I spent a few hours this morning reading about backroom deals that both major political parties do, some wikileaks cables, and let’s just say I was highly disillusioned by how closely politicians push the corporate agenda (in this case it was fossil fuels, shale fracking, natural gas etc, and how America has been trying to strongarm Europe into doing it too. It’s basically the Monsanto thing all over again, and it crosses party lines.) Luckily for us in NY State it’s illegal, but elsewhere there is a strong push for it. I like Bernie Sanders but I know he has no chance- still it’s nice to know someone like that is out there- although with time, I’m sure he’d be corrupted too.
In the future it will probably be some other issue that gets the limelight, there’s always something. The outlook on humanity as a whole is based on several different unrelated things however- I feel like nothing is permanent, no species can ever last forever. None has, although I wouldn’t be surprised if some insects and microbes survive until the Sun goes Red Giant and swallows the planet up. But on an intuitive level, I feel that the simpler the organism the more stable it is and the longer it will last. When creatures become extremely complex, much more can go wrong with them and I feel like they are much more sensitive to environmental changes going on around them (whether they are caused by their own doing or not.) Be it certain chemicals in our food that cause cancer, or overpopulation or climate change, or whatever. Look at it this way, weeds and insects become immune much more quickly to pesticides because of how rapidly these simple creatures evolve so we’ve had to move to more and more dangerous chemicals. The same is true of antibiotics.  Humanity cant match these little critters in how successful they are to adapting to the environment. Heck, lichens can survive right now on Mars as is! And when you think about the Fermi Paradox about why we haven’t detected signals from any intelligent species in space, there is the very real possibility that most of them go extinct before they reach that level of sophistication. Evolution eventually destroying the species that it created in the first place.
There’s also a more whimsical way of looking at it, although I’m not sure it’s all that whimsical. Let’s say we consider the planet as a conscious self-regulating creature. In certain times during Earth’s history, whenever one species dominated for a significant length of time, certain things happened to cause that species to go extinct. The dinosaurs died from a meteorite yes- but they were already on the rapid decline even before that- the meteorite was just the final push. And other mass extinctions before then. We have one ongoing right now that humanity is causing. But what if mass extinctions are the planet’s way of regulating itself so one species doesn’t dominate for too long without some sort of “kill switch” being activated? The reason being that dominance is the enemy of biodiversity, it causes the ecosystem to go out of balance and there may be processes in place to counterbalance that. It doesn’t have to be anything mysterious or paranormal, we could have something built into evolution to make it happen, because the same things that make a species thrive, when used to excess, make it overpopulate, tax resources and then go extinct. I also believe in the more complexity results in more fragility thing I mentioned earlier and that might go hand in hand. As an example, research is indicating that our high level of brain complexity is the reason Schizophrenia exists.
The solution (you didn’t think I’d exit on that depressing note did you? An injection of hope is always needed after this kind of discussion!)
The ONLY solution is to leave this planet and to colonize space. In this way, we will be breaking the chains that every other species has labored being confined by because none of them could ever leave (we think lol.) That is the only real answer. Earth’s population needs to stabilize anyway, but going to space is necessary if humanity is to survive. This goes well above and beyond any source of energy we might be consuming here. Based on Carl Sagan’s timescale, in less than 10,000 years we should have the know-how to construct traversable wormholes- we can only hope. I really like some of Caltech physicist Kip Thorne’s ideas regarding them, granted we will need to learn new physics and be able to combine relativity and quantum mechanics via quantum gravity before any of this happens. It’s nice to see scientists at NASA have been working on breakthrough physics projects for a few years now- hopefully they bear fruit. But well before then we can colonize space with existing technology and the technology of the near future. So here’s to onward and upward!
I researched it after hearing Clinton’s speech. Something like 5% of methane is released into the atmosphere according to the scientists at Cornell. A number of different groups did the studies, and 5% was the average of the numbers they came up with. Even the industry-sponsored groups agreed on this figure.
The methane being a 25x stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 has been known for a long time, it was just a matter of trying to figure out how much of it is being released into the atmosphere.
Natural gas is more environmentally friendly than coal in the sense that it causes less particulate pollution, but it has other drawbacks as stated above plus fracking has other problems (the large spike in minor earthquakes from injecting wastes back into the ground being another.)
I definitely would go back to nuclear, but I dont consider nuclear going “back.” Nuclear is a far more advanced and efficient solution than any fossil fuel or any other Industrial Age solution. I just wish we had controllable fusion already since it would beat fission any day.
