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Oil Industry Set Agenda During Climate Summit Meeting with Big Greens

Oil Industry Set Agenda During Climate Summit Meeting with Big Greens

Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of OGCI Climate Investments

Last week, as climate activist Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit, invited leaders from major environmental groups spent their day listening to the leaders of fossil fuel companies discuss how they want to respond to the climate crisis.

Depending on which room you were in, you would have heard two very different messages.

Thunberg’s widely watched speech evoked the urgency of acting on climate change.

“People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing,” Thunberg told the UN summit. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

Just blocks away, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), whose members include oil giants like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, and BP, was meeting with representatives from large environmental organizations, talking about ways to moderately reduce greenhouse gas pollution while continuing business as usual.

The OGCI had planned a busy schedule for organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Wildlife Federation, according to a draft planning document from the event obtained by DeSmog.

The draft, dated August 21, shows that a “breakfast and portfolio review” would start the day, hosted by the CEO of oil giant BP, Bob Dudley, and Pratima Rangarajan, CEO of the OGCI Climate Investments.

The full day of sessions, preceded by an invitation-only forum the night before, would include CEOs of global oil majors speaking alongside Mark Brownstein, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy; and Collin O’Mara, head of the National Wildlife “Foundation,” the draft agenda said (O’Mara heads the National Wildlife Federation).

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution, Says New Study

Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution, Says New Study

Flaring in Permian Basin Shale with sunflowers

Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That’s both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of the Climate report, which was published this week with the American Meteorological Society.

That pollution creates a greenhouse effect that is over 42 percent stronger than it was in 1990, the report added.

And while carbon dioxide hit a new level last year, it isn’t the only climate-changing gas that’s on the rise globally. Pollution of the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane also climbed in 2018, showing an increase “higher than the average growth rate over the past decade,” the report adds.

A new Cornell University study published today in the scientific journal Biogeosciences helps to explain what sparked the surge in those methane concentrations, both here in the U.S. and around the world.

One big culprit: shale drilling and fracking.

“This recent increase in methane is massive,” said Cornell professor Robert Howarth, who authored that study. “It’s globally significant. It’s contributed to some of the increase in global warming we’ve seen and shale gas is a major player.”

The new Cornell paper relies on “chemical fingerprints” of the methane pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere. It describes how methane molecules from shale gas and oil production carry different kinds of carbon than methane from either conventional natural gas drilling or coal beds. The methane molecules from shale drilling contain less of the carbon-13 isotope versus carbon-12, the study suggests, using this ratio as one way to hone in on the source of the natural gas.

That chemical fingerprint led the Cornell researchers to point to the shale industry as the major source of the leaks.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Explosions in Three States Highlight Dangers of Aging Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Explosions in Three States Highlight Dangers of Aging Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Site of gas pipeline explosion in Kentucky

On August 1, for the third time in as many years, Enbridge’s Texas Eastern Transmission gas pipeline exploded. This tragic incident in central Kentucky killed a 58-year-old woman, Lisa Denise Derringer, and injured at least five others. Flames towered 300 feet high when the 30-inch diameter pipe ruptured at 1 a.m. and forced at least 75 people to evacuate.

“We opened the backdoor and it was like a tornado of fire going around and around and he said we were trapped,” survivor Jodie Coulter, 53, told CBS News, describing her efforts to flee on foot. Coulter, whose house was within 600 feet of the pipeline, suffered third-degree burns on her arms. “It felt like we were standing next to a blow torch.”

This explosion joins a string of others in the past several weeks involving America’s aging fossil fuel infrastructure — including a network of 2.6 million miles of pipelines, roughly half of which are over 50 years old, and over 130 oil refineries, many of which are 50 to 120 years old.

The Kentucky incident came less than 24 hours after ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas, petrochemical plant saw its second major fire this year.

Last week’s Baytown explosion injured 66 workers and has already spurred at least three lawsuits against the company, including one by a worker alleging his burns were far more serious than ExxonMobil had indicated.

Just over a month earlier, a massive fireball and series of explosions ripped through the largest refinery on the East Coast, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions complex.

