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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 11556 times)

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AGelbert

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More Profit over Planet on behalf of Hydrocarbon Hustlers 🦖 comin' our way.  :(
League of Conservation Voters

June 30, 2018

House rushes forward on four drilling bills

Here's a partial list of these bills:

H.R. 6087, introduced by Wyoming's Rep Liz Cheney 🦖, requires citizens and groups to pay exorbitant fees to protest oil and gas leasing. If passed, the per page fee proposed in this bill could cost thousands of dollars per submission. Here's the rub: oil and gas companies don't have to pay a fee for expressing interest in these very same parcels.

H.R. 6106 and H.R. 6107, introduced by New Mexico's Rep Steve Pearce 🐉, would gut federal oversight over drilling projects for environmental, safety, or public health impacts.

H.R. 6088, introduced by Utah's Rep John Curtis 🦕, would move to hand out drilling permits as quickly as possible. Only the Interior Secretary could object to the permit — and there would be no site inspections or environmental review.

These attacks on public lands are directly aligned with the Trump administration, which over the past 18 months has sold out more federal land to drilling interests than any previous administration.

President Trump 🦀  and Interior Secretary Zinke 😈 want nothing more than to open up millions of acres of public lands to oil and gas drilling and mining. And Republican leaders in Congress are doing everything legislatively available to assist Trump and Zinke in their efforts.

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AGelbert

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July 3, 2018

Rhode Island Sues Oil Giants 🐉🦕🦖

 Rhode Island became the first state to sue oil and gas companies for the impacts of climate change on Monday, filing suit against 21 of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers. State Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said yesterday that the state was especially vulnerable to the impacts of rising seas and extreme weather as he announced the suit with Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo against a stretch of the state’s 400-mile coastline.

“The defendants' actions for the past several decades are already having and will continue to have a significant and detrimental impact on our infrastructure, economy, public health, and our eco-systems, and will force the state to divert already-limited resources to mitigate the effects of climate change, thereby diminishing resources for other vital programs and services,” Kilmartin said.

The suit joins a group of cases across the country brought by cities including New York and municipalities in California and Colorado.

https://www.carbonbrief.org/daily-brief/rhode-island-sues-oil-companies-over-climate-change-first-state-to-do-so
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Scandal Ridden Pruitt 🦖 Finally Resigns from EPA, Leaving Another Climate Denier 🦕 in Charge 👎

July 5, 2018

Sierra Club’s Mary Anne Hitt says Pruitt’s long list of scandals is only matched by his long list of attempted environmental rollbacks, and new acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler will advance the same deregulatory agenda


Story Transcript

DHARNA NOOR: It’s The Real News. I’m Dharna Noor.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt resigned on Thursday amidst numerous allegations of ethical and legal violations. Trump announced Pruitt’s resignation via Twitter, where he also said that EPA Deputy Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler will assume the role of acting administrator this Monday. Just hours before Pruitt resigned, two congressmen called upon the EPA’s inspector general to investigate allegations that Pruitt has been hiding and falsifying calendar records of his meetings with industry officials. And these came in a slew of new allegations reported by The Washington Post on Monday. Aides also said that the administrator asked EPA staffers to help his wife get a six-figure job, and to perform many other nonofficial tasks.

Here to talk about all of this is Mary Anne Hitt. She’s the director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Sierra Club. Thanks for joining us today.

MARY ANNE HITT: Thanks for having me.

DHARNA NOOR: So first let’s talk a little bit about what we’re losing in Scott Pruitt. Let’s assess his record a little bit. So as you know, and many of you probably know, on Monday a schoolteacher named Kristen Mink actually confronted Pruitt in a D.C. restaurant and asked him to resign. Let’s see that clip.

KRISTIN MINK: I just wanted to urge you to resign because of what you’re doing to the environment in our country. Meanwhile, you’re slashing strong standards for cars and trucks for the benefits of big corporations. We deserve to have somebody at the EPA who actually does protect our environment, someone who believes in climate change and takes it seriously for the benefit of all of us, including our children. So I would urge you to resign before your scandals push you out.

