October 4, 2010

Your taxDollars, Hard at Work: $700K NSF Grant Awarded to NY Theater Company to ProduceShow on Climate Change – Meanwhile, nearly 1/10 Americans Remain Jobless.New York Times (10/3) reports, “The National ScienceFoundation has awarded a $700,000 grant to the Civilians, a New York theatercompany, to finance the production of a show about climate change. “The GreatImmensity,” with a book by Steven Cosson (“This Beautiful City”) and music andlyrics by Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), tells the story ofPolly, a photojournalist who disappears while working in the rain forests ofPanama. The grant is a rare gift to an arts organization from the foundation, afederal agency that pays for science, engineering and mathematics research andeducation. The company says it plans to spend the money on the development andevaluation of the show, as well as on a tour and educational programs,including post-show panel discussions with experts in related scientificfields. No performance dates have been announced.”

ObamaAdmin. Successful in Shutting Down Domestic Energy Production This Year,Outline Post-November Anti-Energy Agenda for Next Year. Wall Street Journal (10/4) reports, “President Barack Obama,facing at best narrower Democratic majorities in Congress next year, is likelyto break up his remaining legislative priorities into smaller bites in hope ofsecuring at least some piecemeal proposals on energy, climate change,immigration and terrorism policy, White House officials say. In a series ofrecent campaign appearances, Mr. Obama has talked up the stakes in the Novemberelection as he seeks to energize supporters and retain Democratic control ofCongress. At the same time, White House officials have begun revamping theirlegislative strategies. "One of my top priorities next year is to have anenergy policy that begins to address all facets of our overreliance on fossilfuels. We may end up having to do it in chunks, as opposed to some sort ofcomprehensive omnibus legislation. But we’re going to stay on this," hesaid in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. White House officials haven’tlaid out their plan for moving energy legislation. But Rep. Edward Markey (D.,Mass.), an author of the comprehensive climate change and energy bill thatpassed the House but died in the Senate, offered this scenario: Democratsshould be able to muster support for establishing minimum standards for thepercentage of renewable energy that utilities must use to generate electricity,he said.”

Anti-EnergyFlorida Congressman, Who Owns a Diesel-Powered 110-ft. Yacht, Writes Pres. Obama,Requests that he Block Offshore Drilling Plans in CUBA (!)The Hill (10/2) reports, “A Florida Republican congressman on Fridayurged President Obama to take action against a proposed Cuban offshore oildrilling operation. Rep. Vern Buchanan wrote the president, saying that heshould stand in the way of the drilling plan. Media reports this week said thatCuba is considering deep water oil drilling 50 miles from the Florida coastlineas soon as next year. Buchanan said the plan could endanger the Gulf coastbecause a BP-like spill could occur. "We want clean water and cleanbeaches," Buchanan told Tampa-based WTSP. "They’re talking aboutdrilling deeper than BP, which was 5,000 feet, and I have no confidence theywill be able to drill safely at that level." This year’s BP oil spill,which occurred because of an explosion on a deep water rig, caused damage tothe ecosystems in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and cost thestate’s fishing and tourism industries. "If they had a spill, [it] wouldbe up on our shores in a matter of three days," Buchanan said of the Cubanplan. "I was at the convention when they said, ‘Drill, Baby, Drill.’ Itwas awkward for me but the bottom line is that I don’t agree with them. I thinkthey’re putting too much at risk in Florida."

Osama binLaden, the Environmentalist? Mastermind of 9/11, Most Hated Man in AmericaTurns to Climate Change to Rail Against the West.Washington Times (10/1) Editorializes, "Osama bin Ladenis best known as a jihadist extremist, but he’s lately added"eco-warrior" to his resume. In a new tape posted on a terroristwebsite, the al Qaeda leader waves the emerald banner of ecology alongside thegreen battle flag of Islam. "Massive climate change is affecting ournation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world,"bin Laden says, as part of an 11-minute address about disaster relief effortsin Pakistan. Global warming, according to the terrorist mastermind, has killedmore people than war. The bulk of bin Laden’s message concerns reforminghumanitarian assistance programs; here the terrorist adopts the role of GoodSamaritan. "What governments spend on relief work is secondary to whatthey spend on armies," he says, neglecting to note that in the currentrelief effort in Pakistan, as in most such natural-disaster responses, themilitary plays a critical role in providing transportation, food, water andmedical support. It’s fair to say that without military participation, civilianassistance efforts would have a fraction of the impact they do now."

Take Two:As Cancun Conference Approaches, UN Climate Talks Kick Off Today in China; World’sLargest Emitter of Carbon, Home to the Most Robust Economy in the World.Associated Press (10/4) reports, “The U.N. climate chiefurged countries Monday to identify achievable goals for fighting climate changeahead of a year-end meeting in Mexico, after last year’s Copenhagen summitfailed to produce binding limits on greenhouse gas. Christiana Figueres told3,000 delegates at the opening of a six-day conference in China – the world’sbiggest carbon emitter – that they must "accelerate the search for commonground" ahead of December talks in Cancun to make progress toward securinga global climate change treaty. "As governments, you can continue to standstill or move forward. Now is the time to make that choice," she tolddelegates in the northern port of Tianjin. "If you want a tangible outcomein December, now is the time to clarify what could constitute an achievable andpolitically balanced package for Cancun, and what could be subject to furtherwork after Cancun," she said.

Meanwhile,China’s State-Owned Oil Company Invests $7 Billion in Brazil Unit of SpanishEnergy Producer. Morning Money(10/4) reports, “Chinese state oil company China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.(Sinopec) said Friday that it would invest $7.1 billion in the Brazilian unitof Spain’s Repsol YPF S.A. to form one of the largest private energy companiesin Latin America. The investment is the second-largest overseas purchase by aChinese company and drives the market capitalization of Repsol’s Brazilian armup to $17.8 billion. Analysts estimated the company’s value at $10.7 billionearlier this year. Sinopec’s investment gives it a 40% stake in Repsol’s Brazilbusiness, and access to the highly valued Brazilian offshore sub-salt oilfields. The move highlights South America’s importance to China as the Asianpowerhouse goes on a spending spree to meet its fast-growing energy demand."China’s increased reliance on imported oil is prompting state companiesto accelerate the hunt for resources globally," Wang Aochao, head ofenergy research at Shanghai’s UOB-Kay Hian Ltd., told Bloomberg. "Thetrend is set to continue as the country’s fast economic growth won’tstop." The deal is almost as big as Sinopec’s 2009 acquisition ofSwitzerland’s Addax Petroleum Corp. for $7.2 billion, the biggest oil takeoverto date by a Chinese company. The deal gave Sinopec access to fields in Iraq’sKurdistan and West Africa."

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