Flare at Exxon's Baytown, Texas, refinery following Hurricane Harvey.
Flare at ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas, refinery following Hurricane Harvey. Credit: Julie Dermansky for DeSmog

Aging Pipelines, Aging Refineries

It may be months before federal investigators reach conclusions about the cause of each accident, but all three incidents took place at sites with a long history of operations — and accidents.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Plastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report

Plastics Industry on Track to Burn Through 14% of World’s Remaining Carbon Budget: New Report

Plastic jug on a beach

The plastics industry plays a major — and growing — role in climate change, according to a report published today by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).

By 2050, making and disposing of plastics could be responsible for a cumulative 56 gigatons of carbon, the report found, up to 14 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget.

In 2019, the plastics industry is on track to release as much greenhouse gas pollution as 189 new coal-fired power plants running year-round, the report found — and the industry plans to expand so rapidly that by 2030, it will create 1.34 gigatons of climate-changing emissions a year, equal to 295 coal plants.

It’s an expansion that, in the United States, is largely driven by the shale gas rush unleashed by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The petrochemical expansion also comes over the same period of time that international plans to reduce climate change call for rapid reductions in greenhouse gases from all sources — transportation, electricity, and industry.

“Humanity has less than twelve years to cut global greenhouse emissions in half and just three decades to eliminate them almost entirely,” said Carroll Muffett, president of CIEL, citing UN figures. “It has long been clear that plastic threatens the global environment and puts human health at risk. This report demonstrates that plastic, like the rest of the fossil economy, is putting the climate at risk as well.”

“If growth trends continue,” the report concludes, “plastic will account for 20 percent of global oil consumption by 2050.”

The new report, co-authored by Environmental Integrity Project, FracTracker Alliance, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), 5 Gyres, and Break Free From Plastic, looks at how plastic production carries major impacts for the climate as it goes from raw materials tapped by the fossil fuel industries all the way through its ultimate disposal or breakdown in the environment.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In Some Pennsylvania Pro-Fracking Corners, Name-calling, False Claims, and Swastika-Laden Images Circulate

In Some Pennsylvania Pro-Fracking Corners, Name-calling, False Claims, and Swastika-Laden Images Circulate

Marcellus Drilling News screenshot of story decrying the Pennsylvania Medical Society and using a swastika graphic

Cabot Oil and Gas is a shale drilling company that, according to state regulators, botched its shale gas extraction operations in an area around Carter Road in Dimock, Pennsylvania, about a decade ago.

Cabot has for years fought liability for locals’ contaminated water supplies and has remained in legal disputes long after reaching secret settlements with many Carter Road residents that reportedly included non-disclosure agreements.

Outside a courthouse not far from Dimock, a Cabot spokesman recently claimed that people complaining about water contamination from fracking were actually paid imposters, an unsubstantiated claim quickly echoed in pro-gas circles.

“This is not Cabot vs. three landowners. This is Cabot vs. the money that’s behind this. These are paid activists, paid actors on behalf of Food & Water Watch and the like,” Cabot spokesman George Stark said outside court in February, according to the Associated Press.

It’s a line that in the Trump era carries echoes of the “crisis actor” claims tossed around by the far-right — a conspiracy theory-grade claim that equates efforts to help families left without drinkable well water with a scheme to induce people to invent evidence tying fracking to problems.

More broadly speaking, the evidence linking shale industry activity to drinking water contamination is already well established, not just by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but also by the U.S. Department of Justice, state regulators (documenting thousands of spills at fracked wells), and countless peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Nonetheless, Stark’s claim that fracking opponents are part of some sort of scheme was picked up by a major natural gas PRshop and by a far-right industry news service, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN), which mixes a sizable dose of slurs, name-calling, and prejudice into the news clips it circulates to subscribers daily, and whose editor is friendly with Stark and with Cabot.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

Liquid drilling wastewater pond

On April 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told two environmental groups that it had decided it was “not necessary” to update the federal standards handling toxic waste from oil and gas wells, including the waste produced by fracking.

