Tar Sands Pipeline that Could Rival Keystone XL Quietly Gets Trump Approval

GR: It’s really hard to find a fresh or useful comment on something like this. Just sad.

Enbridge’s Line 67 carries tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. The Trump administration just approved a permit to nearly double its flow at the border. Credit: John W. Murray/CC-BY-NC-2.0

“You’ve probably heard of the Keystone XL pipeline. But what about Line 67, also known as the Alberta Clipper?

“Nine years ago, both were controversial proposals to ship oil from Canada’s tar sands into the United States. But while Keystone XL is still awaiting approval and continues to draw protests, Line 67 quietly secured a federal permit last week to ship even more crude than Keystone would.

“On Oct. 13, the State Department approved a long-awaited permit that allows Enbridge, which owns the pipeline, to pump up to 890,000 barrels per day across the border between Canada and North Dakota, en route to Superior, Wisconsin.

“Enbridge has built the equivalent of a Keystone XL pipeline without gaining the kind of attention that Keystone got,” said Kenneth Rumelt, a senior attorney and professor at Vermont Law School who represented several environmental and indigenous groups in a challenge to the project. “Other than our suit, it largely slipped under the radar. But really, this is a quiet Keystone XL pipeline.”

“Even before the approval, though, the company had already effectively been shipping the full volume through a clever work-around.

“It’s a convoluted story that reflects how Enbridge has gone about trying to boost its capacity to ship Canadian tar sands crude to U.S. refineries piece by piece.

Boosting Line 67’s Volume Before the Permit

“Enbridge began construction on Line 67 in 2008, designing it to eventually carry up to 890,000 barrels per day. Yet when the company initially applied to ship oil over the border, it requested approval to ship about half that amount, 450,000 barrels per day. Enbridge got that approval in 2009, about the time opposition to Keystone XL began gaining steam.” –Nicholas Kusnetz (Continue reading: Tar Sands Pipeline that Could Rival Keystone XL Quietly Gets Trump Approval | InsideClimate News.)

Trump administration will propose repealing Obama’s key effort to combat climate change

GR:  Why does the fossil fuel industry keep this up? The influence on our lawmakers and regulators is a crime against all people everywhere. We must drive corporate lobbying and support for political campaigns out of our government.

“The Trump administration plans to scrap former president Barack Obama’s signature plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants, arguing that the previous administration overstepped its legal authority, according to a 43-page proposal obtained by The Washington Post.

“The proposal, which is expected to be made public over the coming days, comes months after President Trump issued a directive instructing the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the controversial 2015 regulation, known as the Clean Power Plan, as part of a broader effort to obliterate his predecessor’s efforts to make combating climate change a top government priority.

“In a copy of the proposed repeal, first reported by Bloomberg News, the EPA does not offer an alternative plan for regulating emissions of carbon dioxide, which the Supreme Court has ruled that the agency is obligated to do. Rather, the agency said it plans to seek public input on how best to cut emissions from natural-gas and coal-fired power plants.” –Brady Dennis (Trump administration will propose repealing Obama’s key effort to combat climate change – The Washington Post).

Half-way to Catastrophe — Global Hothouse Extinction to be Triggered by or Before 2100 Without Rapid Emissions Cuts

GR: It’s not all of humankind that is responsible for the great danger we face, It’s particular members of the species. The fossil fuel companies in America and Europe fooled most of us into thinking that unlimited coal and oil burning was safe. Are we just as guilty as Rex Tillerson and the other energy industry leaders who lied to us, or does our ignorance and gullibility make our behavior excusable? Perhaps. However, continuing to believe Rex Tillerson’s Exxon-Mobil deceit with so many scientists and independent voices calling out the warning is criminal negligence.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation at their meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Monday, April 16, 2012. Exxon is teaming up with Russian oil giant Rosneft to develop oil and natural gas fields in Russia and North America.The companies on Monday signed an agreement that was first announced in August.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Government Press Service)

Conservative climatologists such as Robert Scribbler have sought to avoid projecting alarmist images. However, in the article below Scribbler does not shy away from discussing the real possibility of human-caused mass extinction. We can still avoid our extinction, but if we fail to use our brains and heed the warnings of our scientists and thinkers, our punishment will be extreme.

Cholla Power Plant, Arizona. Photo by John Fowler.

 

Paul Beckwith recently reported that fossil fuel use appears to be rising instead of falling. Read his article to see what he discovered.

“Over recent years, concern about a coming hothouse mass extinction set off by human carbon emissions has been on the rise. Studies of Earth’s deep history reveal that at least 4 out of the 5 major mass extinctions occurred during both hothouse periods and during times when atmospheric and oceanic carbon spiked to much higher than normal ranges. Now a new scientific study reveals that we are have already emitted 50 percent of the carbon needed to set off such a major global catastrophe.

Fossil Fuel Burning = Race Toward a 6th Mass Extinction

“The primary driver of these events is rising atmospheric CO2 levels — often caused in the past by the emergence of masses of volcanoes or large flood basalt provinces. In the case of the worst mass extinction — the Permian — the Siberian flood basalts were thought to have injected magma into peat and coal formations which then injected a very large amount of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.

“Higher atmospheric and ocean carbon drove both environmental and geochemical changes — ultimately setting off hyperthermal temperature spikes and ocean anoxic events that were possibly assisted by methane hydrate releases and other climate and geophysical feedbacks. The net result of these events was major species die-offs in the ocean and, during the worst events, on land.

