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Tar sands investor BP says their projected future of unlimited carbon pollution “is a wake-up call, not something any of us would like to see happening.”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 21-01-2011

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Guest blogger Andy Rowell of Oil Change International, in a WonkRoom cross-post.

We are on the path to climate chaos, Big Oil has admitted. Both BP and Exxon have conceded that progress on climate change is totally insufficient to stabilize CO2 emissions. Both oil companies have just published their Energy Outlooks, and the outlook looks grim.

In a bleak prognosis for success on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, BP admits in its new Energy Outlook 2030 report, which was published yesterday, that global CO2 emissions from energy will grow an average of 1.2 percent a year through 2030. In total, BP’s chief economist Christof Ruehl predicts “to the best of our knowledge,” CO2 emissions will rise by 27 percent over the next two decades, meaning an increase of about 33bn tons. All this does not bode well for climate change, with even Bob Dudley calling the scenarios a “wake-up call“:

I need to emphasize that this is a projection, not a proposition. It is our dispassionate view of what we believe is most likely to happen on the basis of the evidence. For example, we are not as optimistic as others about progress in reducing carbon emissions. But that doesn’t mean we oppose such progress. As you probably know, BP has a 15 year record of calling for more action from governments, including the wide application of a carbon price. Our base case assumes that countries continue to make some progress on addressing climate change, based on the current and expected level of political commitment. But overall, for me personally, it is a wake-up call, not something any of us would like to see happening.

BP’s estimate is just higher than ExxonMobil, which believes that CO2 emissions will increase by 25 percent in 20 years, which, according to John Vidal, writing in The Guardian, in effect dismisses “hopes that runaway climate change can be arrested and massive loss of life prevented.”

These projections by BP and Exxon scientists are even gloomier the projections of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which projectst that energy-related CO2 emissions will “grow by 16 percent from 2009 to 2035.” Exxon argues that oil will still be king in 2030:

In 2030, fossil fuels remain the predominant energy source, accounting for nearly 80 percent of demand. Oil still leads, but natural gas moves into second place on very strong growth of 1.8% a year on average, particularly because of its position as a favored fuel for power generation. Other energy types – particularly nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels – will grow sharply, albeit from a smaller base. Nuclear and renewable fuels will see strong growth, particularly in the power-generation sector. By 2030, about 40 percent of the world’s electricity will be generated by nuclear and renewable fuels.

BP too has demand for fossil fuels rising: BP’s “base case” — or most likely projection — points to primary energy use growing by nearly 40 percent over the next twenty years, with 93% of the growth coming from non-OECD countries. The BP report argues that world energy growth over the next twenty years is expected to be dominated by emerging economies such as China, India, Russia and Brazil. Natural gas is also expected to be the fastest growing fossil fuel, with coal and oil losing market share as fossil fuels as a whole experience a slow decline in growth, falling from 83 percent to 64 percent. Coal will increase by 1.2 percent per year and by 2030 it is likely to provide virtually as much energy as oil, excluding biofuels.

There is some good news that energy diversification will continue. Between 2010 to 2030 the contribution to energy growth of renewables (solar, wind, geothermal and biofuels) is seen to increase from 5 to 18 percent.

What oil there is left is predominantly under OPEC control. OPEC’s share of global oil production is set to increase to 46%, a position not seen since 1977, the decade that saw the cartel preside over a series of oil shocks and shortages. In fact, 75 percent of all growth in oil reserves over the next two decades is expected to come from OPEC nations, which include Kuwait, Iran, Angola, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria.

Andy Rowell writes for Oil Change International’s Price of Oil.

JR:  Of course as much as BP claims it would not like to see continued rapid growth in carbon pollution, the UK’s Independent reported last year, “Oil giant BP today signalled it would press on with a controversial Canadian tar sands project despite facing a showdown with environmental campaigners and shareholders.”

