantees are presented, and reflect estimated risks, consistently across Federal agencies so that taxpayer funds are invested in a prudent and effective fashion.
  • The final decision on whether to issue the loan or guarantee rests with the agency implementing the applicable program – DOE in the case of Title XVII.

http://mediamatters.org/research/201109190020.

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,

  • Both Argonaut and Madrone added a combined $69 million in emergency funds to Solyndra.
  • DOE agreed to extend the term of Solyndra’s loan guarantee from seven to 10 years, and to postpone the first repayment installment by one year, from 2012 to 2013.
  • In addition, the agreement provided that, in the event of the company’s liquidation before 2013, the investors have the senior secured position with respect to the first $75 million recovered. In this case, it is not the full $75 million but rather the $69 million in emergency funds as stated, “The two firms gave the company a total of $69 million in emergency loans. The loans are the only portion of their investments that have repayment priority above the U.S. government. [Associated Press,9/16/11].
  • DOE has the second senior secured position with respect to the next $150 million recovered in liquidation. This is taxpayer money
  • If Solyndra had not liquidated or declared bankruptcy by 2013, the investors would have lost their senior secured position to DOE. [House Energy and Commerce Committee, 9/12/11]

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”

http://mediamatters.org/research/201109190020

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.

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PBS Nature: Christmas in Yellowstone

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/.

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XL Pipeline Gets New Commitments Although Top Oil Companies Admitted Greenhouse Gas Causes Climate Change; A Travesty for Our Future

The XL Pipeline appears to be a done deal if you search the Internet. The links I’ve referenced below are all pretty much the same with breaking news that additional commitments have been made with TransCanada to deliver tar sands oil via the XL Pipeline from Canada to Houston. What ALL of the articles fail to disclose is just who these “new” commitments are? Is it U.S. big oil, the Koch Brothers, China, who? Did these new binding commitments come from GOP members of our congress that attached the XL Pipeline rider to the Payroll Tax Cut bill? None of the articles relate anything about the new attachment to the Payroll Tax Cuts but it sure seems a coincidence the rider appeared a few days ago and then TransCanada made its announcement about new commitments.

An article in the Vancouver Sun http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Keystone
+pipeline+delay+tragedy/5868403/story.html
about TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling
pretty much says the same but that he wants no part of the wrangling going on in congress over it. Suuuuuuurrrrre. Liar. TransCanada has been lobbying big time for this pipeline. After the demonstrations against the pipeline TransCanada knew it would more than likely come to an act of congress to get their wish. That 100 million dollar sucker their dangling in front of us as a big benefit to the U.S. will never make it to the average citizen. Any profits will go to big oil’s coffers and fuel a backlash for more dirty energy. As for us, the gas at the pump will go sky high. Truth is Canada has been rubbing its palms together to raise prices at the pump for its oil to the U.S. for awhile. The plan is to create greater demand for the dirty crude by shipping it directly to Asia. A billion waiting consumers in China will do the trick.

Read about it:

http://dirtyoilsands.org/midwestgas.
http://stopbigoilripoffs.com/documents.
http://sierraclub.typepad.com/carlpope/2011/08/tar-sands-oil-keystone.html.
http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/10/28/356486/promoting-tar-sands-myths-cnns-steve-hargreaves-bets-keystone-xl-pipeline-will-be-approved/.

This is going to get nasty before it gets better. Using jobs to extort new filthy energy after big oil including Exxon admitted greenhouse gases contribute to climate change is suicide. And they want to take us with them. Oh we’ll have pocketfuls of money according to the pipeline supporters. Another suuuuurrrre!!! What good will that do against the wrath of Mother Nature in the end? And the trip to that end will be filled with more strange autoimmune diseases for our children due to pollution not to mention asthma and lung related problems. If we really liked the downpours, flooding, drought, and fires we’ve been experiencing there will surely be encore productions of that too.

Not long ago 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.

.
http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/14/14greenwire-exxon-sinks-600m-into-algae-based-biofuels-in-33562.html.

