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Malcolm

Climate Change?

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Defcon, I would bet the birds would be leaving the city now along with anyone who can.

China pollution: Factories closed by Beijing smoghttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-35141188

  • 4 hours ago
  • From the section China
_87295685_87295684.jpgImage copyright Reuters Image caption Beijing's Forbidden City was not off-limits to the thick smog

Cars were forced off the road and factories closed in Beijing on Saturday after the city was once again blanketed by hazardous smog.

The government issued a level-four red alert on Friday - the most serious of a four-tier warning system.

The alert, the second in as many weeks, means schools have to close and half the vehicles banned.

The wave of smog is expected to cover the notoriously polluted city until Tuesday, due to a lack of strong winds.

Levels of PM2.5, the smallest and deadliest smog particles, rose as high as 303 micrograms a cubic metre in some parts of Beijing on Saturday, and could top 500 in coming days - more than 20 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization.

Data published by the US embassy in Beijing showed a high of 261 in the Chaoyang district in central Beijing in the early hours of Saturday morning, falling to 139 by mid-afternoon.

Beijing's Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said the overall air quality was at 104. Some residents took to Weibo - China's version of Twitter - to say the smog was not as severe as they had been warned and complain about the driving restrictions.

_87295689_87295688.jpgImage copyright Reuters Image caption Some factories were forced to halt production following a red smog alert _87295693_aa5e6782-086a-404f-8300-cf6194Image copyright Reuters Image caption A flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square went ahead despite the pollution <img width="976" height="549" class="responsive-image__img js-image-replace" alt="A visitor wearing a protective mask walks at the Temple of Heaven park as China" src="http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/E90B/production/_87295695_87295694.jpg"s="" datasrc="http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/320/cpsprodpb/E90B/production/_87295695_87295694.jpg" capital="" beijing="" brace="" for="" four="" days="" of="" choking="" smog="" starting="" saturday,="" in="" beijing,="" china,="" december="" 19,="" 2015."="" data-cke-saved-src="http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/E90B/production/_87295695_87295694.jpg"> Image copyright Reuters Image caption Many Beijing residents regularly wear face masks to reduce the health risks

China's government has faced criticism for not issuing severe smog warnings more often. The four-tier smog warning system was launched two years ago but Beijing had not issued a red alert until this month.

However, Beijing resident Ma Yunan said the government was now doing a "better job than before".

"In previous times, the government would not issue red alerts even when the haze was very serious," Ma Yunan told the Associated Press news agency.

"Now they are publishing alerts beforehand for us to get ourselves prepared and the alerts are accompanied with some measures."

_72046526_science_hair_graphic_624.gif

Beijing's smog problem is largely blamed on coal burning power plants, industrial pollution and the booming number of cars. The city's geography worsens the problem because mountains on three sides trap smog.

Residents frequently don face masks for their day-to-day activities in an attempt to reduce the health risks. Studies suggest as many as 1.4 million in the country die early because the smog - nearly 4,000 per day.

China is the world's biggest carbon emitter but has said it plans to reduce hazardous emissions from coal-fired power plants by 50% over the next five years. However, overall emissions are expected to peak by about 2030 before starting to decline.

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I'll bet that everyone that's making money doing whatever it is that's making such a horrible mess could really give a damn about the consequence.

Imagine the quality of the foods they're growing over there in that polluted dirt, air and water, which is then packaged up and sent to us. The good news I guess is that the practice does reduce the concentration of pollutants in the region?

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Something that our new Government can do right away to help the Environment:

Statement by Environmental Defence's Executive Director Tim Gray on U.S. Microbeads Ban

TORONTO, Dec. 30, 2015 /CNW/ - We applaud President Obama for taking a critical step to ban microbeads. Now it's time the Canadian government step up with similar action.

On Monday President Obama signed a bill that will require U.S. manufacturers to end the use of microbeads in products by July 1, 2017. The bill will also end the sale of products containing microbeads in the U.S. by July 1, 2018. This is an important move that will significantly reduce harmful microplastic pollution in waters, including the Great Lakes.

We call on the Canadian government to take similar action and end the use and sale of microbeads in Canada. The government has taken steps towards banning microbeads through the Chemicals Management Plan, but has yet to announce a plan for banning or restricting the use of these harmful pollutants. It's time to do the right thing and join the U.S. in ending the use of microbeads.

Microplastic pollution is toxic to wildlife and may impact human health as well. Microbeads, bits of plastic added to products like body wash or toothpaste for aesthetic and exfoliating purposes, slip through our wastewater treatment filters and flow directly into our lakes and rivers.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE
(www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada's most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.

