Switching to clean energy will take a massive social change

Global climate change, driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, is already affecting the planet, with more heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and floods, and accelerating sea-level rise.

Devastating impacts on our environment, health, social justice, food production, coastal city infrastructure and economies cannot be avoided if we maintain a slow and steady transition to a zero-carbon society.

According to Stefan Rahmstorf, Head of Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, we need an emergency response.

A big part of this response needs to be transforming the energy sector, the principal contributor to global warming in Australia and many other developed countries.

Many groups have put forward ideas to transition the energy sector away from carbon. But what are the key ingredients?

Technology is the easy bit
At first glance the solution appears straightforward. Most of the technologies and skills we need – renewable energy, energy efficiency, a new transmission line, railways, cycleways, urban design – are commercially available and affordable. In theory these could be scaled up rapidly.

But in practice there are several big, non-technical barriers. These include politics dominated by vested interests, culture, and institutions (organizational structures, laws, and regulations).Greenpeace activists demonstrating

Vested interests include the fossil fuel industry, electricity sector, aluminum smelting, concrete, steel and motor vehicles. Governments that receive taxation revenue and political donations from vested interests are reluctant to act effectively.

To overcome this barrier, we need strong and growing pressure from the climate action movement.

There are numerous examples of nonviolent social change movements the climate movement can learn from. Examples include the Indian freedom struggle led by Gandhi; the African-American civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr; the Philippine People Power Revolution; and the unsuccessful Burmese uprising of 1988-90.

Several authors, including Australian climate scientist Matthew England, point out that nations made rapid socioeconomic changes during wartime and that such an approach could be relevant to rapid climate mitigation.

Learning from war
UNSW PhD candidate Laurence Delina has investigated the rapid, large, socio-economic changes made by several countries just before and during World War 2.

He found that we can learn from wartime experience in changing the labor force and finance.

However, he also pointed out the limitations of the wartime metaphor for rapid climate mitigation:

  • Governments may need extraordinary emergency powers to implement rapid mitigation, but these are unlikely to be invoked unless there is support from a large majority of the electorate.
  • While such support is almost guaranteed when a country is engaged in a defensive war, it seems unlikely for climate action in countries with powerful vested interests in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Vested interests and genuinely concerned people will exert pressure on governments to direct their policies and resources predominantly towards adaptation measures such as sea walls, and dangerous quick fixes such as geoengineering. While adaptation must not be neglected, mitigation, especially by transforming the energy sector, should be primary.

Unfortunately it’s much easier to make war than to address the global climate crisis rapidly and effectively. Indeed many governments of “democratic” countries, including Australia, make war without parliamentary approval.

Follow the leaders!

According to Climate Action Tracker, the 158 climate pledges submitted to the United Nations by December 8 2015 would result in around 2.7℃ of warming in 2100 – and that’s provided that all governments meet their pledge.

Nevertheless, inspiring case studies from individual countries, states and cities could lead the way to a better global outcome.

Greenpeace activists fly a hot air balloon depicting the globe next to the Eiffel Tower ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference COP21Iceland, with its huge hydroelectric and geothermal resources, already has 100% renewable electricity and 87% renewable heat.

Denmark, with no hydro, is on track to achieve its target of 100% renewable electricity and heat by 2035.

Germany, with modest hydro, is heading for at least 80% renewable electricity by 2050, but is behind with its renewable heat and transport programs.

It’s easier for small regions to reach 100% renewable electricity, provided that they trade electricity with their neighbors. The north German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein are generating more than 100% net of their electricity from renewables.

The Australian Capital Territory is on track to achieve its 100% renewable electricity target by 2020. There are also many towns and cities on programs towards the 100% goal.

If the climate action movement can build its strength and influence, it may be possible for the state of Tasmania to achieve 100% renewable energy (electricity, heat and transport) and for South Australia to reach 100% renewable electricity, both within a decade.

But the eastern mainland states, which depend heavily on coal for electricity, will need to build new renewable energy manufacturing industries and to train a labor force that includes many more highly trained engineers, electricians, systems designers, IT specialists and plumbers, among others.

Changes will be needed to the National Electricity Market rules, or at least to rewrite the National Electricity Objective to highlight renewable energy, a slow task that must obtain the agreement of federal, state and territory governments.

Australia has the advantage of huge renewable energy resources, sufficient to create a substantial export industry, but the disadvantage of a declining manufacturing sector.

There are already substantial job opportunities in renewable energy, both globally and in Australia. These can be further expanded by manufacturing components of the technologies, especially those that are expensive to ship between continents, such as large wind turbine blades, bulk insulation and big mirrors.

Chinese solar power on the waterTransport will take longer to transform than electricity generation and heat. Electric vehicle manufacturing is in the early stage of expansion and rail transport infrastructure cannot be built overnight, especially in car-dependent cities.

For air transport and long-distance road transport, the only short-term solution is biofuels, which have environmental and resource constraints.

How long would it take?
The timescale for the transition to 100% renewable energy – electricity, heat and transport – depends on each country or region and the commitment of its governments.

Scenario studies (see also here), while valuable for exploring technological strategies for change, are not predictions. Their results depend upon assumptions about the non-technical strategies I have discussed. They cannot predict the timing of changes.

Governments need to agree on a strategy for transitioning that focuses not just on the energy sector, but includes industry, technology, labor, financial institutions, governance and the community.

