Why a Carbon Tax Is Absolutely Essential to Combating Climate Change

From an Article by Thom Hartmann, EcoWatch.com, August 26, 2014

So, what does a major investment from Verizon Wireless and the melting of our polar ice caps have in common? A lot more than you may think. On Monday, America’s largest wireless provider announced that it will be making a $40 million investment in solar power at eight of its facilities across the U.S.

According to a press release from Verizon, new solar installations at facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York will nearly double the amount of energy that Verizon gets from solar power. Speaking about the $40 million investment, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer James Gowen told Bloomberg that, “Solar is a proven technology. It didn’t hurt that the technology is getting better and prices are coming down.”

Last year, Verizon announced a similar $100 million investment in solar power and fuel cell technologies. These types of investments in clean and green forms of renewable energy from major U.S. corporations couldn’t come sooner. That’s because new research suggests that climate change and global warming are happening a lot faster than we first thought.

According to new data from a European space probe, our planet’s two largest ice sheets—in Greenland and Antarctica—are melting at unprecedented speeds. The CryoSat-2 space probe has discovered that the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are losing a stunning 120 cubic miles of ice each year. 

That’s a lot of ice that’s going from being frozen ice up on land into being river water flowing into the rising oceans. But more importantly, the rate of sea ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica has more than doubled since 2009, which shows just how fast the processes of global warming and climate change have become. 

Speaking about the new and alarming data, Mark Drinkwater, mission scientist for the European Space Agency’s CryoSat mission, said that, “These results offer a critical new perspective on the recent impact of climate change on large ice sheets. This is particularly evident in parts of the Antarctic peninsula, where some of the more remarkable features add testimony on the impact of sustained peninsula warming at rates several times the global average.”

And, it’s not just the sea ice in Greenland and Antarctica that’s melting at astonishing rates. Arctic sea ice is melting at unprecedented rates too. In fact, as Gaius Publius pointed out over at America Blog, just about every reputable projection on the loss of Arctic sea ice has been wrong.

The lack of sea ice cover in the Arctic that we’re seeing today wasn’t supposed to happen for 20+ more years according to 13 of the most accurate models. With more and more of our planet’s ice cover melting away at unprecedented rates, the question becomes: “Have we reached a tipping point?”

Have we reached the point where we can no longer hope to slow down or even stop the processes of climate change and global warming, and where do we have to prepare for the ongoing and worsening sea level rises on our coastlines?

The fact is, despite this new and alarming data from the CryoSat-2 probe, we still don’t if we’ve passed a tipping point or not. So, with that being the case, we need to slow down climate change and global warming, to protect our planet’s ability to support human life. 

One of those actions that we can take today is to put a carbon tax in place. Putting a price on carbon encourages less fossil fuel extraction and a rapid move to clean and green energy. With even a modest carbon tax—that doesn’t even end the subsidies to the big oil, coal, and gas companies – fossil fuels instantly become more expensive than renewables like wind and solar.

A report put out by the Citizens Climate Lobby shows that a $10 carbon tax would cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 28 percent of 2005 levels. That’s 11 percent more than the cut proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clean Power Plan it announced back in June.

In our documentary Carbon, the first part of a four part series on climate change by Leonardo DiCaprio and yours truly that was released last week, some of the world’s leading climatologists and scientists talk about the importance of a carbon tax. They make it clear that, if we want to save our planet and the human race from the greatest threat we’ve ever faced, a carbon tax is absolutely essential. 

It’s that simple.

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Memo to W.Va. leaders: Not all industry hates EPA

From an Article by Ken Ward, Jr., Charleston Gazette, August 28, 2014

Normally, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce provides the state media with a pretty one-sided version of what’s going on in our world. There’s always a lot of attacks on environmental protections and trial lawyers.

But in reporting yesterday from White Sulphur Springs, the Gazette’s David Gutman found a little bit different story coming from the guy who wants to build the huge natural gas “cracker” plant in Wood County:

David Peebles, a vice president for Odebrecht, the Brazilian petrochemical company that owns ASCENT, cited the Bible in discussing his company’s work in West Virginia.

In the parable of the talents, three servants are given talents (a unit of money) by their master. Two servants traded their money, doubled their investment and were praised. The third servant buried his money and was reprimanded.

“We’ve been dealt a hand here that’s not five talents, I think it’s 1,000 talents, with shale,” Peebles said. “This is going to be a tidal wave that we do not yet understand.”

He talked about developing a regional hub with neighboring states and pointed out that 45 percent of the plastics industry that the cracker plant will serve is within 500 miles of the site.

