Nor’easter 2011 No Fluke; Worsening Weather and Related Economic Downfall Predicted Years Ago

Scientists predicted that there will likely be an increase in precipitation both in winter and spring for the eastern U.S., fires and drought for the southwest, bigger and worsening storms across the country in general, and a residual economic downfall in hard hit areas. Maybe the public should have taken the initiative to become more informed instead of blindly listening to their politicians relative to climate change. Unfortunately, I’m already seeing blogs popping up following yesterday’s Nor’easter blast on our east coast that question “global warming,” since there was so much snow and early. Be aware that precipitation means snow not just rain. We have El Nino conditions where cold air comes down on us suddenly and ferociously. And the U.S. cannot afford the increasing expense of attacks by Mother Nature.

I know there have been articles and news reports explaining to the public that global warming does not mean temperatures across the globe will be hotter EVERYWHERE. And worsening storms year round should be enough to convince the public that climate is indeed changing. I’ve blogged about both many times myself. As science is discovering, massive ice ages and warming events of the past did not encompass the entire globe. It may be better to state that climate change is brought about by global warming. Climate change means bigger, worse, extreme, and chaotic weather, and/or for places that were always cold it may be warmer, and places that were always warm may become colder. Change encompasses ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. It means there will be chaotic and varying weather events worldwide. We’ve seen enough to know better at this point.

I’ve put together a list of my own blogs on the subject of climate change due to global warming and can’t believe how soon we forget:

July 14, 2009

Predictions from Completed Government Report on Global Warming

A 196 page report entitled “Global Climate Change Impact on U.S.” predicts the scenarios we’ve already heard but failed to heed so far like worse weather, and property loss and the domino effect on everything else including the economy.

The report appears to be nonpartisan in nature, commissioned by the Bush Administration in 2007 and concluded just recently in the Obama Administration. It does reassure at the conclusion that a worsening scenario can be still be fixed.

The Midwest or Great Lakes region report is accurate. We are seeing more snow in winter and rain in early spring, and then we dry up the rest of the summer into fall. The bad thing is I think we’re getting more and windier too.

The good news is that the harshest impacts of future climate change can be avoided if the nation takes deliberate action soon. This can be done through a balanced mix of activities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and adaptation to the otherwise unavoidable impacts.”

Unfortunately, there seems to be an economic downfall attached to each region as the result of global warming too. CEO of World Wildlife Fund expressed, “Already Americans are paying the price for the lack of action on climate change in the past and those costs will only rise. It’s time for Congress to act. ”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/07/predictions-from-completed-government-report-on-global-warming/

February 9, 2010

The Likely Increase in Precipitation in Winter and Spring

The likely increase in precipitation in winter and spring was one of the key issues reported by the U.S. Global Change Research Program not long ago. It was relative to the Midwest…Well this is a winter downpour.

The U.S. has been hit by some record-breaking snowfalls for all time. One hundred million Americans have been affected by the current snowfall that’s not over yet. That’s one third of our entire population. This massive storm affects 26 states. In some places citizens just got their power back from the last blast. Six thousand flights have been canceled throughout the east coast.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/the-likely-increase-in-precipitation-in-winter-and-spring/

February 23, 2010

Scientists Other Than IPCC Affirm Consensus on Global Warming

[]There needs to be much more communication to the public in laymen’s terms so that the public understands the science behind climate change and doesn’t buy into the misleading spin attached to every mistake turned up. The scientists at the AAAS symposium “expressed shock at the political effects of the disclosures (misleading info relative to climategate) and said the impact was far out of proportion to the overwhelming evidence that human activity is changing the Earth’s climate.”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/scientists-other-than-ipcc-affirm-consensus-on-global-warming/

February 11, 2010

One Hundred Sixty Billion Tons of Snow

And like my recent blog, the increase in precipitation in the Midwest was predicted in the recent U.S. Climate Research Report. ABC ended their report with the same retort by scientists. They predicted this would happen. There will be bigger, and far worse storms year round. Amen.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/one-hundred-sixty-billion-tons-of-snow/

February 10, 2010

Mother Nature Tops Off Snowmageddon with an Earthquake Near Chicago

Is anyone paying attention to Mother Nature yet? She’s slapping us in the face to wake up. But we’ll probably just toss off this doozy of a snowstorm as a freak. That is until around 4:00 am this morning a 3.8 earthquake rattled near Elgin, Illinois. It was felt in Chicago. The earthquake might have gained a little more attention to Mother Nature.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/02/mother-nature-tops-off-snowmageddon-with-an-earthquake-near-chicago/

March 15, 2010

Thousands Without Power First from Snow, Now Rain

The heavy snowfalls across America were heralded to be from global cooling when in fact the snowfalls were the excessive precipitation predicted due climate change. Now that it is actually warm and torrential rainfall and high winds hit the same areas burdened earlier with snow, deniers need a new explanation.

