Water Planet Challenge Adds Resources to Help Educators in the Classroom
EarthEcho International is pleased to introduce Hot Topics. A new resource on the Water Planet Challenge site, Hot Topics are monthly interviews with individuals providing in-depth information on stories at the forefront of today’s news.
The inaugural Hot Topic looks at the one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Northeast coastal region of Japan. What happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011? And what about the marine debris expected to arrive on the coastlines of the U.S. and Canada? EarthEcho presents two Hot Topic interviews and supporting video and print resources to help educators, students and families better understand the situation in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident—Nuclear Energy with Susan Hess of AREVA, and Marine Debris with Nicholas Mallos of Ocean Conservancy.
From conserving energy and improving the quality of our drinking water to understanding the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, the Water Planet Challenge’s extensive collection of Action Guides, videos, lesson plans and service-learning materials helps educators and their students affect change one classroom, one community at a time. Water Planet Challenge Action Guides and resources are provided at no cost to students, educators, and community leaders through a partnership with Discovery Education. Primary funding for the Water Planet Challenge is provided by the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation.
Hot Topics—In the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident—One Year Later
One year ago, a devastating earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan causing untold damage and human suffering. The clean up and recovery efforts continue to this day, within the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Northeast coastal region of Japan, and the country as a whole. Among the many shocking aftermaths is the 3-4 million tons of debris that washed into the ocean.
EarthEcho presents two Hot Topic Interviews on this topic:
NUCLEAR ENERGY—In the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Susan Hess of AREVA Inc., offers a review of what occurred on March 11, 2011, and how this impacts the future of nuclear energy. AREVA supplies energy solutions for power generation with less carbon. AREVA's unique integrated offering to utilities covers every stage of the fuel cycle, nuclear reactor design and construction and related services. The group is also expanding in renewable energies—wind, solar, bioenergies, energy storage – to be one of the top three in this sector worldwide in 2012. To learn more about AREVA visit www.Areva.com. AREVA is a member of EarthEcho International’s Corporate Advisory Board.
MARINE DEBRIS—In the Wake of the Fukushima Daiichi Accident
Nicholas Mallos of Ocean Conservancy provides an overview of the growing concern regarding the tsunami-generated marine debris and the everyday debris that pollutes our waters. Ocean Conservancy is the world's foremost advocate for the oceans. The organization seeks to inform, inspire and empower people to speak and act for the oceans through science-based advocacy, research and public education. Ocean Conservancy, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has offices in Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific, with support from more than half a million members and volunteers. To learn more about Ocean Conservancy visit www.oceanconservancy.org. EarthEcho International’s co-founder and president Philippe Cousteau serves on Ocean Conservancy’s Board of Directors.
Let us know what Hot Topics you are interested in seeing by emailing suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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