Everyone should be included in developing this process, apart from dyed-in-the-wool vested interests. This process could draw upon the strengths of the former Ecologically Sustainable Development process while avoiding its shortcomings.

The task is by no means easy. What we need is a strategic plan and to implement it rapidly.

 

Written by Mark Diesendorf for The Conversation

Mark Diesendorf for The Conversation

Shanxi province in China attempts to save coal industry by sacrificing environment and people.

Children must suffer with the pollution from the Changzhi, Shanxi province coal mines

 

Environmentalists warn that Shanxi’s fight to save its ailing coal industry by handing out tax cuts will increase pollution, damage the environment and hurt it’s people.

 

The centre of China’s coal industry is in steep decline. Shanxi province, in northern China, has long relied on its natural coal resources, but is now suffering from a drop in domestic demand amid China’s economic downturn. Coal prices have plunged to their lowest level in four years.
Continue Reading This Post

Here are TEN energy sources you can expect to see powering our future.

 

From Biofuel and Algae to Flying Wind Turbines and Nuclear Waste, learn about some really brilliant methods for powering our vehicles our homes, our cities and even our planet. Which one is your favorite? Would you like to see one of these powering your city?

#biofuels #hydrogen #nucleasrfusion #windfarms #solar #nuclearwaste #geothermal #algae #tidalpower #flyingwindturbines

Toyota Unveils ‘Game Changer’ Hydrogen-Powered Car!

The Toyota Mirai (From mirai (未来), Japanese for “future”) is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, one of the first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to be sold commercially.

Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cycle, the 2016 model year Mirai has a total range of 502 km (312 mi) on a full tank, with a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 66 mpg-US (3.6 L/100 km; 79 mpg-imp) equivalent(MPG-equivalent), making the Mirai the most fuel efficient hydrogen fuel cell vehicle rated by the EPA, and the one with the largest range.

 

https://ssl.toyota.com/mirai/

 

 

Neat commercial for the Sinclair C5, one of the first hybrid electric micro cars.

Sinclair C5 Hydro Electric vehicle

 

 

The Sinclair C5 was one of the first hybrid electric micro cars. It was called an electric tricycle at the time. This allowed it to be marketed as a vehicle that can be driven on the sidewalks by anyone over the age of 14 without a license or insurance. It is similar to the Wycycle (see video). However, the early Wycyclles did not have pedals for moving. And the Wycycle could be folded up and had a top to cover the person. What may be interesting is to see a kind of C5 Wycycle which embraces the latest technology for achieving strenght, weight reduction, motor power and energy efficiency, along with latest battery technology (such as lithium polymer batteries).

Wood gas generator, gasifier gasification from The Colony

If you watched The Colony season 1 from the Discovery Channel you will remember that they powered a small engine from the fumes of heated wood.  Is it possible? what’s your opinion?

In this video, John the scientist explains how he is going to create a gassifier. skip to 7:39 if you like.

PART ONE

PART TWO

 

This is the video of their first attempt.  Not enough heat and the container is too large:

I have not found the video of the working gasifier yet, it is on youtube somewhere, I will find and post it here right away.

 

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COMMENTS:

Junior Member

 
One of the reasons why I like the show is that it gives me some idea how to construct stuff in case of a real emergency like the wood gas generator made out of a 5 gallon gas can tossed into a fire. 

However, after doing some research, that couldn’t have possibly worked. The gasses produced by such a device are just the volitile wood compounds like tar and would quickly be sucked out of the can. You could torch it like was shown, but after that, it is just a charcoal maker and you couldn’t run an engine on it for any length of time.

Interestingly, the web site shows a real FEMA design styled downdraft wood gas generator that would have worked and must have been what they were really using. I am disapointed that they showed a completely unworkable gas generator in the show, yet had a real generator on hand. In a real emergency, what they showed was useless and I would have rather seen a demonstration of something that actually worked. Maybe they couldn’t build a real generator in a day, so they showed the unworkable one.

Another thing that was strange to the point of irresponsible was showing the use of engines in an indoor environment. That is an instant recipe for carbon monoxide poisoning and I am surprised the producers wouldn’t have at least put in a mention of how dangerous that is. They shouldn’t have been worried about their gas generator blowing up, they should have been more worried about gassing themselves since wood gas is largely composed of deadly carbon monoxide.

I am wondering how much of the other stuff they show wouldn’t actually work.
 
Registered: 09-03-09 Reply With Quote

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You can’t call John C. a liar. He has too much integrity.

In John C.’s blog, he writes:

"I remember how absolutely amazed I was that we were actually making electricity out of wood fumes.. .. I hope the sense of ‘can that really be working ..?!?!’ came through. For those who are wondering.. we got about 3 hours of generation from every charge of wood. .. which was sufficient to top off our batteries. One thing I really loved about the show was that everything they showed that worked.. actually worked.. if it didn’t work.. they’d show that it didn’t work.. That was really important to me."

John also talks about the gassifier in a podcast. I had kind of wondered if he had read up on gassifiers before the show to prepare himself, but actually he had heard about them in his younger days in Austria, listening to two old women talking about using a gassifier for a car, I think during World War II. My recollection is hazy, but as I recall, the interviewer asks, "Wouldn’t the tar gum up the engine?" And John C. says yes, for extended use you’d need filters, declining to say more, explaining that we’ll just have to watch and see what happens.
 
Registered: 09-02-09 Reply With Quote

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Well, with respect, before you someone a liar you should seriously know the facts.

