Posts tagged Environment

Oil ship runs aground in Alaska

Oil ship runs aground in Alaska

Not that we ever said Shell’s ships were unfit for the water and that this was going to happen or anything…

A large drill ship belonging to the oil company Shell ran aground off Alaska on Monday night after drifting in stormy weather, company and government officials said.

The ship, the Kulluk, broke away from one of its tow lines on Monday afternoon and was driven, within hours, to rocks just off Kodiak Island, where it grounded at about 9pm Alaska time, officials said.

The 18-member crew had been evacuated by the coastguard late on Saturday because of risks from the ongoing storm.

With winds reported as reaching 60 miles an hour and Gulf of Alaska seas of up to 12 metres, responders were unable to keep the ship from grounding, said coastguard commander Shane Montoya, the leader of the incident command team.

“We are now entering into the salvage and possible spill-response phase of this event,” Montoya told a news conference late on Monday night in Anchorage.

There was no known spill and no reports of damage, but the Kulluk had about 155,000 gallons of fuel on board, Montoya said.

The grounding of the Kulluk, a conical, Arctic-class drill ship weighing nearly 28,000 gross tonnes, is a blow to Shell’s $4.5bn (£2.8bn) offshore programme in Alaska.

Shell’s plan to convert the area into a major new oil frontier has alarmed environmentalists and many Alaska Natives but excited industry supporters.

Environmentalists and Native opponents say the drilling programme threatens a fragile region that is already being battered by rapid climate change.

This week scientists announced that melting over the Greenland ice sheet is breaking records. But major media outlets seem to be turning a blind eye to that.

This week scientists announced that melting over the Greenland ice sheet is breaking records. But major media outlets seem to be turning a blind eye to that.

The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic
Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution.
CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further:Humans are almost entirely the cause.
Yes, yes, I know, the finding itself is “dog bites man.” What makes this “man bites dog” is thatMuller has been a skeptic of climate science, and the single biggest funder of this study is the “Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000).” The Kochs are the leading funder of climate disinformation in the world!
It gets better:
Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.
These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.

In short, a Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions!

The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic

Koch-Funded Study Finds ‘Global Warming Is Real’, ‘On The High End’ And ‘Essentially All’ Due To Carbon Pollution.

CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further:Humans are almost entirely the cause.

Yes, yes, I know, the finding itself is “dog bites man.” What makes this “man bites dog” is thatMuller has been a skeptic of climate science, and the single biggest funder of this study is the “Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000).” The Kochs are the leading funder of climate disinformation in the world!

It gets better:

Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.

In short, a Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions!

International Ship Pollution Rules Opposed By Alaska
Alaska has sued to block enforcement of rules intended to limit pollution from large ships, saying the rules will result in higher freight rates and pricier cruises that will hurt the state’s economy.
New rules set to take effect Aug. 1 will require that cargo carriers and cruise ships use a low-sulfur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores. While the rules, initiated by the U.S. and agreed to by dozens of other nations as part of an international treaty, affect much of the North American coast and Hawaii, officials in Alaska say they will have a disproportionate effect on the state and want to keep them from being enforced in waters off Alaska’s coast.
About 90 percent of the commodities entering Alaska are delivered through a single port — the Port of Anchorage — and many southeast Alaska communities rely heavily on revenues from the cruise trade to survive. The state, relying on industry estimates, said the rules could increase shipping costs to the state by 8 percent and cruise passenger costs up to $18 a day, potentially leading to a 15 percent decline in visitors. 

International Ship Pollution Rules Opposed By Alaska

Alaska has sued to block enforcement of rules intended to limit pollution from large ships, saying the rules will result in higher freight rates and pricier cruises that will hurt the state’s economy.

New rules set to take effect Aug. 1 will require that cargo carriers and cruise ships use a low-sulfur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. and Canadian shores. While the rules, initiated by the U.S. and agreed to by dozens of other nations as part of an international treaty, affect much of the North American coast and Hawaii, officials in Alaska say they will have a disproportionate effect on the state and want to keep them from being enforced in waters off Alaska’s coast.

