"December 23 News: As Shell Gears Up For Arctic Drilling, It Has Another Massive Spill in Nigeria"
An oil spill near the coast of Nigeria is likely the worst to hit those waters in a decade, a government official said Thursday, as slicks from the Royal Dutch Shell PLC spill approached the country’s southern shoreline.
The slick from Shell’s Bonga field has affected 115 miles (185 kilometers) of ocean near Nigeria’s coast, Peter Idabor, who leads the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, told The Associated Press. Idabor said the slick continued to move toward the shore Thursday night, putting at risk birds, fish and other wildlife in the area.
Shell, the major oil producer in Nigeria, said late Thursday the spill came from a “flexible export line” connecting the offshore field to a waiting tanker. The company published photographs of the spill, showing a telltale rainbow sheen in the ocean, but said it believes that about 50 percent of the leaked oil has already evaporated.
Capping a full retreat by House GOP leaders, Congress will convene Friday in hopes of approving a stopgap measure renewing payroll tax cuts for every worker and unemployment benefits for millions — despite serious opposition among some tea party Republicans.
Friday’s unusual session, if all goes according to plan, will send a bill to President Obama to become law for two months and put off until January a fight over how to pay for the 2 percentage point tax cut, extend jobless benefits averaging around $300 a week and prevent doctors from absorbing a big cut in Medicare payments.
Those goals had been embraced by virtually every lawmaker in the House and Senate, but had been derailed in a quarrel over demands by House Republicans for immediate negotiations on a long-term extension bill. Senate leaders of both parties had tried to barter such an agreement among themselves a week ago but failed, instead agreeing upon a 60-day measure to buy time for talks next year.
Texas’ environmental agency has reached an agreement with a Rice University oceanographer and his editors to publish a scientific article the agency had earlier rejected because of references to climate change, human impact on the environment and sea-level rise.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the editors have negotiated an agreement that will allow the publication of an article on sea-level rise in Galveston Bay by John Anderson, Maurice Ewing professor of Oceanography, said Jim Lester, an editor at the Houston Advanced Research Center. The article is the summation of a 10-year, peer-reviewed study published in the Geological Society of America.
“We arrived at a compromise, and the compromises were sufficient to make John Anderson agree that his name would be on the chapter,” Lester said Wednesday.
Yep, it’s that time of year where we look back at the trends of the year and then look forward to what we think the next year has in store. We know these lists have become a bit cliche by now, but they really do enable us to reflect on the big picture.
So, here we go. The top 10 trends in greentech in 2011:
1). Solar prices plummet: One of the most overwhelming market drivers of 2011 was the massive price drop of solar modules. Researchers have found that the price of solar dropped by 40 percent in 2011. Part of that had to do with Chinese solar manufacturers flooding the market with low cost solar, creating an oversupply and benefiting from low cost loans from the Chinese government.
Huge overcapacity and weak demand mean Chinese wind turbine makers, among the world’s largest, are set for lower revenue and profits for at least the next two years.
China had more than 80 wind turbine makers as of 2010, capable of producing over 40 Gigawatts, yet wind equipment demand is expected to be just 15 GW a year.
And companies looking overseas to fuel their growth are met by funding bottlenecks in Europe and the United States that are likely to mean a decline in orders.
At home, Beijing has taken action to rein in overcapacity – implementing stricter technical standards for wind turbine production, tightening approvals for new wind farms and suspending connections of certain wind projects.
Forty-year-old George Chambuluka married with seven children from Malawi’s Lower Shire region (covering Chikhwawa and Nsanje Districts) sharing boundary with Mozambique abandoned his wife and children including his ailing 70-year-old frail, sick mother some weeks ago. He travelled a distance of over 40 Km from his village to the country’s sole commercial city, Blantyre after failing to provide food for his family due to climate change.
“After accessing the cheap government subsidized fertilizer last season I harvested literally nothing since my crops withered while in the garden before maturity due to drought as a result of climate change,” said Chambuluka.
He left home in search for work in Blantyre to solicit money for purchasing food for the family in Chikhwawa after burying his heard of five cattle.