If I have aired this piece before I apologized. But it is important and needs to be said again. Big Oil, Gas and Coal are the big nasty. They shit in our air, they pee in our politicians and they spit on our lawyers. They have know what they were doing pretty much all along. We should seize their assets and put their Executives in jail.
Special thanks to the GUARDIAN for the valuable work they do.
After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America’s petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes.
An unprecedented wave of lawsuits, filed by cities and states across the US, aim to hold the oil and gas industry to account for the environmental devastation caused by fossil fuels – and covering up what they knew along the way.
Coastal cities struggling to keep rising sea levels at bay, midwestern states watching “mega-rains” destroy crops and homes, and fishing communities losing catches to warming waters, are now demanding the oil conglomerates pay damages and take urgent action to reduce further harm from burning fossil fuels.
But, even more strikingly, the nearly two dozen lawsuits are underpinned by accusations that the industry severely aggravated the environmental crisis with a decades-long campaign of lies and deceit to suppress warnings from their own scientists about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate a decades-long campaign of lies and deceit to suppress warnings from their own scientists about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate and dupe the American public.
The environmentalist Bill McKibben once characterized the fossil fuel industry’s behavior as “the most consequential cover-up in US history”. And now for the first time in decades, the lawsuits chart a path toward public accountability that climate activists say has the potential to rival big tobacco’s downfall after it concealed the real dangers of smoking.
I hate to gloat. I hate to Smirk. But I am gloating right now. I am SMIRKING so hard I think I Broke my face. As Tommy Friedman (New York Times pundent) had this to say, the Big Oil Companies business plan was “good to the last drop”. But it isn’t. Never could be. When a better technology comes along. The old technology is abandoned. They are gonna be left with all those oil leases and oil wells when nobody wants the stuff. I say – GOOD for THEM. It is what they deserve.
In what may be the most cataclysmic day so far for the traditional fossil-fuel industry, a remarkable set of shareholder votes and court rulings have scrambled the future of three of the world’s largest oil companies. On Wednesday, a court in the Netherlands ordered Royal Dutch Shell to dramatically cut its emissions over the next decade—a mandate it can likely only meet by dramatically changing its business model. A few hours later, sixty-one per cent of shareholders at Chevron voted, over management objections, to demand that the company cut so-called Scope 3 emissions, which include emissions caused by its customers burning its products. Oil companies are willing to address the emissions that come from their operations, but, as Reuters pointed out, the support for the cuts “shows growing investor frustration with companies, which they believe are not doing enough to tackle climate change.” The most powerful proof of such frustration came shortly afterward, as ExxonMobil officials announced that shareholders had (over the company’s strenuous opposition) elected two dissident candidates to the company’s board, both of whom pledge to push for climate action.
The action at ExxonMobil’s shareholder meeting was fascinating: the company, which regularly used to make the list of most-admired companies, had been pulling out all stops to defeat the slate of dissident candidates, which was put forward by Engine No. 1, a tiny activist fund based in San Francisco that owns just 0.02 per cent of the company’s stock, but has insisted that Exxon needs a better answer to the question of how to meet the climate challenge. Exxon has simply insisted on doubling down: its current plan actually calls for increasing oil and gas production in Guyana and the Permian Basin this decade, even though the International Energy Agency last week called for an end to new development of fossil fuels. Observers at the meeting described a long adjournment midmeeting, and meandering answers to questions from the floor, perhaps as an effort to buy time to persuade more shareholders to go the company’s way. But the effort failed. Notably, efforts by activists to push big investors appear to have paid off: according to sources, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, backed three of the dissident candidates for the Exxon boar
Congress should raise the royalty rates on federal lands.
By Tom Udall and Charles Grassley
Senator Udall is a Democrat from New Mexico. Senator Grassley is a Republican from Iowa.
One hundred years ago, Congress passed the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, setting up a system in which companies lease public lands to wrest valuable oil and gas from the ground. In the century since, the royalties and rent that those corporations pay to the American people for access have remained essentially unchanged even as the scale of development and profits has grown hugely.
As senators from different parties, we have our share of policy differences. But we both believe in sticking up for the public interest and the taxpayer. In this case, we agree that oil and gas companies should pay fair market value for the public resources they extract and sell. They aren’t doing that now — not even close — and the American public is the big loser.
The country’s economy and the oil and gas industries have changed significantly since 1920. Automobiles had just started to replace the horse and buggy, and the oil industry was a relatively new enterprise dominated by the successors of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Yet, since then, the federal royalty rate for oil and gas on public lands has remained steady, at a bargain-basement 12.5 percent of the value of what’s extracted.