It’s not going to be 5-8 billion years my friend! The sun will go through changes far before then that will cause all life on this planet to go extinct. We have at most one billion years. However- and I will say this- I think we will go extinct far before then because of humanity’s self destructive nature (ever wonder why we haven’t been contacted by alien intelligent life? Maybe all/most go extinct before they reach that level of technology. Complex lifeforms are far more fragile and sensitive to environmental pollutants like the pesticides we use than- ironically enough- the creatures we use them on causing us to use more and more dangerous pesticides. The same is true of antibiotics. They evolve immunity much more quickly, and I daresay microbes and some insects and plants will be around a lot longer than us- heck, lichens can survive on Mars right now as is.) The ONLY solution is to leave this planet and to colonize space. That is the only real answer. Earth’s population needs to stabilize anyway, but going to space is necessary if humanity is to survive. This goes well above and beyond any source of energy we might be consuming here. Based on Carl Sagan’s timescale, in less than 10,000 years we should have the know-how to construct traversable wormholes- we can only hope. I really like some of Caltech physicist Kip Thorne’s ideas regarding them, granted we will need to learn new physics and be able to combine relativity and quantum mechanics via quantum gravity before any of this happens. It’s nice to see scientists at NASA have been working on breakthrough physics projects for a few years now- hopefully they bear fruit. But well before then we can colonize space with existing technology and the technology of the near future. So here’s to onward and upward!
All of these issues we’re having really stem from overpopulation. There are just way too many people on the planet and that’s why we are seeing so much damage to the environment and all these changes including another mass extinction, specifically caused by humanity. I dont have any children and have zero plans to ever have any, and for the sake of the planet, I think it’s important for us to have some sort of population control process in effect within the next few decades. We saw this overpopulation issue coming decades ago. While we are confined to this planet, we really cant allow human population to keep growing like this. I’m sick and tired of all this light pollution, other forms of pollution, and everything else humanity has been doing to this planet in their short sighted greed or desire for personal gain and materialism. It’s either going to be us curbing our own overpopulation in a rational way, or the planet will do it for us, just like it’s done for every other species that has dominated the ecosystem and challenged biodiversity in the past.  The same processes that make a species thrive also lead to its extinction when taken to excess.  Nature is sheer genius!
All of these issues we’re having really stem from overpopulation. There are just way too many people on the planet and that’s why we are seeing so much damage to the environment and all these changes including another mass extinction, specifically caused by humanity. I dont have any children and have zero plans to ever have any, and for the sake of the planet, I think it’s important for us to have some sort of population control process in effect within the next few decades. We saw this overpopulation issue coming decades ago. While we are confined to this planet, we really cant allow human population to keep growing like this. I’m sick and tired of all this light pollution, other forms of pollution, and everything else humanity has been doing to this planet in their short sighted greed or desire for personal gain and materialism. It’s either going to be us curbing our own overpopulation in a rational way, or the planet will do it for us, just like it’s done for every other species that has dominated the ecosystem and challenged biodiversity in the past.  The same processes that make a species thrive also lead to its extinction when taken to excess.  Nature is sheer genius!
All of these issues we’re having really stem from overpopulation. There are just way too many people on the planet and that’s why we are seeing so much damage to the environment and all these changes including another mass extinction, specifically caused by humanity. I dont have any children and have zero plans to ever have any, and for the sake of the planet, I think it’s important for us to have some sort of population control process in effect within the next few decades. We saw this overpopulation issue coming decades ago. While we are confined to this planet, we really cant allow human population to keep growing like this. I’m sick and tired of all this light pollution, other forms of pollution, and everything else humanity has been doing to this planet in their short sighted greed or desire for personal gain and materialism. It’s either going to be us curbing our own overpopulation in a rational way, or the planet will do it for us, just like it’s done for every other species that has dominated the ecosystem and challenged biodiversity in the past.  The same processes that make a species thrive also lead to its extinction when taken to excess.  Nature is sheer genius!
I researched it after hearing Clinton’s speech. Something like 5% of methane is released into the atmosphere according to the scientists at Cornell. A number of different groups did the studies, and 5% was the average of the numbers they came up with. Even the industry-sponsored groups agreed on this figure.
The methane being a 25x stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 has been known for a long time, it was just a matter of trying to figure out how much of it is being released into the atmosphere.
