In a recent Feature, Al Jazeera English talked to five professional economists about their views on Ron Paul’s economic policies. One of the economic points discussed was Paul’s idea to lower the price of fuel. Ron Paul believes, just like the other Republican front-runners in the 2012 election, that the price on fuel could be lowered if the US just allowed companies to drill for oil (both offshore and on land) in sensitive areas such as the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explained that oil drilling in ANWR wouldn’t result in any noteworthy changes to fuel prices. This idea would mean “a lot of risk both to the environment and the economy for really very little gain,” Baker said.
Regular readers of Climate & Capitalism know that David Attenborough, in addition to making nature films, is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, a British outfit that, using the name Population Matters, promotes birth control for poor people and immigration restrictions to keep those same people out of Britain.
Last year we reported a talk he gave to a posh gathering in London, chaired by no less a personage than Prince Phillip, in which he said only “flat earthers” disagree with his view that only population reduction can save the planet. Contraception, he said, “is the humane way, the powerful option which allows all of us to deal with the problem, if we collectively choose to do so.”
We already know that the nuclear industry is quite comfortable colluding with governments to deceive the public or spying on environmental groups so that senior executives are sent to jail or lying to regulators to cover up radioactive leaks that are contaminating groundwater.
So, it should come as very little surprise that the nuclear industry has the same ‘flexible’ view on ethics, legality and basic decency when dealing with its own people. In fact, not even the CEO of France’s nuclear giant, Areva, was safe: the Financial Times has recently revealed a catalogue of incompetence, espionage and massive financial failure (follow-up article) swirling around the French nuclear industry:
This is the first advertisement from Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. The ad targets “secretive oil billionaires”, which is a clear response to the Koch brothers recent $6 million attack ads (http://bit.ly/xrdzBH). The advertisement is also touting the rapidly growing clean-energy economy, saying that 2.7 million jobs have been created in the clean energy industry in the US, and that the dependence on foreign oil is the lowest it's been in 16 years. The advertisement is currently running in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
"Secretive oil billionaires attacking President Obama, with ads factcheckers say are “not tethered to the facts.” While independent watchdogs called this president’s record on ethics “unprecedented.” And America’s clean energy industry? 2.7 million jobs and “expanding rapidly.” For the first time in 13 years our dependence on foreign oil is below fifty percent. President Obama kept his promise to toughen ethics rules and strengthen America’s energy economy."
It’s interesting to note that Obama and the advertisement completely ignore to mention climate change. Instead of saying that fuel economy standards help reduce greenhouse gas emissions they are only described as a way to reduce our oil consumption. And the renewable energy investments are only mentioned in terms of job created. The advertisement also fails to mention that the dependence on foreign oil is largely due to a surge in oil and natural gas drilling and not because of a noteworthy decreased consumption.
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Sally Kohn has a good opinion piece on Fox News, of all places, where she lists six important reasons why the Keystone XL pipeline was a bad deal all along:
1. The Keystone XL pipeline would not reduce foreign oil dependency.
2. Contrary to popular opinion, Keystone XL would have increased domestic oil prices.
3. Proponents of the pipeline overstated the number of jobs that would be created.
4. Current Keystone pipeline leaked 12 times in last year.
5. And the environmental concerns about oil leaks are justified.
6. Mining tar sands would worsen global warming. Or in the words of NASA climate scientist James Hansen, be "game over for the planet."
Here is a little summary of the Keystone XL project so far:
1. Nebraska objects to the Keystone XL pipeline as they are concerned over potential oil spill accidents in the Ogallala Aquifer area, which supplies water to a large portion of US farm land. Climate activists around the US mobilized, and risked arrests in acts of civil disobedience, to raise the alarm about the environmental and climate risks of tar sands.
2. In response to Nebraska’s objections, TransCanada promises to find a better route for the pipeline and to revise the plans. But Republicans in the US congress decides to put an unreasonable deadline on the permit application to be able to gain political points in the upcoming general election. As a result of the deadline, TransCanada is not able to provide revised plan and the permit is incomplete.
3. Because TransCanada’s plans are incomplete the US government must reject the permit. If they were to approve the incomplete permit application they would set themselves up for easily winnable legal challenges by climate activists and pipeline opponents.
4. TransCanada will re-apply, and they will likely also win and get their pipeline permit a few months after the big presidential election. And considering Obama’s Keystone statement it probably won’t matter if there will be a Republican or a Democratic president in office by then.
Six reasons Keystone XL was a bad deal all along
Here are six facts about the proposed Keystone XL deal that make clear why the pipeline was a bad deal for America and why it deserved to be rejected:
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The Boston Globe has an interesting article about “the man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline”. If you’ve been paying attention to energy and environmental issues lately you probably already know which person they are talking about.is a man whom many people consider to be a “superstar" of the global environmental movement – or at least one of the top environmental leaders in the US today. McKibben is the man behind the successful movement and global events such as the “Moving Planet Day of Action” last year. And more recently McKibben has played a key role in the Keystone XL pipeline protests.
“Speaking at Occupy Boston in October, standing with one hand plunged into a pants pocket, he seemed like a man still getting used to his activist rhetoric. Attacking the usual environmental villains – the Koch brothers, The US Chamber of Commerce, ExxonMobil – he appeared somewhat surprised to hear such unkind words coming out of his mouth. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in his cause – he does, passionately – or feel compelled to pursue it with all the energy he can muster. It’s just that “he has no lust for battle,” says Small. McKibben sometimes seems as if he’d rather be home with his wife and dog than out rallying the troops. “He is the Jimmy Stewart type of American hero who only stirs when provoked,” the minister says. “And he has been provoked.””
The man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline – The Boston Globe
Bill McKibben is a mild-mannered Vermont journalist who engineered history’s largest green protest and derailed a $7 billion oil pipeline.
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