The tar sands are among the most carbon-intensive of replacements for conventional petroleum (see “Tar sands — Still dirty after all these years“):


X-axis is the range of potential resource in billions of barrels. Y-axis is grams of Carbon per MegaJoule of final fuel.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

Judicial Takings and Scalia’s Shifting Sands

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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By Ilya Shapiro

Last term, the Supreme Court decided what could end up being an important precedent for protecting property rights — even as the Court ruled unanimously against the property owners in that particular case!  How is this possible?  Read the new article by Cato legal associate Trevor Burrus and me, “Judicial Takings and Scalia’s Shifting Sands.”

Here’s the background:  Seeking to restore beaches damaged by hurricanes, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection began dredging sand from the Gulf of Mexico ocean floor and transporting it to Florida’s gulf coast. The expanded area of the beach became state property, depriving beachfront landowners of their littoral rights. In reviewing the landowners’ lawsuit against the state, the Florida Supreme Court (SCOFLA, if you remember your Bush v. Gore trivia) departed from long-established state law principles protecting littoral property rights and held that littoral rights are an ancillary concept subsumed by the right of access. In so doing, the court effectively discarded 100 years of property law and rewrote the definition of property.

The U.S. Supreme Court had never formally addressed whether state court rulings eliminating formerly established property rights can effect a taking, or violate an owner’s due process rights, under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Cato joined the National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center and the Pacific Legal Foundation on a brief supporting the landowners.

In June, Court finally decided Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  The decision waded through a jumbled mass of arcane waterfront law to reach a very simple and unanimous holding: the Florida Supreme Court did not subvert an existing property right to such an extent that its decision constituted a “judicial taking.”  The state won.  The property owners lost.  SCOFLA was vindicated.

Still, while all eight justices ultimately ruled for the state — Justice Stevens recused himself because his Florida property is subject to the renourishment program — six accepted the idea that judges can violate the Constitution by reinterpreting pre-existing property rights (albeit under two different theories), and the other two declined to reach the question.  Although the Stop the Beach Court found that SCOFLA had not departed from sufficiently established state property law to constitute a taking, the idea of a judicial taking — whether through the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause — is very much alive.

And that’s where our article in the Vermont Law Review picks up.  In this article, Trevor and I examine the background of the judicial takings doctrine, react to the Court’s decision here in light of Cato’s amicus brief, and contrast Justice Scalia’s views of Substantive Due Process as expressed in Stop the Beach with that in another high-profile case whose plurality opinion he joined, McDonald v. City of Chicago, to argue that the judicial takings doctrine is necessary to a robust constitutional protection of property rights.

Judicial Takings and Scalia’s Shifting Sands is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog

Cato @ Liberty

State Rep. Franklin Sands says potential Madoff clawback would be personally “catastrophic”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 03-01-2011

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Staff writers Lisa J. Huriash and Rafael A. Olmeda report:

The notice came to State Rep. Franklin Sands of Weston this month: You owe more than $ 2.6 million.

For South Florida philanthropist Michael Bienes and his former business partner Frank Avellino, the action came in the form of a federal lawsuit seeking more than $ 900 million.

Others who also withdrew more than they invested in Bernie Madoff’s $ 65 billion Ponzi scheme remain in fear they will soon be contacted by a bill collector seeking money they don’t have anymore.

“I will not pay it. They’ll have to put me in jail,” said Tamarac retiree Ralph Schwartz, 84, who invested $ 255,000, and now has nothing to show for his life savings. “Money was coming in every quarter. You didn’t realize this was a scam.”

Broward Politics

WikiLeaks reveals State Department discord over U.S. support for Canadian tar sands oil pipeline

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 31-12-2010

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Leaked cable warns of tar sands oil’s ‘higher environmental footprint’ as agency considers pipeline that would double U.S. dependence on it

Alex Moore and Kelly Trout of Friends of the Earth have the story in this repost.

A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed that a U.S. diplomat warned the Obama administration about significant environmental impacts stemming from Canada’s controversial tar sands oil production program.

The language in the cable contradicts recent statements by U.S. State Department officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that underplay the environmental impacts of tar sands oil while defending a proposed pipeline that would bring the extremely polluting oil from Canada to the U.S.

