Tag Archives: Environment

Current Event Cat of the Day: Rockefeller Family Denounces Oil

Green Energy Rockefeller

The Rockefeller family, whose legendary fortune was made by oil, announced that its $860 million philanthropic foundation is joining the divestment movement and abandoning fossil fuels.

The announcement came just in time for the United Nations climate change summit which starts today in New York City. The summit is part of a broadening divestment initiative in which people commit to selling shares of energy stocks. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has already eliminated investments involving coal and tar sands, and now, along with a coalition of other philanthropists, are pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 billion in fossil fuel assets.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes.

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Heintz said in a statement.

The Rockefellers’ decision to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy, also coincided with the People’s Climate March, where hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets in more than 2,000 locations worldwide. An estimated 300,000 people, including Al Gore, Ban Ki Moon, and Bill de Blasio, marched for urgent action on climate change and curbs on carbon emissions in New York. The slightly less popular “Flood Wall Street” protests got underway the next day, with nearly one thousand demonstrators hitting Wall Street to protest the financial sector’s role in promoting investments in planet-polluting industries.

Perhaps the Rockefellers were just looking to avoid the wrath of the thousands of environmental activists. Or, more likely, the oil baron heirs are simply interested in controlling green energy the same way they controlled oil back in the day. There’s nothing quite like making a huge profit while appearing ultra philanthropic!

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Marco Rubio Can’t Cite a Single Source Behind his Climate Change Denial

Marco Rubio Climate Change

Senator Marco Rubio, who is publicly entertaining the idea of running for president and has been on some kind of climate denial tour lately, made some headlines over the weekend, when he said, “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.”

Yet despite his strongly held beliefs, Rubio was unable to name a single source when asked to explain his climate change position. At a National Press Club event on Tuesday, an audience member asked Rubio “what information, reports, studies or otherwise are you relying on to inform and reach your conclusion that human activity is not to blame for climate change?”

Uh oh. Unable to cite a source, Rubio side-stepped the question and spit something out about the US being unable to make a difference in climate change anyway.

Then, in an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday afternoon, the Florida senator decided to use abortion to defend his climate change comments – because why not seem even crazier? Rubio argued that his left-leaning critics are hypocrites when they cite science and label him a climate-change denier because of their view on abortion rights and their refusal to embrace the science of human life beginning at conception.

“Let me give you a bit of settled science that they’ll never admit to. The science is settled, it’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception,” Rubio said. “So I hope the next time someone wags their finger about science, they’ll ask one of these leaders on the left: ‘Do you agree with the consensus of science that human life begins at conception?’”

Rubio also accused President Barack Obama and his administration of using catastrophic events to push climate regulations.

“You’ll have a tornado somewhere or a drought and you’ll have the president or his supporters show up and say: ‘This is happening because of climate change,’” Rubio said. “As if to imply that if we eviscerate our economy by imposing cap-and-trade, these things will stop happening. That’s ridiculous.”

According to Marco Rubio, President Obama is “not a meteorologist”, but he apparently is.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Heat Wave Threatens Australian Open (and more!)

Current Event Cat - Australian Open

It’s so hot in Australia right now that animals are falling from trees due to heat exhaustion, wildfires are popping up in Perth, and officials have suspended the Australian Open.

Melbourne, where the Australian Open tournament is held, is going through a heat wave with temperatures surpassing 45C. Australian Open organizers issued an extreme heat warning and suspended all matches scheduled to be played on outdoor courts.

Even tennis veteran Serena Williams could’t take the heat, saying it was “too hot to get into rallies”. Meanwhile two players and a ball-boy had to receive medical treatment after fainting from the heat.

But the Australian Open isn’t the only thing to be effected by Australia’s hottest year on record.  Extreme heat across the states of Victoria and South Australia are causing power blackouts as Australians crank up their A/C to extreme levels. Over 1000 people in the region of Victoria have been treated for heat stress so far and up to 500 flying foxes have died in the past two days. Awww. Oh wait, flying foxes are bats, not foxes. Ewww. There’s nothing worse than a sweaty bat falling out of the sky and hitting you in the face. Except maybe being burned in a wildfire…

While wildfires have always been a problem with Australia’s hot, dry climate, the extreme heat this season has left many residents on edge (and banned from starting any fires). On Sunday, wildfires on the eastern fringes of Perth in Western Australia burnt 52 homes to the ground.

