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Seattle's Mayor Ed Murray has demanded that the Port of Seattle get a new permit to base Shell Oil's drilling for oil offshore in the Arctic Ocean, a development environmentalists have condemned as very risky in an area that is very a sensitive marine ecosystem.  It seems that the lease the Port of Seattle is operating under specified it only be used for "cargo operations" and drilling in the Arctic can't be considered a cargo operation.  

Mayor: Port needs new permit to host Shell oil-drilling fleet

By Daniel Beekman

The Port of Seattle must apply for a new land-use permit in order to have its Terminal 5 serve as a hub for Shell’s offshore Arctic oil-drilling fleet, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Monday.

“After talking to the Port about its plans at Terminal 5 and after reviewing the 20-year-old permit for the operation of the cargo terminal, (Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development) has found, and I concur, that the long-term moorage and maintenance of Arctic drilling equipment falls outside the current permit,” Murray said, drawing applause at a downtown Seattle fundraising breakfast for Climate Solutions, a “clean-energy economy” nonprofit.

“(The department) has determined that the Port’s proposed use is not a cargo terminal and therefore the Port must apply for a new permit,” the mayor added. “I expect the Port to obtain all required city permits before any moorage or work begins at Terminal 5 on Shell’s oil-drilling equipment.”

Thing have already gone very badly for Shell's Arctic venture in 2012 when the huge 400 foot long Polar Pioneer oil platform broke loose from tugs towing it and drifted out of control until it ran aground along the coast of an Alaskan island.

Seattle Says 'No' To Shell's Arctic Drilling Fleet, For Now


At the end of 2012, one of its drill rigs ran aground on an island in the Gulf of Alaska while being towed to Seattle. The rig was sent to Singapore for repairs, and the company lost out on the 2013 drilling season.

That incident came less than four months after an accident in Anacortes, Wash., kept Shell from drilling for Arctic oil in 2012. In an underwater test off Samish Island, the company's oil-spill containment system was "crushed like a beer can," in the words of a federal inspector who witnessed the test.

Then on its way south to Seattle some courageous Greenpeace activists boarded the Polar Pioneer platform in the mid-Pacific.
Greenpeace Activists Have Barnacled Themselves to the Polar Pioneer, a Shell Oil Drilling Rig Bound for Seattle

by Sydney Brownstone

Greenpeace reports that this morning, six activists from the Esperanza—the Greenpeace vessel tracking a Shell oil drilling platform called the Polar Pioneer as it travels across the Pacific Ocean—managed to scale the rig and affix themselves to the underside of the main deck.

The six are now tweeting from the rig, located 750 miles northwest of Hawaii.

In 2012, Shell won an injunction that kept Greenpeace activists away from its rigs. This drilling season, Seattle-based activists are also planning to greet the rigs with a flotilla of kayaks in Elliott Bay.

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Gas fracking has be estimated to release much more methane than previous gas industry claims. The worst offender for Methane releases in the US is probably the natural gas field in the Four Corners area.

Methane anomaly in Four Corners area under investigation

By John Hollenhorst

DURANGO, Colo. — There's something in the air in the Four Corners region. Methane. Natural gas. Four research planes and more than two dozen scientists and technologists have descended on the region to figure out where it's coming from.

In the region where Utah rubs shoulders with three other states, satellite imagery detected the nation's worst methane hot spot.

“That’s a huge anomaly,” said Andrew Thorpe from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “But we don’t know exactly where the methane is coming from.”

The most obvious suspect is the natural gas industry. It's one of the most productive natural gas fields in the country.

Aubrey explained, “I think it was intriguing to us and deserving of more study.”

Planes operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are collecting airborne samples to quantify the methane.

Eric Kort, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Michigan, said they are also measuring the chemical fingerprints in the area.

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Republican shills for Big Carbon are launching a direct assault on NASA funding designed to gut any future enhancements to the Earth Sciences capabilities to monitor changing conditions on our planet from orbit using satellites.  