In the January 2009 cable, which was prepared for President Obama and Secretary Clinton in advance of the president’s first trip to Canada, the diplomat states that Canada has “keen sensitivity over the higher environmental footprint of oil from western Canada’s oil sands.” The diplomat goes on to warn the president that among Canadian officials there is “concern about the implications for Canada of your energetic calls to develop renewable energies and reduce our reliance on importehttps://southcapitolstreet.com/files/tag/sands/d_oil.__8221.css;

This candid admission of the impacts of tar sands oil production, which results in three times more global warming pollution than production of conventional oil, differs markedly from the description of tar sands oil given by the State Department in public documents.

In its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared to analyze the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would pump tar sands oil from Canada through six U.S. states to refineries in Texas, the State Department claims that tar sands oil is “similar” to other oils and that the impact of increasing reliance on tar sands oil “would be minor.” Despite the fact that her agency is still completing its final EIS, Secretary Clinton has stated that she is “inclined” to approve the pipeline.

“It’s hard to understand why State Department officials in Washington, D.C. would deny a problem acknowledged by the expert on the ground,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Tar sands oil production takes an unacceptable toll on the environment and public health and should not be supported by the U.S. government.”

Marcie Keever, legal director at Friends of the Earth, added, “It appears as though the State Department sought to deceive the American public about the environmental impacts of tar sands oil in conducting its draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Keystone XL pipeline. The department is required by law to fully evaluate potential environmental impacts, including the extreme levels of pollution produced by tar sands oil.”

“Failure to fully assess the environmental impacts of this tar sands oil pipeline would violate the National Environmental Policy Act and leave the agency vulnerable to litigation,” concluded Keever.

If approved by the Obama administration, the Keystone XL pipeline would pump 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil into the U.S. daily, doubling our country’s consumption of tar sands oil and leading to additional global warming emissions equal to adding more than 6 million new cars to U.S. roads.

The leaked cable warning of tar sands oil’s impact is available at: http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/01/09OTTAWA64.html

The State Department’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline is available at: http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov

More information about the Keystone XL pipeline is available at: http://www.foe.org/keystone-xl-pipeline

Friends of the Earth operates in 76 countries on campaigns that focus on clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

Avon’s Campaign Against the Oil Sands: All Form, No Substance.

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-12-2010

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Avon Products recent announcement that the firm wants to avoid using ‘high-carbon, high-impact fuels’ derived from the oil sands is yet another hit and run on America’s safest and most secure oil supplier. It is a disingenuous publicity stunt that misleads the public with false promises under false premises.

Avon’s latest so-called “environmental” campaign boils down to asking its transportation contractors to eliminate higher-carbon fuels with a special focus on Canada’s oil sands. Given Avon’s sudden distaste for petroleum products one might set the same standard in return for Avon.  To speak tangentially, when the dictionary definition of hypocrisy immediately springs to mind there may be a credibility problem; ‘feigning to be what one is not; especially the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion’.  Yes, we have a credibility problem.

This is a company that nets huge corporate profits from the sales of millions of reps who idle, drive and willingly gas-guzzle their way from neighborhood to neighborhood hocking petroleum based products. Perhaps when Avon rethinks one of their core business models, we can stop laughing in Alberta.

This rash of anti-oilsands actions (we aren’t officially allowed to use the term boycott at present)  rely on a set of specious arguments.  To begin there are the technicalities that Avon and these nouveaux-environmentally sensitive companies like Gap Inc., Timberland, Levi-Strauss, Lush (operating with the aide of misinformants such as ForestEthics) hope the unwitting public will miss or at least misunderstand.

There is no real or practical way for transporters to avoid using fuel from a refinery from any one particular source of crude oil.

This is because transport fuels (retail gasoline or diesel for large trucks) are not purchased directly from a refinery.  Transporters for the most part, purchase fuel like you and me – from gas stations. Crude oil and its products once refined are fungible, tradeable commodities.  Once crude is in the pipe, it is very difficult to know which portion of the supply was produced conventionally or unconventionally.

