Friday, January 15, 2016

There Will Be Blood: What Ammon Bundy’s fight has to do with the future of U.S. energy

...The efforts to free up federal land, including some by those in Congress, have mostly been symbolic so far, and would likely meet with a veto from Obama were they to make it that far. However they provide a useful talking point for Republicans trying to cater to the far-right base of their party.

Whether drilling on these near-pristine lands is appropriate or not is something BLM will be forced to consider more closely in the future. The bureau is receiving strong resistance to drilling from environmentalists and the “Keep it in the Ground” movement, both of which are concerned about the role fossil fuels play in climate change.

...According to Marissa Knodel with the climate and energy team at Friends of the Earth, a justice-minded environmental group, it’s becoming increasingly clear that more drilling, fracking, and polluting on public lands is not in the public interest.

Knodel said BLM has a “huge role to play” in stopping leases that will lock the United States into both a future dependent upon fossil fuel infrastructure, such as pipelines, as well as preventing further increases in greenhouse gas emissions. These are both key aspects in mitigating climate change as burning all the fossil fuels already leased worldwide would emit enough emissions into the atmosphere to raise temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius—the point at which the impacts of climate change will become catastrophic, according to scientists.

The climate action group has done the math: In order to stay below 2 degrees warming, we can emit 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide over the foreseeable future. If corporations burned all the fossil fuels currently in their reserves, it would release 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide, five times that amount.

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