SOURCE Environmental Defence rt.gif?NewsItemId=C5913&Transmission_Id=

For further information: Please contact Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-570-2878 (cell), ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

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Methane leak in California a 'major catastrophe' Leak 'largest ever recorded' could take 4 months to stop

By Kim Brunhuber, CBC News Posted: Dec 31, 2015 8:11 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 31, 2015 8:11 AM ET

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti accompanied by SoCal Gas officials, visits the Aliso Canyon facility in the Porter Ranch neighbourhood of Los Angeles on Dec. 2, 2015. The invisible cloud of methane leaking from the facility stretches for kilometres. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Associated Press)

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

About 42 kilometres from Los Angeles, above the houses nestled in the mountains of Porter Ranch, Calif., a plume of methane is shooting into the sky. The cloud is invisible but it stretches for kilometres, as though a forest fire has been continually burning for months. All of this is emanating from a tiny pipe about 20 centimetres wide, more than a kilometre underground.

"The amount of methane and natural gas that's coming out of the Aliso Canyon Facility really is probably one of the largest volumes of gas ever recorded from a single leak," says Tim O'Connor, an oil and gas specialist with the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

SoCalGas spokesman Mike Mizrahi says the company 'has observed all of the safety protocols.' (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

The Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility, owned by SoCalGas, is the fifth biggest of its kind in U.S. But in late October, the company realized one of its wells was leaking. At first the company tried to close the leak using the conventional method of pouring fluids and mud down the well.

"We have tried that seven times and have been unsuccessful in trying to stop the leak," said SoCalGas spokesman Michael Mizrahi. "I have to say more than likely it's [because] the pressures that are coming up from the leaking well are so intense."

The company says it doesn't know exactly how much gas is escaping. But environmentalists estimate the effect is comparable to the tailpipes of up to seven million cars venting directly into the atmosphere every day.

Environmental Defense Fund oil and gas specialist Tim O'Connor says the leak is 'probably one of the largest volumes of gas ever recorded from a single leak.' (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

"Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas; over the first 20 years it's released, it has a climate impact 84 times that of carbon dioxide," said O'Connor. "There's no telling what the far reaches of the overall end results are going to be. Air quality, public health, ecological — it's all on the table."

The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a no-fly zone because of the small risk that a plane could ignite a pocket of methane. And then there's the smell.

Outside the gate of the facility, about 1.5 kilometres away from the leak, the smell is far from overpowering; in fact it's often impossible to detect. Then the wind shifts, and there it is: It smells as though someone nearby is cooking cabbage.

"It's that odourant that's causing some people to have some temporary ill effects," said Mizrahi. "We fully recognize that some people are more susceptible to that smell than others. And we are really apologetic about that."

Laurie Rosenberg is among the many Porter Ranch residents who say the chemicals are causing them health problems.

Porter Ranch resident Laurie Rosenberg will be moving to temporary housing in January because she worries about the leak's long-term effects. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

"I've had migraine headaches … itchy eyes, and runny nose 24/7," she said. "And the two schools in the area that my grandsons go to are closed. So I think there's more up there than they're really willing to admit. I'm not really confident about the long-term effects of this."

Mizrahi says experts are sampling the air twice a day in ten different locations to make sure the levels aren't harmful, but says the company will temporarily relocate anyone who wants to move.

"We are working as fast as we can, and we don't want anybody to be in their homes any longer than they want to be in their homes," Mizrahi said.

SoCalGas is drilling a relief well which will enable them to seal the leak, but that could take up to four months.

Porter Ranch residents Natalie and Kyle Norman say they can't wait that long. Natalie says she's been suffering from a variety of problems.

"Mainly migraines, nosebleeds," Natalie said, while she and Kyle stood in line at a temporary resource center, set up by SoCalGas, to deal with the more than 7,000 people who have asked the company for information about relocating.

Kyle says even their two dogs have been vomiting more than usual.

relief.png

SoCalGas is drilling a relief well which will allow it to pump liquids, and then cement, into the leaking well to close and seal it. The company says it could take another four months. (SoCalGas)

More than two months after SoCalGas discovered the leak, the company says it still doesn't know what caused it.

"We won't be able to determine that definitively until we actually complete the relief well process," said Mizrahi. "SoCalGas has observed all of the safety protocols. These wells are inspected every day. They have an in-depth annual inspection once a year, in fact this well was due for its next annual inspection just before the leak happened."

"Since we have a major catastrophe, something certainly went wrong and we need to get to the bottom of it," said O'Connor, the specialist with the EDF. He believes either the company is at fault or current regulations for underground gas storage are too lax.