The only sure bet for Avon shippers to avoid oil sands derived products would be to not use petroleum products in transport at all, not to gas up from any company involved in oil sands (almost any oil major) or to not gas up in regions where oil sands products are refined. The latter would translate into Avon bowing out of markets in the Pacific, the Rockies, the Midwest, the East Coast and the Gulf Coast.

The argument that the oil sands are higher-carbon content is another red herring that the environmental lobby loves to overplay. It would be prudent, or at a minimum rational for Avon et al. to think about crude oil suppliers in the global context in which they operate. Behind Canada, the leading oil exporters to the USA are Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. None of these producers have greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards comparable to Alberta’s.  Oilsands producers have reduced GHG intensity by almost 40% since 1990. Hugo Chavez cannot make the same claim, nor would I surmise, does he care to.

Anti-oil sands movements fail to acknowledge that the crude oil slate into refineries is continually changing.  As the supply mix changes the carbon intensity of the fuel mix also changes. As lighter crude oil from the Middle East becomes scarcer, the imported oil to the United States will become heavier.  In addition, as conventional oil fields mature each additional barrel produced becomes more energy intensive.  When analyzed on a wells to wheels basis (i.e. full life cycle) the argument that oil sands derived fuels are higher-impact falls apart.

Finally, the notion that oil sands products are somehow less ethically appealing than crude oil from other regions is perhaps the most puzzling inference.  Given as true, then the question would become in what way are the social values of other oil producers more in line with Avon’s corporate values?  Does Avon support the robust state of democracy in Venezuela? How about Jonathan Goodluck’s idea of wealth redistribution in Nigeria? Perhaps the feminist movement in Saudi Arabia has gained a lot of traction of late. I must have been too busy snowshoeing and missed the progression of the movement.  Let’s get real. There is no other oil importing region to the United States with a more advanced system of civil liberties than Canada. We are the equivalent of whipping the dodge ball at the portly kid from closerange. We continually take it with the strained smile of an unwanted friend.

Avon and their counterparts concoct self-satisfying public relations spin in order to lull their customers into a false sense of social-consciousness.  Saying a lot and doing little is good for profits. This form over substance shtick is a common trick that easily fools the liberal. But while some companies prefer to launch meaningless campaigns others prefer to operate in a dimension called reality. To actually reduce environmental strain and simultaneously create these very often dismissed necessities called – jobs.

Unlike Avon the arguments on our side don’t require any ‘makeup’ to sound right.

Big Government

What James Cameron Can’t Tell You about the Oil Sands

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-11-2010

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When movie director James Cameron descended upon the Athabasca oil sands a while back, Albertans were subjected to the predictable but nonetheless aggravating media blitz of misinformation that occurs when a mega-star chooses a cause to elevate.

The elevation came in the form of a supercilious warning to put the brakes on the world’s second largest proved oil reserve. It could, he feared, become a curse if not properly managed. This revelation came upon reflection via a government sponsored helicopter tour and a token chat with a group of not-so disenfranchised First Nations peoples in the area. (In 2009, oil sands companies contracted more than $ 890 million for goods and services from Aboriginal owned businesses and employed 1600 Aboriginals in permanent jobs).

And with that, Mr. Cameron and the media were able to close the case on the oil sands, as Mr. Cameron purportedly had to jet. It’s not Mr. Cameron’s fault, completely. The oil complex is just that – complex. It’s not the kind of business one just picks up as a hobby horse. Sure, Cameron can regurgitate the technical terminology if he likes. It would be difficult for a techno-geek of titanic proportions to resist a sexy term like steam gravity assisted drainage (SAGD).

Here is where I suggest “putting the brakes on.” Perhaps a moratorium on incendiary statements by celebutantes or politicians a-la-Pelosi who are not able to, because of their lack of training, do the type of deep comprehensive assessment required for these matters.

There are a few facts that cannot be disputed and you will get those out of Mr. Cameron, the enviro-statist and their press sycophants. In this case it can be narrowed down to just two: the area containing the deposit and the size of the estimated reserves in Alberta. Then it’s down the rabbit hole we go.