State regulators have repeatedly proved unable to prevent the industry’s toxic waste from entering America’s drinking water supplies, including both private wells and the rivers from which public drinking water supplies are drawn, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 2017 national study.

The corrosive salt-laden wastewater from fracked wells has been spread on roads as a de-icer. It’s been sprayed into the air in the hopes of evaporating the water — a practice that spreads its blend of volatile chemicals into the air instead. Oil industry wastewater has even been used to irrigate crops — in California, where state regulators haven’t set rules to keep dangerous chemicals like the carcinogen benzene out of irrigation water.

If equally contaminated waste came from other industries, it would usually be designated hazardous waste and subject to strict tracking and disposal rules designed to keep the public safe from industrial pollution. But in July 1988, after burying clear warnings from its own scientists about the hazards of oilfield waste, the EPA offered the oil and gas industry a broad exemption from hazardous waste handling laws.

The EPA’s decision this week echoes that.

Embedded video

Watch EPA’s new featured #EarthWeek2019 video focused on this year’s theme – clean water. Today, over 92% of community water systems in the U.S. meet all health based standards, all of the time.

“Rather than acting in the best interest of the public, EPA has continually shirked its duties and left our communities’ health, drinking water, and environment at risk,” said Adam Kron, senior attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project…

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Gas Driller at Center of 2019 Pulitzer-Winning Book on Fracking Still Faces Legal Battles

Gas Driller at Center of 2019 Pulitzer-Winning Book on Fracking Still Faces Legal Battles

Girl playing hopscotch at a playground near a fracking well pad in Pennsylvania

Eliza Griswold’s book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America examines the impacts of fracking in western Pennsylvania, and on Monday it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Griswold’s book carefully refuses the birds-eye view of fracking’s impacts — readers will find few state or national statistics — and instead presents the detailed results of seven years of on-the-ground reporting. It traces the story of one extended family in western Pennsylvania, a small handful of neighbors, and eventually the two-person legal team that took on their case, now covered by a sealed settlement with natural gas driller, Range Resources, which still faces additional related legal battles today.

The New York Times Book Review called Amity and Prosperity a “valuable, discomforting book.” The 336-page narrative presents the Haney family’s experiences as a story of failed systems, both legal and political, and the pummeling of small town residents in the Marcellus Shale, not only by the arrival of fracking, but also by the region’s long history with extractive industries like timber, coal, and steel; by the national painkiller addiction epidemic; and by the extraordinary difficulties created by the decline of family farming.

The book begins at — and frequently returns to — the county fair’s 4H competition, where Stacey Haney’s son and daughter are entering “two goats, two pigs and four rabbits.” Griswold recounts how Stacey, a nurse, and her neighbors suffer as family pets, prize goats, and treasured horses become ill and die — and at the same time, Stacey’s son Harley is suffering from a mysterious ailment that neither Stacey nor the doctors are initially able to diagnose.

Book Spoiler Alert

Note: the next two paragraphs contain spoilers that readers may wish to avoid.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,’ West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry

‘Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,’ West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry

A slide from a presentation by West Virginia official Michael Graney, who listed "virtually no risk of drilling restrictions" as a reason to bring fracked-gas reliant petrochemical development to the region.

This week, at an industry conference focused on wooing petrochemical producers to West Virginia, officials from the state and federal government made clear their support for continuing fracked shale gas extraction and petrochemical industry development near the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale.

Why should petrochemical companies build in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio? For one thing, don’t expect regulation of shale gas drilling, Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, predicted in his presentation.

“Contrasted to other U.S. regions, Tri-State region is industry-supportive and industry-friendly,” read a slide that Graney, who was appointed by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice in September 2018, presented to the conference. “Virtually no risk of drilling restrictions.”

Graney also elicited “hallelujahs” from the crowd after describing West Virginia’s low worker turnover rates.

“We have earned an A from the Cato Institute in fiscal policies,” he told representatives from fossil fuel and petrochemical companies, referring to a libertarian think tank that Sourcewatch describes as “founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.”

