Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Constant Spill

I knew it was too good to be true.  For awhile there, it really seemed that the Obama administration was serious about protecting the Arctic from offshore drilling.

Even most recently optimism flickered as Secretary of State Kerry spoke in support of clean energy at the Arctic Council.

"My friends, clean energy is the solution to climate change.  If we got the whole world to embrace clean energy choices rapidly, we can meet our two-degree target.  But the window’s closing.  The extraordinary thing is all of the technologies we need – whether it’s wind or solar or hydro or whatever, they’re all there," said Kerry.

But it is not to be.  The Obama administration just agreed to allow Shell to drill in the Arctic.

An oil spill directly into the Arctic would be horrible and that's reason enough to object to this decision.  But it's bigger than that.

Every single minute of every single day we are spilling carbon and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.  It's the constant spill.

The main objection to drilling in the Arctic should be that it's just more of the same -- drill, burn, repeat.  It's what got us here in the first pace.

And now we know better.  But we're still doing it.

Based on the rules of evolution, technically, we should be selected out.  Maybe that's what climate change is.  We cannot adapt ourselves to a clean energy future so climate change will take care of it.  Even a mouse can learn to protect itself -- if it touches this thing, it gets shocked.  So what does it do?  The mouse stops touching it.

If we burn this thing, we ruin nature.  Let's keep burning it anyway.

The move to renewable and clean power is too slow, and that's exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants.  They fought (and are still fighting) the science and reality of climate change, but they've got so many other ways to hold onto their status quo.

Transition is one of those terms they've fed us.  Obama even used it in his recent announcement that we can expect more of the same, even drilling in the Arctic.  That we need to transition to clean fuels.  It sounds so nice and calm.  It really just means more time for the fossil fuel industry to make a killing while they're killing the planet.

I thought we had a moment of real inspiration, a chance for one of the biggest hogs on the planet, the U.S., to be a leader in clean energy.

"Rather than being a leader, however, the U.S. is simply following in the footsteps of Russia and Norway – two countries that have already begun or are making progress towards Arctic offshore drilling.  The decision in favor of Shell’s plans also puts Alaska on the pathway of dependency on oil extraction for many more years to come instead of turning it into a leader in more cutting-edge industries like clean energy," according to Cryopolitics.

Pale leadership, missed opportunities and the constant spill continues while the fat cats pop the champagne.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Even Speak Of It

The ultimate form of denial: don't even speak of it.

The Florida office charged with protecting the state's natural resources -- from manatees to the buccaneer palm, from elkhorn coral to gators -- was muzzled by the state's highest officials.

"Though it was not a written rule, we were told not to use the terms 'climate change,' 'global warming' or 'sustainability'. That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors," said Christopher Byrd, a former attorney with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Office of General Counsel, according to USA Today.

What could Florida officials possibly be protecting by such a mandate?  Unfortunately, it's unsurprising in a state where renewable energy is illegal.

What really boggles the mind is that Florida is almost entirely at or barely above sea level.  Right now, flooding occurs with nearly every high tide in places that never flooded before including many of its famous beaches, which generate over $65 billion in tourism revenue annually.

The blatant disregard for the future of Floridians and Florida's economy by its own government is nothing short of breathtaking.