"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.