Climate Change May Mean More Mexican Immigration: Scientific American

Some will say this study is  just a wild assumption – that you can’t untangle ‘normal’ droughts from impacts of climate change. First  remember climate change is a force multiplier: it makes droughts and floods far worse than normal. And secondly it is pretty obvious that if temps climb much higher in most parts of Mexico there will be major crop failures and then what are people supposed to do? Lay down and die? They are going to move — wouldn’t you?  — Stephen

From Sci Am magazine:

A reduction in crop yields could spur even more migration from south to north, a new analysis finds

By David Biello

Climate change’s impacts on crop yields may force as many as seven million Mexicans to emigrate to the U.S. over the next 70 years, according to research published July 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is among the first to attempt to put hard numbers on questions about “environmental refugees” that may be caused by climate change.

“There is a significant response of emigration from Mexico to past climate variations,” says atmospheric scientist Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, an author of the study. “Climate changes predicted by the global circulation models would cause several percent of the Mexican population to move north [if] all other factors are held constant.”

via Climate Change May Mean More Mexican Immigration: Scientific American.

Urban Air Pollution from Burning Fossil Fuels Reduces Children’s Intelligence

Yet another study that confirms the urgent need to switch to cleaner energy sources for health reasons. Here we have unborn children affected by the air pollution their mothers breathe. Burning fossil fuels releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which we all breathe in but these chemicals affect the mental development of unborn children. Other new studies show smog causes increases in heart attacks, and reduces blood’s ability to transport oxygen.

So why the high-profile fight over climate change and urgent need to reduce fossil fuel use? Might it happen that fossil energy companies desperate to protect hundreds of billions of dollars of profits, actively encourage (if not directly fund) confusion regarding the inconvenient scientific results on climate and public health? — Stephen

[UPDATE: “Urban air pollutants may damage IQs before baby’s first breath, scientists say” – Environmental Health News
July 26, 2010]

April 2010 — A study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) carried out in Krakow, Poland has found that prenatal exposure to pollutants can adversely affect children’s cognitive development at age 5, confirming previous findings in a New York City (NYC) study.

Researchers report that children exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Krakow had a significant reduction in scores on a standardized test of reasoning ability and intelligence at age 5. The study findings are published today online in Environmental Health Perspectives. Continue reading

Oily Politics of Influence: 3 of 4 oil and gas lobbyists used to work for US govt

Is this why there is no independent assessment of the BP oil well cap and surrounding sea floor?

Three of every four oil and gas lobbyists worked for federal government that’s probably why oil spill liability was capped at a ridiculous $50 million – an amount that wouldn’t cover the cost of a couple of oil spill skimmers.

From the Washington Post:

Three out of every four lobbyists who represent oil and gas companies previously worked in the federal government, a proportion that far exceeds the usual revolving-door standards on Capitol Hill, a Washington Post analysis shows.

Key lobbying hires include 18 former members of Congress and dozens of former presidential appointees. For other senior management positions, the industry employs two former directors of the Minerals Management Service, the since-renamed agency that regulates the industry, and several top officials from the Bush White House. Federal inspectors once assigned to monitor oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico have landed jobs with the companies they regulated.

Surprise, surprise BP threw even more money — +$1.7 million April to June –– at its lobbyists. And it works. Money unfortunately does buy influence in DC otherwise why aren’t US govt and/or independent science submersibles on the scene of the spill to verify BPs claims??

How could any level of government take the word a polluter that everything is cleaned up without bothering to CHECK to see if it is?

Even worse in my opinion: Why isn’t the media screaming for independent assessment of the leaking well head and surrounding area? (Twenty years ago they would have.)

My original related articles:

Why the BP Oil Spill Really Happened

New $Billion Cash Hand Out To Fossil Fuel Companies Under ‘Green’ Economic Stimulus Plans

‘Bailout’ for Oil Companies $20-40 Billion (and maybe more) every year

Nuclear Energy Steals Billions from Other Technologies

By Stephen Leahy*

Costs of nuclear skyrocket while costs of renewables falling quickly say energy experts

BERLIN, Jul 31, 2009 (IPS)

Why is nuclear energy back on the table?

One reason is a powerful U.S. lobby where 14 energy companies spent 48 million dollars in 2007 alone to convince American politicians to give the industry huge loan guarantees because they cannot get financing anywhere else, says Ellen Vancko, a nuclear energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a U.S.-based non governmental organisation (NGO).

This lavish lobbying effort by the energy and nuclear power sector has been ongoing since the mid-1990s, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a U.S. NGO and now totals at least 953 million dollars.