About 90 percent of the commodities entering Alaska are delivered through a single port — the Port of Anchorage — and many southeast Alaska communities rely heavily on revenues from the cruise trade to survive. The state, relying on industry estimates, said the rules could increase shipping costs to the state by 8 percent and cruise passenger costs up to $18 a day, potentially leading to a 15 percent decline in visitors. 

Shell Loses Control Of Arctic Drilling Rig In Alaskan Harbor
Royal Dutch Shell’s preparedness to drill offshore in the harsh and remote Arctic Ocean this summer has been called into question by a series of recent events.
Over the weekend, the company’s drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, appears to have come dangerously close to running aground near Dutch Harbor, where Shell’s fleet has been assembled. The Noble Discoverer is one of two dozen ships Shell plans to send into some of the most challenging conditions on the planet. According to the US Coast Guard, the vessel slipped anchor and drifted within 100 yards off shore before being pulled back into deeper water by a Shell tugboat.
The incident immediately follows the Coast Guard’s refusal to certify Shell’s oil spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger, because of concerns about the fire protection system, wiring, and piping on the 37 year-old vessel. The Coast Guard also expressed doubts about the barge’s ability to withstand harsh Arctic storms. The containment barge is essential to the fleet as it is designed to deliver oil spill response equipment to the five drilling sites. Without it, Shell would not have access to the equipment necessary to contain an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. The fact that the company is experiencing problems with this equipment before even reaching the drill sites raises serious concerns about their contingency plan.

Shell Loses Control Of Arctic Drilling Rig In Alaskan Harbor

Royal Dutch Shell’s preparedness to drill offshore in the harsh and remote Arctic Ocean this summer has been called into question by a series of recent events.

Over the weekend, the company’s drilling rig, the Noble Discoverer, appears to have come dangerously close to running aground near Dutch Harbor, where Shell’s fleet has been assembled. The Noble Discoverer is one of two dozen ships Shell plans to send into some of the most challenging conditions on the planet. According to the US Coast Guard, the vessel slipped anchor and drifted within 100 yards off shore before being pulled back into deeper water by a Shell tugboat.

The incident immediately follows the Coast Guard’s refusal to certify Shell’s oil spill response barge, the Arctic Challenger, because of concerns about the fire protection system, wiring, and piping on the 37 year-old vessel. The Coast Guard also expressed doubts about the barge’s ability to withstand harsh Arctic storms. The containment barge is essential to the fleet as it is designed to deliver oil spill response equipment to the five drilling sites. Without it, Shell would not have access to the equipment necessary to contain an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. The fact that the company is experiencing problems with this equipment before even reaching the drill sites raises serious concerns about their contingency plan.

In 2011, Republicans voted 31 times to undermine Clean Water Act protections, including votes to strip EPA of authority to set water quality standards and enforce limits on industrial discharges; to repeal EPA’s authority to stop mountaintop removal mining disposal; and to block EPA from protecting headwaters and wetlands that flow into navigable waters.
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, report, “The Anti-Environment Record of the U.S. House of Representatives 112th Congress.” (via climateadaptation)
Environment America, “In the Path of the Storm,” finds that “federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 242 million people – or roughly four out of five Americans.” Global warming pollution has already made extreme weather like intense precipitation, heat waves, and floods more likely, with much greater changes projected in the decades to come. The analysis also reveals that Oklahoma, home of climate denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), is ground zero for climate disasters in the United States.

Environment America, “In the Path of the Storm,” finds that “federally declared weather-related disasters in the United States have affected counties housing 242 million people – or roughly four out of five Americans.” Global warming pollution has already made extreme weather like intense precipitation, heat waves, and floods more likely, with much greater changes projected in the decades to come. The analysis also reveals that Oklahoma, home of climate denier Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), is ground zero for climate disasters in the United States.