As to gas powered engines and carbon monoxide in a building. Buildings all over this country are running gas powered engines indoors!

Ever been in a factory? As long as the air quality remains within approved margins, they’ll run lift trucks and semis right past you…indoors.
 
Registered: 07-29-09 Reply With Quote

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plus that plaace is drafty (full of air holes) and very tall ceillings.
 
Registered: 08-04-09 Reply With Quote

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if i remember correctly there was an open window just above the generator where the fuel tube came in
 
Registered: 08-12-09 Reply With Quote

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FEMA’s design will pump out tar if not properly sized to the motor. Myself,I was actually surprised that they didn’t use a filter. without a constructed filter for the engine it will tar up something fierce.
Also to be considered, the distance traveled by the hose at an up grade may have been enough to keep the tar flowing backwards to the gasifier.
Where it would be consumed.
The 5 gallon unit will run an engine. It’s just not a sophisticated as other updraft / downdraft designs. Also before you decry any design, you might look around on the web and find that some folks who have built the fema design can’t get their gas to light/flare.
 
Registered: 09-14-09 Reply With Quote

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tar build up also depends on the type of wood used. 
now a cord of pine will produce 15X the amount of tar a cord of oak will make. 
most of what they are useing are oak pallets.
 
Registered: 02-25-07 Reply With Quote

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You can’t see or smell Carbon Monoxide. The only way to be sure that it’s a safe is to use a gas detector. I certainly hope there was at least one being used off camera at all times. 

CO builds up in the blood stream in such a way that exposure to even small amounts over time can cause problems. OSHA recommends exposure to no more than 50PPM continuously over 8 hours. 800 PPM can kill you in 2 hours.
 
Registered: 01-09-08 Reply With Quote

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Ya’ll better look up more info on wood gas.

The exhaust from a small engine running it is—-?
It’s definitely not the same as running the engine on gas, diesel, or propane.

The gas from the gasifier is more dangerous than the exhaust from the engine.
Hence they operate the dangerous part outside and run the generator engine indoors.
In a large building like they have, You could operate more engines and also not worry about the smoke from the cook barrel.

I’ll repeat that again…there is more CO and CO2 from the gasifier direct than from the exhaust of the engine it’s running…Look it up.
 
Registered: 09-14-09 Reply With Quote

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You just can’t know for sure it’s safe without a detector. You can guess, like when John C. drank the ozonated water, but you don’t know for sure. All I’m saying is that if I were the insurance company behind the show, I’d want gas detectors in the building.
 
Registered: 01-09-08 Reply With Quote

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Running small engines in a shop this size is a not an issue. Running big diesels would be, even with the doors open. 
I question the design/size of the gasifier.
The engine on the old Ford is 460-507 ci, with that big pump sucking in the gas, the fire box is going to be more like a blast furnace! What they were using for the genny was fine for a 100 cc engine but for the truck it would need to be closer in size to that of a small steam Loco to run the truck,especially with the load of passengers,cargo, wood and added body. 
I wouldn’t want to think about adding climbing a grade like Grapevine or Cajon Pass. Wouldn’t do it, period.
 
Registered: 09-03-09 Reply With Quote

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quote:
You just can’t know for sure it’s safe without a detector. You can guess, like when John C. drank the ozonated water, but you don’t know for sure. All I’m saying is that if I were the insurance company behind the show, I’d want gas detectors in the building.


After a disaster, a detector is a bird or just someone in your crew that no one likes.
I can’t help you understand that you are worried about one small engine in a building that would see the operation of several forklift engines in the course of a normal day.
The volume of the building is very large…In a situation such as the colony…I would have set you out on the curb and locked the door already.
The one thing that drives me nuts about the show . Is they portray every situation dramatically. Totally inaccurate. There is no time for drama in a do it now situation. Fact is there is no time for the chalk board discussions… I find them hilarious. Still need a CO detector. For realism, Use a Leetle bird in a leetle cage and hang the cage near the exhaust of the genset. ****I know for sure you didn’t look up the stats for emissions from engines operated by wood gas.

 
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Since birds are kind of hard to catch, I would say they shouldn’t have eaten all the rats, one could’ve been their "canary in the coal mine"
 
Registered: 08-05-09 Reply With Quote

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quote:
Originally posted by Dieseldog13:
Running small engines in a shop this size is a not an issue. Running big diesels would be, even with the doors open. 
I question the design/size of the gasifier.
The engine on the old Ford is 460-507 ci, with that big pump sucking in the gas, the fire box is going to be more like a blast furnace! What they were using for the genny was fine for a 100 cc engine but for the truck it would need to be closer in size to that of a small steam Loco to run the truck,especially with the load of passengers,cargo, wood and added body. 
I wouldn’t want to think about adding climbing a grade like Grapevine or Cajon Pass. Wouldn’t do it, period.


The gassifier required would be about 16-18 inches at the grate.with about 70 lbs of fuel in the hopper. going by the 460. that would fit in a 50-70 gallon water heater tank.
The engine will have to be operated at higher revs around 3 k and I hope its a standard to get the max outa the wood gas. They develop around 70% of the horsepower that gas does @ a rate of 1-1.5 pounds of wood to the gallon of regular gas, so that equates to about one gear lower for climbing hills. now they are gonna need several hundred pounds of fuel to make the trip in a 9 mpg(?) truck. That trucks gonna need some serious filters to keep from Gooing up the motor on the trip. I can’t wait to see how they did it.

