I was so pleased to see President Obama's remarks today at Carnegie Mellon University. He said:
"But the only way the transition to clean energy will succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future – if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed. And the only way to do that is by finally putting a price on carbon pollution.
…The House of Representatives has already passed a comprehensive energy and climate bill, and there is currently a plan in the Senate – a plan that was developed with ideas from Democrats and Republicans – that would achieve the same goals. The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months. I will make the case for a clean energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done. The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century. We will not move back. America will move forward."
After three years of research, Eric Pooley’s new book, The Climate War, will be released today. The Climate War provides a behind-the-scenes look at the efforts to solve the climate crisis. I’m so impressed by the results of Eric’s work. Bill Clinton described the book this way, “Eric Pooley has written a riveting tale, the very first account of the epic American campaign to get serious about global warming.” Eric, the deputy editor of Bloomberg BusinessWeek, is an excellent journalist whom I have known for years. I really think that you’ll enjoy the book.
In 1962 Humble Oil, (now Exxon) ran this ad in Life Magazine:
The ad reads:
"EACH DAY HUMBLE SUPPLIES ENOUGH ENERGY TO MELT 7 MILLION TONS OF GLACIER!"
"This giant glacier has remained unmelted for centuries. Yet, the petroleum energy Humble supplies – if converted into heat – could melt it at the rate of 80 tons each second! To meet the nation’s growing needs for energy, Humble has supplied science to nature’s resources to become America’s Leading Energy Company. Working wonders with oil through research, Humble provides energy in many forms – to help heat our homes, power our transportation, and to furnish industry with a great variety of versatile chemicals. Stop at a Humble station for new Enco Extra gasoline, and see why the “Happy Motoring” Sign is the World’s First Choice!"
In the early 1970’s Humble Oil, was rebranded as Exxon Mobil. This is just one of the many additions to the updated slideshow I am delivering at a training today in Beijing, China.
These reports are deeply disturbing:
“When the operators of Southern Seaplane in Belle Chasse, La., called the local Coast Guard-Federal Aviation Administration command center for permission to fly over restricted airspace in Gulf of Mexico, they made what they thought was a simple and routine request.”
“A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied.”
This behavior is completely unacceptable. Access by reporters should be as unfettered as possible. This de facto form of censorship needs to stop.
From the Washington Post's "Post Carbon" Blog:
“This would have been the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau, the 20th century's iconic explorer and explainer of the sea. The timing is either perfect, or terrible: it falls in the middle of the country's worst marine disaster in memory.”
“In a telephone interview from Venice, La.--the town closest to the site of the leak on the gulf floor--Cousteau's grandson Philippe Cousteau Jr. said his grandfather would have been astounded by what's happened over the past 53 days.”
He "would look at this oil spill as I do and be horrified by our continued willful ignorance and arrogance that we can exploit nature, that we can maintain our dependence on fossil fuels, and that there [will be] no consequences," Philippe Cousteau said. "It's a frustrating time right now, because you have to wonder, when is enough enough?"
I applaud President Obama’s call for a comprehensive legislative solution to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil gusher is just the latest and most tragic reminder of the environmental, economic and human consequences of our addiction to oil and other dirty sources of energy. The President is right to focus on stopping the spill and working to limit, to the degree possible, its impact on the Gulf ecosystem. But ultimately the only way to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again is to fundamentally change how we power our economy. Placing a limit on global warming pollution and accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies is the only truly effective long-term solution to this crisis. Now it is time for the Senate to act. In the midst of the greatest environmental disaster in our country’s history, there is no excuse to do otherwise.
As the true cost of offshore drilling is exposed, the political benefit of supporting this reckless quest for oil is changing. According to Political Wire:
“In the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new Quinnipiac poll finds Florida voters now oppose increasing the amount of offshore oil drilling by a 51% to 42% margin -- a 48-point swing from the 66% to 27% support for drilling in an April survey.”
I don’t think "drill baby drill" will be a Republican chant this fall.
While atrocity occurring in the Gulf has dominated news coverage, oil spills happen around the globe nearly everyday. For example in Utah over the weekend:
“A leaked pipeline sent oil spilling into a Salt Lake City creek, coating geese and ducks and closing a park, officials said Saturday as they started a cleanup effort expected to last weeks.”
“At least 400 to 500 barrels of oil spewed into Red Butte Creek before crews capped the leak site. Nearly 50 gallons of crude oil per minute initially had spilled into the creek, according to Scott Freitag, a Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman.”
The price we are paying for oil (and coal) in terms of damage to air, water and wildlife is far too high. The millions of gallons being spewed into the gulf are a vivid illustration of the damage we are doing to the planet every day.
My op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal:
"There are several well understood advantages inherent in capitalism that make it superior to any other system for organizing economic activity. It has proven to be far more efficient in the allocation of resources and the matching of supply with demand, far more effective at wealth creation, and far more conducive to high levels of freedom and political self-governance. At the most basic level, however, capitalism has become the world's economic ideology of choice primarily because it demonstrably unlocks a higher fraction of the human potential with ubiquitous organic incentives that reward hard work, ingenuity and innovation."
"For these reasons and others, markets lie at the foundation of every successful economy. Yet the recent crisis in global markets (following other significant market dislocations in 1994, 1997, 1998 and in 2000-2001), has shaken the world's confidence in the way modern capitalism is now operating."
According to NOAA:
“The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for May, March-May (Northern Hemisphere spring-Southern Hemisphere autumn), and the period January-May according to NOAA. Worldwide average land surface temperature for May and March-May was the warmest on record while the global ocean surface temperatures for both May and March-May were second warmest on record, behind 1998.”
Every month we delay work, the planet continues to warm. The Senate needs to take action on the climate bill immediately.
This is a sad, yet unsurprising outcome of the spill in the Gulf:
“Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign.”
“The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily be devoured by predators.”
"A parallel would be: Why are the wildlife running to the edge of a forest on fire? There will be a lot of fish, sharks, turtles trying to get out of this water they detect is not suitable," said Larry Crowder, a Duke University marine biologist.
This weekend, I trained more than 650 volunteers with The Climate Project here in Nashville. I prepared an updated version of my slideshow, incorporating material from my latest book, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis and recent scientific findings. Since 2006, more than 7 million people have had the opportunity to see the slideshow. The Climate Project (TCP), a program of The Alliance for Climate Protection, supports the work of more than 3,400 volunteers in 56 countries around the world. TCP has nine official branches – Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, the U.K., the United States, and China. Presenters come from diverse backgrounds and include business leaders, professionals, educators, athletes, musicians, scientists, actors, religious leaders, students, and retirees. I was truly inspired by their continuing efforts to solve the climate crisis.
For more information, go to http://www.theclimateproject.org
That is the current cost of the Gulf clean up:
“BP says the cost of the company's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has reached about $2.65 billion."
"The company announced the updated total in a news release Monday. The costs include spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to Gulf states, claims paid, and federal costs.”