LNG, shorthand for liquefied natural gas, is gas that's been condensed into a liquid form by chilling it to approximately −162 °C (−260 °F). That gas is placed in LNG tankers, also known as "trains," then shipped off to lucrative global markets.
One LNG export terminal—Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, located in Sabine Pass, La.—has already received a federal permit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). It is awaiting an obligatory rubber stamp from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Many other LNG export terminals are also in the works, with many new key pieces of the puzzle unfolding in the past week. Thus, a lengthy primer, starting in northwest North America and eventually, meandering southward toward Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, and then eventually heading northeast, is necessary to put the LNG export boom into a proper context.
A lesson in North American LNG export terminals is, in actuality, a lesson in the entire geography of the North American unconventional oil and gas infrastructure put on the map, so to speak, by the documentary film, “Gasland.”
The state of Alaska recently made a game-changing announcement for the oil and gas industry.
Prudhoe Bay, a port located in the Northern Slope area of Alaska—rather than serve merely as the beginning-point of a TransCanada tar sands pipeline, the Alaska Pipeline Project, which would have originated there and eventually ended up feeding into Alberta, Canada—will also serve as the end-point of a series of inter-Alaska pipelines running from Point Thomson oil and gas field, which is located roughly 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay.
These pipelines will carry natural gas to an LNG export terminal in Prudhoe Bay, which will then feed a hungry Asian market with this lucrative prize. Reuters explained, "Exxon and partners BP and ConocoPhillips have agreed to build a pipeline from the field to deliver 70,000 barrels per day of liquids into the Trans Alaska Pipeline System."
The oil and gas industry, it seems, got the sweetest of sweetheart deals in this Faustian bargain with the Alaska state government this time around the block.
TransCanada Corporation (yes, that TransCanada) also won a license to ship much of the oil and gas piped to Prudhoe Bay southward toward Valdez, Alaska. Reuters wrote, "The deal is a boon for TransCanada, which plans to build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to the south coast, feeding a possible export plant that would ship gas to thirsty markets in Asia."
Point Thomson oil and gas field contains some 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to Reuters. In short, a hungry Asian market will be fed with plenty of fuel from Alaska's gas bounty to fulfill its burgeoning oil and gas needs.
Many observers thought that perhaps it was "game over" for the great game of LNG exports in the aftermath of the February 2011 closure of the Kenai LNG terminal, formerly run by ConocoPhillips and located in Kenai, Alaska, which is 136 miles west of Valdez.
They thought wrong. The fun, it appears, has only just begun in Alaska.
Kitimat, British Columbia
Kitimat, British Columbia is home to three LNG export facilities: the Kitimat LNG Facility, the B.C. LNG Facility, and a facility co-owned by Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina. Kitimat LNG is co-owned by EnCana, EOG Resources and Apache, while B.C. LNG is run by Douglas Channel Energy Partnership in a complex co-ownership arrangement.
EnCana, EOG and Apache recently announced that it would have all of its ducks in the row by the end of 2012, speaking with regards to gaining capital investors in the project.
Once the investor terms of agreement are set, fracked unconventional gas is likely to begin its pipeline journey from Canada's Horn River Shale basin, via the Pacific Trail Pipelines, and head westward to Kitimat, where it will be placed in LNG trains and exported off to highly profitable Asian markets.
One would be wrong to assume the only major energy and climate battle Canada has on its hands is the tar sands project.
If only that were the case.
Coos Bay, Ore.
Coos Bay, Oregon—famous for being the hometown of the late long-distance running legend Steve Prefontaine—is the proposed home for the Jordan Cove LNG facility, and has been the epicenter of the backlash against the North American LNG export boom.
Jordan Cove will be the final destination for unconventional gas fracked and piped out of the Niobrara Shale basin, located in the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas. The shale gas obtained via the Niobrara, as of now, is carried out of the basin from the Ruby Pipeline, beginning in Opal, Wyoming and ending in Malin, Oregon.
PG&E Corporation, Williams Companies and Veresen U.S. Power Inc. are co-owners of a hotly contested proposed 234-mile long pipeline, the Pacific Connector. This pipeline, which would carry fracked gas from Malin, Ore. to Coos Bay, home of the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal, is awaiting federal approval.
Not only has there been citizen backlash against both the pipeline and the LNG export terminal, but furthermore, Oregon's federal-level representatives—including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D) and U.S. Rep. Peter Defazio (D)—have voiced strong concern about the project, introducing legislation in the attempt to block both LNG exports and the pipeline.
Corpus Christi, Texas
On March 14, Cheniere announced it would be filing for its second LNG export terminal in July or August of this year, this one in the scenic city of Corpus Christi, Texas, 250 miles west of Cheniere's already existing Sabine Pass LNG export terminal.
"Corpus Christi would comprise three production trains, or units, all with the capacity to export 4.5 million tonnes per year of LNG," Reuters explained.
The terminal would take gas fracked from the Eagle Ford Shale, carried over via pipeline, and place it on the European gas export market.
