Saturday, February 27, 2010

Olympics, Coal, Tar Sands, and the fight to gain the podium and the microphone and the political landscape

These are some serious issues tied to climate change, politics and big oil, big energy, and a huge lobbying campaign and misinformation network of media, corporations and a public that is not getting the lo down on climate change, global warming, CO2 in the atmosphere and how that connects to positive feedback loops of 20 percent of the earth's "white" melting like a ice cube in hell.

It's refreshing to see the so-deemed jock go public and actually come to grips with the realities of the world away from marketing, TV, hockey, rough and tumble child's games played by men and women. Read the following op-ed by a former Olympian and New York Ranger. Then tie into the campaign to inform, lobby for sanity and stop this dirty fuel source. The USA imports that dirty tar sand from Canada to put into our tanks. And then tie into the bigger campaign working to get politicians and corporations to stop dragging knuckles on the 350 ppm fact that we need to stabilize our atmosphere to the 350 CO2 ppm equivalent.

Scientists tell us that the maximum level of CO2 our atmosphere can safely bear is 350 parts per million. Beyond that, our our earth and its species are at imminent risk of catastrophic changes we'll never be able to stop — meaning billions of people will die.Today, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is already at 390 worldwide — and it's rising at 2 parts per million per year.

Of Canada, The Olympics and Dirty Oil

A nation with a deep environmental
awareness pursues a destructive


February 24, 2010

Some of my proudest moments over the
course of my hockey career came from the
opportunity to represent my country in three
Olympics. The Canadians were fierce rivals
then, and they still are today.

Canada is known for its winters -- and for
terrific hockey players, skiers and
snowboarders. So it's fitting that the Winter
Olympics are being held this year in

The country is also a paradise of rich natural
resources kept that way by deep
environmental awareness and responsible
policies. But while Canada has immersed
itself in the excitement of the Winter Games,
the country is also pursuing an energy policy
that could have a huge impact on winter
sports by accelerating global climate change.

The Canadian province of Alberta is home to
a form of oil that is considered the dirtiest on
earth. It's called the oil sands, and each
barrel creates three times the global-
warming pollution of conventional oil. That's
a staggering amount of carbon.

In fact, oil sands are now the fastest-growing
source of global-warming pollution in
Canada. To make matters worse, producing
this dirty oil requires clear-cutting giant
swaths of ancient forest, sucking up water
from rivers and leaving behind lakes of toxic
waste so large they can be seen from space.
The earth is gouged where the oil-soaked
sand is dug and loaded onto trucks. After
being sent through crushers, the sand is
mixed with hot water and moved through
slurry pipelines to a plant where the bitumen
is extracted.

The oil industry is now considering
spreading this dirty oil into the United States
through a vast, sprawling network of
pipelines and refineries. These pipelines
would crisscross back yards and farmland in
Minnesota, as well as in Montana, Nebraska,
South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin,
Illinois and Texas, jeopardizing our drinking
water and rural communities.

As a hockey goalie who loves winter sports,
it has been hard to watch events canceled in
Vancouver because of warm weather and
know that if we don't act now to fight global
warming, we may see more and more of this
in the Olympic Games of the future. Even
skiers and snowboarders could be forced to
compete indoors, in artificial climates, on
man-made snow.

Harder still is to see the damage to our
health, to the economy, to national security,
to moral standing and to quality of life that
climate disruption brings. These are not just
environmental issues; our energy policies
touch every aspect of our lives and affect
every shade on the political spectrum.

We can't seriously combat global warming
while getting fuel from the world's dirtiest
source. If we allow Canada's oil sands
project to creep across our border, it will
lock our nation into dependence on yet
another foreign source of oil, just as our
local clean-energy industry is beginning to

Right now, we are poised to become a leader
in the global clean-energy economy. By
taking the steps to ensure that we are the
leader of the next industrial revolution, we
can reignite our economy, bolster national
security and improve the health of our

One of the most important things we can do
to demonstrate that leadership is to say no to
Canada's oil sands. For now, the decision
rests with the Obama administration. By
denying permits for pipelines and refineries
in the United States, President Obama can
signal to the world that we are serious about
fighting climate change and helping American
clean-energy technologies thrive.

If he does, we just might be able to save the
winter games we love -- and set a new
course for the nation we cherish.

Michael T. Richter is a founding partner in
Environmental Capital Partners. He is also the
former goalie of the New York Rangers, a
three-time Olympian and a member of the
Sierra Club's National Advancement Council.

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