Double standards in the Government’s Gold King mine disaster whitewash

Watts Up With That?

Double standards and pollution continue, while the feds exonerate themselves from blame

Guest essay by Paul Driessen


When a private citizen or company violates rules, misrepresents facts or pollutes a river, government penalties are swift and severe. It’s different when the government lies or screws up.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell testified before Congress on a toxic spill that federal and state agencies unleashed into western state rivers last August. Supervised by officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS), an Environmental Restoration (ER) company crew excavated tons of rock and debris that had blocked the portal (entrance or adit) to the Gold King Mine above Silverton, Colorado.

The crew kept digging until the remaining blockage burst open, spilling 3,000,000 gallons of acidic water laden with iron, lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals. The toxic flood…

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The IPCC’s Post-Paris Political Rallying Cry

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

IPCC official Chris Field claims the latest IPCC report set the stage for a Paris climate deal. An e-mail he sent to colleagues three days ago is pure politics.

chris_field_carnegieclick for source

You know that urban myth, the one about how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an objective, policy-neutral, wholly scientific body staffed by experts with impeccable judgment? You know how we’re endlessly assured that the individuals who write IPCC reports are disinterested professionals who merely let the evidence speak for itself?

Here’s an e-mail Christopher Field, the person in charge of the Working Group 2 section of the latest IPCC report, sent three days ago to everyone involved in his section:

Dear Colleagues,

I hope all of you share my excitement about today’s outcome in Paris.  Finally, we have the foundation for a coordinated, ambitious approach to climate change.  There is still much to do.  The…

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Paris and the Poor

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Rich countries that try to meet their Paris commitments will spend huge amounts of money replacing cheap, higher-emissions energy sources with expensive, lower-emissions sources. This will harm the poor and do nothing for the climate.


Australia-based MercatorNet has published my commentary on the Paris climate agreement announced two days ago. Here’s how that piece begins:

According to the headlines, the Paris climate summit has produced an “historic” agreement that will “save the world.” But don’t be fooled. Climate negotiations have long been popular with politicians. Balancing budgets and tackling unemployment is hard work. But posing as a saviour of the planet is glamorous. Fly off to exotic locales, chum around with celebrities, and then smile broadly as the media hails your courage and wisdom. What’s not to like?

Back here on planet Earth, the climate game has always been 97 percent symbolism. For a quarter of…

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COP21’s Green Gibberish

Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

The Paris climate summit is many things, including a cultural spectacle wrapped in lightweight media fluff.

The back cover of a commemorative edition of edition of Elle magazine, published in France.The back cover of a commemorative edition of Elle magazine, published in France. Click to enlarge.

I’ve been in Europe for a week. As one might expect following the November 13 Paris terrorist attacks, airports here are now patrolled by soldiers equipped with machine guns.

But it’s the holiday season. Lights are twinkling, Christmas trees are being sold on sidewalks, and the shops are crowded. I flew to Paris not to report on COP21, the official climate conference, but to participate in a counter-conference that presented alternative points of view. The slogan for that event is a quote attributed to George Patton: If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.

In the French media, COP21 is receiving the kind of attention associated with the Olympics or a film festival. Politicians have been extensively photographed, and pages…

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A closer look at scenario RCP8.5

Climate Etc.

by Larry Kummer

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris climate was preceded by a surge of studies and articles warning of a dismal future if we do not take strong policy action. One scenario in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides the basis for these: RCP8.5. Even a casual examination of this shows it to be a useful worst-case scenario, but not “business as usual”.

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