Video: President Obama Succinctly Explains Why Keystone XL Makes No Sense

December 19th, 2014

The following response by President Obama to a question by Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin is one of the most succinct explanations I’ve heard from a high-ranking U.S. political figure on why the Keystone XL pipeline makes no sense for our country. As David Roberts of Grist puts it: “Okay, this is the best Keystone answer I’ve ever heard from him. Not sure I could have written a better one.” Key points by President Obama include:

  • It’s Canadian tar sands oil intended for export, not for the U.S.
  • The pipeline wouldn’t benefit America, it would benefit Canadian oil interests. “It’s very good for Canadian oil companies,” but not really for anyone else.
  • There would at most be a “nominal impact on U.S. [gasoline] prices,” and it wouldn’t particularly (if at all) benefit U.S. consumers.
  • Construction of the pipeline will create just a couple thousand temporary jobs, compared to the hundreds of thousands or million jobs rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
  • This project should not add to the problem of climate change, which imposes serious costs on the American people.
  • There’s been a “tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy, and it’s hard to see on paper where exactly they’re getting that information from.”

That sums it up nicely.

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (12/19/14)

December 19th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (12/19/14).

  1. Renew Economy makes the case “Why oil price crash is good news for climate, and clean energy.”
  2. According to the AP, “Environmentalists and industry experts widely expect the first federal standards for the waste generated from coal burned for electricity to treat the ash like household garbage, rather than a hazardous material.”
  3. The Guardian reports: “The surge in European carbon permit prices may just be beginning. The price of emission rights will rise 62 percent by June 30, according to the median of 16 trader and analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.”
  4. Greentech Media explains: “The legal challenge of the decade for demand response now awaits a Supreme Court decision. We look at how the industry is reacting to the uncertainty—as well as driving innovation.”
  5. The BBC reports: “The UK’s oil industry is in “crisis” as prices drop, a senior industry leader has told the BBC. Oil companies and service providers are cutting staff and investment to save money. Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that the industry was ‘close to collapse’. Almost no new projects in the North Sea are profitable with oil below $60 a barrel, he claims.”

New Poll Finds Overwhelming Support Nationally for EPA Clean Power Plan

December 18th, 2014

New polling by Harstad Strategic Research, Inc. finds strong support for the proposed EPA carbon pollution reduction standards (aka, the “Clean Power Plan”). That includes two thirds of voters in important states like Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Louisiana and Virginia.  Support is across the board regionally (two thirds in both northern and southern states) and politically, with majorities of Republicans (53%), Independents (62%) and Democrats (87%) all on board.  So who’s opposed to these pollution reduction standards, other than the fossil fuel industry? Despite all the money they spend to deny climate science and promote fossil fuels, it turns out that only a small minority of the U.S. electorate is with them. So sad.

“Cromnibus” Budget Continues to Dole Out Taxpayer-Funded Corporate Welfare to the Fossil Fuel Industry

December 18th, 2014

As part of our continuing series on taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to the fossil fuel industry, we saw this article on Climate Progress (“6 Of The Worst Environmental Provisions In The ‘Cromnibus’ Spending Bill”) and thought it worth highlighting.  A few key points on how this “cromnibus” budget continues to coddle our fossil fuel welfare bum friends include:

  • It would “allow the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC to finance coal-fired power plants abroad, despite the fact that the Ex-Im Bank adopted guidelines last year that prohibited the financing of most coal-fired power plants, unless they used carbon capture technology.”
  • It cuts funding for the EPA, making it hard for the agency “which works on things such as cleaning up Superfund sites and enforcing basic public health protections,” to keep an eye on what the fossil fuel industry’s doing to our air and water.
  • It blocks funding to the Green Climate Fund, “an international fund aimed at helping developing nations deal with the impacts of climate change.”

Clearly, none of this is smart public policy. To the contrary, about the only reason you’d pass provisions like the ones listed above is if your goal was to do the bidding of the fossil fuel industry and their well-paid lobbyists in Washington, DC.

Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (12/18/14)

December 18th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (12/18/14).

  1. Inside Climate News reports: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo surprised environmentalists Monday when his administration banned hydraulic fracturing in the state, citing public health concerns. The move puts an end to years of heated debate between activists and the oil and gas industry—and could help buoy the case against fracking in hundreds of similar fights happening across the United States”
  2. According to Reuters, Chevron “is putting a plan to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea in Canada’s Arctic on hold indefinitely because of what it called “economic uncertainty in the industry” as oil prices fall.”
  3. NBC reports: “Sr Richard Branson’s climate change-fighting foundation is aligning forces with one of the world’s most heady alternative energy think tanks to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, the two organizations said Tuesday.” The alliance joins Branson’s “Carbon War Room and Amory Lovins’ Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing market-based solutions to drive global energy use away from fossil fuels.”
  4. An analysis by Barrons Asia concludes that “the impact of the [U.S. Departmnet of Commerce's anti-dumping ruling for Chinese solar companies] is limited.”
  5. Reuters reports, “Canadian oil producers deepened 2015 spending cuts on Wednesday, as Husky Energy , MEG Energy and Penn West Petroleum joined those hacking back capital budgets in response to tumbling crude prices.”