- Overseas, Germany plans to adopt regulations that will rule out shale fracking for the foreseeable future. The government wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale rocks and coal beds at depths less than 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and prohibit all types of fracking in water protection areas. The country has long recognized the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels and has a track record of increasing success using wind, solar and geo-thermal sources of energy. They now generate 37 percent of their daily electricity from wind and solar and analysts predict that number will rise to 50 percent by 2020. A recent “record” was set (for a day) when 74% of all electricity generated in the country was produced by these alternate sources.
- The US Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – the process pulls carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas driving Climate Change) out of the ocean. The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft using the fuel.
One of the less well-publicized aspects of Climate Change is that the ocean acts like a sponge for CO2 and it’s just about reached its safe limit. The ocean is steadily becoming more acidic from all of the increased carbon dioxide. This in turn poisons delicate ecosystems like coral reefs that keep the ocean healthy.
If we pull out massive amounts of CO2, even if we burn it again, not all of it will make it back into the water. We could even pull some of it and not use it in order to return the ocean to a sustainable level. That, in turn will help pull more of the excess CO2 out of the air even as we put it back. It would be the ultimate in recycling.
- In Texas, the Denton City Council is expected to consider a petition for a local ban on fracking. Denton has 270 gas wells within its city limits, but 2,000 residents have signed the petition to ban more. And Texas law is deferential to local authority over land use.
- In Colorado, on the other hand, the state’s highest court now says local bans cannot pre-empt gas development. But the state legislature could still step into the long tug of war between local and state authority over drilling rights that has pitted the towns of Lafayette and Fort Collins against the governor and triggered a statewide voter initiative.
- The faith-based organization, Unitarian Universalists, consisting of more than 1,000 congregations, has divested from investment dollars in fossil fuel companies. “We are encouraged that the UUA can continue its longstanding successes in shareholder advocacy while helping to lead the divestment movement with the approval of today’s fossil fuel divestment resolution,” said David Stewart, co-chair of the UUA’s socially responsible investing committee.
- According to a recent study a dramatic jump in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma to a rate never seen there by scientists before, appears to be caused by a small number of wells where wastewater associated with oil and gas production is injected into the ground.