DHARNA NOOR: So Mink castigated Pruitt for being a climate denier, for attacking clean air and water standards, for renting a condo from the spouse of a prominent fossil fuel lobbyist with whom he was in talks. This was just as a reminder at the time that he actually approved the Alberta Clipper pipeline, allowing hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil per day to flow to the United States from Canada’s tar sands. Talk a little bit about his record generally, and what Pruitt’s environmental impact was, and about his deregulatory agenda.

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, let me say first that I am a mom of an 8-year-old, and I found it very heartwarming when that mom stood up and I think said what a lot of us moms wish we could say to Scott Pruitt in person, which is that it’s our clean air and our clean water and the very safety of our kids that is on the line. And Scott Pruitt from day one in office was, frankly, working to dismantle the EPA. It was his life’s work formerly as the Oklahoma attorney general to try to find shortcuts or loopholes around our clean air and clean water standards, and from his first day on the job he began working at the behest of polluters to do just that.

And in doing so, if that wasn’t bad enough, he also was just-. It was just, frankly, a bottomless pit of scandals, of corruption, from multi-hundred dollar fountain pens, to accepting cheap rent from a lobbyist for a fossil fuel company, to tactical paants that were bought for him for the price of hundreds of dollars a pair. So it was really, frankly, I think-. Again, as a mom, as someone who’s worried about the safety of your air and water, the fact that he was that corrupt in his personal dealings was one thing. The fact that he was playing fast and loose with the water that we all drink and the air that we all breathe was what was truly scary about Scott Pruitt.

DHARNA NOOR: Talk a little bit more about what some of the impacts that he had were on clean air and clean water regulations. Talk a little bit more specifically about what some of his legacies will be, moving on from the EPA.

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, the long list of Scott Pruitt’s ethical scandals is only matched by a long list of air and water and climate regulations that he tried to roll back in his tenure at EPA. Everything from standards for how to dispose of toxic coal ash safely so it doesn’t end up in the drinking water, so you don’t have things like arsenic in your drinking water from coal ash, to the first ever climate standards that we had as a nation to reduce climate pollution from power plants. He was working to repeal and revoke those. You can talk about the safety of pesticides. You can talk about-. Really, Scott Pruitt never met an environmental regulation that he didn’t want to try to roll back or repeal. And the good news, if there is any, is that he didn’t get too far in that agenda. A lot of what he was trying to do, we believe, was illegal. And the Sierra Club and other groups were challenging him in court every step of the way. So he set a lot of bad things in motion. And we are worried that Andrew Wheeler, the number two at the EPA who is now in charge, will continue on that toxic agenda. But we also are very determined to fight them every step of the way.

DHARNA NOOR: Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit more about Andrew Wheeler. Again, he’s a former coal lobbyist. And I understand that your organization actually obtained emails between him and Scott Pruitt through the Freedom of Information Act. What did you find from those emails, and what do you generally expect from him as an EPA administrator?

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, I want to give a special shoutout to our attorneys and press folks at the Sierra Club. They paged through, I am not kidding you, almost 60000 pages of FOIA documents from the EPA that are the source of the information about a lot of these scandals that you saw on the news and you wrote about on the front pages of the newspaper. And Wheeler and Pruitt were definitely partners in crime, working to advance this agenda of rolling back our environmental safeguards that they’re going to continue full speed ahead with Wheeler at the helm, to try to get that agenda over the finish line. And we are going to be fighting at the Sierra Club and with all of our partners every step of the way to prevent that from happening. Because it really is, you know, just as the mom who confronted Scott Pruitt in the restaurant put it so so beautifully, it’s our kids future. It’s the safety of the water we drink and the air that we breathe. And that, that is what they are playing fast and loose with to benefit their polluter buddies.

DHARNA NOOR: And then, lastly, how can people hold the EPA administrator, whether it’s Pruitt, Wheeler, or somebody else accountable? What are some actions that people can take to ensure that, you know, we don’t have another EPA administrator like Scott Pruitt? Is that even possible?