Peebles promised to work with unions and sign a project labor agreement for the cracker complex. “We cannot think of labor as a commodity, we cannot think of labor as people that we’re going to use up and spit out,” he said.

Addressing environmental concerns, Peebles said his company would, obviously, disturb the environment but promised to use best practices to mitigate its impact. “We don’t want to avoid regulations, we don’t want to bash the EPA, we don’t want to bash the Corps of Engineers, we want to have a cooperative relationship, because no one wants to breathe bad air, no one wants to drink contaminated water,” Peebles said. “We have to be out front with progressive policies that allow that to happen.”

Wait, there’s more: He went out of his way to praise the EPA, the frequent whipping boy of West Virginia politicians.

“Everybody today is upset with [the] EPA, well I grew up in high school in Cleveland, where the Cuyahoga River was burning,” Peebles said. “Mr. Nixon was the guy who started the EPA, and thank God, we have clean air and we have clean water.”

See also: www.FrackCheckWV.net

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Potential Benzene Exposures Plague Shale Frack Workers

August 29, 2014

New study shows gas workers could be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From an Article by Susan Phillips, NPR StateImpact-PA, August 28, 2014 A new study out this month reveals unconventional oil and natural gas workers could be exposed to dangerous levels of benzene, putting them at a higher risk for blood cancers [...]

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WV Citizens Action Group says “No Special Session” on Chemical Storage Tanks

August 28, 2014

Tell Governor Tomblin & Legislative Leaders: “Don’t Delay Public Safety. No Special Session.” ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ From WV-Citizens Action Group, Charleston, WV, August 28, 2014 WV-Citizens Action Group and allied organizations are asking everyone to call Governor Earl Ray Tomblin Governor (304-558-2000), Senate President Jeff Kessler (304-357-7801) and House Speaker Miley (304-340-3210) to let them know that [...]

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UPDATE: Progress Continues on Ethane Cracker Facility at Wood County, WV

August 27, 2014

WV-DEP Accepts Voluntary Remediation Program Application from ASCENT UPDATE 8/26/2014, From TheNewsCenter, WTAP, Parkersburg, WV Environmental officials are calling it a promising step toward bringing the proposed cracker plant to Wood County. The West Virginia DEP accepted a Voluntary Remediation Program application on August 25, 2014. The application is from the Texas company exploring the [...]

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ASCENT Submits Site Remediation Application for WV Ethane Cracker Facilities

August 27, 2014

Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise, LLC (ASCENT) Submits Voluntary Remediation Program Application to WV-DEP ==================================== WV-DEP: Monday, August 25, 2014 ==================================== The Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has accepted a Voluntary Remediation Program application submitted by Appalachian Shale Cracker Enterprise LLC (ASCENT) to address environmental conditions at [...]

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UNDER OHIO RIVER: Oil & Gas Resources Bid Prospectus for Leasing & Production

August 26, 2014

STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, DIVISION OF NATURAL RESOURCES, OFFICE OF LAND & STREAMS, 324 4th AVENUE, ROOM 200, SOUTH CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA 25303. TELEPHONE : (304) 558-3225, DIVISION OF NATURAL RESOURCES OIL & GAS RESOURCES BID PROSPECTUS FOR LEASING AND PRODUCTION: A prospectus on the oil and gas resources beneath the waters of [...]

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WV Governor Promotes Drilling Under the Ohio River at a 20% Royalty for State

August 26, 2014

Ohio River in Marshall, Wetzel and Pleasants Counties Targeted in Proposal From an Article by Casey Junkins, Wheeling Intelligencer, August 26, 2014 Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin believes leasing several miles worth of mineral rights located beneath the Ohio River for Marcellus and Utica shale drilling for at least a 20 percent share of the royalties [...]

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WV Surface Owners Express Significant Concerns at Meeting

August 25, 2014

WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization Meets in Harrison County Meeting Summary by Julie Archer and  Tom Bond, August 25, 2014 The WV Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WV-SORO) held a membership meeting at Salem International University in Salem, WV on Saturday, August 23rd.  The purpose was to enlist new members, educate members and their guests about [...]

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Green Hunter Planning Barging Facility on Ohio River at Wheeling, WV

August 24, 2014

Waste Fluid Recycle and Reuse Facility Proposed to Serve Utica Shale and Marcellus Shale Region From a Press Release of Green Hunter Resources, August 14, 2013 GRAPEVINE, TX.  Green Hunter Resources has revealed that its site plan for the water recycling and barging facility located in Wheeling, WV has been approved by the Wheeling Planning [...]

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