Posts Tagged ‘natural gas’
* Apocalypse now: University of Colorado research scientist Gabrielle Petron, who also works in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s global monitoring division, said the rate of increasing atmospheric methane concentrations has accelerated tenfold since 2007. She said it will take a few more years to determine whether the natural gas boom helps explain the change. Well thank goodness we’re putting a hold on natural gas extraction until we figure it out.
* But once something becomes a TED Talk, it becomes oddly unassailable. The video, the speech, the idea, the applause — there too often stops our critical faculties. We don’t interrupt. We don’t jeer. We don’t ask any follow-up questions. They lecture. We listen.
* Miracles and wonders: Doctors believe they have cured a baby of HIV for the first time.
* And Nate Silver finally weighs in: What Betting Markets Are Saying About the Next Pope.
* Austerity: not all bad? Meat Industry May Shut Down For Weeks Due To U.S. Spending Cuts.
* The Journal-Sentinel profiles Einstein Productions, a Milwaukee non-profit founded with the help of the Marquette University College of Communications providing job training assistance to people on the autism spectrum.
* Natural gas and oil production is the second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases, the government said, emboldening environmentalists who say tighter measures are needed to curb the emissions from hydraulic fracturing.
* Winter in an era of climate change: “We will see a shorter snow season, but more intense individual snowfall events.”
* Boston University student tasered for throwing a snowball at a cop. Seems proportional.
* According to the new survey, 54 percent of Americans approve of using drones to kill high-level terrorism suspects, while 18 percent disapprove and 28 percent are undecided. … But support for drone strikes in the new HuffPost/YouGov survey dropped to 43 percent if the terrorism suspects are U.S. citizens, with 27 percent disapproving and 31 percent saying they’re not sure. If innocent civilians may also be killed in the process of targeting terrorism suspects, only 29 percent approve of using them and 42 percent disapprove. I’m amazed the numbers are that low, to be honest. Perhaps there’s an opportunity here to leverage Republicans’ knee-jerk hatred of Obama for anti-imperialist ends.
* The surfeit of attention paid to the figure of the entrepreneur in the present moment reveals it to be an object of impossible longing, a fiction riven by ideological contradictions. He—it is usually a he as portrayed in media—is an abstraction but also manifest as a Mark Zuckerberg or a Peter Thiel. He is both an idea and a real person. The distance between the two—mirrored in the gulf between what he is meant to stand for and what we are supposed to do in emulating flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs—reveals some of the deep contradictions in how we live our lives and how we think.
“I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered and libeled me,” Dorner writes, who identifies throughout his manifesto as a patriot whose core beliefs have been shattered. He realizes that he has, as we might say, ‘lost the plot’. He’s happy to tell you why that is, and why he believes he has to divert his killing skills away from the people they were intended for, and against those who trained him. His manifesto or letter, titled simply, ‘Last Resort’. is addressed to America, in a final plea, perhaps, that they address the heart of darkness that lies at its core. The heart of darkness which turned Christopher Dorner from a man who believed that he could best serve his country by working as a navy reservist and LAPD officer, to a man who believed he could best serve his country by destroying the LAPD entirely using the skills he learned in the navy.
* And you’ve always wondered: how does AOL make money? The Atlantic reports.
* Fewer than half the leases require companies to compensate landowners for water contamination after drilling begins. And only about half the documents have language that lawyers suggest should be included to require payment for damages to livestock or crops.
* Most leases grant gas companies broad rights to decide where they can cut down trees, store chemicals, build roads and drill. Companies are also permitted to operate generators and spotlights through the night near homes during drilling.
* In the leases, drilling companies rarely describe to landowners the potential environmental and other risks that federal laws require them to disclose in filings to investors.
* Most leases are for three or five years, but at least two-thirds of those reviewed by The Times allow extensions without additional approval from landowners. If landowners have second thoughts about drilling on their land or want to negotiate for more money, they may be out of luck.
* There is not a single new manned combat aircraft under research and development at any major Western aerospace company, and the Air Force is training more operators of unmanned aerial systems than fighter and bomber pilots combined. The drones of war.
* And Mitt Romney, struggling to break out of his tailspin in Florida, tests out his dog whistle. I’m genuinely curious if people see some non-racist interpretation of this claim. What does it mean to assert, in the face of all available evidence, that Barack Obama has never had a job? What would motivate Mitt Romney say such a trivially untrue thing, and what would motivate a crowd to respond approvingly? If this is racism, it is easy to understand; if it isn’t racism, it’s almost impossible. I think Amanda Marcotte probably had the best line on all this a few days ago, when it was Gingrich with basically the same line on Juan Williams: “Gingrich is so committed to ‘black people don’t work,’ he claims it of a man he knows in a professional capacity.” That’s Romney tonight.
This week’s episode of This American Life is a fascinating case study in regulatory and institutional capture, organized around the politics of natural gas mining in Pennsylvania. Both Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh come out looking hopelessly compromised by corporate influence, with state and local government not far behind. Give it a listen.
* Related: BP Ready To Resume Oil Spilling.
LONDON—A year after the tragic explosion and oil spill that caused petroleum giant BP to cease operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday that it was once again ready to begin oil spilling. “People said this company might never rebound from last year, but we’re here and ready to do what we do best,” said BP chief executive Robert Dudley, who confirmed that the company had already successfully conducted small test spills and that full-scale spilling operations could resume as early as July. “We’ve reorganized and regrouped, and now we’re ready to put the faulty blowout preventers on the wellheads and watch them pump raw crude petroleum right into the environment.” BP stock jumped $14 a share following the announcement.
They should have known it was trouble when they named it “hydrofracking”:
With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.
While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.
The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.
Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. Their concern is based partly on a 2009 study, never made public, written by an E.P.A. consultant who concluded that some sewage treatment plants were incapable of removing certain drilling waste contaminants and were probably violating the law.
The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.
But the E.P.A. has not intervened. In fact, federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. And most drinking-water intake plants downstream from those sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania, with the blessing of regulators, have not tested for radioactivity since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.
In other words, there is no way of guaranteeing that the drinking water taken in by all these plants is safe.
Climate Progress has your two-line take-away:
The bottom line this bombshell story is that the natural gas industry should no longer be given any presumption of innocence or safety in regards the health impacts of fracking. Time for the EPA and the wastewater industry to do some testing and inform the public of the dangers.
The USGS has released its survey of the hydrocarbon reserves in the Arctic and it’s a doozy: “90 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil, 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of technically recoverable natural gas liquids.”
These resources account for about 22 percent of the undiscovered, technically recoverable resources in the world. The Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas, and 20 percent of the undiscovered natural gas liquids in the world. About 84 percent of the estimated resources are expected to occur offshore.
Environment 360 notes that this is “enough to meet global demand for three years”—so while it’s not salvation from Peak Oil, it does push the peak back a bit, and probably (unfortunately) makes opposition to Arctic drilling politically untenable in the short term.
Still, as Dot Earth makes clear, this “bonzana” doesn’t change the underlying energy calculus in any substantive way:
The Arctic energy report, then, perhaps supports the assertions of those saying that the world will not be able to drill its way out of the oil crunch in the long run, and that, with or without considering global warming, we must eventually shift to electrified transportation and renewable farmed fuels for sectors like aviation that can’t plug in.