Thursday, January 12, 2012
Big Oil comin to get you
New analysis of oil industry contributions to members of Congress has revealed the level of the oil lobby's financial firepower that Barack Obama can expect to face in the November elections if he refuses to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Obama has until 21 February to make a decision on whether to approve the pipeline, under a compromise tax measure approved late last year. America's top oil lobbyist warned last week that the president would face "huge political consequences" if he did not sign off on the project to pump tar sands crude across the American heartland to refineries on the Texas coast.
The Canadian government is also on the offensive, with an attack this week on "jet-setting celebrities" opposed to tar sands pipelines. At the same time, TransCanada executives have embarked on a letter-writing campaign.
Now Maplight, an independent research group in Berkeley, California, that tracks the influence of money in politics, has conducted an analysis of oil industry contributions to members of Congress supporting the pipeline. - more -
***Environment World Review of the Year: '2011 Rewrote the Books'
The year 2011 was another ecologically tumultuous year with greenhouse gases rise to record levels, Arctic sea ice nearly equalling 2007's record melt, and temperatures the 11th highest ever recorded.
It was marked on the ground by unparalleled extremes of heat and cold in the US, droughts and heatwaves in Europe and Africa and record numbers of weather-related natural disasters.
In addition, 2011 saw the world population reach 7 billion, the second worst nuclear disaster and record investments in renewable energy.
The 41 sea, land and air indicators used by the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to measure sea and land temperatures showed unequivocally that the world continued to warm throughout 2011. In July, NOAA reported that the last 300 months had all been above average temperature and that the 13 warmest years had all occurred in the 15 years since 1997. 2011 was additionally remarkable, it said, because a "La Niña" event was taking place, a naturally occurring oceanic cooling phenomenon that would normally bring temperatures down. - more -