House GOP Wants to Eviscerate NASA Earth Sciences in New Budget

By Phil Plait

A passel of anti-science global warming denying GOP representatives have put together a funding authorization bill for NASA that at best cuts more than $300 million from the agency’s current Earth science budget.

At worst? More than $500 million.

The actual amount of the cut depends on whether some caps enacted in 2011 are removed or not. If they are, then Earth sciences gets $1.45 billion. If not, it gets $1.2 billion. The current FY 2015 budget is $1.773 billion.

Compare that with the White House request for FY ’16 of $1.947 billion for Earth sciences. The bill will be marked up (amended and rewritten) by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today.

The authorization bill passed along party lines (19 Republicans to 15 Democrats) and will move to the House floor eventually for a vote. Rep. Edwards put in an amendment to restore the Earth sciences budget but was voted down ... again along party lines. So there you have it. If this authorization is upheld by the House, it will be reconciled with a Senate version, and then negotiated with the White House. But for now, the huge and devastating cuts to NASA's ability to monitor our warming planet will be the baseline.
From the LA Times:
The GOP attack on climate change science takes a big step forward

By Michael Hiltzik

Living down to our worst expectations, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology voted Thursday to cut deeply into NASA's budget for Earth science, in a clear swipe at the study of climate change.

The committee's markup of the NASA authorization bill for fiscal 2016 and 2017 passed on a party-line vote, Republicans in the majority. The action followed what appears to be a deliberate attempt to keep Democrats out of the loop. According to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the committee's ranking Democrat, her caucus "did not even know [the markup] existed before last Friday. ... After we saw the bill, we understood why."

From the Washington Post:
Cutting NASA’s earth science budget is short-sighted and a threat

By Marshall Shepherd

When I went to bed last night, I had no intention of writing this commentary. However, I literally could not sleep contemplating the reckless cuts to NASA’s earth sciences budget being proposed by some in the U.S. House of Representatives.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, one of the few people that has actually seen our home planet from the vantage point of space, issued a statement noting that proposed cuts, “gut our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate, and our ability to prepare for and respond to earthquakes, droughts, and storm events…” This statement is measured and appropriate, but I am writing to amplify this statement.

Cuts in the $300-500 million dollar range as proposed literally take NASA’s earth science program from the “enhanced” smart phone era back to the first-generation “flip” phones or maybe the rotary phone. It also fundamentally challenges the Congressional mandate of the 1958 Space Act creating NASA.

NASA chief: House budget may 'set back generations worth of progress' in climate research

These Republican imbeciles and the charlatan "experts" they follow are all bought and paid for by fossil fuel billionaires like the Kochs, and other obscenely wealthy individuals blinded by their own insatiable greed.

We haven't seen such a heavy handed attack on science since 1616 when Pope Urban VIII disturbed by Copernicus' Theory of Sun Centered Universe banned its printing and publication, eventually resulting in the trial of Galileo a few decades later.

                                                        Pope Urban VIII
                                             Role Model for House Republicans

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This shows the routine brutality by law enforcement when a suspect is uncooperative. The woman was on her way home at a BART station after drinking heavily on St. Patrick's Day of 2014 when police first contacted her.


The Koch funded Heartland Institute is sending some of its industry compliant scientists to Rome to correct Pope Francis ideas about Global Warming.

Koch-backed group sending ‘real scientists’ to school Pope Francis about ‘Biblical duty’ to pollute

The libertarian Heartland Institute — perhaps best known for working alongside cigarette manufacturers to question the dangers of second-hand smoke — will host a workshop featuring two “real scientists” Tuesday in Rome ahead of a Vatican summit on the environment, although the group neglected to identify its scientists.

Pope Francis plans to issue an encyclical letter this summer that will address environmental issues, and very likely climate change — which could make the issue a moral and religious concern for Christians worldwide.

The Vatican summit will feature UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs – who the conservative group complained ignore “abundant data showing human greenhouse gas emissions are not causing a climate crisis.”