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

http://www.conocophillips.com/EN/susdev/policies/climate_change_position/Pages/index.aspx.

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.

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/you-know-climate-change-is-real-when-the-ceo-of-shell-states-the-clock-is-ticking-and-we-need-to-take-action-now/.

Links to articles about the “new commitments” to the XL Pipeline:

http://www.transcanada.com/5907.html.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/TransCanada-Announces-iw-1226478735.html.

http://www.bloomberg.com/article/2011-12-15/arEDwAwsRxw0.html.

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While XL Pipeline Stalls, Gas Fracking Comes Under Closer Scrutiny for Contaminated Aquifer

According to Credo and a host of other environmental organizations, “The State Department and Obama Administration announced today that they will re-evaluate the route of the Keystone XL pipeline, and restart their environmental assessment, which take until at least the beginning of 2013 to complete.” So the new XL pipeline is stalled—for now. But in another email I received from Pro Publica, the EPA found a fracking compound in a Wyoming aquifer in an area plagued by citizen’s complaints their water was contaminated.
ProPublica’s article stated:

The Pavillion area [in Wyoming] has been drilled extensively for natural gas over the last two decades and is home to hundreds of gas wells. Residents have alleged for nearly a decade [1] that the drilling — and hydraulic fracturing in particular — has caused their water to turn black and smell like gasoline. Some residents say they suffer neurological impairment [5], loss of smell, and nerve pain they associate with exposure to pollutants.
The gas industry — led by the Canadian company EnCana, which owns the wells in Pavillion — has denied that its activities are responsible for the contamination. EnCana has, however, supplied drinking water to residents.

This information is based on raw sampling data but the article went on to say:

The chemical compounds the EPA detected are consistent with those produced from drilling processes, including one — a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) — widely used in the process of hydraulic fracturing. The agency said it had not found contaminants such as nitrates and fertilizers that would have signaled that agricultural activities were to blame.
The wells also contained benzene at 50 times the level that is considered safe for people, as well as phenols — another dangerous human carcinogen — acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel.

I would say the people in that area and other fracking areas across the U.S. have a “legitimate” complaint now. This discovery will certainly open a big can of worms for the fracking industry.

READ THE WHOLE STORY at ProPublica’s website:
. http://www.propublica.org/article/epa-finds-fracking-compound-in-wyoming-aquifer.

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Weather Wake Up Call for U.S. as Congress Keeps Pushing for More Fossil Fuel Energy

I know I’m not the only one linking greenhouse gas emissions to global climate change to all the horrendously bad weather pummeling the U.S. lately. The east coast is still without power from Hurricane Irene. A new hurricane Katia is churning up in the Atlantic along with a new tropical storm promising to drop a huge amount of rainfall on New Orleans again missing Texas for relief from the record drought there.

At the same time, it’s been a busy 24 hours for earthquake activity in the U.S. In the late morning hours today, 3 earthquakes hit Alaska’s Aleutian Island area. One was 6.8 that triggered a tsunami warning for the U.S. western coastline between 7:30 and 8:00 am while another 4.2 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area yesterday at 1:47 in the afternoon. If we look at the world map for earthquakes there was substantial seismic activity from the southern hemisphere along Australia north to the ring of fire areas of the Indian Ocean arcing around the pacific basin up to Alaska.

Worldwide earthquakes with M4.5+ located by USGS and Contributing Agencies.
(Earthquakes with M2.5+ within the United States and adjacent areas.)

If all of this challenging weather isn’t a wake up call to get moving on sustainable alternatives, then our reps in Congress and some presidential candidates pushing the filthy tar sands project that will ultimately burn 6X dirtier than usual and hawking our substantial caches of coal are representing Big Oil/Gas/Coal and not our health and welfare.