 
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I’m also interested in seeing how it works out. If if it slow, even almost walking speed, that truck can carry a lot more weight than they could possibly carry, the biggest question I would have would be range…..better take an axe and stop to "refuel".
 
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John V. stated a range of 150 miles.

I do suspect that tar will play a role in the finale. Even if they remember to use a filter on the truck’s gassifier, the filter is going to gunk up, so they better remember to bring spare filters.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Maiklas3000:
John V. stated a range of 150 miles.

I do suspect that tar will play a role in the finale. Even if they remember to use a filter on the truck’s gassifier, the filter is going to gunk up, so they better remember to bring spare filters.



Design often conflicts with reality. If it was designed and manufactured in better circumstances from non-scavenged parts, I’d be more prone to believe it would make it that far. As it is, regardless of how far it goes, it will carry a great deal of weight much farther than the colonists could ever hope to carry it on-foot. I personally think the idea is pretty ingenious.

 
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quote:
Originally posted by RedLeg_1_7:

quote:
Originally posted by Maiklas3000:
John V. stated a range of 150 miles.

I do suspect that tar will play a role in the finale. Even if they remember to use a filter on the truck’s gassifier, the filter is going to gunk up, so they better remember to bring spare filters.



Design often conflicts with reality. If it was designed and manufactured in better circumstances from non-scavenged parts, I’d be more prone to believe it would make it that far. As it is, regardless of how far it goes, it will carry a great deal of weight much farther than the colonists could ever hope to carry it on-foot. I personally think the idea is pretty ingenious.



There are some wood gas groups on the web.
And I have been playing with the idea since gas went to 2 bucks a gallon.
Right now I’m planning a conversion to my jeep.

To answer several of the questions:
Yes the filter is gonna gunk up but can be burnt in the gas reactor as fuel…filters can be constructed from fuel for the gassifier. such as wood chips or straw. some folks use two filters the first of combustible material to catch tar and a fiberglass one to catch dirt.

Better carry all the dry fuel they can because the process works best on dry fuel. fuel also can be the charcoal they made with the small unit.

Scavenged parts: most of the gassifiers running the roads in America today are from scavenged materials. The reaction does not depend on what you construct them from, It is rather how you construct it.You have to keep air out of certain areas of the system.

Engine size: The bigger the better as the engines ability to vacuum or suck the gas improves with size.

Top speed: Similar to its gas engine counterpart. Difference being, long wind up to speed and having to climb hills in a lower gear.
The truck they are using should top out at about sixty.

The main components are:
Gassifier/reactor vessel.
Cyclone or settling tank.
at least one filter with medium to catch tar and dirt. a properly constructed system produces very little tar.
blower to prime the system.
flare tube to check the quality of the gas. Produced gas is flared before turning off the flare and opening the system to the engine.
cooling apparatus
Misc piping
mixing valve to control fuel air ratio to engine.

It is tricky to do but I expect them to be able to make it work well.

 
Registered: 09-14-09 Reply With Quote

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quote:
Originally posted by Elderdragon:

quote:
Originally posted by RedLeg_1_7:

quote:
Originally posted by Maiklas3000:
John V. stated a range of 150 miles.

I do suspect that tar will play a role in the finale. Even if they remember to use a filter on the truck’s gassifier, the filter is going to gunk up, so they better remember to bring spare filters.



Design often conflicts with reality. If it was designed and manufactured in better circumstances from non-scavenged parts, I’d be more prone to believe it would make it that far. As it is, regardless of how far it goes, it will carry a great deal of weight much farther than the colonists could ever hope to carry it on-foot. I personally think the idea is pretty ingenious.


It is tricky to do but I expect them to be able to make it work well.


Interesting. In the last 5-6 weeks since mike and john got the truck running we’ve yet to see it move under it’s own power. The driveline is untested. What is the Tranny? 5 speed? Does it have a 2 speed split rear? What about brakes?
I drove a few gas jobs back in the day and with good HO fuel you could get out and walk faster.
The after cooler will help but with a fire in a
moving truck there are just too many variables.
In my PAW I would find heavy cylinders of CNG.

 
Registered: 09-03-09 Reply With Quote

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quote:
Originally posted by Maiklas3000:
John V. stated a range of 150 miles.

I do suspect that tar will play a role in the finale. Even if they remember to use a filter on the truck’s gassifier, the filter is going to gunk up, so they better remember to bring spare filters.


150 miles in what direction? South is none/light grades. North is 6% grade unless you run 101 along the coast.(my choice) Canyon brush would burn hot and fast, as we so often see with the wild fires.

Barataria Bay Oil Spill, Tugboat collision causes 20 foot tall geyser!

Oil spewing into air at Plaquemines Parish After Being Hit By Tugboat

NEW ORLEANS – (AP) Oil is spewing from a damaged well north of a bay where officials have been fighting the spill from the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Coast Guard says a tow boat called Pere Ana C. hit the wellhead near Mud Lake early Tuesday. No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard did not know who owns the small well or how much oil has leaked. But a sheen has been spotted in the lake. Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts says oil is spewing from the wellhead.

Coast Guard Lt. Brian Sattler says a helicopter has been dispatched to survey the area, which is accessible only by boat.

Mud Lake is part of a network of bayous and lakes north of Barataria Bay, an ecologically sensitive coastal estuary where authorities have been fighting waves of oil from the Gulf spill.  See photos below of the leak, click to enlarge photos.