According the Bangor News Daily, “The storm, which battered parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut on Saturday with gusts of up to 70 mph, struck about two weeks after heavy snow and hurricane-force winds left more than a million customers in the Northeast in the dark. More than a half-million customers in the region lost electricity at the peak of Saturday’s storm, and more than 485,000 were waiting for power to be restored Sunday morning.”

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2010/03/thousands-without-power-first-from-snow-now-rain/

This is enough when read back to back, although I could add in the summer’s record breaking heatwaves, as-well-as, the summer before. Heatwaves will surely happen again as predicted too. How much will it take until there is a public outcry for energy policy that directly addresses a decrease in greenhouse gases while diverting subisides to established business like big oil to become incentives to alternative energy companies, and an increase in public awareness to action at the same time?

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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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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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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
.

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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Texas, the Biggest U.S. Polluter, Challenges EPA/Clean Air Act

Texas produces 35% of our entire nation’s toxic emissions and doesn’t want to change. So Texas has just challenged the EPA relative to regulating greenhouse gas emissions. From what I’ve read it’s state’s rights versus federal according to Texas governor Rick Perry. He claims Texas is doing a fine job of monitoring emissions and getting them under control, and for the EPA to suddenly come down on Texas will cost the state jobs and the involved industries millions that will be passed down to the consumer. He and others also “site ‘scientifically flawed studies’ as their basis for challenging the agency’s decision.” Sorry climate change aside, CO2, SO2, and other greenhouse gases have been found to be detrimental to respiratory health by our own government agency. This challenge is nothing but a stall.

The Dallas Morning News website reported that the other challengers are “the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank and conservative advocacy outfit; the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, an organized group of climate-change skeptics; and the Science and Environmental Policy Act, which has challenged the United Nations over findings that buttressed previous climate-change treaties. Greenwire says in its story yesterday that Freedomworks, the advocacy group headed by former Rep. Dick Armey of Denton County, is also involved in the challenge.”

http://energyandenvironmentblog.dallasnews.com/archives/tceq/.

Let’s look at the assertions the governor made. Is Texas doing a fine job of taking care of its pollution? Well not so much. According to an article on Center for Public Integrity’s website, Texas has been caught doing a lot of dirty stuff to their citizens for years.

In October, 2003, in the space of three hours, while the 94,000-plus inhabitants of Tyler slept nearby, Martin Lake [Steam Electric Station] pumped more than 150,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide into the East Texas air. The pollution was more than eight times the plant’s hourly emissions limits under federal regulations. Sulfur dioxide air pollution, as environmentalists, regulators, and TXU officials have known for many years, helps trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.

After the October 2003 event, TXU reported the emissions overage to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality). But a comparison between EPA and TCEQ records shows that the company gave a far lower emissions figure to state officials than the smokestack monitor registered.

Hmmm. They lied. The same article continued:

[]A three-month review of federal and state records by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit journalism organization, suggests [the above wasn't a one time incident]. The review, encompassing 25 million data entries spanning 10 years, shows that between 1997 and 2006, TXU’s coal-fired plants exceeded federal sulfur dioxide emission limits nearly 650 times, spewing more than 1.3 million pounds of excess sulfur dioxide into the Texas air.

Read what the USGS, a government agency, has to say about excesses of SO2, CO2, and hydrogen fluoride relative to volcanic eruptions and regardless of climate change:

The volcanic gases that pose the greatest potential hazard to people, animals, agriculture, and property are sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen fluoride. Locally, sulfur dioxide gas can lead to acid rain and air pollution downwind from a volcano. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless gas with a pungent odor that irritates skin and the tissues and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and throat. Sulfur dioxide chiefly affects upper respiratory tract and bronchi. The World Health Organization recommends a concentration of no greater than 0.5 ppm over 24 hours for maximum exposure. A concentration of 6-12 ppm can cause immediate irritation of the nose and throat; 20 ppm can cause eye irritation; 10,000 ppm will irritate moist skin within minutes.