There is no denying the entire world is suffering from increasingly greater extremes of weather with summers at record highs and winters with increasing precipitation in the form of snow in places like Florida. But politics, at least in the U.S. continues to polarize viewpoints about global climate on behalf of Big Energy Industries, using jobs vs. environment as a ploy to divide U.S. citizens once again. Divide and conquer is not just a saying—it works. Because while were fighting/arguing climate change points with each other, congress is passing anti-environmental laws right under our noses. These laws are a direct affront to our clean air, water, and the EPA that is in place for our safety and welfare and have less to do with jobs than deregulation. Think about it. Jobs can be created in many industries. New jobs in new industries would be nice expanding all sorts of related jobs in engineering, science, and the technical fields for a new generation looking to the future not fearing it. On the other hand, once Mother Nature turns on us that’s it.

Are we absolutely positive human activity is not affecting climate change because I’m seeing videos of huge cesspools of plastic gyres growing in size in our oceans? Just because we can’t see pollution is no assurance it’s not there.

So as Mother Nature bears down on our east coast, the gulf, and rumbles the west coast to Alaska, maybe we should forget politics entangled with enormous lobbyist activity from the wealthiest of industries Big Oil/Gas/Coal. Maybe we should use some good ole street smarts believing what we see and experience because what we’re experiencing is advancing global climate change whether it’s politically correct to believe it or not.

To those that continue to follow a political line concerning global climate change that diss the idea that man’s pollution is a catalyst for the horrendous weather we’re experiencing, than why not apply the same 1% principle as we did to enter a war with Iraq that half our citizens never wanted. Former VP Cheney’s one percent principle as applied to global climate change would read like this:

If there is even a 1% chance that human activity such as greenhouse gas emissions is causing accelerated global climate change, then it is our duty to do all that we can to stop that activity for the welfare of mankind everywhere.

There is little argument against this principle because while deniers claim science can’t prove greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, deniers can’t prove those greenhouse gas emission aren’t causing a problem either. This principle covers the bases. If was good enough for the U.S. to wage war in a country that had nothing to do with the U.S. terrorist attacks or WMD’s, than it’s good enough to save citizens of this country from the devastation Mother Nature can cause that can far exceed any war. Because while we were battered with fear tactics for almost a decade regarding terrorism, no one has stepped forward to churn the same fear for the wrath of Mother Nature when we can clearly see that she is indeed our greatest threat. Attacks by her are happening along our coastlines all at once right now and fewer dollars to recover from it. There may be more, increasingly worse weather if we fail to act.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/

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Hurricane Irene a Whopper at 1/3 the Size of the Eastern U.S.

Checked Science Daily to find what the satellites show for hurricane Irene. Well she’s a whopper at 1/3 the size of the Eastern U.S. Science Daily’s website stated:

NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite saw Hurricane Irene moving through the Bahamas on August 25, 2011 at 10:02 a.m. EDT and far to the east off the African coast was newly born Tropical Depression 10. The GOES-13 image shows Irene to be almost one third of the size of the U.S. east coast. The distance from Augusta, Maine to Miami, Florida is 1662.55 miles. Hurricane Irene’s tropical storm-force winds extend 255 miles from the center making Irene 510 miles in diameter, almost one-third the size of the U.S. Hurricane-force winds extend 70 miles from the center, or 140 miles in diameter.

GOES-13 images and animations are created at NASA’s GOES Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Check out the satellite pic:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825135148.htm

Another article from Science Daily stated, “The Stevens Center for Maritime Systems (CMS), ocean researchers manage a large network of submerged sensors throughout the New York Harbor region, from the South Jersey shore to the eastern end of Long Island and north up the Hudson River.” Besides looking at the usual criteria for measuring a storm the researchers are concerned about storm surge and erosion and so they are also looking at lunar activity. It seems the moon will be closest to earth when Hurricane Irene is supposed to hit the coast. As the article explained:

Lunar activity is expected to play a large role in influencing the storm’s impact on the coast. Irene will arrive at both perigee, when the Moon’s elliptical orbit brings it closest to Earth, and the new moon, when the Moon and sun are aligned on the same side of our planet. Both the Moon’s position and phase will intensify gravitational effects on the tides, causing greater tidal ranges.

