Archive for November, 2010

We Could Lose the Tiger

‘The roar of a wild tiger could soon be replaced by silence if the global summit fails to target the illicit demand driving its decline,’ writes Robert Zoellick of the Guardian.

In 1894, when the Jungle Book was first published, 100,000 tigers roamed the wild. Today, that number has plummeted to 3,200. And Shere Khan’s hunting grounds, the habitats in which all wild tigers live, are disappearing. Tigers now occupy only 7% of their 1894 range.

The extinction of the wild tiger would be an extraordinary tragedy. It would be a tragedy not only because of the appalling loss of these animals, but also because it would pose a threat to the health of the habitats in which they live and the prey that support them. Tigers are an umbrella species – their health reflects the health of surrounding plants and animals.

We know what is causing the decline in numbers of wild tigers: illegal poaching; illegal wildlife trade; loss of habitat through conversion, encroachment, and land degradation. But the good news is we have also found that tiger populations can recover. For them to do so, we have to target the illicit demand that drives tiger decline – because the illegal trade in wildlife is nothing more than organised crime.

This year, 2010, is the Year of the Tiger. During 21-24 November, the global tiger summit in St Petersburg, Russia, will bring together the 13 countries that still have wild tigers, along with some wildlife conservation and development partners. The summit will be an historic occasion, where world leaders will undertake specific commitments with the goal of doubling tiger numbers to 7,000 by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger, and protecting their habitats.

By working to save the wild tigers, we’re protecting a majestic animal so it can continue to stir our imagination, just as it did in Kipling’s day. At the same time, we’re arousing attention about all the biodiversity of our planet.

I’ve already brought this up before, talking about my opinion and those of others. However, I feel I need to bring it up once more as the Guardian had another article on it. I am of course talking about the BP oil disaster.

The presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster ran into controversy today by saying it had found no evidence that BP and other oil companies put profits ahead of safety on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

In a preliminary finding by what is the first independent panel, the commission’s chief investigator found a series of missed warning signs before the April 20 explosion on the rig.

Fred Bartlit, appointed by President Obama to investigate into the spill, complained repeatedly during his presentation that he did not have subpoena powers and had to rely on the goodwill of oil firm.”I wish I had that power because I think it’s damned important — but that’s the way it goes,” he said. The Senate refused to grant such powers.

In a long and detailed re-enactment of events leading up to the explosion, Bartlit and his team outlined a clear trail where disaster could have been averted. The team also questioned executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton. The investigation produced 13 findings on the path to the disaster.

Eleven men died when the rig exploded, releasing nearly 5m barrels of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. The Macondo well was from the start a challenging one. BP had intended to drill even deeper but stopped at 18,36 ft because of the difficulties of preventing oil seeping into the surrounding rock.

The failure is even more striking given BP and Halliburton knew by 20 April that the cement seal on the well was defective.”People knew there was one barrier. The well was under-balanced and that called for heightened high vigilance,” Grimsley said. “People knew you had to be really careful.”

The findings included:

• The cement seal at the bottom of the well failed to hold back oil and gas in the reservoir, and should have been redesigned.

• BP and Transocean interpreted the failed negative pressure test as a success.

• BP introduced additional safety risks in its plan to shut down the drilling rig.

• Crews on the rig and in offshore offices should have picked up warnings on monitors that gas was rising from the well.

• Rapid response at that time could have prevented a blowout.

Many conclusions mirror those of BP’s internal investigation, and Bartlit said he agreed with 90% of it. The most significant conclusions for BP could be the finding that the leak rose through the drill pipe rather than the space between the casing and the rock formation. That supports BP’s contention that its well design was not a contributing factor in the explosion.

Wow. Talk about NEGLIGENCE.

Although there is an important role for skepticism in science, for almost 30 years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science.

While it may be reasonable to be somewhat skeptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable skepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.

These claims have included assertions that the science of climate change has been completely “debunked” and that there is no evidence of human causation of recent observed warming. There are numerous lines of evidence that point to human causation even if it is not a completely settled matter.

According the New York Times article, the fossil fuel industry has “created and lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global warming studies, paid for rallies and websites to question the science, and incorrectly reduces statistics to do with climate change.”

Disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily – if not criminally – irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change:

• Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world;

• Will be experienced in the future by millions of people from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted but not yet felt due to lags in the climate system; and,

• Will increase dramatically in the future unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced from existing global emissions levels.

It’s horrible that anyone is thinking to dupe public as a whole into believing falsities to do with climate change.