Nineteen years ago the Exxon Valdez crashed into the shoreline of Alaska’s Prince William Sound spilling 11 million gallons of oil into pristine waters and ruining 1200 miles of coastline. Local residents and fisherman sued and an angry jury told Exxon to cough up $5 billion in damages. An appeals court cut that in half.
But yesterday, the Supreme Court, perhaps feeling sorry for a company that made $40 billion last year, cut Exxon’s bill down to just $500 million. With 20 years interest the real payout will be close to a billion. For Exxon, that’s about eight days worth of profits.
Even more shocking, $100 million of that money will go right back to Exxon. The company made a side deal with seven large fish processors in 1991, paying them $70 million for their share of the damages the courts would eventual deliver. Continue reading
Environmental scientist David Keith brainstorms a radical, fast and cheap way to cool the planet…throwing up huge clouds of ash to deflect sunlight and heat.
Would it work? Keith says it’s been done before. Back in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo blew it’s top in the Philippines sending 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the air and thousands of villagers running for safety. The net effect of a series of eruptions was a .9 degree cooling of the planet.
Keith readily admits there are some known downsides, namely releasing sulfur into the upper atmosphere damages the ozone layer, and by giving politicians a fast and easy option to cool the Earth we seriously limit their motivation for doing anything that will help the problem naturally, like reducing emissions. Continue reading
The greenhouse gases released by the Iraq war thus far equals the pollution from adding 25 million cars to the road for one year says a study released by Oil Change International, an anti petroleum watchdog. The group’s main concerns are the environmental and human rights impacts of a petroleum based economy.
The study, released last March on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, states that total US spending on the war so far equals the global investment needed through 2030 to halt global warming. Continue reading