Currently, Irene is modeled to travel up the New Jersey coast during the incoming tide on Sunday. The time of passage is expected to generate significant storm surge impacts along the northern New Jersey Coast before the hurricane makes landfall in western Long Island that evening. Waves with heights over 20 feet are expected on the shelf, generating large breaks on shore and significant beach erosion. For regional beaches, this is a vastly different outlook compared to last year’s Hurricane Earl, which stayed further out in the Atlantic and produced long, low waves that probably reversed erosion by pushing sand onto the shore.

Wednesday, August 24, CMS began releasing short statements on Hurricane Irene that describes these latent conditions that can alter the effect of the storm on the region’s busy and heavily populated coast.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110825152505.htm

I wonder if all the deniers that poo poo science are paying attention to the forecast now? Do they realize that all the people preparing /evacuating for this storm are readily listening to what climate scientists are telling them about Hurricane Irene? Without science we’d be in the dark about so many things—literally.

God bless all who look to weather this storm. It’s up the coast a lot farther than we normally expect, more buildings, more people.

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Earthquakes Rattle Virginia and Colorado as North American Plate Gets a Shove

 Today’s earthquake in Virginia is rare, ur um, kinda rare since it was the worst since 1897 when another 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia. There was a 4.2 aftershock reported just a short time ago too. It’s rare that Virginia gets really rattled by an earthquake because Virginia is in what is considered the middle of the North American tectonic plate.

 I found an interesting geological explanation about earthquakes in Virginia at http://www.virginiaplaces.org/geology/quake.html. The website explained that the North American Plate extends to the middle of the Atlantic and that magma rises and literally pushes Virginia along the shoreline and subsequently the whole North American plate toward China at a rate of 2 to 3 cm a year. That may explain the 5.5 earthquake in Colorado today also as part of the big shove. Hopefully the mountains will be a buffer and absorb some of the movement because the North American plate strikes the Pacific plat at the San Andreas fault in California. And it does appear that the two earthquakes are connected by one big event to the east in the Atlantic. I’m going to keep checking the USGS website for the next few days just to see if there are any repercussions from today’s earthquakes farther west.

 Maybe a little reminder of Mother Nature and her power is good in Washington D.C. since the House is busy passing anti-environmental bills and the Chamber of Commerce is spending millions to “weaken and eliminate essential public safeguards in the name of ‘regulatory reform,’” according to Public Citizen News. Evan Bayh former senator of Indiana and Andy Card former Chief of Staff for “W” are embarking on a dog and pony show to spread the anti-regulatory credo that will only benefit corporations while killing us off. Man does not live by tainted water and breathing questionable air. Our pollution affects our environment, our health. Attacking the Clean Air and Water Acts like this is what a 3rd world country’s leadership does and those leaderships are usually cartels.  I got a good laugh because Google’s two definitions fit the bill for this latest political cartel on behalf of corporate America and not us.

 Cartel:

 1.      An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition

 2.      A coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.

One would think the worldwide heat of this summer and in some places the second summer would deter our country’s efforts to keep forging ahead with fossil fuel. An earthquake is a mighty force and from some of the D.C. commenters on websites the first thought was terrorists not Mother Nature that came to mind today when the earthquake hit. Maybe if we start thinking of sweet Mother Nature along the same lines as terror, the environment would get as much attention.

 http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2011/aug/23/4/rare-earthquake-rattles-northern-virginia-ar-1257687/

 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44237629/ns/us_news/?ocid=ansmsnbc11

 

 

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Now that the Debt Crisis is Over, a Quick Look at Circumstances of the Great Depression

I know I’m off topic, but I’m an avid blogger/researcher of all sorts and interested in the U.S. past and present simply because experience should greatly influence our decision making process. I don’t know that it has.

 

The following timeline has been compiled by Steve Kangas from Resurgence Magazine. 

