Archive for the 'Carbon Sequestration' Category

Students and Community Shut Down National Coal Council Meeting in St. Louis

Written by Claire Christensen, leader with Washington University’s Green Action

Toss a handful of college students and a few community members into a National Coal Council Coal Policy Committee gathering and what do you get? A canceled meeting and an early lunch.

The National Coal Council would be reviewing a final draft of a study on deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies and would present their findings to the Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu.

So what’s so bad about carbon capture and storage technologies? In itself, absolutely nothing. In fact, I strongly encourage it. However, when it’s used as an excuse for America to CONTINUE using coal it is simply unacceptable. The label “Clean Coal” is false advertising and purposefully misleading.

According to a study by Dr. Paul Epstein, Director of Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment called, “Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal,” published in 2011 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,

Each stage in the life cycle of coal-extraction, transport, processing, and combustion-generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and thus are often considered as “externalities.” We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

Industries need to stop funding false solutions and tackle the real problem: the use of a dirty, inefficient resource that harms the climate through emissions, our country through its extraction, and our people through its presence. As conscious citizens, we have to draw attention to the use of coal propaganda and its detrimental affects to our country and our future.

On Tuesday at about 11:10 a.m., only ten minutes into the Coal Policy Committee’s meeting, students from Washington University’s Green Action group and activists from Climate Action St. Louis unfurled a banner declaring “Coal is Never Clean” and sang “Clean coal is a dirty lie.” As a member of Green Action, I took pictures to document the members of the St. Louis community standing up for what they believe in.

The National Coal Council meeting stalled as the police escorted us out of the building. The committee then canceled their meeting early, had lunch, and disbanded. Continue reading ‘Students and Community Shut Down National Coal Council Meeting in St. Louis’

Root Causes of the BP Oil Disaster

Recently here in the Bay Area, Mobilization for Climate Justice-West held a Teach In on the BP oil disaster, to prep for an upcoming action on the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Here’s an excerpt from Carla Perez from Movement Generation, talking about root causes:

Utah commissions independent clean energy report, hides the findings, crashes my computer

Warning: the Utah Department of Commerce and the state’s major electric utility really don’t want you to know the following information, and they will hijack your computer to keep you from getting it:

The administration of Utah’s former Governor Jon M. Huntsman (now U.S. Ambassador to China) commissioned an independent study to figure out how much, if anything, the state could save by switching to alternative, clean forms of energy.  Utah currently gets almost all of its energy through fossil fuel combustion, 82% of which uses coal.

Coal-fired power plant

Report says these things are dirty and expensive; report get's an "F" from state

It appears the current administration (Gary Herbert) and his coal-burning buddies don’t like what the report had to say:

“This [coal-based] resource mix…results in significant emissions of air pollutants and consumes a large share of Utah’s increasingly valuable water resources. The authors estimate that fossil generation in Utah today:

–consumes about 73,800 acre feet, or 24 billion gallons, of fresh water per year; results in 202 premature deaths per year;
–contributes to 154 hospital visits per year for respiratory injuries, and 175 asthma-related emergency room visits each year.

We estimate that the health and water impacts from Utah fossil generation have a monetary value of between $1.7 and $2.0 billion dollars per year (2008$), or between $36 and $43 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of fossil generation in Utah, a value similar to the direct costs of conventional electricity generation.”

Naturally, at this point, I would include a link to the PDF of the report. But I don’t want to do that to you. Get this: if you surf over to the PDF on the state’s website, a giant pop-up window (disavowing the findings) appears, the rest of the screen goes dark, and there is no way to click out of it. I’m no computer genius, so I had to “ctrl-alt-delete” and restart my laptop  just to finish this post. Sheesh. Continue reading ‘Utah commissions independent clean energy report, hides the findings, crashes my computer’

Darth Vader Endorses US Climate Bill

This week, Senators Kerry and Leiberman unveiled The American Power Act – 987 pages of draft climate and energy legislation.

Our country desperately needs bold clean energy and climate legislation that transitions America to 100% real clean energy, creates good green jobs, and immediately and drastically reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, dirty energy corporations (notably Big Oil and King Coal) have spent obscene amounts of money on lobbying and campaign contributions to influence climate and energy policy and keep us dangerously addicted to dirty energy like coal, oil, and nuclear.

All sorts of dirty energy corporations (like Duke, Shell Oil and Florida Power and Light) have endorsed this bill because of all the polluter giveways and subsidizes.

Which is why we at Greenwash of the Week invited Darth Vader himself to weigh in on the bill.

If you enjoy the video, please share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook!

Face to Face with the Dirty Coal CEOs

It’s not every day you get a chance to confront some of the most downright bad people in the world. We talk about these evil-doers all the time, largely in euphemisms: we call them fossil fuel lobbyists and big polluters. We reference them passively by capitalizing the words “Dirty Coal”. While Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship (who has been described as nothing less than an Evil Bastard) has faced a quite a lot of public scrutiny recently, we generally don’t know or think much about the names and faces of those who make daily decisions to put their companies’ profits over people and the planet.

But every once in a while, an opportunity arises to confront the bad guys, face to face.

Yesterday, Congressman Ed Markey held a hearing in his Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming titled “The Role of Coal in a New Energy Age.” Three coal company executives and the president of a coal mining association testified. Grateful to Chairman Markey for dragging these crooks out into the open, our crew of activists decided we couldn’t let this one pass us by.

