Archive for the ‘environmentalists’ Category

Recycling, Hybrid Car Driving Middle Class Are Unknowingly Destroying Rain Forest

November 19, 2008
Does white powder damage your green credentials?

Colombia’s vice president said Tuesday that Britain’s middle classes, who recycle and haul shopping home in reusable cloth bags, should realize that they are destroying the rain forests by taking cocaine.

Associated Press Writer

“These people, who have good jobs and drive a hybrid car or cycle to work because they care about the environment, may go to party and do some lines of coke and they are thinking it is no problem,” Francisco Santos told The Associated Press Tuesday. “They are absolutely unaware of the ecological impact of their drug taking and we want to change that.”

Santos is not the first person to take on Britain’s middle class drug users. In 2005, London’s Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair said he would target affluent drug users, who he said offered lines of cocaine to dinner party guests along with good wine and organic vegetables.

But about 7.7 per cent of Britons used cocaine last year – the highest rate in Europe and over double the rate ten years ago, according to statistics from the European Union and the British government.

Taking cocaine is not seen as a career-destroying move, either.

Three years ago a newspaper published a photograph of wildly popular model Kate Moss apparently snorting a white powder through a rolled-up five-pound note. An apology and a stint in rehabilitation in the United States was enough to allow her to regain her status as a top model and style setter.

Now Santos hopes his message – that snorting cocaine harms the environment – will resonate in Britain, where recycling rates have leapt in recent years and supermarkets have begun to discourage customers from using plastic bags.

The Colombian government says four sq. meters (4.8 sq. yards) of rain forest have to be cleared to produce a gram of cocaine – and 2.2 million hectares (5.44 million acres) of Colombian tropical forest have been cut down to grow coca in the last twenty years.

Colombia launched a campaign to make Europeans aware of the impact of the drug industry on their country two years ago. But European cocaine use has doubled in the last year, and Santos is changing tack and hopes that a plea to people’s eco-conscience will get through. Santos plans to launch a similar campaign in the US next year.

“Cocaine is seen as the champagne of drugs and people who would not take heroin or amphetamines take cocaine and say there are no victims, but there are,” Santos said. “We want to show them destroyed rain forests, wasted land. Maybe if they don’t care about their own brains they care about this.”

Cocaine is classified as a Class A drug in Britain, which means it carries the stiffest penalties for dealing and possession. People found guilty of possession can be jailed for seven years or given an unlimited fine, but police say it is still considered more glamorous than other Class A drugs like heroin and ecstasy.

ANWR — Trillion-dollar Arctic cathedral

November 17, 2008

Barack Obama promised change. Here is a good prospect. Few areas of public debate have been as stale – as barren of substance, focused instead on powerful emotional symbols – as the oil development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeast Alaska.

By Robert Nelson
The Washington Times

David Kreutzer discusses Arctic oil.  

For the environmental movement, ANWR development long ago became a sacred cause that served above all as a litmus test of whether “you are with us or against us.” It is time to move past all that.

The proponents of ANWR development have also distorted the picture by themselves making false arguments. First, it should be acknowledged that ANWR oil production will not in itself come close to achieving energy independence for the United States. Second, ANWR production alone will not affect oil prices significantly. Even the large reserves that ANWR possesses are not large enough, relative to the total world oil market, to have much effect on future world prices.

The real issue in ANWR is the proper use of the fiscal assets of the U.S. government. The oil there is worth, minimally, $500 billion in gross value and, potentially, $1 trillion dollars or more – depending obviously on the future world price of oil. With the current dire economic situation, and federal deficits projected to approach a trillion dollars in the next year or two, the United States can no longer afford to leave this immensely valuable economic asset to simply sit idle.

The best estimates available, released by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1998, concluded there was a 95 percent probability of finding at least 5.7 billion barrels of “technically recoverable” oil, a 5 percent probability of finding 16.0 billion barrels, and a 50 percent “mean” probability of finding 10.4 billion barrels. For the mean probability, this includes 7.7 billion barrels actually inside ANWR on federal lands, and 2.7 billion barrels owned nearby by Alaska Native Corps. and the state of Alaska (which could be economically produced only in conjunction with the development of the ANWR federal reserves).

An oil pump seen in constant motion, in this photo dated Wednesday, ...

World oil prices have been changing so rapidly that any prediction is uncertain. But at assuming for purposes of discussion a future world oil price of $50 per barrel, the mean expectation for the federal and nonfederal ANWR oil reserves is a cumulative gross market value of more than $500 billion – and it would be worth more than $1 trillion at prices of $100 per barrel. It might cost $20 to $30 per barrel to produce most of the ANWR oil, but the net revenues (after costs) would still probably be greater than $300 billion (and could turn out to be much higher, depending on the future price of oil). To put this in perspective, the United States could have paid most of the interest payments on the national debt in 2008 with the likely future oil revenues obtainable from ANWR.

The objection will no doubt be raised that ANWR production would benefit oil companies, not the federal government or average American citizens. As noted above, however, three-quarters of ANWR oil is on federal land, and the rest is on Native American and Alaska state land. Like existing federal oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the ANWR oil would probably be made available to oil companies by competitive auctions and the government would also charge a large royalty on any future production. Throughout the world, the true beneficiaries of petroleum resources are not the oil companies who may physically extract the oil but the actual owners of the resource.

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Court rules for Navy in dispute over sonar, whales

November 12, 2008

The Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted restrictions on the Navy’s use of sonar in training exercises off the California coast, a defeat for environmental groups who say the sonar can harm whales.

The court, in its first decision of the term, voted 5-4 that the Navy needs to conduct realistic training exercises to respond to potential threats by enemy submarines.

Environmental groups had persuaded lower federal courts in California to impose restrictions on sonar use in submarine-hunting exercises to protect whales and other marine mammals.

The Bush administration argued that there is little evidence of harm to marine life in more than 40 years of exercises off the California coast.

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