 

 

TIMELINES OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION:

1920s (Decade)

  • During World War I, federal spending grows three times larger than tax collections. When the government cuts back spending to balance the budget in 1920, a severe recession results. However, the war economy invested heavily in the manufacturing sector, and the next decade will see an explosion of productivity… although only for certain sectors of the economy.
  • An average of 600 banks fail each year.
  • Organized labor declines throughout the decade. The United Mine Workers Union will see its membership fall from 500,000 in 1920 to 75,000 in 1928. The American Federation of Labor would fall from 5.1 million in 1920 to 3.4 million in 1929.
  • Over the decade, about 1,200 mergers will swallow up more than 6,000 previously independent companies; by 1929, only 200 corporations will control over half of all American industry.
  • By the end of the decade, the bottom 80 percent of all income-earners will be removed from the tax rolls completely. Taxes on the rich will fall throughout the decade.
  • By 1929, the richest 1 percent will own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 93 percent will have experienced a 4 percent drop in real disposable per-capita income between 1923 and 1929.
  • Individual worker productivity rises an astonishing 43 percent from 1919 to 1929. But the rewards are being funneled to the top: the number of people reporting half-million dollar incomes grows from 156 to 1,489 between 1920 and 1929, a phenomenal rise compared to other decades. But that is still less than 1 percent of all income-earners.

1922

  • The conservative Supreme Court strikes down federal child labor legislation.

1923

  • President Warren Harding dies in office. Calvin Coolidge, becomes president. Coolidge is no less committed to laissez-faire and a non-interventionist government.
  • Supreme Court nullifies minimum wage for women in District of Columbia.

1924

  • The stock market begins its spectacular rise. Bears little relation to the rest of the economy.

1925

  • The top tax rate is lowered to 25 percent – the lowest top rate in the eight decades since World War I.

1928

  • Between May 1928 and September 1929, the average prices of stocks will rise 40 percent. The boom is largely artificial.

1929

  • Herbert Hoover becomes President.
  • Annual per-capita income is $750. More than half of all Americans are living below a minimum subsistence level.
  • Backlog of business inventories grows three times larger than the year before.
  • Recession begins in August, two months before the stock market crash. During this two month period, production will decline at an annual rate of 20 percent, wholesale prices at 7.5 percent, and personal income at 5 percent.
  • Stock market crash begins October 24. Investors call October 29 Black Tuesday. Losses for the month will total $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days.

1930

  • By February, the Federal Reserve has cut the prime interest rate from 6 to 4 percent. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon announces that the Fed will stand by as the market works itself out: ‘Liquidate labor, liquidate real estate… values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wreck from less-competent people’.
  • The Smoot-Hawley Tariff passes on June 17. With imports forming only 6 percent of the GNP, the 40 percent tariffs work out to an effective tax of only 2.4 percent per citizen. Even this is compensated for by the fact that American businesses are no longer investing in Europe, but keeping their money stateside. The consensus of modern economists is that the tariff made only a minor contribution to the Great Depression in the U.S., but a major one in Europe.
  • Supreme Court rules that the monopoly U.S. Steel does not violate anti-trust laws as long as competition exists, no matter how negligible.
  • The GNP falls 9.4 percent from the year before. The unemployment rate climbs from 3.2 to 8.7 percent.

1931

  • No major legislation is passed addressing the Depression.
  • The GNP falls another 8.5 percent; unemployment rises to 15.9 percent.

1932

  • This and the next year are the worst years of the Great Depression. For 1932, GNP falls a record 13.4 percent; unemployment rises to 23.6 percent.
  • Industrial stocks have lost 80 percent of their value since 1930.
  • 10,000 banks have failed since 1929, or 40 percent of the 1929 total.
  • GNP has also fallen 31 percent since 1929.
  • Over 13 million Americans have lost their jobs since 1929.
  • International trade has fallen by two-thirds since 1929.

Congress passes the Federal Home Loan Bank Act and the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932.

  • Top tax rate is raised from 25 to 63 percent.
  • Popular opinion considers Hoover’s measures too little too late. Franklin Roosevelt easily defeats Hoover in the fall election. Democrats win control of Congress.