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Oil spews from a wellhead in Barataria Bay on the coast of Louisiana after it was struck by a tugboat, Tuesday, July 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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India Oil Spill, Chitra & Khalijia Collide! (photos)

MUMBAI, India (AP) —

Indian coast guard vessels and helicopters worked Monday to contain oil spilling from a stricken container ship that collided with another vessel in the Arabian Sea, India’s defense ministry said.

The Panamanian-registered MSC Chitra smashed into the St. Kitts-registered MV-Khalijia-II on Saturday near Mumbai’s Jawahar Lal Nehru port. The accident caused the MSC Chitra to run aground and list heavily, ministry spokesman Capt. Manohar Nambiar told The Associated Press.

Helicopters sprayed chemicals on the oil spill to prevent it from spreading, Nambiar said.

The amount of oil leaked was unclear. The environment minister of Maharashtra state told reporters Monday about 2 tons of oil was pouring into the water every hour.

The MSC Chitra was carrying several thousand tons of oil products such as diesel and lubricants, Environment Minister Suresh Shetty said, adding the government was consulting foreign experts on how best to contain the spill.

The ship was still listing deeply Monday. The MV-Khalijia-II had less damage and posed less risk; its cargo wasn’t disclosed.

The Jawahar Lal Nehru port was closed at least until Wednesday because of the collision and spill.

 

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This handout photograph provided by the Ministry of Defence, shows "Chitra" ship that collided, at an unknown location near Mumbai, India, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2010. Ships Chitra and Khalijia collided Saturday resulting in an oil spill. (AP Photo/Ministry of Defence, HO)

Government officials in coastal areas near Mumbai have been asked to test sea water in their area to check how far the oil may have spread, Chhagan Bhujbal, another senior minister told reporters.

The captains of both vessels have been asked to appear before local officials to explain how the collision happened, police said.

At least 250 containers from the damaged vessel fell off and port officials were trying to salvage them to avoid navigational hazards to other ships, officials said.

Crews from both vessels were rescued without any serious injuries, Nambiar said.

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Waste from the Panamanian-registered container ship MSC Chitra that had Saturday collided with the MV-Khalijia-II, a St. Kitts registered ship, unseen, is seen in the Arabian Sea, close to Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. Indian coast guard ships and helicopters are working to try and contain an oil spill from dangerously tilting container ship that collided with another vessel near Mumbai, a spokesman for India’s defense ministry said Monday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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The Panamanian-registered container ship MSC Chitra that had Saturday collided with the MV-Khalijia-II, a St. Kitts registered ship, tilts in the Arabian Sea, close to Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. Indian coast guard ships and helicopters are working to try and contain an oil spill from the dangerously tilting container ship following the collision near Mumbai, a spokesman for India’s defense ministry said Monday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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US Taxpayers may foot 10 BILLION dollar BP oil spill bill!

So, the clean-up of BP’s Gulf oil spill may cost U.S. taxpayers after all.

President Obama has insisted BP would bear the entire cost of cleaning up the spill and making the injured business and wildlife whole again. And yet BP said today it plans to claim $9.9 billion in U.S. tax credits based on the $32.2 billion charge it reported related to costs for the Gulf oil spill. That means that $9.9 billion that might have been going into the federal government’s general fund will be used to cut BP’s spill costs by a third.

imageAt issue are tax-code provisions that allow companies to take refunds for losses. A company can’t pay taxes if it doesn’t have any income. “We have followed the IRS regulations as they’re currently written,’’ outgoing BP CEO Tony Hayward told investors on a conference call this morning.

To the White House, that must sound like fingernails scratching a blackboard. Don’t be surprised if this becomes the latest political hot potato in the BP spill.

We have seen this movie before. This year, J.P. Morgan Chase dropped its plan to claim a $1.4 billion tax credit that was owed to Washington Mutual, which the New York bank acquired at a firesale during the financial crisis. At the time, the tax credit didn’t seem like great public relations for a bank that had taken (and repaid) $25 billion in federal bailout money to be seeking a tax break.

Goldman Sachs Group agreed not to claim a $187 million tax break on the $550 million fine as part of its settlement with the SEC over the agency’s Abacus mortgage lawsuit.

BP hasn’t been fined for the spill, yet, so the issue is based on losses, not a penalty. But there is another difference between Wall Street’s dropped credits and BP.

For those companies, the tax credits were arguably gravy. For BP, the roughly $10 billion deduction is part of its strategy to keep the company’s cash flowing. BP has made a lot of concessions to the White House during the oil-spill crisis. It will be interesting to see if BP digs in its heels on this one.

credit for this article to djreprints.com

7 Toxic chemicals in seafood you may NOT have heard about.

uPBDEs: Flame Retardants

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PBDEs, a common flame retardant, have been detected in various fish across the West Coast in the United States. A 2006 report from the Environmental Working Group uncovered the flame retardant in Washington rivers and lakes. From 1997 to 2003, levels of PBDEs (prolybrominated diphenyl ethers) doubled in San Francisco Bay fish, such as striped bass and halibut. PBDEs are often used in electronics, furniture, carpets and textiles. The chemicals are traceable in rivers, estuaries, oceans, house dust and water.

 

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

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While PCBs were outlawed from manufacturing in 1977, PCBs continue to reside in the nation’s waters. They collect in sediments at the bottoms of rivers, lakes, streams and along coastlines. These highly toxic persistent organic pollutants infiltrate water systems and contaminate wild fish populations accumulating in the fatty tissue of the fish. The industrial chemical is also found in farmed fish.Striped bass, sturgeon, and shad are all fishes with dangerous traces of PCBs.

