I arrived in Dalian on the day of the funeral for firefighter Zhang Liang, who drowned beneath the thick crude when his crew jumped into the ocean — without safety gear — to attempt, in vain, to fix an underwater pipe. Our lead photographer, Jiang He, who by now has reached legendary status globally for capturing the final seconds of Zhang's life, continued to cover the very emotional moments of this oil spill disaster.
Colleagues described how over 30,000 people lined the streets of Dalian to honor Zhang. And judging from Jiang He’s photos, there were many outpourings of grief for his untimely death, at the age of 25. People talked about whispers of anger from Dalian residents and firefighters against the corporations responsible for this tragic human and environmental disaster. And of their utter callousness: in the evening of the same day, a fancy celebratory dinner was held in one of Dalian’s classiest hotels for the leaders of Dalian PetroChina. A large banner with grammatically incorrect Chinese welcomed them to the “fire rescue live event.”
See more images from the Dalian oil spill
The spill in Dalian is yet another reminder that oil is a dirty business, and the only way to stop future spills is to leave the oil in the ground. Enough is enough. Sign our petition to Congress telling them that now is the time for a permanent ban on ALL new drilling.
This morning, starting at 5.30am, teams of Greenpeace volunteers shut down 50 BP stations across London.
The teams - each named after an animal threatened by BP's reckless oil exploration - fanned out across the capital in their electric and hybrid cars, going station to station and disabling the pumps.
Why today? Because BP is expected to announce later the appointment of Bob Dudley as the company's new head to replace the gaffe-prone Tony Hayward, who led BP during the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But there's more. This is also about realizing what we can achieve if we set our minds to it.
We can end the oil age. We already have the tools we need to leave it behind and move towards a clean energy future. All that's missing is the determination to make it happen fast.
Tell Congress: No new drilling, period!
ABOVE: The safety switches from the BP Stations in London that were shutdown today by Greenpeace volunteers. These were removed, operating the safety shutdown and and closing the pumps. We're going to return all the switches later but until they fit new ones at the stations, the pumps will be out of action.
This blog post comes from Lisa Vickers, a webbie at Greenpeace International.
That’s the Dirty Lie: The idea, heavily promoted by coal and oil industry lobbyists and their friends in Congress, that there is no remedy for our addiction to fossil fuels. But the truth is that with today’s technology, we can continue to grow our economy while phasing out fossil fuels altogether.
Our Energy [R]evolution report lays out a roadmap for achieving a clean energy economy. It also shows that we could create over a million American jobs in the renewable energy sector alone by 2030.
So if we have the means for kicking our dirty energy habit and moving to clean, green energy, and most Americans are more than supportive, why isn’t it happening? The reason is simple: Big industry has an incredible amount of influence over our energy policy, thanks to decades of campaign contributions to the politicians who make the rules. These companies and politicians defend their planet-killing actions by saying that we need coal and oil. It’s time to call out the Dirty Lie, and break their stranglehold.
That’s where you come in. We need help watchdogging the politicians and talking heads who take money from the fossil fuels industry and then push the Dirty Lie on the American public. Whenever you catch the Dirty Lie being promoted without challenge, or find a case where someone is regurgitating fossil fuels lobbyist talking points as if they were fact, let us know. In turn, we’ll let you know when and where to help set the record straight.
There are a variety of ways you can plug in to our work to call out the Dirty Lie:
3 Ways to expose the Dirty Lie
If you have a Facebook account you can immediately mobilize your friends to expose the dirty lie. When you find an article that repeats the lie, post it to your Facebook with a status message that says something like:
“This article claims that we can’t live without fossil fuels. That is a dirty lie! Please go to the article and leave a comment saying so.”
If you spot the Dirty Lie in the media and want to report it via Twitter, just use the hashtag #dirtylie and make sure you link to the news piece in question. We’ll be searching for this hashtag regularly, so we’ll be sure to find it. You can regularly search for tweets with this hashtag as well, we'll use it to let you know how you can help call out the worst offenders.
Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service that allows you to bookmark and save web pages online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. It's perfect for the work before us of calling out the Dirty Lie!
Delicious also allows you to tag your bookmarks with a keyword. That makes it a great tool for collaboration because we can easily look up all web pages tagged with the key word “DirtyLie.”
Here’s how to help:
1) If you’re new to Delicious, the first thing you need to do is create an account. Go to https://secure.delicious.com/login and follow the instructions. If you have a yahoo account you can use that to quickly create one. If not you’ll need to create one of those too.
2) Add a bookmarklet button to your browser’s bookmark bar. This way you’ll be able to bookmark and tag articles anywhere on the web with just a click. Go to http://delicious.com/help/bookmarklets and follow the instructions for your web browser.
3) Now it’s time to start exposing the Dirty Lie by bookmarking and tagging articles. When you read articles that repeat junk science like “We’ll never have enough renewable energy to replace oil,” click your “Bookmark on Delicious” bookmarklet button you added to your browser. A pop-up window will appear. Add the tag “dirtylie” (important: keep “dirtylie” as one word) and any other tags or info you think is appropriate and click save.
4) Find other articles tagged with “dirtylie” at http://delicious.com/tag/dirtylie. You can read and comment on these articles and find other Delicious users that are exposing the Dirty Lie.
Greenpeace staff and volunteers will be keeping an eye on all of these social networks for the instances of the Dirty Lie you report. We’ll prioritize the worst offenders and let you know how you can help set the record straight.
Of course, you can also stay tuned right here on this blog to find out when and where you can help push back on the Dirty Lie. Stay tuned.
The Greenpeace ship MY Arctic Sunrise was in the Mediterranean Sea in June to help protect endangered bluefin tuna. © Gavin Parsons / Greenpeace
The reports coming out of Louisiana about cleanup workers and even local police helping BP enforce a media blockade have been nearly as frustrating as watching the oil spew into the Gulf without cease for almost three months (a hat tip is most definitely deserved here to Mother Jones’ Mac McClelland, who has been chasing this story all along and doing a great job of reporting what’s happening on the ground).
It’s in BP’s best interest to limit media access to oiled beaches and wildlife, as the more they can contain the truth about just how much damage has been done, the more they can limit their liability to pay for that damage later on. We released our ScamWow video last week to highlight this very sad and galling state of affairs.
|View more images of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.|
But BP is cracking down on public access more than ever, so we’re stepping up our efforts. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is on its way to the Gulf for a three-month expedition to document the true impacts of the BP Deepwater Disaster on the Gulf’s marine life and unique ecosystems. This tour is especially crucial now because even if BP has finally capped the leaking well, the crisis will continue for some time, endangering wildlife and ecosystems, destroying the region’s fisheries, and affecting the ocean for decades to come. It’s important that we not let the focus shift away from the truly extensive catastrophe that is still unfolding in the Gulf, whether more oil is spewing out of BP’s well or not.
The Sunrise will leave Tampa, Florida during the week of August 9th and visit the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas before approaching the wellhead during the first month of the expedition. The crew aboard the Sunrise will be examining everything from the plankton on the surface to the subsurface plumes and the deep-sea corals on the floor of the Gulf.
The Arctic Sunrise is a 50-meter long, icebreaker ship that was purchased by Greenpeace in 1995. Since then, it has peacefully protested whaling in the Southern Ocean, documented climate change and glacier melts in the Arctic, and was the first ship to circumnavigate James Ross Island in the Antarctic, which was an impossible journey until a 200m thick ice shelf connecting the island to the Antarctic continent collapsed.
Throughout the expedition, the Arctic Sunrise will host independent scientists and researchers who will be looking for oiled marine mammals, turtles, fish, and sea birds. Charles Messing and Jose Lopez from Nova Southeastern University will be on board looking at sponges, which filter large quantities of water and are therefore useful for looking at sub-lethal impacts of oil and dispersants. We’ll announce other on-board scientists in the coming weeks.