They said proposed international regulations on airborne pollutants would amount to “a radical reordering of global economies that will cause massive reductions in human freedom and prosperity.”

“The Holy Father is being misled by ‘experts’ at the United Nations who have proven unworthy of his trust,” said Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute. “Humans are not causing a climate crisis on God’s Green Earth – in fact, they are fulfilling their Biblical duty to protect and use it for the benefit of humanity..."

The Kochs are doing the Lord's work! They embody human prosperity! Why can't Pope Francis see that?  
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A new Gallup Poll shows Conservative Republicans' views on Global Warming diverge radically from the mainstream of American thought which increasingly matches the overwhelming scientific consensus. But like everything else in the real world conservative Republicans view Global Warming through their partisan media that distorts reality like the reflections of a funhouse mirror.

Conservative Republicans Alone on Global Warming's Timing

by Andrew Dugan

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- While notable majorities of all other political party/ideology groups say the effects of global warming will happen within their lifetime, fewer than four in 10 conservative Republicans (37%) agree, a sign of that political identity's strident skepticism on this issue.

Conservative Republicans not only decisively reject the notion that the effects of global warming will happen in this lifetime -- a position in sharp contrast to all other political identities -- but another 40% say global warming will never happen. This is significantly higher than the percentages of moderate/liberal Republicans (16%), non-leaning independents (14%), conservative/moderate Democrats (5%) and liberal Democrats (3%) who say the same.

These results are based on an aggregate of more than 6,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup's annual Environment poll each March from 2010 to 2015.

Of the major political identities, conservative Republicans are the only group in which a clear majority (70%) attribute increasing terrestrial temperatures to natural changes in the environment. By contrast, majorities of Democrats and independents say global warming is due to effects of pollution from human activities. Moderate/liberal Republicans are split on the issue.
Conservative Republicans as a group stand alone in rejecting the growing consensus among Americans on human caused Global Warming. Republican leaders need enough integrity and courage to stand up to the the lunatic fringe in their own party, instead of pandering shamelessly to them. How long before that happens is hard to guess for a GOP used to bending over backwards to protect its Big Oil donors business as usual practices that the industry clings to.

President Obama speaking on Earth Day in the threatened Florida Everglades forcefully rejected Florida Governor Rick Scott's prohibition against state officials mentioning Global Warming or Climate Change in their official roles.

Obama in Everglades: ‘Climate change cannot be edited out of the conversation’


President Barack Obama on Wednesday paid his first visit to the Everglades, delivering an Earth Day speech that tied the threat of rising seas pose for the imperiled River of Grass to wider climate change risks across the nation.

But his choice of South Florida as a venue also was clearly calculated to make political points. Voters will elect Obama’s successor in 18 months, and the Republican field so far is teeming with would-be candidates, including two from Florida, who question whether climate change is man-made, despite significant scientific scholarship concluding that it is largely a result of carbon emissions.

In a speech delivered at Everglades National Park, the president also got a subtle dig in at Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has come under fire for ordering state staffers to avoid the term “climate change.”

"Climate change can no longer be denied...cannot be edited out of the conversation," Obama said. The governor, who declined an invitation to join Obama on his Glades tour, has denied such a mandate exists.

This week, scores of scientists meeting in Broward County revealed new research that showed even more dramatic changes in store under climate change projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that predicts increases in temperature, sea level and ocean salinity.

Protective mangrove coasts could disappear, studies found, and soils collapse under increasingly salty conditions, allowing Florida Bay to grow and the Everglades to shrink. The wetlands, which provides much of South Florida’s freshwater, are already half their original size.

“We’re at this key moment where there’s crucial public recognition,” said Florida International University ecologist Evelyn Gaiser, who has been invited to meet with Obama after his speech.

