Other stories below: Mitt Romney turns to energy in North Dakota stop; Climate change could wreak havoc on maple syrup industry
Obama holds up chart showing U.S. dependence on foreign oil dropping from 60% in 2005 to 45% in 2011, during a speech in New Hampshire. [AFP/Getty Images]
Obama repeated his case, outlined in a speech last week, that there is “no silver bullet” to rising gas prices. He highlighted his administration’s effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost development of alternative energy.
This week he introduced a new prop to illustrate his point. As Obama spoke, a chart popped up on television screens behind him. The graph showed U.S. dependence on foreign oil falling since 2005 — from 60% of net imports to 45% in 2011.
The White House handed out copies to the crowd. Obama told them to take it home — “it makes for a great conversation piece at parties.”
“Now, one reason our dependence on foreign oil is down is because of policies put in place by our administration and my predecessor’s administration. And whoever succeeds me will have to keep it up. This won’t be solved by one party or administration. It won’t be solved by slogans and phony rhetoric.”
With his re-election fate increasingly tied to the price Americans are paying at the gas pump, President Obama asked Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and vowed to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”
Mr. Obama, in an appearance at Nashua Community College here, took a page out of his jobs strategy of last year, calling on Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and demand a vote on the oil subsidies in the next few weeks.
“You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”
Spring is just around the corner, but here on the West Coast it’s hard to believe winter was ever here. In Washington, Oregon, and particularly California, far less snow and rain has fallen this winter than usual and it has many people worried about water supplies further into spring and summer.
Currently, river levels are forecast to be well below average throughout Northern California this spring and summer. Among other things, that doesn’t bode well for hydropower. On the other hand, rivers should be running closer to normal in Washington and Oregon this year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. It’s a small blessing for Californians, who rely on their northern neighbors for electricity each summer.
But in the coming decades, warmer temperatures could hamstring hydropower production in the Pacific Northwest, forcing California to look elsewhere for an electricity boost.
A new study finds that rising sea levels due to climate change will remove sand from some Southern California beaches and distribute it to others.
The change will either shrink or eliminate some beaches altogether in Southern California, according to the study conducted by Duke and five other institutions.
It could take 100 years before the erosion is complete, notes the Los Angeles Times. Over the course of a century, the sea level is expected to rise by 1 meter, which would lead to severe winter storms and high tides that could make some beaches disappear.
With conflict brewing over Shell’s plans to begin exploratory drilling in the U.S. Arctic this summer, a federal judge in Anchorage has issued a temporary restraining order banning Greenpeace activists from launching operations against the company’s two drilling rigs.
U.S. District Judge Sharon L. Gleason on Thursday granted the oil company’s request for an order preventing activists from repeating their recent stunt off New Zealand, in which Greenpeace drilling opponents mounted the Noble Discoverer drilling rig and impeded its departure for North America.
“Other recent and past actions confirm Greenpeace’s intent to do what it takes to prevent Shell from carrying out its Arctic exploration drilling program and, more broadly, to ‘kick the oil companies out of the Arctic,’” Royal Dutch Shell lawyers said in their motion.
Before Apa became a legendary Sherpa mountaineer, he was a humble Himalayan potato farmer who worked his fields in the Everest foothills until, without warning, raging floodwaters swallowed his farm.
The flash flood — unleashed when a mountain lake fed by melting glacier waters burst its banks — destroyed homes, bridges and a hydroelectric plant. Apa scrambled up a hill, but at least five neighbors were swept away.
Twenty-six years later, after scaling the world’s highest mountain a record 21 times, Apa is on a quest to draw attention to the danger of more devastating floods as glacial melt caused by climate change fills mountain lakes to the bursting point.
Campaigning in the state with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, Mitt Romney pivoted to energy policy Thursday — accusing President Obama of standing in the way of good paying jobs and using his energy policies to reward campaign donors in industries like wind and solar.
Romney, who has been endorsed by many of the state’s most prominent Republicans, did not mention his Republican opponents in North Dakota — apparently hoping to keep the focus on the contrast between his energy agenda and that of President Obama, who discussed his efforts to boost domestic energy production in New Hampshire on Thursday.
He argued that Obama has tried to stifle the development of oil and gas resources in the U.S. and said the president was wrong to try to strengthen federal oversight of fracking — a technique where fluids are blasted into the ground to help extract oil and gas.
It has been an unseasonably warm winter this year, which is giving some cause for concern for local maple syrup producers who wonder what the warmer weather will mean for their already unpredictable industry.
About 55 people were on hand for the recent annual general meeting of the Halibruton-Kawartha Maple Syrup Producer Association (HKMSPA) at the Buckhorn Community Centre. The group is a unit of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producer’s Association, and hosted agroforestry specialist Todd Leuty of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to speak about the impact of climate change on the maple syrup industry.
He told This Week that while researchers in Canada and the U.S. have been following the increase in temperature over the past few decades, it is still difficult to know what affect these changes will have on the maple syrup industry.
“The ecological balance in the forest is very interactive so it’s hard to predict what will happen.”