According to various news reports, BP has reached a deal with the Department of Justice and agreed to pay a record U.S. criminal penalty totaling $4.5 billion in addition to pleading guilty to gross misconduct in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon gulf oil disaster.
The AP reports BP will also plead guilty to obstruction “for lying to Congress about how much oil was pouring out of the ruptured well.” The agreement was reportedly made in exchange for a waiver of future prosecution on the charges, and sources say it will not cover outstanding federal civil claims.
It remains to be seen whether BP will plead guilty to felony counts, or if the Department of Justice will grant a deferred prosecution agreement. Deferred prosecution would fail to address the company’s willful negligence in the deaths of 11 people, permanent damage to the gulf ecosystem and the ongoing impact on the residents of gulf states.
Greenpeace senior investigator Mark Floegel issued the following statement in response to the reports:
“Today's announcement of a proposed settlement between BP and the U.S. government fails every aspect of the commonly accepted notion of penalty.
“This proposed settlement would not hold the guilty accountable for their actions. This fine amounts to a rounding error for a corporation the size of BP. It is far less than Shell Oil has already spent in the Arctic, without yet commencing serious operations.
“BP management is clearly hanging low-echelon technical and engineering staff out to dry while making no significant changes to their disastrous business model.
“This proposed settlement would not protect the innocent. Nothing in this proposed settlement gives any oil company incentive to be more careful in future operations. Cutting corners and skimping on safety will still be the rule of the day.
“This proposed settlement would not deter future crime. As the other oil giants have resources similar to BP's, this proposed settlement would give a green light for more reckless behavior in environments across the globe. Shell will now be eager to return to the Arctic Ocean in 2013, knowing that its inevitable oil spills will be met with similar slaps on the wrist.
“Indeed, if one looks at the fate of BP's stock price—the only metric of value in the corporate world—it's clear that far from a penalty, this proposed settlement would be a reward to BP.”
“The price of one sperm whale in the gulf is immeasurable,” John Hocevar, director of Greenpeace U.S. oceans campaign said, “and we still don’t know the full ecological story of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. This settlement would buy off further government silence about the full impacts. The Gulf deserves a full accounting for the damage BP has done, and this proposed settlement is simply BP trying to buy its way out of responsibility.”
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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