Natural gas is more environmentally friendly than coal in the sense that it causes less particulate pollution, but it has other drawbacks as stated above plus fracking has other problems (the large spike in minor earthquakes from injecting wastes back into the ground being another.)
I definitely would go back to nuclear, but I dont consider nuclear going “back.” Nuclear is a far more advanced and efficient solution than any fossil fuel or any other Industrial Age solution. I just wish we had controllable fusion already since it would beat fission any day.
It’s not going to be 5-8 billion years my friend! The sun will go through changes far before then that will cause all life on this planet to go extinct. We have at most one billion years. However- and I will say this- I think we will go extinct far before then because of humanity’s self destructive nature (ever wonder why we haven’t been contacted by alien intelligent life? Maybe all/most go extinct before they reach that level of technology. Complex lifeforms are far more fragile and sensitive to environmental pollutants like the pesticides we use than- ironically enough- the creatures we use them on causing us to use more and more dangerous pesticides. The same is true of antibiotics. They evolve immunity much more quickly, and I daresay microbes and some insects and plants will be around a lot longer than us- heck, lichens can survive on Mars right now as is.) The ONLY solution is to leave this planet and to colonize space. That is the only real answer. Earth’s population needs to stabilize anyway, but going to space is necessary if humanity is to survive. This goes well above and beyond any source of energy we might be consuming here. Based on Carl Sagan’s timescale, in less than 10,000 years we should have the know-how to construct traversable wormholes- we can only hope. I really like some of Caltech physicist Kip Thorne’s ideas regarding them, granted we will need to learn new physics and be able to combine relativity and quantum mechanics via quantum gravity before any of this happens. It’s nice to see scientists at NASA have been working on breakthrough physics projects for a few years now- hopefully they bear fruit. But well before then we can colonize space with existing technology and the technology of the near future. So here’s to onward and upward!
All of these issues we’re having really stem from overpopulation. There are just way too many people on the planet and that’s why we are seeing so much damage to the environment and all these changes including another mass extinction, specifically caused by humanity. I dont have any children and have zero plans to ever have any, and for the sake of the planet, I think it’s important for us to have some sort of population control process in effect within the next few decades. We saw this overpopulation issue coming decades ago. While we are confined to this planet, we really cant allow human population to keep growing like this. I’m sick and tired of all this light pollution, other forms of pollution, and everything else humanity has been doing to this planet in their short sighted greed or desire for personal gain and materialism. It’s either going to be us curbing our own overpopulation in a rational way, or the planet will do it for us, just like it’s done for every other species that has dominated the ecosystem and challenged biodiversity in the past.  The same processes that make a species thrive also lead to its extinction when taken to excess.  Nature is sheer genius!
I spent a few hours this morning reading about backroom deals that both major political parties do, some wikileaks cables, and let’s just say I was highly disillusioned by how closely politicians push the corporate agenda (in this case it was fossil fuels, shale fracking, natural gas etc, and how America has been trying to strongarm Europe into doing it too. It’s basically the Monsanto thing all over again, and it crosses party lines.) Luckily for us in NY State it’s illegal, but elsewhere there is a strong push for it. I like Bernie Sanders but I know he has no chance- still it’s nice to know someone like that is out there- although with time, I’m sure he’d be corrupted too.
In the future it will probably be some other issue that gets the limelight, there’s always something. The outlook on humanity as a whole is based on several different unrelated things however- I feel like nothing is permanent, no species can ever last forever. None has, although I wouldn’t be surprised if some insects and microbes survive until the Sun goes Red Giant and swallows the planet up. But on an intuitive level, I feel that the simpler the organism the more stable it is and the longer it will last. When creatures become extremely complex, much more can go wrong with them and I feel like they are much more sensitive to environmental changes going on around them (whether they are caused by their own doing or not.) Be it certain chemicals in our food that cause cancer, or overpopulation or climate change, or whatever. Look at it this way, weeds and insects become immune much more quickly to pesticides because of how rapidly these simple creatures evolve so we’ve had to move to more and more dangerous chemicals. The same is true of antibiotics.  Humanity cant match these little critters in how successful they are to adapting to the environment. Heck, lichens can survive right now on Mars as is! And when you think about the Fermi Paradox about why we haven’t detected signals from any intelligent species in space, there is the very real possibility that most of them go extinct before they reach that level of sophistication. Evolution eventually destroying the species that it created in the first place.