There’s something really tantalizing about an opportunity to confront so much evil and so much power. But how to stick it to these guys (yes, all guys in this case) in just a brief public moment of protest? How to capture all the complexity – the blowing up of mountains, polluting of streams, melting glaciers, droughts, conflicts over resources and refugees? How to honor the lives of 29 miners lost in a devastating West Virginia mine disaster just over a week ago? Continue reading ‘Face to Face with the Dirty Coal CEOs’

DOPENHAGEN: Forests Fail Fast but We Move Forward

Bloodshed with REDD. Talks of saving the world’s last remaining forests and the communities who depend on them came to a grinding halt at the end of the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations. Initial agreement on a global target to reduce deforestation and other safeguards were either moved from operational part of the text to the preamble or were deleted altogether.

The REDD agreements were being touted as an easy document for nations to agree on, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that most working on the initiative were deeply dismayed by the results.

What’s Left? Other processes intended to address the rapid destruction of the world’s tropical forests, including the UN-REDD initiative and the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, will continue but without the safeguards that were put forth in the initial global REDD agreement. This patchwork approach runs the risk of simply shuffling deforestation from one location to another, failing to reduce overall emissions from deforestation, and failing to protect the people who live in and around forested ecosystems.

According to the three-page draft text published by The Guardian, negotiations on how to handle world’s forests will continue into 2010, but it is uncertain whether the draft agreement on REDD negotiated in Copenhagen will be used as the basis for those negotiations. Moreover, the weak paragraph on forests in the draft text represents a backward step in comparison to the Bali Action Plan mandate, which prioritized the protection of forests over the preservation of logging interests.

All this being said, organizations like Global Witness and Rainforest Action Network are gearing up for continued forest protection. Additionally, money is being allocated to promising REDD programs, such as the Rukinga Wildlife Reserve in Kenya, the first REDD project in Africa. More on forests coming soon…

Monsanto Refuses Angry Mermaid Award in DC

The seas are swirling with mermaids’ fury against Monsanto and the corporate criminals who sabotaged the Copenhagen climate process. Mermaids know no borders. They swam it all the way to DC Wednesday to share their anger with the 3 winners of the “Angry Mermaid Awards“.

We at the DC Climate Action Factory teamed up with a delegation of irate Danish anthrofishies and hit the frozen streets of K and I: global corporate lobby ground zero. It’s from here that climate criminals and climate profiteers waged their war to infiltrate and cripple the climate legislation that so many saw as the lynchpin for progress towards a real deal at the COP. Naturally, this place is home to the Angry Mermaid Award winners.

Continue reading ‘Monsanto Refuses Angry Mermaid Award in DC’

Open letter to John Carson about the White House Youth Forum

(Jon Carson was the field director for the Obama campaign and is now the chief of staff at the Council on Environmental Quality. He moderated the White House’s Youth Clean Energy Economy Forum that took place on December 2nd)

Dear Jon Carson,

I would like to say thank you for helping to create the Youth Clean Energy Economy Forum, and I was honored to attend. The number of cabinet members that attended is a testament to how much this administration cares about the voice of my generation, and the fact that this was a discussion and not a photo op shows that the Obama Administration really cares about engaging with the clean energy movement. This was a great first step toward closer collaboration between the White House and the youth movement. However, I did have a few concerns that I would like to address.

First, at the end of the evening, you told us to look at the big picture and not focus on what hasn’t been done, but look at how far we have come. I think that, generally, this is a good idea, and for any other movement I would agree with you. But we are not like past movements. Continue reading ‘Open letter to John Carson about the White House Youth Forum’

Coming Soon! 350 Reasons Carbon Trading Won’t Work

Rising Tide North America and Carbon Trade Watch would like you to join us on the October 24th day of global climate action to spread the word about the biggest financial scam in history – Carbon Trading.

In order to stabilize the climate before billions of people around the world suffer the consequences, it is imperative that carbon-trading schemes are stopped and real, democratically determined solutions are implemented.

We cannot afford to waste any more valuable time and resources relying on such market-driven strategies to deliver science-based goals (such as 350 ppm of CO2) when so many lives and livelihoods are at stake. If we truly wish to protect people and planet, then we must put climate justice before corporate profits.

However, first and foremost, we need to dispel the misguided notion that carbon trading has anything at all to do with climate change mitigation, or the present and future wellbeing of our communities.

We are proud to announce the launch of – a website presenting 350 reasons why carbon trading will not serve to stabilize the climate. You can submit your own reasons for opposing carbon trading via a web-form on this site. We will release the full 350 reasons next week. Continue reading ‘Coming Soon! 350 Reasons Carbon Trading Won’t Work’

Sen. Murkowski Proposes Disastrous EPA Amendment on Behalf of Dity Energy

A Senator from Alaska is moving to sabotage US efforts to create meaningful climate legislation before Copenhagen.

Online petitions are springing up
Online petitions are springing up

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has proposed an amendment to EPA’s fiscal 2010 spending bill that would strip EPA of the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants and polluting industries.  Such an amendment could seriously undermine the US’ leverage in negotiating a sufficient climate treaty in Copenhagen.

On Monday, 32 environmental groups sent a letter urging the Senate to reject Murkowski’s draft amendment. Among the letters’ contentions:

“The Murkowski amendment seeks to exempt from the Clean Air Act the biggest global
warming polluters. The amendment would let Big Oil, dirty coal, and other big polluters off the
hook for their carbon dioxide emissions, undermining the Clean Air Act’s protections for public
health and the environment. These sources are responsible for the lion’s share of U.S. carbon
dioxide emissions.

The Murkowski amendment delays the transition to clean energy. Exempting the biggest
sources of carbon dioxide from the Clean Air Act will delay our nation’s transition to efficiency,
solar, wind, and other sources of clean energy – sources that won’t run out, will only grow
cheaper over time, don’t harm our environment or public health, and will create millions of
clean energy jobs.” Continue reading ‘Sen. Murkowski Proposes Disastrous EPA Amendment on Behalf of Dity Energy’

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