Archive for April 2012
Fracking is getting heat—or at least a lot of attention—at the grassroots and at the federal levels. President Obama this month issued an Executive Order forming an interagency working group “supporting the safe and responsible development of unconventional natural gas resources.”
“Unconventional” in this case is hydraulic fracturing—aka fracking—a natural gas extraction method in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure in order to fracture, or crack open, layers of rock, making oil and natural gas accessible. Fracking makes it easier to get at the large deposits of oil and gas from shale formations.
But many also contend that it is risky and, in effect, cruel and unusual punishment to the earth’s crust and water resources. Fracking can release harmful pollutants into the air and underground water tables. There is also alarming evidence that the process causes earthquakes, which apparently is what happened last year at a fracking site near Blackpool, England. Read the rest of this entry »
Somewhere in China, a professor of political science and ethics, Won Tru Tang, begins his lecture.
“Today students we’ll review some recent statements in the news from America. It will be up to you to determine which, if any, of these statements were actually said, and which are fake. This will be part of next week’s testing on lies, delusion and reality. So listen carefully! Chou, will you please turn on the audio compilation?”
First speaker: “There is no such thing as global warming. The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is. Climate change is an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.
“We have to have all sorts of government regulations now because of the threats of hydrofracking. It’s the new bogeyman. It’s the new way to try to scare you … And they’re preying on the Northeast, saying, ‘Look what’s going to happen. Ooh, all this bad stuff’s gonna happen, we don’t know all these chemicals and all this stuff, what’s gonna happen?’ Let me tell you what’s going to happen: Nothing’s going to happen, except they will use this to raise money for the radical environmental groups so they can go out and continue to try to purvey their reign of environmental terror on the United States of America.”
Second speaker: “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that. I believe that climate change is occurring. The reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor. It’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may be significant contributors.”
The tape pauses briefly; the same voice then says: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
“My view with regards to energy policy is pretty straightforward. And that means let’s aggressively develop our oil, our gas, our coal, our nuclear power.”
Third speaker: “You know, the greatest hoax I think that has been around in many, many years if not hundreds of years has been this hoax on the environment and global warming. You notice they don’t call it global warming anymore. It’s weather control. The Copenhagen treaty on climate change can’t help the economy. It has to hurt the economy and it can’t possibly help the environment because they’re totally off track on that. It might turn out to be one of the biggest hoaxes of all history, this whole global warming terrorism that they’ve been using, but we’ll have to just wait and see, but it cannot be helpful.
“There is no consensus in the scientific community that global warming is getting worse or that it is manmade. Over 30,000 scientists signed a petition recently directly disputing the claims on which this policy is based. Washington bureaucrats have classified the very air we exhale as a pollutant and have gone unchallenged in this incredible assertion. The logical consequence is that there will come a time when we will have to buy a government permit just to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from our own lungs!”
Fourth speaker: “The evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon loading of the atmosphere.”
Another brief pause in the tape; the same voice says: “I don’t think that we have conclusive proof of global warming. And I don’t think we have conclusive proof that humans are at the center of it.”
The tape ends and Professor Won dismisses the class. A student approaches the professor.
“Surely sir, these audio clips are a splicing or computer trick! They can’t possibly have actually been spoken by serious, intellectually honest and consistent people. If true they are truly clueless and dangerous fools.”
The professor merely smiled.
We knew or at least surmised that this was true, but the really scary conclusion from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is that it could get way, way worse: Without more ambitious actions by governments global greenhouse gas emissions could increase 50 percent by 2050.
The warning from the 34-member-nation OECD, whose mission is to “promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world,” in a recent report, OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction, is that rising living standards over the coming decades will mean increased demands for energy, food and natural resources. This will result in sharply higher GHG emissions and pollution.
OECD says the report presents the latest projections of socio-economic trends over the next four decades, and their implications for four areas of concern: climate change, biodiversity, water and the health impacts of environmental pollution. Read the rest of this entry »