MARY ANNE HITT: Well, the Sierra Club tonight is reaching out to all of our members and supporters and asking them to call their members of Congress, because Congress is the agency that does have oversight over the EPA. And obviously Trump is happy to have folks reading the EPA doing the bidding of polluters. And so our check on that is the Congress. And Scott Pruitt did get a lot of a lot of very hard questions, increasingly hard questions, every time he appeared before the Congress and before the Senate. That was a lot of what put him on the hot seat and, again, exposed some of this corruption.

And so we’re going to be counting on members of Congress now to do the same thing with Wheeler who, again, he’s a coal lobbyist. He has a very long and not very pretty track record when it comes to clean air, clean water. He’s got the same agenda as Pruitt and Trump, which is to dismantle all of our environmental safeguards. And so folks should call their members of Congress and ask them to oppose Wheeler and Trump’s agenda, and to actually put someone in charge of EPA who will let the EPA do its job and fulfill its mission. I’m sure the very hardworking folks at EPA are breathing a sigh of relief tonight, and would just like to be able to do their jobs to make sure our air and water are safe. And the Congress needs to allow the EPA to do just that. That’s what the American people are counting on.

DHARNA NOOR: All right. Well, Marianne, as we see what Wheeler and others do in the EPA we’ll be sure to check in again with you. Thanks so much for coming on today.

MARY ANNE HITT: Thank you so much for having me.

DHARNA NOOR: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/scandal-ridden-pruitt-finally-resigns-from-epa-leaving-another-climate-denier-in-charge
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AGelbert

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The Koch Brothers' 😈 👹 Best Investment

KAYLA KITSON JUNE 28, 2018

How a $40 million political outlay yields a $500 million tax cut.

This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here.

The sprawling political network backed by billionaire brothers Charles 🦕 and David 🦖Koch will spend $20 million ahead of the midterm elections to convince voters that the Trump tax cuts are good for the country and the middle class. That’s on top of the $20 million they spent to promote the 2017 Republican tax bill’s passage. All told, the network plans to spend $400 million on candidates and issues this election cycle, up from $250 million in the last one.

Most of the money will be spent on TV ads targeting vulnerable Democratic senators for opposing the tax cuts. As of early May, the Koch network’s political advocacy arm, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), had already run more than 8,000 ads targeting Democratic Senators Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

The campaign also includes door-to-door canvassing, in which AFP employees and volunteers talk up the new tax law with voters. AFP is calling the campaign the “American Pay Raise.” Of course, if you have to spend tens of millions of dollars to convince working families that tax cuts are good for them, that should tell you there’s something fundamentally wrong with your tax cuts, which go mostly to corporations and the rich.

Nobody better personifies this tilt better than the Koch brothers themselves. The immense amounts shelled out by the Koch network to pass and promote the GOP tax law are just drops in the bucket compared with the tax windfall the Koch brothers will reap from the new law.

Americans for Tax Fairness estimates that the Kochs and their conglomerate Koch Industries will likely save between $840 million and $1.4 billion in income taxes each year. That’s a return on investment of at least 4,100 percent on the $20 million they spent to pass the law.

Estimating the potential tax savings for the Koch brothers is not an exact science. Koch Industries, the nation’s second-largest private corporation, does not publicly reveal its financial statements or how its individual companies are structured for tax purposes. Some may be C corporations, which would benefit from the lower corporate tax rate. Others are likely pass-through entities, so their tax savings would flow directly through to the individual tax returns of their owners, primarily Charles and David Koch.

Koch Industries brought in about $100 billion in revenue last year, according to Forbes. Assuming the conglomerate has a (relatively modest) pretax profit margin of 10 percent, Koch Industries’ profits would be around $10 billion before taxes. Let’s say that all the Koch companies are organized as pass-through entities, so all the income is taxed at the individual level. Let’s further assume that these profits are divided equally between the two brothers, so each reports $5 billion of business income. Under the new law, the Kochs will be able to deduct 20 percent of that income, so each will have $1 billion in tax-free income.

The tax law also reduced the top income tax bracket—which now applies to income over $600,000 for a married couple—from 39.6 percent to 37 percent. Under the new law, Charles and David Koch could pay about $1.5 billion in taxes each on their business income, versus the nearly $2 billion they would have owed under previous law. These two provisions alone could save them about $500 million each, or $1 billion in total.


