climate crisis

Fracking companies are dying, and leaving leaking wells behind

So much for the vaunted Free Enterprise system:

The day the debt-ridden Texas oil producer MDC Energy filed for bankruptcy eight months ago, a tank at one of its wells was furiously leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. As of last week, dangerous, invisible gases were still spewing into the air.

By one estimate, the company would need more than $40 million to clean up its wells if they were permanently closed. But the debts of MDC’s parent company now exceed the value of its assets by more than $180 million.

Had another discussion recently about "flaring," wherein the oil/gas drillers burn gas in a spectacular display of sometimes 30 ft flames. I agreed that it was wasteful, but it's what you can't see that is the problem. Venting that gas without flaring it does much more damage than burning it off, and there is not nearly enough attention paid to this problem. Or the irresponsible behavior of the companies who should be forced to cap those wells:

If it keeps on raining, the levee's going to break

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And when the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay:

North Carolina carries a little-understood risk of flooding as climate change makes rainstorms more intense — the state has the country's second-largest collection of dams in poor or unsatisfactory condition built in places where a failure could kill people.

An investigation by The Associated Press identified 168 high-hazard dams in poor or unsatisfactory condition in North Carolina. That trailed only Georgia among the 44 states and Puerto Rico that provided full information in response to the AP's public records requests. Nationally, the AP found at least 1,680 high hazard dams that are rated in poor or unsatisfactory condition.

Ten percent. One in ten of the nation's high hazard dams are located in North Carolina. And when you look at the profile of Atlantic Coast states, NC is a natural target of hurricanes moving up that coast. Flooding is going to be the single biggest threat to our communities in the coming decades, and we must begin addressing that now.

Monday Numbers: Some sobering truths for Climate Week

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Lisa Sorg at NC Policy Watch breaks it down:

1 — US rank in cumulative CO2 emissions, 1850-2013

2 — US rank among all nations in CO2 emissions, 2017

30% — Estimated decrease in CO2 emissions in 2030 over 2005 levels if the Obama-era Clean Power Plan were to remain in effect

9% — Estimated decrease with the Trump administration’s rollback of the CPP

Which sort of explains why the Trump administration is not even taking part in this year's Climate Summit at the U.N., because they don't have any good answers for the inevitable questions that would be brought up. Trump is single-handedly trying to burn the entire planet down, probably so he can buy up the scorched land with a song and build golf courses and hotels. Lisa says it better:

Big Oil's stealth crusade against Obama's vehicle emissions standards

Let the world burn, as long as the profit margins increase:

When the Trump administration laid out a plan this year that would eventually allow cars to emit more pollution, automakers, the obvious winners from the proposal, balked. The changes, they said, went too far even for them. But it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.

In Congress, on Facebook and in statehouses nationwide, Marathon Petroleum, the country’s largest refiner, worked with powerful oil-industry groups and a conservative policy network financed by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to run a stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards, a New York Times investigation has found.

After following these astro-turf organizations and pseudo-scientific industry stink-tanks for so long, this comes as zero surprise. But the sheer ignorance of the Trump administration acquiescing to this campaign, while climate change catastrophes are occurring on a seemingly monthly basis, is still hard to swallow. The irresponsibility is bad enough, but the industry's use of racism against Obama to drive public opinion is nothing less than infuriating:

Climate Change and the "cycle of disaster" in floodplains

When it comes to rebuilding after storms, some hard decisions need to be made:

Local officials desperate to restore normalcy to disoriented communities will get to decide how to spend those federal dollars — choices made more consequential, and costly, as sea levels rise and Atlantic storms generate greater surge and rainfall because of climate change.

“Human settlements have been designed in a way that reflects a climate of the past, and this increases the likelihood that disaster-related losses will continue to rise,” said Gavin Smith, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who directs the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, a research consortium funded by the Department of Homeland Security. “This also means we need to rethink how and where we build before the storm, as well as how and where we reconstruct public buildings and infrastructure in the aftermath of extreme events.”

First let me state upfront I do not live in an area prone to flooding, even during the worst of deluges. There are a few streams here and there in my community that are prone to overflow, but 15-20 minutes later everything's fine. And I know it's real easy for somebody like me to criticize those who do live in such areas, who resist being relocated. But emotional attachments have absolutely no influence on the science of hydrology, and if that science tells you you're living in the wrong place, you should probably listen closely:

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