Category: Environment


The UK government has made more than €1bn ($1.35bn) selling carbon permits to polluting businesses, and could make billions more each year for the next decade, research published Thursday shows. But despite pressure from the European Union, none of the revenue raised is being directed towards green projects.

On Thursday, the UK made about 63 million Euros off a new batch of permits, the first since trading was halted for two weeks after hackers stole around 40 million Euros worth of the permits. The government plans to hold five more auctions this year, selling 17.5m permits, which could represent a gain to the Treasury of more than €260m at current carbon prices. From 2013, the government stands to make as much as €8bn a year, according to estimates from the UK’s Carbon Trust.

Permit auctions started in 2008, when changes to the EU’s rules on emissions trading meant member state governments were allowed to sell off up to 10% of their allocation of permits, which had previously been given out for free. The UK decided to auction 7%, covering the emissions of the power sector.

From 2013, about half of the total number of permits available are expected to be sold. The only companies expected to receive their permits free of charge are those in industries particularly vulnerable to competition from overseas businesses that are not subject to the same strict environmental regulations.

The enlarged number of permits available for auctioning will greatly boost the government’s revenues from the scheme, according to the Carbon Trust, while simultaneously helping the environment by forcing companies to reduce carbon emissions or buy permits off other companies (who would thus have to have fewer emissions).

All in all, a good day for the environment and the UK government.

As Republicans take the reins of the 2011 Legislature next month, high on their agenda is revising the countries’ energy and environmental laws, to boost natural-resource development and jobs.

“If we are going to have jobs, it will be in natural resources,” says Sen. Debby Barrett, R-Dillon, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “I think our committee will be very busy.”

Montana is one state in which the agenda of politicians is very environmentally related.

Republican lawmakers, who will have strong majorities in both chambers of the 2011 Legislature, already have requested scores of bills in this arena, targeting everything from the Montana Environmental Policy Act to renewable-energy mandates, which they see as unnecessary.

Many Democrats as well as the state’s environmental community are bracing for a fight, saying the state’s environmental-protection laws will come under “constant and very serious attack.”

In addition to the proposed changes to MEPA and renewable-power incentives, environmentalists say they’re also expecting attempts to alter or roll back the state’s ban on cyanide heap-leach gold mines, weaken the state Superfund hazardous-waste cleanup law, enact private-property laws that could stymie environmental regulations and perhaps even encourage nuclear-power development in Montana.

Republicans, however, say their convincing victory in legislative races in November is a message that Montanans want more development of all resources, including oil, gas, coal, timber and more.

Sorry for not having any posts in the last 3 weeks, but I’ve been very busy. At least someone in the US Government fakes caring about the environment!

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.

Paul Watson, the captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was recently interviewed and I found his comments on what he does very interesting.

As a little bit of background, Watson is a Canadian, was co-founder of Greenpeace, and has been captain of the Sea Shepherd and its ships for 30 years, putting himself and his fleet between whaling ships, mainly the Japanese, for that time.

When he was asked about why he does what he does, and how killing a whale is any different than killing a pig or cow, he replied:

‘How can anybody compare the killing of a pig to the killing of a whale? First of all, our ships are vegan. Forty percent of the fish caught from the oceans is fed to livestock – pigs and chickens are becoming major aquatic predators.

You cannot compare the killing of animals in a domestic slaughterhouse to the killing of a whale. What goes on with those whales and dolphins would never be tolerated in a slaughterhouse. Those slaughterhouses would be shut down. It takes from 10 to 45 minutes to kill a whale and they die in horrific agony. That would be completely intolerable and illegal in any slaughterhouse in the world.

Also they’re an endangered and protected species – pigs and cows are not. They’re part of a natural ecosystem, which [the] pigs and cows [we eat] are not. ‘

If we are to support his work to stop Japanese whaling and generally the slaughter or sea life, he said we should:

‘Stop eating the ocean– there is no such thing as a sustainable fishery. When you eat meat, make sure it’s organic and isn’t contributing to the destruction of the ocean because 40 percent of all the fish that’s caught out of the ocean is fed to livestock – chickens on factory farms are fed fish meal. And be cognizant of the fact that if the oceans die, we die. Therefore our ultimate responsibility is to protect biodiversity in our world’s oceans.’