To be fair, each brother owns a 42 percent stake in the business, so 16 percent of the profits will pass through to the other owners. Assuming that each brother reports 42 percent of the $10 billion in estimated profits doesn’t significantly change the magnitude of the estimated tax savings—each brother would still get about $420 million.

If we instead assume that all the Koch companies are taxed at the corporate level, the tax savings for Koch Industries could be up to $1.4 billion. This assumes that the Koch companies previously paid the statutory 35 percent corporate tax rate, in which case Koch industries would have owed $3.5 billion in taxes on its $10 billion in profits. Under the new law, it would only owe 21 percent, or $2.1 billion.

Most corporations pay less than the statutory rate due to myriad tax loopholes. Koch Industries could have already paid a low effective tax rate under prior law, meaning its benefit from the tax law would be less than estimated here—especially if loopholes that it relied on were closed. Even so, the lower rates in the new law will save them a bundle. And luckily for Koch Industries, which has substantial oil and gas operations, most of the loopholes for this industry remain wide open.

The propaganda for the Republican Tax Act portrays it as good for investment. It’s hard to find an investment in the real economy that paid off as handsomely as the Koch brothers’ political spending.

http://prospect.org/article/koch-brothers-best-investment


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Ghost Ships No More: Seismic Vessels Resume Oil and Gas Search as Prices Perk Up 🤬

July 4, 2018 by Reuters

seismic survey vessel Photo: CutePloy / Shutterstock
reuters

SNIPPET:

By Florence Tan and Gavin Maguire SINGAPORE, July 5 (Reuters) – A growing fleet of ships is scanning oceans in search of new oil and gas fields as energy companies, now with more cash thanks to stronger crude prices, gradually resume spending on seismic services after a four-year downturn.

A doubling in the area contracted for seismic work in the first quarter this year from the last three months of 2017 has injected optimism into surveillance firms, with a global fleet of about 24 vessels, most of whom struggled to survive in the past years.

But they say the road to recovery remains bumpy with producers big and small not keen on drilling for new reserves unless oil prices, which have more than doubled from 2016 lows, stay high for at least a year.

Still, with crude prices stabilising well above $60 a barrel in the past six months, companies including mid- and small-sized independents such as Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Kosmos Energy Ltd and Tullow Oil PLC have helped boost demand for surveillance.

The total area tendered by upstream companies 🦖 for seismic work doubled to 40,000 square kilometres in the first quarter this year from October-December last year, said Duncan Eley, chief executive officer at Polarcus which owns a seismic fleet.

“That’s positive in isolation,” said Eley, keeping his optimism in check even as he pointed to a busy fourth quarter for geophysical work in Asia Pacific, particularly for gas with demand forecast to soar in coming decades.

Gas projects 🦖 in Myanmar could take two to three vessels from the global fleet, while there are also potential activities in Malaysia, Australia, India and Papua New Guinea, where Exxon Mobil and Total plan to feed more gas into their existing liquefied natural gas infrastructure, Eley said.

That marks a stark change from the dark days of 2015 and 2016 when orders for geophysical survey work came to a grinding halt as oil prices plummeted from over $100 a barrel to less than $50.

Petroleum Geo Services (PGS)🦖, the world’s largest seismic operator, was also seeing better opportunities now than last year.

“The recent increases we’ve seen are primarily driven by Africa and Brazil when it comes to bidding for contract work,” said Bård Stenberg, PGS’ senior vice president for investor relations and communication.

Demand for geophysical data at producing oil and gas fields, also known as 4D seismic survey, has also increased as explorers sought to maximise output from these assets ☠️, the two executives 😈 👹 said.

PGS expects to secure between 20 and 25 4D seismic jobs this year, up from 16-17 in 2017, Stenberg said, with most of it located in the North Sea, West Africa and Brazil.

OIL PRICE IS KEY 

The increased work should help improve the company’s earnings which remain well below pre-crisis levels.

Full FARTICLE:

http://gcaptain.com/ghost-ships-no-more-seismic-vessels-resume-oil-and-gas-search-as-prices-perk-up/

Agelbert NOTE: Corruptio Optimi Pessima (evidenced in the video below).