And things aren’t going to get much better for Australia; the Climate Council said the number of heatwaves in Australia was “projected to increase significantly.”

“Both the duration and frequency of heatwaves” had increased between 1971 and 2008, the Climate Council report stated.

“As greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels, more heat is trapped in the lower atmosphere,” the report added.

“This increases the likelihood that hot weather will occur and that heatwaves will become longer and more intense.”

Ok, I’ll stop complaining about the cold weather in North America now…

Via: BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Waterless West Virginians

Current Event Cat - Waterless in WV

Roughly 300,000 residents of West Virginia are waterless for the third day in a row after a chemical spill mucked up their tap water.

Memo to the waterless West Virginians: don’t drink the water, don’t brush your teeth with the water, don’t shower in the water, don’t even look at the water.

State officials are working to restore water supplies after the contamination but it will take at least several more days to properly test the water to make sure it is safe for consumption. Meanwhile, West Virginia is at a standstill. The chemical spill has resulted in restaurants, schools, and businesses all being shutdown in Charleston, the state capital.

The incident, which has been declared a disaster by the federal government and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, occurred when a chemical facility in West Virginia spilled 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol through a one-inch hole in a tank last week. Turns out the above-ground chemical storage unit had not been visited by environmental inspectors since 1991. Oops! Where’s Erin Brockovich when you need her?

The tap waterless residents have been told to use bottled water to wash hands, brush teeth and even take showers. Taking a shower with a bottle of Evian seems like a pain in the ass, but symptoms for those who choose to drink the water include severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering – so… the Evian shower doesn’t seem so bad now. Actually, it seems kind of nice.

But worse than painful skin blisters and tedious water bottle showers is the smell. The contaminated water is reportedly giving off a licorice-like smell in the towns – and not the delicious red licorice kind of smell either. Instead, residents must endure the suffocating smell of BLACK LICORICE while they ration off their last remaining water bottles.

Via: CNN & Current Event Cats

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Dangerous Levels of Smog Makes China More Humorous

Shanghai Smog Prob

China’s pollution problem (or smog prob) is getting so bad that the Chinese are fleeing to the moon to get away from it.

Those who can’t flee to the moon, can still rely on eccentric millionaire Chen Guangbiao, to solve their smog probs. Guangbiao is selling cans of fresh air collected and compressed from the outer regions of China. The cans cost 80 cents and can be inhaled or slowly sipped. Either Guangbiao is obsessed with the movie Spaceballs or he’s trying to highlight the dangerous conditions of air pollution in the country – by producing thousands of aluminum cans.

The hazardous levels of smog paint a gloomy picture for the future of China but if you look really closely through the smog, you can see the faint outline of a silver lining. China’s national broadcaster has identified six benefits of the country’s smog problem:

1)   It has made people more united, because smog is a common enemy everywhere in China.

2)   It has made people more equal, because both the rich and the poor have to inhale the same polluted air.

3)   It has made the Chinese more clear-headed as to the price that the nation has to pay for becoming the “world’s factory.”

4)   It has made the Chinese more humorous. Sarcasm abounds when it comes to the topic of smog, and “that sense of humor is the source of strength for defeating the smog.”

5)   It has made the Chinese more knowledgeable, as people become educated on concepts like PM 2.5, important historical events like the London Great Smog of 1952, and even English words like “haze” and “smog.”

6)   It may be beneficial for military defense. “If smog has enveloped the target, [a cruise missile battle] may fail as it cannot discover or identify the target. Of course, this is a good thing for the defense side. During the Kosovo war, the Yugoslav army tried to avoid NATO bombing by artificially creating smog through burning scrap tires.”

