Category Archives: Environment

The Dangers Of Fracking Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Posted by Fullcouch on January 21, 2012, 10:45am

One of the Lefts religions: Pseudo-science. And the faith of the week is…
Fracking

Townhall – The science portal New Scientist reported yesterday that the much-publicized risks involved in the natural gas recovery method of “fracking” have been exaggerated according to British geologists.
“Frack away, there’s no reason not to,” writes New Scientist. “Two of the main objections to ‘fracking’”- [earthquakes and well-water contamination] – “have been blown out of proportion, according to British geologists… ‘We think the risk is pretty low,’ said Mike Stephenson, head of energy science at the British Geological Survey at a press briefing in London on Tuesday.”
Fracking involves boring into shale deposits with water, chemicals and particulates in order to open seams to allow the escape of natural gas, oil and other fossil gases for recovery as fuel. Huge new reserves of energy have been found in the US over the last decade that can only be recovered by fracking. These reserves have the potential to supply hundreds of years of energy for the US, meaning the country can import less energy from foreign sources, even if domestic sources are only partially developed. The discovery is a threat to liberals because it could upset the bedrock liberal scam that we have to ration everything, including energy.
As conservative George Will noted at the beginning of the year:
Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior.

Accordingly, liberals have been pushing for a ban on fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, because of supposed health and environmental risks the method poses. Those risks have been widely hyped via the liberals’ new scientific peer-reviewed media of the docu-drama.
Following the stunning success of Al Gore’s fictional docu-drama, An Inconvenient Truth, a movie about- gasp!- GLOBAL WARMING, a film that relied more on hyperbole than on hypothesis- one science site counted 35 scientific errors in the film before they got through the opening credits- liberals have made a cottage industry of creating pseudo-science through the media magic of the docu-drama.

Gassy liberal pseudo-science discovered

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Iran War Could End Life On Earth? CO2 Drops To #2

Posted by Fullcouch on January 20, 2012, 1:10pm

And all this time I thought it was CO2 that will could kill us.

Pakalert Press – A former American official has warned that the United States wants to blame Israel for Washington’s possible war on Iran that could end life on earth.
US warnings to Israel for not attacking Iran is to avoid responsibility for the war Washington has prepared, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts wrote in an article on Global Research.

“If the war gets out of hand, and if Russia and China intervene or nukes start flying, Washington wants the blame to rest on Israel, and Israel seems willing to accept the blame,” Craig Roberts said.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal said the US has privately sought assurances from Israeli leaders that they will not take military action against Iran. But the Israeli response has been noncommittal.

The US analyst also used a few examples to show that the White House has prepared for an all-out war against Iran.

“If Washington did not want war with Iran it would not have provided the necessary weapons to Israel. It would not have deployed thousands of US troops to Israel,” he argued.

“Washington would not have built a missile defense system for Israel and would not be conducting joint exercises with the Israeli military to make sure it works,” Craig Roberts added.

He said, “Washington won’t prevent the war that it so fervently desires. Neither will Washington’s NATO puppets.”

“‘Great’ Britain does as it is told, subservient and occupied Germany, bankrupt France, Italy occupied with US air bases with a government infiltrated by the CIA, bankrupt Spain and Greece will all, in hopes of an outpouring of US dollars and devoid of any dignity or honor, support the new war that could end life on earth,” Craig Roberts added.

Maybe this will bring R.E.M. out of retirement.

Could be the end of the world. What else is new?

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Fines For Not Using A Product That Doesn’t Exist – Life Imitates The Onion

Posted by Fullcouch on January 16, 2012, 1:30pm

They say life imitates the Onion. Here’s a perfect example. How do we know it’s true? Because it’s in the New York Times. (wink)

NYT – When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.

“It belies logic,” Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, said of the 2011 quota. And raising the quota for 2012 when there is no production makes even less sense, he said.

Penalizing the fuel suppliers demonstrates what happens when the federal government really, really wants something that technology is not ready to provide. In fact, while it may seem harsh that the Environmental Protection Agency is penalizing them for failing to do the impossible, the agency is being lenient by the standards of the law, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

The law, aimed at reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, its reliance on oil imported from hostile places and the export of dollars to pay for it, includes provisions to increase the efficiency of vehicles as well as incorporate renewable energy sources into gasoline and diesel.

It requires the use of three alternative fuels: car and truck fuel made from cellulose, diesel fuel made from biomass and fuel made from biological materials but with a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. Only the cellulosic fuel is commercially unavailable. As for meeting the quotas in the other categories, the refiners will not close their books until February and are not sure what will happen.

The goal set by the law for vehicle fuel from cellulose was 250 million gallons for 2011 and 500 million gallons for 2012. (These are small numbers relative to the American fuel market; the E.P.A. estimates that gasoline sales in 2012 will amount to about 135 billion gallons, and highway diesel, about 51 billion gallons.)

Even advocates of renewable fuel acknowledge that the refiners are at least partly correct in complaining about the penalties.

