Wed, 2014-10-15 02:00Chris Rose
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Europe Poised to Press Ahead on Drastic Greenhouse Gas Reductions As Other Nations Lag Behind

Solar farm

Pressure continues to grow for European politicians to agree to further reductions of greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030.

The European Union’s 2020 climate and energy package, which is binding legislation, calls for emissions to be cut by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, the plan calls for energy efficiency savings of 20 per cent and a 20 per cent increase in renewable energy technologies.

While the European Union seems largely on track to meet those targets, later this month politicians are going to vote on even greater emissions reductions, energy savings and growth in renewables by 2030.

In January, the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, published the 2030 policy framework for climate and energy.

Despite six years of economic uncertainty, the plan includes targets to reduce EU domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent below the 1990 level by 2030, which would ensure that Europe would meet its objective of cutting emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050.

Tue, 2014-10-14 23:50Brendan Montague
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How Margaret Thatcher Came to Sound the Climate Alarm

Margaret Thatcher's contribution to the climate debate while British Prime Minister would cause her free market fellows considerable difficulty in the coming decades. 

They would spark speculation that the Prime Minister, in her prime, was taken in by environmentalists. 

Lord Lawson, then her chancellor, preferred to believe that Thatcher was engaged in a Machiavellian deception of the British public in order to justify her use of newly discovered North Sea gas to shut down most of the country's mining industry, with the loss of 100,000 jobs.

Sir Crispin Tickell went to the same school as Lawson, and both men then went on to Oxford, with Tickell eventually becoming a career diplomat. He is widely acknowledged as the man who persuaded Thatcher to adopt the climate cause, and was responsible for drafting much of her speech to the Royal Society.  

Tue, 2014-10-14 21:30Julie Dermansky
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Did Louisiana Attorney General Caldwell Miss the CDC Memo That Incineration Kills Ebola?

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell got a temporary restraining order to stop the incinerated remains of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan’s belongings from being disposed of in Louisiana. Caldwell’s headline grabbing move was mocked by Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy who bestowed Louisiana with the “Prize for Ebola Fearmongering.” 

“There are too many unknowns at this point, and it is absurd to transport potentially hazardous Ebola waste across state lines. We just can't afford to take any risks when it comes to this deadly virus,” Caldwell told the New Orleans Times Picayune

Science be damned when it comes to public health in Louisiana. It would seem so if you pay attention to the statement issued by the Centers for Disease Control: “We certainly know how to inactivate and destroy the Ebola virus. It's readily destroyed by incineration, destroyed by chemical means,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC director stated during a press conference

Yet Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell got a temporary restraining order to stop the incinerated remains of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan’s belongings from being disposed of in Louisiana. Caldwell’s headline grabbing move was mocked by Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy who bestowed on Louisiana the “Prize for Ebola Fearmongering.”   

Caldwell's move is in contradiction to Louisiana's standard practice of accepting toxic industrial waste from other states.

The Lake Charles hazardous waste facility — where the incinerated remains were destined for disposal — is no stranger to out of state toxic material. Ten hazardous materials the waste facility previously accepted from out of state include arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, dioxin, mercury, hydrogen fluoride, bromine, lead, barium and manganese, according to a report obtained by The New Orleans Times  Picayune from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory Program.

Tue, 2014-10-14 13:35Steve Horn
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Tar Sands Trade: Kuwait Buys Stake in Alberta As It Opens Own Heavy Oil Spigot

Chevron made waves in the business world when it announced its October 6 sale of 30-percent of its holdings in the Alberta-based Duvernay Shale basin to Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) for $1.5 billion.

It marked the first North American purchase for the Kuwaiti state-owned oil company and yields KUFPEC 330,000 acres of Duvernay shale gas. Company CEO and the country's Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, called it an “anchor project” that could spawn Kuwait's expansion into North America at-large. 

Kuwait's investment in the Duvernay, at face-value buying into Canada's hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) revolution, was actually also an all-in bet on Alberta's tar sands. As explained in an October 7 article in Platts, the Duvernay serves as a key feedstock for condensate, a petroleum product made from gas used to dilute tar sands, allowing the product to move through pipelines. 

And while Kuwait — the small Gulf state sandwiched between Iraq and Saudi Arabia — has made a wager on Alberta's shale and tar sands, Big Oil may also soon make a big bet on Kuwait's homegrown tar sands resources.

“Kuwait has invited Britain’s BP, France’s Total, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron, to bid for a so-called enhanced technical service agreement for the northern Ratqa heavy oilfield,” explained an October 2 article in Reuters. “It is the first time KOC will develop such a big heavy oil reservoir and the plan is to produce 60,000 bpd from Ratqa, which lies close to the Iraqi border [in northern Kuwait]…and then ramp it up to 120,000 bpd by 2025.”

In the past, Kuwait has said it hopes to learn how to extract tar sands from Alberta's petroleum engineers.

Mon, 2014-10-13 13:29Chris Rose
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US Defense Secretary Hagel Outlines Military's Response to Climate Change "Threat Multiplier"

While U.S. politicians continue to disagree on global warming and its potentially catastrophic consequences, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has just released a report saying climate change will have serious implications for national security.

Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict,” Hagel said in the introduction to the report — Department of Defense: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap.  

They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.”

Hagel said the U.S. military refers to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of today’s challenges – from infectious disease to terrorism.

He also said a changing climate will have significant impacts on the military and the way it executes its missions, including supporting civil authorities and providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters.

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