"We need systems in place to make sure we have inspections and maintenance and construction requirements that both prevent the leaks that happen every day — the 'little guys' — but that can also prevent these big environmental catastrophes," says O'Connor.

The irony, he says, is that California is about to enact methane reduction legislation across all sectors of the economy.

"And yet we have one leak that's pumping out more methane pollution every day than all of the other oil and gas sources [in California] combined."

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New Delhi is having its worst winter pollution season ever, so much so they have taken to restricted traffic to even/odd license plates. If your plate ends with an odd number, only you can drive into the city on certain days, and on other days, only plated ending with an even number can drive into the city. I have a friend who lives in New Delhi who says even her dog is reluctant to go outside for a walk, the air is so foul.

What can we do about global warming? Well, we can be judicious in our use of fossil fuels, and I've never been opposed to a carbon tax so long as the funds raised from it are redirected into either lower taxes on other goods, or on specific infrastructure like cleaner transit that would otherwise be funded with debt. Regulations are forcing automakers to make vehicles that are more fuel efficient than ever - that's where Volkswagen got caught, trying to cheat on those US standards. But a great deal of effort is going into lightening up pickups and SUVs by incorporating more aluminum and specialty high strength steels into car bodies. New drive trains are under development, and electric cars and hybrids are making slow but steady progress to extend their range and lower vehicle purchase costs.

It's worth noting that the trend over the last few decades to slight milder and drier winters in much of the country hasn't made us any happier with being here in winter.

http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/canada-a-nation-of-winter-wusses/

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Seems that Aluminum may not be best for the evironment unless you only produce it using Hydro Electricity and then Recycle/ recycle/ recycle....

What Aluminum Extraction Really Does to the Environment By Elizah Leigh on November 09, 2010

Aluminum takes a remarkable amount of energy to produce for consumer usage, making recycling so very important.

Of all the earth’s natural elements, aluminum happens to be the third most abundant resource on our planet in its raw form.

With rather humble origins as a soft, red, mineral-laden rock called bauxite, highly valuable aluminum ore contains boehmite, diaspore and gibbsite as well as clay, iron hydroxides and free silica.

On an annual basis, more than 130 million tons of bauxite is extracted globally, and current estimates suggest that we have enough reserves to carry us through the next 400 years.

Found in tropical, subtropical and volcanic regions with excellent drainage below a ferruginous surface layer, the leaders in bauxite production continue to be Asia (including China and India), Central and South America (including Venezuela, Brazil, Jamaica, Guyana and Surinam), Russia, Africa, Iceland and Australia. In fact, the Land Down Under meets close to one-third of our total global demand.

Extraction process Open-pit mining (also known as surface, open-cast or strip mining), in which large swaths of earth are excavated relatively close to the surface in order to remove valuable materials, enables workers to locate raw bauxite.

The material is then transported to smelter or reduction plants where it is placed into a caustic chemical bath of sodium hydroxide in order to dissolve the desired metal at very high temperatures.

Following filtration and subsequent heating of the mixture at 1,000º C, the molten solution is then augmented with cryolite.

Through electrolysis (the introduction of a very intense electrical current), the liquefied aluminum can then be successfully extracted, cleaned and poured into solid ingots.

Approximately 1 ton of aluminum oxide is produced from every 4 tons of mined bauxite.

Products made with aluminum Laundry detergent, cement, aspirin, roofing, soda cans, house siding, spark plugs, foil containers, foil wrap, makeup, appliances, fluorescent light bulbs, dishwashers, cookware coatings, chemicals, deodorant, polishing compounds, household siding, antacids, toothpaste, multiple types of transportation vehicles (including automobiles, military vehicles, planes, marine transportation and trains). Environmental impact Overall, the entire process of transforming raw bauxite into aluminum is incredibly energy intensive, requiring copious amounts of electricity, water and resources to produce (that is the main reason why power plants are built solely to support the aluminum industry).

Since pure aluminum ore is so stable, an extraordinary amount of electricity is required to yield the final product and, at least in the U.S., half of the smelting energy consumed is courtesy of coal, one of the most notoriously polluting fuel sources known to mankind.

The EPA says that the release of perfluorocarbons during the aluminum smelting process are 9,200 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of their affect on global warming.

When bauxite is extracted from the earth, the strip-mining process removes all native vegetation in the mining region, resulting in a loss of habitat and food for local wildlife as well as significant soil erosion.

The caustic red sludge and toxic mine tailings that remain are commonly deposited into excavated mine pits where they ultimately seep into aquifers, contaminating local water sources.

