Australia Cuts Global Warming Budget by 92%—by dsteve01: "Australia announced a staggering 92% cut to their global warming budget. The budget will adjust from $5.75 billion this year to $500 million over the next four years. Environment Minister Greg Hunt promised $2.55 billion for CO2 reductions–however budget discussions with Minister Tony Abbott required that budget a cut to approx. $1.14 billion. 'The carbon tax is an act of economic vandalism,' Abbott said in March. Academics and Scientists are expected to emigrate following the mass-elimination of a spectrum of science spread-out across several academic fields."
Republican House Votes To Deny U.S. Military Funding To Prepare For Climate Change—by Dartagnan: "It's no secret that House Republicans in the pocket of fossil fuel interests and the Koch brothers have vehemently opposed any efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. What is truly astounding is that they would impose their abject denialism upon the U.S. military, and national security be damned. From Think Progress: With a mostly party-line vote on Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment sponsored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) that seeks to prevent the Department of Defense from using funding to address the national security impacts of climate change. Specifically, the McKinley Amendment barred the Department of Defense from utilizing the findings of the National Climate Assessment, the Fifth Assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and two other studies to implement its own national security planning. As Salon puts it, this "renders all the knowledge and understanding [contained within these studies] effectively irrelevant to national defense.'"
Tomgram: Engelhardt, Is Climate Change a Crime Against Humanity?—by TomDispatch: "Of course, there was a weapon of mass destruction that could indeed do staggering damage to or someday simply drown New York City, Washington D.C., Miami, and other East coast cities. It had its own efficient delivery systems—no nonexistent drones or Islamic fanatics needed. And unlike the Iraqi, Iranian, or al-Qaeda bombs, it was guaranteed to be delivered to our shores unless preventative action was taken soon. No one needed to hunt for its secret facilities. It was a weapons system whose production plants sat in full view right here in the United States, as well as in Europe, China, and India, as well as in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, and other energy states. [...] After all, thanks to a grim report in 2013 from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we know that there is now a 95%-100% likelihood that 'human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming [of the planet] since the mid-20th century.' We know as well that the warming of the planet—thanks to the fossil fuel system we live by and the greenhouse gases it deposits in the atmosphere—is already doing real damage to our world and specifically to the United States, as a recent scientific report released by the White House made clear."
Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu on climate change—by TheCodfish: "Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks during a press conference about the speaks about his experiences witnessing global climate change around the globe at St Georges Cathedral in Cape Town on April 23,2014."
NOAA predicts 3 to 6 hurricanes this year, fewer than normal because of El Nino—by HoundDog: "CBS News reports the NOAA's latest hurricane forecast for the summer of 2014 in NOAA hurricane forecast: What does 2014 hurricane season have in store? A slower hurricane than usual this year due to an expected El Niño system in the Pacific Ocean."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
The Daily Bucket-Full of Pretty Rocks—by 6412093: ""Go get some of that Montana Rainbow gravel," ordered Mrs. 6, 'It's very pretty. The pastel colors match well with our landscaping color scheme.' We'd already use some of this pretty-colored gravel, reputedly from the Bozeman, Montana area. It appears brighter-colored than run-of-the-mill gravel, and you paid more for it too. [...] However, I decided to combine two trips, and hauled a couple of large sacks of used plastic planting pots to the we-recycle-everything center near Fanno Creek in south Beaverton. From there, I was supposed to go to Big Box Depot to buy a couple of sacks of the pretty Montana Rainbow gravel. But that corner of town still has some small family-owned businesses, including a landscaping materials supply outlet just down the street from the recycling center. 'What harm can it do to look,' I thought. [...] I wandered around for too long. Then I saw it. It was the coolest looking gravel, all shiny and striped. I promptly bought 150 pounds of it, instead of the Montana Rainbow, took it home, and placed it under the apple tree. Then Mrs. 6 came home and saw what I had done. It wasn't the Montana Rainbow gravel. She narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips. This was going to be bad. Not as bad as the day I rented a backhoe and dug way beyond what was authorized while she was gone, but still bad. 'This is unacceptable,' she began, 'These are all dark. It doesn't match our landscaping color scheme at all.'"
The connection between Antarctic glacier ice melt and meat production—by VL Baker: "Last week we heard the news that new studies confirm that the West Antarctic ice sheet melt is unstoppable. To quote Dr. Eric Rignot, glaciologist, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/UC Irvine 'We have passed the point of no return'. [...] [T]he connection between meat production and glacier melting occurs when slash and burn deforestation techniques is done to create space for ranching and for growing livestock feed. This burning releases Black Carbon into the atmosphere which is then picked up by air currents and deposited around the globe."
