Because it crosses international borders, a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline must be approved by the US State Department. Part of that approval involves preparation of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (dEIS), which State did in March, 2012. Responding to strong criticism from the environmental community State prepared a second dEIS. In a happy coincidence, on Earth Day the EPA wrote to State Dept. officials and pointed out that the dEIS was still lacking sufficient information in several areas; GHG emissions, pipeline safety, alternative pipeline routes, community and environmental justice impact. And so the matter continues, with the President having to make decision at some point.
Numerous events were held around the region on Earth Day, but two events are highlighted here. As part of the continuing campaign to at least regulate Marcellus shale gas drilling, if not stop it completely, in the morning about 75 activists marched from the North Shore to the DEP regional office on Washington Island. At the DEP office the protesters called for less industry influence on regulation, some moratoria, and a re-newed emphasis on renewable energy. The later point was the topic of an evening Town Hall meeting where environmental, labor and business leaders hosted a Climate Legacy Town Hall meeting to call on President Obama to make America a leader in solving the climate crisis by doubling down on clean energy. (more…)
Solar Jobs. The Solar Foundation has just published a finding that the U.S. solar energy industry employs 119,016 Americans and that solar employment grew 13.2 percent over the prior year. A map of the jobs in all fifty states shows that with 4,000 jobs Pennsylvania is 17th in terms of solar jobs per capita. Pennsylvania is ranked 8th for the number of homes powered by solar (21,529), despite the fact that our maximum solar resource of 4.49 kWh/m2/day puts us at 44th in the nation compared to California with 6.78 kWh/m2/day. (more…)
- On March 7 Allegheny Group Chair Barbara Grover presented a package of letters from passengers on the DC Climate Rally bus to Sen. Pat Toomey’s Pittsburgh office. Barbara later presented a similar bundle of letters calling for action on Climate Change to Sen. Bob Casey’s office.
- Trying to understand the complexity of climate change discussions may be eased by the seven simple charts that illustrate how folk in the White House view climate change.
- Here are three useful sources for news and information about Climate Change: Climate Progress is a weekly compilation of recent reports and articles, Brad Plumer at the Washington Post has a good blog, and the New York Times has just established a regular Climate Change & Energy column.
ACTION: Contact President Obama and urge him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.
On March 1 the State Department issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Keystone XL Pipeline, the same project that was the focus of the DC rally on February 17. State’s EIS concludes that construction of the pipeline will have little impact on climate change. The response from the environmental community was quick and disdainful. NASA scientist James Hansen said “The total carbon in tar sands exceeds that in all oil burned in human history, and if the pipeline is built, ways will be found to extract more and more of it, burning fossil fuels during the extraction and destroying the local environment.” A statement from the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune follows: (more…)
At a time when ‘green energy’ sources are treated as the Cinderellas of the energy industry’s ‘All of the Above’ portfolio, the current issue of the magazine ‘Sierra’ is devoted to Wind Power in it various forms. Regardless of the struggle for capitalization for green energy, the Federal Energy Commission reported that ALL of the 1,231 MW of new electrical energy brought on line in January 2013 came from wind, solar, and biomass. This comes after President Obama signed a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy in January, thanks to public input.
A Reuters report on Feb. 20 indicates that President Obama has decided to nominate Ernest Moniz of MIT to succeed Steven Chu as head of the Dept. of Energy. Environmentalists are disappointed with this choice; apart from being a nuclear physicist, Moniz’s group at MIT is funded by oil companies, and he is a supporter of exporting natural gas. At a time when the problem of climate change needs a strong leader for non-fossil energy development, Moniz appears to be a man for the status quo. (more…)
Thanks to folk who donated to help cover bus costs, and to the Thomas Merton Center, Marcellus Shale Protest, and PenEnvironment for their support.
