Climate Change TOTW [23.04.07 - 29.04.07]


Active Member
yes here's the trailer! it's a really scary movie!! everyone should watch it!
and Global Warming should be taken very very seriously!



Well-Known Member
I always wondered what the impact of reforestation could be on the climate of a particular region, and more generally on global scale. Any one with any knowledge about this issue? Any ecologists?


New Member
I always wondered what the impact of reforestation could be on the climate of a particular region, and more generally on global scale. Any one with any knowledge about this issue? Any ecologists?

I am not an expert, but I still remember from school, about the devastating effects of the ever disappearing Amazonas forests on the Ozon layer. The Amazonas is considered as the lung of the Planet, and if it is dieing, we are all in serious trouble.


Active Member
i think Phoenician is talking about reforestation and not deforestation.
but i assume that reforestation should have a good impact on the climate since it reduces the CO2... (since a high rate of CO2 brings warming, if i recall correctly!)


New Member
yes here's the trailer! it's a really scary movie!! everyone should watch it!
and Global Warming should be taken very very seriously!

We were busy with killing each others and destroying everything around us, destroying our only planet we have. Will we come to our senses, and realize where we are? Is it too late? I think its still a long way till the governments are starting to cooperate globally on this issue, to realize that maybe we need a catastrophy which destroys half of the Earth and its population, then they will be forced to cooperate and do something finally.

i think Phoenician is talking about reforestation and not deforestation.
but i assume that reforestation should have a good impact on the climate since it reduces the CO2... (since a high rate of CO2 brings warming, if i recall correctly!)

Yes you are right:p its too late and my eyes are closing, I was reading what I wanted to:D
Reforestation shall happen on a global scale, dont know if the balance could be gained back. We have gone too far.


Active Member
according to this interview with al gore, it's still not too late!!
that we're in a time of crisis, and as he wonderfully explained, the chinese characters for the word crisis are both "danger" & "opportunity"! so now we're only seeing the danger but what we should also do is seizing the opportunity to stop it from turning into a catastrophy!

in my personal opinion a good start should be by forcing the kyoto protocol on every country specially the US!!

Miss Orange

Active Member
according to this interview with al gore, it's still not too late!!
that we're in a time of crisis, and as he wonderfully explained, the chinese characters of the word crisis are both "danger" & "opportunity"! so now we're only seeing the danger but what we should also do is seizing the opportunity to stop it from turning into a catastrophy!

in my personal opinion a good start should be by forcing the kyoto protocol on every country specially the US!!

the best start would be by forcing the kyoto protocol on the US most countries do go by it if i remember correctly from the movie but the US is disastrous. I watched the movie awhile back in my Env. Sci. class and how sad is that the US has the most negative impact on global warming.

As algore said we can still do something, but i dont understand why many dont believe in this truth yet?


New Member
I think it is essential to share:

The denial industry

For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book, George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story

ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil, and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that HIV causes Aids. So what's its strategy?

The website, using data found in the company's official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from the company or work closely with those that have. These organisations take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy for no good reason. The findings these organisations dislike are labelled "junk science". The findings they welcome are labelled "sound science".
Among the organisations that have been funded by Exxon are such well-known websites and lobby groups as TechCentralStation, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Some of those on the list have names that make them look like grassroots citizens' organisations or academic bodies: the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, for example. One or two of them, such as the Congress of Racial Equality, are citizens' organisations or academic bodies, but the line they take on climate change is very much like that of the other sponsored groups. While all these groups are based in America, their publications are read and cited, and their staff are interviewed and quoted, all over the world.

By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the consensus.

This is not to claim that all the science these groups champion is bogus. On the whole, they use selection, not invention. They will find one contradictory study - such as the discovery of tropospheric cooling, which, in a garbled form, has been used by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday - and promote it relentlessly. They will continue to do so long after it has been disproved by further work. So, for example, John Christy, the author of the troposphere paper, admitted in August 2005 that his figures were incorrect, yet his initial findings are still being circulated and championed by many of these groups, as a quick internet search will show you.

But they do not stop there. The chairman of a group called the Science and Environmental Policy Project is Frederick Seitz. Seitz is a physicist who in the 1960s was president of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 1998, he wrote a document, known as the Oregon Petition, which has been cited by almost every journalist who claims that climate change is a myth.