Greenhouse gas emissions released during smelting and processing (which have been found to blanket surrounding regions with toxic vapors) include carbon dioxide, perfluorocarbons, sodium fluoride, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and a vast list of other problematic elements.

Particulates released during processing that are known to compromise air quality include combustion byproducts, caustic aerosols, dust from bauxite, limestone, charred lime, alumina and sodium salt.

Compared to producing virgin aluminum from raw bauxite, recycling old aluminum consumes just 5% of the energy and releases a mere 5% of the greenhouse gases.

Infinitely recyclable, aluminum loses none of its integrity even when it is melted down repeatedly, plus, the whole recycling process can be achieved in less than 60 days flat.

Recycling just four cases of beer containing a total of 96 cans saves enough energy to keep a laptop computer running for well over a month.

Aluminum is economical to recycle and yields consistent income for municipalities (despite fluctuations in scrap prices) as well as charities and community causes.

Landfills across the globe continue to be the final resting place for infinite numbers of aluminum beverage cans, which, when incinerated, contaminate air with toxic compounds and take up to 500 years to fully decompose.

By recycling already-manufactured aluminum materials, precious space can be conserved in landfills and no new waste materials are produced!

- See more at: http://recyclenation.com/2010/11/aluminum-extraction-recycling-environment#sthash.o3Lbolh7.dpuf

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Instead of using aluminum maybe we should go back to 'person powered' cars

flintstones.jpg

BTW, at this time of the year I often wonder why the Flintstones celebrated Christmas when, apparently, Christ was not yet born.. :Grin-Nod::Grin-Nod::Grin-Nod::Grin-Nod::Clever:

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Instead of using aluminum maybe we should go back to 'person powered' cars

<&isRte=1,qIGBt0_Uah,true,true,6VEaB99PVWc');</script>flintstones.jpg&&0){for(var>

BTW, at this time of the year I often wonder why the Flintstones celebrated Christmas when, apparently, Christ was not yet born..

I am too young to remember those person powered cars Kip, what were they like? :Grin-Nod:

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But, that is not global warming, that is pollution and by all means get it cleaned up, but stop talking about CO2, that is not what is making the smog.

  • Like 2

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I wonder if all of those "Califonian Stars" will now shift their attention to their home state when it comes to shutting down / dealing with major sources of pollution? And for their protest they will not have to jet to their protest venue.

What's behind California's 'public health catastrophe'?

Media captionThe leak may not be stopped until February

In October, a well on one of the US's largest natural gas repositories sprung a leak, beginning a months-long saga that has seen the noxious gas spray out of the ground and over Los Angeles neighbourhoods.

Gas is spewing into the atmosphere at a rate so fast that the well now accounts for about a quarter of the state's total emissions of methane - an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

The well is situated in a mountainous area more than a mile away from residential areas, but residents have complained of health effects like headaches, nausea, vomiting and trouble breathing.

"Let's call it an environmental and public health catastrophe," Tim O'Connor, a lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund told the BBC's environment correspondent, Matt McGrath.

"In terms of timelines this is going to surpass the gulf oil problem by a mile. What we do know is that that climate equivalent of this leak is like burning thus far almost 700 million gallons of gasoline or it's the same amount of pollution as 4.5 million cars put out every day, it's tragic."

What has been the fallout?

Methane - the main component of natural gas - is a very strong greenhouse gas, capable of trapping solar radiation in the atmosphere.

It belongs to a category of gases called short-lived climate pollutants.

While Methane and other short-lived pollutants remain the atmosphere for a relatively short time compared to other gases, the California Air Resources Board says that "when measured in terms of how they heat the atmosphere, their impacts can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide".

The BBC's Matt McGrath, says the large amounts of powerful gas that are leaking could have a significant impact on climate change.

Residents have been complaining of nausea, headaches and other symptoms, but the utility company says that "scientists agree natural gas is not toxic and that its odorant is harmless at the minute levels at which it is added to natural gas".

Health officials in the area have said the long-term effects of being exposed to the gas are unknown.

The utility company is providing temporary accommodations or funds for the displaced residents, and several thousand people in Porter Ranch have been relocated while the gas continues to leak and repairs take place.

But, according to CBS News, only 2,200 families have been relocated even though 6,500 have applied for help.

"You have kids going to school outside their neighbourhoods, families that are living in hotels" says Paula Cracium, president of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council. "The longer this goes on the more stress there is."

When and how did the leak start?

A broken injection-well pipe about 500 ft (152.4m) is believed to be the culprit behind the leak, reports say. Pipes like this are used by utility companies to insert gas into the ground for storage until a later time when it can be withdrawn and sold for use.