Yes, ignore all environmental regulations, because humour is all China needs to defeat the smog. Problem solved, next crisis please.

Via: Forbes

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Gay Refugees Can Now Flock to Europe… And Other News

Gay Refugees

The European Union’s high court has ruled that refugees under attack for being homosexual in their home countries have grounds to be granted asylum. And suddenly every African mysteriously turned gay…

The EU court concluded that concealing sexual orientation to avoid persecution is equal to giving up a “characteristic fundamental to a person’s identity.” The court’s ruling concerned three homosexual men from Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal who had all sought asylum in Holland. But the court’s ruling applies to all EU countries and now any gay person can apply for asylum as long as they prove a “well-founded fear” of persecution. Since homosexual acts are illegal in most African countries, anti-immigration Europeans are worried about the rising tide of pseudo-gay Africans refugees infiltrating their country. Meh. Canada has been accepting gay refugees for years and the last time I checked (5 minutes ago), the number of homosexual / fauxmosexual Africans refugees walking around the streets of Canada is still relatively low. Although to be fair, Canada isn’t exactly next door to Africa. Europe’s a little easier to access – just a quick migrant boat away! New York Times

Lulu Pants FatLululemon founder Chip Wilson is blaming women’s body shapes for the quality issues his company’s yoga pants are facing. Last spring Lulu was forced to recall a bunch of pants for being see-through and last week customers began complaining about pilling. “Frankly some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it,” Chip told Bloomberg TV, arguing, “It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time.” What a great way to win over your target market of women aged 18-34: “Our material isn’t poor quality – you just have thunder thighs!” CTV News

Greenhouse GasesWarning: We’re all going to die. According to a new report released by the the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), greenhouse gas levels hit a record high in 2012. Gases that drive global warming are increasing more rapidly last year than in its average rise over the past decade, effectively increasing warming effects by almost a third since 1990. And despite what anti-global warming Republicans have to say about the slowdown in temperature increases in the past few years, scientists believe that the new data indicates that global warming will be back with a vengeance. CBC News

Closed for BusinessBack pay to furloughed federal employees: $2 billion. National park revenue lost: $500 million. Delayed tax refunds: $4 billion. Shutting down the federal government for 16 days because Ted Cruz didn’t like a health care law: priceless. A report released by the Office of Management and Budget reveals that the government shutdown cost the U.S. economy between $2 billion and $6 billion in economic output. In addition, 120,000 fewer private sector jobs were created during the first two weeks of October because of the pending threat of the shutdown and the standoff over the debt ceiling. I thought Republicans were supposed to be anti-job killers…? Huffington Post

Pope and Disfigured ManEwwww. Gross. Pope Francis was caught snuggling with a severly disfigured man IN PUBLIC. There’s a word acronym for that: PDA. At the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday, the pope Francis gently held and kissed the head of man covered in facial tumors. The 50,000 attendees seemed to embrace the embrace as well as Pope Francis’ ongoing efforts to open interaction with people from all walks of life, especially the poor, weak and vulnerable. Pope Francis seems to be doing a decent job of changing the church’s image by focusing on the less fortunate in society. Now if only he could work of the whole Catholic priest/pedophile image thing – because that’s kind of a big one. CNN

Twitter IPOTwitter officially went public on Thursday morning with shares opening at $45.10 – significantly higher than the expected $26. And just like that another billionaire is born! The trading drove the seven-year-old company’s value to $25 billion – despite not having made any profit for the last three years. But many believe that Twitter, which has 230 million users globally, has huge potential as a global advertising medium. Just please don’t litter my newsfeed with advertisements a la Facebook #seriouslydon’tdoit Reuters

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North Korea Totally Needs a Luxury Ski Resort… And Other News

North Korea luxury ski resort

Forget the crippling poverty, the widespread media censorship and the rampant human rights abuses – North Korea needs a luxury ski resort!