So keep checking back on our blog for live interviews with our onboard campaigners and scientists, video and still photography from the Gulf, and an interactive, web-based Virtual Ship Tour that lets supporters come along for the journey. You can grab an RSS feed of our blog posts dedicated to the tour by going here: Greenpeace Gulf Oil Disaster Expedition blogs.
We’ll also be posting lots of ways you can help call for a moratorium on new offshore drilling and for Congress and the White House to come clean, get rid of campaign contributions from dirty energy, and stop subsidizing big oil and coal.
In the meantime, help us promote our Energy [R]evolution report, which shows how it’s possible to phase out fossil fuels and reach 96% renewables in our energy mix by 2050. The US consumes 25% of the oil produced globally but has only 3% of the world’s oil reserves. We will never drill our way out of being dependent on foreign oil. The only way for the US to achieve energy security and stop oil spills before they happen is to invest in its huge renewable energy potential.
It’s clear BP knows this all too well, and is determined to spare no expense on the cleanup… of its image. We put together this "ScamWow" video to highlight this sad state of affairs:
We decided to spoof the original late night infomercials for the ShamWow miracle clean-up towel, which is touted as a quick fix for any cleaning problem (it's made in Germany and "You know the Germans always make good stuff"), because BP is attempting to use PR damage control as a miracle cure for its sullied image. Except, unfortunately, PR has no miraculous cleaning powers. The company's image may be less soiled as a result of the millions BP is spending on PR, but the Gulf of Mexico will be reeling from the impacts of the company's negligence for decades.
Consider the estimated $50 million BP has spent on an all-out media blitz, complete with a TV ad featuring an earnest Tony “I’d like my life back” Hayward looking into the camera and assuring us “We will make this right.” What he means is, "We will do anything to make you think we will make this right" — anything short of, you know, actually reporting the true size of the spill, allowing journalists unfettered access to spill sites and oiled beaches to provide independent coverage of cleanup operations, stopping the damn leak in a timely manner, or god-forbid taking worker and environmental safety concerns seriously in the first place so that this spill never even happened.
“The Gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened,” Tony “The size of the spill is small in relation to the size of the ocean” Hayward tells us in his TV ad. We can agree on that, at least, Tony!
BP has engaged multiple PR and lobby firms to help wage its PR assault, which spans all conceivable media. According to our calculations, BP spent almost $6 million through the end of June on ads in newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today, while also purchasing Google and Yahoo ads that will display whenever people search for “oil spill” — surely an extremely pricey keyword at the moment that is generating a lot of clicks.
Considering the spill cleanup costs (estimated at $16 million a day), why would BP do this? Because public relations and lobbying is one way BP can turn public opinion in their favor and soften the blow from lawsuits, regulators, and Congress. If the public could somehow be made to feel sympathetic toward BP, or to feel that BP is really going “to make this right,” the ultimate financial pain to BP might be lessened. So from where BP’s sitting — a place where the bottom line is the ultimate concern, not Gulf Coast residents’ livelihoods, not Gulf Coast ecosystems — the decision to give their image the vigorous scrubbing they can’t give the Gulf Coast ecosystems befouled by their oil is a no-brainer.
BP made $66 million a day in profits in the first quarter of 2010. If they want to keep raking it in hand over fist like that, they gotta do some damage control. It’s just that simple.
Oil spills are an inevitability of the supremely dirty oil drilling business, especially as companies are forced to dig deeper and take more outrageous risks to reach what’s left of the world’s oil reserves. Heard about BP’s plans to drill 2 miles deep and as much as eight miles horizontally from a gravel island the company built in the middle of the Beaufort Sea up in the Arctic? No, that’s not just a sick joke.