Why It’s Time to Legalize Poker: David ‘Doc’ Sands on Gambling, Pot, and Freedom

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 29-09-2010

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Just a few years out of college and David “Doc” Sands has already racked up nearly $ 2.5 million winning poker tournaments, and this January he became the world’s top-ranked online tournament player.

Sands sat down with Reason.tv’s Ted Balaker to discuss Sand’s love of poker and individual liberty, the parallels between marijuana and gambling policy, and the hypocrisy embedded in America’s gambling laws. Says Sands, “At the same time they’re facilitating lotteries, they’re telling us that online poker is a game of chance that we shouldn’t be allowed to play.”

Approximately 9.12 minutes.

Interview by Ted Balaker. Shot by Alex Manning, Adam Jensen, and Paul Detrick. Edited by Manning.

Go to reason.tv for HD, iPod, and audio versions of this and all our videos, and subscribe to Reason.tv’s YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new content is posted.

Big Government

Trestles: Bridge To Surfing Heavens Succumbs To The Sands Of Time

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 31-08-2010

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Bridges have always struck mankind as engineering marvels since the days of the Roman aqueduct. Most of us have a love affair with bridges from our childhood whether it be the Brooklyn Bridge for Jewish and Italian immigrants writing about it in the 1950s to the days I spent in Oregon where the magnificent span of a Depression-era bridge arches over the Rogue River in Gold Beach. Every time the History Channel reruns its Modern Marvels segment on bridges, I enjoy watching.

The bridge of my childhood days was ugly, creosoted interconnected timbers simple known as the Trestles. To millions of Southern Californians youths growing up, it was the bridge to nirvana. Walking under that carpenter’s madhouse supporting trains that crossed between San Diego and Los Angeles was the gateway to the coast’s best surfing waves known as San Onofre.

It was such a surfing mecca the Beach Boys and other popular musicians of the day wrote lyrics about it.

I remember the Trestles as an escape from Marine sentries guarding their “private” property as we trespassed with our surfboards in a trek oftentimes more physically enduring than the surf had to offer.

To reach San Onofre, you had to park on Camp Pendleton Marine Corps land and scale rocks and boulders, broken glass, and whatever flotsam man discarded. The reward was on the ocean side of the Trestles — flat sandy beach, gorgeous rolling waves that feathered for eternities, and a close up and personal view of Los Coronados islands to the south and beautiful Catalina Island to the north.

I was what they called 86ed by Marine sentries many times and rejectedly returned to my beat up old ’56 Chevy. Their enforcement efforts were totally determined by how many complaints the base commandant received. Other times we could brave the paths for months and never see a Marine.

I’m told this cat and mouse game ended when San Onofre became a state beach and the California Coastal Commission guaranteed unobstructed access. I don’t know because I haven’t been back since my first years in college.

But the Trestles forever are fixed in my mind, probably more than the fantastic surfing because they were a symbol of exquisite childhood dreams.

What triggered these memories is a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Trestles are being torn down and replaced by a concrete bridge. The old girl was costing $ 250,000 annually to maintain.

About 45 trains a day cross the aging structure spanning the San Mateo Creek estuary, including Amtrak, Metrolink and the commercial freight line BNSF, the paper tells us.

Man, how times have changed. The $ 12 million project will take two years to construct from federal money in the Obama stimulus package, creating 150 jobs. I find that ironic for the only stimulus the Trestles ever received was euphoria walking under it to go surf.

Furthermore, there will be a timeout between February and September 2011 during the nesting season of the California Gnatcatcher and the Least Bell’s Vireo birds.

We surfers were the wrong species to deserve such respect.

(File photo by John Gastaldo/Union-Tribune)

Cross posted on The Remmers Report

Comments are welcome. Link to my blogsite or go to my email address at [email protected] . Remmers’ varied career spans 26 years in the newspaper business. Read a more thorough resume on The Remmers Report.

The Moderate Voice