Environment Washington was joined by Pete Mills from Congressman Jim McDermott’s office, Rachel Padgett from Fuse Washington and local activists to call for an end to $44 billion in subsidies to big oil. The groups highlighted the environmental and public health threats—from last year’s massive BP Gulf oil spill to global warming pollution—posed by America’s continued dependence on oil. They also pointed to the enormous profitability of big oil companies. The top five companies have already reported more than $67 billion dollars in profits in the first half of this year.
“It’s time to end subsidies to big oil—a polluting industry with record profits,” said Katrina Rosen with Environment Washington. “We would like to thank Rep. McDermott for his leadership on this issue. And we encourage Senator (Patty) Murray to use her position on the Congressional super committee to end subsidies for big oil now.”
Royal Dutch Shell recently announced second quarter earnings for 2011, reporting profits of $8 billion, a 77 percent jump from the same period a year ago. Exxon recently reported a whopping $10.7 billion in profits for the quarter, or $21.3 billion in the first half of this year—an increase of 54 percent from 2010. One use these companies have found for new funds is increased lobbying, with Exxon increasing lobbying expenditures by 25 percent this past quarter, bringing its total this year to $3 million.
“We simply can’t afford billions in handouts to big oil when Washington families are struggling to get by,” said Padgett. “We need Congress to focus on creating good jobs for the middle class, not padding the profits of oil companies.”
We have strong environmental leaders in Washington State, including Congressman McDermott who sponsored a bill to cut big-oil subsidies and use the money for renewable energy, instead. “With record profits in the midst of otherwise hard economic times, we don’t need to provide big oil companies with extra cash,” said McDermott. “Big oil seems to be doing just fine on their own. If we are going to be serious about moving away from carbon based energy, removing subsidies to the oil giants is a great first step, which is why I have sponsored legislation to do just that and will continue to sponsor legislation to cut unnecessary subsidies to big oil."
Washington’s Congressional delegation has the opportunity to lead on this important issue. Sen. Murray is a co-chair of the Congressional super committee on deficit reduction, and is in a powerful position to stop wasteful subsidies to oil companies. Murray has voted to end oil subsidies in the past. Earlier this week, 14 U.S. Senators sent a letter to Murray, urging her to cut oil subsidies during the super committee’s negotiations. Washington’s Rep. Adam Smith (WA-9) and Rep. Norm Dicks (WA-6) signed a House version of the letter to the super committee.
Ending subsidies to big oil is only one step in getting America off of its over-dependence on oil. In recent weeks, President Barack Obama unveiled a clean car standard outline that will require cars and light trucks to reach the equivalent of a 54.5 miles-per-gallon (mpg) standard by 2025, and finalized a similar rule for heavy-duty vehicles, including work trucks and buses, through 2018. These combined standards have the potential to reduce our oil dependence by 1.8 million barrels per day by 2030.
“Big oil has been profiting from pollution for far too long,” added Rosen. “We are asking Senator Murray to use the super committee negotiations to stop the practice of handing tax breaks to a polluting industry that already costs us too dearly.”
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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