U.S. Senate Misses Approving Keystone XL by One Vote

“This will be an early item on the agenda in the next Congress.”
—incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

In follow up to yesterday’s post, it turns out the U.S. Senate missed the vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline last night by one vote.

Don’t celebrate just yet, though. Republicans are already gearing up to try again once they take control of the Senate in January 2015. But for now, the will of the people has prevailed over the will of the corporations.

 

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U.S. Vote on Keystone XL Expected Today

“[Canada gets to] pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”
President Barack Obama

Two countries. One pipeline. If there was ever anything that was more symbolic of the struggle between today’s addiction to fossil fuels and concerns about tomorrow’s environment, it’s the Keystone XL pipeline.

With the U.S. Senate in control of the Republicans since the recent midterm elections, it would seem like a given that Congress would vote in favour of the pipeline, but it turns out they don’t need a simple majority but actually have to achieve 60 votes. That means some key Democrat supporters are needed.

As recently as yesterday, Senate Republicans were struggling to find one last vote that would allow them to pass a bill authorizing Keystone XL, a pipeline that could transport 800,000 barrels of diluted bitumen every day from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf. All 45 Republicans are going to vote yes, but the Senate needs 60 votes in total, so they’re still counting on others to support it. Continue reading

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Hottest October Ever Recorded!

“Reality continues to ruin my life.”
Bill Watterson

And the records just keep on coming. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), last month was the hottest October ever recorded since they began keeping accurate records dating back to the 19the century. So that means a total of three hottest months in a row of, and given that we also had a hottest June and a hottest spring, 2014 is definitely gearing up to be the hottest year we’ve ever recorded globally.

And this is still without the help of an El Niño. As my posts on the record-breaking August and September our planet experienced explained, most of the global records in the past were broken with the help of an El Niño. That was the case back in 1998, what many skeptics and deniers like to claim was the year that global warming stopped. But these recent records have all been broken without any contributing regional warming patterns from an El Niño. Continue reading

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China and the US Agree to Make History

“Science literacy is the artery through which the solutions of tomorrow’s problems flow.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

How many times have people expressed frustration that the world’s two largest emitters of carbon—namely China and the U.S.—aren’t doing enough to change that fact, to lead the way and demonstrate to the rest of the world: “We can do it, and so can you.” So earlier this week we saw the first hints that maybe they’re finally on the right track as China and the U.S. announced an agreement that resulted from nine months of quiet discussions that had been taking place between the two nations.

President Obama announced very ambitious emissions reduction targets as part of the agreement. These new targets will try to double the rate of reductions from current goals, reducing emissions rates by over 25 percent compared to 2005 levels by the year 2025. That’s a dramatic increase compared to the 17 percent reduction agreed to in Copenhagen back in 2009. The U.S. State Department stated such a reduction would be equivalent to scrapping up to 24 Keystone XL pipelines. China’s commitment is to obtain 20 percent of its energy from sources other than fossil fuels by the year 2030, with a goal of reaching peak emissions the same year.

And is the Republican-led Congress loving this? Not exactly. Continue reading

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New Study: Republicans Hate Solutions More than Science

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.”
Niels Bohr

In previous blogs, I’ve addressed the question “Why do Republicans and other conservatives reject the science of global warming and climate change so much more readily than other groups?” After all, science has a lot do do with facts and evidence rather than opinion and conjecture, so a lot of it shouldn’t be open to debate.

new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology written by Troy Campbell and Aaron Kay of the Duke University Fuqua School of Business may have helped to identify one important part of the answer. Their findings show that Republicans are more likely to reject climate science when they feel that the policy solutions to combat the problem don’t fit with their personal ideologies. In other words, “we don’t like the solutions” turns into “we don’t trust the science,” something the authors refer to as “solution aversion.”

How did the researchers demonstrate this phenomenon? In one particular experiment, various participants from across the political spectrum were split into two groups. Continue reading

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