‘Everything within the government’s power’

Traffic with a Shell plastic manufacturing plant in the background in Pennsylvania.


Shell is already building a massive plastic manufacturing plant reliant on fracked-gas feedstocks known as an “ethane cracker,” in Pennsylvania. Credit: Sharon Kelly, DeSmog

At the ninth annual West Virginia Manufacturers Association’s Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference, officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offered the petrochemical industry the services of the federal government.

“And what we’re going to do is everything within the government’s power to shine a bright light on this and help get this over the finish line,” Steven Winberg, the Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, told the conference. “With regard to DOE, there’s a couple of things that we can do. One is, private sector investors can take advantage of the DOE’s loan guarantee program.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

New Warnings on Plastic’s Health Risks as Fracking Industry Promotes New ‘Plastics Belt’ Build-Out

New Warnings on Plastic’s Health Risks as Fracking Industry Promotes New ‘Plastics Belt’ Build-Out

Marine litter washed up on a beach

A new report traces the life cycle of plastic from the moment an oil and gas well is drilled to the time plastic trash breaks down in the environment, finding “distinct risks to human health” at every stage.

Virtually all plastic — 99 percent of it, according to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) report — comes from fossil fuels. And a growing slice comes from fracked oil and gas wells and the natural gas liquids (NGLs) they produce.

The report concluded that plastics bring toxic or carcinogenic health risks to people at every stage.

“Until we confront the impacts of the full plastic lifecycle, the current piecemeal approach to addressing the plastic pollution crisis will not succeed,” the report concludes. “At every stage of its life cycle, plastic poses distinct risks to human health, arising from both exposure to plastic particles themselves and associated chemicals.”

People can be sickened not only when plastics are produced, in other words, but also while plastic is actively used by consumers and then again after it’s thrown out, where plastic trash often breaks down into smaller and smaller bits that can contaminate the food chain and make its way into people’s bodies.

The scope of the risks requires an international response, the center said.

“Both the supply chains and the impacts of plastic cross and re-cross borders, continents, and oceans,” said David Azoulay, the center’s Director of Environmental Health. “No country can effectively protect its citizens from those impacts on its own, and no global instrument exists today to fully address the toxic life cycle of plastics.”

In the U.S., however, a major push is underway — and attracting hundreds of billions in investment, both foreign and domestic — to move in the opposite direction and produce more plastics and other petrochemicals.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

Fracked Shale Oil Wells Drying Up Faster than Predicted, Wall Street Journal Finds

Pumpjacks in Permian Basin outside Midland, Texas

In 2015, Pioneer Natural Resources filed a report with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the shale drilling and fracking company said that it was “drilling the most productive wells in the Eagle Ford Shale” in Texas.

That made the company a major player in what local trade papers were calling “arguably the largest single economic event in Texas history,” as drillers pumped more than a billion barrels of fossil fuels from the Eagle Ford.

Its Eagle Ford wells, Pioneer’s filing said, were massive finds, with each well able to deliver an average of roughly 1.3 million barrels of oil and other fossil fuels over their lifetimes.

Three years later, The Wall Street Journal checked the numbers, investigating how those massive wells are turning out for Pioneer.

Turns out, not so well. And Pioneer is not alone.

Those 1.3 million-barrel wells, the Journal reported, “now appear to be on a pace to produce about 482,000 barrels” apiece — a little over a third of what Pioneer told investors they could deliver.

In Texas’ famed Permian Basin, now the nation’s most productive shale oil field, where Pioneer predicted 960,000 barrels from each of its shale wells in 2015, the Journal concluded that those “wells are now on track to produce about 720,000 barrels” each.

Not only are the wells already drying up at a much faster rate than the company predicted, according to the Journal’s investigative report, but Pioneer’s projections require oil to flow for at least 50 years after the well was drilled and fracked — a projection experts told the Journal would be “extremely optimistic.”

