We cannot make good news out of bad practice.
Edward R. Murrow
News Items (from the media)
Arctic offshore drilling needs Inuit involvement at every stage: Oceans North (September 9, 2011)
“There’s no compelling reason to move forward with gas and oil development without having a solid
royalty-sharing agreement between the government and Inuit, and without knowing how you’re going to
deal with the inevitable problems that come up. Outside that, there’s no reason why the government
can’t support this,” Taylor said. “Only time will tell.”
To deal with the risk of a gas or oil spill, the Oceans North report says Canada needs to strengthen
its spill-preparedness planning guidelines by looking at what other Arctic and non-Arctic
jurisdictions do and incorporating that into its new regulations.
The report suggests conducting a comprehensive annual spill response exercise “under realistic
Arctic conditions” and “an unplanned on-site exercise” at least every three years.
BP's Gusher May Be Gushing Again. If So, It Cannot Be Stopped. (August 21, 2011)
Oil is washing ashore in the same areas that were hardest hit last year. It has been tested
and is clearly fresh oil from the Macondo well.
BK Lim is a geohazards specialist with over 30 years of experience. In January this year,
he wrote to Fred Upton, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and John
Shimkus, Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy, of his concerns about the
Macondo Well, stating:
"There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters
in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead… have been the direct result of indiscriminate
drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recover activities. As
the rogue well had not been successfully cemented and plugged at the base of the well by
the relief wells, unknown quantities of hydrocarbons are still leaking out from the
reservoir at high pressure and are seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed.
It is not possible to cap this oil leakage. "
Melting Arctic ice releasing banned toxins, warn scientists (July 24, 2011)
The warming of the Arctic is releasing a new wave of banned toxic chemicals that had been trapped
in the ice and cold water, scientists have discovered
The researchers warn that the amount of the poisons stockpiled in the polar region is unknown and
their release could "undermine global efforts to reduce environmental and human exposure to them."
The chemicals seeping out as temperatures rise include the pesticides DDT, lindane and chlordane,
made infamous in Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, as well as the industrial chemicals
PCBs and the fungicide hexachlorobenzine (HCB). All of these persistent organic pollutants (Pops)
are banned under the 2004 Stockholm Convention.
Pops can cause cancers and birth defects and take a very long time to degrade, meaning they can be
transported for long distances and accumulate over time. Over past decades, the low temperatures
in the Arctic trapped volatile Pops in ice and cold water.
Ottawa lacks info to combat climate change: watchdog (December 7, 2010):
Twenty years’ of weak leadership on the environment means the federal government now has
no strategy to deal with the increasing effects of climate change, says Canada’s environmental
auditor. The government also lacks a solid plan to handle major oil spills, says Scott Vaughn,
commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. Nor does it have a grip on who is
supposed to be monitoring what, when it comes to federal fresh water resources, he says, pointing
specifically to the Athabasca River near the Alberta oilsands.
Canada couldn't handle big oil spill: watchdog (December 7, 2010):
Canada's government is not ready to handle a major oil spill from a tanker, in part because
its emergency response plan is out of date, Parliament's environmental watchdog said in a
damning report on Tuesday. Scott Vaughan, commissioner of the environment and sustainable
development, also said Ottawa did not have enough data to monitor what impact development
of the oil sands in Western Canada was having on water supplies.
Canada not ready for major oil spill: commissioner (December 7, 2010):
Canada is not ready to respond to a major oil spill from a tanker in its waters, its environment
commissioner warned on Tuesday. In a damning report, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable
Development Scott Vaughan said the Canadian Coast Guard's emergency response plan is out of date.
As well, he said the Coast Guard has not done a national risk assessment of oil spills from ships
since 2000, and does not have a reliable system to track spills.
Ottawa quietly opens Arctic region to mining (December 7, 2010):
The federal government is facing a lawsuit after quietly opening a vast tract of a once-protected
Arctic wilderness to mining claims. Ottawa's move shocked northern aboriginals and environmentalists,
and land-claim negotiators say the decision to no longer bar prospectors from a pristine and much-loved
part of the Northwest Territories endangers the entire plan for protected areas in the Eastern Arctic.