South Florida's Everglades is one of the areas of the nation most threatened by Global Warming and the resulting rise in Sea Levels. Rick Scott and all of the Republicans running for President in 2016 including Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are trying their hardest to pretend that Global Warming isn't a potentially catastrophic problem for South Florida and other parts of the country most at risk.
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President Obama is slamming Senator Elizabeth Warren and opponents of TPP, making claims about the contents of the secret treaty that can't be supported by the text of the treaty which is still being hidden from the American public, despite the fact that the particulars of the treaty are well known in corporate board rooms since they are the ones who largely wrote the treaty to address their wants.    

Obama Says Elizabeth Warren Is ‘Wrong’ on Trade

Haley Sweetland Edwards

In an interview with MSNBC, Obama said Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and her supporters are “wrong” to think that the White House’s signature free trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, would be bad for the American economy. The sweeping 12-nation accord, which would become the largest free trade pact in U.S. history, would open up borders between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, including Japan and Australia, and is supported by a wide variety of business groups and most Republicans.

“I love Elizabeth,” Obama told host Chris Matthews. “We’re allies on a whole host of issues. But she’s wrong on this.”

“And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this trade deal is,” the President continued, “when you dig into the facts, they are wrong.”
How are we supposed to dig into the "facts" when the treaty's text remains a secret Mr President?

The very people who are supporting this deal ought to give the president pause about who he's getting in bed with to try and pass this secretive package of gifts to corporations and the investor class.


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Ever since George Bush's prohibition against NASA from undertaking any scientific research that might potentially bolster the case for Anthropogenic Global Warming ended when Republicans left office in 2009, NASA has launched a number of satellites to study the effects of Global Warming. Those satellites have provided a wealth of powerful  evidence for Anthropogenic Global Warming much to the consternation of the denialist charlatans, and the GOP's Big Oil donors who pay to propagate the fraudulent narratives featured in the Right's partisan media.

                                                          NASA Video

Now the Republican chair of the House Space Subcommitte Steven Palazzo (Mississippi), and full committee chair Lamar Smith (Texas) have told NASA to scale back their study of the Earth and to concentrate more on "space exploration".

“There are 13 other agencies involved in climate change research, but only one that is responsible for space exploration. The administration continues to starve NASA’s exploration programs to fund a partisan environmental agenda. NASA simply deserves better.”

In the last eight years, the Obama administration has increased funding for the Earth Science Division by more than 63 percent, while consistently cutting funding for human space exploration programs.

pdf link

Republican denialists want to prod NASA back into the scientific blinders it was operating under in the bad old George W. Bush days.

The business case for ever building two coal export mega-terminals in the Pacific Northwest is falling apart.

From the Guardian:

China's coal imports fall nearly half in 12 months as anti-pollution drive bites

China’s coal imports fell by nearly half in the first three months of the year as the slowing economy and tougher rules on pollution took their toll.

Imports by the world’s biggest coal consumer reached 49.07m tonnes in the first quarter, a fall of 42% on the same period a year ago according to data from the Chinese customs office.

Trade figures for March showed that imports were down overall by 12.3% while exports badly missed expectations, falling 15% from a year earlier.

Coal imports for March were up 17m tonnes, a rise of 11.6% on the previous month, but analysts said underlying demand eased after taking into account the shorter month and week-long new year holiday in February.

“We have seen an even weaker coal demand in March,” said Zhang Xiaojin, an analyst at Everbright Futures in Zhengzhou.

Along with subdued demand, China’s demand for coal has been curbed by tougher environmental checks from Beijing to tackle air pollution.

China will boost efforts this year to reduce pollution and cut the energy intensity of its economy, which is expected to grow at its lowest rate in 25 years.

The national development commission said in its annual report in March that it would implement policies aimed at reducing coal consumption and controlling the number of energy-intensive projects in polluted regions.

This is also probably linked to implementation of Obama's climate deal with the Chinese Government.

This will no doubt also affect planned coal export mega-terminals in Australia and elsewhere.  That is very good news of all of us who didn't invest in planning big infrastructure projects for the dirtiest energy sources available (like building Keystone XL would).