“From a taxpayer/consumer standpoint, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense that we would require blenders to pay fines or fees or whatever for stuff that literally isn’t available,” said Dennis V. McGinn, a retired vice admiral who serves on the American Council on Renewable Energy.

The standards for cellulosic fuel are part of an overall goal of having 36 billion gallons of biofuels incorporated annually by 2022. But substantial technical progress would be needed to meet that — and lately it has been hard to come by….

Companies fined for not using a product that doesn’t exist? Huh?

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Microbes, Not Enviromentalists Cleaned Up The Gulf of Mexico

Posted by Fullcouch on January 16, 2012, 7:30am

Whew! Another Doomsday scenario of the Left has been averted. The seas have stopped rising, we are not dead from Bird flu, there are more polar bears now than ever recorded, the SUN causes global warming, and most recently…..the Gulf of Mexico has cleaned ITSELF!

WSJ – A fortuitous combination of ravenous bacteria, ocean currents and local topography helped to rapidly purge the Gulf of Mexico of much of the oil and gas released in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, researchers reported on Monday.

WSJ’s Gautam Naik has details of study showing that more than 50 species of microbes consumed much of the oil and gas plume in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the 210 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

After spewing oil and gas for nearly three months, the BP PLC well was finally capped in mid-July 2010. Some 200,000 tons of methane gas and about 4.4 million barrels of petroleum spilled into the ocean. Given the enormity of the spill, many scientists predicted that a significant amount of the resulting chemical pollutants would likely persist in the region’s waterways for years.

According to a new federally funded study published Monday by the National Academy of Sciences, those scientists were wrong. By the end of September 2010, the vast underwater plume of methane, plus other gases, had all but disappeared. By the end of October, a significant amount of the underwater offshore oil—a complex substance made from thousands of compounds—had vanished as well.

“There was a lot of doomsday talk,” said microbiologist David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-author of the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But it turns out “the ocean harbors organisms that can handle a certain amount of input” in the form of oil and gas pollutants, he said.

A year ago, Dr. Valentine and other scientists published a paper describing how bacteria that feed on naturally occurring oil and gas leaks underwater had apparently devoured much of the toxic chemicals released in the BP spill. That federally funded study, published in the journal Science, triggered disbelief among other researchers who questioned whether microbes could gobble up that much gas and oil so quickly.

Dr. Valentine and colleagues have now used a computer model to explain just how that scenario might have played out, though some scientists remain skeptical.

It was an intricate challenge. The first step was to estimate the flow rate of the various hydrocarbons from the well over the 87 days that the spill continued. The researchers identified 26 classes of such chemicals; they then had to figure out which of these chemicals stayed in the deep plume that remained more than 3,000 feet underwater, and which ones rose up to the surface. For example, in the plume, certain chemicals dissolved completely in the water, including the methane gas, while some of the oil droplets were atomized and remained suspended in the water. A lot of the surface oil evaporated or washed up on Gulf shorelines.

Next, the scientists set about identifying the main species of oil-and-gas-eating bacteria that lived in the deep Gulf. They identified 52 main species of such microbes. The scientists also estimated how quickly the bacteria consumed oil and gas and how much the bacteria colonies grew.

The final step was to model the complex movement of the water in the Gulf to determine where the oil and gas—and the bacteria—got transported. Igor Mezic, a colleague of Dr. Valentine’s and also a co-author, had published a study in 2011 predicting where the BP oil slick had spread. That analysis included data from the U.S. Navy’s model of the Gulf’s ocean currents and observations of the water’s movements immediately after the spill and for several months after it ended.

The UC Santa Barbara researchers decided to marry their two computer models—the one about the spill-eating bacteria with the one capturing the movement of water. When they ran the joint model, they found that it helped to explain the puzzle of the rapidly vanishing oil spill.

The model showed that the topography in the Gulf had played a vital role. Because the Gulf is bounded on three sides by land—north, east and west—the water currents don’t flow in a single direction as in a river. Instead, the water sloshes around, back and forth, as if it were trapped in a washing machine.

An initial population of bacteria encountered the spill near the BP well, its population grew, and then it was swept away by the ocean currents. But when the water circled back—that washing-machine effect—it was already loaded with these hungry bacteria, which immediately went on the attack again, mopping up another round of hydrocarbons. These repeated forays over the BP well, by the ever-growing bacterial populations, sped up the rate at which the methane and offshore oil got devoured.

Dr. Valentine suggested that oil companies ought to ascertain the currents, water motion and native microbial community in the water before embarking on any major offshore drilling project. “Then, if there is an event, we’d be many steps ahead of understanding where the oil may go and what the environment’s response may be,” he said.

Ira Leifer, a petroleum geochemist also at UC Santa Barbara who co-wrote a rebuttal to the 2011 paper published in Science, said the latest study was limited because it was based on a computer model “which is only as good as the input or assumptions” on which it is based. He noted, for example, that the authors had neglected to include a discussion of whether the bacteria would run out of critical nutrients necessary for them to consume the oil and gas and reproduce.

The Gulf of Mexico is clean. Thanks to microbes.

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