Tag Archives: Greenpeace

Trump energy policy: more fossil fuels, less regulation

Repost from ThinkProgress

Trump ‘Completely Rethinks’ U.S. Energy Policy By Doubling Down On Fossil Fuels

By Ryan Koronowski, August 8, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers an economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Detroit. CREDIT: AP/EVAN VUCCI

On Monday in Detroit, Donald Trump sought to reset his campaign again with a speech about the economy to begin “a great conversation about economic renewal for America,” portraying Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as “a nominee of yesterday.”

Trump aides told Politico prior to the speech that Trump economic vision also involved “a complete rethinking of our energy policy.”

What does this “complete rethinking” look like?

More fossil fuels. And less environmental regulation. A Trump administration would follow the same rhetorical stance on energy as the RNC and the Romney campaign, and the Bush administration’s policy playbook.

The 2016 Republican presidential nominee cited “energy reform” as a priority midway through the speech, attacking “the Obama-Clinton war on coal” and boasting how his own plan to cut regulations on the fossil fuel industry would create jobs.

“I am going to cut regulations massively,” Trump said. “Massively.”

Beyond vague anti-regulatory rhetoric, Trump’s speech cited studies from the Koch-funded Institute for Energy Research, the Exxon-funded Heritage Foundation, and the American Petroleum Institute, all purporting to prove the economic ruin wreaked by the Obama administration’s environmental actions.

Further detail was provided by a Trump campaign email sent to the press which outlined “policy highlights” from Trump’s economic vision:

CREDIT: TRUMP CAMPAIGN EMAIL

While Trump may not be able to accomplish all of his stated energy agenda, these policy highlights are essentially the same as the energy plan he outlined in May. His vision lines up almost perfectly with that of the fossil fuel industry.

“Donald Trump’s energy proposals read like a gift registry for the fossil fuel and financial industries,” Greenpeace executive director Annie Leonard said in a statement. “If a U.S. president would attempt to enact any of these proposals it would not only undo the the progress millions of people around the world have achieved on climate change, it would set this country on a path to economic ruin and environmental devastation.”

Trump would “immediately cancel” President Obama’s executive actions, singling out the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule. Trump doesn’t mention that the Climate Action Plan’s carbon rule would lower electricity bills and the Waters of the U.S. rule actually helps protect small farmers against pollution from big agribusiness.

He promises to “save the coal industry” — though international coal market dynamics are to blame and U.S. coal jobs are not coming back even with a President Trump.

Bringing back the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf are goals that have been on the conservative drawing board for decades — hardly something that belongs in a completely rethought economic vision.

Cancelling the Paris Climate Agreement and defunding U.S. contributions to United Nations climate programs would drag the United States and the world back decades.

“Lift restrictions on American energy,” to Trump, means fossil fuels and not renewable energy sources like solar and wind, which are growing faster than fossil fuels and getting cheaper at a truly astonishing rate. Trump, however, said last week that renewable energy “is not working so good.”

What the billionaire did not mention on Monday is how much climate change is projected to hurt the global economy: the United States will take a 36 percent GDP hit by the end of the century if its leaders allow it to suffer an unmitigated climate, according to research from ICF International and NextGen Climate Action. Globally, that number jumps to $44 trillion by 2060, according to Citigroup.

Trump called Clinton “the candidate of the past” while his own campaign was “the campaign of the future.”

    Greenpeace Protesters Block Oil Ship in Portland

    Repost from NBC News

    Greenpeace Protesters Blocking Oil Ship Rappel Down From Portland Bridge

    By M. Alex Johnson, Jul 30 2015, 11:14 pm ET

    Greenpeace protesters dangling from a Portland, Oregon, bridge lowered themselves to the Willamette River on Thursday, clearing the way for an oil company icebreaker to continue on its way to the Pacific Ocean and then the Alaskan coast.

    The 13 protesters had been hanging from the St. Johns Bridge for almost 40 hours in an attempt to block Royal Dutch Shell’s icebreaker MSV Fennica — which stopped in Portland for repairs Saturday — from returning to sea.

    Image: Greenpeace activists hang from Portland bridge
    Kayakers gather Thursday as Greenpeace activists hang from the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Don Ryan / AP

    After almost two days into the protest, members of the Portland Fire Bureau’s technical rescue rope team built their own rope system Thursday crossing the bridge, Lt. Rich Tyler said Thursday night.

    Then, “we ended up lowering ourselves down to where the protesters were,” he said.

    The first two protesters the officers reached agreed to lower themselves to a Multnomah County sheriff’s rescue boat in the river below.

