Showing posts from October 23, 2014

France and Italy Tell Germany: Take Your Austerity and Stuff It

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ROBERT KUTTNER, American Prospect, 23 October 2014
It is encouraging that there are some stirrings of dissent, but they need to imagine on a much grander scale.
At the Nato Summit in Newport, South Wales, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francoise Hollande gather to watch a flypast of military aircraft from Nato member countries on the final day of the summit at the Celtic Manor on Friday, September 5, 2014.

There was a bit of good news from Europe last week. Two of the nations that desperately need some respite from austerity essentially told German Chancellor Merkel to stuff it.

France, under pressure from Germany and the European Union to meet the E.U.'s straightjacket requirement that member nations carry deficits of no more than 3 percent of GDP (whether or not depression looms), informed the E.U. that it will not hit this target until 2017. The government of President François Holla…

New findings about contents of Mt. Polley tailings pond are unsettling

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[Raw sewage and biomedical waste? Seriously? It is impossible that this could have happened without the Province knowing about it. Temporary Note: I was unable to locate the original story on the BCIT website; I've emailed them to confirm that this is a real story. *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 22 October 2014

by Deborah Power | BCIT Broadcast News

More disturbing details are coming to light about the contents of that tailings pond at the Mt. Polley mine. It’s been over 2 months since the breach occurred at the Imperial Metals site in Likely, B.C. and the news is unsettling.

August 4th, 2014 is a date that will forever resonate with Kanahus Pilkey. She is the Secwepemcnation member that brought together a group of locals at the mine site in Likely to maintain a presence and monitor the clean up process. They waited for 2 weeks. They saw no clean up but they heard other details.
“They entered all the raw sewage from the workers camp…

Monsanto To Keep Selling Pesticide-Coated Seeds EPA Says Don't Help Yields ― And May Harm Bees

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["It doesn't work and it kills bees? What's your point?" says Monsanto. *RON*]
By VÉRONIQUE LACAPRA, St. Louis Public Radio, 22 October 2014

Monsanto will continue selling soybean seeds coated with pesticides that have been linked to honey bee deaths, even though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found the seeds do not improve yields.
The seeds in question are treated with a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids, which are chemically similar to nicotine.

Last week, the EPA released an analysisthat concluded that "these seed treatments provide negligible overall benefits to soybean production in most situations." The report also said that according to published data, "in most cases there is no difference in soybean yield when soybean seed was treated with neonicotinoids versus not receiving any insect control treatment."

But Bayer and Syngenta, which manufacture the insecticides, and Monsanto, DuPont a…

Fracking companies use loophole to avoid permits for dangerous chemicals, report says

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["From a health and safety perspective, it obviously makes no sense to be restricting diesel because of concerns about its benzene content, (and not) to be doing that for products [fracking liquids] that have so much more benzene in them." Who said this has anything to do with health & safety? See also: Fracking Companies Using Toxic Benzene in Drilling. *RON*]
By Laura Arenschield, The Columbus Dispatch, 23 October 2014

Federal laws meant to protect drinking water require fracking companies to get a permit before using diesel fuel in the drilling process.

That permit is important: Diesel contains chemicals that can cause cancer and damage nerve tissues. The permits regulate the length and depth of concrete and steel well casings that keep those chemicals from reaching groundwater.

But a loophole in the law allows oil and gas companies to separately inject the same toxic chemicals without a permit, according to a report released by…

Corporations, advocacy groups spend big on ballot measures

Click here to view the original article, and some video ads I could not link to.

[The corporatocracy, The 1%, media, politics, and our democracy. Consider the source: who's calling the shots in State politics? Spending on TV ads soars to $119 million ahead of Election Day. *RON*]

By Liz Essley Whyte, The Center for Public Integrity, 23 October 2014

Editor’s note: The Center for Public Integrity is tracking political advertising in races for the U.S. Senate, state-level offices and now state ballot measures. Use these interactive features — with new data every Thursday — to see who is calling the shots and where the money is being spent.

Key findings:
As of Oct. 20, $108 million had been spent on TV ads for statewide ballot initiatives and $11 million on local initiatives.Four of the five most expensive ballot initiatives feature at least one corporate patron helping pay for ads.This year voters will decide 158 statewide ballot measures compared with 184 in 2010, when a similar number …

Ice loss sends Alaskan temperatures soaring by 7C

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[Meanwhile, as we're busy giving away the farm to methane-spewing frackers, our economic saviours, scientists analysing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaskan outpost of Barrow have linked 7C rise to the decline in Arctic sea ice, reports Climate News Network. *RON*]

Alex Kirby,, 17 October 2014
If you doubt that parts of the planet really are warming, talk to residents of Barrow, the Alaskan town that is the most northerly settlement in the US.

In the last 34 years, the average October temperature in Barrow has risen by more than 7°C − an increase that, on its own, makes a mockery of international efforts to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above their pre-industrial levels.

A study by scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks analysed several decades of weather information. These show that temperature trends are closely linked to sea ice concentrations, which have been reco…

Methane Leaks Wipe Out Any Climate Benefit Of Fracking, Satellite Observations Confirm

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[This is precisely the problem that is studiously ignored in Christy Clark's new regulations. *RON*]

Joe Romm, DeSmog Blog, 23 October 2014

This is a guest post by Joe Romm, republished with permission from the original on Climate Progress.

Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. “In conclusion,” researchers write, “at the current methane loss rates, a net climate benefit on all time frames owing to tapping unconventional resources in the analyzed tight formations is unlikely.”

In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. Remember, natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. So even small leaks in the natural gas production and delivery system can have a large climate impact — enough to gut the enti…

A B.C. framework for LNG, part 1: The carbon benchmark

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[Christy Clark's new rules have been designed to make it easier, from the get-go, for fracking companies to pay small, subsidized fines than to have them design their production methods in ways that would reduce pollution. *RON*]
By Marc Lee,, 23 October 2014

The B.C. government's proposed carbon pollution benchmarks for LNG plants leave much to be desired. The package is an impressive display of cognitive dissonance: thanks to B.C.'s inconvenient law, the 2007 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, along with its carbon tax, the B.C. government has cultivated a reputation for being a climate action leader; there's even evidence the plan is working with 2012 emissions below 2007 levels. But all of those gains fly in the face of developing an LNG industry, which would double or triple the amount of fossil fuels coming out of the ground for export to Asia, making it virtually impossible to meet B.C.'s legislated targets…