Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Environmental justice, oil shale, solar, wind, ccs, oil subsidies, independent media.

Just to fill a void in the number of posts recently i thought i`d share a few of the stories that have caught my eye.

Firstly, as i`ve been reading Laura Westra's book about environmental justice and human rights I was interested to read in De Smog Blog that the tiny Arctic village of Kivalina has joined up with some litigators who previously worked on Tabacco and it's link to cancer. The parralles are facinating, and hopeful:

From a legal point of view, it is not enough to prove that burning fossil
fuels is damaging to the environment. They must also demonstrate that Big Oil
conspired to lie about their product to the public. They have a lot to work

For instance, ExxonMobil was specifically implicated by the Union
of Concerned Scientists of funding a Big Tobacco-style PR campaign to
misinform the public on climate science.

While the fossil fuel lobby has been highly successful at delaying meaningful regulation around climate change, they may have over-played their hand. By investing so heavily in distorting public debate around climate change, they have given lawyers like Susman and Berman plenty of potential evidence to drag into the light of day.

In a not unconnected development, Alberta is expecting a rapid ramping up of its oil shale extraction. Many of the effected lands are of disputed soverignty, indigenous groups are not seeing the benefits of these hugely distructive schemes.

In better news, solar is expected to achive grid-connected price parity by 2015! In other words, solar power from pv will cost the same per KWh as electricity from the grid. This isn't the same as having producing power for the same cost as fossil fuels, but it dosent have to be, solar can work without a complex transmission system and such small scale on site uses will make the economics work. Things aren't exactly bleak for the wind industry either; the only real question is how quickly new manufacturing capacity can be brought online. Meanwhile the fossil fuel industry is doing its best to talk up carbon capture and storage.

But weather it's a new renewable energy paradigme that you are after, or an altered version of fossil fuel power sans carbon emissions, one thing that we can surely agree on is the stupidity of the world bank (world development bank?) subsidising old coal power technology.

Fortunately for our fight against climate change, and for broader struggles against corporate power and state complicity there is a growing base of indipendent media. Notably The Real News Network has just teamed up with Celsias to improve coverage of climate change and related issues. That is exciting as i`m a big fan of both these organisations.

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At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Calvin,

I was just stopping by your blog today and noticed this post on oil shale. I really enjoyed what you said and thought some information my organization has produced on oil shale development might be of interest to you. I'd also like to urge you to write a post on this important information if at all possible.

As energy prices continue to surge, people around the country—including our President—have called for the exploration and extraction oil shale in the Green River Basin of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Proponents of lifting the congressional moratorium on a commercial oil shale program believe that new technology to squeeze oil from oil shale rock will drop gas prices in the near or even long-term future. They say we could begin work if only Congress would act today.

Unfortunately, this is far from the truth, as the oil shale industry itself readily admits. Viable commercial technology to harvest oil shale remains at least a decade away while new techniques being developed by Shell remain many, many years away.

Congress has done the responsible thing by imposing a moratorium that safeguards the economies, communities and environments that would be hurt by a rush to leasing oil shale lands. Once again, I’d like to urge you to write a post on this important topic so we can ensure the truth gets out. Find this important information at:


Best wishes,
Andrew Peters

Find out what New West blogger Joan McCarter wrote here: []


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