105 miles southwest of Sabine Pass is the site of another proposed LNG export facility in the small city of Freeport, Texas, which has a population of 12,049, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
This LNG facility is co-owned by Cheniere, Dow Chemical, Osaka Gas and ConocoPhillips. The facility applied for a DOE export license in January 2012 and is the subject of an environmental review by FERC.
The grassroots activist group, Stop Freeport LNG, is fighting tooth and nail to keep the LNG facility out of their community.
Fracking for "National Security" Exposed
This geography lesson, if nothing else, exposes the lie that fracking for unconventional oil and gas in shale basins around North America has anything at all to do with "national security" concerns.
Though the industry has a slogan that reads, "Drill A Gas Well, Bring A Soldier Home," the truth is far more complex than that easy-to-digest propaganda. The industry, as this article has made clear, is building up a complex armada of pipelines and LNG terminals, putting the "national security" lie to rest.
If the "propaganda table" had four legs to stand on, then this table is no longer standing and at this point in history, is merely a tabletop.
For more information, click here.
By Jan Ellen Spiegel
It wasn't so long ago that the issue of climate change was poised to play a huge – possibly even a decisive – role in the 2020 election, especially in the race for control of the U.S. Senate. Many people supporting Democratic candidates saw a possible Democratic majority as a hedge against a potential Trump re-election … a way to plug the firehose spray of more than 100 environmental regulation rollbacks and new anti-climate initiatives by the administration over its first term.
Potential Climate Voters<p>In a September 1 memo on climate and the election, Andrew Baumann, vice president of the consultants Global Strategy Group, wrote: "Few issues have seen as dramatic a shift in public opinion as climate change has over the last few years. Only marriage equality and the recent shift in views around racial justice outpace the rapid growth in the salience of climate change as an issue."</p><p>Calling it a "winning political issue" the memo says: "First, it is clearly a motivator for both younger and Latinx voters. Second, it has the power to move swing voters, particularly center-right white women."</p><p>Baumann points to a finding that when a group of such women were asked generic ballot questions, Democrats trailed by nine percentage points. But when the question was revised as a choice between:</p><p>"A Democrat who supports taking strong government action to combat climate change.<br>A Republican who opposes taking strong government action to combat climate change."</p><p>… the result was a 29 percentage point shift, putting Democrats ahead by 20 percentage points among that same group.</p><p>"I think it is playing a role," says Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, a longtime outspoken climate activist who is on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and also on the Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. If Democrats win back the Senate, he stands to play an even more pivotal climate role as part of the majority. He is not up for re-election this year.</p><p><span></span>"I think from the Democratic side it's playing a role in generating enthusiasm – particularly making younger voters feel that they have a real stake in this election. On the Republican side, I think things have moved enough that candidates can no longer get away with simply scoffing about climate change."</p>
Climate a Top Concern for Youths, Latinx<p>So who's still thinking climate? Mostly young voters – 18 to 25 or 29 and Latinx voters.</p><p>Climate and the environment are the top concern among young voters, just above racism and healthcare according to <a href="https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/poll-young-people-believe-they-can-lead-change-unprecedented-election-cycle" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">CIRCLE</a>, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, which focuses on the political life of young people in the U.S. For Latinx youth, it drops a bit but remains in the top three.</p><p>The issues young people care about have an impact on how they volunteer their time, says Kristian Lundberg, an associate researcher at CIRCLE. He says that's played out most notably through the Sunrise Movement, which focuses on climate change and the environment along with other key activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives.</p><p>He points to polling this summer that showed that 83% of 18-to-29-year-olds felt they had the power to change things. "Young people feel much more empowerment than in 2016 and 2018," Lundberg says. "It's intentional these movements are carving out space for young people. It's an important strategy."</p><p>In positions of power in these organizations, young people have developed peer-to-peer outreach on activism. And Lundberg says young people have made the leap that connects activism to voting as a lever for change. "In the past in very close races, young people breaking heavily have provided the margin of victory," he says.</p><p>CIRCLE is highlighting 10 U.S. Senate races as ones in which young voters can be decisive. Several of them have notable climate or environmental components – most prominently the Colorado and Montana races.</p><p>The Republican incumbents in each state – Cory Gardner in Colorado and Steve Daines in Montana – are running against a popular Democratic governor – John Hickenlooper in Colorado, now out of office — and Steve Bullock, still the governor of Montana. Both governors have had to balance their state's fossil fuel economic interests with supporting climate change solutions.</p>