The document reads as follows: "We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

Anyone with a degree was entitled to sign it. It was attached to a letter written by Seitz, entitled Research Review of Global Warming Evidence. The lead author of the "review" that followed Seitz's letter is a Christian fundamentalist called Arthur B Robinson. He is not a professional climate scientist. It was co-published by Robinson's organisation - the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine - and an outfit called the George C Marshall Institute, which has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. The other authors were Robinson's 22-year-old son and two employees of the George C Marshall Institute. The chairman of the George C Marshall Institute was Frederick Seitz.

The paper maintained that: "We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution."

It was printed in the font and format of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: the journal of the organisation of which Seitz - as he had just reminded his correspondents - was once president.

Soon after the petition was published, the National Academy of Sciences released this statement: "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."

But it was too late. Seitz, the Oregon Institute and the George C Marshall Institute had already circulated tens of thousands of copies, and the petition had established a major presence on the internet. Some 17,000 graduates signed it, the majority of whom had no background in climate science. It has been repeatedly cited - by global-warming sceptics such as David Bellamy, Melanie Phillips and others - as a petition by climate scientists. It is promoted by the Exxon-sponsored sites as evidence that there is no scientific consensus on climate change.

All this is now well known to climate scientists and environmentalists. But what I have discovered while researching this issue is that the corporate funding of lobby groups denying that manmade climate change is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm directly involved in the fossil fuel industry. It was started by the tobacco company Philip Morris.

In December 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a 500-page report called Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking. It found that "the widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in the United States presents a serious and substantial public health impact. In adults: ETS is a human lung carcinogen, responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in US non-smokers. In children: ETS exposure is causally associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This report estimates that 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to ETS."

Had it not been for the settlement of a major class action against the tobacco companies in the US, we would never have been able to see what happened next. But in 1998 they were forced to publish their internal documents and post them on the internet.

Within two months of its publication, Philip Morris, the world's biggest tobacco firm, had devised a strategy for dealing with the passive-smoking report. In February 1993 Ellen Merlo, its senior vice-president of corporate affairs, sent a letter to William I Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president, explaining her intentions: "Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report ... Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans."

To this end, she had hired a public relations company called APCO. She had attached the advice it had given her. APCO warned that: "No matter how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers."

So the fight against a ban on passive smoking had to be associated with other people and other issues. Philip Morris, APCO said, needed to create the impression of a "grassroots" movement - one that had been formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight "overregulation". It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one "unfounded fear" among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones. APCO proposed to set up "a national coalition intended to educate the media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars ... Upon formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in selected states."

APCO would found the coalition, write its mission statements, and "prepare and place opinion articles in key markets". For this it required $150,000 for its own fees and $75,000 for the coalition's costs.

By May 1993, as another memo from APCO to Philip Morris shows, the fake citizens' group had a name: the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. It was important, further letters stated, "to ensure that TASSC has a diverse group of contributors"; to "link the tobacco issue with other more 'politically correct' products"; and to associate scientific studies that cast smoking in a bad light with "broader questions about government research and regulations" - such as "global warming", "nuclear waste disposal" and "biotechnology". APCO would engage in the "intensive recruitment of high-profile representatives from business and industry, scientists, public officials, and other individuals interested in promoting the use of sound science".

By September 1993, APCO had produced a "Plan for the Public Launching of TASSC". The media launch would not take place in "Washington, DC or the top media markets of the country. Rather, we suggest creating a series of aggressive, decentralised launches in several targeted local and regional markets across the country. This approach ... avoids cynical reporters from major media: less reviewing/challenging of TASSC messages."

The media coverage, the public relations company hoped, would enable TASSC to "establish an image of a national grassroots coalition". In case the media asked hostile questions, APCO circulated a sheet of answers, drafted by Philip Morris. The first question was:

"Isn't it true that Philip Morris created TASSC to act as a front group for it?

"A: No, not at all. As a large corporation, PM belongs to many national, regional, and state business, public policy, and legislative organisations. PM has contributed to TASSC, as we have with various groups and corporations across the country."

There are clear similarities between the language used and the approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by Exxon. The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to challenge the scientific consensus. As a memo from the tobacco company Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." Both industries also sought to distance themselves from their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots".

But the connection goes further than that. TASSC, the "coalition" created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any other body.

TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon. The website it has financed - - has been the main entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found its way into the mainstream press. It equates environmentalists with Nazis, communists and terrorists. It flings at us the accusations that could justifably be levelled against itself: the website claims, for example, that it is campaigning against "faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas". I have lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning manmade global warming, have pointed me there.

