December 14, 2012
All those bucolic scenes of gas wells set against a blue sky are fantasies. I know because I have a farm in upstate Pennsylvania in Tioga County. Nearby there are many dirty, polluting gas wells. They spew out carcinogenic chemicals, some radioactive. Tons of methane gas, 20 times worse than carbon dioxide, contribute to greenhouse gas, according to the EPA. Children near gas wells in Texas had three times the rate of asthma as those in other parts of the state. In Pennsylvania more than 1.3 billion gallons of fracking fluid, which was originally clean drinking water, had been sent to wastewater plants, which were not equipped to handle the toxic and radioactive chemicals.
December 10, 2012
One can just imagine the future "Jeopardy" TV quiz show answer: The name of the international conference that took place in early December of 2012 that critics universally panned for accomplishing little despite overwhelming evidence of a global ecological catastrophe on the horizon. "Alex, what is the Doha Climate Change Conference?" would be the winning question and surely worth a lot to the right contestant. After all, the planet is already in "double jeopardy" - not only from climate change but from the continuing failure of the wealthiest nations to do much about it. As President Barack Obama is looking to come up with $60-to-$80 billion to offset the worst effects of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that practically shut down New York City, the world's media center, one would think the call to avoid more such costly catastrophes in the future would be deafening.
October 31, 2012
Every four years, presidential candidates tell the American people that this election is a turning point for the country. This year they might actually be right. To be sure, there are always differences between candidates. On a range of issues, from health care to tax reform, voters face a real choice about two different approaches to governing. But the most profound turning point in this election may be the fact that the neither candidate is talking about one of the most critical issues of our time.
June 27, 2012
Tuesday's victory by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in federal appeals court in the District of Columbia has once again demonstrated that the science of climate change, while famously "inconvenient," is virtually impossible for fair and reasonable people to deny. In upholding the agency's right to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, under a handful of cases, the three-judge panel recognized climate change as the legitimate threat to public health and safety that it is, and that the Clean Air Act gives the agency appropriate authority to regulate it. This shouldn't have come as much surprise to opponents, as the decision is in line with the Supreme Court's 2007 decision affirming the EPA had that power.
June 26, 2012
With summer starting to heat up, city officials are floating a "climate action plan" this evening (Tuesday) that aims to curb Baltimore's greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by decade's end. Easing the city's climate impact is one of the goals of Baltimore's sustainability plan . The draft strategy, prepared by a 25-member advisory committee, ticks off more than three dozen ideas for reducing the city's carbon footprint, some as simple as...
March 5, 2012
In recent years, the natural gas industry plunged into a reckless gold rush across communities nationwide with dirty, dangerous drilling and "fracking" practices that are exempt from many clean air and water laws. Now the gas profiteers have realized that there's even more money to be made by liquefying the gas and shipping it overseas - and so what if that sends gas prices here at home through the roof? The proposed Dominion LNG export facility in Calvert County's Cove Point provides a good case study of why this practice is bad for the environment, for people and for our nation's fragile economy.