There’s also a more whimsical way of looking at it, although I’m not sure it’s all that whimsical. Let’s say we consider the planet as a conscious self-regulating creature. In certain times during Earth’s history, whenever one species dominated for a significant length of time, certain things happened to cause that species to go extinct. The dinosaurs died from a meteorite yes- but they were already on the rapid decline even before that- the meteorite was just the final push. And other mass extinctions before then. We have one ongoing right now that humanity is causing. But what if mass extinctions are the planet’s way of regulating itself so one species doesn’t dominate for too long without some sort of “kill switch” being activated? The reason being that dominance is the enemy of biodiversity, it causes the ecosystem to go out of balance and there may be processes in place to counterbalance that. It doesn’t have to be anything mysterious or paranormal, we could have something built into evolution to make it happen, because the same things that make a species thrive, when used to excess, make it overpopulate, tax resources and then go extinct. I also believe in the more complexity results in more fragility thing I mentioned earlier and that might go hand in hand. As an example, research is indicating that our high level of brain complexity is the reason Schizophrenia exists.
The solution (you didn’t think I’d exit on that depressing note did you? An injection of hope is always needed after this kind of discussion!)
The ONLY solution is to leave this planet and to colonize space. In this way, we will be breaking the chains that every other species has labored being confined by because none of them could ever leave (we think lol.) That is the only real answer. Earth’s population needs to stabilize anyway, but going to space is necessary if humanity is to survive. This goes well above and beyond any source of energy we might be consuming here. Based on Carl Sagan’s timescale, in less than 10,000 years we should have the know-how to construct traversable wormholes- we can only hope. I really like some of Caltech physicist Kip Thorne’s ideas regarding them, granted we will need to learn new physics and be able to combine relativity and quantum mechanics via quantum gravity before any of this happens. It’s nice to see scientists at NASA have been working on breakthrough physics projects for a few years now- hopefully they bear fruit. But well before then we can colonize space with existing technology and the technology of the near future. So here’s to onward and upward!

Hillary Clinton Open to Fracking, Ignores Keystone XL

Anastasia Pantsios | December 2, 2014 10:30 am | Comments
Hillary Clinton, widely assumed to be planning another presidential run in 2016, spoke at a League on Conservation Voters (LCV) fundraiser in New York yesterday evening, displaying her usual cautious positioning and avoidance of anything that might be perceived as a leftwing pet project—such as the Keystone XLpipeline, which she failed to mention. Despite ongoing pressure from environmental groups, Clinton has consistently refused to address Keystone XL, saying she can’t comment while the pipeline is going through the approval process at the State Department, which she formerly headed.

HIllaryClintonPhoto credit: Shutterstock

Still, like many of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate who opposed the pipeline in the Nov. 18 vote pushed by embattled Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu to give her an edge in her Dec. 6 runoff election, Clinton has been actively helping to raise money for the avidly pro-pipeline Landrieu’s long-shot bid. Yesterday, prior to her LCV speech, she appeared at a fundraiser for Landrieu.
LCV president Gene Karpinksi dismissed Clinton’s enthusiastic support for Landrieu, saying they were “friends going way back.” He also told reporters after the event that “it’s not critical at this moment” for her to take a stand on it. And he praised her commitment to environmental issues.
“You saw her tonight, coming to our organization and really leaning in to this issue to make it clear how much she cares about it,” he said after the speech. “She’s always been committed on it, and she’s voted right very consistently, but with this audience, she’s now making whole comments and focusing on this.”
Since she was headlining a fundraiser for a major environmental group, of course that’s what she focused on. Clinton, who shared a table with NextGen Climate’s Tom Steyer as well as LCV board members, asserted that climate change is real and needs to be addressed—hardly radical positions. And she said she felt that it could be addressed without hampering the economy but urged a cautious transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.
In remarks very similar to those she made at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in September, she said, “The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say, sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting, storms, droughts and wildfires are wreaking havoc. The political challenges are also unforgiving, there is no getting around the fact the kind of ambitious response required to effectively combat climate change is going to be a tough sell at home and around the world at a time when so many countries including our own are grappling with slow growth and stretched budgets.”
“Our economy still runs primarily on fossil fuels and trying to change that will take strong leadership,” she said. “We do not have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.”
Referring to her speech as “resolutely vanilla,” The Guardian of London pointed out that she also gave a qualified thumbs-up tofracking, saying “Methane leaks in the production and transportation of natural gas pose a particularly troubling threat so it is crucial we put in place smart regulations and enforce them—including deciding not to drill when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high. If we are smart about this and put in place the right safeguards, natural gas can play an important bridge role in the transition to a cleaner energy economy.”