Oregon GMO Sellout—by Bekah: "Even though the state of Oregon enacted a law to override the ability of localities to regulate their own food systems, local ballot measures to ban GMO crops passed overwhelmingly in Jackson and Josephine Counties on May 20, according to news reports. 'We fought the most powerful and influential chemical companies in the world and we won,' Elise Higley, a local farmer with the anti-GMO group Our Family Farms Coalition, told The Oregonian. The Progressive magazine tells the backstory below and reveals that the preemption measure shares language with an ALEC model bill. [...] As Kai Huschke, a local organizer for the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, notes, 'We don’t really have a food issue problem as much as we have a democracy problem.'"
Maui GMO Moratorium has 20 days to find 3,745 more signatures—by Karen from Maui: "Organizers in Maui County (the islands of Maui, Lana'i and Moloka'i) are attempting to qualify a GMO moratorium for the ballot and turned in almost 10,000 signatures 45 days ago. Wendy Osher of MauiNow news is reporting that the County of Maui threw out 5048 signatures as invalid. That's more than half the 9,768 turned in. Maui County's initiative process has never been successfully used before although it has been tried. Obtaining registered voters numbering at least 20% of those who voted in the previous election is a high bar to meet. Hawai'i has nearly the worst voter turnout in the country but young legislators like Kaniela Ing are trying to fix that. Many native Hawaiians (Kānaka Maoli) do not register to vote. Belief that the U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom renders the U.S. government illegal, discouragement in the way that their land has been taken, polluted and exploited and a feeling that voting is a useless gesture all play a role. But the Kānaka Maoli, in my experience petition-gathering, favor the GMO ban. Voter registration has been a big part of the petition drive."
Hannity wants North Dakota Oil Boom Copied—by dokiy: "Sean Hannity was the keynote speaker at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, ND, yesterday. See below for what he bloviated on. [...] In spite of government, you have been able to show the entire country that there is an answer out there—the answer is oil, the answer is energy, it's the lifeblood of our economy,' he said to the crowd. 'You have shown the country the way, I just hope that America is wise and smart enough to follow North Dakota.' Yes, Sean. Every state should follow North Dakota by lucking into being created over a large, recoverable oil field! Why didn't Mississippi think of that!?"
Coal Mine Operators: If We Have to Protect Workers, We Go Broke—by dweb8231: "A chilling article in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette drives another spike into coal industry attempts to portray their product as a source of 'clean energy.' Headlined New Rules Aim to Curb Black Lung, But at What Cost the story reports on one of three recent meetings between coal mine operators and Joseph Main, U.S. assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. Main was holding the meetings in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia, to explain a new, and controversial (at least to the industry) federal mining rule aimed at reducing coal dust in the mines and with it—black lung—a crippling and often fatal disease caused by repeated inhalation of fine particles of dust and rock generated in the mining process. [...] The new rules, designed to replace existing standards that date back four decades, require more full-shift monitoring of dust levels, require miners to wear personal dust monitors starting in 2016, and lowers the allowable levels of dust from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams of dust per cubic meter of air. Mine owners claim the new rules are based on shaky research and require the use of 'untested technology,' and assert that full enforcement could force many of them out of business."
Documents: Petraeus Fracking Field Trip Reveals ND Government, Oil, Private Equity Nexus—by Steve Horn: "DeSmogBlog has obtained hundreds of documents portraying the blurred lines between North Dakota's government, the oil and gas industry and the private equity world. They also offer one of the first looks inside the professional life of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus after he resigned from the agency in 2012. The documents reveal Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)—a private equity firm where Petraeus now works at the KKR Global Institute—wrote a press release for North Dakota's State Treasurer announcing the Petraeus visit, meticulously counseled the state treasurer's office on media strategy and hosted the state treasurer on its company plane. A large part of Petraeus' visit centered around a tour of the state's Bakken Shale basin, where upwards of 1 million barrels of oil are extracted each day via hydraulic fracturing ('fracking'). The Bakken pumped out its billionth barrel of oil during his stay."
China's Hunger For Energy—by Richard Lyon: "In the not too distant past China was often referred to as a sleeping giant. It has long been the country with the largest population and the third largest land area. But with an under developed economy it did not wield a proportionate amount of influence and impact on the global stage. That has been changing over the past 25 years. The rate of that change has been staggering and despite periodic predictions of a bubble about to burst the process continues to proceed with no significant interruption. China's energy consumption and the global quest for more of it is creating major economic and geopolitical waves."