Tying Climate Change to the Economy<p>In August, Data for Progress, a progressive research think tank, released polling on climate change – including in the battleground Senate elections in Arizona, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina – showing voters back a Senate candidate supporting strong climate action.</p><blockquote>Climate change as 'mobilizing issue … key persuasion issue.'<br></blockquote><p>It also showed that linking climate change to the economy may be key. That means talking about clean energy and jobs together, says Danielle Deiseroth, climate data analyst for <a href="https://circle.tufts.edu/latest-research/poll-young-people-believe-they-can-lead-change-unprecedented-election-cycle" target="_blank">Data for Progress</a>. She says that in addition to jobs, climate change issues include climate justice and economic equality – both of heightened interest because of fallout from western wildfires.</p><p>"Climate change, we've observed over the last year or so, is a key mobilizing issue and a key persuasion issue," she says. "Climate issues can only grow support for Democratic candidates.</p><p>"I think it's pretty naive to say climate is the key issue for voters. For a lot of voters it really exemplifies so many things that are wrong with the Trump presidency," Deiseroth says.</p><p>So a factor among others. Helpful, but pivotal only in narrow circumstances.</p><p>At the League of Conservations Voters, a progressive environmentalist organization putting a lot of money and effort into the 2020 races, Senior Director of Political Affairs Craig Auster says: "I'll push back that climate change doesn't matter or isn't registering."</p><p>"It's still showing up in several Senate races. It's been playing a role in almost all of them."</p><p>Candidates are still talking about it, he says, pointing to Colorado, Montana, Iowa, and other states where ads are addressing climate and environmental issues. That shows the candidates believe their opponent is vulnerable on the issue or they're strong on it, he says.</p><p>Like others, Auster calls climate a motivator.</p><p>"Climate change matters," he says. "We have proof point after proof point about what's happening, whether it's a hurricane, a superstorm, derechos in Iowa, or wildfires out west.</p><p>"Pre-COVID it was top tier for Democratic voters along with healthcare. If COVID didn't happen I think climate would be a big deal."</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Two lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday addressing previous actions the U.S. government inflicted upon Native Americans.
The bill, authored by Rep. Deb Haaland from New Mexico and Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, specifically addresses the "intergenerational trauma" caused by policies that tore Native American children away from their families and sent them to boarding schools to be educated in white culture, HuffPost reported.
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By Gudrun Heise
Just as scientists are scoring successes in coronavirus research, new problems are on their way. Fall is with us and winter is around the corner, so the season for colds and flu has begun — joining COVID-19.
Influenza Vaccination<p>A flu vaccination may thus be able to narrow down the diagnostic options when flu-like symptoms occur, but whether such a vaccination also has an influence on the behavior of the dangerous new virus is — like so much else — not clear. "It is conceivable that there is an indirect effect. But it is, I believe, a matter of speculation whether it has an immunological effect in the narrower sense," says Krause.</p><p>Every winter, doctors' waiting rooms are full of people who are coughing and sniffing but who mostly turn out to have only a severe respiratory infection. According to current knowledge, the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is also likely to be subject to seasonal fluctuations. </p><p>In winter, cold viruses, at least, flourish because cold and dry air offers ideal conditions for their spread. In addition, it becomes more difficult to air rooms regularly and intensively — an important further measure to counteract the coronavirus and contain to some extent the danger posed by aerosols.</p><p>According to the <a href="https://www.rki.de/DE/Home/homepage_node.html" target="_blank">Robert Koch Institute, Germany's public health agency</a>, between 5% and 20% of people in Germany become infected with flu viruses every year. These viruses are also dangerous and can be fatal. The flu vaccination must be adapted to the influenza viruses every year, because they mutate. But at least there is a vaccination.</p><p>Most experts agree that there is unlikely to be a vaccine against the coronavirus by the time the next wave of influenza comes around. And even if a vaccine were to be approved, many unknowns remain.</p>
COVID-19 and Flu Simultaneously<p>For example, there is a lack of practical experience in dealing simultaneously with SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. It is possible to speculate that having influenza could facilitate the entry of the coronavirus into the human body. "The general weakening of the immune system during an influenza infection could increase the susceptibility of a patient to a SARS-CoV-2 infection," Krause says.</p><p>However, it is uncertain how dangerous this double infection could ultimately be and what can be done about it. Krause is of the opinion that we must arm ourselves against all three diseases — colds, flu and COVID-19. If we have a cold, bed rest, hot tea and cough medicine usually help. We can get vaccinated against flu. But how do we deal with COVID-19?</p><p><span></span>Probably people can only hope that if they get the illness, they will have a mild form with as few after-effects as possible. Here, it will certainly help to stick to suggested rules on hygiene to reduce or prevent our exposure to the virus. In an interview with DW, Bonn-based virology professor Hendrik Streeck made it clear that COVID-19 usually takes a more severe course when there is a high viral load at infection.</p>
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene<p>The same hygiene measures with which we are trying to get at least some kind of grip on COVID-19 also apply to influenza. The less we come into contact with viruses, the greater the chance that we will be spared an infection or that it will be mild.</p><p>These measures include general hygiene precautions such as frequent hand washing and the wearing of protective face masks. "The various hygienic measures against COVID-19 will also reduce the spread of influenza," says Krause. "Possibly, further connections of a more immunological nature will be discovered."</p><p>Let us hope that is the case, because the flu season hasn't even started.</p>
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Rising temperatures in the air and the water surrounding Greenland are melting its massive ice sheet at a faster rate than anytime in the last 12 millennia, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
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A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world, as The Guardian reported. That puts the number of species at risk near 140,000.
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