I think everyone was busy last week worrying the NSA is judging them for not calling their grandmother more often. I know I was. Which is why it took me a bit to get this post up, and also why so many fascinating things happened in the energy and climate world that I had to talk about them all in one post.
First of all, our least favorite pipeline that doesn’t even exist yet is back in the news. The Sierra Club has quietly taken the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline over to the judicial branch. The litigious environmental nonprofit (for those of you who don’t know, Sierra Club has acted as plaintiff for some of the nation’s most pivotal and groundbreaking environmental lawsuits – it’s one of their specialties as an organization) filed suit against the State Department last week regarding the sketchy-as-all-hell (from what I’ve read) environmental impact statement that the agency issued about the pipeline. The impact statement – which suggests the pipeline will have no negative impacts – was prepared by a third-party contractor that has an active membership in the American Petroleum Institute, which Sierra Club and other environmental groups widely regard as evidence of a conflict of interest. Perhaps more critically, the State Department did not respond to requests to produce documentation proving that the department screened for such a conflict of interest. The lawsuit is seeking access to those documents and extension of the public comment period for the agency to finalize the determination so that the documents can be considered. In the continued debate, Al Gore weighted in on the pipeline in a recent interview, stating that the project was ‘an atrocity.’
Meanwhile, climate change is happening, you guys. A five year study by FEMA that was just released has predicted a 45% increase in flooding in the United States during the coming decades – as a result of climate change. (Except in North Carolina, of course, where flooding and climate change is illegal. I suppose all the hurricanes will have to stick to Florida and South Carolina this year?) FEMA, which manages disaster relief, is expecting to have to insure 80% more properties, with a 90% increase in the average cost of a claim when filed. But, this is all totally worth it, because it was definitely too expensive for us to regulate carbon through a cap-and-trade or tax system, and it was also definitely too expensive to make some of those fossil fuel companies maybe pay a little instead of collecting government subsidies. What? Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit?
Fine. I’ll end on a good note. Behold, Robert Redford for NRDC:
Redford, an environmental activist and partner to National Resources Defense Council, has put together a series of short ads calling for action on climate change and clean energy initiatives. You should watch them. Because it’s Robert Redford. And, he’s got something really important to say. And then you should send them to everyone you know.
That’s all for now folks. I’ll be back next week, and maybe I’ll be less cranky.