Even more has been spent to convince the public that nuclear is one of the keys to energy security so that there is significant public support for new reactors, a Gallup Environment Poll reported this year.

“There are lots of senators and members of congress talking about nuclear as a clean, renewable energy resource,” Vancko says.

The other reason is the French. Continue reading

Europeans stopped Canada’s Slaughter of Baby Seals – Can They Stop Canada’s Tar Sands?

On July 17th Berliners and other Europeans will take to the streets to stop the worst environmental disaster on the planet:

Canada’s “Dirty Oil” Tar Sands

[UPDATE: See pix and story on the Stop Tar Sands “demo-fest”]

“The tar sands of Canada constitute one of our planet’s greatest threats” — James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

“Extracting oil from Alberta’s tar sands jeopardizes the survival of our species” — Al Gore

Warning of the global environmental disaster represented by Canada’s production of oil from its western tar sands, protesters will gather in front of the Canadian Embassies in Berlin, London and Copenhagen on Saturday, July 17 to mark International Stop the Tar Sands Day.

[Download poster international tar sands day A3]

The goal of International Stop the Tar Sands Day is to raise awareness in Europe that oil made from Canada’s tar sands has “two-to-three times the global warming pollution of conventional oil,” according to eminent scientist James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “But the process also diminishes one of the best carbon-reduction tools on the planet: Canada’s Boreal Forest.”

Similar protests are planned at Canadian embassies in London, Paris and Vienna.

“Ultimately only Canadian people can stop the expansion of the tar sands. Through our demonstrations we want to show Canadians there is international support for a moratorium,” says first-time organizer Derek Leahy, a Canadian living in Berlin.

“We believe Canadians will make the right decision,” Leahy said

“Although European companies and banks are profiting from Canada’s tar sands few Europeans have heard about the tar sands. We intend to change that ,” he said

[Full disclosure: this is copied from a press release and Derek is my son — Steve] Continue reading

Copenhagen’s Fantastic Bike Culture Should Be In Every City — Great Video Shows Why

Copenhagen has a fantastic bike culture — 60+ % commute to work every day plus they have a great subway system too. It is cold and wet a lot of the year but people dress for it and were frankly a hell of lot warmer than I was walking when I was there for three weeks in December while covering the climate summit.

One Saturday morning before Christmas I was amazed to see a family of four on two bikes with their groceries and a 2-metre Christmas tree happily pedaling for home . In North America we think we need a van or at least a pick up truck

This professional video shows an overview of what makes Copenhagen such a fantastic city, as seen by North-American eyes

Sadly I didn’t get a chance to ride in Copenhagen but this should be a model for other cities around the world. Copenhagen did it in 40 years and it is truly amazing. — Steve

‘Tourists Please Don’t Go To Home of Canada’s Dirty Oil Sands’ Ad Campaign

Beautiful Alberta, Canada??

US enviro group is putting up billboards in four U.S. cities urging Americans to exclude Alberta from their travel plans, saying it is “one of the world’s dirtiest destinations”.

Let’s be clear here: I am not a supporter of this use of  a big “economic” club to hit govt over the head to get their attention. It will hurt many Albertans who are in the tourist biz where many likely support a moratorium on new tar sands development. Indeed most Albertans have said they want a “time out” in the tar sands. But big oil says no way and are pushing for faster approvals of new projects with “streamlined environmental reviews” of course.

In their  Re-Think Alberta Campaign enviro groups say they are trying to counter Alberta and Canadian government propaganda. Canada is lobbying the US  to prevent any cleaner-fuel regulations because the tar sands has the world’s highest CO2 levels and is the most destructive form of oil production. Yes worse, than off shore drilling – see here for more

And they are also down here lobbying for infrastructure, new pipelines, refineries, which would keep us addicted to high-carbon oil for another 50 years.” Corporate Ethics International Executive Director Michael Marx told Reuters.

1.3 million barrels of dirty oil is shipped  from tar sands region  to the US every day

Corporate Ethics also has a powerful video about the ongoing environmental mess that can easily be seen from space it is so big.

See also International Stop the Tar Sands Day commencing July 17 (more on this later).

You can learn more on enviro impacts of the tar sands in my short ebook:

Oil Stains in the Boreal Forest: The Environmental Cost of Canada’s Oil Sands

And from my recent articles:

Canada’s “Mordor” Ensures Climate Treaty Failure in Copenhagen

Tar Sands, Riot Police & Hope in Copenhagen

— Green wishes, Steve