Let’s open with Talking Heads.
Ready for the current state of the climate, and how it’s going to get worse?
Last month was the second-hottest October on record, NASA reported Tuesday. Combined with a record-smashing January through September — and a very warm November — this new data guarantee that 2016 will demolish the previous record for hottest year, set way back in 2015.
The full article is here, and it’s a good overview of the current state of things. What I want to focus on today is the sheer idiocy that is the Trump administration. We’re right back to Drill, Baby, Drill! Mass destruction for little to no yield, ignoring the fact that there is not money to be made in oil and coal, and of course, completely ignoring climate and habitat, for all species.
Lovely, isn’t it? No one seems to quite so gung-ho on wholesale destruction and devastation as Stephen Moore, one of Trump’s “economic advisers”, who appears to have all the anencephalic enthusiasm of Trump and company.
“We think we can raise significant amounts of revenues for the federal government by opening up more of our federal lands for leases for oil and gas development and coal development,” Stephen Moore, one of Trump’s economic advisers, said in an interview with NPR.
“And the energy companies will actually pay the federal government to be allowed to drill and mine on some of these lands. We’re not talking about environmentally sensitive lands, but lands that just have been taken off the grid. We think we could raise hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years,” he said.
Every single time some oil or coal shill starts talking, they always trot out this “oh, not environmentally sensitive, no” crap. It’s a complete and utter disconnect. It’s almost as though they think the planet they are busy destroying (and us along with it) is sitting on top of another one, so once this one is completely gutted, we’ll have another one underneath.
In reality, oil companies recently cut back on drilling because of an oil glut and correspondingly low global prices. Coal companies are failing because of declining demand for their high-pollution product and competition from cheaper and cleaner alternatives.
In addition, Moore’s statement conflicts with the reality that tens of millions of acres of public lands — the vast majority — are already open for energy development: 90 percent of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are open to oil and gas development, while only 10 percent have a focus on conservation, recreation, and other activities. In Utah alone, 12 times more acres of public lands have been leased for oil and gas as have been protected.
To achieve anything near the revenue figures the Trump team is promoting would require opening up all public lands including national parks, forests, wilderness, and wildlife refuges. Many of the lands that Moore describes as “taken off the grid,” are in fact critical wildlife habitat and have high conservation value. Moore’s predicted earnings also say nothing of the costs of unfettered extraction, including the costs of pollution from dirty energy and climate change.
Instead, lifting restrictions on drilling and mining in national parks, wildlife refuges — or off the coasts of California and the Southeast — would likely yield only modest new energy supplies or revenues for the country, while incurring significant costs to wildlife, the $646 billion outdoor recreation industry, and air and water quality.
But that’s okay, right, because billions, it will be yuuuuuuge! There won’t be billions, there won’t be money at all, unless we’re looking at cost, and it’s one huge cost alright, in more ways than one.
When coal companies mine on federal lands, for example, they pay an effective royalty rate of 4.9 percent, rather than the 12.5 percent required by law. As a consequence, American taxpayers are being shorted an estimated $1 billion every year. Earlier this year the Obama administration placed a “pause” on new coal leases and began the process of revamping the program to provide a fairer return for taxpayers. Opening up more lands without reforming the system only increase losses to taxpayers.
But continued reform of the federal coal program is unlikely under the new administration. Trump himself has promised that he will enable access to vast reserves of “untapped energy” on federal lands, which he estimates is worth $50 trillion and could provide power for hundreds of years.
How many Trumpoids will bother to even read a tiny bit to educate themselves on this matter? If one thing might get through to them, it’s the loss of their own tax dollars, but they aren’t looking for truth, and have little use for facts. All they’ll hear is “program under Obama” and start flinging shit, yelling to pull it apart. They’ll buy into every lie Trump throws at them, never taking the time to even consider. The rest of us, well, we’ll end up going for the ride anyway.
Trump’s numbers are unsubstantiated, but scientists have concluded that the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to remain unburned to avoid the most catastrophic — both in terms of human life and the economy — outcomes from climate change.
I read earlier that Hawking has put a limit on human life, the extinction date being 1,000 years from now. I think he’s being quite optimistic. The full article is at Think Progress.
Other recommended reading: The media claims climate isn’t a winning issue. Polls say otherwise.