In the year 2050, most humans alive today..., WON'T BE ☠️.

The Age of Stupid

Dr. Brown is the guy in the video. His credentials are World Class.

Patrick T. Brown, PhD

Curriculum vitae

CURRENT POSITION

Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University
Postdoctoral Research Scientist (under Ken Caldeira)

EDUCATION

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Doctor of Philosophy, Earth and Ocean Science, 2016
San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Master of Science, Meteorology and Climate Science, 2012
University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Bachelor of Science, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, 2008

https://patricktbrown.org/


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AGelbert

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This 2012 Article is even more applicable today.

The Fossil Fuelers 🦖 DID THE Clean Energy  Inventions suppressing, Climate Trashing, human health depleting CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks 🦀, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   
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AGelbert

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Oil Change International

Jul. 17, 2018 11:38AM EST

'Traitor' Trump 'Colludes' With Putin Over Oil 🐉🦕🦖

By Andy Rowell

A "traitor." "Putin's Poodle." "Open Treason." These are just some of the harsh headlines to greet Trump after yesterday's summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The papers back home were indignant with rage. The New York Times called Trump Putin's "lackey." The paper said that this was the summit that Putin had dreamed of for eighteen years, and Trump had willingly obliged.

The Washington Post's bruising editorial headline was "Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly."

The paper thundered "Trump appeared to align himself with the Kremlin against American law enforcement before the Russian ruler and a global audience … Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power."

It was not just the press who criticized the president, as he also received cross-party political condemnation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement: "For the president of the United States to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous and weak. The president is putting himself over our country."

John Brennan, the CIA director under Barack Obama, said: "Donald Trump's press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of 'high crimes & misdemeanors.' It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump's comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin," he tweeted.

Arizona Republican senator John McCain added it was "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory … It is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake … no prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant."

The condemnation is everywhere, filling column inches after column inches in the press. Another headline in the Post stated "Trump is a Putin Fanboy: Someday we will know why."

There are many reasons why Trump is a "fanboy" of Putin. And we can guess why. As well as finding common cause to dismiss the evidence of Russian meddling in the flawed election he won, the egotistical narcissistic hard men have much in common, too. And one of those issues is oil.

As one news outlet, CNBC, put it: "Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Moscow and Washington could cooperate to soothe volatility in the oil market that has roiled the industry in recent years."

Putin said at the conference: "I think that we as a major oil and gas power, and the United States as a major oil and gas power as well, we could work together on regulation of international markets, because neither of us is actually interested in the plummeting of the prices."

Putin added: "But nor are we interested in driving prices up because it will drain a lot of juices from all other sectors of the economy, so we do have space for cooperation here."

Indeed the meteorologist Eric Holthaus, writing in Grist, also picks up the oil theme: "There's no way to understand Trump's 🦀 relationship with Russia 🦕 without putting oil and climate politics at its center" he wrote. "If you're upset at Trump and Putin for undermining our democracy, just wait until you find out that they are likely colluding to destroy our planet's climate system, too."

He added: "After Monday's meeting in Helsinki, it's clearer than ever that we are at a crucial moment in our American democracy as well as in the biggest and most important fight we've ever had—the fight against climate change."

Holthaus continued: "Russia is a petrostate 🦕, and the U.S.🦖 is now, too. In fact, the two countries are the world's largest non-OPEC oil producers, extracting nearly as much as all OPEC countries combined … By working together, they can keep the global economy swimming in oil and gas."



The two hardmen are propped up by fossil fuels and our addiction to oil and gas. So Holthaus finishes by arguing, "The quicker we resolve to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels, the quicker Putin and Trump will become powerless."    