“Considering the fact that present human activities, primarily through fossil fuel burning, are releasing vast quantities of carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans at a rate never before seen in the geological past, it appears that the world is racing toward another major mass extinction. In the past, the location of this dangerous precipice was a bit murky. But a recent study in Science Advances attempts to better define the threshold at which the worst of the worst mass extinction events — set off by rising ocean and atmospheric carbon — occur.

310 Billion Tons Carbon Entering Ocean = Mass Extinction Threshold

“The study used a relatively easy to identify marker — ocean carbon uptake — in an attempt to identify a boundary limit at which such mass extinctions tend to occur. And the study found that when about 310 billion tons of carbon gets taken in by the oceans, a critical boundary is crossed and a global mass extinction event is likely to occur.

“Presently, human beings are dumping carbon into the atmosphere at an extremely high rate of around 11 billion tons per year. Today, about 2.6 billion tons per year of this carbon ends up in the ocean. In total, since 1850, humans have added about 155 billion tons of carbon to the Earth’s oceans — leaving us with about another 155 billion tons before Rothman’s (the study author) extinction threshold is crossed.” –Robert Scribbler (Continue reading and review the graphs: Half-way to Catastrophe — Global Hothouse Extinction to be Triggered by or Before 2100 Without Rapid Emissions Cuts.)| robertscribbler

These ‘Missing Charts’ Reveal That Fossil Fuel Use Is Still Increasing

CO2 – August 5, 2017

GR: Good news is beginning to overwhelm the bad. Countries, cities, and U. S. states are accelerating their efforts to cut CO2 emissions. Unlike the mouse who just wants a little milk to go with our cookie, however, we need much much more. The problem is that emission cuts haven’t begun. If emissions had slowed, the line in the chart at left would have begun to relax. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell if it’s changing. The material below indicates that it’s not.

I’m repeating portions of Barry Saxifrage’s article here to point out what’s really happening. We need to call on everyone to keep their commitments and make the cuts in emissions. If we can’t, we will be forcing our children and grandchildren to live in the dark future depicted here.

Final thought: For all those Trump supporters who accepted the idea that we had to leave the Paris Accord because we couldn’t trust other nations to keep their promises: You were right. But being right won’t save us. The world needs a leader, not a loaner off in the corner somewhere.

There are more charts in the original article. They reveal more details about the growth in fossil fuel use.

“To address the twin threats of climate change and ocean acidification, nearly every nation has promised to reduce fossil fuel burning.

“But so far, humanity keeps burning ever more. Last year we did it again, burning an all-time record amount.

“That’s according to data compiled from the latest “BP Statistical Review of World Energy.” This annual report is one of the most widely used and referenced around the world. It’s big and comprehensive with fifty pages, thirty-three spreadsheets and forty charts. The report highlights most of the important trends in global energy. Most. But one critical trend was nowhere to be found….

“Conspicuously absent was the basic statistic on fossil fuels that I, as a climate reporter, was looking for: how much fuel is the world burning each year? Such a simple question, and the answer tells one of the most important stories in the world: are we finally turning the corner on our fossil fuel dependency?

“To find that missing story, I needed to download and combine multiple BP data sheets, do the math, and then build my own charts to reveal the trends. Here (drumroll, please) are the “missing charts” and what they have to say to us…

The missing charts: how much carbon-polluting fuel is humanity burning?

“I built three charts using the compiled BP fossil fuel data. This first chart shows the total energy consumed from burning fossil fuels each year.

“As you can see, the amount we burn continues to rise. Last year humanity set another fossil fuel energy record of 11.4 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe). A decade ago we were at 10 Gtoe of energy. In 2000, we were at 8 Gtoe.

“There is certainly no sign in this chart of a turning point in our relationship to fossil fuels.

“My next chart uses the same BP data, but this time shows the annual increase from year to year:

“In 25 of the last 26 years, we burned more fossil fuels than the year before.

“The only year in the last quarter century with a decrease was 2009. That was caused by a sharp global recession. And within a year, that rare respite was wiped out by a massive surge that followed.

“Sadly, there is no sign of a turning point in this chart either.

“Take last year for example. The increase wasn’t particularly large, but it wasn’t particularly small either. In fact, it was right in line with the 1990s average. And the nineties certainly weren’t anyone’s idea of a retreat from burning fossil fuels. Nor were they a turning point in our fight against climate change or ocean acidification. The 1990s were business-as-usual.

“Finally, here’s a third view of the same BP data. This one illustrates fossil fuels’ share of all global energy. Turning point?

“What this chart says to me is that fossil fuels continue to absolutely dominate global energy consumption. Even a quarter century of global efforts to transition to safer energy sources was unable to make any meaningful dent in the dominance of fossil fuels.

“Together, these three “missing” charts of BP’s fossil fuel data — ever rising amounts; increasing every year; and maintaining uncontested dominance — paint a sobering picture of humanity’s lackluster response to the growing threat.

“As California Governor Jerry Brown lamented in a recent New York Times interview: “No nation or state is doing what they should be doing. This is damn serious, and most people are taking it far too lightly than the reality of the threat. You can’t do too much to sound the alarm because so far the response is not adequate to the challenge.” –Barry Saxifrage (Continue reading: These ‘missing charts’ may change the way you think about fossil fuel addiction | National Observer).

Go to the article for several more revealing charts and explanations.