Carbon Tax Coming?

Carbon Tax COming?

A new report released Tuesday by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) shows that a carbon tax of $20 per ton which rises 5.6% annually could halve the projected 10-year deficit—from $2.3 billion to $1.2 billion. In the first year alone, the CRS estimates the tax could generate $90 billion. However, there is a catch: it is possible the generated revenue would not go entirely toward debt reduction, and instead go back into the industry in one way or another. Groups of people who disproportionately bear the carbon price might have revenue “recycled”; some revenue may be offset by lowering the payroll… read more

Last Minute House Bill

Last Minute House Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping anti-environmental bill as their last act before leaving Washington D.C. until after the November elections. The bill is called the Stop the War on Coal Act (SWCA), H.R. 3409, and applies to more areas than just the coal industry. It is a package act of four previously passed House GOP bills, plus another one aimed at blocking pollution standards. The bill is full of industry deregulations, and begins the far-right position of dismantling the EPA: eliminating clean car standards, nullify mercury and air toxic standards, weaken the Clean Water Act and block… read more

Corporations and Climate Change

Corporations and Climate Change

The environment appears to have found an ally from an unlikely source. Due to the inaction and delays in Congress pertaining to environmental policy, and the lack of attention paid to the environment in the current presidential campaign, corporations have taken action to combat climate change and aid the environment. The interesting part is the clear, identified and admitted ulterior motives corporations have for implementing responsible energy policies. It is a wise fiscal decision to commit to a large initial expenditure with the guarantee of not only a return, but also a profit, whether it is selling energy back to… read more

Oil, Hurricanes and Cars

Oil spills threaten coastline

It seemed enough for the residents of the Gulf Coast, especially Louisiana, to be concerned with the severe weather and damage that Hurricane Isaac was bringing, but now there is more. State officials from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness are warning citizens that oil in the form of tar balls or tar mats could wash up on the coastline. BP responded with skepticism, favoring a “wait-and-see” approach. To their credit, BP did use an unprecedented amount of chemical dispersants at the site of the spill. Regardless, the danger of oil washing up on the coast has… read more

Future For Fracking

Future For Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been a controversial issue for some time now, mainly due to the safety and contamination problems that are inherent in the practice. However, researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a possible solution: chemical-degrading bacteria which can clean the used water and eliminate contamination. Centimeter-sized silicon beads will house the bacteria, and when introduced to the polluted water, the porous bead will soak up the water and the bacteria will eat away at the contaminants, effectively cleaning the water. While this is a way to make fracking safer on the whole, it cannot be… read more

Halt To Alaskan Oil Drilling

Halt To Alaskan Oil Drilling

Shell announced plans to postpone the planned oil drilling in Alaskan Seas, a move which has been met with general acceptance. Being either genuine or deceitful, Shell cited the failure of the oil spill-containment dome in preliminary tests as the reason for the delay, and went on to say it would be irresponsible to begin drilling into the oil-bearing zones of the seas under such conditions. However, Shell was accused of conducting only the most limited preliminary safety tests on its vessels, which made many environmental groups uncomfortable and upset. Additionally, the testing was done in calm waters, which further… read more

Mass Soybean Production

Soybean Farming

Is mass production of soybeans sustainable? Evidence from South America suggests that the answer is “no.” Making way for soy farms requires not only clearing the land needed to grow the beans, but also the development of infrastructure to transport inputs and harvested produce. To make matters worse, most soy farms grow genetically modified crops, which present additional risks to the environment. When soybean farms take over, natural ecosystems are destroyed and biodiversity is diminished. Massive monocultures displace diversified subsistence farms, leaving local people short of food and afflicted with pesticide-induced health problems. Government funds are diverted to subsidize soybean… read more

Energy Efficiency Dropped

Energy POlicy Dropped

In a disturbing yet unsurprising turn of events, the Republican Party national platform for 2012 contains no mention of energy efficiency. The omission has turned heads, given the previous positions of Mitt Romney on energy efficiency during his tenure as Massachusetts governor, and the 2004 and 2008 Republican Party platforms including energy efficiency. Even Former President George W. Bush, with all of his ties to the oil industry, had nearly 50 recommendations addressing renewable energy, energy efficiency, and energy conservation during his 2004 term. In the past, energy efficiency and conservation has been a fairly bipartisan issue, especially in Congress,… read more

Where Do You Stand?

Human impact and the environment

How deeply have you considered your views of the environment and humanity’s contribution to what many describe as our current ecological crisis? The answer might seem simple: “Sure, I know where I stand”. But do you know where your views are located on the sustainability continuum? Consider, for example, whether you agree or disagree with the following sets of statements (adapted from the work of Environmental Education academic, Vicki Keliher 2012). As you consider these statements, ask yourself “why” you believe what you do, and (importantly) “how” your position affects the way you live and work: People are essentially different… read more

Can We Really Do It?

Reducing our carbon footprint

Thanks to increasing efforts worldwide, people are gradually, and in small ways, reducing their carbon footprints. It’s a large movement, based on individuals choosing to change their habits, and raise their voices against global climate change. But what happens when we are browsing the e-edition of the newspaper (to save paper), and we find out that the ice caps are still melting, will continue melting, and will be completely melted in a certain amount of time. Sometimes it can be hard to face the predictions of coming disasters. Animal extinction, factory farming, overfishing, over mining, fossil fuels. All these issues… read more