And that can only be a good thing. For all of us.

https://www.ecowatch.com/trump-putin-oil-2587581476.html
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Many Russians Think Climate Change is Propaganda to Weaken Their Economy – RAI with A. Buzgalin (11/12)

July 27, 2018

On Reality Asserts Itself, Prof. Alexandr Buzgalin says Russian oligarchs 🦖🐉🦕 find an oil based economy too profitable  to consider transitioning away from  it – with host Paul Jay


Story Transcript

PAUL JAY: Welcome back to Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay, and we’re continuing our discussion with Alexander Buzgalin. Thanks for joining us again. And one more time, Professor Buzgalin is the director of the Center for Modern Marxist studies at Moscow State University. In the United States, Canada, most of the West and much of the South, meaning Latin America, Africa and many places in Asia, people recognize the critical necessity of facing the challenge of the climate crisis. The science is clear, we’re facing an existential threat. And in the wisdom of the American political system, a climate denier gets elected in a moment where it couldn’t be more critical to actually have policies that address the question. But in Russia, you more or less have a climate denier who supported Trump. And clearly, the importance of fossil fuel to the Russian economy. One understands his position, but still, this is an existential threat. How much is this discussion and debate going on in Russia?

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Unfortunately, not too much. It’s one of the problems of our society which is far from really global problems and this is partly a result of Westernization, partly a result of the opposition to Westernization. It’s like a paradox but it’s true.

PAUL JAY: This is seen like a Westernized argument, climate change.

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Yeah. Of course, it’s not an idea, this might be a propagandistic slogan or something like that, that all these climate questions are inspired by the West, and this is part of the blah, blah, blah, and real problems are very far from this, and so on and so forth. It’s games of the rich countries. They didn’t understand that, I don’t know, what will be with climate, but today we are poor, we will build strong industries, they don’t want us to have strong industry, that’s why they created all this climate agenda. This is one approach. Of course, this is not true, but it’s more or less popular. 😟

PAUL JAY: Here too.

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Yeah. Second variant, we have our problems, let’s forget about all these Western talks. Russia is strong enough, we have enough nature and everything, so we much protect our nature. And this is maybe important, but the most important problem is to build our industry. So, two variants of the same game, which is not good game at all, but this is more or less a reality. More or less because we have, of course, a green movement, we have opposition, we have people who are talking about this seriously. That we must have another social organization in order to overcome global problems, and global warming is one of these problems. It is normal for left intellectuals, and not only intellectuals, in Russia.

PAUL JAY: Because if it’s as I think it is, that scientists in Russia have more voice and are more respected than here? At least that was certainly the tradition. I know when I was in Eastern Europe, back during the Soviet days, scientists were rock stars. If they were prominent, they’d be on T.V. all the time. Is it still anything like that? Are the scientists raising their voices?

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Unfortunately, it’s not the case now. We had terrible decline of the popularity of science, education, in mass consciousness, partly because of the primitive capitalization, this primitive accumulation of capital led to the destruction of fundamental science in many ways.

PAUL JAY: The asset grab in the ‘90s.

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Yeah. Plus, social status of scientists now in Russia is very low. Of course, money is not main illustration, but just to give you example, full professor in Moscow State University, best university, the best, the highest status, the wage is the same as for the driver of the subway train. And if you have PhD and start your career, you will have to two hundred dollars per month in Moscow, where prices are more or less like in New York. And this is a reflection of the social atmosphere. We still have some interesting cultural traditions, respect to science, but it’s more tradition than reality. More memories than modern situation.

PAUL JAY: If the West and the South gets really serious about policy to deal with climate change, it’s going to tremendously affect the Russian economy. I mean, if the world starts really getting off fossil fuel, getting off oil, the Russian economy is going to be hollowed, to say the least, which one, gives one a reason to understand why Putin would want a climate denier to become president of the United States, and maybe appreciate climate deniers having strength in Europe as well. On the other hand, you’d think there’d have to be a serious conversation about the future of the Russian economy. They’re having it even in places like Saudi Arabia, where they’re talking openly about having to plan for getting off an oil-based economy, they seem to be doing it. Qatar seems to be investing a lot of oil money now to develop what they’re calling this “knowledge-based economy.” I’m not saying they’re all for this, but at least there’s a conversation at high levels going on. If they’re not thinking and planning about this in Russia, it’s a problem.