The man who runs it is called Steve Milloy. In 1992, he started working for APCO - Philip Morris's consultants. While there, he set up the JunkScience site. In March 1997, the documents show, he was appointed TASSC's executive director. By 1998, as he explained in a memo to TASSC board members, his JunkScience website was was being funded by TASSC. Both he and the "coalition" continued to receive money from Philip Morris. An internal document dated February 1998 reveals that TASSC took $200,000 from the tobacco company in 1997. Philip Morris's 2001 budget document records a payment to Steven Milloy of $90,000. Altria, Philip Morris's parent company, admits that Milloy was under contract to the tobacco firm until at least the end of 2005.

He has done well. You can find his name attached to letters and articles seeking to discredit passive-smoking studies all over the internet and in the academic databases. He has even managed to reach the British Medical Journal: I found a letter from him there which claimed that the studies it had reported "do not bear out the hypothesis that maternal smoking/ passive smoking increases cancer risk among infants". TASSC paid him $126,000 in 2004 for 15 hours' work a week. Two other organisations are registered at his address: the Free Enterprise Education Institute and the Free Enterprise Action Institute. They have received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively from Exxon. The secretary of the Free Enterprise Action Institute is Thomas Borelli. Borelli was the Philip Morris executive who oversaw the payments to TASSC.

Milloy also writes a weekly Junk Science column for the Fox News website. Without declaring his interests, he has used this column to pour scorn on studies documenting the medical effects of second-hand tobacco smoke and showing that climate change is taking place. Even after Fox News was told about the money he had been receiving from Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing its readers about his interests.

TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three of them are listed by as working for organisations taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least 1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to "refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium" with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60 regulators".

The president of Seitz's Science and Environmental Policy Project is a maverick environmental scientist called S Fred Singer. He has spent the past few years refuting evidence for manmade climate change. It was he, for example, who published the misleading claim that most of the world's glaciers are advancing, which landed David Bellamy in so much trouble when he repeated it last year. He also had connections with the tobacco industry. In March 1993, APCO sent a memo to Ellen Merlo, the vice-president of Philip Morris, who had just commissioned it to fight the Environmental Protection Agency: "As you know, we have been working with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on junk science and indoor air quality (IAQ) respectively ..."

Singer's article, entitled Junk Science at the EPA, claimed that "the latest 'crisis' - environmental tobacco smoke - has been widely criticised as the most shocking distortion of scientific evidence yet". He alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency had had to "rig the numbers" in its report on passive smoking. This was the report that Philip Morris and APCO had set out to discredit a month before Singer wrote his article.

I have no evidence that Fred Singer or his organisation have taken money from Philip Morris. But many of the other bodies that have been sponsored by Exxon and have sought to repudiate climate change were also funded by the tobacco company. Among them are some of the world's best-known "thinktanks": the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Independent Institute, as well as George Mason University's Law and Economics Centre. I can't help wondering whether there is any aspect of conservative thought in the United States that has not been formed and funded by the corporations.

Until I came across this material, I believed that the accusations, the insults and the taunts such people had slung at us environmentalists were personal: that they really did hate us, and had found someone who would pay to help them express those feelings. Now I realise that they have simply transferred their skills.

While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have been felt all over the world. I have seen their arguments endlessly repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have spent on them many times over. It is fair to say that the professional denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco companies.



New Member
Check out the Key findings from IPCC's February and April climate reports


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of top international scientists, released a report Friday on global warming. In its second of four reports this year, the IPCC details the effects of global climate change. While the report says adaptation will be necessary because of past effects, it also says many effects can be avoided, reduced or delayed.


• More water is expected to be available in the moist tropics and high latitudes.

• Less water and increasing drought are expected in mid-latitudes and dry tropics.

• Heavy precipitation is likely to be more frequent, heightening the risk of flooding.


• As much as 30 percent of plant and animal species are likely to be at an increased risk of extinction with a global average temperature increase exceeding 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius.

• There could be significant extinctions around the world with a global average temperature increase exceeding 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius, in addition to atmospheric changes.

• Negative effects are expected on corals and their dependent species.


• The effects on farmers and fishers will be negative and complex.

• Warmer temperatures will increase precipitation in some areas and limit it in others.
• Resulting floods and droughts will pose difficult challenges to farmers.


• More damage from floods and storms is expected.

• By the 2080s, millions of people are expected to be affected by flooding every year as sea level rises.

