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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 21625 times)

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    • Renwable Revolution
Sanders Touts Fracking Ban as Clinton Pushes Renewables Plan Just Days Before California Primary

Lorraine Chow | June 2, 2016 1:25 pm

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are ramping up their green bona fides before the Golden State’s crucial Democratic primary Tuesday. The Democratic presidential candidates recently elaborated their national energy plans, with Sanders calling for a nationwide ban on fracking and Clinton pledging to use federal lands to enable the nation’s transition to more renewable energy.

Bernie Sanders

“If elected president, we will not need state-by-state, county-by-county action, because we are going to ban fracking in 50 states in this country,” the Vermont Senator said at a press conference in Spreckels, California. “I hope very much that Monterey County will continue the momentum that makes it clear that fracking is not safe, is not what we want for our kids.”

He also called Clinton out for being weak on fracking regulations. The former Secretary of State has been attacked for her enthusiasm for fracking and natural gas, and for saying at a December 2014 New York City speech before the League of Conservation Voters, “If we are smart about this and put in place the right safeguards, natural gas can play an important bridge role in the transition to a cleaner energy economy.”

“Secretary Clinton and I obviously have many, many differences of opinions on many issues, but on the issue of fracking, our differences of opinion are pretty profound,” he said. “I think it is too late for regulation. I think fracking ought to be banned in America.”

During his speech, Sanders said that the Democratic Party as a whole should also adopt a fracking ban on its platform.

“I would hope the Democratic Party makes it clear that it has the guts to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short-term profits are not more important than the health of our children or the future of our planet,” he said.

Sanders said he will be fighting Clinton all the way to the Democratic National Convention in late July, even though at this point it is mathematically impossible for him to win the nomination based on pledged delegates alone.

However, as Grist noted, even if he loses the nomination, one of the candidate’s biggest contributions is pulling Clinton and the party to the left. Additionally, as the publication observed, he was recently awarded five out of 15 slots on the all-important Democratic Party Platform Drafting Committee, ensuring that his environmental and progressive legacy will live on if he doesn’t win.

Sanders’s candidates include academic and political activist Cornel West, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Arab American Institute head James Zogby, Native American activist Deborah Parker and climate activist Bill McKibben.

Hillary Clinton

“Now, as we work to combat climate change and build America into the world’s clean energy superpower, our public lands can once again play a key role in unlocking the resources we need,” Clinton wrote in an editorial in the Mercury News published Wednesday.

She continued, “We can accelerate our transition to a clean energy economy by increasing renewable energy generation on public lands and offshore waters tenfold within a decade.” 

According to her campaign website, Clinton has set a goal to generate enough renewable energy to power every home in the country.

“To help meet this goal, Clinton will expand energy production on public lands and waters ten-fold within ten years of taking office, while reforming federal fossil fuel leasing,” the site states.

Clinton, who has a narrow two-point lead over Sanders in California, recently received a rare endorsement from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s Action Fund, the first time the NRDC has backed a presidential candidate.

“Hillary Clinton is an environmental champion    with the passion, experience and savvy to build on President Obama’s environmental legacy,” Rhea Suh, president of the NRDC Action fund, said. “More than any other candidate running, Hillary Clinton understands the environmental challenges America faces, and her approach to solving them is grounded in the possibility and promise our democracy affords.”

Michael Brune, Sierra Club’s executive director, also praised Clinton’s environmental stewardship plan, calling it a “huge step forward that would build on the progress President Obama has made to keep our cherished public lands public.”

He said that Clinton’s proposal pushes for reforms of oil and gas leasing programs, and “ends the debate once and for all surrounding offshore drilling in the Arctic and the Atlantic.”

“This detailed, specific plan also reaffirms our belief that everyone should have the same opportunities to enjoy and explore our parks, and boosts the American outdoor economy that creates jobs and generates billions of dollars. Additionally, Clinton is committing to protect our forests and expanding the resources available to fight devastating wildfires,” Brune added.

“We applaud this proposal that makes conservation central to Clinton’s campaign and offers powerful solutions to protect our treasured lands and make them more accessible and available for generations to come.”

The Sierra Club has not endorsed a presidential candidate.


Comment Thread:

agelbert  • 7 hours ago 

Hillary Clinton is a friend of the fossil fuel industry, their polluting practices and their welfare queen subsisdies, every bit as much as Donald Trump is.

