March 27 News: BP Oil Spill Caused ‘Graveyard of Corals’

Other stories below: GOP uses Keystone XL as oil tax breaks bargaining chip; Gasoline prices hit record highs around U.S.

BP spill culprit for heavy toll on coral, study finds

After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP’s blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull.

In a study published Monday, scientists say meticulous chemical analysis of samples taken in late 2010 proves that oil from BP PLC’s out-of-control Macondo well devastated corals living about 7 miles southwest of the well. The coral community is located over an area roughly the size of half a football field nearly a mile below the Gulf’s surface.

Senate GOP allows bill repealing tax breaks for oil, with a catch

In an unusual but calculated political move, SenateRepublicans declined to block a Democratic bill that would repeal tax breaks for oil companies —  choosing instead to launch a floor debate on the legislation as a way to showcase the Keystone XL pipeline and other GOP proposals aimed at curbing sky-high gas prices.

Republican-led opposition will almost certainly defeat the bill on final passage later this week. But by allowing debate, the GOP hopes to harness voter angst over prices at the pump as a political weapon against President Obama’s energy policies. Republicans will especially target the White House move to postpone a decision on the Keystone pipeline between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, an issue that has driven a wedge between environmentalists and some unions — key allies of the White House.

Gasoline prices hit record: $4.67 in Chicago; $4.51 in metro area

This is a record we could gladly do without.

Gasoline prices in the Chicago area shot up to their highest level ever recorded by AAA Monday, but relief may be coming.

The average price of unleaded regular gas in the Chicago metropolitan area was $4.51 a gallon, surpassing by 4 cents the high of $4.47 reached May 5, 2011, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.

In the city of Chicago, the average price hit a record $4.67 a gallon Monday, the highest in the continental U.S. and up a penny from the $4.66 high that also was reached last May.

The Real Oil Shock: Rising Gas Prices don’t actually Affect Americans’ Behavior

Like a lot of carless New Yorkers, I am generally confused by bursts of populist outrage over high gas prices. But I have always assumed that the anger is genuine — that hard-working Americans, who already spend a lot on gas, are thrown into turmoil when they have to spend even more. After all, 63 percent of Americans insist that these price increases have caused them some financial hardship.

But amid the recent mania over prices hitting $4 a gallon, I decided to figure out whether this fury is economically rational. So I took a look at data from the Census Bureau, which conducts a quarterly survey of American spending habits. During these last few years of historically high oil prices, Americans spent about $40 a week, or $2,000 a year, on gas. That’s around 5 percent of our overall spending. It’s less than half of what we spend on restaurants and entertainment.

Cities on front line of climate change

The world’s cities face the brunt of climate change but some are starting to respond vigorously to the threat, experts say at a conference here staged ahead of the June Rio summit.

More than half of the world’s population of seven billion currently lives in cities and by 2050, this is expected to increase to 70 per cent, or around 6.4 billion, according to UN figures.

More than 60 per cent of the increase will occur in Asian cities — and nearly half of the growth will happen in cities that currently have 500,000 inhabitants or fewer.

It means that cities will face unparalleled challenges when climate change starts to bite, scientists said Monday at a meeting on the world’s environment ahead of the June 20-22 summit.

California Moving Forward on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Law

Through vigorous regulations on fuel standards, vehicles, and communities, California’s sweeping Global Warming Solutions Act is seen as a broad solution that will attempt to significantly reduce emissions and improve air-quality levels over the next decade and beyond. With rules in place, implementation of the law has been pushed back to 2013, and supporters fear legal barriers and a recessive economy could create further delays.

Also known as Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), the Global Warming Solutions Act aims to reduce the amount of California’s greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 25 percent by the year 2020. This would essentially bring the state back down to the level they were in the 90s.

The ultimate goal of the law is to have GHG levels down 80 percent by the year 2050.

North Sea oil rig evacuated after gas leak

Shell is removing workers from two offshore installations close to a Total platform that was evacuated after a gas leak.

The leak on the Elgin PUQ platform, about 150 miles (240km) off the coast of Aberdeen, led to the withdrawal of all 238 workers.

Total E&P UK (TEP UK), which operates the platform, said it was taking “all possible measures” to try to identify the cause of the leak and to bring it under control. It has been confirmed there is a sheen on the water near the platform.

Oil Spill Response (OSRL) on Monday carried out two aerial surveillance flights to assess the situation and two further flights were planned for Tuesday.

11 Responses to March 27 News: BP Oil Spill Caused ‘Graveyard of Corals’

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Speculation has it that the north sea “Spill” could go on for month. Here we go Deep Horizon 2.0

    A major afford to accelerate global warming, pushed by the usual suspects. When do we put the people in charge on trial for Ecocide?

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Rapid erosion beneath the Greenland ice sheet

    This translates directly into eminent national security threats of the highest order. So what are we goona do about it?

    Hint: Sitting it out is not an option.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Coral community calcification might decline by 55% of its preindustrial value before 2100

    Other effects cause fish going “crazy” from all the higher Co2 levels in the water column. It impairs their mind.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    So, what’s the deal with algae fuel? This is a great 6-minute report from the Climate Desk that explains the technology, current status and potential. It won’t replace all gasoline, but it could be the answer for vehicles that can’t be electrified in a practical way.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Ultimately, it comes down to this:

    After we hit peak oil a few years ago, today deep sea reserves are just not accessible enough to make it work without large impacts – natural habitat lose and leaks which accelerate the warmth. How much of this goes unreported?

    Deep sea drilling is a recipe for catastrophes.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Video: One-minute time-lapse history of human global CO2 emissions | Earth | EarthSky

  7. Jay Alt says:

    Prehistoric fisheries offer clues to sustainable catch

    “The coral reef fisheries yielded three to four times what people think is the sustainable yield for reef fisheries today,” Kittinger says. “And we were very conservative in our yield estimates – it’s crazy.”

    Darn those “crazy” rules, social pressures and ancient ‘regulations’
    Quick Captains of Industria, modernize and assimilate all indigenous cultures so nothing can be learned from them . . .

  8. Sasparilla says:

    For a little extra detail for readers, basically scientists have announced (what many of us have been feeling) that this is the decade we have to do something about climate change or nature will take control out of our hands (that is based on the old assumption that 2.0 degrees C is sufficient to stop runaway warming).

    Its hard to see how the Republican party is going to let anything happen this decade, but hopefully that changes.

  9. ozajh says:

    Google ‘aquatic species program’ and be ready to start cursing when you follow the links.

    Everything being done today could have been done 20 years ago . . .