The Exxon Valdez spill is not our only example of how impossible it is to clean up spilled oil: Ask the villagers down in Ecuador who are still battling with Chevron to try and get their traditional lands cleaned up, or the people over in Nigeria who suffer from companies like Shell spilling the equivalent of a Valdez-sized spill every year. Oil is wreaking havoc on communities across the globe, and the companies responsible always seem to treat these disasters as little more than the cost of doing business. The Ecuadorian Amazon, the Niger Delta, the Gulf of Mexico — these are collateral damage in Big Oil’s relentless pursuit for reckless profits.
The real way forward is of course to stop drilling and invest in clean energy, but oil companies cannot be depended on to drive society toward clean energy. They are OIL companies after all.
The only way to stop oil spills once and for all is to leave it in the ground where it belongs. President Obama and Congress need to ensure we kickstart the clean energy revolution and stop drilling for oil. Check out our blueprint for how America can achieve 96% renewable energy by 2050 and create over a million jobs by 2030: Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable USA Energy Outlook. Help promote our vision for the sustainable future! Then take action to tell Congress No New Drilling, Period.
On Sunday we celebrate the Fourth of July and America's independence from tyranny and injustice. But we go into this weekend with a tangible reminder of our continued dependence on fossil fuels.
Hurricane Season is here. Oil continues its advance unabated into the Gulf. We don’t know how much oil is flowing. BP is incapable of solving the problem. Congress is soon to recess. Neither the Federal nor State governments have the ability to remediate the damage.
Yet how many of us will jump in the car this weekend? Isn’t this complicity in Big Oil’s stranglehold on our lives? Why are we buying the "dirty lie" that oil is the crux of our transportation energy mix?
|America can generate 96% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050, and create over one million renewable energy sector jobs by 2030. |
Read more and download the Energy [R]evolution report (PDF)
In fact, BP has obscured the truth at every turn. Now, they are in the process of christening their horribly misnamed “Liberty” drilling operation (Happy Fourth of July, right?) in Alaska. They will drill two miles beneath a small, man-made island, and then drill sideways for six to eight miles so that they can reach an offshore reservoir.
But what about the moratorium announced by President Obama? Well, since they’ve built a 31-acre artificial gravel island, they're able to register it as an onshore rig, effectively green-lighting their operation.
At what point does outrage spark our elected officials to put aside partisan bickering and get the job done? This is about ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico. This is about Big Oil gaming the system so that they can profit off of our public lands.
Punching a hole in the ground and extracting super-heated, highly pressurized oil and natural gas is dangerous and messy. There is one way to prevent this from happening again. We must have a permanent ban on all drilling. There must be unlimited liability for polluters. We must end all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies and transition public investments to clean, renewable energy sources and energy efficiency technologies.
Drilling moratoriums are not permanent and can be easily circumvented. Liability escrow accounts are not policy. As long as it is exceedingly lucrative to drill for oil these companies will continue their operations. Indeed, one month before the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster began, a BP presentation from March 2010 identified expanding deepwater drilling as the company’s “key sources of growth” beyond 2015.
Too much time has passed since the oil has started flowing into the Gulf. How much suffering need be inflicted upon the people of the Gulf for the rest of America to act?
I say enough is enough. We need to channel the spirit of the Fourth and declare independence from Big Oil. An Energy [R]evolution is necessary.
This Fourth of July, declare your independence from Big Oil’s big deceptions.
The G8 focused on security threats — nuclear proliferation, terrorism — but failed to make any progress on global warming, easily the biggest threat to global peace we're facing. Four paragraphs in the final communiqué were devoted specifically to climate change — including assurances that leaders are “committed to building low carbon and climate resilient economies” and that “climate change remains top of mind” — but no new initiatives or specific actions were announced that would indicate a sense of urgency among the G8 leadership.
The G20 had similarly unimpressive results to show for itself. Some G20 leaders took the first steps towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but collectively the G20 failed to address the urgent need for visionary leadership to stop catastrophic climate change and transition the global economy toward clean, green renewable energy.
