New Congress, New Challenges

Jan 6, 2015

By Simon Brown

Jim Inhofe, a Republican U.S. sen­ator from Oklahoma, believes the making of public policy should be left to a higher power.

“[G]od’s still up there,” Inhofe, a Religious Right ally, opined in 2012. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

Whether or not you agree with Inhofe on climate change is a secondary matter: The fact is, he wants to craft legislation based purely on dogma favored by a handful of people instead of policies that would help the entire country. Inhofe, a former insurance executive, has ascended to the head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – granting him a powerful platform from which to spread his ideas.

Inhofe received his promotion partly due to the Religious Right, which mobilized millions of voters who hate President Barack Obama ahead of the November elections. Thanks in part to the fact that 78 percent of white, evangelical Protestants who participated in an election last year voted for Republicans, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are under conservative control for the first time since 2006. As a result, defenders of separation of church and state can expect a steady flow of congressional measures that could harm religious liberty.

The issues in play will include school voucher expansions, “religious freedom” exemptions to secular laws, the role of religion in the military and attempts to provide direct federal funding for houses of worship.


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18 comments on “New Congress, New Challenges

  • 3
    Miserablegit says:

    All to be expected as the republicans start jockeying for position in the run up to 2016 election and see who’s eyes swivel the most.



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  • I guess he is.

    Back to my point, lobbies win elections. Funny you can have state-approved corruption as one major driving force of public policies. That’s a nice trick.



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  • “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”

    On that logic you shouldn’t cut down a tree or mow the lawn. God intended that blade of grass to grow there! God put that coal under the ground the arrogance of Humans to dig it up and burn it…

    Fortunately coal at least is loosing the war against the renewables (at least in this country) far too late and with far too much government obstruction but there is a tiny slither of light just appearing.

    Last weeks science show discusses



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  • god intended…

    Certainly he will make an exception with the Keystone XL phase 4 pipeline, at least that’s what the Republican Congress is hoping for. Hear our prayers, no to a veto.



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  • 10
    Sinisa says:

    Whoever has his/her god – I have a very good suggestion for you: Go to your god and continue your(s) beautiful lives together … without any atheists problems.Good luck!Kind regards to your god(s).



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  • What was I saying about “true anarchy” and where is the sane majority when you need them/us? (See posts, imagine no religion)



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  • bonnie Jan 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Certainly he will make an exception with the Keystone XL phase 4 pipeline, at least that’s what the Republican Congress is hoping for.

    Hopefully the massive drop in world oil prices will help to make this stupid enterprise go bust!

    Most fossil fuels ‘unburnable’ under 2C climate target

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211

    **Most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground if dangerous global warming is to be avoided, modelling work suggests.*

    .Over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil reserves are “unburnable” under the goal to limit global warming to no more than 2C, say scientists.

    University College London research, published in Nature journal, rules out drilling in the Arctic.

    And it points to heavy restrictions on coal to limit temperature rises.

    “We’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,” said lead researcher Dr Christophe McGlade, of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources.

    “Policy makers must realise that their instincts to completely use the fossil fuels within their countries are wholly incompatible with their commitments to the 2C goal.”



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  • bonnie Jan 10, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Hold on there pardner, high court of Nebraska just ruled in favor of KP-IV (by default).

    True – but tar-sands are a very dirty, very high-carbon, and very inefficient way of producing oil, which could be at “the top of the chop” clean-up list!

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130219/oil-sands-mining-tar-sands-alberta-canada-energy-return-on-investment-eroi-natural-gas-in-situ-dilbit-bitumen

    The average “energy returned on investment,” or EROI, for conventional oil is roughly 25:1. In other words, 25 units of oil-based energy are obtained for every one unit of other energy that is invested to extract it.

    But tar sands oil is in a category all its own.

    Tar sands retrieved by surface mining has an EROI of only about 5:1, according to research released Tuesday. Tar sands retrieved from deeper beneath the earth, through steam injection, fares even worse, with a maximum average ratio of just 2.9 to 1. That means one unit of natural gas is needed to create less than three units of oil-based energy.