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: In Russia we have very big debates about oil dependence and this is a real problem for Russia. And we must overcome this dependence. And we must build another economy. And we have internal struggle, and one of the main ideas of opposition is to decrease the role of oil and gas export and the extraction of oil and gas, and to move towards the high-tech industry, education, science, medicine, and so on, as key branches of economy. And it’s possible. We have very good intellectual potential, potential in the sphere of creativity. And so, that’s why for Russia, the climate problem is not a threat to be killed. I mean, it’s not a threat for the economy. It’s a threat for this type of economy which is very profitable for oligarchs and which is very inefficient for Russian population and for the development of the country. Plus, oil can be used not only for fuel, not only to make energy. Oil can be used for production of different chemical things, and it can be very useful. And it’s necessary to have in other technologies.

And finally, it will be not one day no oil at all. It will be twenty, thirty years transitional period. And this is a good idea to change the economic situation. But here, we must have strong industrial policy. We must have plans, I’m not afraid of this word. We must have structural changes in the economy. And for that, we must realize, introduce a new economic model, and at least have very deep reforms of capitalist system, as minimum, very deep reforms of capitalist system. With modern system of capitalism in Russia, we will not move in this direction. That’s why we have, together, problems of political opposition, social opposition, a necessity to develop our life and necessity to solve ecological problems. It’s in one basket, in one sphere, in one political problem.

PAUL JAY: Okay, in the next segment we’ll talk about what the possibilities are for this next step, which I know you think is a socialism and a step towards communism, and whether there are actually conditions for this.

ALEXANDER BUZGALIN: Yes, it’s true.

PAUL JAY: So, please join us for the next and last segment of our interview, at least last for now, on Reality Asserts Itself on The Real News Network.

https://therealnews.com/stories/many-russians-think-climate-change-is-propaganda-to-weaken-their-economy-rai-with-a-buzgalin-11-12

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AGelbert

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Quote
There will come a day, for example, as with all financial bubbles, when the wildly optimistic projected profits of industries such as fracking will no longer be an effective excuse to keep pumping money into failing businesses burdened by debt they cannot repay.

“The 60 biggest exploration and production firms are not generating enough cash from their operations to cover their operating and capital expenses,” Bethany McLean writes of the fracking industry in an article titled “The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground” that appeared in The New York Times. “In aggregate, from mid-2012 to mid-2017, they had negative free cash flow of $9 billion per quarter.”



https://www.truthdig.com/articles/conjuring-up-the-next-depression/


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Coal & Gas Are Too Variable To Be Worth Considering

October 1st, 2018 by George Harvey

In one extremely important way, coal and gas are too variable to be worth considering.

We have heard it over and over. People whose thoughts go no deeper than common knowledge make the statement, “The sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow.” They seem to say this as though they think it is profound.

I will suggest a counter. “The variable nature of thermal power will kill natural gas just as surely as it is killing coal.” Thermal plants that are dependent on coal, gas, or nuclear fuel have one part of their nature that is too variable for them even to be worth considering in many places where they are used.

What matters to industry is not whether a given wind turbine is turning. What matters is getting the power when it is needed at a reasonable rate. Sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) at the right rate, and it is up to the supplier to make sure the power is there. If the seller cannot deliver, it will have to buy power to replace it. Therefore, the user can go for the least expensive power sources around with a fair amount of confidence that the power will be delivered at the proper price. And the least expensive resources happen to be renewable.

The CleanTechnica article, “Lazard: Wind & Solar Power Costs Continue To Fall, Putting Coal & Nuclear At A Disadvantage,” describes this. While that article is ten months old, the situation has only got worse for thermal power, as solar prices have continued to fall (see many articles HERE).

This is not as risky for the seller as it might sound. The buyer is looking for renewable energy, and renewable energy comes in many forms. A wind farm selling energy to a business can, for example, buy solar power to resell when it has insufficient wind. Since wind power is lowest during the daytime and during the summer, the very times that the sun shines brightest, solar power can provide a lot of the backup it needs. The wind farm can also call for hydro power, which is just about always available. It can also get power from geothermal plants, or biodigesters, or batteries. With today’s highly efficient transmission lines, it could buy the power cost-effectively from hundreds or thousands of miles away. There are a lot of options, and the power seller can either own those types of power plants itself, or it can enter into cooperative power agreements with other providers who do.