Senator Sanders has repeatedly submitted legislation over the last decade to eliminate the welfare queens subsides we-the-people are saddled with on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

Senator Sanders is credible on Renewable energy and reducing pollution from fossil fuels through the elimination of subsidies and a ban on Fracking.

Hillary Clinton is Trump in drag.
3 △  ▽ 

Rob Brown > agelbert  • 7 hours ago 


I'm not sure I quite agree with your last sentence! Literary fluorishes are always welcome but...... Otherwise you are making fair comments!
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agelbert > Rob Brown  • 6 hours ago 

I just couldn't resist. You are right, of course. There are differences between Trump and Clinton.

But, as far as what needs to be done to provide a viable biosphere, Sanders has the track record and credibility to do it and both Clinton and Trump do not.
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agelbert  • 5 hours ago 

“The Future of U.S. Climate Policy: Coal, Carbon Markets and the Clean Air Act.” - U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse October 29, 2014

“Pollution-driven climate change hurts our economy, damages our infrastructure and harms public health,” he told his audience. “However, none of these costs are factored into the price of the coal or oil that’s burned to release this carbon. The big oil and coal companies have offloaded those costs onto society. Economics 101 tells us that’s a market failure; in the jargon, that negative externalities are inefficient. If a company participates in an activity that causes harm, it should have to compensate those harmed.”

“By making carbon pollution free, we subsidize fossil fuel companies to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars annually,” he continued. “By making carbon pollution free, we fix the game, favoring polluters over newer and cleaner technologies that harvest the wind, sun and waves. Corporate polluters, not bearing the costs of their products, are in effect cheating their competitors.”


Cummulative subsidies pie chart:
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agelbert  • 6 hours ago 

Hillary Clinton REFUSES to support legislation to eliminate fossil fuels. Senator Sanders has repeatedly introduced legislation to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, advocated for Fracking and sweetheart deals for U.S. Oil and Gas corporations to to several countries. Senator Sanders has been consistently calling for a ban on Fracking.

Senator Sanders cares about we-the-people. Hillary Clinton does not.

Reflections From Below The Fossil Subsidy Iceberg

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agelbert  • 6 hours ago 

01/30/2015 12:47 PM

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Finally Trending Down, But Not In US  :>(

SustainableBusiness.com News

Now that deep sea oil drilling projects are being cancelled across the world because of low petroleum prices, governments should use this opportunity to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).

And at least 27 countries are doing so, they say. It started in 2013, when fossil subsidies declined by $27 billion to $548 billion, while renewable energy support rose $11 billion to $96.5 billion. The process is accelerating with low oil prices.  

"In the absence of subsidies, all of the main renewable energy technologies would be competitive with oil-fired plants," says Faith Birol, Chief Economist at IEA.  

IEA calculates that for every $1 that subsidizes renewable energy, $6 is spent to subsidize fossil fuels - precious funds that could be used for sustainable development.  

Countries cutting subsides range from Mexico to Germany, from Morocco to Malaysia, mostly in the form of higher gas prices - everyone except the US, as usual! There's no need to subsidize fossil fuel consumption when prices are so low, saving governments lots of money and leveling the playing field for renewable energy.  

India, for example, has been spending 2.2% of GDP on fossil subsidies to keep electric and fuel prices artificially low.  

Fossil Fuel Subsidies US 

Countries need to stop providing subsidies to stoke exploration and production - amounting to about $88 billion last year. The UK, for example, is considering incentives for drilling in the North Sea, and the US - the biggest subsidizer - has a new offshore oil leasing plan. 

IEA has been fervently calling for an end to fossil subsides - that alone, would reduce global emissions 13% - while making it much easier for renewable sources to compete. It would also reduce air and water pollution and free up funding for the Green Climate Fund.  

Efforts to cut emissions by using more renewable energy can't do the job if fossil fuel use keeps growing, says IEA. If the status quo continues, global energy demand will rise 37% and carbon emissions 20% by 2040. That would lead to a 3.6°C (6.5°F) temperature rise - making catastrophic sea level rise, polar ice cap melt, water shortages and other severe effects inevitable.  

To get fossil subsidies down faster, the Center for American Progress is promoting "SPARC Bonds," which would be repaid with savings from reduced subsidies. Read more:

Website: www.americanprogress.org/issue...

see more

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agelbert  • 6 hours ago 

SNIPPET from an article by Bill Ritter, Colorado’s 41st governor.