It sounds to me like an ESS class, but he does bring up valid points that we depend on the ocean and we ought to be more protective of the oceans and their biodiversity. Definitely an eco-centric guy with some extreme views and a set of morals on him; he ‘does it all for the whales and creatures of the sea’. If I lived his experiences, I probably would too.

It’s really too much for me to write all here. See the link below for the stories of how he made eye contact with a whale as it bled to death, how a whale almost crushed his ship, and some captivating thoughts on the whale hunt and, of course, more.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/21/sea-shepherd-paul-watson-whales

“It looks like a meteor strike: From out of nowhere, a huge clearing appears in the jungle — a deep rust-colored pit surrounded by mounds of dirt and thick stands of trees pushed to the side in dense piles of overturned soil.

But this is no act of nature. It is the result of the steady labor of a dozen barefoot men, who have blasted away at the earth for three days with high-pressure water hoses and earth-movers, searching for gold and destroying a swathe of rainforest.

Juergen Plein, a 29-year-old miner, said he needs the work mining, and doesn’t know any other way to get at the precious metal.

“I think about it,” Plein, nearly shouting over the roar of generators, said of the damage. “But survival comes first.”

Thanks to record gold prices, hundreds of small-scale mining operations are proliferating along the northeastern shoulder of South America. Small-scale miners produced a record of nearly 16.5 metric tons of gold in 2009, according to Suriname’s government.

Miners are tearing up trees, poisoning creeks with mercury and, in some places, erecting makeshift jungle towns with shops, prostitutes and churches.” – Ben Fox, AP

Ben Fox seems to think that this ‘tearing up [of] trees and poisoning creeks with mercury’ is a bad idea. He, just as I do, sees the ethical wrongs posed in blowing up precious jungle areas in order to make a profit, and he cares very much about the environment, as an semi-anthropocentric and semi-ecocentric. As world inhabitants, we need to care for the land, and this means keeping rainforests and gold outcrops in the ground safe and intact. The author and I both put a very high premium on the environment as partial ecocentrics and we think that this is an unbelievable betrayal of Mother Nature.

However, Juergen Plein, a resident miner, seems to think that this destruction is acceptable since he makes a profit off the gold he mines, which is a very greedy, part a. Clearly this is a man without an environmental moral compass- if only he could see the damage he is causing the environment, one would hope he would stop.

But this is not the case. Plein and other miners will continue to mine because they make money and have no value for the environment, unlike myself and the author of the article. As this devastation continues, rainforest will be unable to grow back and gold will be exploited further as it will be easier to do so, resulting in positive feedback that could go on until Suriname’s rainforest ceases to exist.

But hopefully not.

“Work to remove the 300-ton piece of equipment that failed to stop the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could be delayed into the weekend or longer because of rough seas, the federal government’s point man on the spill response said Tuesday.

Engineers hoped to begin the operation Monday but were stopped by the rough waters, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. Seas were 6-feet or higher Tuesday, but Allen believes they would have to be closer to 4 feet for the work to be done safely.

The process involves removing the cap that stopped oil from gushing from the site of the spill in mid-July, then removing the failed blowout preventer and replacing it with a new one. That would clear the way for completion of a relief well and the final, permanent plugging of the well with mud and cement from the bottom.

Officials don’t believe more oil will leak when the cap and blowout preventer are removed, but they are preparing just in case.

Allen addressed reporters after a private meeting with Billy Nungesser, the president of coastal Plaquemines Parish, who for months after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion was a frequent critic of Allen and the overall response of BP and the government. Nungesser frequently complained that responders were too slow to get equipment in place where needed to keep oil off beaches and out of sensitive coastal marshes.” -Kevin McGill, BusinessWeek

This recent news on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has me wondering whether or not this new cap is the greatest idea.

I just hope that this technology does work and the blowout preventer ends up successful so that the spil site can be closed off. It seems to me that the author has a similar viewpoint- he seems to believe that the environment is quite important and it is necessary that as little goes wrong as possible. His viewpoint is professional but it is difficult not to be critical of government actions and caring for the environment, which the author gives the impression of in the full article.

I believe his thought of criticism of the actions of BP and the government is deserved and that the environment should be of importance those who inhabit it. Let’s just cross our fingers that the blowout preventer works so that we can seal off the spill site.