It is not known why the pipe ruptured.

The facility, a depleted oil field, was acquired by Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) decades ago for use as a natural storage facility for gas piped in from as far away as Canada, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Using former oil fields as storage for natural gas is quite common in the US. The US Energy Information Administration says that "most existing natural gas storage in the United States is in depleted natural gas or oil fields that are close to consumption centers," like the large metropolitan Los Angeles area.

Why hasn't it been fixed? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Previous attempts to plug the leak have failed

Repair work has been slow, due to the nature of the leak.

SoCal Gas has tried to plug the leak on several occasions, according to the LA Times. Their first attempt was foiled by ice formations that prevented a cocktail of chemicals and mud from reaching the leak point. Another seven attempts failed because the upwards pressure of the leaking gas was greater than the pressure that they could use to push the mud-chemical cocktail into the earth.

Engineers then began to worry that if they applied any more pressure, they may damage the pipes further and worsen the leak.

The new plan is to drill two new "relief wells" that would use less-obstructed and bigger piping to insert the mud-chemical cocktail into the system far below the point at which the pipe is believed to have ruptured. But, the company says that this plan could take months and would not be completed until February or March.

In the meantime, the company is installing large mesh screens around the leak site to try and hinder the oily mist from spraying down the community.

"The stain of this disaster is going to be felt for quite some time," Ms Cracium says

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And bulls emit? :Grin-Nod:

But the annual total from all agriculture is only 9% of the US emission. according to the article the latest leak is spewing 25% of the normal monthly output

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Looks like there may be some action.

California has declared a State of Emergency for the Southern California Gas Company gas leak in Porter Ranch—the largest natural gas leak ever recorded, which has been going on since last year. What took so long?

The gas leak, which has spewed 110,000 pounds of natural gas per hour since October 2015, caused thousands of residents to relocate after complaining about sore throats and headaches for months.

While engineers still haven’t pinpointed the exact cause of the leak, aging infrastructure could be to blame. The Aliso Canyon Underground Storage Facility (where the leak took place) has lacked a crucial safety valve since 1979.

Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has (finally!) made this declaration, it means that “all state agencies will utilize state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough state response to this incident,” according to a statement.

http://gizmodo.com/a-california-g...

By declaring an emergency, Brown is freeing up government resources to prioritize fixing the leak. It’s a positive step, but woefully overdue.

Here’s the full text of the proclamation:

Updating

PROCLAMATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY

WHEREAS on October 23, 2015, a natural gas leak was discovered at a well within the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility in Los Angeles County, and Southern California Gas Company’s attempts to stop the leak have not yet been successful; and

WHEREAS many residents in the nearby community have reported adverse physical symptoms as a result of the natural gas leak, and the continuing emissions from this leak have resulted in the relocation of thousands of people, including many schoolchildren; and

WHEREAS major amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, have been emitted into the atmosphere; and

WHEREAS the Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources issued an emergency order on December 10, 2015 prohibiting injection of natural gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility until further authorized; and

WHEREAS seven state agencies are mobilized to protect public health, oversee Southern California Gas Company’s actions to stop the leak, track methane emissions, ensure worker safety, safeguard energy reliability, and address any other problems stemming from the leak; and

WHEREAS the California Public Utilities Commission and the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources—working closely with federal, state and local authorities including the California Attorney General and the Los Angeles City Attorney—have instituted investigations of this natural gas leak and have ordered an independent, third-party analysis of the cause of the leak; and

NOW, THEREFORE, given the prolonged and continuing duration of this natural gas leak and the request by residents and local officials for a declaration of emergency, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the State Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist in Los Angeles County due to this natural gas leak.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:

1. All agencies of state government shall utilize all necessary state personnel, equipment, and facilities to ensure a continuous and thorough response to this incident, as directed by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the State Emergency Plan.

2. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, in exercising its responsibility to coordinate relevant state agencies, shall provide frequent and timely updates to residents affected by the natural gas leak and the appropriate local officials, including convening community meetings.

STOPPING THE LEAK

3. The California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission shall take all actions necessary to ensure that Southern California Gas Company maximizes daily withdrawals of natural gas from the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility for use or storage elsewhere.

4. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources shall direct Southern California Gas Company to take any and all viable and safe actions to capture leaking gas and odorants while relief wells are being completed.

5. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources shall require Southern California Gas Company to identify how it will stop the gas leak if pumping materials through relief wells fails to close the leaking well, or if the existing leak worsens.