Revealed: Former Energy in Depth Spokesman John Krohn Now at EIA Promoting Fracking—by Steve Horn: "For those familiar with U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) work, objectivity and commitment to fact based on statistics come to mind. Yet as Mark Twain once put it, 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.' That’s where John Krohn comes into play. A former spokesman for the gas industry front group Energy in Depth (EID), Krohn now works on the Core Team for EIA’s 'Today in Energy!' [...] As DeSmog revealed in February 2011, Energy In Depth was launched with a heavy injection of funding from oil and gas industry goliaths such as BP, Halliburton, Chevron, Shell and XTO Energy (now owned by ExxonMobil)."
Defending Clean Energy in Ohio and Beyond—by Mary Anne Hitt: "If you watched this week's episode of Showtime's climate series 'Years of Living Dangerously,' you saw a fantastic piece by America Ferrera called 'Against the Wind' that pierced the veil of the fossil fuel industry's well-funded operation to try and dismantle state clean energy standards. The episode could not have been more timely, as that same relentless attack continues unfolding in real time this spring in statehouses around the U.S. One of the most pitched battles is taking place right now in Ohio. As the 'Years' episode explained, many states require utilities to provide a certain amount of power from clean energy sources that don’t pollute our air and water or disrupt our climate. These state standards (which have wonky names like 'renewable portfolio standards' and 'energy efficiency resource standards') have been important building blocks in getting clean energy to scale. Because these policies work, they pose a real threat to dirty energy—once people realize they get cheap, clean energy from the sun and wind, while also creating jobs and benefiting the local economy, they aren't turning back to the dirty energy sources of the past. That's why fossil fuel interests are fighting relentlessly to roll back these state clean energy standards."
Solar Roadways Indiegogo - $491,000 and Counting—by New Minas: "The Solar Roadway Revolution is really happening as social media and mainstream media (GLOBALLY) has picked up the technology."
The Anti-Fracking Blogathon
SB1132 Blogathon: Big Oil To the Planet: Frack You Very Much, and California too!—by RandW: "Dear Planet Earth, We, Big Oil, need your help. For all your help over the decades, we say, 'Frack you very much.' But, could you help us out a little with California? [...] As long as word doesn’t get out about how renewables could supply 100% of California’s and America’s energy needs by 2050, we will be okay. Please don’t let people hear about Stanford Professor Mark Jacobson’s plans for all 50 states to use solar, wind and water. And don’t let them go to The Solutions Project website. That sort of thing could be bad for business. It's great that everyone, including the governor, thinks we HAVE to have oil to fill our gas tanks. Even Gov. Brown at the Democratic Convention said “Californians are driving 330 million miles a year , and 99% is fossil fuel … So the challenge here is gigantic!' Californians are driving 330 million miles a year , and 99% is fossil fuel… So the challenge here is gigantic! Let’s keep investing in fossil fuel infrastructure that will be around for at least 40 years. By then it will be too late and all these environmentalist wackos will give up. We’ll adapt. Hey, everyone could eat oil-derived synthetic 'food' (hmm, profitable!) and jellyfish.
And whatever you do, don’t let people call their California Senators in support of this awful SB1132 fracking moratorium bill."
U.S. Cuts Monterey Shale Oil Potential by 96%: Don't frack California—by FishOutofWater: "Like a mirage, 96% of the potential oil reserves in California's Monterey formation vanished into thin air, because they never existed, naturally leaked out, or cannot be recovered economically. The incredible projections of billions in wealth and 2 million new jobs had no geologic basis. The natural production of oil in rock is a complex factor of the temperature and burial history of the sediments that contain organic matter capable of becoming oil. If the sediments aren't buried deeply enough the organic matter does not 'mature' enough to become oil. It's just dirty rock. If the sediment is buried too deep and gets too hot for too long gas may be produced. If there isn't a good cap rock the gas may escape into the atmosphere along fractures or faults. Oil may also form naturally in the shale, then migrate to the surface along faults then biodegrade over time. Sometimes, faults act as traps, other times faults create vertical conduits. Like the Goldilocks story, the temperature, burial history and geology has to be just right to produce recoverable oil. The new U.S. government estimates, which considered the geologic complexity of the oil-bearing shale deposits in California's Monterey formation, determined that the previous contractor determined estimate, based on a simple layer cake model of California's geology, was about twenty five times higher than a realistic estimate based on the complex burial, folding and faulting in California's highly active geologic setting."
