Fossil Fuels


The new Civil Society Institue report, "Benefits of Beyond Business as Usual," looks at the concealed costs of coal and nuclear energy production. The figures for water usage and contamination alone are staggering. The amount of nuclear waste produced without regard for the complete lack of long term storage- ie. there is nowhere to put it and it will be radioactive and dangerous, in human terms, forever- is terrifying. But it is also inexplicable. What other industry would be allowed to put the environment, public health, and the actual future of life on earth at risk with such impunity when there are alternatives?

Civil Society Institute l Media Release   25 January, 2011

As Washington Debates "Clean Energy Standard," Report Details Little-Understood Harmful Water, Health and Other Impacts of Coal and Nuclear Power in U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C.///January 25, 2011///An astounding 200 billion gallons of water withdrawn from America's water supply each day … annual costs to society from premature deaths due to power plant pollution so high that they are up to four times the price of all electricity produced in the U.S. … and four metric tons of high-level radioactive wastes for every terawatt of electricity produced by nuclear reactors, even though there is no long-term storage solution in place. These are just some of the little understood and largely "hidden" water, health and other costs from U.S. coal and nuclear electricity production detailed in a new analysis released today by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., for the nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (CSI) think tank. The Synapse report for CSI also outlines the considerable health impacts of the nation's current reliance on coal and nuclear power.

The full text of the Civil Society Institute reports prepared by Synapse Energy Economics are available online at http:///

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Green view: How to save $300 billion

Recent article in the Economist talks about the harm subsidies to fossil fuels are causing economies of countries who give them, and the fight to lower carbon emissions in an attempt to slow global warming. They don't mention nuclear energy, perhaps because while nuclear energy is not renewable, it has been granted special status that has moved it out of the fossil fuel category in the public mind and in handing out of enormous subsidies.

The Economist may feel that discussing nuclear would distract from the point they are trying to make about subsidies to oil and gas (in particular), but the sheer dollar amount of nuclear subsidies, if removed, would save billions that could be put, as the article points out, to much better use in terms of moving towards a future we can live in.

The Economist online l Newsbook  Nov 12th 2010

LAST time it met, in 2009, the G20 took a stand against a little discussed problem that unites environmentalists and economists: fossil-fuel subsidies. Over the course of the subsequent year, the nations contributed to a list of the “inefficient” subsidies they supported and the things they planned to do about it. So far, this list is unimpressive. According to an analysis of the G20 documents by Doug Koplow, who works with an environmental watchdog calledOil Change International, many of the countries are reporting only superficially, and the standards against which they measure themselves are far from uniform. Most damningly, none has as yet put a new subsidy-cutting policy on the table...

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Michael Brune: A Proposed Dirty Oil Pipeline Would Put Americans at Risk for Cancer and Asthma -- Why Are Senators Pushing For Its Hasty Approval?

AlterNet / Michael Brune      September 23, 2010 A Proposed Dirty Oil Pipeline Would Put Americans at Risk for Cancer and Asthma -- Why Are Senators Pushing For Its Hasty Approval? The oil it promises to provide could be recovered just by increasi...

Andrew Nikiforuk: What Those Who Killed the Tar Sands Report Don't Want You to Know l Andrew Nikiforuk, 15 Jul 2010,   Why did a parliamentary committee suddenly destroy drafts of a final report on tar sands pollution? Here's what they knew.   [Editor's note: The Tyee is pleased to welcome Andrew Nikiforuk as our firs...

Dr. Roy Schestowitz/TechRights: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Owns Over 7 Million Shares of BP”

Wonder where all that Bill Gates money is going and why? Dr. Roy Schestowitz/TechRights: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Owns Over 7 Million Shares of BP” blog post is a good place to start looking.  

Trucking Toward Climate Change

Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Report

The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive. The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the "tar sands," located north of Edmonton, releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production procedures and will likely become North America's single largest industrial contributor to climate change.

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Robert Reich: Obama's Missed Opportunity to Tell it Like it Is

Robert Reich/ The man who electrified the nation with his speech at the Democratic National Convention of 2004 put it to sleep Tuesday night. President Obama's address to the nation from the Oval Office was, to be frank, vapid. If ...

The Boom in Doom

PEAK1-articleLarge.jpgPeak Oil, doomsaying or foresight? There is more controversy than one would imagine swirling around the concept of Peak Oil. We are clearly running out of fossil fuels, but when and how this will happen seems to be a matter of debate.

Daniel Yergin, author of "The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power," has questioned the validity of Peak Oil, believing in the ability of new technology to bring more oil. But for some, like Jennifer Wilkerson and Andre Angelantoni, the vision of life after Peak Oil is becoming their reality.

“Our whole economy depends on greater and greater energy supplies, and that just isn’t possible,” Mr. Angelantoni said. “I wish I could say we’ll quietly accept having many millions of people unemployed, their homes foreclosed. But it’s hard to see the whole country transitioning to a low-energy future without people becoming angry. There’s going to be quite a bit of social turmoil on the way down.”

Whether they are right in preparing for a scenario that sounds more like something out of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," than a transition to a cleaner, more efficient, energy future is up for grabs. There are believers on both sides of the issue. But, one thing they are surely right about is that doom and gloomy, or clean and green, if we want a future to move into we are going to have to live more thoughtfully. 

Nuclear Option on Gulf Oil Spill? No Way, U.S. Says

Steven Chujp-NUKE-articleInline.jpgNYTimes: The chatter began weeks ago as armchair engineers brainstormed for ways to stop the torrent of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico: What about nuking the well?

While we all are relieved that the U.S. has put a stop to speculation that it will use a nuclear weapon to seal the well in the Gulf, it is disturbing that the number and sources of this nightmarish suggestion have gained enough currency to warrant an official response.

This is proof of what all proponents of true disarmament fear: as long as nuclear weapons exist there are those who will want to use them.


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Nuclear Power is not the Answer