Greenpeace USA's Polluter Harmony project released another great spoof video this week as part of it “world's dirtiest dating service” series mocking polluters and bought-off politicians. Watch:
President Barack Obama's remarks on energy and climate change during the State of the Union address: (H/T The Guardian)
Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.
One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities. And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.
It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.
DeSmogBlog regrets the incorrect claims made in an article published late Sunday night regarding the origins of the chemical spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia. The piece incorrectly asserted that the chemical was produced by Georgia-Pacific. In fact, it was produced by Eastman Chemical. DeSmogBlog sincerely regrets the error and has retracted the piece.
Today, we wrap up 2013 with a slideshow of photographs taken this past year by DeSmog contributor Julie Dermansky. We’re grateful to have Julie on our team, and as you can see from her photographs, she witnessed some awe-inspiring and awful scenes in 2013.
A self-described Accidental Chronicler of Climate Change, Julie lives in New Orleans and has traveled the globe reporting on some of the most important stories of our times through her photojournalism and writing — Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan, Superstorm Sandy, earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the BP Gulf oil disaster, war-torn Iraq, genocide in Rwanda and lots more.
She joined DeSmogBlog in August, and quickly became an invaluable member of our team with her in-depth multimedia coverage of the Louisiana sinkhole, the battle over the southern half of Keystone XL, the fracking bonanza in Texas, the ongoing fallout of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and more.
Sit back and take a journey through Julie’s lens as we remember some of the biggest disasters and climate stories of 2013.
A train carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale derailed in Casselton, North Dakota today, with fiery results. Residents have reported multiple explosions, many have now been evacuated and others advised to shelter in place to avoid the toxic plumes of smoke enveloping the area.
ValleyNewsLive.com, the local media outlet, reports on Facebook that approximately 65% of residents have evacuated the area.
Watch footage of one of the explosions, courtesy of Dan Gunderson, recorded by KFGO listener, Darrin Radermacher:
Reuters reports that:
Local residents heard five powerful explosions just a mile outside of the small town of Casselton after a westbound 112-car train carrying soybeans derailed. An eastbound 106-car train hauling crude oil ran into it just after 2 p.m. CST, local officials said. There were no injuries in the collision that left 21 rail cars on fire, according to BNSF.
Residents within 5 miles of Casselton were urged to evacuate to avoid contact with the smoke. Residents within 10 miles were asked to remain indoors.
ValleyNewsLive.com has reporters on the scene, stay tuned for their updates via Facebook and on the website. Here is their latest report:
Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks
Stay tuned for more details.
This Thanksgiving, Americans can be thankful that Canadian tar sands crude isn’t flowing across the border through the Keystone XL to refineries and export facilities on the Gulf Coast.
Canada, which is home to the third largest deposit of oil on the planet, is looking to export the fuel source from U.S. soil, because Canadians won’t let industry ship it from their own shores. The Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport the dilbit concoction from Alberta, Canada down to Texas, is pending approval from the Obama Administration and will only be cleared for construction if it doesn’t exacerbate climate change (although the southern half of the pipeline has already been built).
Nextgen Climate Action, a project of the Next Generation, released this video on Keystone crude just in time for Thanksgiving to show just how…strange…an appetite for dirty crude really is.
Staying classy as ever, the anti-science Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) sent a fundraising request to its fans this week and made a reprehensible reference to the Holocaust, likening the United Nations' efforts in international climate negotiations to the Nazi concentration camps.
After writing that “there simply is no parallel” between the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and current UN efforts to address climate change, CFACT President David Rothbard went ahead and drew the parallel anyway.
Here is an excerpt from the email (entire message viewable in PDF and online):
Oil Change International released a briefing paper today at COP19 in Warsaw revealing that subsidies lavished on the fossil fuel industry by wealthy industrialized nations add up to more than five times the amount of climate finance aid the same countries have so far pledged to deliver to poorer nations to reduce their global warming emissions and adapt to manmade climate change.
Despite the fact that industrialized countries have pledged to scale up to $100 billion in annual climate aid by 2020, they are still pumping more money in the opposite direction, subsidizing fossil fuels production and consumption instead of helping the developing countries adapt and mitigate against climate change impacts.
The G-20 has unanimously supported phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies since 2009, and re-affirmed its commitment to doing so this fall, so there is no reason for this disconnect to persist, other than the powerful grip that the oil and coal industries have over many of these governments currently.
Oil Change International's website summarizes this backwards approach:
The second week of the COP19 UN climate change conference in Warsaw kicked off today with a focus on the continuing obstruction of the bad actors in the process - Japan, Australia and Canada - as well as the head-scratching decision by the Polish government to co-host a ‘clean coal’ conference just down the street from the national stadium where the COP19 UN negotiations are taking place.
This morning, Greenpeace unfurled a banner on the front of Poland’s Ministry of Economy building in protest of the World Coal Association’s International Coal and Climate Summit taking place inside. Beneath the banner, activists held a People Before Coal rally (#Cough4Coal), inflating a giant set of pink lungs and calling for an immediate phase-out of coal plants worldwide in order to safeguard public health, ecosystems and the global climate.
Poland’s move to co-host the World Coal Association’s ‘clean coal’ summit in the midst of the UNFCCC conference is widely seen here as a slap in the face to the assembled delegates, NGOs and activists from around the world. **Update: Poland was awarded the Fossil of the Day award on Monday for its coal boosterism, and activists have re-named the country #Coaland on Twitter.**
“The fact that the Coal and Climate Summit is being held under the auspices of the Polish government is further proof that it cares neither for the well-being of its citizens nor the environment,” Dr. Michal Wilczynski, the former Chief Geologist and ex-Deputy Minister of Environment in Poland said in a statement.
Inside the coal industry summit, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, had some tough love to share with the assembled coal executives. The coal industry “must change rapidly and dramatically,” she said, noting that coal has “an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health.” She stressed that the world must “leave most existing [coal] reserves in the ground” in order to avert climate chaos.
“The IPCC's findings have been endorsed by 195 governments, including all of those in which you operate. We are at unprecedented greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; our carbon budget is half spent. If we continue to meet energy needs as we have in the past, we will overshoot the internationally agreed goal to limit warming to less than two degree Celsius.”
Figueres concluded with an appeal to the executives to “look past next quarter's bottom line and see the next generation's bottom line.”
The Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports issued a misleading statement to the Seattle Times in response to last week's guest post by contributor Mike Stark: Why Are Coal Industry PR Pros Laughing About Climate Change in Private Talks on Export Terminals?
The Alliance statement accused Mr. Stark of “eavesdropping” on a conversation between an Edelman PR vice president and Arch Coal executives in a hotel lobby. The Edelman/Alliance accusation lacks merit, as we demonstrate below.
In these audio files, Mr. Stark can be heard introducing himself and asking questions to Alliance spokesperson and Edelman vice president, Lauri Hennessey [mp3].
A short time later, Mr. Stark engages with Arch Coal senior vice president Matthew Ferguson [mp3], immediately prior to the subsequent conversation which he reported on last week at DeSmogBlog.
The audio reveals Mr. Ferguson agreeing to speak with Mr. Stark just prior to turning to speak with Ms. Hennessey.
In sum, both Ms. Hennessey and Mr. Ferguson were well aware that Mr. Stark was a reporter, and neither party did anything to suggest that the conversation Mr. Stark recorded was private, off the record or otherwise secret.
In response to the Alliance's allegations, DeSmogBlog issued the following statement to the Seattle Times and other media outlets that reported on this important story: