Dr. Vikash Tatayah, the director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation has reported that the oil has encircled the islet like a noose. “It’s a disaster,” Tatayah said. “Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined something like this.”It is an ecological disaster but we have not only imagined it, we have seen this happen over and over again for decades and it will continue to happen over and over again for years to come.Sea Shepherd volunteers have responded to these disasters for decades. We were there in the Galapagos in January 2001 when the tanker Jessica ran aground.
Our crews were on the beaches in Prince Edward Sound, Alaska in March of 1981 after Captain Joseph Hazelwood ran the Exxon Valdez aground. Our crews were on the beaches in Brittany in 1999 when the tanker Erica sank dumping 30,000 barrels of heavy oil into the sea.And we were back on site in Brittany just last year in 2019 when the Grande American caught fire and was leaking oil into the Bay of Biscay.And we were in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred. That was Sea Shepherd Gulf Rescue, a campaign where we were threatened by the Coast Guard for rescuing animals and birds.
Rescuing and cleaning birds and animals, cleaning the slime from the rocks, sopping up the stinking oil, raking up the tar balls and enduring the stench and the skin irritations, all without compensation from governments or the responsible corporations.And each and every time, we warned that it would happen again. And again and again. And once again the response from governments and the oil companies is inadequate as if the spills are just part of their business.I still remember the words of British Columbia’s Highway Minister in the Seventies, a corporate ass kisser named Phil Gaglardi. This is a direct quote. “Some chick gets a little oil on her bikini and everyone screams pollution. That’s the smell of money buddy and I ain’t met nobody who don’t like money.”
And that is the bottom line: That stench is the smell of money.So what’s to be done about Mauritius? Local people will rise to the occasion and they will get their hands dirty and suffer the health consequences. The Japanese oil company will pay some fines. No one will go to jail. The Japanese government will provide a foreign aid package to Mauritius to shut them up and the oil shipping business will carry on towards another incident that we can’t imagine will happen again.
The volunteers have ignored a government order to leave the clean-up operation to local officials, potentially risking a fine or other punishment. NGOs asked volunteers on Tuesday not to risk their health cleaning up the oil on the coast but to concentrate on boom-making instead.
High winds and waves are pounding the Japanese bulk carrier, which is showing signs of breaking up and dumping its remaining cargo into the waters surrounding the postcard-perfect island off the east coast of Africa.
Nearly 2,000 metric tons of oil, diesel and petroleum lubricants could inundate the lagoon if the Wakashio breaks apart, and experts believe it’s a matter of hours.
“The situation is very critical. Cracks have expanded over the course of the day,” said Dr. Vassen Kauppaymuthoo, the island’s premier oceanographer.
“The situation’s about to get 10 times worse. It’ll be a major catastrophe,” he said.
The oil is traveling up the coast, Kauppaymuthoo told NBC News, which could lead to huge stretches of lagoon being affected.
“It’ll take decades to rehabilitate the lagoon, and it’ll never be as it was before the spill. We have thousand-year-old coral here, protected species in our waters,” he added.
“I’m so sad, so angry. Larm koule,” he said in creole. The phrase means “tears run down my face.”
Tourism has long been at the heart of the country’s economy, with a string of luxury hotels punctuating every coastline.
The country had emerged from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic two months ago relatively unscathed, with only 344 total cases and 10 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins’ Coronavirus Resource Center. The government recently launched a fresh series of tourist campaigns in an effort to revive business.
But now schools in the region have been closed because of the overwhelming smell of petrol and dead fish that permeates the air.
There’s concern that residents near the coast where the ship is stranded, among several sites of great ecological importance, may have been exposed to hazardous substances washing ashore.
“I can’t smell it anymore,” said Sauvage, who has barely left the waterfront since the spill.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth has declared a state of emergency and appealed for international help. He said the spill “represents a danger” for the country of 1.3 million people.
Japan on Sunday said it would send a six-member team of experts to assist. French experts have arrived from the nearby island of Reunion.
But pressure is mounting on the government to explain why it did not act sooner to avert the environmental disaster.
The opposition and activists are calling for the resignation of the environment and fisheries ministers.
“We’ve seen the trailer but not the movie yet, of the crisis to come,” said Dr. Vikash Tatayah, director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
He’s been leading rescue efforts on Ile aux Aigrettes, an islet central to conservation efforts, evacuating species of plants and animals to safety.
The oil has encircled the islet like a noose.
“It’s a disaster,” Tatayah said.
“Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined something like this.”
Melting permafrost caused a fuel tank holding 21,000 tons of diesel oil to collapse in Russia’s Arctic Circle, leading to a 135-square mile oil spill.
According to Rosprirodnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, 6,000 tons spilled onto the ground, another 15,000 tons into the water. Oil products got into the Ambarnaya and Daldykan rivers and in almost all their tributaries.
The spill occurred in the city of Norilsk, Russia, at a power plant operated by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Co., a subsidiary of Nornickel. The town is located above the Arctic Circle in Russia’s far North.
Greenpeace has already called the spill the first accident of such a large scale in the Arctic. The organization believes that damage to water bodies alone from a diesel spill in Norilsk could amount to more than $85 million.
A diesel fuel storage tank failed when the permafrost it was built on began to soften. As a result of damage to the tank, fuel spilled onto the roadway and a passing car caught fire.
“The accident was caused by a sudden sinking of supporting posts in the basement of the storage tank,” the company said in a statement.
The leaking diesel oil had extended as far as 7 miles from the accident site and turned long stretches of the Ambarnaya bright red.
In Russia, diesel is dyed red if it’s used for heating of buildings and structures. Red diesel is usually pumped into special storage tanks and subsequently consumed as an energy source.
Zinichev told Putin that the Norilsk plant had spent two days trying to contain the spill before alerting his ministry. The region’s governor, Alexander Uss, had told Putin that he became aware of the oil spill on Sunday only after “alarming information appeared in social media”.
According to Russian media, the liquidation team has already cleaned about 53,000 cubic feet of soil at the site of the diesel fuel spill in Norilsk and pumped out 201 tons of fuel. More than 130 tons were removed from the Ambarnaya river.
Nornickel is the world’s leading producer of nickel and palladium producer. Palladium is a rare metal used to make catalytic converters.
One of the company’s key co-owners is Vladimir Potanin who was listed as the richest man in Russia with the fortune of $25 billion. The billionaire has lost $1.5 billion due to the consequences of the accident, according to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires ranking.
The Investigative Committee of Russia has opened a criminal case of negligence due to untimely reporting of an accident near Norilsk, according to the agency’s website. Who or what, exactly, the criminal case has been opened on was not specified. Russian authorities have already arrested the head of one of the units of a thermal power plant.
As global warming has raised temperatures, especially in Arctic latitudes, melting permafrost has become a major problem. In many colder areas buildings and structures are built on permafrost which can be as hard – and had been as permanent – as concrete.
That has begun to change with warming temperatures, causing damage to buildings and changing
Dominion Energy fired an oilfield worker in Rock Springs after the employee saved an estimated 50 waterfowl from wastewater ponds.
Adam Roich said he’s rescued about that many waterfowl in the last five years after they landed in tainted ponds at his worksite about 50 miles south of Rock Springs. He would take the oil-slicked birds to a company facility, wash them with Dawn householdsoap, warm them in his truck, then set them free on clean water, he told WyoFile in an interview.
“I got fired a couple days before Christmas for rescuing these guys throughout the years,” he posted recently on Facebook above many photographs of his avian patients. “I only did what I thought was right.”
Dominion terminated Roich on Dec. 19 for violating company policy, according to a letter obtained by WyoFile. His firing followed an internal investigation, the seven-sentence letter read.
Dominion wouldn’t say why it fired Roich, calling the issue “an internal matter.”
“[T]he company has fully complied with the applicable laws and company policies with respect to the individual,” Dominion’s Don Porter, media relations manager, wrote WyoFile. “[W]e abide by federal regulations which direct us to notify the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service only in the event of a bird fatality.”
Roich described a sad scene at the water’s edge: “They’d get oil on their feathers,” he said. “They’d just go to the bank and sit there. They’d freeze to death if I didn’t grab them.”
No bird rescues allowed
Four ponds, the largest about the size of a football field, dot the Canyon Creek energy field complex along the southern border of the state, Roich said. “It’s really toxic water,” he said. “Slicks of oil on them accumulate over time.”
A net covers one of them, Dominion’s Porter wrote. A BirdAvert system uses radar to deploy plastic falcons, strobes and falcon screeches to scare waterfowl away from the others.
“The system doesn’t work that well,” Roich said. Dominion called the bird-scaring system “not 100% effective,” and wrote that some birds alight in the ponds anyway, landing in produced water from natural gas wells — contaminated groundwater that contains gas and other substances.
Oilfield workers at the Canyon Creek field employed their own rescue system, Roich said. “We had a net out there,” he said. “I would just net the duck or grab it.
“I would take into our facility,” he said. “I would wash it. They rode around with me in my truck loving the heat while I worked my ass off.”
At the end of the day, Roich would release the rehabilitated ducks in a freshwater pond nearby, he said. Most would fly off.
Roich contacted state wildlife officials who told him what he was doing was probably OK, he said. But Dominion wrote that such rescues by employees are not allowed.
“When this happens, Dominion Energy follows federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act-related regulations, which forbid our employees from retrieving the fowl,” Dominion’s Porter wrote WyoFile.
Roich said other workers had been rescuing ducks during his five years with the company and beyond. “Before I was there they were doing the same thing,” he said. “Others did the same, but it all got pinned on me.”
Roich said he tried to work within the system. He believes Dominion could get a permit to handle the ducks and told supervisors as much.
Federal regulations allow licensed veterinarians to rescue migratory birds without a rehabilitation permit, but they must transfer the birds to an authorized rehabilitator within 24 hours after they are stabilized.
This fall a supervisor told Roich not to rescue any more waterfowl, Roich said. “He recently ordered me to let them die and not touch them,” he wrote on Facebook. After that, “I never touched another duck,” he told WyoFile.
Dominion put him on paid leave for almost two months, Roich said. “Like I’m some criminal,” he said. He called the episode a two-month ordeal that led up to his firing.
“Then I was terminated.” Ducks were at issue, Roich said. “An HR person told me that.”
Dominion’s Porter said the company is following federal regulations.
“We did not create these rules and regulations, but we are committed to adhering to them,” he wrote. “One of Dominion Energy’s core values is ‘ethics,’ which we take seriously — especially pertaining to government regulations concerning our business operations.”
Male King Eiders are super colorful sea ducks commonly found in the Arctic waters of the Bering Sea.. CC photo by Ron Knight
A new bird banding report shows something truly remarkable: the oldest known King Eider – a species of sea duck – was a 24-year-old oil spill survivor cared for by International Bird Rescue. This finding proves once again that rehabilitated, formerly-oiled birds can survive many years after treatment and release back to the wild.
The latest discovery involves a male King Eider that was oiled as an adult during an oil spill in Alaska in 1996. The recovered bird survived 23 years after oiling and release, and according to federal banding information, this may well be the oldest known King Eider.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Bird Banding Lab, which administers the scientific banding or ringing of wild birds in the U.S., the previously oldest recorded King Eider was an unoiled female that was at least 22 years 1 month old when she was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Nunavut, Canada.
This important news underscores what Bird Rescue has been advocating from its beginnings: oiled birds can and DO survive to live normal lives when rehabilitated after oiling, with appropriate resources and skilled staff. This is especially true when wildlife experts follow the protocols that have been refined over our nearly 50-year history.
“Bird Rescue has developed and remains at the forefront of the State of the Science for oiled wildlife treatment and rehabilitation,’ said Catherine Berg, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator for Alaska. At the time of the spill, Berg was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Oil Spill Coordinator for Alaska.
“Seeing this kind of evidence of rehabilitated bird survival is truly a tribute to their dedication to the advancement of the science and to improving the care of injured birds.” Berg added.
The long-lived eider is also a testament to both Bird Rescue’s and the State of Alaska’s commitment to the successful concept of having a centralized response center to care for affected wildlife, rather than attempting the care and cleaning of animals in a remote, inaccessible location. All the birds from this spill were transported from a remote island for care in a centralized facility run by Bird Rescue in Anchorage.
The long-lived King Eider carried the Federal Band #1347-54950.
The reported King Eider was originally oiled during the M/V Citrus Oil Spill that began in mid-February 1996 in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands around St. Paul Island in the Bering Sea, approximately 300 miles from the nearest mainland, and 750 miles from Anchorage. One hundred eighty-six birds, mainly eiders, were rescued near St. Paul and transported by U.S. Coast Guard C-130 aircraft to Bird Rescue’s Anchorage emergency response center. After medical stabilization, washing, and rehabilitation, the cleaned seabirds were again transported (a four hour flight) back to St. Paul Island, where their release was celebrated by the community and with the participation of schoolchildren.
Bird Rescue is proud of its work and the body of knowledge regarding the care of oiled wildlife that it has cultivated and shared since its inception in 1971. Data such as band returns on these species provide critical feedback to our rehabilitation processes, and clearly we are on the right track.
The deceased eider (Federal Band #1347-54950) was found near English Bay on St. Paul Island earlier this year. The metal band number was reported to the USGS Bird Banding Lab and they shared the information with Bird Rescue.
Male King Eiders are known for their very ornate and distinctive plumage. The male’s black and white feathers are accented by a reddish orange bill, bluish crown and greenish cheek. They are common in the Arctic waters of the Bering Sea.
This is the fourth King Eider from the 1996 spill that has been reported through the Bird Banding Lab.
Mr Jarrin assured critics that “there will be no permanence of anyone” on the island.
He said any modifications to the airfield would be paid for by the US, Telesur reported.
“Galapagos is for Ecuador our aircraft carrier, it is our natural carrier, because it assures us permanence, replenishment, interception facilities and it is 1,000 kilometres from our coasts,” he said.
The BBC has contacted the US Department of Defense for comment.
Source: Before tanker attack, Iran fired at U.S. drone 02:39
Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the United States is “considering a full range of options” regarding rising tensions with Iran, including military options, but emphasized that President Donald Trump has said that he does not want to go to war.
“The United States is considering a full range of options. We have briefed the President a couple of times, we’ll continue to keep him updated. We are confident that we can take a set of actions that can restore deterrence which is our mission set,” Pompeo said in an interview on CBS “Face the Nation.”
When asked if a military response was included in that set of actions, Pompeo responded, “Of course.”
“The President will consider everything we need to do to make sure, right? But what’s the President said? We don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” Pompeo added. “President Trump has said very clearly, he doesn’t want to go to war.”
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Pompeo’s comments come as tensions are rising in the waterways of the Middle East, where two tankers — one carrying oil and the other transporting chemicals — were attacked near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route that has been the focal point of regional tensions for decades. Roughly 30% of the world’s sea-borne crude oil passes through the strategic choke point, making it a flashpoint for political and economic friction.
Iran has categorically denied the attacks.
The United States has blamed Iran for the attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, releasing video footage that it claims shows an Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from one of the vessels’ hulls.
The explosions, which sparked a fire on at least one of the two ships, are still under investigation. Pompeo blamed Iran for the incident, citing intelligence assessments, the weapons used, the level of expertise required and the similarity to other recent attacks. On Fox News Sunday, Pompeo reiterated that is is “unmistakable” that Iran carried out the attacks with a “clear intent to deny transit through the straight.”
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Sunday — before Pompeo’s interviews aired — that the United States may have carried out “acts of sabotage” against two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman to blame them on Iran and pressure Tehran.
Larijani mocked remarks by Pompeo, who urged Iran to “meet diplomacy with diplomacy.”
“Is it diplomacy to start a face-off with a revolutionary nation with acts of economic terrorism, [economic sanctions] which they themselves call the toughest ever?” Larijani said. “Is it diplomacy, Mr. Pompeo, to renege on one’s promises in the nuclear agreement?”
British Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood said Sunday that “tensions” in Iran “are a concern for us all,” in an interview with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge.
Ellwood said that while he understands Iran’s frustrations over the nuclear deal, “that does not give license to start attacking ships.” In a statement Friday, Britain’s Foreign Office said it was “almost certain” that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were behind the attacks.
When pressed Sunday on legal authorization to strike Iran, Pompeo said that the administration “always” has the authorization to “defend American interests.”
In the US Constitution, Article I grants Congress the power to declare war, while the President derives the power to direct the military from Article II, which names the President commander-in-chief of the armed forces. In the lead up to the Iraq War, the effort to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in Congress became a point of contention, and once again became an issue during the US military campaign against ISIS.
Ultimately, Congress never took a full vote on an ISIS war authorization.
“We will see what happens. We are being very tough on sanctions … We’re going to see how to stop (it),” Trump said, before claiming that because of his policies “they are pulling back from everywhere.”
Pompeo also said Sunday on Fox that “President Trump has done everything he can to avoid war — we don’t want a war,” adding, “We’ve done what we can to deter this. The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior.”
Iran will release “significant” information on Monday regarding the scaling back of its commitments to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), according to Iran’s semi-official news agency, Tasnim on Sunday.