    The next ones, however, refused, “so we went down to where the ropes were connected and anchored, attached our ropes to their ropes … and lowered them down” without their cooperation, Tyler said.

    Once the first three protesters had been removed and the Fennica had enough room to pass — it sailed through right under them — “the rest came down voluntarily,” he said.

    Meanwhile, “kayaktivists” in the river tried to block the icebreaker’s path, but crews hooked their kayaks to jet skis and pulled them out of the way. The ship cleared the bridge about 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET).

    The ship’s next confrontation could come in Astoria, Oregon, where it was expected to arrive after 11 p.m. (2 a.m. Friday ET). The Coast Guard said it was prepared to enforce a 500-yard safety zone around the Fennica as it made its way through the Willamette and Columbia rivers Thursday night and Friday.

    The protest was a costly one for Greenpeace, which was fined $2,500 for every hour the ship was stalled — eventually reaching $17,500 — after a U.S. district judge in Alaska found the organization in civil contempt.

    Related: Activists Hang From Oregon’s St. Johns Bridge to Protest Shell’s Arctic Oil Drilling

    And police carted off an undetermined number of protesters and other people in plastic handcuffs, with charges to be determined, probably Friday, police said.

    But Mary Nicol, senior Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace USA, said it was worth it.

    “We found that the blockade was successful,” Nicol told NBC station KGW of Portland. “Climate change does present a real threat to everyone globally.”

    Royal Dutch Shell, which the U.S. Interior Department granted the final two permits it needs to explore for oil in the Arctic, said in a statement Thursday night that with the Fennica on its way to Alaska, “the Transocean Polar Pioneer commenced initial drilling operations” immediately in the Chukchi Sea.

    Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said the protest made for a “hard day,” because he opposes drilling in the Arctic but had law-enforcement responsibilities as mayor to carry out.

    “It’s time to move from protest to action, to changing the laws,” Hales said Thursday night. “After all, that’s the point of the protest.”

    Repost from The Oregonian

    Greenpeace protesters claim symbolic victory as Shell Oil ship leaves Portland

    By The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 30, 2015 at 8:38 PM, updated July 31, 2015 at 6:33 AM

    Just before 6 p.m. Thursday, the controversial icebreaker MSV Fennica threaded through a hole cut by law enforcement in the wall of protesters suspended from the St. Johns Bridge.

    For Royal Dutch Shell, the company that will use the ship in oil-drilling operations in the Arctic, the exit marked the end of a week of protests on the Portland bridge and outside the Swan Island dry dock where a gash in the ship’s hull was repaired.

    For the 13 Greenpeace USA activists on the bridge and dozens of others in kayaks and canoes on the Willamette River, it marked a disappointing end to a high-risk, high-reward protest.

    “It was tough to see the boat go through there, but every second counts,” protester Razz Gormley said Thursday evening. “I consider this a victory.”

    Razz Gormley
    “It was tough to see the boat go through there,” protester Razz Gormley, 42, of Boulder, Colorado, says. “I considered this a victory.” Molly Young/The Oregonian/OregonLive

    Gormley, 42, of Boulder, Colorado, climbed over the railing of the St. Johns Bridge just after 1 a.m. Wednesday and spent the next 40 hours dangling about 100 feet from the bridge’s roadway and 100 feet above the Willamette River.

    The 13 suspended protesters and the minders who watched over them from the St. Johns Bridge deck hoped to prevent the Fennica from departing for the Arctic. Their goal was to delay Shell’s ship – hopefully pushing back the difficult work of drilling for oil in the Arctic long enough that the company would lose a year of work. In the time before things thawed next year, protesters hoped for political change in Washington, D.C.

    As Gormley was greeted as a hero after rappelling to the water Thursday evening, he explained that even though the protesters lost the battle, they delayed the boat for hours.

    Earlier Thursday, a first game of chicken was won by the protesters.

    The Fennica headed downriver from Swan Island at about 6 a.m. Within about 300 yards of the St. Johns Bridge, it stopped. Dozens of kayaks and canoes pinched the river channel just in front of the 13 suspended protesters, each linked with arcing ropes between them and with a long colorful streamer trailing behind in the morning wind.

    About two hours later, the ship was back at Swan Island.

    Just after 2 p.m., officers from the Coast Guard, Portland police, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and other Portland-area law enforcement agencies closed the St. Johns Bridge to all traffic and began to direct the river-going protesters toward the shore.