1933

  • Roosevelt inaugurated; begins ‘First 100 Days'; of intensive legislative activity.
  • A third banking panic occurs in March. Roosevelt declares a Bank Holiday; closes financial institutions to stop a run on banks.
  • Alarmed by Roosevelt’s plan to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, a group of millionaire businessmen, led by the Du Pont and J.P. Morgan empires, plans to overthrow Roosevelt with a military coup and install a fascist government modelled after Mussolini’s regime in Italy. The businessmen try to recruit General Smedley Butler, promising him an army of 500,000, unlimited financial backing and generous media spin control. The plot is foiled when Butler reports it to Congress.
  • Congress authorizes creation of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the National Recovery Administration, the Public Works Administration and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
  • Congress passes the Emergency Banking Bill, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, the Farm Credit Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Truth-in-Securities Act.
  • Roosevelt does much to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor, but is concerned with a balanced budget. He later rejects Keynes’ advice to begin heavy deficit spending.
  • The free fall of the GNP is significantly slowed; it dips only 2.1 percent this year. Unemployment rises slightly, to 24.9 percent.

1934

  • Congress authorizes creation of the Federal Communications Commission, the National Mediation Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The economy turns around: GNP rises 7.7 percent, and unemployment falls to 21.7 percent. A long road to recovery begins.
  • Sweden becomes the first nation to recover fully from the Great Depression. It has followed a policy of Keynesian deficit spending.

1935

  • The Supreme Court declares the National Recovery Administration to be unconstitutional.
  • Congress authorizes creation of the Works Progress Administration, the National Labor Relations Board and the Rural Electrification Administration.
  • Congress passes the Banking Act of 1935, the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Social Security Act.
  • Economic recovery continues: the GNP grows another 8.1 percent, and unemployment falls to 20.1 percent.

1936

  • Top tax rate raised to 79 percent.
  • Economic recovery continues: GNP grows a record 14.1 percent; unemployment falls to 16.9 percent.

1937

  • The Supreme Court declares the National Labor Relations Board to be unconstitutional.
  • Roosevelt seeks to enlarge and therefore liberalize the Supreme Court. This attempt not only fails, but outrages the public.
  • Economists attribute economic growth so far to heavy government spending that is somewhat deficit. Roosevelt, however, fears an unbalanced budget and cuts spending for 1937. That summer, the nation plunges into another recession. Despite this, the yearly GNP rises 5.0 percent, and unemployment falls to 14.3 percent.

1938

  • No major New Deal legislation is passed after this date, due to Roosevelt’s weakened political power.
  • The year-long recession makes itself felt: the GNP falls 4.5 percent, and unemployment rises to 19.0 percent.

1939

  • The United States will begin emerging from the Depression as it borrows and spends $1 billion to build its armed forces. From 1939 to 1941, when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, U.S. manufacturing will have shot up a phenomenal 50 percent!
  • The Depression is ending worldwide as nations prepare for the coming hostilities.

Roosevelt began relatively modest deficit spending that arrested the slide of the economy and resulted in some astonishing growth numbers. (Roosevelt’s average growth of 5.2 percent during the Great Depression is even higher than Reagan’s 3.7 percent growth during his so-called ‘Seven Fat Years!’) When 1936 saw a phenomenal record of 14 percent growth, Roosevelt eased back on the deficit spending, worried about balancing the budget. But this only caused the economy to slip back into a recession in 1938.

  • World War II starts with Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

1945

  • Although the war is the largest tragedy in human history, the United States emerges as the world’s only economic superpower. Deficit spending has resulted in a national debt 123 percent the size of the GDP. By contrast, in 1994, the $4.7 trillion national debt will be only 70 percent of the GDP!
  • The top tax rate is 91 percent. It will stay at least 88 percent until 1963, when it is lowered to 70 percent. During this time, America will experience the greatest economic boom it had ever known until that time.

The above timeline has been complied by Steve Kangas from the Resurgence Magazine.

See also cycle of past depressions.

 

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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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