The question is, who in North Korea can afford to go to a luxury ski resort? Kim Jong-un and… well just Kim Jong-un I guess. Maybe he built it so he won’t be tempted to go to Japanese Disneyland and pull a Kim Jong-nam (Kim Jong-un’s infamous half brother who ruined his chances as North Korea’s leader by sneaking into the amusement park). Or perhaps the multimillion-dollar ski resort was built to stick it to South Korea who is hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. Regardless of the reason, the project suffered a few set-backs (aside from the fact that only 0.02 percent of the population know how to ski) – Switzerland, Austria and France have all refused to sell ski lifts to North Korea because of ongoing sanctions on the sale of luxury goods to the communist state. North Korea called the refusal to sell ski lifts a “serious human rights abuse.” Huh. Washington Post

Dilma RousseffWho’s Brazil accusing of spying on them now? Canada! Brazil’s foreign affairs minister summoned Canada’s ambassador to the country (which is apparently a big diplomatic deal) to discuss Brazil’s spying allegations. Apparently Canada used phone and email metadata to map the communications of Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry. Nothing angers Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff more than spying. Rousseff called the alleged surveillance a clear case of industrial espionage. Your response Canada? No comment. CBC News

Smog SportsAthletes are always afraid they’re going to choke, but when they’re playing in China they are literally going to choke – ON SMOG! International athletes at the LPGA golf event and the China Open tennis championship in Beijing have been seen sporting surgical-style face masks – and not just to blend in with the locals. Pollution levels have gone from China’s normal hazardous to super hazardous, prompting athletes to complain about the air quality calling it “a disaster” and “a joke.” CNN

Jeans in IranOk Iran, we get it – you like pants. After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview saying, “I think if the Iranian people had freedom, they would wear jeans, listen to western music, and have free elections.” Iranians have been quick to prove him wrong – by showing off their pants. Iranians began tweeting pictures of themselves wearing blue jeans and mocking Netanyahu and his backwards impression of Iran. The jeans fiasco took away from Netanyahu’s message that Iran was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and is trying to pull the wool over the United States’ eyes regarding its nuke program. But if he can’t even see their jeans, how can he see their nuclear weapons? The Guardian

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Greenpeace Activists = Pirates… And Other News

Greenpeace

What do pirates and Greenpeace activists have in common? EVERYTHING! (says Russia).

Russian authorities have officially charge 14 Greenpeace activists with piracy after two of them tried to scale a Russian oil rig platform last month in protest of… oil rigs I guess. Greenpeace is calling the piracy charges, which can carry a sentence of 15 years in prison, “irrational, absurd and an outrage”. Even Vladimir Putin said it was “completely obvious” that the activists were not pirates. Russian Speed BumpNevertheless, they broke the law by boarding the oil rig owned by the Russian state-controlled firm Gazprom, and everybody knows you don’t mess with the Russians. I mean, just look at what they use for speed bumps —>

BBC News

UghThe government shutdown isn’t just affecting the hundred of thousands of furloughed federal employees – President Obama had to cancel his trip to Asia to deal with this mess! The trip was scheduled for next week and was part of a four nation tour: Malaysia, Brunei, Indoesia and the Philippines. Malaysia was especially upset – they haven’t had a visit fro a current US president since 1966! So what’s Obama doing instead of contracting yellow fever? Holding a shutdown summit! The President called congressional leaders to the White House Wednesday to work out their problems and get the government running again. So far, neither side is willing to negotiate. New York Times

revenge_porn_legislationWant revenge on an ex? Have a few naked photos lying around? Well, watch out if you’re in California. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that banned “revenge porn,” the act of posting naked photos of your ex without their permission.  The crime, which is already banned in New Jersey, is punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail. “Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims,” the bill’s author, senator Anthony Cannella, said in a statement. “Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted.” Remember kids, living well is the best revenge. And if that fails, just move to a state that still allows revenge porn. The Guardian

tom clancyPeople everywhere are going to have to find something new to thrill them in the bedroom because bestselling novelist Tom Clancy has died at the age of 66. Clancy was the author of such thrillers as The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears… he wrote a lot of books. His last novel, another in the Jack Ryan series, titled Command Authority, is scheduled to come out on December 3rd. Will it be the biggest seller yet? CNN

