Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was high on the agenda at New York Climate Week last week, where critics of the technology raised concerns it would be used to extend the life of the fossil fuel industry. For years, experts have pointed out that CCS has been primarily used to pump more oil out of the earth, using a process known as enhanced oil recovery (EOR). Burning that oil emits far more carbon dioxide (CO2) than what is captured, and therefore CCS doesn’t represent a viable solution to tackle climate change, critics argue. At a news conference after the one-day UN Climate Ambition Summit on September 20, Tzeporah Berman, chair of the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty Initiative, said: “The oil companies acknowledged this year that they will not meet their bogus net zero commitments.
Oil and Gas
It is a well established fact that increasing oil production leads to increased emissions, and that major reductions in oil production and consumption are necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Despite the scientific consensus supporting this fact, a recent news release from a Canadian oil industry lobby group made the remarkable claim that Canadian oil production increased over the past decade while emissions decreased. The analysis note issued by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) was widely circulated in a Canadian Press wire story published on August 31 under the title “Oil and gas sector says new data shows it can both hike output and lower emissions.”
Tens of thousands poured into the streets of New York City on Sunday for the largest climate mobilization in the U.S. in years, with organizers and marchers telling President Joe Biden to stop approving planet-wrecking fossil fuel projects and start doing everything in his power to accelerate the nation's renewable energy transition. Campaigners expressed outrage that Biden has refused to declare a national climate emergency and is planning to skip United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres' Climate Ambition Summit on Wednesday. "It's unbelievable that Biden is sitting on the sidelines when he's got more power than anyone on Earth to end deadly fossil fuels," said Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
It’s a Saturday morning in late June and Garry Jay, a member of the Navajo Nation, pilots a white crew-cab Chevy pickup on a lumpy dirt road across the grasslands north of his house in Shiprock, New Mexico, heading for the round, wood-framed hogan his grandfather built by hand in the 1970s. His route weaves 20 miles among the hundreds of oil wells that dot Horseshoe Canyon as he chases the bittersweet memories of childhood weekends and summers 40 years ago in that house, on that land, with his grandparents. The family’s former winter sheep ranch sits at the base of a sharp cliff, five miles south of the Colorado border.
With nearly 10,000 people expected to take to the streets of New York City on September 17 for the March to End Fossil Fuels, the climate justice movement seems more organized than ever. But, there’s a big elephant in the room, and it has the Pentagon written all over it. The U.S. military is the world’s largest institutional oil consumer. It causes more greenhouse gas emissions than 140 nations combined and accounts for about one-third of America’s total fossil fuel consumption. The Department of Defense (DoD) also uses huge amounts of natural gas and coal, as well as nuclear power plants at its bases around the country.
Western sanctions are backfiring: The European Union is now importing Russian liquified natural gas at record levels, and China has made high-tech breakthroughs despite US export restrictions. Washington’s and Brussels’ economic warfare is, ironically, strengthening the economic sovereignty of Beijing and Moscow while blowing back on Europe. The world is living through a new cold war: Cold War Two. And one of the main ways in which this war has been waged is through economic means. Sanctions are the principal instrument of economic warfare. When they are imposed unilaterally by a country, without the support of the United Nations, they are referred to as “unilateral coercive measures” and are illegal according to international law.
Browning, Montana - The Blackfeet Nation has, since time immemorial, remained committed to protecting our sacred cultural lands in the Badger-Two Medicine. This area has forever been Blackfeet traditional territory, a place of refuge for our People. For decades, we have opposed plans to industrialize our cultural homeland. We want to acknowledge our many Blackfeet elders at the forefront of this struggle, who no longer are with us and who did not live to see the Badger-Two Medicine protected from development. We are grateful for their leadership. After these many years of struggle, our People are relieved that agreement finally has been reached between the U.S. government, tribal and conservation partner organizations, and the leaseholder—Solenex, LLC—to retire the last Badger-Two Medicine oil and gas lease.