 

 

Chlorinated Dioxins

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High levels of chlorinated dioxins, an industrial chemical and known carcinogen, are often detected in wild and farmed fish populations and in most animal based proteins in the average American diet: eggs, milk, butter, turkey, beef and pork. The Environmental Defense Fund advises limiting the intake of farmed or Atlantic salmon because of the elevated dioxin rate.

 

 

DDT: Pesticides

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DDT, one of the most infamous pesticides, has infiltrated the aquatic food chain, impacting most fish, crayfish, and shrimp populations. In 1952, the United States Department of Agriculture celebrated the use of DDT because of its "cost, ease of handling, safety to humans, effectiveness in destroying the pest, and safety to wildlife." In 1974, DDT was banned from use by the Environmental Protection Agency, however DDT residue remains

 

OIL

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Amongst the chaos of the gulf oil spill recovery, one "solution" for contamination detection has been the smell test. With fishing permitted again in Louisiana, fishermen have begun to catch redfish, speckled trout and mullet. Oysters and blue crabs remain off-limits.

 

 

ARSENIC

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Coal ash combustion wastewater does not only disperse mercury but also arsenic, which causes detrimental harm to the environment, fish health, and a variety of human health problems such as liver poisoning, and liver and bladder cancers. With low water levels, arsenic levels rise as occurred in 2007 in Okeechobee, Florida (pictured).

 

 

Melamine

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In 2008, China’s reputation as the world’s largest fish importer was tarnished by one chemical: melamine. Melamine was often added to fish feed. This industrial chemical is also famous for tainting infant formula. Last month, the United Nations set a maximum level of melamine contamination in the world’s food and infant formula.

 

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Washington Response: We will not slack-off in Gulf oil cleanup

Washington vows no slack-off in Gulf oil cleanup
Gulf Coast beaches and fisheries are reopening after the BP oil spill as optimism grows for a final kill of the blown-out well this month, the top U.S. spill response official said on Sunday.

 

 

Washington vows no slack-off in Gulf oil cleanup
U.S. Gulf Coast beaches and fisheries are reopening after the BP oil spill as optimism grows for a final kill of the blown-out well this month the top U.S. spill response official said on Sunday.

 

 

Recovery from oil spill is Obama priority: Navy secretary
President Barack Obama’s administration sees the restoration of the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill as a national priority and the president should not be blamed for the disaster, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said on Saturday.

 

 

Video of underwater Top Kill operation at BP oil spill site

BP is running tests and expected to decide shortly if it will go ahead with an effort to choke off its oil gusher by force-feeding it heavy drilling mud and cement. “Top kill’ is an operation in which heavy mud and cement would be shot into the blown-out well to plug it up.

The oil company BP says it should become clear within hours whether its efforts to seal the leak in the Gulf of Mexico have been successful. Engineers are carring out so-called ‘top kill’ operation which is set to block a breached oil well with mud, which will eventually be topped with cement. The chances of the procedure working, are estimated at 60 to 70 per cent.
Video Rating: 3 / 5

Oahu wind farm breaks ground on North Shore, Hawaii Wind Power!

Reported by: Gina Mangieri
Email: gmangieri@khon2.com
Last Update: 6/10 8:33 pm

 

The North Shore of Oahu is about to have a new power plant – a clean power plant that generates 30 megawatts of electricity from wind.

imageThe Kahuku project will generate enough electricity to power nearly about 7,700 homes a year.

"imageTo be continually dependent on imported oil or energy is a dead end for Hawaii and we can be a model for the world," Gov. Linda Lingle said, attending a groundbreaking and blessing ceremony at the First Wind mountaintop site above Kahuku.

"The goal is to be generating power in the early part of 2011," said Paul Gaynor, First Wind CEO. "We’ll probably have some test power in November/December and then commercially operating in January/February of 2011."

The company says the wind project will cut Hawaii’s oil consumption by nearly 140,000 barrels a year.

Twelve towering structures will be installed here using Clipper Liberty wind turbines, the largest made in North America. They’ve already arrived by ship ready for installation within the next six months.

"You will see them," said Pane Meatoga Jr., president of the Laie Community Association. "First Wind did a really great job as far as doing completely generated visual affects from seeing it from the golf course, the hospital, the highway."

The site will have a habitat conservation plan to protect endangered species nearby.

Getting the giant turbines to the site will take up time and space along Kahuku’s two-lane highway.

"Well, be patient; if everyone can be patient with the traffic on the road," Meatoga said. "Traffic is a big issue for us on this side but it’s something we’ve learned to live with."

Though the wind blows steady here, one problem with wind power is how variable it can be. This project will have a first-in-the-nation power storage technology to smooth out what otherwise could be a highly fluctuating supply to HECO.

The project is about a $140 million investment, backed largely by an upcoming loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Energy – also a first of its kind nationwide. It’s expected to generate 200 construction jobs to build the project to its maximum scale.

 


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"This will be as big as it gets for the foreseeable future," Gaynor said. "So what you’ll see here in six months is essentially what will be here 20 years from now."

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Wind power is expected to grow in Hawaii, including windmills on Lanai and Molokai with an undersea cable that would bring 400 megawatts of power to Oahu for consumption. An environmental review is underway.

"That would be a huge boost in our effort to create energy securely for the people of Hawaii and for the next generation," Lingle said.

