Offshore Drilling Overview and Other Hot Pubs
USCAN MEMBER REPORTS
World Bank: An April 14th report by Friends of the Earth and several other non-governmental organizations highlights the World Bank’s continued detrimental financing of fossil fuels. According to seven case studies of the report “World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?” the Bank’s increase in carbon-intensive financing and support for large-scale energy projects are ineffective at alleviating poverty. To worsen the problem, environmental and social safeguards apply to an ever decreasing share of the Bank’s financing portfolio. In cases where rules do apply, the Bank has not incorporated lessons from previous project failings. Overall, deep questions remain about the institution’s ability to meet is sustainability and development goals.
BP Oil Disaster Review: An April 20th report “Deepwater Horizon: One Year On” by Greenpeace discusses the U.S. government’s reaction to the BP Gulf Coast oil disaster, BP’s role in its aftermath, efforts to determine the impact of this catastrophe, and subsequent regulatory changes. Despite the tragic consequences of this disaster, the industry and government were not required to abide by any of the stringent recommendations made three months later by the National Oil Spill Commission. On top of efforts to control scientific research, BP has also negotiated a deal to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2011.
Offshore Drilling Threats: An April report “Lingering Threats: One Year After Gulf Oil Disaster, Offshore Drilling Still Urgently Needs Reform” by the Center for Biological Diversity outlines ten remaining regulatory and policy problems. Among the recommendations is the need to eliminate “categorical exclusion” for drilling plans and permits, as well as require full public and expert environmental reviews. Regulators must eradicate outdated assumptions about the likelihood and environmental impacts of oil spills. They must also revise the environmental impact statement for offshore activities in the Gulf before permitting new projects. Concerns about the performance of blowout preventers should be addressed, and dispersants approved for oil-spill response should undergo a thorough scientific review. Congress must also require that oil companies be fully accountable for drilling risks.
Gulf Oil Disaster, Wetlands, and Wildlife:
An April 12th report by the National Wildlife Federation examines the health of the Gulf’s wildlife and wetlands. According to the report “The Long Road to Recovery: Wildlife and Wetlands One Year into the Gulf Oil Disaster”, the tragedy deal a serious blow to the area’s endangered sea turtles and negatively affected the already-strained population of bluefin tuna. The BP oil disaster exacerbated the long-term degradation of wetlands habitat, which loses an area the size of a football field every 38 minutes. Without legislation to direct fines and penalties from the disaster to restoring the Gulf Coast’s ecosystems – along with a comprehensive Gulf Coast restoration program – the outlook for Gulf recovery remains uncertain.
Climate Change Costs: The April study “Pay Now, Pay Later” by the American Security Project offers a state-by-state breakdown of climate change costs for various industries in each of the 50 U.S. States. According to the bipartisan institute, the costs of coping with climate change outweigh the costs of prevention; for every state, transitioning to alternative energy sources is less expensive than relying on dirty energy. In Florida, for instance, the economic losses will surpass $3,100 per household as early as 2025. In Alaska, the melting permafrost could add over $6 billion to public infrastructure costs in the next 20 years. In the Southeast, Lake Mead could dry up as soon as 2021 – leaving up to 36 million people without a dependable water supply. In Midwest states, increases in temperature and rainfall could cost over $9 billion in lost agriculture profits.