Is China finally waking up to its pollution crisis?

Expect the global warming issue to blow up again as the Obama Administration gears up to issue new EPA regulations. Conservatives have argued for years now that anything the US does is moot given China’s massive pollution problem. But as Jonathan Cohen points out, China is finally starting to move on these issues, as even hard-core dictators can be affected by choking pollution:

In recent years, the Chinese have imposed fuel mileage and appliance efficiency standards, similar in many respects to those in the U.S. Just this week, officials in Beijing announced that the government would be taking another 5 million aging cars off the nation’s road. China has also set up pilot versions of tradable pollution permits—in other words, “cap-and-trade” schemes—for various industries. Officials say they hope to make these nationwide soon. And one reason the Chinese government was so eager to sign that massive new deal with Russia, allowing the import of natural gas, was because it’s desperate to find alternatives to coal. “For a long time, opponents [of new regulations] said we’ll get hoodwinked, because China won’t do anything,” says David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “That’s just not true.”

This is a positive development, and hopefully it continues. If China gets more serious about this, then it can give political cover to those around the world trying to put a lid on carbon emissions.

Cohen points out that any new EPA regulations can put further pressure on China to act.

Expect to hear plenty of noise about this over the coming months.

Debate over Keystone Pipeline

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There are all sorts of opinions on the Keystone Pipeline. Many environmentalists are very much opposed, while many people concerned with weaning ourselves off of Mid East oil are in favor of it, even with all the new oil American is producing through fracking. The Arkansas oil spill complicates the issue of course.

Here’s T. Boone Pickens discussing natural gas, oil and the pipeline.

BP Attempts Static Kill To Permanently Plug Damaged Oil Well

The news is good so far in the Gulf . . . . finally!

BP began plugging the damaged oil well today with a “static kill” by pumping mud into it. Early reports are encouraging.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Wednesday he has “high confidence” that no more oil will leak from BP’s Gulf of Mexico well, hours after BP announced that the well had reached “static condition” after pumping heavy drilling mud into it.

BP called the outcome a “significant milestone” in its efforts to permanently seal the well.

The energy giant began the “static kill” procedure at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and workers stopped pumping mud in after about eight hours after the effort achieved its “desired outcome.”

Let’s hope we’ve seen the end of this nightmare.

Pelicans covered in oil


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Some of the other photos out there are much worse, but it’s heartbreaking to see these pelicans covered in oil.

Meanwhile, oil spill protests are heating up against BP.

We’ve added more depressing photos after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oil spill may result in ecological disaster


Photo from fOTOGLIF

The photo above shows birds flying over a wildlife protected area, south of Venice, Louisiana. The United States scrambled on Friday to ward off an ecological disaster that could cost billions of dollars as a huge, spreading oil spill reached coastal Louisiana, imperiling wildlife and seafood areas.

Rescue crews are already rescuing the first bird coated with oil from the spill. Meanwhile, government officials have been criticizing BP, while the Obama administration said that any future drilling plans will be delayed pending an investigation of this disaster.

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