Some nations deserve more credit than others. Of all the G20 nations, the US offered up the most robust plan for ending subsidies for big oil and coal, though the plan represents only a fraction of the total subsidies and still requires Congressional approval. At the other end of the spectrum, nations like Australia and Canada failed to take their commitments seriously. In appendices to the communiqué, language suggests that commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies are “voluntary and member-specific,” something Canada and Australia have been aggressively pushing for.
One of the best reactions I've read so far, however, is from a colleague over at Greenpeace International, Brian Fitzgerald:
I don't know about you, but the leaders I want to follow aren't the ones who say it's too hard to break the world's addiction to dirty energy. The politicians I want to elect aren't bought off by oil lobbyists. The beaches I want to walk on are not covered in tar balls. The future I want to inhabit isn't black with coal dust and oily scum.
They don't know it yet, but the politicians who sat in last week's G20 meeting and decided to backslide on their commitments to tackle climate change are no longer the most important voices on the planet. It's the people who were outside that meeting calling for an energy revolution. It's the people who have a better idea about what our world can look like, run by energy sources that don't spill, burn, explode, poison, or destroy. Those are the voices we need to listen to, those are the investment paths we need to follow. Real leaders look ahead to the next generation, not the next election. This is what they look like:
Nicole Sands is the Web Producer for Greenpeace USA, based in Gainesville Florida...
I joined hands today with a whole string of people who gathered to join hands from end to end of Cedar Key's beach on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, about 50 miles from where I live in Gainesville, Fl. We gathered to draw a line in the sand. It's time to protect our coasts from the dangers of offshore drilling. It's time for an energy revolution — to move away from the reckless energy policy that got us in to this mess.
I love that this was a grassroots event, sprung from the mind of one person who wanted to make a difference. Floridian Dave Rauschkolb started what today became an international event sponsored by dozens of organizations, including Greenpeace.
“America could be, should be the world leader in expanding cleaner energy sources yet our political process is paralyzed by oil money. It is time for our leaders to take bold, courageous steps and open the door to clean energy and renewables and free our country from its addiction to oil.
I couldn't agree more.
The Gulf of Mexico is beautiful. It's warm, shallow for miles and the water is crystal clear. It's teeming with life and it's a treasure for Florida and the world. We've gotten ourselves into a situation where as a "solution" we're literally setting the water on fire. We're killing our wildlife, we're poisoning our beaches. We're so clearly and devastatingly on the wrong path. I hope today demonstrated for everyone, that a large number of us are committed to turning it around.
Toronto - world leaders are gathering today to discuss several topics, including how to implement their commitment at their last meeting to phase out fossil fuel subsidies worldwide.
9:34, Monday, June 28
My prediction that some countries would show up with nothing (because I may have seen the leaked document with the commitments from different countries) hits the E&E Daily:
Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter
President Obama and other world leaders yesterday renewed their commitment to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but sidestepped specifics about how individual countries would do so and when.
Issuing a final declaration as they wrapped up a Group of 20 economic summit in Toronto, leaders again asked finance and energy ministers to come up with strategies for eliminating assistance for oil and gas production and consumption.
5:21, Sunday, June 27The G20 Ends
Some G20 leaders have taken first steps towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but collectively, their actions still don't address the urgent need to stop catastrophic climate change.
Read the full blog here on the Huffington Post.
|View more images of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.|
At the same time, Congress needs to enact a drilling ban into law — the moratorium should not have been allowed to lapse in the first place and Congress should take immediate action to ensure that no new drilling occurs.
In order to stop fossil fuels tragedies like the BP Deepwater Disaster once and for all, we need to leave behind the dirty energy of the past and move aggressively toward the clean energy of the future. No more fossil fuels and nuclear energy. We must replace them with clean renewable energy and efficiency technology.
Sign our petition calling on Congress to:
- Enact an immediate ban on all new drilling and phase-out all remaining drilling;
- Remove liability limits for energy-related activities in accordance with the principal that the polluter must pay;
- Improve regulation and oversight of energy-related activities to ensure maximum protection of the public health and the environment;
- And end all subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy and invest in clean renewable energy, efficiency technology, and infrastructure development.
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