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We cannot make good news out of bad practice.

Edward R. Murrow

News Items (from the media)

Arctic offshore drilling needs Inuit involvement at every stage: Oceans North (September 9, 2011)
“There’s no compelling reason to move forward with gas and oil development without having a solid royalty-sharing agreement between the government and Inuit, and without knowing how you’re going to deal with the inevitable problems that come up. Outside that, there’s no reason why the government can’t support this,” Taylor said. “Only time will tell.”
To deal with the risk of a gas or oil spill, the Oceans North report says Canada needs to strengthen its spill-preparedness planning guidelines by looking at what other Arctic and non-Arctic jurisdictions do and incorporating that into its new regulations.
The report suggests conducting a comprehensive annual spill response exercise “under realistic Arctic conditions” and “an unplanned on-site exercise” at least every three years.

BP's Gusher May Be Gushing Again. If So, It Cannot Be Stopped. (August 21, 2011)
Oil is washing ashore in the same areas that were hardest hit last year. It has been tested and is clearly fresh oil from the Macondo well.
BK Lim is a geohazards specialist with over 30 years of experience. In January this year, he wrote to Fred Upton, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and John Shimkus, Chair of the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy, of his concerns about the Macondo Well, stating:
"There is no question that the oil seepages, gas columns, fissures and blowout craters in the seafloor around the Macondo wellhead… have been the direct result of indiscriminate drilling, grouting, injection of dispersant and other undisclosed recover activities. As the rogue well had not been successfully cemented and plugged at the base of the well by the relief wells, unknown quantities of hydrocarbons are still leaking out from the reservoir at high pressure and are seeping through multiple fault lines to the seabed. It is not possible to cap this oil leakage. "

Melting Arctic ice releasing banned toxins, warn scientists (July 24, 2011)
The warming of the Arctic is releasing a new wave of banned toxic chemicals that had been trapped in the ice and cold water, scientists have discovered
The researchers warn that the amount of the poisons stockpiled in the polar region is unknown and their release could "undermine global efforts to reduce environmental and human exposure to them."
The chemicals seeping out as temperatures rise include the pesticides DDT, lindane and chlordane, made infamous in Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, as well as the industrial chemicals PCBs and the fungicide hexachlorobenzine (HCB). All of these persistent organic pollutants (Pops) are banned under the 2004 Stockholm Convention.
Pops can cause cancers and birth defects and take a very long time to degrade, meaning they can be transported for long distances and accumulate over time. Over past decades, the low temperatures in the Arctic trapped volatile Pops in ice and cold water.

Ottawa lacks info to combat climate change: watchdog (December 7, 2010):
Twenty years’ of weak leadership on the environment means the federal government now has no strategy to deal with the increasing effects of climate change, says Canada’s environmental auditor. The government also lacks a solid plan to handle major oil spills, says Scott Vaughn, commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. Nor does it have a grip on who is supposed to be monitoring what, when it comes to federal fresh water resources, he says, pointing specifically to the Athabasca River near the Alberta oilsands.

Canada couldn't handle big oil spill: watchdog (December 7, 2010):
Canada's government is not ready to handle a major oil spill from a tanker, in part because its emergency response plan is out of date, Parliament's environmental watchdog said in a damning report on Tuesday. Scott Vaughan, commissioner of the environment and sustainable development, also said Ottawa did not have enough data to monitor what impact development of the oil sands in Western Canada was having on water supplies.

Canada not ready for major oil spill: commissioner (December 7, 2010):
Canada is not ready to respond to a major oil spill from a tanker in its waters, its environment commissioner warned on Tuesday. In a damning report, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Scott Vaughan said the Canadian Coast Guard's emergency response plan is out of date. As well, he said the Coast Guard has not done a national risk assessment of oil spills from ships since 2000, and does not have a reliable system to track spills.

Ottawa quietly opens Arctic region to mining (December 7, 2010):
The federal government is facing a lawsuit after quietly opening a vast tract of a once-protected Arctic wilderness to mining claims. Ottawa's move shocked northern aboriginals and environmentalists, and land-claim negotiators say the decision to no longer bar prospectors from a pristine and much-loved part of the Northwest Territories endangers the entire plan for protected areas in the Eastern Arctic.