Fracking every one of those wells required a vast amount of chemicals, sand, and water. In Karnes County, Texas, one of the two Eagle Ford counties where Pioneer concentrated its drilling in 2015, the average round of fracking that year drank uproughly 143,000 barrels of water per well.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Energy Transfer Uses Workaround to Open Mariner East 2 Pipeline Amid Hazard Worries, Criminal Investigation

Energy Transfer Uses Workaround to Open Mariner East 2 Pipeline Amid Hazard Worries, Criminal Investigation

Mariner East 2 pipeline opponents protest the pipeline project with signs

Energy Transfer has begun shipping natural gas liquids through one of the most troubled pipeline projects in Pennsylvania, sparking calls for additional investigations as residents say safety concerns remain unresolved.

Natural gas liquids (NGLs) are fossil fuels found in large volumes in “wet” shale gas wells. They include the highly flammable fuels propane and butane, plus ethane, which is used extensively in the petrochemicals and plastics industy.

A year ago today, Pennsylvania temporarily suspended permits for Mariner East 2 pipeline construction, citing the builder’s “egregious and willful violations” of state laws.

Portions of Mariner East 2 construction remain under a separate injunction, this one issued by a state administrative law judge in May, after sinkholes opened up in West Whiteland Township in the densely populated suburbs of Philadelphia.

The Mariner East projects are the subject of a criminal probe by the Chester County district attorney’s office, which announced in December that it was investigating potential charges including risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, and environmental crimes.

We expected the state regulators and the governor to step in and assure the safety of Pennsylvanians,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement announcing the investigation. “They have not.” (Energy Transfer has “vehemently” deniedwrongdoing.)

Nonetheless, just before the New Year, Energy Transfer, which owns Sunoco, announced that it was starting to operate the Mariner East 2 pipeline, bypassing more than 20 miles of unfinished construction by using a small 12-inch pipeline originally installed in the 1930s.

Sunoco Pipeline sign near Mariner East II pipeline site in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Sunoco Pipeline sign near Mariner East II pipeline site in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Credit: SamHolt6CC BYSA 4.0

Residents were displeased.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2018 Was a Year of Deadly Climate Disasters and an ‘Ear Splitting Wake-Up Call’

2018 Was a Year of Deadly Climate Disasters and an ‘Ear Splitting Wake-Up Call’

Hurricane Florence flooding

2018 is set to rank as the fourth warmest year on record — and the fourth year in a row reflecting a full degree Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) temperature rise from the late 1800s, climate scientists say.

This was the year that introduced us to fire tornadoes, bomb cyclones, and, in Death Valley, a five day streak of 125°F temperatures, part of the hottest month ever documented at a U.S. weather station.

2018 also brought the world’s highest-ever low temperature, as nighttime temperatures fell to a sizzling 109°F in Quiryat, Oman, on June 28, smashing a 2011 record-high low.

A startling 95 percent of the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is now gone — and we’re losing Arctic ice at a rate of 14,000 tons per second, according to recent research, three times as fast as roughly three decades ago.

It was a year notable both for its overwhelming, climate-fueled impacts as well as its gut-wrenching predictions for what climate change still has in store for us if we fail to act. So much happened, frankly, that it’s been hard to keep it all straight.

Stark Warnings

Eroding permafrost bluff on Barter Island, Alaska
Actively eroding coastal permafrost bluff on Barter Island, located on the northern coast of Alaska, July 3, 2018.
Credit: Shawn Harrison, U.S. Geological Survey, public domain

The year delivered increasingly powerful warnings from scientists and international agencies about the need to shift away from fossil fuels and slash greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., 2018 saw a presidential administration and Republican-controlled Congress packed with politicians and administrators who refuse to recognize the scientific consensus that the climate is changing because of fossil fuel pollution and other human activities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Energy Transfer, Banks Lost Billions by Ignoring Early Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns

Energy Transfer, Banks Lost Billions by Ignoring Early Dakota Access Pipeline Concerns

Anti Dakota Access protesters in Philadelphia

Before that application was filed, on September 30, 2014, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met with ETP to express concerns about the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) and fears of water contamination. Though the company, now known as Energy Transfer, had re-routed a river crossing to protect the state capital of Bismarck against oil spills, it apparently turned a deaf ear to the Tribe’s objections.