6. The Division shall take necessary steps to ensure that the proposals identified by Southern California Gas Company pursuant to Directives 4 and 5 are evaluated by the panel of subject matter experts the Division has convened from the Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia National Laboratories to evaluate Southern California Gas Company’s actions.

PROTECTING PUBLIC SAFETY

7. The Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources shall continue its prohibition against Southern California Gas Company injecting any gas into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility until a comprehensive review, utilizing independent experts, of the safety of the storage wells and the air quality of the surrounding community is completed.

8. The California Air Resources Board, in coordination with other agencies, shall expand its real-time monitoring of emissions in the community and continue providing frequent, publicly accessible updates on local air quality.

9. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment shall convene an independent panel of scientific and medical experts to review public health concerns stemming from the gas leak and evaluate whether additional measures are needed to protect public health beyond those already put in place.

10. The California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission, in coordination with the California Independent System Operator, shall take all actions necessary to ensure the continued reliability of natural gas and electricity supplies in the coming months during the moratorium on gas injections into the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility.

ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY

11. The California Public Utilities Commission shall ensure that Southern California Gas Company cover costs related to the natural gas leak and its response, while protecting ratepayers.

12. The California Air Resources Board, in consultation with appropriate state agencies, shall develop a program to fully mitigate the leak’s emissions of methane by March 31, 2016. This mitigation program shall be funded by the Southern California Gas Company, be limited to projects in California, and prioritize projects that reduce short-lived climate pollutants.

STRENGTHENING OVERSIGHT OF GAS STORAGE FACILITIES

13. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources shall promulgate emergency regulations requiring gas storage facility operators throughout the state to comply with the following new safety and reliability measures:

a. Require at least a daily inspection of gas storage well heads, using gas leak detection technology such as infrared imaging.

b. Require ongoing verification of the mechanical integrity of all gas storage wells.

c. Require ongoing measurement of annular gas pressure or annular gas flow within wells.

d. Require regular testing of all safety valves used in wells.

e. Establish minimum and maximum pressure limits for each gas storage facility in the state.

f. Require each storage facility to establish a comprehensive risk management plan that evaluates and prepares for risks at each facility, including corrosion potential of pipes and equipment.

14. The Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission shall submit to the Governor’s Office a report that assesses the long-term viability of natural gas storage facilities in California. The report should address operational safety and potential health risks, methane emissions, supply reliability for gas and electricity demand in California, and the role of storage facilities and natural gas infrastructure in the State’s long-term greenhouse gas reduction strategies. This report shall be submitted within six months after the completion of the investigation of the cause of the natural gas well leak in the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 6th day of January 2016.

__________________________

EDMUND G. BROWN JR.

Governor of California

ATTEST:

__________________________

ALEX PADILLA

Secretary of State

[LA Times]

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A reflection on Canada's promise:

Joe Oliver: Beware the consequences of climate change … policies
‎Today, ‎February ‎3, ‎2016, ‏‎45 minutes ago | Joe Oliver, Special to Financial Post

The Liberal government sure is talking the talk about the overarching challenge of climate change. The question for Canadians is what the consequences will be once it starts walking the walk. Well, hold on to your wallets, because the answer may be grim: income and corporate tax hikes, consumer “fees,” intrusive regulations, extravagant review processes and massive government expenditures. Yet the actions of other countries are running counter to progress in the fight against global warming and our contribution will be a rounding error, if even that.

For Canada to meet its CO2 targets this decade would be equivalent to closing over half our energy industry

Over 380 Canadian politicians and bureaucrats attended the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, more than China, triple the U.S. and almost quadruple the U.K.’s team, according to United Nations figures. The not-yet published costs included two round trips by the premier of Ontario, who flew back to Toronto for Question Period. In total 40,000 delegates, scientists, journalists, ENGOs and other participants were on hand to provide valuable input or merely to observe the historic event. Why all those people needed to be in the City of Light is not clear. Nor have we calculated the resultant increase in CO2 emissions, although apparently an additional 9,000 tons were emitted from hotels alone.

Stirring and frequently apocalyptic rhetoric intensified the suspense about a possible failure to arrive at an agreement. Then, in a glorious moment, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius proclaimed a triumphant conclusion. Humanity was saved! If only it were so. The hard fact is that, while each country must report its GHG emissions, the amount by which it must reduce them is not mandated. Nor is there a commitment to actually reduce them, or penalties if they do not. Because the Paris Agreement is basically aspirational, climate scientist and activist James Hansen called it a total fraud. But that does not mean the agreement is without consequences, which is why Canadians must be wary.

