fossil fuels

Does 'Green Energy' Have Hidden Health and Environmental Costs?

Ivanpah solar plant

By , and .

There are a number of available low-carbon technologies to generate electricity. But are they really better than fossil fuels and nuclear power?

To answer that question, one needs to compare not just the emissions of different power sources but also the health benefits and the threats to ecosystems of green energy.

Study Finds Connection Between Living Near Oil and Gas Development and Childhood Leukemia

oil derrick in a field in Colorado

With the rise of new technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling, oil and gas development in the United States has exploded over the past 15 years. As development expands, it’s also pushing ever closer into areas where people live. It’s been estimated that today more than 15 million Americans live within one mile of oil and gas development.

The drilling process, of course, has the potential to emit toxic substances, including the carcinogen benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and diesel exhaust, into the surrounding air and waterways. But researchers have long been trying to determine to what extent oil and gas drilling operations may threaten public health, particularly around cancer risk.

However, new research suggests that childen living in areas of high-density oil and gas development may face increased risk of health impacts, namely a certain type of leukemia, as a result of their exposure to pollutants associated with this activity.

Are Fossil Fuel Companies Telling Investors Enough About the Risks of Climate Change?

Exxon gas station sign

Prior to President Donald Trump taking office, there was a push to require oil and gas companies to inform their investors about the risks of climate change. As governments step up efforts to regulate carbon emissions, the thinking goes, fossil fuel companies’ assets could depreciate in value over time.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, was probing how ExxonMobil discloses the impact of that risk on the value of its reserves. And disclosure advocates have been pressing the agency to take more decisive action.

Now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, will the SEC reverse course? And should it?

Fueling US Forward Presents Scholarships to Black Youth in North Carolina, Recalling Kochs' Troubling History on Education and Race

Student in front of a school

The fossil fuel industry's effort to “start winning hearts and minds” arrived at a Baptist church in North Carolina recently in the form of three $1,500 scholarships for local high school students and a talk by Hubbel Relat, a Fueling US Forward representative, at a summit hosted by the Roanoke Valley Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The $1,500 scholarships, which local news reports said were aimed to help the students pursue careers in the energy industry, were a part of a broader effort by Fueling US Forward to tout the “positives” of fossil fuels and to bring that message specifically to black communities.

Will Rex Tillerson Come Clean About What #ExxonKnew, As Company Itself Has Been Ordered To Do?

Caricature of Rex Tillerson

Update 1/19/2017: Our Children's Trust, a legal NGO helping represent the youth case, posted that Rex Tillerson's deposition is being delayed while the case's lawyers meet to resolve a dispute.

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, is set to be deposed today by lawyers for a group of 21 young plaintiffs, aged 9 to 20, who filed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. government failed to protect their rights to life, liberty, and property by not taking action to halt global warming.

The deposition comes just one day before Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president — and a little more than a week after a Massachusetts judge ruled that Exxon must hand over more than 40 years of its internal research on climate change, denying the oil giant’s request for a protective order that would have blocked Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's subpoenas.

Is Historical Oil Drilling Responsible For L.A.'s Reputation As Earthquake Prone?

A study by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey points to oil drilling operations as the likely culprit in some of the biggest earthquakes that hit Southern California in the early 20th century — which led to questions about whether or not the Los Angeles region is really as earthquake prone as it is known for.

A number of recent studies have found that earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas were likely induced by oil production or underground injection of oilfield wastewater. For instance, USGS researchers found that wastewater disposal most likely induced the third-largest earthquake in recent Oklahoma history, the 5.1-magnitude quake that occurred on February 13 of this year.

Previous research has found no evidence that oil operations have led to induced seismic events in Southern California, particularly the greater Los Angeles region, where many of the state’s major oilfields lie, since 1935. But what about before that?

How Much Are Fossil Fuel Interests Spending to Sway Your Vote for Congress?

Circle of dollar bills.

Are your Congressional representatives up for reelection this year? How much money have they taken from fossil fuel interests this election cycle? And what about their opponents — are they any better, or are they taking dirty energy money too?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to head on over to NoFossilFuelMoney.org, a new online tool created by ClimateTruth Action to track contributions from the fossil fuel sector — which includes oil and gas companies, electric utilities, coal mining companies, and related businesses — to both congressional incumbents and challengers.

Oil Industry Wastewater Injection Has Overpressurized Aquifers For Decades, Threatening California Drinking Water

A new report from the Washington, D.C-based Environmental Action Center (EAC) on California’s underground injection program finds that oil industry wells in the state have been overpressurizing some aquifers for decades, risking the contamination of neighboring aquifers that might contain drinkable water. Despite full awareness of the problem, state regulators have done little to stop them.

One Year After Worst Methane Leak In U.S. History, Locals Still Calling To Shut Down Aliso Canyon

Protesters against the reopening of Aliso Canyon

It took two and a half months after methane first started leaking from the Aliso Canyon storage facility on October 23, 2015 for the state of California to declare a state of emergency.

By the time the leak was stopped in February 2016, the blowout at Aliso Canyon had caused an estimated 100,000 metric tons of natural gas to escape into the atmosphere, the largest single emission of methane documented in U.S. history. Thousands of homes had to be evacuated in the nearby North San Fernando Valley community of Porter Ranch, where residents suffered headaches, nosebleeds, rashes, and other serious health impacts due to the gas leak.

David Suzuki: We Can’t Dig Our Way Out of the Fossil Fuels Hole

I’ve often thought politicians inhabit a parallel universe. Maybe it’s just widespread cognitive dissonance, coupled with a lack of imagination, that compels them to engage in so much contradictory behaviour. Trying to appease so many varying interests isn’t easy.

Rather than focusing on short-term economic and corporate priorities, though, politicians should first consider the long-term health and well-being of the people they’re elected to represent. When it comes to climate change and fossil fuels, many aren’t living up to that.

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