Friday, August 12, 2005

Siberia is meeeeeeeeeltinnnnnnnnnnnng

Hey, President Bush, Global Warming is happening. Get your head out of the sand and pay attention!! And, oh, paying attention doesn't have to mean economic troubles!!

Climate warning as Siberia melts (11 August 2005, news service, Fred Pearce)

A huge area of Siberia's permafrost is melting. In this case "huge" means 1 million square kilometers. Now, that's interesting by itself, but what's most interesting (alarming actually) is what this means.

he sudden melting of a bog the size of France and Germany combined could unleash billions of tonnes of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

The news of the dramatic transformation of one of the world's least visited landscapes comes from Sergei Kirpotin, a botanist at Tomsk State University, Russia, and Judith Marquand at the University of Oxford.

Kirpotin describes an "ecological landslide that is probably irreversible and is undoubtedly connected to climatic warming". He says that the entire western Siberian sub-Arctic region has begun to melt, and this "has all happened in the last three or four years".

What was until recently a featureless expanse of frozen peat is turning into a watery landscape of lakes, some more than a kilometre across. Kirpotin suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed, triggering the melting.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Gearing up to get the ANWR-drilling idea passed

The new "energy bill" is heading towards being signed by GW Bush. I've already complained about that bill, however one thing that's "glaringly missing" is approval for drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). This has been at the top of Bush's energy "agenda", but is widely opposed.

I suppose that Bush just doesn't understand the words "Wildlife Refuge"?

In any case, the ink of his signature hasn't even been applied to the energy bill, and already the congress-critters are planning how to get ANWR through.

Arctic drilling supporters plot new tactic (Monday, August 8, 2005, CNN.COM)

First, the article points out that if the energy bill had had ANWR in it, that it would never have gotten anywhere:

"If we had put (Arctic drilling) in the bill, we wouldn't be here," said Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, celebrating passage of the energy bill that Bush plans to sign in a ceremony in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bill never could have mustered the 60 votes needed to overcome a certain Senate filibuster over ANWR, he says.

So, this leaves the plan to cause drilling in ANWR. It's still on the agenda, so how do you get there?

Well, here's their plan:

But drilling advocates have a backup plan that is expected to unfold in mid-September.

Domenici said he will include a provision authorizing ANWR drilling as part of a budget procedure that is immune to filibuster. A similar maneuver is being planned in the House, although the final strategy is still being worked out.

Unlike normal legislation, the budget process is not subject to filibuster, so only 51 votes will be needed in the Senate for it to clear Congress and be signed into law by the president. Just such a tactic was used a decade ago when Congress approved ANWR drilling as part of the budget process, only to see the measure vetoed by then-President Clinton, a drilling opponent.

Yup ... they have 50+ safe Republican votes, so they can force anything through they want. That is, so long as they find a route that avoids filibustering. And that includes causing unnatural marraiges of joining things to a budget bill.

Here we are, our elected representatives scheming to ignore the will of the people. Is this the America we want?