At 7 am last Sunday morning ninety-one hardy souls boarded two buses headed for the ‘Forward on Climate’ rally in Washington. They arrived amidst 150 other buses to join about 35,000 activists from around the country, taking part in a rally organized by the Sierra Club, 350.ORG, and the Hip Hop Caucus. Speakers urged President Obama to up his game on climate change, beginning with prevention of the Keystone XL Pipeline. With a wind chill factor in the mid-20s, the largest ‘climate change’ crowd so far left the Washington Monument to march around the White House. Although the Pittsburgh media largely ignored the event, C-Span recorded all the speakers, the NY Times pointed out the dilemma that the protesters pose for Obama, and there was wide coverage from many media outlets such as the Huffington Post, NPR, The Nation, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Washington Post.
Dr. DeMarco is the former Exec. Dir. of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University and now teaches at Duquesne University.
The twenty-first century marks the transition time from a fossil-fueled economy to a renewable and sustainable economy. This is the central challenge for our time because it is the surest way to abate the effects of fossil fuel combustion on climate changing gas emissions, and it will preserve the land from more and more invasive and destructive methods of extraction. The fossil age is due for replacement. (more…)
We can attack climate change by reducing GHG emissions, but also by making our buildings more energy efficient. Two bits of good news this week regarding the latter – several major buildings in Pittsburgh, including Heinz Field, have joined an on-going national campaign to cut energy, water and transportation consumption by 50 percent by the year 2030. In addition, as it opens its new offices for public tours, Phipps Conservatory is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s greenest building.
Click HERE and tell Secretary of State to include climate impacts in the analysis of Keystone XL project and reject this dangerous tar sands pipeline once and for all.
On January 22 the Sierra Club Board of Directors approved the one-time use of civil disobedience for the first time in the organization’s 120-year history. Recognizing the imminent danger posed by climate disruption, this decision will allow the Club to lead a group of high-profile individuals in a peaceful protest against dirty and dangerous Athabasca tar sands. See the animated video.
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and with the continuing drought in the Great Plains, there is some hope that in 2013 the Obama Administration and Congress will eventually address climate disruption with its attendant economic perils. What the EPA can do through regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is limited. Two other approaches are available; a ‘carbon tax’ and ‘carbon cap and trade’. There are strong arguments for the ‘carbon tax’ approach, and it may succeed in countries like Ireland, but it is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled House. (more…)
Urge President Obama to deny permit for Shell to drill.
The Sierra Club has called for a halt to Royal Dutch Shell Oil’s drilling venture in the Arctic. On December 31 the company’s platform Kulluk ran aground near Kodiak Island, Alaska with tens of thousands of gallons of oil aboard. Earlier incidents include an uncontrolled fire aboard a ship, and damaged spill containment equipment. Shell is the company that Gov. Corbett is coaxing to build a Marcellus gas ‘cracker’ plant in Beaver County. (more…)
Lisa Jackson is expected to leave her position as head of the Environmental Protection Agency in late January or early February. Despite strong opposition from industry and right wingers, under Jackson’s strong advocacy the EPA has established:??Landmark Protections from Toxic Mercury?- Historic Fuel Efficiency Standards for Cars and Light Trucks?- Critical Air Quality Protections against Sulfur Dioxide and Soot Pollution. Who Obama nominates to fill the top EPA spot will have a strong bearing on measures to check climate disruption and ‘fracking’ pollution. (more…)
We earlier pointed to the power of litigation to curtail or prevent pollution. Another strategy is disinvestment, used against apartheid in South Africa, and recently used to help stop mountain top removal. Now there is a forceful movement to remove fossil fuel companies from the portfolios of college endowment funds. Led by Bill McKibben of 350.org and a 20-cities-in-20-nights roadshow, 192 university and college campuses have organized campaigns to pull their schools’ endowments out of the fossil fuel industry. The investment community is taking note of these actions, as is a US Senator and the movement shows signs of moving over to city pension funds. (more…)
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C02 PPM from co2now.org