Julia Walsh of Frack Action also caught Clinton’s fracking statement. “At the League of Conservation Voters dinner last night in New York City, HillaryClinton said, ‘The science of climate change is unforgiving, no matter what the deniers may say.’ That’s correct and would be a laudable statement, except then she touted natural gas from fracking as a bridge fuel, which contradicts the very science she called unforgiving. Hillary can’t have it both ways: she can’t claim to be a climate champion and support fracking,” said Walsh on behalf ofNew Yorkers Against Fracking.
“On the other hand, Hillary noted the risks of expanding production of natural gas and even supporting prohibitions ‘when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high.’ Perhaps she sees the writing on the wall that Americans are rapidly opposing fracking, with national polls trending anti-fracking. But she can’t have it both ways, especially when the science overwhelmingly shows that the risks of fracking are way, way too high for anyone. New Yorkers have decisively demonstrated that they want a statewide ban on fracking, and increasingly, Americans are showing that they don’t want fracking anywhere,” concluded Walsh.
While in the Senate, Clinton was a a fairly reliable pro-environment voter though not an environmental superstar, with a lifetime score of 82 percent from LCV.
Hillary Clinton has offered mild criticism of the fracking boom that has spread across the US under Barack Obama’s presidency, drawing another small distinction with his administration.
Clinton, who has yet to declare she is seeking the presidency, kept the bulk of her speech to a League of Conservation Voters dinner in New York resolutely vanilla. But she did express concerns about the environmental costs associated with natural gas and went so far as to suggest there may be places where it was too dangerous to drill at all.
“I know many of us have serious concerns with the risks associated with the rapidly expanding production of natural gas,” Clinton told the crowd on Monday night.
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“Methane leaks in the production and transportation of natural gas pose a particularly troubling threat so it is crucial we put in place smart regulations and enforce them – including deciding not to drill when the risks to local communities, landscapes and ecosystems are just too high.”
Clinton’s comments were nowhere near as sharp as her critique of Obama’s foreign policy last August, when she bluntly said the administrationlacked a coherent strategy.
But they are significant because of Obama’s championship of an “all of the above” energy strategy – and because they suggest Clinton is trying to appeal to voters concerned about fracking.
Clinton’s speech was otherwise notable for the degree to which she avoid mentioning any controversial topics – much like her address to an energy conference in Nevada during the summer.
She made no mention of the Keystone XL pipeline – the most politically weighted decision awaiting Obama. She made no mention of Arctic drilling, or coal. She even avoided the word “fracking”.
But the distinction was evident. Over the years Obama has regularly boasted about the expansion of oil and gas production under his watch, due to fracking, much to the frustration of campaign groups.
The president even touted the expansion of natural gas during his milestone June 2013 speech on climate change.
Natural gas produces far greater greenhouse gas emissions than originally thought because of methane leaks.
Most environmental groups now dismiss the idea that natural gas could serve as a bridge to a clean energy future – as Obama once claimed, and as Clinton repeated on Monday
THIS ARTICLE SHOULD GIVE ENVIRONMENTALISTS NIGHTMARES
On the surface, this article looks like good news: Bernie publicly called out supposed climate champion Hillary Clinton on her total silence over the Keystone XL pipeline. That’s certainly as it ought to be. But it’s the occasion for Bernie’s remarks that’s crazily scary: Hillary’s pitching herself as a climate hawk–apparently with success–to a closed-door meeting of Congressional Democrats. But what’s scariest of all here is that NO ONE–not Bernie, not the article author, and certainly not the Congressional Democrats who lauded Hillary’s talk–mentioned the most relevant word for assessing Hillary’s climate policy: FRACKING.
Given Hillary’s global promotion of fracking at the State Department, who doubts for one second it will be the centerpiece of her energy and climate policy? What’s worrying is that Congressional Democrats seem oblivious to leading climate experts–most notably solid Democrat Joe Romm of Climate Progress–having called fracked natural gas a “bridge to nowhere” fossil fuel. Without understanding the HUGE difference between Clinton and Sanders on fracking (Bill McKibben sure does), Congressional Dems will simply think Clinton, the party leadership’s darling, is acceptable on climate and endorse her. We MUST find ways to counter this.
Here’s the article that deeply spooked me:
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