We have been fighting this 1000 mile long monstrosity for over a decade. First at the EPA hearing level and the Political Level (Obama), then at the protest and blockade level, and now at the Legal level. While Obama was a great guy on the environment and temporarily halted the pipeline, this ruling is a major step at blocking tar sands and fracking products from coming to Illlinois and then ultimately to the Gulf Coast. It is also a major blow against Koch Industry. We have gone past 1.5 Degrees temperature rise with the current level of Green House Gases, so the Lord better give us a couple more victories.
Judge suspends Dakota Access pipeline over environmental concerns
US district judge sides with Standing Rock Sioux tribe
More extensive environmental review is required – judge
Associated Press in Fargo, North Dakota
A federal judge has sided with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to be shut down until a more extensive environmental review is carried out.
US district judge James Boasberg had previously said the pipeline, which has been in operation three years, remained “highly controversial” under federal environmental law, and a more extensive review was necessary after an environmental assessment by the US army corps of engineers.
In a 24-page order on Monday, Boasberg wrote that he was “mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause” but said he had concluded that the pipeline must be shut down for an environmental impact statement (EIS).
“Clear precedent favoring vacatur [an order setting aside a previous judgment] during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the 13 months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take,” Boasberg wrote.
Boasberg had ordered both parties to submit briefs on whether the pipeline should continue operating during the new environmental review.
Why? Because I am tired, pessimistic and it all seems so repetitive. I am also extremely disappointed. I am disappointed in myself, my friends, my State, my Nation, and hell even my enemies. WE HAD A CHANCE to stop this thing. We had the science and even the modeling on our side and yet we failed. We misjudged the power it would take and i think we totally misunderstood the violence it would take to stop the carbon industry from continuing to sell their products. We should have elected a President who wasopposed to fossil fuels 10 – 15 years ago. We should have blown up gas stations and power plants 10 – 15 years ago. Here we are looking at a 3 Degree uptick in temperature which will kill off all but the very hardy species. We act like there is still hope. We act like there is a future. Well I am done with that.
A northeastern Siberian town is likely to have set a record for the highest temperature documented in the Arctic Circle, with a reading of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius) recorded Saturday in Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic Circle and about 3,000 miles east of Moscow. Records at that location have been kept since 1885.
If verified, this would be the northernmost 100-degree reading ever observed, and the highest temperature on record in the Arctic, a region that is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe.
On Sunday, the same location recorded a high temperature of 95.3 degrees (35.2 Celsius), showing the Saturday reading was not an anomaly. The average June high temperature in Verkhoyansk is just 68 degrees (20 Celsius).
Yes it’s true, this is a historic plunge in oil futures prices. It is true that the oil just keeps coming because there is no way to shut off the larger wells. Yes it’s true that oil storage is filling up to the point where they may have to use railroad tanks cars for storage. But is this a significant point in history. I think the short answer is no. I think it may be a foreshadowing of the turbulence that lies at the END of oil. But that is nowhere near. BIG OIL is too nasty and too viscous (vicious sorry) to give up while there is a single drop to pump. Here is a great discussion of the incident:
About 150 years of oil-price history: This one chart illustrates crude’s spectacular plunge below $0 a barrel
The formerly unthinkable drop in oil prices below $0 a barrel on Monday is still reverberating through financial markets, as supply overwhelms demand destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing some energy companies into possible bankruptcy as storage reaches maximum capacity.
Indeed, the now-defunct May West Texas Intermediate crude US:CLK20, which expired on Tuesday, plunged into negative territory to start the week in a history-making event that saw, the front-month contract, at the time, settle at negative $37.63 a barrel before recovering some of that in the following session.
That jaunt into negative territory had never happened before that period and although the oil market was seeing some traction higher on Wednesday, with the current front month and most-active West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery CLM20, 17.53% gaining $2.21, or 19.1%, to settle at $13.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, still about the lowest level since the late 1990s, researchers at Deutsche Bank thought it would be interesting to look at oil prices over the past 150 years.
Strategists Jim Reid and Nick Burns did so with straightforward charts published April 22 that shows both the nominal price of oil since 1870 and the cost of crude in real, or inflation-adjusted, terms in U.S. dollars (see chart below):
That’s it. That’s all I can say. Well you know me, that’s not all I can say. Like the National Geographic Magazine says, they are divided about the results. We have accomplished alot but never enough because the root cause of climate change is evil greed, better known as capitalism. As long as we practice those economics, we will continue down the drain. The drain that looks like this:
As governments around the globe debate how to respond both to the coronavirus itself and the economic chaos it has unleashed, a theme that’s come up over and over is how to prioritize what makes it into spending packages. In the United States, right-left fault lines have emerged over the question of bailing out emissions-heavy industries versus a greener stimulus. On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a large-scale rollback of environmental regulations as a response to the pandemic—allowing many emitters to police themselves when it comes to pollution.