Fossil fuels enjoy a variety of targeted tax benefits as well as MLPs. Denying the same mix to renewable energy investors perpetuates federal policies that have long picked fossil fuels as the winners. The PTC/ITC and MLPs should not be an either/or issue. Both belong in an intelligent mix of tax policies that create more robust market competition on a more level playing field.

In addition, opening MLPs to renewable-energy investment is consistent with the "all of the above" energy strategy advocated both by President Obama and the Republican Party. I am confident that as various renewable energy technologies become ready for full-scale commercialization, they will compete very well.

In the absence of access to MLPs, private investors and state governments are creating other ways to capitalize emerging clean-energy technologies. Renewable-energy bonds, green-energy banks, crowdfunding and "yield cos" are among recent innovations.

Nevertheless, a great deal of private capital remains sidelined, waiting for stable and equitable federal energy policies. If we really believe in letting all market-ready energy options slug it out in robust competition, then we shouldn’t ask that federal policies fix the fight. But that is what happens when renewable-energy investors are barred from the tax incentives that investors in fossil fuels enjoy.

Bill Ritter served as Colorado’s 41st governor. He is currently the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

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agelbert  • 6 hours ago 

Unnatural Gas: How Government Made Fracking Profitable (and Left Renewables Behind)

To paraphrase Samuel Clemens in regard to some of his experiences with people that make holes in the ground to get stuff out of and sell to us for "profit", a FRACKING site is a hole the ground with a bunch of LIARS on top.

Here's an article the fossil fuelers will disagree with and ridicule as "garden variety" or "irrelevant" or disdain with some other pejorative bit of puffery.

The only part of the article the fossil fuel funded propagandists will agree with is that the Oil and Gas industry ACTUALLY gave solar power technology development a boost back in the 70s because PV supplied power to very remote locations the fossil fuelers tend be located for new profit over planet piggery.

The FULL story of how we-the-people have supported these fossil fuel and nuclear welfare queens is there from the start until this day. The appearance of fossil duel industry profitability ignores our tax money for research and continuous subsidy.

Fossil fuelers have an amazing ability to ignore, not just externalized costs, but the giveaways from we-the-people! They have the gall to compute those subsidies as part of the ROI (Return On Investment). That's a blatant accounting falsehood. Without subsides they are not profitable, period. But the fossil fuelers will continue with their fantasies, come hell or high water. So it goes.

The bias against renewable funding and support is clear. Recent analysis found that over the first fifteen years an industry receives a subsidy, nuclear energy received an average of $3.3 billion, oil and gas averaged $1.8 billion,Fto and renewables averaged less than $0.4 billion.

Renewables received less than one-quarter of the support of oil and gas and less than one-eighth of the support that nuclear received during the early years of development, when strong investment can make a big difference. Yet even with this disparity, more of our energy supply now comes from renewables than from nuclear, which indicates the strength of renewables as a potential energy source.

The President Carter supported momentum behind renewable development came to a rapid halt as soon as Ronald Reagan was elected president. Not only did he remove the solar panels atop the White House, he also gutted funding for solar development and poured billions into developing a dirty synthetic fuel that was never brought to market.

Unnatural Gas: How Government Made Fracking Profitable (and Left Renewables Behind)

see more

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agelbert  • 6 hours ago 

The quagmire that faces industrialized civilization is that much of it was built using "cheap" fossil fuels which were, not only subsidized directly, but in nearly all cases the externalities were never factored in so the damage and costs associated with fossil fuel were lugged to the general population/wildlife/environment.

The other important thing is energy, especially artificially cheap energy, acts as an enabler of other resources.

This means if it is cheap to procure energy then the costs of getting other resources lessens and when you reduce the price of any commodity you encourage its consumption. As consumption increases you not only encourage more wasteful consumption but you also make it viable to mine big fields that could only be economic under the current regime of fossil fuels.

Think of all those gold mines or other rare metal mines that need to be treated with harsh chemicals. None of those projects would be viable if there was no "cheap" energy so this is another hidden associated cost of fossil fuels.
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agelbert  • 7 hours ago 

Legislation to End Fossil Fuel Tax Breaks Introduced by Sen. Sanders, Rep. Ellison Friday, November 22, 2013

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 – As House and Senate budget negotiators look for ways to lower deficits,

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) today introduced legislation to eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies that support the oil, gas and coal industries.

The End Polluter Welfare Act of 2013 would remove tax breaks, close loopholes, end taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and prevent companies from escaping liability for spills or deducting cleanup costs. Under current law, these subsidies are expected to cost taxpayers more than $100 billion in the coming decade.