CNN’s Ghazi Balkiz, Nada Bashir, Kieron Mirchandani, Hira Humayun, Jason Hoffman, Barbara Starr, Devan Cole, Eliza Mackintosh and Michelle Kosinski contributed to this report.
What happened is fairly clear — two tankers were struck as they sailed through this busy and strategic shipping lane — but why it happened and who did it is a lot less easy to explain, not least because it doesn’t appear to benefit any of the protagonists in the region.
The Japanese owned Kokuka Corageous tanker briefly caught fire when it was twice attacked with “some kind of shell,” its owner said. One of its 21-strong Filipino crew was injured.
The crew of the Bermuda-based Front Altair all escaped unharmed when it too was hit by a blast. The Fifth Fleet’s USS Bainbridge was nearby and responded to a distress call received at 6.12 am local time and then another 48 minutes later. It picked up 21 sailors from the Kokuka and is getting a wider view of the scene from a P8 Navy surveillance aircraft.
A tanker ablaze in the Gulf of Oman, in an unverified image supplied by an Iranian news agency.
With the rescue operation over, questions have turned to why anyone would do this. That’s not as not as straightforward to answer as it looks.
Inevitably, similarities have been drawn between Thursday’s attacks and events a month ago, when four ships were targeted near the Emirati port of Furajah. For that, officials in Washington and beyond pointed the finger at Iran.
But Thursday’s incident is significantly more blatant. Yet the same officials will doubtless blame Tehran again. If and when that happens, we should remember US National Security Advisor John Bolton promised to present evidence to the UN Security Council backing up those previous claims, but has yet to do so.
Who stands to gain?
The Russians like to ask: “Who did it benefit?” when the unexpected strikes, and this question is useful now.
Iran doesn’t appear to have a lot to gain. Say what you like about Tehran’s malicious intent, these incidents heighten the global drumbeat for greater isolation and boosts those who seek to apply military pressure on Iran. Its economy is in a bad condition. Before President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA (colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal), Tehran was at its peak of regional influence. With diminished economic resources, its potency is likely to wane.
The incidents also came in the middle of a visit to Tehran by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, apparently trying to mediate over the nuclear deal (although Tokyo says he’s not an envoy for Washington). The apparent attacks eclipsed the Abe visit, an unexpected bit of outreach to Iran by someone Trump calls a friend.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shake hands after a joint press conference in Tehran.
You could make a case for Iranian hardliners staging such an attack to derail peace efforts. But Iran’s hardliners — particularly the Revolutionary Guard — are normally a little smarter than to bomb international shipping lanes during a crucial diplomatic meeting. Iran’s chief moderate, Foreign Minister Javid Zarif, was right to point out that “suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning.” When one party is so easily blamed, it is likely blameless, or unfathomably stupid.
What else? Reuters has reported that Tehran has been scaling up its remaining petrochemical exports ahead of tightening sanctions. Could it be looking to boost the price of oil? Maybe. But at the same time, the shipping of that same oil is going to be disrupted, so they would likely lose out all the same. It is hard to imagine an Iranian hardliner smart enough to pull this sort of apparent attack off, without also realizing they would get immediately collared.
So what about the conspiracy theory, that Saudi Arabia also seeks confrontation and higher oil prices, and would therefore permit such an attack to further its own agenda? An equally obvious explanation, it’s tough sell, too. And were such a plot uncovered, the damage to Saudi Arabia’s already beleaguered reputation in the Beltway could be terminal.
Some 20% of the world’s oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz, and that includes a lot of Saudi exports. You might argue that at $62 a barrel (the price of Brent crude after Thursday’s incidents caused a 3% spike), oil is quite cheap and can take more of a knocking. But in the long term it’s unlikely the Saudis would want the Gulf’s shipping lanes to be regarded as unsafe.
If this gets worse and the US military finds itself dragged into protecting shipping in Hormuz, Riyadh’s relationship the Trump administration — which sought to get out of foreign entanglements rather than get into them — would be tested.
There are few easy facts here, as there are few easy culprits. But the sense of uncertainty stokes rather than dampens the fears of mismanagement and conflict.
Opinions on the “Green New Deal” run the gamut from calling it “a bold, ambitious vision” to warning that it represents “the first step down a dark path to socialism.” A fairly common critique, though, is that it is unrealistic in whole or part; and that’s a view that crosses political lines. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointedly referred to the proposals put forward by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey as “the green dream, or whatever they call it” in an interview with Politico.