This is very bad news for domestic coal producers who were looking to vibrant export markets in Asia as their way to maintain production as America's consumption has diminished in response to utilities converting to cheaper natural gas.

The companies planning the Pacific Gateway Terminal near Bellingham and the Millennium Bulk Terminals in Longview Wa. won't admit the world is moving away from coal (far too slowly). They've invested millions of dollars, and pin their hopes on a turnaround in world coal prices.  

Coal is becoming a declining source of energy for world economies as the specter of Global Warming comes into sharper definition as our climate science improves, and we see the effects beginning to manifest themselves in all kinds of alarming ways.

But many parts of the world still remain dependent on coal for electricity. That's where more advanced economies need to step up and help in their conversion to green(er) sources of energy.      


In an appearance today on The Hugh Hewitt Show former Vice President Dick Cheney joined his party in clamoring for a new war and as he attempted to whip up jingoistic feelings in his audience Cheney claimed that Barack Obama was the worst president in our nation's history.

HEWITT: Is he naive, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East. That somehow it all works out in the end.

CHENEY: I don’t know Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard. If you had somebody who, as president — who wanted to take America down. Who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world, reduce our capacity to influence events. Turn our back on our allies and encourage our enemies, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama is doing. I think his actions are constituted in my mind are those of the worst president we’ve ever had.


Cheney's preposterous claim is to borrow a phrase from Valerie Plame's response to Judith Miller's WSJ piece (of garbage) Your attempt to re-write history is both pathetic and self-serving.

Who is the worst President in modern US history

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As the Catastrophic, Effects of Global Warming continue to come to light President Obama has announced that the US will cut its Greenhouse Gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025.

Obama Offers Major Blueprint on Climate Change


WASHINGTON — The White House on Tuesday morning unveiled President Obama’s blueprint for cutting United States greenhouse gas pollution by nearly a third over the next decade.

Mr. Obama’s plan, part of a formal submission to the United Nations ahead of efforts to forge a climate change accord in Paris in December, detailed the United States side of an ambitious joint climate change pledge the president made in November in Beijing with the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

In an effort to spur other countries to enact their own domestic climate change plans leading to the Paris accord, the leaders of the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters offered the outline of a set of climate actions. Mr. Obama said the United States would cut emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi said that China’s emissions would drop after 2030.

Environmental groups praised the plan — particularly the fact that the pollution cuts can be achieved without new action from Congress.

By midsummer, the E.P.A. expects to release the final regulation, which is chiefly aimed at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of planet-warming carbon emissions.
Naturally the 0.01% owned Party (Republican) want none of it. So President Obama is going around the largely Koch and Big Oil owned Senate Republican Caucus.
Nearly every potential Republican presidential candidate has already criticized Mr. Obama’s climate change agenda, and the issue is expected to be important in 2016 political campaigns.

Republicans also adamantly oppose Mr. Obama’s efforts to forge the U.N. accord in Paris. To bypass the Senate — which would have to ratify United States involvement in a foreign treaty — Mr. Kerry and other State Department officials are working closely with their foreign counterparts to ensure that the Paris deal does not legally qualify as a treaty.

Obama Set to Announce His Peer-Pressure Plan for Climate Change

By Jaime Fuller

Republicans — from lawmakers to 2016 candidates — have criticized the plans and upcoming accord, so Obama will likely have to rely on his ever-popular executive powers to make these changes happen, as he has had to do for most of the climate-change initiatives he has tackled during his presidency. As Politico points out, there was an amendment to the Keystone XL bill that would have barred the U.S. from any international treaties allowing countries to promise different levels of emission cuts — which sounds a lot like what the Paris accords are shaping up to be. If the climate-change treaty happens, expect a lot of complaints that sounds exactly like the howls over the Iran talks and Obama's executive action on immigration.

Bravo Mr President! A significant step that is long overdue. But is it enough?
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