Friday, October 7, 2011

Environmental News -- Tar, Seals, Arctic, More

So, 10 years of Aghan War -- $1.2 million per grunt on the ground for a year's worth of failure. Nobel Prize gives award to 4 great women. AOccupy Wall Street surges. Occupy Colleges comes on strong. Occupy Seattle, Spokane! Here is a quick update not on those great stories, news breaking stories like the Chilean students, in the tens of thousands, being fire hose sprayed by the flagging vanguard in Santiago. Fed up? You bet. Occupy Wall Street, here in Seattle, elsewhere, is a movement spurred by tech savvy folk. The powers that be are scared. But some environment news first, today.

Seal pups rely on their warm insulating fur to keep them warm in Arctic waters.

But when that fur is covered in oil, it loses its ability to insulate – and even seals can freeze to death.
Right now our government is opening up the Arctic to oil companies – even though there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in icy conditions. That’s why we have to stop this drilling before it starts, but we don’t have much time left.

We only have until midnight. Don’t let seals freeze to death – help keep oil off seals and out of Arctic waters.

Drilling in the Arctic Ocean is a huge gamble, with thousands of seals, other marine animals, and vibrant coastal communities on the line. Even in the best conditions, like those in the Gulf of Mexico – calm weather, warm water, and nearby response teams – cleaning up spilled oil is risky, dangerous, and imprecise. Only about 10% of the oil was recovered in the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, and Arctic conditions are, to put it mildly, less than ideal.

Oil booms don't work in ice. Once oil is spilled, it will spread and stay – in the middle of the homes of seals and other Arctic animals – for a very long time.

That’s why we are fighting to keep oil from being spilled in the first place. We have just until midnight to raise the money we need to keep up this critical fight and work to protect our oceans by:

Fighting the expansion of offshore drilling into the fragile Arctic Ocean in court.

Reaching thousands more activists to put pressure on government regulators to make the right decisions.

Demanding that our government require tested and proven oil spill response plans and not just take the word of oil companies that they can clean up an Arctic spill.

Working with local native communities to document traditional knowledge and combine it with scientific information to map special areas at risk.

Seal pups are relying on us to keep oil out of their homes. You could make a huge difference in the future of our oceans.

TAR SANDS XL Pipeline FEEDS Climate Change, Billionaire Koch-habit

Alberta’s Tar Sands: One of the Most Destructive Projects on Earth

One of the Most Destructive Projects on Earth

Located beneath 4.3 million hectares of boreal forest, an area the size of Florida, the tar sands are the dirtiest source of oil in the world. Few Canadians know what is happening in northern Alberta. While many may know about Alberta’s immense oil reserves in the tar sands (2nd only to Saudi Arabia) few know the environmental and social devastation that is taking place.The tar sands could destroy over 149,000 square kilometres or Boreal forest an area the size of Florida. By 2020 they are expected to emit more than 141 million tonnes of greenhouse gases – more than double that currently produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada and Alberta is now home to the world’s largest dam and it is built to hold the toxic waste from just one Tar Sands operation.The tar sands of Alberta are now the world’s largest industrial operation. Because of their sheer scale, all Canadians have become hostage to their development. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Canada is quickly increasing them and fully half of that emissions growth is projected to come from the Tar Sands.This is just beginning. The Alberta government has already given approvals that will double the size of existing operations, and has been talking with the US government to grow the Tar Sands five-fold in a “short time span” looking to move from 1 million barrels of oil per day to over 5 million The Tar Sands are now the biggest capital project anywhere on Earth and the biggest energy undertaking anywhere.With the Tar Sands, Canada has become the world’s dirty energy superpower.
A few quick facts:

• The Tar Sands can single handedly prevent Canada from meeting it’s international obligations under the Kyoto protocol. By 2020 the tar sands are expected to release over 141 megatonnes of GHG – twice that produced by all the cars and trucks in Canada.

• An area the size of the state of Florida (149,000 km2) can be leased to oil sands development in the future.

• It takes 3-5 barrels of fresh water to get a single barrel of oil from the tar sands. 350 million cubic metres is the volume of water currently allocated to the tar sands, the equivalent to the water required by a city of two million people.

• Cumulatively, the environmental impact of the tar sands has made Alberta the industrial air pollution capital of Canada, with one billion kilograms of emissions in 2003.

• 600 million cubic feet of Natural gas is used every day – that’s enough to heat more than three million Canadian homes.

• First Nation communities downstream of tar sands operation have been experiencing unprecedented rates of bile and colon cancer, lupus and other diseased that they believe are attributable to tar sands.

• 70% of the crude oil being extracted from the tar sands is exported directly to the United States mostly for use in transportation.

Across the country, individual Canadians are taking action to fight climate change. Most provincial governments – other than Alberta – have begun to meaningfully respond. But every step forward is undermined by ever larger greenhouse gas emissions from the Tar Sands. If we care about our planet or our future we need to STOP THE TARSANDS.

Arrests Made and Thousands More Expected in DC as Protests Grow to Block Tar Sands Pipeline

At stake is what has quickly become the largest environmental test for President Obama before the 2012 election.

Why the Tar Sands Pipeline Will Be Game Over for Our Planet

The country's leading climatologist talks about why he was arrested at the Tar Sands protests in DC and what the pipeline will mean for our future.

Tar Sands Action organized a civil disobedience sit–in at The White House to oppose construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that began on August 20 and will culminate in a big rally on September 3rd. On August 29 I joined 60 religious leaders and other fellow protestors. I was arrested that day. But before I was handcuffed, I addressed fellow activists who had gathered outside The White House with these words:

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