Honouring even some of the voluntary pledges could lead to significant economic hardship. For example, for Canada to meet its targets this decade would be the equivalent of closing over half of our energy industry. The consequences would be more acute for poorer countries, where a billion people have no electricity and another 1.25 billion have only insecure access to it. Without legally binding de-carbonization caps, it is highly unlikely that developing countries will or even should take action that would compromise growth and slow down the eradication of grinding poverty in the here and now.

China and India, the world’s first- and third-ranking emitters, demanded a massive wealth transfer of at least US$100 billion annually from developed to developing countries for our historical contribution to GHG emissions. Yet there is no way that will happen. As to the U.S., so great has been the increase in its oil shale production that, right after COP21, it lifted a ban on domestic oil exports for the first time in 40 years. The U.K. recently cut renewable energy subsidies, allowed fracking under national parks and is expected to renew more offshore oil and gas exploration licenses. And to put a stake in the heart of the CO2 reduction dream, some 2,400 coal-fired power stations are planned or under construction around the world, which is a serious problem since coal represents about one-quarter to one-third of global emissions.

We need to avoid ideological decisions and rely on science and economics. That means not supporting uneconomic renewables, which have proved disastrous in Ontario, driving up energy prices but not reducing GHG emissions. Rather, the best hope for a breakthrough is R&D focused on green innovation that would reduce the cost of renewables. And please, please do not even think about a cap-and-trade scheme that would require payments of billions to Russian oligarchs in return for feel-good pieces of paper that would not even require emission reductions by the recipients of our senseless beneficence.

Canadians want governments to do their part in an important global challenge. But at what cost and to what end? How the government answers those questions will impact significantly on our standard of living and security for years to come.

Joe Oliver is former Minister of Finance and former Minister of Natural Resources. Story Link: http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/joe-oliver-beware-the-consequences-of-climate-change-policies

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Interesting, seems that a lot of money was wasted to achieve what turns out to be an idle promise.  Link to the following article: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/lawrence-solomon-its-game-over-for-global-warming-activists

Lawrence Solomon: It’s ‘game over’ for global warming activists

Lawrence Solomon | February 12, 2016 11:02 AM ET

Environmentalists’ faint hope that they can get international action on climate change gets fainter by the day.

 

Environmentalists’ faint hope that they can get international action on climate change gets fainter by the day. This week the United States Supreme Court added to their despair by kiboshing President Obama’s pledge, at December’s climate talks in Paris, to lead the world on climate change. “This could be the proverbial string which causes Paris to unravel,” The New York Times reported.

 

At the heart of Obama’s Paris pledge was his Clean Power Plan, an executive order hyped as “the first-ever carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.” The plan, rolled out with much fanfare prior to the Paris meetings to create a sense of momentum, was designed to shut down America’s fleet of coal-powered generating plants. The White House boasted its plan would help reduce CO2 emissions by 32 per cent by 2030 and lead to 30 per cent more renewable energy generation in 2030.

 

Except it was an empty boast based on an unconstitutional plan, said 29 states and state agencies, which successfully argued that the Obama plan needed congressional approval to proceed. The Supreme Court agreed to an immediate halt of Obama’s plan, sending it to a lower court and all but guaranteeing that, when Obama leaves office in 2017, the plan will remain in deep freeze.

 

India, China and other countries that were cajoled into making carbon-cutting commitments at Paris are now under no pressure to cut emissions either. As one adviser to China’s Paris delegation put it, “Look, the United States doesn’t keep its word. Why make so many demands on us?” U.S. environmental groups concur. “If the U.S. isn’t moving on climate action, it makes it really hard to go back to other countries and say, ‘Do more, we’re delivering,’” admits the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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Not that any of the carbon reduction demands were binding, or even meaningful. The Paris talks succeeded only in continuing the pretense that the countries of the world were morally committed to action on climate change. Now even that pretense is vanishing. Seven years after Obama declared that, under his transformative presidency, the oceans would stop rising, it is dawning on environmentalists that his entire contribution to the debate amounts to no more than lofty rhetoric. Obama’s climate change legacy will be remembered for two terms of hope without change.

The presidential election season can only add to the environmentalists’ funk. With the Democrats fielding either an unpopular Hillary Clinton or an unelectable, socialist Bernie Sanders, the Republicans are widely believed to be favoured to win, landing a deathblow to climate change activism. With both Republican front-runners, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, considering global warming claims to be outright shams, funding for the climate change industry will dry up. Cruz promises to defund the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s premier global warming lobbyist, along with every other program promoting climate change alarmism. Trump likely would, too, given his belief that global warming policies hurt American business.