While some argue that the oxygen in the climate debate should be taken up by the pandemic instead, the two issues aren’t mutually exclusive, experts say. In a warming climate, more diseases are likely to emerge and spread, making climate change action an important part of addressing future health crises. Moreover, the perception that climate change isn’t as urgent as other crises may rely on misunderstandings about how climate-related changes will happen. The rate isn’t constant: Instead, there’s reason to believe everything from Arctic melt to Amazon deforestation might experience what’s known as “tipping points,” where small changes in nature shift into rapid and irreversible damage.
Greenland and Antarctica are melting six times faster than they were in the 1990s, according to a new study in the journal Nature. Between 1992 and 2017, Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice. This falls under the worst-case scenario projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the effects are already being felt in many parts of the world. The IPCC predicts that by the end of the century, 400 million people around the globe could be at risk of coastal flooding every year from sea-level rise alone.
Oil prices are actually at an all time low as supplies are on at an all time high. This article argues however that the oil corporations are so big that they will just diversify as climate change looms larger. In the end they will sell worthless reserves off to unregulated startup oil companies and oil will become like drugs.Those startups will function like drug cartels function today. Selling oil to those addicted to oil. Pretty picture? NO. Our future. Maybe.
We think democracy is better,” said the jet-fuel salesperson. “But is it? In terms of outcomes?”
In a conference room overlooking the gray Thames, a group of young corporate types tried to imagine how the world could save itself, how the international community could balance the need for growth with our precarious ecological situation. For the purposes of our speculative scenarios, everything except for carbon was supposed to be up in the air, and democracy’s track record is mixed.
A graph from Chinese social media showing how many trees the country is planting — a patriotic retort to the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg — had a real effect on the room. Combine that with the Chinese state-led investment in clean-energy technology and infrastructure and everyone admired how the world’s largest source of fossil-fuel emissions was going about transition. That’s what the salesperson meant by “outcomes”: decarbonization.
Regional experts from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East–North Africa also entertained the democracy question, pointing to Iraqi disillusionment with voting and economic growth in Rwanda under Paul Kagame (“He’s technically a dictator, but it’s working”). The China expert said the average regional Communist Party official is probably more accountable for his or her performance than the average U.K. member of Parliament, a claim no one in the room full of Brits seemed to find objectionable. The moderator didn’t pose the question to me, the American expert, presumably because our national sense of democratic entitlement is inviolable.
Go there and read and read and read. More next week.
Only speculated on several years ago. Feedback Loops are things that speed up or slow down climate change. The two that concern us here are the most obvious, clouds and ice shrinkage. The more water in the atmosphere the more clouds and the hotter the earth – the more water. But the killer one is, ice is very very reflective. What replaces it it is not and in the case of “dark” water, it is incredibly absorptive. The question has always been when would they kick in? I always said we would know when it was too late. Here we are.
Climate Models Are Running Red Hot, and Scientists Don’t Know Why
The simulators used to forecast warming have suddenly started giving us less time.
There are dozens of climate models, and for decades they’ve agreed on what it would take to heat the planet by about 3° Celsius. It’s an outcome that would be disastrous—flooded cities, agricultural failures, deadly heat—but there’s been a grim steadiness in the consensus among these complicated climate simulations.
Then last year, unnoticed in plain view, some of the models started running very hot. The scientists who hone these systems used the same assumptions about greenhouse-gas emissions as before and came back with far worse outcomes. Some produced projections in excess of 5°C, a nightmare scenario.
The scientists involved couldn’t agree on why—or if the results should be trusted. Climatologists began “talking to each other like, ‘What’d you get?’, ‘What’d you get?’” said Andrew Gettelman, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, which builds a high-profile climate model.
“The question is whether they’ve overshot,” said Mark Zelinka, staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Researchers are starting to put together answers, a task that will take months at best, and there’s not yet agreement on how to interpret the hotter results. The reason for worry is that these same models have successfully projected global warming for a half century. Their output continues to frame all major scientific, policy and private-sector climate goals and debates, including the sixth encyclopedic assessment by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due out next year. If the same amount of climate pollution will bring faster warming than previously thought, humanity would have less time to avoid the worst impacts.
This is kinda funny because my blog is an accumulator blog and these guys are the maximum accumulators. Having lived in New Orleans for 12 years you can smell it, you can taste and there are days when you just should stay inside. Then there is the urban detritus, it rained 110 inches one year and the flooding was horrid. Walking through the water everyday I faced motor oil, gasoline and even used syringes.
How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled
Louisiana still hasn’t finished investigating 540 oil spills after Hurricane Katrina. The state is likely leaving millions of dollars in remediation fines on the table — money that environmental groups say they need as storms get stronger.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, while stranded New Orleanians flagged down helicopters from rooftops and hospitals desperately triaged patients, crude oil silently gushed from damaged drilling rigs and storage tanks.
Given the human misery set into motion by Katrina, the harm these spills caused to the environment drew little attention. But it was substantial.
Go there and read at least 15 articles. More next week.