    Within two hours, the Coast Guard had closed the Willamette River to all traffic between Swan Island and the Columbia River. They used boat hooks to move the smaller craft from the waterway.

    Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson and Portland fire Lt. Rich Tyler said police and fire teams closed the bridge when each agency had the resources in place to conduct a safe technical 205-foot rope rescue.

    A police Special Emergency Response Team officer rappelled over the bridge and cut the lines connecting the protesters dangling from the bridge. Then Portland Fire Bureau technical rescue teams moved in, with some firefighters going over the bridge’s edge and asking the protesters to voluntarily ease themselves down to waiting boats.

    The first two protesters came down on their own but the third wouldn’t communicate. Firefighters connected two rope lines to his lines, removed his anchor and lowered him on their attached lines to a boat.

    Their work opened a gap just wide enough for the Fennica’s safe passage.

    “It was frustrating and heartbreaking,” Philip Fensterer of North Portland said minutes after the ship cleared the bridge and the last protesters.

    robertjonahmajure24.jpg
    Robert Jonah Majure, 24 | MCSO

    As the ship moved toward the Columbia River — and, ultimately, the Pacific Ocean — the remaining protesters quietly slipped off their perches. Each was greeted as a hero on the Willamette’s banks by crowds of protesters whose feelings had traveled during the day from exhilaration to anger to resignation to exhausted thankfulness.

    Police initially detained protesters but by late Thursday night said they only made one arrest: 24-year-old Robert Jonah Majure, who police say locked himself to a railroad bridge and is accused of first-degree criminal trespass.

    “Everybody’s hearts are broken,” Greenpeace USA spokeswoman Cassady Sharp said Thursday evening. “They’re just getting amazing love and support. That’s what makes us feel encouraged after today.”

    — Laura Frazier, Molly Young, Maxine Bernstein and Stuart Tomlinson contributed to this report.

     

     

      Are We Past the Point of No Return on Climate Change?

      Repost from  EarthTalk.org

      Are We Past the Point of No Return on Climate Change?

      Greens give us five years to cut back emissions
      By Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss, 04/11/2015

      Dear EarthTalk: What is the best way to measure how close we are to the dreaded “point of no return” with climate change? In other words, when do we think we will have gone too far?  — David Johnston, via EarthTalk.org

      While we may not yet have reached the “point of no return” — when no amount of cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions will save us from potentially catastrophic global warming — climate scientists warn we may be getting awfully close. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution a century ago, the average global temperature has risen some 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Most climatologists agree that, while the warming to date is already causing environmental problems, another 0.4 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature, representing a global average atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) of 450 parts per million (ppm), could set in motion unprecedented changes in global climate and a significant increase in the severity of natural disasters—and as such could represent the dreaded point of no return.

      Polar bear
      If we don’t get our carbon emissions in check soon, it could be too late for the polar bear and many other species impacted by global warming. Credit: Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith, FlickrCC

      Currently the atmospheric concentration of CO2 (the leading greenhouse gas) is approximately 398.55 parts per million (ppm). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal scientific agency tasked with monitoring the health of our oceans and atmosphere, the current average annual rate of increase of 1.92 ppm means we could reach the point of no return by 2042.

      Environmental leaders point out that this doesn’t give us much time to turn the tide. Greenpeace, a leading environmental advocacy group, says we have until around 2020 to significantly cut back on greenhouse gas output around the world—to the tune of a five percent annual reduction in emissions overall—if we are to avoid so-called “runaway” climate change. “The world is fast approaching a ‘point of no return’ beyond which extremely dangerous climate change impacts can become unavoidable,” reports the group. “Within this time period, we will have to radically change our approach to energy production and consumption.”

      In a recent lecture at Georgetown University, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim reported that whether we are able to cut emissions enough to prevent catastrophe likely depends on the policies of the world’s largest economies and the widespread adoption of so-called carbon pricing systems (such as emissions trading plans and carbon taxes). International negotiators meeting in Paris next December are already working to hammer out an agreement mandating that governments adopt these types of systems to facilitate emissions reductions. “A price on carbon is the single most important thing we have to get out of a Paris agreement,” Kim stated. “It will unleash market forces.”

      While carbon pricing will be key to mitigating global warming, Greenpeace adds that stemming the tide of deforestation in the world’s tropical rainforests and beyond and adapting our food systems to changing climatic conditions and increasingly limited resources will also be crucial to the health of the planet.

      “Without additional mitigation, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible impacts globally,” reports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international group of leading climate experts convened by the United Nations to review and assess the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information on global warming. Indeed, there’s no time like the present to start changing our ways.