Climate science chief sees `huge gaps' in research (December 2, 2010):
From the methane-laden tundra of the far north to the depths of the oceans, world governments need to
spend more on cutting-edge research to “get a handle” on how much and how quickly the world will warm
in decades to come, says the head of the UN climate science network. “There are huge gaps in the effort
as far as scientific research is concerned,” Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press, pointing to
concerns that the Arctic's thawing permafrost is releasing powerful global warming gases, and the oceans
might eventually turn from absorbing carbon dioxide to spewing it into the atmosphere.
For Russia, Global Warming Benefits 'Outweigh' Negatives (December 2, 2010):
Global warming in the next 40 years will allow Russian authorities to save on central heating,
increase agricultural production and extend sea navigation in the north, a leading Russian
climatologist told a Russian-German conference Wednesday. But authorities will have to fork out
money to reconstruct several big Siberian and Far Eastern cities to prevent them from collapsing
as a result of a warmer climate, Vladimir Klimenko, head of Laboratory of Global Power Engineering
Problems at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute told the conference co-organized by Alexander
von Humbolt Foundation.
Obama Greenlights Shell Drilling in Beaufort Sea; Alaska Lawmakers React (December 1, 2010):
Today the Obama Administration gave Shell the green light to move forward with permitting plans
to drill in the Beaufort Sea. But, the administration also stamped out the possibility of drilling
in the eastern Gulf of Mexico due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A Shell spokesperson says
if all goes as the oil company plans, there will be thousands of jobs. But for those whose food
and way of living come from the waters where Shell's exploratory drilling would take place, the
announcement is devastating.
A scramble for the Arctic (December 1, 2010):
From her office in the frozen north, Delice Calcote has watched big powers vie for control over
the Arctic with little concern for its original inhabitants. "This is our land," said Calcote,
a liaison with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, an advocacy group representing the region's
indigenous peoples. "We aren't happy with everyone trying to claim it." But as the planet warms,
as northern sea lanes become accessible to shippers, as companies hungrily eye vast petroleum
and mineral deposits below its melting ice, a quiet, almost polite, scramble for control is
transpiring in the Arctic.
Canadian Arctic Offshore Drilling Review Underway (December 1, 2010):
The National Energy Board has kicked off its Arctic offshore drilling review by meeting with
territorial and federal leaders in the North. Oil and gas companies are anxious to start offshore
oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. Gaetan Caron, chair of the federal regulator, met privately
with Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland and Energy Minister Bob McLeod in Yellowknife on
Nov. 24 to discuss infrastructure, devolution and the oil companies that are eager to start drilling.
McLeod told the board the North lacks ports and frontline emergency assistance, which are integral
to the kind of drilling under consideration.
Global Warming Could Fuel 'Compost Bombs' (december 1, 2010):
One of Earth's biggest stores of carbon dioxide sits locked within the decaying vegetation found in
peatlands, which range from tropical peat swamps to Arctic permafrost. A fast-warming world could
transform those peatlands into a "compost bomb" that would dump huge amounts of carbon into the
atmosphere, British researchers have calculated.
Record-high greenhouse gas concentrations (December 1, 2010):
The increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is also seen in the measurements made by the Finnish
Meteorological Institute at the Pallas station, where the annual increase has been 2.0 ppm. The
increase continued last year, too. These measurements also reflect the impact of seasonal variation:
forests act as effective carbon sinks during the growing season, whereas in the autumn and winter
the soil is a source of carbon.
Hydro Quebec to try wind power in Nunavik (November 30, 2010):
“Wind power is known, it already exists on the main grid” The answer to Nunavik’s energy needs could
be blowing in the wind. Hydro Quebec plans to do a feasibility study in Kangiqsualujjuaq in 2011 to
see if this Ungava community is the right site for one or more wind generators which could produce
up to 700 kilowatts of power. The giant rotary devices like huge windmills extract energy from wind,
which is then converted into electricity.
Massive Oil Plume Confirmed in Gulf of Mexico (August 19, 2010)
But now scientists have presented definitive evidence that a significant amount of hydrocarbons well
above normal concentrations for Gulf of Mexico waters formed an at least 35-kilometer-long plume at
a depth of 1,100 meters that followed the contours of the seafloor to flow at 6.5 kilometers per
day in a west-southwesterly direction away from the Macondo well. "What we found is that a subsurface
hydrocarbon plume existed," says ocean physicist Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution (WHOI). "It was created by the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well."