Climate science chief sees `huge gaps' in research (December 2, 2010):
From the methane-laden tundra of the far north to the depths of the oceans, world governments need to spend more on cutting-edge research to “get a handle” on how much and how quickly the world will warm in decades to come, says the head of the UN climate science network. “There are huge gaps in the effort as far as scientific research is concerned,” Rajendra Pachauri told The Associated Press, pointing to concerns that the Arctic's thawing permafrost is releasing powerful global warming gases, and the oceans might eventually turn from absorbing carbon dioxide to spewing it into the atmosphere.

For Russia, Global Warming Benefits 'Outweigh' Negatives (December 2, 2010):
Global warming in the next 40 years will allow Russian authorities to save on central heating, increase agricultural production and extend sea navigation in the north, a leading Russian climatologist told a Russian-German conference Wednesday. But authorities will have to fork out money to reconstruct several big Siberian and Far Eastern cities to prevent them from collapsing as a result of a warmer climate, Vladimir Klimenko, head of Laboratory of Global Power Engineering Problems at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute told the conference co-organized by Alexander von Humbolt Foundation.

Obama Greenlights Shell Drilling in Beaufort Sea; Alaska Lawmakers React (December 1, 2010):
Today the Obama Administration gave Shell the green light to move forward with permitting plans to drill in the Beaufort Sea. But, the administration also stamped out the possibility of drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A Shell spokesperson says if all goes as the oil company plans, there will be thousands of jobs. But for those whose food and way of living come from the waters where Shell's exploratory drilling would take place, the announcement is devastating.

A scramble for the Arctic (December 1, 2010):
From her office in the frozen north, Delice Calcote has watched big powers vie for control over the Arctic with little concern for its original inhabitants. "This is our land," said Calcote, a liaison with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, an advocacy group representing the region's indigenous peoples. "We aren't happy with everyone trying to claim it." But as the planet warms, as northern sea lanes become accessible to shippers, as companies hungrily eye vast petroleum and mineral deposits below its melting ice, a quiet, almost polite, scramble for control is transpiring in the Arctic.

Canadian Arctic Offshore Drilling Review Underway (December 1, 2010):
The National Energy Board has kicked off its Arctic offshore drilling review by meeting with territorial and federal leaders in the North. Oil and gas companies are anxious to start offshore oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. Gaetan Caron, chair of the federal regulator, met privately with Northwest Territories Premier Floyd Roland and Energy Minister Bob McLeod in Yellowknife on Nov. 24 to discuss infrastructure, devolution and the oil companies that are eager to start drilling. McLeod told the board the North lacks ports and frontline emergency assistance, which are integral to the kind of drilling under consideration.

Global Warming Could Fuel 'Compost Bombs' (december 1, 2010):
One of Earth's biggest stores of carbon dioxide sits locked within the decaying vegetation found in peatlands, which range from tropical peat swamps to Arctic permafrost. A fast-warming world could transform those peatlands into a "compost bomb" that would dump huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, British researchers have calculated.

Record-high greenhouse gas concentrations (December 1, 2010):
The increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is also seen in the measurements made by the Finnish Meteorological Institute at the Pallas station, where the annual increase has been 2.0 ppm. The increase continued last year, too. These measurements also reflect the impact of seasonal variation: forests act as effective carbon sinks during the growing season, whereas in the autumn and winter the soil is a source of carbon.

Hydro Quebec to try wind power in Nunavik (November 30, 2010):
“Wind power is known, it already exists on the main grid” The answer to Nunavik’s energy needs could be blowing in the wind. Hydro Quebec plans to do a feasibility study in Kangiqsualujjuaq in 2011 to see if this Ungava community is the right site for one or more wind generators which could produce up to 700 kilowatts of power. The giant rotary devices like huge windmills extract energy from wind, which is then converted into electricity.

Massive Oil Plume Confirmed in Gulf of Mexico (August 19, 2010)
But now scientists have presented definitive evidence that a significant amount of hydrocarbons well above normal concentrations for Gulf of Mexico waters formed an at least 35-kilometer-long plume at a depth of 1,100 meters that followed the contours of the seafloor to flow at 6.5 kilometers per day in a west-southwesterly direction away from the Macondo well. "What we found is that a subsurface hydrocarbon plume existed," says ocean physicist Richard Camilli of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). "It was created by the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well."

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