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Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Hall of Shame’

The 2011 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Winners

Thu ,01/03/2012
This year the contest was carried out on three websites and the votes were combined to determine those who have most affected the environment through word or deed.

The 2011 Environmental Hall of Fame Winners:

The winner is James Hansen, with 51% of the votes. His efforts opposing the XL pipeline played a pivotal role in delaying a decision and hopefully preventing the construction of the pipeline . Award: A massive presence at the 2012 Citizen’s Climate Lobby International Conference, July 22 – 24, in Washington D.C. . Make your travel plans now.

Runner-up was the EPA  (31%)  for standing firm in its efforts to protect the environment in spite of the political pressure it has received. Award: A duplicate of Captain America’s Shield. Though Captain America’s Shield was fictional, the EPA’s need for a shield is not. Please write your representatives about the need to protect the EPA from political attacks.

The Tulsa World (14%) was 3rd for showing great courage in defending  climate science and refuting Sen. Jim Inhofe’s claim of “victory in his efforts to debunk man-made global warming as a hoax.” Their editorial stated:” While there are scientists and politicians on both sides of the issue, those who see climate change as a genuine threat are mostly scientists and most of those who deny it are politicians.” Award: I’m renewing my subscription and I hope that if you live in the Tulsa area you will also.

Joe Romm (3%), Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he writes and maintains Climate Progress , an outstanding source of accurate climate science information. Award: Apparently, not many who took the poll read Joe Romm’s columns. As an award we should correct that, so please click the link above and read some of his well-written articles.

The 2011 Hall of Shame Selections:

First place goes to Halliburton (Cheney), with 57% of the votes – for the Halliburton clause in the Clean Water Act. This clause provided a loophole that allows the composition of fracking chemicals to remain secret, thanks to Cheney. Apparently, voters were dismayed that Congress could be manipulated to provide an exception to the law for a special interest at the expense of protecting the public. Prize: A big glass of water from a well next to a hydrofracking operation.

Runner up was Congressman Joe Barton of Texas,( 17%) for his apology to BP about how they were treated after the Gulf Oil spill and for trying to ban energy-efficient light bulbs because they contain mercury, even though he had fought efforts to stop mercury pollution by industries. Prize: A copy of his failing grades on the League of Conservation Voters Scorecard and, hopefully, a decline in the number of votes he receives in the next Congressional election.

There was a tie for 3rd and 4th place between Dr. Jane Lubchenco,(13%) for using bad data to set fishing catch limits and for not adequately policing BPs drilling plans or their cleanup operations in the Gulf. Prize: A corexit oil shake. If you live on or near the gulf, please shake up a sample of the gulf water and mail it to her. It won’t hurt if she gets several. 


Forbes Magazine (James Taylor)(13%) for a ridiculously misleading article, New NASA data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism, that described climate scientists as “alarmist” 15 times. Award: A copy of the book Ethics And Journalism and a complete ban on ever using the words ‘alarmist’ again. I will see that they get a copy of the book and I hope you will write Forbes (readers@forbes.com) about the ban and express your opinion of the article.

It is important that we keep in mind those who are heroes and villains to the environment. I wish to thank those who provided the nominations, the prize suggestions, the insightful and often humorous comments, and the votes to determine the winners. As this year goes by, please take note of those you wish to nominate for the 2012 awards.

Would George Will Rather Have Mercury in His Fish?

Fri ,21/08/2009

George Will, in his article “Perils of a Bright Idea” (4/2/09),  criticized the use of compact florescent light( CFL)  bulbs because they contain mercury. He has apparently not thought this through.  Would he rather have mercury in his light bulbs or in his fish?

 At a public forum, Stuart Jolly, a lobbyist for Americans for Prosperity said, “ if you break a CFL, mercury will spill out”.  Being curious, I went right home and broke one to see.  I could not find the mercury so I looked up the amount. It is about 4 milligrams per light bulb – an amount less than the size of the period at the end of this sentence.  

 Much of our electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants. Coal contains a trace amount of mercury- but considering that we burn 7 billion tons of coal each year –  50 tons of mercury is emitted into the air each year. The mercury is carried to the ground by rain and much of it ends up in our lakes and streams where it enters the food chain.  Some of it eventually ends up in game fish – even in areas that have no natural mercury sources. If you eat fish every Friday, by the year’s end, you’ll have eaten about four times as much mercury as there is in one CFL bulb.

 CFL’s are about four times as efficient as regular bulbs and last about 10 times as long. I cannot think of a company, school, or public building that does not use fluorescent light bulbs to save energy and avoid maintenance costs. CFL’s for home use are the same technology. Using CFL’s will actually cut the amount of mercury entering the environment by reducing the amount of coal burned.

 The mercury in fish should remind us that there are other concerns besides global warming in the debate on energy policy. We have large coal reserves but burning coal  releases sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and radioactive isotopes of uranium and thorium that all end up in the air or the food chain. Whether you believe the Earth is getting warmer or not, you must agree that eating and breathing these are a bad idea.