Californians Have Spoken & We Demand A Fracking Moratorium—by FractivistForce: "SB 1132, the proposed moratorium on fracking (and acidization), was introduced earlier this year by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). If enacted, SB 1132 would place a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, acidizing treatments and other stimulation treatments in California. [...] Once again, the opposing Republicans feared that many jobs would be lost if such a moratorium passed. Senator Mitchell responded to these concerns: 'My community needs jobs, but those jobs need to be safe for workers and surrounding communities.' [...] A recent study was conducted by the ACCE Institute and Common Cause called "Big Oil Floods the Capitol: How California’s Oil Companies Funnel Funds Into the Legislature". The study's findings are quite sobering: 'Over the past 15 years, Big Oil spent a whopping $143.3 million on political candidates and campaigns.' Says the report. 'In addition to its political contributions, Big Oil exerts considerable influence lobbying in Sacramento.'"
Governor Brown: Face Fracking—by LindaCapato: "Two weeks ago, I had the bittersweet pleasure of getting a tour of Kern County with my friends at Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. We took a full day tour of schools, residential areas, and agriculture fields. What they all had in common? Having fracking wells right next to them. The oil 'boom' we are on the cusp of in California is a terrifying thing to see firsthand. Standing next to an elementary school when you can feel your nose about to bleed is not the kind of boom Californian’s are looking for. Fracking for oil in California is start to finish dirty business. We can see weak regulation not being enforced, overburdened communities being poisoned, and after all the oil has been extracted, we are burning more carbon that our fragile climate can’t take."
Chasing the Red Queen in Frackingland—by James Wells: "Swarms of new oil and gas wells are taking over regions of the United States. And the reason is not because the wells are performing so well. The reason is that the wells are performing so poorly. When a fracked well strikes, it looks like a bonanza. The oil or gas flows out and fill everyone's minds with cash flow sugar plums and financial fairies. Based on the performance of conventional wells, the hydrocarbons are expected to flow for many years, declining only a few percent per year. Reality quickly sets in. The yield of the well goes down, every month. Within as few as 4 years, the amount of oil or gas flowing from the well is typically well below 10% of the initial yield, sometimes as low as 5% within 5 years. The decline has to be replaced quickly, before the entire house of cards collapses."
Broaden the Climate Movement or Fail.—by Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr: "The urgency of the climate crisis, especially as it relates to fracking, requires that we have a powerful diverse coalition of people that reflects the diversity of our country coming together and taking action together. Anything less than that…and we are setting our climate movement up for failure. Given the climate crisis moment we are in—from a scientific perspective—it may feel like we do not have time to go back to the basics of education, outreach, and messaging in order to truly build a rainbow/diverse environmental coalition, and that we need to be executing strategies that mobilize activists and target decision makers directly. But we have no choice but to face our movement’s current reality, that we are not diverse and we must pause to deal with the disconnect that exist, and fix it."
How Fracking, Oil & Gas, & Deep Injection, Trigger Earthquakes - the facts: Don't Frack California—by FishOutofWater: "Recent research reports have concluded that the largest earthquakes in Oklahoma's history were triggered by deep well injection of waste fluids. Extremely large volumes of fluid were injected below impermeable sedimentary layers. Slowly but surely, the large volumes of fluid, injected by many wells for the last decade, forced into the deep basement rock over an area of thousands of square miles. [...] In a new study involving researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists observed that a human-induced magnitude 5.0 earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma in November 2011 may have triggered the larger M5.7 earthquake less than a day later. This research suggests that the M5.7 quake was the largest human-caused earthquake associated with wastewater injection. 'The observation that a human-induced earthquake can trigger a cascade of earthquakes, including a larger one, has important implications for reducing the seismic risk from wastewater injection,' said USGS seismologist and coauthor of the study Elizabeth Cochran."
