Climate criminals

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“Donald Trump wants to drive the world to disaster as quickly as possible. His position is very clear: climate change is not happening, we should increase the use of fossil fuels, eliminate the environmental regulations and the agencies responsible for them. It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire Republican Party.” Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky does not mince words. He is one of the world’s leading philosophers, an American historian, political activist, and social scholar. We are indebted for his work and courage.

Survival is all about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Increasing carbon emissions and hindering carbon capture are climate crimes.

Leaving a child unattended in a locked car with the windows up on a hot day is a crime. It only takes 15 minutes to cause life-threatening brain or kidney injuries. Trump is increasing GHG emissions by blocking solar and wind energy, public transportation, and electric vehicles. His criminal behavior threatens 7.7 billion people and all other life on earth. Let’s dig in.

Keep fuels in the ground

There are two unique problems with shale oil and gas: No profits and methane emissions.

Extracting oil at a reckless pace and burning unwanted natural gas on site requires vast storage and increases carbon emissions. The 2015 – 2016 California Aliso Canyon disaster was not accidental. Massive amounts of natural gas stored in a field of injection wells caused the worst fire leak in U.S. history. More than 97,000 tons of methane and 7,300 tons of ethane were released into the atmosphere.

Increasing fuel supply lowers the market price and depletes the reserves. Without profits for more than 10 years, fracking is wrecking the U.S. economy, financed with massive debt and over 100-years of tax incentives. Fracking is a massive tax shelter for wealthy investors, not energy independence.

Trump plans to visit Louisiana, the site of the Cameron natural gas port this week, for the third time. If completed, the port will cost $30 billion, to liquefy natural gas for export by LNG tankers.

LNG is the smoking gun of Trump’s greed and ignorance. He ignores Katrina’s disaster. Wetlands buffer southern Louisiana from Gulf of Mexico storms by absorbing water. Upstream dams and canals cut for oil and gas have destroyed swamps and marshes. Louisiana is losing a football field of wetlands to the Gulf every hour.

Hindering carbon capture

Forests use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow and store it in the soil. “Forests remove about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activities. Preserving intact forests and planting trees is our best strategy for survival.” New York Times April 2019.

Selling our trees to China as timber or linerboard, or wood pellets to replace coal in the U.K, is criminal. Stop wasting our Teacher’s Retirement Savings, Federal, State, and County incentives. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the Trump of the Ozarks, needs to invest in public health, work skills, and education to develop a green economy. Like the soil, it takes time and an expert hand to grow green local jobs for Arkansans. Luring Chinese private companies like Shandong Sun Paper and Dragon Woodland, competing for low-wage, high-carbon, dead-end jobs with Mississippi is criminal.

Highland Pellets requires special attention. Built on promises of a quick investment, it was built on the back of the Arkansas Teachers and New Market tax credits!

Wildfires are caused by extreme weather. On December 2018, “to reduce wildfires” Trump increased the amount of logging by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management by 6.7 million acres of forest per year, selling timber to China.

Trump has a 2020 deadline to sell our forests, land, and rivers. Everything is for sale. Leases for miners and frackers generate quick federal revenues. Imposing arbitrary trade tariffs – ignoring the tax burden on American families – brings funds to the Treasury. Corporations and the wealthy get a free ride to keep GOP in power.

There is no magic cure – we must act now to avoid ecocide. Trade wars and military conflicts, impeachment, and any other distractions are stealing months from the desperate efforts to deal with the climate emergency.

Dr. Luis Contreras

4 COMMENTS

  1. The $30 Billion LNG Cameron export port will destroy the wetlands, marhses and swamplands sheltering Louisiana.

    Please look at a map for HACKBERRY, La., the site of this massive port. Trump got an F in geography and ecology

    HACKBERRY, La. (AP) – President Donald Trump showcased his “America First energy policy” on Tuesday during a trip to Louisiana designed to highlight his administration’s efforts to increase liquefied natural gas exports and boost the country’s energy infrastructure.

    Trump toured a $10 billion export terminal that will liquefy natural gas for storage and shipping. The process involves cooling gas vapor to a liquid state. Sempra Energy announced Tuesday ahead of Trump’s visit that the Louisiana plant has begun producing liquefied natural gas.

    “Under my administration we have ended the war on America energy and ended the economic assault on our wonderful energy workers,” Trump said in a wide-ranging speech to workers that emphasized energy efforts but also touched on the 2020 Democratic field, the economy and his 2016 election.

    Trump cites an increase in liquefied natural gas exports as boosting jobs and cementing the U.S.’ role as an energy provider for international markets. The administration has also promoted liquefied natural gas from the United States as a way for Europe to reduce its reliance on Russia for energy.

    https://katc.com/news/covering-louisiana/2019/05/14/president-trump-to-visit-cameron-parish-facility-tuesday/

  2. So what is so weird about Highland Pellets, and a $3.5 Billion Pine Bluff dissaster in the making to sell Diesel fuel for trucks made from natural gas?

    Gas to Liquid, GTL is a magical way of making a fossil fuel worse. “This long-awaited project will also be the second alternative energy project ATRS has decided to back financially in the economically-depressed Pine Bluff area.”

    TalkBusiness says:

    1. In July 2016, the state’s largest public pension fund, which has an asset value of more than $17 billion, approved a 31% equity stake in the Boston-based Highland Pellet Inc. for $25 million. That initial investment in Highland allowed the privately-held East Coast pellet company to begin construction on a $230 million, 600,000 metric ton pellet manufacturing facility in Pine Bluff, which when fully operational will convert unused south Arkansas forest waste into tiny wood pellets that will be shipped to Europe and burned in power plants to generate a renewable form of electricity.

    Since purchasing its initial equity stake in Highland, ATRS’s board of directors also committed up to $26 million in debt equity in September 2017 to help the Pine Bluff pellet producer improve its cash flow and access to capital funds. That deal also allowed Highland investors to make scheduled payments on a contract with Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Astec Industries to deliver and construct the company’s modular, multi-line manufacturing plant in Jefferson County.

    And just a month ago, ATRS backed a $150 million Highland loan that originated with a Wall Street investment group that offers financing for large infrastructure projects mainly in the power and energy sectors. Originally set to be operationally in late 2017, construction on Highland’s Pine Bluff plant has seen several delays due to ongoing loan negotiations between New York-based Global Infrastructure Partners, Astec, ATRS and other investors in the project.

    In its second quarter earnings report, Astec took a $1.03 per share charge related to the company’s unresolved issues to meet contract provisions to complete Highland’s integrated pellet plant in Pine Bluff. In late July, Astec agreed to pay Highland $68 million over the course a period of 120 days and forgive approximately $7 million in receivables. In exchange, Highland agreed to release Astec from all contractual obligations related to the construction of the manufacturing facility, which still has not been commissioned to begin operations.

    2. “New capital investments in GTL need to demonstrate their profitability on a forward-looking basis,” said MIT researcher David Ramberg in a 2017 study exploring the long-term viability and profitable of the gas-to-liquids refining process. “Our research shows that with any carbon constraints, GTL technology is not viable. Even without a carbon cap, the prospects for GTL are not bright because it needs a certain price ratio of oil to natural gas: relatively high oil prices and relatively low natural gas prices. We tested the potential futures and concluded that large-scale deployment of GTL is not economical.”

    https://talkbusiness.net/2018/08/pine-bluffs-3-5-billion-gas-to-liquids-project-finds-financial-backing-after-three-years-of-waiting/

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