Broad coalition of conservation groups oppose measure that could speed approval of natural gas export terminals
Pro-fossil fuel legislators in Congress hope they can help their campaign donors by putting the cart before the fracking horse. An amended version of the Senate’s Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 (S. 2012) includes provisions that would speed up the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of liquefied natural gas export terminals.
According to critics of the measure, that artificially increases the demand for U.S. natural gas and hits communities with additional health and climate risks. More than 370 organizations are urging the Senate to reject provisions in the bill that would encourage oil and gas fracking.
VIENNA —Longtime Summit Voice readers will have noticed a gradual transition over the last few years away from local news coverage in Colorado to focusing on what is probably the over-riding environmental issue of our time.
There’s no longer much doubt that global warming poses an existential threat to humanity. The Earth, to be sure, will survive, but the ability of humans to maintain some semblance of civilization is definitely under the gun.
At worst, climate change (and yes, I use the terms interchangeably) will trigger some catastrophic and and as-yet unforeseen tipping point that will lead to mass extinctions and widespread ecological collapse. That’s not far-fetched if the world doesn’t get a grip soon on greenhouse gas emissions.
At best, even if we meet the targets set at last year’s climate talks in Paris, there will be massive dislocation from coastal areas from flooding and storms, and mass migration from parts of the world that will just be too hot. There will probably be major disruptions to the world’s food supplies. And many of the world’s natural treasures, like its glaciers and coral reefs, will just disappear.
It’s easy enough to say that life goes on, at least in the short term, but that’s not enough. Sure, some of the other short-term issues (politics comes to mind) matter, but in the long run, none of it will unless we get our act together soon to cut greenhouse gas emissions to near zero.
Some of my climate change reporting is now online at InsideClimate News and I’d like to invite all Summit Voice readers to check out their feed. Their great team of journalists is working hard to cover the most important aspects of the climate change story, and I’m happy to add my reporting to that effort.
Using a vast sample of data collected in a citizen science project, researchers say they’ve been able to discern how hydropeaking affects aquatic insects that form the base of river food chains. The information could help resource managers develop alternative hydropower practices that aren’t as harmful to ecosystems, according to a new study published in the journal BioScience.
Hydropeaking refers to the practice of increasing river flows at times of peak demand, generally during the day. This study shows how abrupt water level changes affect aquatic insects in every stage of life. The research was done by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Oregon State University, Utah State University and Idaho State University. Continue reading “Environment: Can dams be operated without killing rivers?”→
If there’s any silver lining to the global warming story these days, it’s that fossil fuel company stock prices are dropping even faster than global temperatures are going up. Investors aren’t buying the climate-denying baloney being peddled by the coal kings and oil barons anymore, as evidenced by this week’s bankruptcy announcement by Peabody Energy — the world’s biggest coal company.
Fossil fuel industry attacks proposed ballot measure as economically destructive
Feeling the increased pressure from health- and environment-minded citizens and communities, Colorado’s oil and industry reacted strongly to the news that a proposed fracking-regulation initiative is one step closer to reaching the statewide ballot box.
In the U.S. District Court case, the Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians are challenging four leases that would permit fossil fuel companies to strip mine more than two billion tons of coal, and the conservation groups pointed out this week in a press release that the federal government is taking the absurd position that the leases won’t affect the amount of coal mined, the amount of coal burned, or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Continue reading “BLM claims 2 billion tons of coal has no climate impact”→