SaudisProgress? Progress! A court in eastern Saudi Arabia sentenced a husband to 20 lashes for allegedly hitting his wife on her shoulder. Although the man said he was “only joking” and the wife later dropped the charges, the prosecution still went through with the charges. The wife is also allowed to attend the flogging. Now if only she could drive herself there… ANI News

Killer HornetsKiller hornets on the loose in China! Giant hornets in northern China have killed 41 people and injured 1,600 since July. The hornets, which measure 2 inches and have a wingspan of 3 inches, have been known to chase victims for hundreds of meters and sting them hundreds of times. The venom from the stings can cause anaphylactic shock and kidney failure. That is if the sheer terror of getting chased by killer hornets doesn’t give you a heart attack first. The Independent

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Global Warming

Current Event Cat - Global Warming

Scientists have put out a new global warning about global warming. Spoiler alert: it exists!

According to a new landmark report from hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists, there is a 95 to 100 percent chance that humans have been the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s.

In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s previous assessment in 2007, they said it was “very likely” that global warming was man-made. The UN-sponsored panel has now upgraded to “extremely likely.”

“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote in the report.

First, duh. Second, is this a thing we’re still debating? Apparently yes, because climate-change deniers have been out and about promoting the idea that because temperatures have risen at a slower pace in the past 15 years, humans are clearly not responsible for global warming.

The UN’s climate panel say that’s a bunch of baloney and a pause in warming over the past 15 years is too short to reflect long-term trends. And now they’ve got something no one can dispute: physical evidence – in the form of a report! The report is a 30-page synopsis of a larger, 900-page report that will be released next week on the physical science of climate change. The gist of the report is that humans are totally causing global warming and we have many things to look forward to:

  • a rise in sea levels of 26-82 cm by the end of century (goodbye Maldives!)
  • a rise in global average temperature by 0.3 to 4.8 degrees Celcius by the end of the century (have fun in Dubai!)
  • an increased urgency for emission cuts (I’m looking at you China…)

Climate activists said the report should spur governments to action, and for once the US seems to be on board. And I’m not just talking about crazy ole environmentalist Al Gore – here’s what John Kerry had to say:

This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire,” the U.S. Secretary of State said. “Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate.”

Now let’s see if the US government has any common sense…. oh dear.

Via: New York Times & Current Event Cats

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Singapore Smog

Current Event Cat - Smog Haze

Move over dengue fever – Singapore has a new epidemic in town: Smog. And lots of it!

Singapore has been engulfed in a thick haze this week and the prime minister is warning that the smog could last for weeks or even months. The haze, caused by illegal forest fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has caused pollution levels to skyrocket. Pollution in the city-state peaked on Thursday at 371 on the pollution standards index, beating the previous high of 226. Anything over 300 is considered hazardous, so… 371 isn’t great.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asked Singaporeans to “stay indoors where possible and avoid heavy outdoor activities”. Not that they’d be able to see or smell anything outdoors anyway – Singapore’s buildings have been hidden by the polluted air and the smell of burnt wood has permeated the country. And the worst part of it all? McDonald’s has temporarily cancelled its delivery service! Yes, McDonald’s delivers in Singapore.

Who’s to blame for all the smog? Singapore is pointing the finger at Indonesia’s practice of burning forests – a common way to get land ready for planting.

“No country or corporation has the right to pollute the air at the expense of Singaporeans’ health and well-being,” Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s environment minister, said urging Indonesia to quit it with the fires.

But Indonesia isn’t having any of that! They’re placing the blame partly on Singapore and Malaysia since it’s their companies who control many of the palm oil plantations where the burning takes place.

“Singapore shouldn’t be like children, in such a tizzy,” one official said.

Yeah Singapore! Don’t be a child – get out there and inhale your pollution. After a few minutes in the smog you’ll definitely be in a tizzy – or just get dizzy.

Via: The New York Times & Current Event Cats

(dedicated to Carter – a “cat expert” who is currently in Singapore dying of smog related diseases)