"Visualize Gasoline"—by Richard Heinberg via boatsie: "Next time you find yourself in traffic, try this nifty thought exercise. Ignore the cars within your field of vision and imagine instead the contents of their fuel tanks. Visualize gasoline flowing up and down the highway. Let’s assume the typical American car carries seven gallons of refined petroleum product in its tank at any given moment (a 15-gallon tank half-full). That’s a lot of liquid to be carting around. In fact, gasoline is the second-most-consumed fluid in the US after water. Each American household consumes an average of 350 gallons of water per day and 2.5 gallons of gasoline; milk, coffee, and beer clock in at .15 gallons, .12 gallons, and .1 gallons respectively. If you do this visualization exercise, you might find yourself seeing rivulets, streams, and—in the case of big freeways—rivers of gasoline coursing across the land. For the US as a whole, 400 million gallons of gasoline enter the flow every day. But, since we routinely carry more gasoline with us than we intend to use immediately, the total amount in car gas tanks at any given moment is roughly seven times larger, so that America’s gasoline rivers slosh with 2.8 billion gallons on any given day."
What the FRACK is going on—by HipHopTC: "Peace, My name is TC and I'm with the Hip Hop Caucus National office. I've also been a community activist in Greensboro, NC, for over 20 yrs. Some would ask why is the hip hop community involved in the discussion of fracking. Hip Hop is the new voice of the young/young adult, and we're using this platform to inform them of the dangers of fracking to community/environment. We want to use our voice to expose the dangers of fracking to our environment. Fracking endangers our air, land, and water. We at the Hip Hop Caucus see climate change as our 'Lunch Counter Moment.' We're not just fighting for Civil Rights but for our very existence. We can not allow our voices to be silent when our lives are at stake. We must let go of fossil fuels and invest in clean energy in order to not hurt the planet and ourselves. Hip Hop is the music of resistance all over the world. So let the music play for the stopping of FRACKING."
You want to do what to California?—by Horace Boothroyd III: "The pristine water in California has a hard enough time dealing with overpopulation, massive earthmoving projects, and those wasteful golf courses. Injecting a stew of undocumented poisons into the water table will not make the water in California better or more available but it will reduce potable water to an even smaller portion of California's underground reserves. It is painfully clear by now to all but the obtuse that the oil industry has no intention of letting our ability to exist from deterring them from profits. In little more than a hundred years they have extracted all the available oil and now are going for fields that were once too costly to process."
Other Fracking Posts
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Fracking Moratorium Bill—by Dan Bacher: "In spite of the millions spent by Big Oil on lobbying in Sacramento every year, the California Senate Appropriations Committee today voted 4 to 2 to approve a bill, SB 1132, to place a moratorium on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in the state. SB 1132, authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, now moves to a vote on the Senate floor. Senators Gaines and Walters voted agains the bill while Senators De León, Padilla, Hill and Steinberg voted to advance the bill to the floor. The bill moved forward the same week that the U.S. Energy Administration reduced its previous estimate of recoverable oil in California by 96 percent. 'The cost-benefit analysis of fracking in California has just changed drastically,' said Senator Mitchell in a statement. 'The costs to people, homes and the environment remain unacceptably high, but we now also know that the projected economic benefits are only a small fraction of what the oil industry has been touting.'"
Rick Scott's Florida: Fracking in the Everglades Now a Reality—by SemDem: "As I have mentioned here many times, Florida's environment is under assault. Under Rick Scott, Florida has become the 2nd most polluted state in the union. [...] However, fracking is one thing we thought we were safe from. [...] Now, to be fair, Hughes Oil is arguing that they aren't "fracking" per se. They were just injecting 'a dissolving solution at sufficient pressure to achieve some openings in the oil bearing rock formation that would be propped open with sand in pursuit of enhancing oil production.' You might say to yourself 'that sounds like the very definition of fracking.' But Hughes Oil is arguing that fracking uses water mixed with chemicals to cause fractures. They, on the other hand, aren't using water. They are using acid. So that should make you feel much better."
First CA County Bans Fracking!—by occupystephanie: "Santa Cruz leads the pack! Their board of county supervisors voted unanimously to not only prohibit fracking but also gas and oil development. And there are other counties that are following with their own bans. Butte, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Benito and Orange counties are among those considering their own fracking and oil bans. Beverly Hills recently became the state’s first city to ban fracking a month ago. Los Angeles working on its own ban after passing a moratorium in February. This is how it is done when your duly elected representatives refuse to represent the people."
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
My least favorite Congressman just helped revive the Keystone XL pipeline.—by Bruce Brown: "A couple weeks ago I posted a pissed-off-at-Fred-Upton diary. Yes, the Fred Upton who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I live in his district, and I'm on his subscription list, and he'd sent an email that pissed me off. Just a couple of hours ago, I got another email from him that included this announcement: On May 22, 2013, the House passed H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act with a bipartisan vote removing roadblocks to the [Keystone XL] pipeline's construction. The legislation now heads to the Senate to await further consideration. So now I'm way more pissed off than I was two weeks ago."