• Small islands are especially vulnerable to drought and sea-level rise, and may be unable to meet their own fresh-water needs.


• Precipitation increases in some regions will result in a lower quality of surface and groundwater, spreading water-borne illnesses.

• Widespread water stress is expected to result from increased drought.

• Drought will decrease food supplies in some areas, increasing the risk of malnutrition in developing nations that don't have the resources to efficiently import food.


Well-Known Member
Pollution turning Taj Mahal yellow
Tue May 15, 2007 4:41PM EDT

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Pollution is turning the Taj Mahal yellow, despite efforts by the Indian government to control air contamination around the poignant 17th century monument and keep it shimmering white, a parliamentary committee has said.
In a report to parliament this week, the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture said airborne particles were being deposited on the monument's white marble, giving it a yellow tinge.
The monument, in the northern city of Agra about four hours drive south of the capital, was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Authorities have made various attempts in the past to keep the area around the Taj Mahal pollution free, including setting up an air pollution monitoring station in Agra.
But the committee said that while air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide gases were generally within permissible limits, "suspended particulate matter" had been recorded at high levels except during the rainy season.
It suggested a clay pack treatment that is non-corrosive and non-abrasive be carried out to remove deposits on the marble. "The committee recommends that while undertaking any conservation activity at the Taj Mahal, abundant cautions should be taken to retain the original glory of the shimmering white marble used in this."
Attracting around 20,000 visitors every day, the monument was completed in 1648 after 17 years of construction by 20,000 workers.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.



New Member
I dont want to imagine what happens to the Earth, if India and China accelerates its industrial boom, based on fossil fuels only!:(


Active Member
I'm trully concerned with climate change... Nature is changing so much...
animals follow the pattern of nature, and nature seems to just know: there have been no new species of animals found lately... :frown: and the species that we know now are slowly dwindling and changing. The food chain doesn't lie!


Active Member
Has anybody actually read the Paris Agreement? I'll make sure to read it in my free time. From what I could gather, the first world (china included?) must pay 100B$/year (to whom?), among other things.


Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Trump Gratuitously Rejects the Paris Climate Accord

Paul Krugman

As Donald Trump does his best to destroy the world’s hopes of reining in climate change, let’s be clear about one thing: This has nothing to do with serving America’s national interest. The U.S. economy, in particular, would do just fine under the Paris accord. This isn’t about nationalism; mainly, it’s about sheer spite.

About the economics: At this point, I think, we have a pretty good idea of what a low-emissions economy would look like. I’m sure that energy experts will disagree on the details, but the broad outline isn’t hard to describe.



The queen of "Bazella"
Orange Room Supporter
Has anybody actually read the Paris Agreement? I'll make sure to read it in my free time. From what I could gather, the first world (china included?) must pay 100B$/year (to whom?), among other things.

It's a global fund to limit greenhouse emissions and help poorer countries who could not afford it on their own, the united states pledged the highest sum of 3 billion dollars towards that fund but since Donald trump withdrew that sum is now at 1 billion contribution here's a short article explaining this

Sorry for the pic I took a screenshot of the projects from the pdf, it's in the nytimes article if you want to download it as well
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Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
A Decade After Deepwater Horizon

Rolling back regulations ignores the central lessons from the country’s largest oil spill.

By The Editorial Board

Ten years ago this week, a drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon exploded 41 miles off the Louisiana coast, setting in motion the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Eleven men lost their lives, more were injured. Defying weeks of frantic efforts by BP and the Obama administration to plug it, the damaged wellhead sitting a mile below the ship poured millions of barrels of oil into the surrounding waters, crippling valuable fisheries, destroying livelihoods, fouling 1,300 miles of shoreline from Florida to Texas and leaving many square miles of residue on the ocean floor. The disaster also revealed a culture of carelessness in both the oil industry and the federal agencies whose job it was to police that industry and to make sure it operated safely.

Some good things have happened since then. Thanks partly to nature’s resilience, within two years the oil had mostly gone from sight — evaporated, consumed by bacteria or dispersed to deep water and the ocean floor. The beaches are now largely clean, and the fishing industry has rebounded, with notable exceptions, oyster and crab stocks in particular. And the damage to deepwater corals and fragile reefs may never be repaired. Truth is, the full toll on the gulf and its marine life may not be known for years.

