Climate change is arguably the most significant issue facing the world right now. So you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an issue on which it would be easy to hold politicians to account. But...
Two North Dakota gas processing plants in the heart of the Bakken oil fields have shown signs of an eroded safety culture and startling construction problems, according to Paul Lehto, a 54-year-old former gas plant operator who has come out as a whistleblower. He described worrisome conditions at the Lonesome Creek plant, in Alexander, and the Garden Creek plant, in Watford City, where DeSmog recently revealed one of the largest oil and gas industry spills in U.S. history had occurred. Both plants process natural gas brought via pipeline from Bakken wells and are run by the Oklahoma-based oil and gas service company, ONEOK Partners.
“The safety culture is embarrassing,” said Lehto, who has described to DeSmog the discovery of dozens of loose bolts along critical sections of piping, and other improperly set equipment, deficiencies he attributes to the frenzied rush of the oil boom that has dominated the state’s landscape and economy. “North Dakota is basically a Petrostate,” said Lehto, who worked at the two plants between 2015 and 2016. “There is regulatory capture, and sure that happens in other areas, but nowhere is it more extreme than in North Dakota.”
In their second round of debates, Democratic presidential candidates called for aggressive measures to slow climate change. As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.”
Politicians realize that many voters care about this issue. A 2018 survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities categorizes 69% of Americans as at least “somewhat worried” about climate change, the highest level these programs had recorded since 2008.
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the United States and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
Four years after New York announced the state was banning hydraulic fracturing (fracking), Tioga Energy Partners, LLC has filed an application with the state to frack for natural gas, but there's a catch. The company is proposing to swap propane into the industry standard mix that usually calls for water.
Environmental advocates consider this application to use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and specifically a propane gel, an attempt to circumvent New York's 2015 ban on fracking for fossil fuels.
Back in 1996, the president of the Charles Koch Foundation laid out a blueprint for the Koch network’s goals of social transformation — a three-tiered integrated strategy to roll back government regulations, promote free market principles, and, in doing so, to protect the industries that turned the Koch brothers into billionaires.
More than two decades later, that blueprint is still being followed in a broad-scale effort to serve the Kochs’ free-market libertarian ideology, to prop up the oil and gas industries that pad their fortunes, and to forestall any political action on climate change that they believe would threaten their bottom line.
By Tim Radford for Climate News Network
European and US scientists have cleared up a point that has been nagging away at climate science for decades: not only is the planet warming faster than at any time in the last 2,000 years, but this unique climate change really does have neither a historic precedent nor a natural cause.
Other historic changes — the so-called Medieval Warm Period and then the “Little Ice Age” that marked the 17th to the 19th centuries — were not global. The only period in which the world’s climate has changed, everywhere and at the same time, is right now.
Christopher Leonard’s new book, Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, begins, appropriately enough, with an FBI agent, who is investigating criminal activity by the company, standing in a field with a pair of binoculars, trying to catch a glimpse of the daily operations of a company that prizes secrecy.
Koch Industries was under investigation for theft of oil from the Osage and other Indigenous nations. Walking into the company's office building involved passing through security checkpoints, Leonard explains, so numerous that one investigator later told Leonard that it “reminded him of traveling to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.”
Through exhaustive reporting and extraordinary interviews with past and current company executives, including some turned whistleblower, Kochland offers readers a view far larger than can be seen through binocular lenses, walking readers past those layers of security checkpoints and into the inner workings of an institution that has for decades tirelessly built itself into practically all American lives, while largely evading accountability or transparency.
By Paul Brown for the Climate News Network
The days of oil as a fuel for cars, whether petrol or diesel, are numbered — because the economies offered by wind and solar energy and other cheap renewables, combined with electric vehicles, are irresistible, a French bank says.
BNP Paribas Asset Management calculates that oil majors like Exxon, BP and Shell will have to produce petrol from oil at $10 a barrel (the current price is $58) to compete with electricity on price, while for diesel, it says, oil can cost no more than $19 a barrel.
Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That's both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of the Climate report, which was published this week with the American Meteorological Society.
That pollution creates a greenhouse effect that is over 42 percent stronger than it was in 1990, the report added.
And while carbon dioxide hit a new level last year, it isn't the only climate-changing gas that’s on the rise globally. Pollution of the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane also climbed in 2018, showing an increase “higher than the average growth rate over the past decade,” the report adds.
A new Cornell University study published today in the scientific journal Biogeosciences helps to explain what sparked the surge in those methane concentrations, both here in the U.S. and around the world.
One big culprit: shale drilling and fracking.