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TXU went over 8 times the hourly emissions limit for the Martin Lake plant

The Center for Public Integrity website also stated: “Childhood asthma affected about 3 percent of the population in the 1960s, but that figure has climbed above 9 percent, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. In Fort Worth, a 2003 city health department survey found that asthma rates here were more than double the statewide average, and even higher for children.”

Governor Rick is wrong. Texas is not doing a good job of self regulation. Self regulation is nothing better than the fox guarding the henhouse because industry has no ethics anymore. For instance: “TXU was by no means the only polluter given a free pass by TCEQ. The records gathered by the Center show that, again and again in Texas, air quality enforcement came at the point of a citizen lawsuit, not from the agency.” Texas needs regulations from a higher place because I don’t think things are about to change in the near future in Texas:

As the largest energy provider in Texas, TXU has established an exceptional degree of influence in the Texas statehouse, through a network of high-profile lobbyists and political connections.

In spring 2007 when legislation to increase public oversight over the TXU buyout process was pending in the Senate, TXU and its buyers unleashed a powerhouse lobbying team including former state legislators Curtis Seidlits, Jr., Rudy Garza, Eddie Cavazos, Paul Sadler, and Stan Schlueter, and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk.

According to Texans for Public Justice, TXU and two investor groups spent approximately $17 million during the 2007 Texas legislative session on lobbyists, advertising, food and beverages, entertainment and gifts – including sending 2,400 tacos to legislators and their aides on the first day of the session.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/projects/entry/363/.

There you have it, polluters spending millions to keep polluting, and whining at the same time that it will cost them millions to curb it. Again, what is known as “scrubbers” for coalburners were around in the 60′s. These scrubbers don’t do a thing for CO2 but do reduce SO2 emissions. And there was a Clean Coal Technology Program launched by the DOE in 1986.

It was a cost-shared effort by government and industry to demonstrate innovative coal-burning processes at a series of full-scale facilities around the country and was expected to finance more than $5 billion in projects before it was completed later in the decade. Under the program, the federal government provided up to 50 percent of the total cost of the demonstration projects. In the first two rounds of solicitation for proposals, the DOE selected 29 projects for funding. In the second round, held in the summer of 1988, seven of the 16 successful proposals involved the use of both wet and dry scrubber systems.

Where was TXU? It obviously didn’t take advantage of that program. I think I read somewhere that now it costs around 650 million dollars on average to put scrubbers on coalburners. It’s industry’s problem for not moving faster on behalf of the health and safety of citizens. Does a little over a half billion dollars constitute hardship for big industry that nets billions per quarter?

http://www.allbusiness.com/professional-scientific/scientific-research-development/120873-1.html.

Analysts like Al Armendariz, a chemical engineering professor at Southern Methodist University who is an expert on air pollution and an environmental advocate, said smaller and older facilities could face hefty costs, but major companies won’t feel a thing.

“They’ll say, ‘Look, if we have to spend half a million dollars to re-permit, big deal.’ They probably spend more than that on toiletries for those facilities,” he said, noting that even multimillion-dollar expenses would be a “one-time capital blip” for major companies. Armendariz also said he doubts industry claims that consumers could feel any pain.

http://www.allbusiness.com/professional-scientific/scientific-research-development/120873-1.html.

Al might doubt consumers will feel the pain, but it looks like in Texas and everywhere else the cards are already stacked against the average citizen’s health concerns. As for taxes, have you noticed all the petro commercials airing lately using the fear card…”Prices for consumers will go up. Consumers will be taxed more if the big bad government cracks down on industry pollution and tries to further alternatives.” Industry is already on the move to make Al eat his words.

Taxes and our health and well being should not be pitted against each other like a threat. We’ve been plied with fear for a decade. Consumers should not bear the expense to finance the changes polluting industries will have to make in the future to “clean up” because they failed to make them long ago when it would have been far less expensive. Likewise the consumer should not bear the guilt of any of the health problems that could have been avoided especially in children. Gotta laugh at that one since TXU, the governor of Texas, and anyone else who challenged the EPA obviously feels no remorse for anyone suffering respiratory illnesses at their hands. After all they provided jobs where workers could breathe a toxic brew everyday.

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U.S. Out of Step With Climate Debt Issues

I read an interesting article, “Climate Rage,” in Rolling Stone recently about what the U.S. can expect at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. It seems as the U.S. stalls on climate change due to health care reform and our politicians aren’t prepared for anything serious from the talks in Copenhagen even going so far as to say the summit isn’t “the be-all and end-all,” the conference is shaping up to be the largest environmental gathering in history with many of its member countries presenting quite a different agenda than the U.S.

While the U.S. is still talking industry friendly carbon offsets and emissions trading, a growing portion of the rest of the undeveloped world has something completely different in mind. In a nutshell, they resent us and blame the U.S. and other industrialized countries for the climate change problems they are ALREADY experiencing. Undeveloped countries will be presenting the concept of “climate debt” at the summit. They want “rich countries to pay reparations to poor countries for the climate crisis.” This is a radical departure from where the U.S. is right now. Heck, I’m still arguing with TEFLON COATED DENIERS that mankind is indeed producing too much pollution causing accelerated climate change. Deniers simply will not admit that maybe 7 billion people and their consumption habits like millions of food animals, and industrial pollution, plus deforestation due to population increase just might be over-polluting a closed environment no longer equipped to clean up effectively.

The article explained that the U.S. thinks of climate change as a “we” problem, but a growing number of countries view climate change as a problem created predominantly by the “few.” The coalition of Latin American and African governments stress big differences between who caused the crisis and those who suffer it the most right now.
The chief economist for the World Bank says the equation amounts to “75 to 80% of developing countries suffering the most even though they contribute collectively only about 1/3 of greenhouse gases.” The article further reported, “Developed countries, which represent less than 20 percent of the world’s population, have emitted almost 75 percent of all greenhouse-gas pollution that is now destabilizing the climate.” Yes science has a way of measuring pollution output now, where it came from, and what it costs in real money. This in and of itself should put a crimp in the deniers argument that mankind isn’t the culprit, it’s just nature. But…

So as the article stated, “Climate debt is about who will pick up the bill.” It went on to explain:

The grass-roots movement behind the proposal argues that all the costs associated with adapting to a more hostile ecology — everything from building stronger sea walls to switching to cleaner, more expensive technologies — are the responsibility of the countries that created the crisis. ‘What we need is not something we should be begging for but something that is owed to us, because we are dealing with a crisis not of our making,’ says Lidy Nacpil, one of the coordinators of Jubilee South, an international organization that has staged demonstrations to promote climate reparations. ‘Climate debt is not a matter of charity.’

The U.S. alone, which comprises barely five percent of the global population, contributes 25 percent of all carbon emissions. And while developing countries like China and India have also begun to spew large amounts of carbon dioxide, the reasoning goes, they are not equally responsible for the cost of the cleanup, because they have contributed only a small fraction of the 200 years of cumulative pollution that has caused the crisis.

Did you notice that China is considered a developing country? The U.S. tends to put China up there as a super power but truth is China still has more underdeveloped rural areas of population than not. And while they may still be building coal fired plants, they are emerging as a world leader in wind and solar, and are in the midst of building the largest smart grid in the world. We gripe about lost jobs in the U.S. The politics that keeps us from moving forward for renewable energy has cost us the jobs shipped to China to produce the parts for our largest wind farm in Texas. It wasn’t just about cheaper labor or materials in this instance. We simply didn’t have the labor in place, or the manufacturing facilities.

What should really make us sit up and take notice is that the idea of “climate debt” is “supported by the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change — ratified by 192 countries, including the United States.” The framework not only asserts that “the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries,” it clearly states that actions taken to fix the problem should be made “on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities.” Uh oh. They’ve got us in writing on this.