The White House budget proposal for next year calls for eliminating several of the same provisions that the legislation by Sanders and Ellison would end.

"At a time when fossil fuel companies are racking up record profits, it is time to end the absurdity of American taxpayers providing massive subsidies to these hugely profitable fossil fuel corporations," Sanders said.

"The five biggest oil companies made $23 billion in the third quarter of 2013 alone. They don’t need any more tax giveaways," Ellison said. "We should invest in the American people by creating good jobs and ending cuts to food assistance instead of throwing tens of billions of taxpayer dollars at one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world." 

The five most profitable oil companies (ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP and ConocoPhilips) together made more than $1 trillion in profits over the past decade. 

The Sanders and Ellison legislation is supported by environmental groups including Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and 350.org. 

The fiscal watchdog Taxpayers for Common Sense, which has worked for nearly two decades to eliminate wasteful energy subsidies, also supports the bills.


Hillary Clinton was silent as DEATH on the above legislation which failed due to Republican pandering to the Fossil Fuel Industry. Hillary Clinton did NOT, and DOES NOT, support the elimination of fossil fuel industry welfare queen subsidies.
see more

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agelbert  • 7 hours ago 

Here's the main problem I have with the defense of the fossil fuel energy status quo as if it was something reasonably priced, economical, viable and sane as opposed to the continuous fossil fuel industry disngenuous insistence on claiming that renewable energy is "too costly and/or unreliable":

Fossil fuel energy was never, and I mean never, cost effective.

In a sane society that doesn't pretend you can add and subtract whatever factors you wish in order to come up with a profit that will attract investment capital, you figure in all the costs to human society.

From the moment John D. Rockefeller started flushing gasoline down the rivers in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century (it was a waste product then) after refining crude oil for lubricants and lamp oil, huge costs were being foisted on society.

Coal is even worse. Fossil fuelers pretend all that is water under the bridge. Fossil fuelers pretend all the benefits of modern society are an acceptable tradeoff.

Well, they aren't. The only premise that is logical and sane now, with the continued damage that adds insult to injury to the biosphere we all depend on, is to admit that fossil fuels were never a viable, cost effective, sustainable source of energy for mankind and press on to renewable energy simply because there is no other alternative.

A sane person would not argue this isn't real and those who defend fossil fuel energy are not in la la land in regard to the actual cost of these poisons,

The subsidies the fossil-fuel (and nuclear) industry receive — and have received for many years — make their product "affordable." Those subsidies take many forms, but the most significant are their "externalities." Externalities are real costs, but they are foisted off on the community instead of being paid by the companies that caused them.[18]

Paul Epstein, director of Harvard Medical School Center for Health and the Global Environment, has examined the health and environmental impacts of coal, including: mining, transportation, combustion in power plants and the impact of coal’s waste stream. He found that the "life cycle effects of coal and its waste cost the American public $333 billion to over $500 billion dollars annually". These are costs the coal industry is not paying and which fall to the community in general. Eliminating that subsidy would dramatically increase the price of coal-fired electricity.[18]

IEA position on subsidies

According to IEA (2011) energy subsidies artificially lower the price of energy paid by consumers, raise the price received by producers or lower the cost of production. ,"Fossil fuels subsidies costs generally outweigh the benefits.

Subsidies to renewables and low-carbon energy technologies can bring long-term economic and environmental benefits".[19] In November 2011, an IEA report entitled Deploying Renewables 2011 said "subsidies in green energy technologies that were not yet competitive are justified in order to give an incentive to investing into technologies with clear environmental and energy security benefits".

The IEA's report disagreed with claims that renewable energy technologies are only viable through costly subsidies and not able to produce energy reliably to meet demand. "A portfolio of renewable energy technologies is becoming cost-competitive in an increasingly broad range of circumstances, in some cases providing investment opportunities without the need for specific economic support," the IEA said, and added that "cost reductions in critical technologies, such as wind and solar, are set to continue."[20]

Fossil-fuel consumption subsidies were $409 billion in 2010, oil products claim half of it. Renewable-energy subsidies were $66 billion in 2010 and will reach according to IEA $250 billion by 2035. Renewable energy is subsidized in order to compete in the market, increase their volume and develop the technology so that the subsidies become unnecessary with the development.

Eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies could bring economic and environmental benefits. Phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies by 2020 would cut primary energy demand 5%. Since the start of 2010, at least 15 countries have taken steps to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies.


I say they should take the subsidy money presently assigned to fossil fuels and transfer all of it to renewable energy subsidies.