Green groups try to pressure Hillary Clinton to take a side on the Keytone xl pipeline—by VL Baker: "The question we all have for Hillary: Where do you stand on Keystone xl pipeline? Green groups and eco-activists are trying to to get her to take a stand. A coalition of 30 green groups will send a letter to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday, pressing her to publicly oppose the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Hill obtained an early copy of the letter and a press release, which asks Clinton if she will stand with them against the oil-sands pipeline. The Center for Biological Diversity is one of the 30 conservation groups that signed on to the letter, which will officially be sent to Clinton on Wednesday. 'Secretary Clinton, will you stand with us against Keystone XL?' the groups ask."
TransCanada considers shipping oil to Gulf by rail given Keystone XL delays says CEO—by HoundDog: "Catherine Ngai of Reuters writes a second update to her article entitled UPDATE 2-TransCanada eyes shipping oil by rail amid Keystone XL delays-CEO. TransCanada Corp's Chief Executive Russ Girling confirmed "from Hardisty in Canada, the main storage and pipeline hub, to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would flow into an existing pipeline to the Gulf refining hub," as an alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline which has been delayed for five years in political roadblocks. This would be a more costly option."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Tom Steyer plans to make 2014 and beyond tough for climate change-denying Republicans—by Meteor Blades: "Matea Gold at The Washington Post reports, as has been apparent for the past few months, that retired hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer plans to make life harder on certain Republicans in the 2014 elections by selective targeting of Senate and governors' races through his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action. As Steyer told a group of environmental philanthropists invited in February to his Pescadero, Calif., grass-fed cattle ranch in February, the objective is to elect candidates who will take climate change seriously. The organization will spotlight local issues, such as drought in Iowa, and take aim at climate-change deniers as well as the campaign contributions they've received from fossil-fuel companies, like those of the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers. The effort to bring climate change to the foreground includes blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, something about which Steyer has had face-to-face conversations with President Obama at his San Francisco home. But, even though NextGen's spending this year may total $100 million in advertising, on-the-ground organizing and get-out-the-vote efforts—making it a competitor in scale with the Kochs—Steyer and his advisers plan for it to be just a prelude to 2016."
NC-Sen: CREDO Action Goes After Thom Tillis (R) & The NC GOP On Fracking—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from CREDO Action regarding U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R. NC): Last year, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis led Republicans in his caucus in passing one of the most extreme anti-choice bills in the country by attaching it to a totally unrelated motorcycle safety bill. Now, Tillis—who is running for U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan—needs to decide if he'll cement his reputation as one of the worst conservative legislators in the country by pushing through a dangerous pro-fracking bill that Republicans just passed in the North Carolina Senate. Tillis is running for an office where his decisions will affect people across the country, not just in North Carolina. It's crucial for us to let him know that the whole country is watching as he and the rest of the North Carolina GOP push through their reckless and irresponsible agenda."
PA-Gov: Tom Steyer Is Coming For You Tom Corbett (R)—by poopdogcomedy: "Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer is targeting the Pennsylvania race for governor as one of seven races he intends to influence with $50 million of his own money and another $50 million he plans to raise from like-minded donors, according to a report from Politico. Steyer's central issue is climate change, which he said needs to be cast in terms of a moral right and wrong to gain political traction. Steyer's polictical action committee, NextGen Climate Action, last year spent millions supporting Ed Markey for Senate and Terry McAuliffe for governor of Virginia. Both won. Corbett is one of three Republican governors targeted this year; the other four races are all U.S. Senate seats held by Democrats facing serious challenges."
House Votes against Climate Action and Gitmo Closure, for Indefinite Detention and Endless War—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "David McKinley (WV-01) introduced an amendment to 'prohibit funds for the Administration to conduct any anti-fossil fuel climate change agenda, which includes the National Climate Assessment, the IPCC report, the UN's Agenda 21, and the Social Cost of Carbon.' It passed 231 to 192 on a mostly party line vote. Only 3 Republicans voted against it: Scott Garrett (NJ-05), Chris Gibson (NY-19), and Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02). 4 Democrats voted for it: John Barrow (GA-12), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), and Nick Rahall (WV-03)."