But Angelica Navarro, the chief climate negotiator for Bolivia, pushed the notion farther at U.N. climate negotiations in June in Bonn, Germany presenting the argument that not only are poorer countries already suffering the effects of climate change but in this new environmental arena they will not be able to enjoy the advantages of cheap fossil fuels in order to grow as the U.S. and other developed countries were able to do. They will bear a much higher cost burden to grow economically. But Navarro just didn’t point fingers. She presented a 3-point solution.Rich countries need to:

  • Pay the costs associated with adapting to a changing climate
  • Make deep cuts to their own emission levels “to make atmospheric space available” for the developing world
  • Pay Third World countries to leapfrog over fossil fuels and go straight to cleaner alternatives.

Third World countries are tired of promises. They see what many of us see that the U.S. is going to stall on climate change along political lines. These countries cannot afford to wait around. And the list is growing with 49 countries taking their demands to Copenhagen in December with at least 240 environmental and development organizations calling for the same. Germany has recently acknowledged the concept of climate debt by paying Ecuador millions over a course of years to leave a huge cache of oil in the ground under Yasuni National Park part of the Amazonian rain forest. Other European countries are interested in following suit.

So we have developed countries already paying Third World countries not to produce more fossil fuel but to preserve environmental assets like forests. Meanwhile, some U.S. citizens and of course our massively wealthy fossil fuel industry look ill prepared to except not only the blame for much of the world’s pollution but even the concept that mankind has indeed caused environmental problems at all.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/30841581/climate_rage/3.

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Republicans AWOL at Climate Change Meetings

I got a kick out of reading that Republicans have been AWOL at climate change meetings and the mark up of the Boxer-Kerry bill. Republicans want the EPA to do a modeling for economic analysis before moving ahead with either the Waxman-Markey bill or the new stricter Boxer-Kerry bill. They claim it isn’t a stall but all of a sudden the EPA is their big authority when it comes on the heels of the EPA’s:

New administrator declaring that global warming pollution “endangers” Americans’ health and well being
http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/04/epa-administrator-issues-proposed-ruling-on-global-warming/.

Being ordered by the courts to come up with mercury emission standards in two years.

http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/02/stricter-mercury-rules-on-the-way/.

Latest air study showed many U.S. cities flunking horribly
http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/04/us-cities-recent-air-quality-reports%e2%80%94not-good/.

Non-existence when it comes to enforcement of the clean water act.
http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2008/12/collapse-of-national-clean-water-act-enforcement-program/.

Plus, the largest and longest government report on the affects of global warming on the U.S. was completed and predicted bad consequences.
http://www.blogsmonroe.com/world/2009/07/predictions-from-completed-government-report-on-global-warming/.

Senator Voinovich (R) Ohio and Senator Inhofe (R) Oklahoma put their request for the EPA study in writing, and although Voinovich read this request, Inhofe refused to expound on what his party wanted but reiterated it was in writing and left. The reason for leaving is that there is an (EPW) Environment and Public Works rule that at least two members of the minority have to be present before opening a markup, but it is not necessarily binding.

The funny part came when I actually listened to Senator Voinovich request the EPA do this modeling first so that Republicans can be informed with the latest reports. No wonder Inhofe didn’t want to expound. Voinovich ended up complaining about the EPA that when it did modeling before it used assumptions that were unrealistic. He said the EPA’s modeling is only as good as the assumptions built into it. What? Why would one request the EPA to do all this unnecessary work when one wasn’t satisfied with the EPA’s methodology to begin with? Is this the same type of convoluted request as wanting to be included then not showing up?

I state that the Republican senator’s request is unnecessary work because of the government’s recently completed and extensive global warming study that puts many parts of our country in a precarious position. And this same committee heard 54 witnesses on nine panels relative to climate change just last week. So there is already a large amount of climate change data available for review. Senator Boxer also brought in EPA officials to answer any questions the Republican senators might have. But a lot of good any of this important and recent information is when Republicans aren’t there to hear it.

Stall or no stall, the U.S. going to be surprised at the biggest gathering on climate change to date in Copenhagen this Decemeber because the scheme of things has changed. Cap and trade isn’t going to cut it anymore. There is much more at stake as the rest of the world is focusing on reparations by wealthy nations for the damage done. Stay Tuned.

Watch part of the committee meeting:

Senator Voinovich’s Request for EPA study

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Friends of America Rally; How Friendly is It?