Fossil fuel was never a viable energy option for mankind. We cannot afford to burn fossil fuels, period.
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agelbert  • 7 hours ago 

Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the U.S

What is a fossil fuel subsidy?

A fossil fuel subsidy is any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers. There are a lot of activities under this simple definition—tax breaks and giveaways, but also loans at favorable rates, price controls, purchase requirements and a whole lot of other things.

How much money does the U.S. government give oil, gas and coal companies?

In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $14 billion to $52 billion annually, while even efforts to remove small portions of those subsidies have been defeated in Congress, as shown in the graphic below 


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agelbert  • 5 hours ago 

Here's some more real world science that motivates the efforts Senator Sanders. He is the only presidential candidate that understands the gravity of our situation and will to do something to lessen the impact of catastrophic climate change.

quote:The troposphere is warmed in part through absorption of radiation by H2O and CO2, the stratosphere is warmed, indeed created, through absorption of radiation by O3. unquote

quote: the absorption of terrestrial radiation is dominated by triatomic molecules – O3 in the UV, H2O, CO2 and others in the IR (infrared) because it so happens that triatomic molecules have rotational and vibrational modes that can easily be excited by radiation with wavelengths in the IR. These molecules are present in tiny concentrations (see Table 1.2) but play a key role in the absorption of terrestrial radiation (see Fig.2.6). They are known as Greenhouse gases.

This is the fundamental reason why atmospheric radiation may be so vulnerable to the human-induced changes in composition shown in Fig.1.3. p46. unquote

quote: The most important negative feedback regulating the temperature of the planet is the dependence of the outgoing longwave radiation on temperature. p53. unquote

IR (infrared) is longwave radiation.

THE HOTTER IT GETS, the less effective the negative feedback mechanisms that were hitherto keeping a cooling balance on our planet are. The more CO2 in the atmosphere, the greater the positive feedback mechanisms heating our planet are.

THAT is why it is called a runaway greenhouse; the hotter it gets, the faster the rate of heating increases.
 △  ▽ 

agelbert > agelbert  • 5 hours ago 

NOTE to EchoWatch AND Disqus. Every single time I have made the above post, it has been flagged as spam. I have not place a link to the studies because this web site has link bounce software that seems to be triggered after about four posts. I have filled my "quota" today, I guess.

This link bounce practice is un-American. Please stop it. In a couple of hours, if this post is still here, I will post the link to the studies irrefutably connecting GHG(s) in general, and CO2 in particular, as THE cause of global warming.

The fossil fuel industry is the culprit. They must go or we will.
 △  ▽ 

agelbert > agelbert  • 16 minutes ago 

Well and good. The post explaining the runaway greenhouse hasn't been attacked as "spam".

Here are the links the data came from:

Absorption frequencies for energy transfer and info on water and CO2 molecules as well as uv energy.


1. http://www.3sc.net/solarm/solr...

2. http://www.grida.no/files/publ...

3. http://www.grida.no/publicatio...

4. http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.go...

5. http://paoc.mit.edu/labweb/not...

6 .http://paoc.mit.edu/labweb/notes/chap...
1 △  ▽ 

karen orlando
  • 6 hours ago 

Quite a few people listed in this article like bill mckibben and Michael brune aren't terrifically impressive on climate progress as both are antifracking and anti natural gas. Clearly Bernie is their candidate because his climate platform is also against nuclear. Seems backward thinking to me but that's their choice. Clinton has a briefing fact sheet which doesn't appear to be anti natural gas.

 △  ▽ 

agelbert > karen orlando  • 5 hours ago 

Talk is cheap. The WALK provides incriminating evidence.

Emails Confirm Hillary Clinton Used Her State Department Role to Press Countries to Embrace Fracking

Posted on May 28, 2016


The documents also reveal the department’s role in bringing foreign dignitaries to a fracking site in Pennsylvania, and its plans to make Poland a “laboratory for testing whether US success in developing shale gas can be repeated in a different country,” particularly in Europe, where local governments had expressed opposition and in some cases even banned fracking.

The campaign included plans to spread the drilling technique to China, South Africa, Romania, Morocco, Bulgaria, Chile, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Indonesia, and Ukraine.

In 2014, Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake used diplomatic cables disclosed by WikiLeaks and other records to uncover how Clinton “sold fracking to the world.”

The emails obtained by The Intercept through a separate Freedom of Information Act request provide a new layer of detail.

 △  ▽ 

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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