The Great Outdoors
The Daily Bucket - good news & bad news on a Caribbean coral reef—by OceanDiver: "Belize. My backyard for the first half of May was an offshore atoll in the Caribbean. I go to a coral reef every year somewhere because that underwater world is my element and my passion. And I feel a sense of urgency, knowing the reefs are declining radically, even within my lifetime. The Caribbean is nearby compared to other coral reefs in the world, and over the last couple of decades I've explored different locales there. I've seen the decline everywhere - that's the bad news. I've also found some places where the reefs are still fairly healthy - that's the good news. The global effects of a warming and acidifying ocean are relentless, but local actions to protect coral reefs from other threats can slow down the deterioration, and possibly give this ancient ecosystem a fighting chance to adapt. One feature of the healthy reefs I've dived is remoteness from human activity. The outer atolls of Belize are relatively remote. It shows. Out beyond the barrier reef, the atolls are 1.5 - 2.5 hours by boat out in the open sea. An atoll is a ring of coral that emerges from the water surface in some places, forming small mangrove islands (cayes), with the whole ring enclosing a shallow lagoon. Besides a handful of dive resorts, local fish camps and two scientific research stations on a few cayes, the atolls are uninhabited. This limits sedimentation and pollution."
Climate Change may leave you drinking recycled waste-water like Wichita Falls may soon resort to—by Lefty Coaster: "As the detrimental effects of climate change intensifies droughts your dog may not be the only member of your household using the toilet for drinking water. [...] Wichita Falls could soon become the first in the country where half of the drinking water comes directly from wastewater. Yes, that includes water from toilets. For some citizens, that’s a little tough to swallow. Mayor Glenn Barham says three years of extreme drought have changed life for 104,000 people living in Wichita Falls, which is about 140 miles northwest of Dallas. 'It definitely grosses me out,' Smith said. 'I’m sure that they would clean it and filter it up to standards. But it’s a mindset kind of thing. You know what I’m talking about?'"
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach CA (Photo Diary)—by Lenny Flank: "While vacationing in California recently, I spent a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific, in Long Beach. So here are some photos from my day at the Aquarium."
Daily Bucket: A Walk Along the Bay—by Lenny Flank: "Sights during a stroll in the sun along Tampa Bay."
PA-Gov: Tom Corbett (R) Makes Executive Decision To Expand Gas Drilling On Public Lands & Forests—by poopdogcomedy: "It's Friday and normally I like to share good news but this needs some attention: Gov. Tom Corbett is following through on a budget-related proposal to expand natural-gas extraction below Pennsylvania’s state forests and parks. Corbett issued an executive order Friday that will allow drillers to bore horizontally into the rock deep below underneath public lands from adjacent, privately owned lands, so long as there is no long-term disturbance to the surface of the forests and parks. The governor’s order also permits drilling from areas of forest that already were leased for gas drilling under previous administrations."
PA-Gov: PennEnvironment Fights Back Against Corbett's (R) Call To Frack PA's Public Lands & Forests—by poopdogcomedy: "Here's the other e-mail I wanted to pass along: Gov. Corbett just lifted a three-year moratorium on leasing of state forests and parks for gas drilling. He is hoping we’ll all just forget about the ways fracking has already devastated Pennsylvania. We’re no fools. We know more drilling means more blowouts, more spills of toxic fracking wastewater, and more ruined landscapes. The governor’s order will allow drilling under our state parks for the first time. The Legislature is the last line of defense for our state parks and forests--and that’s why I need you to act immediately. Tell your state representative and state senator to fight Gov. Corbett’s effort to open more of our state parks and forests for fracking."
Accelerated Efforts on Forests to Mitigate Fire Dangers—by ban nock: "Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced recently a streamlined review period to try to get in front of the massive buildup of dead and dying trees across the west. Vilsack requested just under a billion dollars to fight the worst 2% of the fires. The idea being the very hottest fires can cause permanent damage, the smaller ones not as much. Also the idea is that the emergency funds to fight fires would not be pulled from the forest service budget elsewhere. Fighting fires has robbed our Forest Service of the funds to make the forests healthier. In an article in the Denver Post there was mention of 45 million acres in 35 states, over 9 million in Colorado alone."
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Monsanto: A Beginner's Guide To The World’s Most Dangerous Corporation (M24)—by JohnAloysius: "Today, 400 protests in over 50 nations will join a grassroots effort called March Against Monsanto. But who is Monsanto and why should you know about them? You may not think you’re familiar with Monsanto, but you probably eat Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) created by them every day. Monsanto created the first GMO in 1985 but only in the past few years has their use become widespread in our food supply. (How are GMOs created?) The most common way Monsanto uses GMOs is to artificially manipulate a crop so that it can withstand a specific type of all-purpose poison. They sell both the genetically modified seed as well as the poison. The engineering allows the farmer to blanket the crops in pesticides and while the GMO is unaffected everything else is killed."
