Your weekly news roundup on everything environment
The Numbers Are In: Big Oil Releases First Quarter Profits
The numbers are in and the five big oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell earned a combined $33.5 billion for the first quarter of 2012. That’s $368 million per day.
But despite huge quarterly profits for the world’s most profitable industry — the U.S. still gives billions in tax breaks and subsidies to Big Oil every year.
And just last month the Senate failed to pass a bill that would eliminate just a fraction of the billions in giveaways to Big Oil each year. So why are we still bailing out big oil?
It’s time to end the big oil bailout once and for all.
America’s Largest Banks Continue to Finance Dirty Coal
Many of America’s largest banks claim to be concerned with climate change, but actions speak louder than words.
According to a new report card issued by the Sierra Club and the Rainforest Action Network, many of America’s largest banks continually finance dirty coal energy and destructive mountaintop removal operations. Some of the worst offenders included Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. The report comes after over 8,500 people have pledged to stop doing business with Bank of America unless the bank stops financing the dirty coal industry.
And on May 9, thousands of people from all over the country will converge at Bank of America’s annual shareholder meeting -- including Environmental Action Director Drew Hudson to demand that the bank stop funding coal and finance clean, renewable energy solutions instead. Will you add your name to amplify the chorus of voices demanding BofA end funding of dirty coal and global climate change today?
New Study Predicts Fracking Chemicals Can Reach Water Aquifers Within Years
While scientists have theorized in the past that impermeable layers of rock would keep fracking chemicals safely locked into the ground, a new study using computer modeling concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus Shale, along with the hydraulic fracturing process itself, could result in hazardous chemicals contaminating our water aquifers in as little as “just a few years.”
“Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable,” said the study’s author, Tom Myers.
The study completely contradicts the cornerstone of the natural gas industry’s argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment.
The study also found that long after drilling is finished, chemicals left underground are still being pushed away from the drill site and into our drinking water — and it could take 5 or 6 years before the natural balance of pressure in the underground system is fully restored.
PROGRESS: Peru Adopts Climate Change Initiative
On Thursday, Peru became the latest developing country to enact a domestic climate change initiative following the continual delay of a a binding global pact due to disagreements between the developed and developing world.
Peru, which emits 0.4 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions aims to curb illegal logging in the Amazon rain forest while also including more renewable fuels in Peru’s energy matrix.
Similar plans are being implemented in Chile, Argentina, Columbia and Brazil.
Antarctica is Melting From Below And It Might Be Too Late To Stop It
This is heartbreaking. According to a new study using NASA satellite data, the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) is “being eaten away from below by warm water,” suggesting that “future sea levels could rise faster than many scientist have been predicting.”
The researchers found that warm ocean currents are melting 20 of the 54 ice shelves studied.
“We can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt,” said Hamish Pritchard, the study’s lead author of the British Antarctic Survey.
What’s even more worrisome, is that the study concludes “the most profound contemporary changes to the ice sheets and their contribution to sea level rise can be attributed to ocean thermal forcing that is sustained over decades and may already have triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat.”
So if we don’t act now, the combination of global warming and accelerating sea level rise could be the trigger for catastrophic collapse in the WAIS — the consequences of which could include threatened livelihood of many animals, birds and fish, massive flooding, sea level rise, drought, extreme weather and an overall increase in global temperature. Yet climate change deniers continue to ignore the insurmountable evidence that global warming is real.
Peregrine Falcon Fully Recovered from DDT-Caused Population Collapse
Not to leave you on a sad note, some good news for environmentalists and bird lovers alike — the peregrine falcon has made a full recovery following a population collapse that was the result of pesticide DDT.
DDT caused peregrines, along with the American bald eagle and other predatory birds to lay thin-shelled eggs, which broke prematurely in the nest. The peregrine population dropped by an estimated 80% in North America and Europe.
But because of the hard work of activists like you, William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the EPA, ordered a ban on DDT in 1972.
Now peregrines have rebounded to their former numbers and they have since been removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.
Watch the video below of two hatching peregrine chicks — a sight that might not have been possible without the hard work of people fighting on the front lines over 40 years ago.