By far the most positive development — promising is probably a better word — has been the steady accumulation of evidence that the most vulnerable stretch of coastline, in Louisiana, can someday be restored, or at least saved from the steady erosion that has afflicted it for years. When all is said and done, BP and its partners will have forked over well north of $50 billion in cleanup costs, settlements with individuals and businesses in Gulf Coast states and criminal penalties for damages to natural resources. Of that amount, a big chunk — $7 billion to Louisiana alone — is intended largely for environmental restoration.

Louisiana will need all of that, and more. Since the 1930s, the state has lost more than 2,000 square miles of land, about the size of Delaware, to subsidence, sea level rise and the loss of sediment that a free-flowing Mississippi once reliably deposited along the coast until the whole length of the river was hemmed in by levees built for flood control. That, along with the slicing and dicing of coastal wetlands by the oil companies, not only destroyed nurseries vital to the fishing industry but also, as Hurricane Katrina memorably demonstrated in 2005, robbed the state of natural protection against superstorms.

In response, the state in 2007 developed a 50-year, $50 billion master plan. Its most recent iteration includes an ambitious roster of projects — marsh creation, barrier island restoration, oyster shell reefs, river sediment diversions — that it hopes will neutralize land loss over the next quarter-century. Even now, the coast is bristling with ambitious engineering projects.

Inaction is not an option, David Muth recently told the Times’s John Schwartz, especially given the menace of climate change and its threat of slow but ineluctable sea level rise. Mr. Muth is gulf restoration director for the National Wildlife Federation, which, along with the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Audubon Society, has joined with local groups to support coastal projects. Mr. Muth believes the BP money can turn things around and is happy it’s beginning to flow. But without steady progress, he says, “the sea is going to win the fight.”

The spill also triggered a long-overdue examination of the oil business and its regulators. Two major reports — one by a presidential commission in January 2011 and another one later in the year by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council — found that the Deepwater Horizon explosion resulted from poor decisions by BP and its drilling partners, including a major miscalculation of the well’s ability to withstand sudden increases in pressure, as well as a misplaced faith in the ability of blowout preventers to seal off wells in an emergency. More broadly, the reports said that the industry was more interested in profits than preparedness, and that the absence of a strong safety culture was not unique to BP and its partners.

As a result, the Obama administration developed new rules for each stage of the drilling process — from rig design to spill response — including tougher standards for well design and for vital equipment like the blowout preventers. The administration also took aim at a longstanding and very cozy relationship between the oil companies and their overseers in the Interior Department. For years, safety issues had been the province of Interior’s Minerals Management Service, an agency with a dubious history of self-dealing that also collected royalties from offshore oil production, which gave it as much an interest in production as it did in responsible behavior. Recognizing a clear conflict of interest, the Obama administration broke the service into two parts, one of which would focus entirely on enforcement and environmental protection.

All well and good, until the Trump administration appointed Scott Angelle to run the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Mr. Angelle is an apostle of the very industry he is charged with regulating. Under his stewardship, the blowout preventer and well-control rules have been weakened, and many staff members are reportedly demoralized. Environmentally minded groups like the Center for American Progress believe that the agency is on its way to being recaptured by the oil companies.

This is all of a piece with the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” doctrine, which consists largely of doing favors to those same companies, most recently the rollback of Mr. Obama’s ambitious fuel efficiency standards. The oil companies, in fact, have done very well in the decade since the spill, and until the recent price drop, and the crimp the coronavirus has put in driving, stood to do even better; the Interior Department’s latest five-year plan, now on hold because of court rulings, would open nearly every square inch of America’s coastal waters to new exploration.

Therein lies one of the nasty little ironies facing the friends of coastal restoration. So far, their only dependable financing model has been the revenue from the catastrophic spill, but the BP money won’t last forever. One thing the state had been counting on is a steady stream of money from offshore oil leases under a 2006 revenue-sharing law passed by Congress. Which implies a robust oil industry, which in turn means more risk of offshore spills and more emissions of climate-forcing emissions from automobile tailpipes, which in turn means more sea level rise.

One more argument, if any were needed, to wean the country off a carbon-based economy.




Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Enslaved workers felled trees by ax, burned the underbrush and leveled the earth for planting. “Whole forests were literally dragged out by the roots,” John Parker, an enslaved worker, remembered. A lush, twisted mass of vegetation was replaced by a single crop. An origin of American money exerting its will on the earth, spoiling the environment for profit, is found in the cotton plantation. Floods became bigger and more common. The lack of biodiversity exhausted the soil and, to quote the historian Walter Johnson, “rendered one of the richest agricultural regions of the earth dependent on upriver trade for food.”