3 news stories about Hawaii Wind Farm:

Construction starting for Kahuku wind farm, Oahu Hawaii wind power

Oahu wind farm breaks ground on North Shore, Hawaii Wind Power!

Hawaii to build undersea power cables to share wind power!

10 things you didn’t know about BP and the oil spill (but should know)

This fact sheet was created on May 30, 2010 (about 2 months after the explosion) and any and all facts in this sheet (barrels per day, money made/lost, etc) is/was accurate at the time of writing this.

How the owner of the exploded oil rig has made $270 million off the disaster, and nine other shocking, depressing facts about the oil spill.

It’s been a messy, expensive, devastating time since BP’s offshore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, crude oil has been hemorrhaging into ocean waters and wreaking unknown havoc on our ecosystem — unknown because there is no accurate estimate of how many barrels of oil are contaminating the Gulf.

Though BP officially admits to only a few thousand barrels spilled each day, expert estimates peg the damage at 60,000 barrels or over 2.5 million gallons daily. (Perhaps we’d know more if BP hadn’t barred independent engineers from inspecting the breach.) Measures to quell the gusher have proved lackluster at best, and unlike the country’s last big oil spill — Exxon-Valdez in 1989 — the oil is coming from the ground, not a tanker, so we have no idea how much more oil could continue to pollute the Gulf’s waters.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster reminds us what can happen — and will continue to happen — when corporate bp villiage people guymalfeasance and neglect meet governmental regulatory failure.
The corporate media is tracking the disaster with front-page articles and nightly news headlines every day (if it bleeds, or spills, it leads!), but the under-reported aspects to this nightmarish tale paint the most chilling picture of the actors and actions behind the catastrophe. In no particular order, here are 10 things about the BP spill you may not know and may not want to know — but you should.

1. Oil rig owner has made $270 million off the oil leak
Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP, has been flying under the radar in the mainstream blame game. The world’s largest offshore drilling contractor, the company is conveniently headquartered in corporate-friendly Switzerland, and it’s no stranger to oil disasters. In 1979, an oil well it was drilling in the very same Gulf of Mexico ignited, sending the drill platform into the sea and causing one of the largest oil spills by the time it was capped… nine months later.
This experience undoubtedly influenced Transocean’s decision to insure the Deepwater Horizon rig for about twice what it was worth. In a conference call to analysts earlier this month, Transocean reported making a $270 million profit from insurance payouts after the disaster. It’s not hard to bet on failure when you know it’s somewhat assured.

2. BP has a terrible safety record
BP has a long record of oil-related disasters in the United States. In 2005, BP’s Texas City refinery exploded, killing 15 workers and injuring another 170. The next year, one of its Alaska pipelines leaked 200,000 gallons of crude oil. According to Public Citizen, BP has paid $550 million in fines. BP seems to particularly enjoy violating the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and has paid the two largest fines in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s history. (Is it any surprise that BP played a central, though greatly under-reported, role in the failure to contain the Exxon-Valdez spill years earlier?)
With Deepwater Horizon, BP didn’t break its dismal trend. In addition to choosing a cheaper — and less safe — casing to outfit the well that eventually burst, the company chose not to equip Deepwater Horizon with an acoustic trigger, a last-resort option that could have shut down the well even if it was damaged badly, and which is required in most developed countries that allow offshore drilling. In fact, BP employs these devices in its rigs located near England, but because the United States recommends rather than requires them, BP had no incentive to buy one — even though they only cost $500,000.
www.SeizeBP.org estimates that BP makes $500,000 in under eight minutes.

3. Oil spills are just a cost of doing business for BP
According to the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, approximately $1.6 billion in annual economic activity and services are at risk as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Compare this number — which doesn’t include the immeasurable environmental damages — to the current cap on BP’s liability for economic damages like lost wages and tourist dollars, which is $75 million. And compare that further to the first-quarter profits BP posted just one week after the explosion: $6 billion.
BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, has solemnly promised that the company will cover more than the required $75 million. On May 10, BP announced it had already spent $350 million. How fantastically generous of a company valued at $152.6 billion, and which makes $93 million each day.
The reality of the matter is that BP will not be deterred by the liability cap and pity payments doled out to a handful of victims of this disaster because they pale in comparison to its ghastly profits. Indeed, oil spills are just acost of doing business for BP.
This is especially evident in a recent Citigroup analyst report prepared for BP investors: "Reaction to the Gulf of Mexico oil leak is a buying opportunity."

4. The Interior Department was at best, neglectful, and at worst, complicit
It’s no surprise BP is always looking out for its bottom line — but it’s at least slightly more surprising that the Interior Department, the executive department charged with regulating the oil industry, has done such a shoddy job of preventing this from happening.
Ten years ago, there were already warnings that the backup systems on oil rigs that failed on Deepwater Horizon would be a problem. The Interior Department issued a "safety alert" but then left it up to oil companies to decide what kind of backup system to use. And in 2007, a government regulator from the same department downplayed the chances and impact of a spill like the one that occurred last month: "[B]lowouts are rare events and of short duration, potential impact to marine water quality are not expected to be significant."
The Interior Department’s Louisiana branch may have been particularly confused because it appears it was closely fraternizing with the oil industry. The Minerals Management Service, the agency within the department that oversees offshore drilling, routinely accepted gifts from oil companies and even considered itself a part of the oil industry, rather than part of a governmental regulatory agency. Flying on oil executives’ private planes was not rare for MMS inspectors in Louisiana, a federal report released Tuesday says. "Skeet-shooting contests, hunting and fishing trips, golf tournaments, crawfish boils, and Christmas parties" were also common.
Is it any wonder that Deepwater Horizon was given a regulatory exclusion by MMS?
It gets worse. Since April 20, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, the Interior Department hasapproved 27 new permits for offshore drilling sites. Here’s the kicker: Two of these permits are for BP.
But it gets better still: 26 of the 27 new drilling sites have been granted regulatory exemptions, including those issued to BP.

