January 17 News: Keystone XL Pipeline “Makes No Sense For America,” Says Sustainable Business Coalition

January 17 News: Keystone XL Pipeline “Makes No Sense For America,” Says Sustainable Business Coalition

Other stories below: Electric power plants shift from coal to natural gas; Russia warming at alarming pace


Group says Keystone pipeline benefits are embellished, Wants focus shifted to renewable sources

A coalition of businesses is the first such group to denounce the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline and is urging President Obama to reject the project and turn the nation’s focus to alternative and renewable energy.

The American Sustainable Business Council disputes Keystone’s job numbers and energy security claims that most other business organizations tout when discussing the project.

“Keystone makes no economic sense for America,” said ASBC communications manager David Brodwin. “Once we take into account the true cost of oil including subsidies, environmental damage and military costs, oil is far more expensive than the alternatives. The best thing we can do for the American economy, and for American businesses as a whole, is to wean ourselves from oil as quickly as possible.”

Electric Power Plants Shift From Coal To Natural Gas

The huge, belching smokestacks of electric power plants have long symbolized air pollution woes. But a shift is under way: More and more electric plants around the nation are being fueled by natural gas, which is far cleaner than coal, the traditional fuel.

The most optimistic projections describe an abundant domestic energy source that will create enormous numbers of jobs and lead to cleaner skies.

Nationwide, the electricity generated by gas-fired plants has risen by more than 50 percent over the last decade, while coal-fired generation has declined slightly. The gas plants generated about 600 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2000 and 981 billion hours in 2010, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

During the same period coal generation declined from 1,966 billion hours to 1,850 billion hours, while hydroelectric and nuclear generation stayed about the same. The figures include electricity use by consumers and industry.

Russia warming at alarming pace

Temperatures in Russia in the past century rose at twice the rate of warming in the rest of the world, the emergencies ministry said.

“Despite ongoing discussions in the scientific community about the nature and long-term outlook for global climate change, the fact of global warming itself is uncontroversial,” the ministry said in its forecast of emergency situations in 2012.

“Average warming in Russia in the past 100 years was 1.5 to two times higher than overall global warming,” the forecast read.

GOP Foreign Policy — When the Earth Was Flat

This season’s crop of Republican candidates scare me. They appear to be rushing headlong into the 1950s with a Cold War foreign policy and a notion of science that embraces any fossil fuel on the horizon. Most are more belligerent than many of their predecessors and openly toy with an attack against Iran — and anyone else who gets in our way.

While a Republican candidate or even a Republican president may moderate such views, the national conversation before the election is dangerous at home and abroad and may force Congress to put down more shoot-from-the-hip foreign policy markers. It would be unwise to dismiss them as buffoons.

Alarming is the earth-is-flat crowd that includes every candidate, now that Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race. Climate change and the necessity of a global shift to a low-carbon economy are NOT in dispute among reputable scientists. (Hopefully a challenge to evolution will not rear its head now that Michele Bachmann is out of the race although Rick Santorum believes in intelligent design and Ron Paul and Rick Perry call it a “theory” out there somewhere.)

Experts say gas prices could double this summer

It is something some people wish they could live without: gas or gas prices.

Right now, what you pay at the pump in the Columbus area is a little more than $3 a gallon, but some experts say you could see that double this year!

Filling up your gas tank can make you cringe, but some experts are saying that by this summer it could even break your wallet.

GasBuddy specializes in gasoline price predictions.  The company reports the rise in gas prices has slowed in the last week lingering around $3.30 or more per gallon as oil prices have temporarily stabilized.

However, that may not be for long.  The company’s experts predict a roller coaster in prices throughout the year with a peak of up to as much as $4.60 per gallon by Memorial Day in our area.

Environmentalists expect a more pugnacious Obama at next week’s State of the Union (subscription required)

Less than three months removed from a mid-term election “shellacking” and three weeks from a tragic mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., President Obama delivered a 2011 State of the Union address that called for a cooling of political rhetoric.

In its place, Obama asked for a new era of cooperation and compromise where the White House and Congress could work together to “win the future” on issues like energy development and environmental protection.

It was a speech, many observers concluded, of a president adjusting to the circumstances of his time.

A year later, circumstances have changed again.

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