 

Even if a Democrat should win the presidency, the climate change industry has no hope for a comeback. Republicans will still hold the purse strings through their control over the legislature — that’s why Obama resorted to an executive order to impose his Clean Power Plan, in a faint hope of his own that he could further the agenda he so passionately believes in.

 

So much hope in that fount seven years ago; so little left today. For those environmentalists still clinging to climate change beliefs, hope does not spring eternal.

 

Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group. LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com.

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California methane leak 'largest in US history'

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

A scientific analysis of a natural gas leak near Los Angeles says that it was the biggest in US history.

The Aliso Canyon blowout vented almost 100,000 tonnes of methane into the atmosphere before it was plugged.

The impact on the climate is said to be the equivalent of the annual emissions of half a million cars.

Researchers say it had a far bigger warming effect than the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

First detected on 23 October, the leak came from one of the 115 wells connected to a massive underground natural gas storage facility, the fifth largest in the US.

Seven unsuccessful attempts were made to shut down the billowing plumes of methane and ethane by the owners, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas).

Concerns over the impacts of the spewing gas eventually led to more than 11,000 nearby residents being evacuated as California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in the area.

The blowout pushed enough of the gas into the air every day to fill a balloon the size of a football stadium.

At its peak, the flow doubled the rate of methane emissions from the entire Los Angeles basin.

The leak was permanently sealed on 18 February. By then almost 100,000 tonnes of methane had poured into the atmosphere.

Off the scale

Scientists have now completed an analysis based on 13 research flights that captured air samples in and around the methane plume as well as from the ground. The initial aircraft readings were so high that the researchers rechecked their monitoring equipment for errors.

The amount of methane entering the atmosphere from the leaking well makes it the largest of its kind recorded in the US. A bigger escape of gas occurred in Texas in 2004 but as most of this methane burned off in a fire that followed an explosion, the impact on the climate was muted.

The researchers say that the blowout will have a significant impact on California's ability to meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets this year. Methane is a short-lived atmospheric chemical but is highly potent as a warming gas, with an effect 25 times higher than CO2 over a 100-year time period.

"In terms of the methane release, Aliso Canyon is by far largest," said lead author Dr Stephen Conley, from the University of California, Davis.

"It had the largest climate impact; it beats the BP oil spill."

Image copyright Stephen Conley Image caption The leaking well, marked SS25 in this picture, is very close to the community of Porter Ranch

The analysis found above normal levels of several potentially harmful chemicals that came from the natural gas leak. These included benzene, toluene and xylenes, which have been linked to health impacts from long-term exposure.

Role of luck

The authors believe there are important lessons to be learned from the leak - particularly the need to monitor oil and gas facilities more carefully.

They say that there has been little co-ordinated oversight of the biggest oil and gas leaks in recent years. They point to Aliso Canyon, the BP spill and the Total Elgin rig blowout in the North Sea as examples where luck more than intent ensured the impacts on the environment were monitored.

In the case of Aliso Canyon, the surveying aircraft was working on another project searching for pipeline problems, when the scientists were asked to overfly the leaking well.

"The state's response to Aliso Canyon was teed off by the first measurement we took, at that point no-one had any clue that this was 50,000kg per hour of gas," said Dr Conley.

"That to me is a huge oversight, especially with the Paris Climate Agreement. How can we commit to monitor and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions without measuring our biggest emitters?

"These sort of leaks will continue to happen. Let's try to be continuously looking for them so we can seriously talk about reducing our emissions."

The research has been published in the Science magazine.

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I wonder what kind of horror will follow one good earthquake in locations where all sorts of active and abandoned wells exist?

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Abandoned wells  would not be a peril in the event of an earthquake unless they are capped natural gas wells. Most have been abandoned because they contain little oil and that oil has to be pumped up from the ground, not like the movie pictures when you see some new wells gushing oil.

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There's a group of Russian scientists that have proved their theory, at least some in part, that some oil wells act like water wells in that they have a maximum flow rate, which if exceeded causes the well to go dry, but only temporarily as oil is the product of some form of deep Earth process and not the by-product of the breakdown of organics. 

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12 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

There's a group of Russian scientists that have proved their theory, at least some in part, that some oil wells act like water wells in that they have a maximum flow rate, which if exceeded causes the well to go dry, but only temporarily as oil is the product of some form of deep Earth process and not the by-product of the breakdown of organics. 

Been saying that for decades. Oil is not a fossil fuel; it is a naturally occurring renewable resource.

Defcon, do you have a link to that story?

Edited by Moon The Loon

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