unspillable logo satellite5. Clean-up prospects are dismal
The media makes a lot of noise about all the different methods BP is using to clean up the oil spill. Massive steel containment domes were popular a few weeks ago. Now everyone is touting the "top kill" method, which involves injecting heavy drilling fluids into the damaged well.
But here’s the reality. Even if BP eventually finds a method that works, experts say the best cleanup scenario is to recover 20 percent of the spilled oil. And let’s be realistic: only 8 percent of the crude oil deposited in the ocean and coastlines off Alaska was recovered in the Exxon-Valdez cleanup.
Millions of gallons of oil will remain in the ocean, ravaging the underwater ecosystem, and 100 miles of Louisiana coastline will never be the same.

6. BP has no real cleanup plan
Perhaps because it knows the possibility of remedying the situation is practically impossible, BP has made publicly available its laughable "Oil Spill Response Plan" which is, in fact, no plan at all.
Most emblematic of this farcical plan, BP mentions protecting Arctic wildlife like sea lions, otters and walruses (perhaps executives simply lifted the language from Exxon’s plan for its oil spill off the coast of Alaska?). The plan does not include any disease-preventing measures, oceanic or meteorological data, and is comprised mostly of phone numbers and blank forms. Most importantly, it includes no directions for how to deal with a deep-water explosion such as the one that took place last month.
The whole thing totals 600 pages — a waste of paper that only adds insult to the environmental injury BP is inflicting upon the world with Deepwater Horizon.

7. Both Transocean and BP are trying to take away survivors’ right to sue
With each hour, the economic damage caused by Deepwater Horizon continues to grow. And BP knows this.
So while it outwardly is putting on a nice face, even pledging $500 million to assess the impacts of the spill, it has all the while been trying to ensure that it won’t be held liable for those same impacts.
Just after the Deepwater explosion, surviving employees were held in solitary confinement, while Transocean flacks made them waive their rights to sue. BP then did the same with fishermen it contracted to help clean up the spill though the company now says that was nothing more than a legal mix-up.
If there’s anything to learn from this disaster, it’s that companies like BP don’t make mistakes at the expense of others. They are exceedingly deliberate.

8. BP bets on risk to employees to save money — and doesn’t care if they get sick
When BP unleashed its "Beyond Petroleum" re-branding/greenwashing campaign, the snazzy ads featured smiley oil rig workers. But the truth of the matter is that BP consistently and knowingly puts its employees at risk.
An internal BP document shows that just before the prior fatal disaster — the 2005 Texas City explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 — when BP had to choose between cost-savings and greater safety, it went with its bottom line.
A BP Risk Management memo showed that although steel trailers would be safer in the case of an explosion, the company went with less expensive options that offered protection but were not "blast resistant." In the Texas City blast, all of the fatalities and most of the injuries occurred in or around these trailers.
Although BP has responded to this memo by saying the company culture has changed since Texas City, 11 people died on the Deepwater Horizon when it blew up. Perhaps a similar memo went out regarding safety and cost-cutting measures?
Reports this week stated that fishermen hired by BP for oil cleanup weren’t provided protective equipment and have now fallen ill. Hopefully they didn’t sign waivers.

9. Environmental damage could even include a climatological catastrophe
It’s hard to know where to start discussing the environmental damage caused by Deepwater Horizon. Each day will give us a clearer picture of the short-term ecological destruction, but environmental experts believe the damage to the Gulf of Mexico will be long-term.
In the short-term, environmentalists are up in arms about the dispersants being used to clean up the oil slick in the Gulf. Apparently, the types BP is using aren’t all that effective in dispersing oil, and are pretty high in toxicity to marine fauna such as fish and shrimp. The fear is that what BP may be using to clean up the mess could, in the long-term, make it worse.
On the longer-term side of things, there are signs that this largest oil drilling catastrophe could also become the worst natural gas and climate disaster. The explosion has released tremendous amounts of methane from deep in the ocean, and research shows that methane, when mixed with air, is the most powerful (read: terrible) greenhouse gas — 26 times worse than carbon-dioxide.
Our warming planet just got a lot hotter.

10. No one knows what to do and it will happen again
The very worst part about the Deepwater Horizon calamity is that nobody knows what to do. We don’t know how bad it really is because we can’t measure what’s going on. We don’t know how to stop it — and once we do, we won’t know how to clean it up.
BP is at the helm of the recovery process, but given its corporate track record, its efforts will only go so far — it has a board of directors and shareholders to answer to, after all. The U.S. government, the only other entity that could take over is currently content to let BP hack away at the problem. Why? Because it probably has no idea what to do either.
Here’s the reality of the matter — for as long as offshore drilling is legal, oil spills will happen. Coastlines will be decimated, oceans destroyed, economies ruined, lives lost. Oil companies have little to no incentive to prevent such disasters from happening, and they use their money to buy government regulators’ integrity.
Deepwater Horizon is not an anomaly — it’s the norm.