Producers of oil, natural gas and coal — those squarely in the GND’s crosshairs — may be tempted to draw comfort from, or mimic, Pelosi’s offhandedness. I think that would be a mistake.
There are two reasons why dismissing the GND as unrealistic would be an error. First, to do so would be to merely state the obvious. A 14-page set of non-binding resolutions encompassing everything from getting the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions to overhauling the nation’s transportation infrastructure and even implementing a federal job guarantee is plainly not what you would call ready-to-go legislation. And while AOC’s many critics may deride her as inexperienced, surely even they don’t think she’s unable to count how many Republican senators there are right now.
Rather, the GND is a set of sketched-out goals; a flag to rally support around for what its authors surely know will be a multi-year, and grinding, political battle. As ClearView Energy Partners put it in a report on the GND — coming as it does from a master of social media in our increasingly clickable political culture — this is about “counting likes (not votes).” By marrying environmental objectives with issues related to economic insecurity, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey are attempting to recast the doom-laden threat of climate change as an opportunity for economic and national renewal — a stance that mixes FDR liberalism with dashes of America First populism.
Far from thinking the GND’s enormous scope renders it an unrealistic mess, the fossil-fuel industry should consider it an opening gambit. Many of the proposals could be ditched or modified over time and America might still be left with far-reaching federal measures curbing the use of oil, natural gas and coal when the smoke clears. As it stands, polling shows comfortable majorities of Americans already think climate change is happening and is mostly man-made. Perhaps more importantly, roughly four-in-ten discuss the issue “often or occasionally” with family and friends, the highest proportion since the “Climate Change in the American Mind” survey was launched in 2008.
Such shifts in attitudes are why many fossil-fuel producers have also shifted in recent years toward acknowledging the reality of climate change and the role of their products in causing it. Herein lies the second reason why the GND’s lack of “realism” isn’t a promising line of attack over the long term.
As I wrote here, the incumbent energy industry’s change of heart comes after decades of rejecting warnings about climate change and helping to transform it from a question of science to one of political tribalism. Oil majors calling for carbon taxes after spending so many years of denying the need for action now actually find themselves to the left of a lot of senior Republican politicians on that specific issue. When even relatively straightforward measures like pricing carbon have become untouchable for one of the major U.S. parties, yet even producers admit there’s a problem, something has to give.
Sarah Ladislaw, a director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who published this smart blog post on the GND’s potential, offers this succinct rebuttal to the “realist” school of criticism:
It’s a hard conversation to calibrate. If the Green New Deal is infeasible, what do you call managing climate-change impacts? Surely that’s infeasible.
If the GND’s ambition is a testament to anything, it is that there are no easy solutions here. We have built our standard of living on forms of energy that we now know pose a threat to our very existence. That is a simple summation of a monumental challenge; one where time has eroded our margin for incremental action. No matter what you think of the specifics, or lack of them, this is a conversation that is long overdue — and necessarily begins with a shout, not a whisper.
Researchers at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and GRAIN have released a report titled “Emissions impossible – How big meat and dairy are heating up the planet.” The report is a discussion regarding an analysis the groups did on the impact the meat and dairy industries have on global warming. One of their major findings is that large meat and dairy corporations are set to overtake large oil companies as the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. In the report, the researchers also suggest that it is time to expand the field of corporations that get the major share of attention surrounding global warming. They make the case that that meat and dairy producers have flown under the radar for years, and that now, the time has come to include them.
Researchers for the two groups report that they conducted an extensive review of production numbers released by the largest meat and dairy producers and used those numbers to calculate greenhouse gas emissions. They note that very few of the largest meat and dairy corporations offer emissions data and that those that do fail to include data regarding the supply chain. They suggest further that the supply chain in the industry typically accounts for up to 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—it typically includes emissions from activities related to growing crops as well as methane emitted directly from livestock.
The researchers also report that a very large share of meat and dairy production occurs in just a few regions: Argentina, Brazil, the U.S., the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They also claim that five of the biggest meat and dairy corporations are already responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than BP, ExxonMobil or Shell. They further claim that their analysis of the industry showed that approximately 80 percent of the global allowable greenhouse gas emissions budget would be taken up by just the meat and dairy industry by 2050, if production is not reduced.
The researchers conclude their report by suggesting that soon there will be no choice—if we are to curb greenhouse gas emissions to meet targets set by agreed upon protocols, meat and dairy production will have to be greatly reduced.