Following that approach proved to be a very costly decision, a new analysis concludes, with ETP, banks, and investors taking billions in losses as a result.

This case study estimates that the costs incurred by ETP and other firms with ownership stake in DAPL for the entire project are not less than $7.5 billion, but could be higher depending on the terms of confidential contracts,” a new report, “Social Cost and Material Loss: The Dakota Access Pipeline,” concludes, noting that represented nearly double the initial project cost. “The banks that financed DAPL incurred an additional $4.4 billion in costs in the form of account closures, not including costs related to reputational damage.”

In addition, the company’s “poor social risk management” caused taxpayers and “other local stakeholders” to incur at least $38 million in costs, the report concludes.


“This is what it’s all about,” protestor says. “Sacred water.” Not sure guys on left agree.


As opposition to DAPL grew from a handful of locals to a movement attracting thousands of supporters to Standing Rock and backers worldwide, construction fell behind schedule and over-budget, with costs rising from a predicted $3.8 billion to at least $7.5 billion, the new report finds.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Time is Running Out,’ American Petroleum Institute Chief Said in 1965 Speech on Climate Change

‘Time is Running Out,’ American Petroleum Institute Chief Said in 1965 Speech on Climate Change

Fire crew in California fire

The warning is clear and dire — and the source unexpected. “This report unquestionably will fan emotions, raise fears, and bring demand for action,” the president of the American Petroleum Institute (API) told an oil industry conference, as he described research into climate change caused by fossil fuels.

The substance of the report is that there is still time to save the world’s peoples from the catastrophic consequence of pollution, but time is running out.”

The speaker wasn’t Mike Sommers, who was named to helm API this past May. Nor was it Jack Gerard, who served as API’s president for roughly a decade starting in 2008.

The API president speaking those words was named Frank Ikard — and the year was 1965, over a half-century ago.

It was the same year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Muhammad Ali felledSonny Liston in the first round, and Malcom X was fatally shot in New York. The first American ground combat troops arrived in Vietnam and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law establishing Medicaid and Medicare.

It would be another four years before American astronaut Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon — and another decade before the phrase “global warming” would appear for the first time in a peer-reviewed study.

And 1965, according to a letter by Stanford historian Benjamin Franta published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, was the year that President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee published a report titled “Restoring the Quality of Our Environment,” whose findings Ikard described at that year’s annual API meeting.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Field Guide to the Petrochemical and Plastics Industry

A Field Guide to the Petrochemical and Plastics Industry

Petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia

The shale gas industry has been trying to build demand for fossil fuels from its fracked oil and gas wells by promoting the construction of a new petrochemical corridor in America’s Rust Belt and expanding the corridor on the Gulf Coast. To help demystify terms like “natural gas liquids” and “cracker plants,” DeSmog has begun building a guide to some of the equipment and terms used in the plastics and petrochemical industries.

This guide, which will expand over time, is intended to serve as an informal glossary of sorts and an introduction to what happens to fossil fuels that are transformed into chemicals, plastics, vinyl, Styrofoam and a variety of other materials.

Petrochemical Production and the Climate

Fracking for Plastics
This field guide is part of Fracking for Plastics, a DeSmog investigation into the proposed petrochemical build-out in the Rust Belt and the major players involved, along with the environmental, health, and socio-economic implications.

These fossil fuels have a significant global warming impact of their own. The methane leaks associated with the natural gas drilling and distribution industry are so pronounced that many experts say burning natural gas for electricity is worse for the climate than burning coal.

While hydrocarbons that are used as raw materials for petrochemical products aren’t burned (and therefore don’t release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere), that leaky infrastructure still results in methane pollution. Methane itself is a powerful greenhouse gas, capable of warming the climate about 86 times faster than an equal amount of carbon dioxide during the first decade after it’s released to the atmosphere.

Making petrochemicals also requires a huge amount of energy — some of the largest petrochemical plants like crackers may have their own power plants on site — and that energy comes from burning fossil fuels.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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