Over Labor Day weekend we’re going to see a massive political event promoting climate change denial and mountaintop mining according to Credo. Some 25,000 people have signed up for the event. The same climate skeptics will be on board to include Lord Monkton, as well as, the usual messengers of the far right like Sean Hannity. And not a surprise, Ted Nugent will supply music. Hank Williams will even be on board. It’s being dubbed the “Friends of America Rally.”

How friendly is it? The rallies are nothing more than the tangible power of polluting industries like coal and oil that are backing them and strangling the rest of America from moving forward with clean energy jobs, work on new infrastructure to deliver that clean energy, and economic turnaround, not to mention the health aspects of cleaner air and water for generations to come.

It’s ludicrous to call this movement “friendly” to America at all. Who releases invisible, and sometimes odorless, but nevertheless harmful pollutants into the air that also ends up in our water? Who dumps chemicals, drugs, and makes huge environmental mistakes like oil spills and coal slurry spills into our waterways? And did it ever occur to anyone that when we’re assured from the different polluting entities that the parts per million or PPM that is being released is well within the limits of what is healthful for humans that there are 100′s of other industries saying likewise? So the safe limits of PPM of mercury, ammonia, carcinogens from incinerators, and the thousands of supposedly controlled substances entering the air meet up with the PPM limits of mercury, lead, pharmaceutical compounds, big Ag runoff and the like found in our drinking water that meet up with the sometimes tainted food we eat full of additives like corn syrup solids that help along the Type II diabetes problem in the U.S.

The industries that do this to our air, water, and food protest global warming as way to sideline the real issue, which is their pollution, in order stop any policies that might make them clean up their mess, and to avert new green industry that is competition. It’s one of the greediest ploys ever and polluting industry is pulling out all the stops. They put saving jobs out front at these rallies to mask the bad they do to the environment and all of us including their employees in the long run. The rise in cancer rates and new diseases isn’t a coincidence but may be more of an indication of what we’re really eating, breathing, and drinking.

These anti-environmental rallies are called “grassroots” events but DeSmogBlog dubbed them “glorified company picnics.” A New Mexico blog FBIHOP reported: “The Houston Astroturf event [was] an ‘energy employee’s rally’ a more fitting description of the closed door event that drew somewhere between 2,500-3,500 oil industry employees who were bussed in and given yellow ‘Energy Citizen’ t-shirts in “‘another high-priced photo op for the oil and gas industry.’”

It was also stated that one of the rallies in Texas was organized by the DW Turner PR firm that represents BP and Chevron.

The biggest “Friends of America” rally slated for Labor Day in West Virginia is no different. It’s backed by none other than Massey Energy that is a notoriously dirty coal company. According to the Rural Blog, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported:

Massey Energy Co. will pay a record $20 million for polluting streams around its coal mines in Kentucky and West Virginia, and spend another $10 million to prevent future problems. The lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency last May charged that Massey discharged excess amounts of metals, sediment and acid mine drainage into hundreds of rivers and streams in the two states.

The Rural Blog also included Louisville’s The Courier-Journal statement:

The civil penalty [for Massey] is the largest ever for violating wastewater discharge permits, and “stems from the massive, 300-million-gallon slurry spill in Martin County, Ky., in October 2000, often described as the southeastern United States’ worst environmental disaster, as well as 4,500 violations of Clean Water Act permits at mines in the two states. Many of the violations exceeded limits by 40 percent, with some pollutants discharged at levels more than 10 times their limit, the government said.

So if you run across Massey’s CEO Don Blankenship’s invitation to the Labor Day rally on You Tube where he says: “Hello I’m Don Blankenship and I’d like to invite you to a Labor Day rally in West Virginia. We’re going to have Hank Williams and have a good time but we’re also going to learn how environmental extremists and corporate America are both trying to destroy your jobs,” beware of the devil who likes to confuse.

Massey IS corporate America at its polluting finest. These rallies support the real extremists.

BTW the rallies aren’t limited to a few states. Michigan has one slated for September 3rd, Detroit’s Burton Manor Banquet and Conference Center.

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/trial-procedure-suits-claims/10272123-1.html
.

http://irjci.blogspot.com/2008/01/massey-paying-record-penalty-for-water.html.

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/verizon_massey/?rc=homepage.

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Scientist Testifies That Earth Has a CO2 Shortage

A Dr. William Happer testified before the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and said we are in a CO2 famine, citing that 80 million years ago when evolutionary man first appeared CO2 levels were 1000 ppm.