    “They have to use a lot of natural gas to upgrade this heavy, sticky, gooky almost tar-like stuff to make it fluid enough to use,” said Charles Hall, a professor at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Hydrogen from gas heats the tar sands so the viscous form of petroleum it contains, known as bitumen, can be liquefied and pumped out of the ground. In this way, Hall said, gas helps turn tar sands “into something a bit closer to what we call oil.”

    They have a very high carbon-footprint, even in comparison with other methods of producing oil.

    Oil Sands Mining Uses Up Almost as Much Energy as It Produces
    Thanks to high global oil prices, industry can afford the large amount of energy needed to extract the oil and turn it into a usable fuel.
    By Rachel Nuwer, InsideClimate News Feb 19, 2013

    Oil prices have halved since that report was written!
    Low oil prices reduce the profits returned from the investment, which could affect the viability of various new development projects, with tar-sands already looking marginal for finance, and top polluter for CO2 production and wasting energy!



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  • There does seem to be a world-wide problem – which is probably generated by puppet-politians in the pockets of their sponsors, and playing to the sensationalist, scientifically illiterate, media!

    Paul Nurse accuses politicians of ‘cowardice’ over scientific evidence
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30744203
    .Politicians are “cowardly” in their repeated ignorance of scientific evidence that may be unpopular with the public, Sir Paul Nurse has said.

    The Royal Society president and Nobel Prize-winning geneticist said politicians “must be honest” when disregarding scientists’ findings.

    He also warned “anti-immigration rhetoric” from certain political parties was damaging UK science.

    He said top scientists from abroad were being put off working in Britain.

    Sir Paul explained he feels “distressed” when scientists find clear evidence that contributes to a particular issue – such as drugs policy – only for politicians to ignore it “because they don’t think it will play well with the public”.



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  • BP to cut North Sea jobs as oil price plummets

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/01/15/uk-bp-employment-idUKKBN0KO0O420150115
    Oil prices have collapsed over the last six months, dropping almost 60 percent as a global glut has overwhelmed demand at a time of lacklustre world economic growth.

    North Sea Brent crude oil was trading around $47.50 a barrel on Thursday, down from more than $115 last June.

    Fellow North Sea oil producer ConocoPhillips is also cutting 230 jobs in Britain, with its UK workforce expected to drop to just over 1,400 by March, a spokeswoman said.

    Rival oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron announced job cuts in the North Sea last year.

    On Thursday, Africa-focused oil producer Tullow Oil said it had written off $2.3 billion in relation to exploration work and some of its assets including in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.

    I see politicians are running around like headless chickens claiming to be “supporting the oil industry”, instead of getting on with closing down surplus capacity, along with unneeded new exploration, and promoting the green alternatives we need to replace it!!

    In the US and Europe, many of the politicians still just don’t get it!!

    The Saudis of course, want these facilities producing high quality oil reduced, as their own reserves of thick low grade crude will compete poorly if carbon reduction targets favour oil which can be produced and used, with a lower carbon footprint.

    (Tar-Sands are even dirtier than Saudi oil production and refining.)



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  • The Saudis of course, want these facilities producing high quality oil reduced, as their own reserves of thick low grade crude will compete poorly if carbon reduction targets favour oil which can be produced and used, with a lower carbon footprint.

    Further evidence to add to my earlier comment:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30876920
    .Saudi Arabia can cope with low oil prices for “at least eight years”, Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum’s former senior adviser has told the BBC.

    Mohammed al-Sabban said the country’s policy was to defend its current market share by enduring low prices.

    “You need to allow prices to go as low as possible in order to see those marginal producers move out of the market,” he said.

    So as I said: – Saudis want to price oil production with higher overheads and exploration costs and competing green energies, out of the market for the next few years.

    Mr al-Sabban advised the ministry for 27 years, leaving last year.

    Saudi Arabia, the largest producer within the Opec oil producers’ cartel, has repeatedly said that it will not cut output to try to boost the oil price.

    Mr al-Sabban said Saudi Arabia’s “huge financial reserves” would enable it to cope with the low oil price.

    The country is now in the process of cutting government spending.

    Without these cuts, Mr al-Sabban said, Saudi Arabia could not cope with low oil prices for more than four years.

    So Saudi’s people are going to join many others in having spending cuts, to preserve the oil market share for the wealthy, and force competitors out of business.



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