A new study by Joshua Pearce of London’s Western University and Richard Parncutt of the University of Graz in Austria has found that, if global heating reaches or surpasses two degrees Celsius by the year 2100, there is a high probability that over the next century humans, mostly the wealthiest, will be responsible for the deaths of approximately one billion mostly poorer humans. Many of the most powerful and profitable businesses on the planet are part of the oil and gas industry, which is both indirectly and directly responsible for over 40 percent of carbon emissions, which impact billions of lives in some of the world’s most remote communities that have the least resources, reported Western News.
In the summer of 2022, it seemed that the days of an oil-by-rail facility in Portland, Oregon, were numbered. The previous year, the city had rejected a land use permit for a company called Zenith Energy, which receives crude oil shipped by rail from as far away as North Dakota. Zenith had appealed the decision, but had already suffered a string of defeats in the state. Climate activists and community associations, who were concerned about the risks associated with oil-by-rail shipments, counted the city’s rejection of the permit as a major victory, and were tantalizingly close to prevailing over the company.
The grief hits Scott Campbell like a ton of bricks every time he walks into the union hall and sees the memorial to the fallen workers. Seven members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union reported for their shifts at the former Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, on April 2, 2010, and never drove back out. They perished when a decades-old, structurally deficient piece of equipment called a heat exchanger exploded and caught fire in one of the worst industrial incidents in state history. Campbell and other members of USW Local 12-591 pay tribute to the seven with a laser focus on safety at the refinery, currently owned by Marathon.
Chester, Pennsylvania — When Zulene Mayfield testifies next week against plans to build a $6.8 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in her Pennsylvania hometown, she will be facing off against some of the most powerful fossil fuel interests in the United States. As co-founder of the community group Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living, Mayfield has spent years fighting to protect her majority Black and low-income city from the pollution spewed by the nearby Covanta waste-to-energy facility — the country’s largest waste incinerator. Now she finds herself pitted against a new confluence of forces — a lobbying effort by a fossil fuel complex stretching from her state’s Marcellus Shale gas fields to the boardrooms of European energy companies.
On Aug. 19, 1953, 70 years ago this week, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh—who had seized Iran’s vast oil fields from the British and put them under Iranian control—was removed from power in a coup organized and financed by the British and US governments. He was replaced by the dictatorial Shah, who immediately signed over 40% of Iran’s oil fields to US companies. The coup ushered in a long nightmare of repression, buttressed by Iran’s brutal secret police, SAVAK, trained and equipped by the CIA. The Shah not only crushed the democratic aspirations of Iranians, but enriched US oil companies and purchased billions of dollars of weapons from US weapons manufacturers.
In Part 4 of this Frankly mini-series, Nate concludes the deep dive into the nexus between “just stopping oil” and “just pumping oil” with 10 guideposts which might help us to navigate through the intersection of the Four Horsemen of the 2020s and the shrinking Web of Life….together known as The Great Simplification. From decomplexifying at various scales to a change of consciousness arising from more humans focused on “Inner Tech”, there are many ways we as individuals and as a part of the greater society can manage the push and pull of both environment and economic issues while remaining grounded in the reality of energy, technology, behavior, and the economy.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” is a process where shale and other types of impermeable rock are blasted open with water, “fracking fluid” and sand in order to access and extract oil and natural gas. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, fracking fluid contains chemical additives, the identities of which have often been shielded from disclosure on the basis that they are “confidential business information” or trade secrets. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified 1,084 different reported chemicals used in fracking from 2005 to 2013.
The last time the United States placed armament and military personnel, ready to fight, on ocean-going commercial vessels was during the world wars of the 20th Century. In World War II, the U.S. Navy organized an Armed Guard that served on merchant ships — an unpopular duty, given how the freighters to which the sailors were assigned represented targets for the enemy at least as much as any offensive capability to inflict significant damage in return. Hundreds of these merchant ships were sunk despite their Navy contingent aboard, and some 2,000 members of the Armed Guard died.