There is another thing that needs to be considered. Baseload power plants that are fueled by coal, gas, or nuclear materials are inflexible and cannot change their output to accommodate changes in demand. Because of their inflexible nature, they rely on plants called peakers, which are purposely built to provide variable or intermittent power. This is the old paradigm.

The new paradigm can rely on a smart grid. Renewable energy sources can be matched to demand. And demand response systems can adjust demand, if that becomes necessary.

So we have two ways of doing things. We can use the old paradigm, in which as much as possible of the constantly varying demand is met by inflexible power sources. Or we can use the new paradigm, in which the variable demand can be matched rather precisely by variable resources of many kinds, in many places.

Now comes the catch for thermal power, such as coal, nuclear, and thermal gas. Variability is not an issue that ends with the supply and demand of electricity. It also relates to the supply and demand of fuel, along with other variable costs. Thermal power is variable in one respect where renewable power is not, and that is its cost to the wholesale customer.

An article from Bloomberg, “Tech Investments Are Powering Up Clean Energy,” puts this very nicely. It says, “Corporations sign these purchase agreements for a number of reasons (sustainability goals and positive media coverage certainly being two), but the main reason is that long-term contracts with generators that have no variable costs are good for business. They give companies visibility on their power prices for several decades and, at least historically, have offered cheaper prices than what the grid provides.”

Commercial customers need to be able to have predictable costs. The fuel for solar and wind production will cost exactly the same twenty years from now as it does today. When you take that to the bank, you are pretty likely to be believed. That will not happen with coal, gas, or nuclear power. And that difference is very important when you are dealing with large amounts of money. All else being the same, it is easier to get a bond to build a power plant without variable costs than one for which some costs are unpredictable.

Solar and wind power are absolutely predictable when it comes to variable costs. By contrast, coal and gas power are altogether too variable to be reliable.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/01/coal-gas-are-too-variable-to-be-worth-considering/

Agelbert COMMENT: Excellent article! 👍🌞

Here are some quotes that add support to the article's validity:

Quote
"There is a nice legal concept called estoppel. If you argue that you didn't kill the Major in the library with the Ming vase because you were in bed with his wife, you are estopped from pleading self-defence. In the same way, polluters are estopped from arguing that they were only complying with public policy as laid down in the law, because they spent tens of millions shaping those policies and laws to their advantage." James Wimberley

"We do not need a 'new' business model for energy because we never had one. What we need, if we wish to avoid extinction, is to plug the environmental and equity costs of energy production and use into our planning and thinking. " -- A.G. Gelbert

Quote
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

Quote
"We can’t have a healthy business on a sick planet."-- Ashley Orgain, manager of mission advocacy and outreach for Seventh Generation, Burlington, Vermont

"Technical knowledge of Carrying Capacity will not save us; only a massive increase in Caring Capacity will." -- A. G. Gelbert

Quote
"The core responsibility assigned to governments in democracies is the public welfare, protecting the human birthright to basic needs: clean air, water, land, and a place to live, under equitable rules of access to all common property resources.

It is astonishing to discover that major political efforts in democracies can be turned to undermining the core purpose of government, destroying the factual basis for fair and effective protection of essential common property resources of all to feed the financial interests of a few.

These efforts, limiting scientific research on environment, denying the validity of settled facts and natural laws, are a shameful dance, far below acceptable or reputable political behavior.

It can be treated not as a reasoned alternative, but scorned for what it is – simple thievery." —George M. Woodwell, Woods Hole Research Center founder

Quote
"There is a terrible desperation to the increasingly pathetic rationalizations from the climate denial camp. This comes as no surprise if you take the long view; every single undone paradigm in history has died kicking and screaming, and our current petroleum paradigm is no different. The trick here is trying to figure out how we all make it to the new paradigm without dying right along with the old one, kicking, screaming or otherwise." - William Rivers Pitt

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AGelbert

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How Well Does Fossil Fuel Divestment Combat Climate Change?  ???

October 1, 2018

As the fossil fuel divestment movement grows around the world, a new study suggests its economic impact might be overstated. Leaders in the environmental movement respond to PERI economist Robert Pollin


https://therealnews.com/stories/how-well-does-fossil-fuel-divestment-combat-climate-change

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