Oregon On Fire for March Against Monsanto!—by occupystephanie: "Jackson and Josephine have enacted their ordinance. Benton and Lane are close behind. Oregon now has a network of other counties who are organizing for their own ordinances. They will be meeting in Eugene next week to share celebration and plan strategies. Nothing like beating up on Big Biotech to make you feel empowered. Are you marching tomorrow? If so let us know by leaving a comment. I'll put the events below the orange protest sign."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Arctic Sea Ice Melt Will Release about 100,000,000,000,000 Particles of Plastic—by FishOutofWater: "Plastic particles are one hundred times more concentrated in Arctic sea ice cores than the most polluted parts of the north Atlantic and the great Pacific garbage patch. Processes that form sea ice scavenge plastic particles from sea water, which flows from the Pacific to the Atlantic, concentrating micro-particles of plastic and rayon in the ice in the Arctic ocean. Particle densities of 38 to 234 particles per cubic meter were found in 4 different samples taken from locations hundreds of kilometers apart. The highest particle density found to date in sea water is 0.34 particles per cubic meter in a sample taken north of Scotland in the north Atlantic. Thus, the Arctic ocean has inadvertently become one of the world's largest plastic dumps. Scientists who tried to track plastic in the oceans knew that a large amount of plastic was missing. Now they know it is trapped in Arctic sea ice."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Ryden Battery - Power Storage Game-changer?—by Witgren: "There is a press release out from Power Japan Plus (about a week ago) touting their new dual carbon Ryden battery. If even part of the hype they've put into the release is true, this could be a huge breakthrough for power storage and especially for electric vehicles. Power Japan Plus Reveals New Ryden Dual Carbon Battery. High Performance – energy dense and charges 20 times faster than lithium ion batteries. It is also more powerful than other advanced batteries, operating above four volts. [...] Reliable – first ever high performance battery that meets consumer lifecycle demand, rated for more than 3,000 charge/discharge cycles. [...] Sustainable contains no rare metals, rare earth metals or heavy metals, and is 100 percent recyclable, vastly improving the cradle-to-cradle sustainability of an advanced battery."
Eco-Philosophy, Eco-Essays & Eco-Poetry
Are all the Green 'good guys' really helping?—by don mikulecky: "Naomi Klein raises some interesting questions in this interview in Salon: Green groups may be more damaging than climate change deniers. She gets really close to the thesis we develop in our book: Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization."
Spin Is Of Limited Value—by richturc125: "An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Tom Whipple: Our society cannot sustain itself with energy returns in the 5-7 range without drastic reduction in our overall energy consumption. To rely on unconventional petroleum and maintain any lifestyle close to what we currently have means that we need to cut our total consumption in half…by 2030. In the real world, our population will continue to grow. No matter where you think our energy will come from over the next 20 years, we have to reduce consumption considerably or more and more Americans will be facing a Third World standard of living. Nature doesn’t grant entitlements. The laws of physics apply to everyone. If we don’t start coming up with innovative ways to solve the problem (our current behavior requires too much energy) instead of the symptom (we need more energy to support our behavior), physics will bite us in the rear. It’s a fairly straightforward message. Not especially pleasant, to be sure, but there are times when the facts are just the facts without any possibility of a nice spin attached. We’re now expending more energy to get the energy we need, and that math does not work forever."
Domestication Versus the "Natural Man"—by Desert Scientist: In truth self-domestication is, in my opinion, a myth and the "natural man" never existed any more than a golden age did. Even tribal societies cooperate and had some sort of code of conduct. We are the products of both our genes and our environment, including our social structure, interacting in such interconnected ways as to make it impossible to separate them. Thus human breeding experiments, such as those practiced by the Nazis are doomed to failure. They certainly will not result in a 'natural' or 'perfect' human, whatever one means by natural or perfect.'"
Products & Miscellany
Former MLPA Initiative Science Co-Chair Gets 10 Month Sentence—by Dan Bacher: "A federal judge in San Francisco on May 20 sentenced Ron Valley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, to serve 10 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $870,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe. In February, LeValley pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization (18U.S.C §§ 371 and 1163) in the complex scheme in collaboration with former Yurok Forestry Director Roland Raymond. According to court documents, LeValley submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010 in payment for 'work' on northern spotted owl surveys that was never performed."