If we’re going to compare CO2 levels back then and now, shouldn’t we also take into consideration all the other variables from then and now? A few hundred compared to almost 7 billion people worldwide is an extreme difference from then until now as are decreasing forests and open land compared to an unspoiled earth, unpolluted vs. polluted seas, air that was devoid of particulate matter from industry unlike now, and literally no man made contaminants to add to the mix back then. Maybe without all the other contaminants 1000 ppm for CO2 was all right, but I’ve read a lot of reports of excess CO2 killing fish, trees, and other living things.

The urgency now is about stopping a rise in CO2 before it reaches 500 ppm because “When the CO2 exceeds 500 parts per million, the global temperature suddenly rises 6C and becomes stable again despite further increases or decreases of atmospheric CO2. This contrasts with the IPCC models that predict that temperature rises and falls smoothly with increasing or decreasing CO2.” (Dr James Lovelock at a Royal Society event in 2007).

This amounts to what has been predicted about global warming all along, that we have ten years to turn things around. After that, whatever we do is of no consequence. I trust Dr. Lovelock foremost since he is the first scientist to realize the enormity of environmental science as we try to study it today. It involves all the scientific disciplines, physics, chemistry, and biology applied to the study of thousands of ecosystems worldwide that have a symbiotic relationship to one another. When a system is crippled it does little to help, and many times hurts other systems.

We’ve polluted the crap out of everything, cut down forests, and injured many of the ecosystems that work to right imbalances that will cause drastic climate change. We even seem to be entering a cycle where a worsening climate perpetuates itself, i.e., forest fires, floods, volcanic activity, etc. Fires put more pollution in the air, take out trees that eat CO2. Floods carry huge amounts of toxins straight to the ocean, and cause rotting plants that emit more bad gases.

So this is not only about CO2 but all types of pollution and overuse. By curbing CO2 emissions, we curb a lot of other pollutants like mercury in our fresh water supply, and particulates in the air that cause respiratory problems.

But most importantly, Happer received way too much money from Exxon Mobil to be an impartial scientist. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have flowed Happer’s way from big oil over the last decade. Ethically, he is a bad source to speak about CO2 emissions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/27/co2-famine-exxon-paid-sci_n_170473.html

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Wealthiest Arab Country Invests Billions in Alternative and Renewable Energy

 

Abu Dhabi, which borders Saudia Arabia, is the wealthiest Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. It owns 10% of all the world’s oil reserves. Even so, Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in research and development for alternative and renewable energy sources.

 

So much for “drill, baby, drill.” Even the Arabs know their oil supplies are going to dry up sooner or later and want to be well prepared for a smooth transition to say solar power  because that area of the world enjoys non-stop sunshine.

 

The 3 day summit that took place last week in Abu Dhabi highlighted the quickly growing trend there for investing in “research, education and technology in the renewable sector,” according to an article by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin for the Huffington Post. It’s no surprise that the billions in funding comes from oil profits.

 

Abu Dhabi uses an enormous amount of energy for all the extreme hotels and entertainment the city showcases. Imagine the carbon footprint of a structure that sits on the beach in the hot desert sun that features snow skiing inside. From what I watched on TV, the cheapest hotel room is $1700/night. Abu Dhabi is excess at its finest, and boy does it cost in energy. 

 

So the Saudis want to be on top of things when oil wanes and alternatives become necessary so their comfort margin isn’t diminished, while I still argue with misinformed U.S. citizens that claim environmentalism is just a ruse, global warming is made up by Al Gore, and there is plenty of oil so why not drill…

 

I’m starting to believe the biggest obstruction to advancement for a cleaner future for our own health, the earth’s health, and a new job market full of opportunity are mostly here in the U.S.  Some citizens here soaked up the doubt presented to them by our former political leaders who set aside science for the oil lobby. And it stuck no matter what science, and obviously the rest of the world thinks. And there you are. The U.S. again runs the risk of being dinosaurs. This anti-intellectual, non scientific mindset of doubt serves to slow us down while the rest of the world passes us. BTW, forget pointing to China. They have enough people over there to jumpstart and surpass everyone even when they might seem well behind.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmed-shihabeldin/oil-rich-emirate-hosts-wo_b_161969.html

 

 

 

 

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