Entry to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Bryan Mound Site, Freeport, Texas. Photo: Bloomberg

By Catherine Traywick and Dan Murtaugh
21 July 2017

(Bloomberg) – The weather was hot and humid on 21 July 1977, the day the U.S. government began stockpiling oil. It started small. Just 412,000 barrels of Saudi Arabian light crude stashed in a Southeast Texas salt cavern. In the wake of the Arab oil embargo, which sent prices through the roof and forced Americans to ration gasoline, creating a national reserve seemed like an obvious way to protect U.S. consumers from global supply shocks.

“It’s hard to imagine if you weren’t there,’’ said John Herrington, the Energy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, who pushed to expand the reserve in the 1980s. “We were lining up at gas stations. We were turning down our thermostats.’’

Forty years later, the world has changed, and Washington is torn on whether the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has outlived its usefulness. The U.S. is awash in crude, imports are declining, yet the stockpile remains the largest in world, ballooning to nearly 700 million barrels of crude, enough to offset U.S. production for more than two months, stored in some 60 caverns in Texas and Louisiana.

In light of these changes, Herrington’s position has shifted. “I don’t see the need for a petroleum reserve now,’’ he said.

Shrinking Reserves

The government is far from united on the matter. The Energy Department this year kicked off a $2 billion, multiyear effort to upgrade the reserve and improve its ability to distribute oil during an emergency. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, wants to sell part of the reserve, a plan that lawmakers for now have ignored. So the hoard, and the salt caves, remain.

The caverns themselves are a marvel. For all the disputation in Washington, the place is eerily quiet. At Bryan Mound, about 60 miles south of Houston, the salty breeze from the Gulf of Mexico rustles through knee-high sea grass. […]

Congress has, in recent years, ordered the Energy Department to sell 190 million barrels of oil to fill government budget holes, but it hasn’t authorized the agency to replace it. That means that by 2025, the stockpile will be 27 percent smaller. Such a drop in volume could warrant closing some reserve sites, according to Guy Caruso, former chief of the Energy Information Administration.

The agency this year completed two of more than a dozen planned sales of reserve oil, auctioning off about 16 million barrels. A January auction brought in an average price of $51.46 a barrel, while a March sale cleared an average of $45.42 a barrel, according to the Energy Department. The drawdowns have brought the current inventory down to 679 million barrels as of July 14.

Still Vulnerable

Proponents of maintaining the stockpile argue that the U.S. is not immune to price volatility, in spite of rising domestic production and declining imports.

“We’re still vulnerable,’’ said Robert McNally, former energy adviser to President George W. Bush and the president of the Bethesda, Maryland-based consulting firm Rapidan Group. “It’s short-sighted and deeply unwise to assume that today’s energy circumstances will be the same over the next few decades.’’ [more]

U.S. Owns 700 Million Barrels of Oil. Trump Wants to Sell It

Cover sheet of the U.S. Senate bill S.1460, 'Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017'. Graphic: U.S. Senate / 115th Congress

By Wenonah Hauter and Bill Mckibben
15 July 2017

(The Hill) – In a frantic attempt to demonstrate that Senate Republicans are capable of governing despite their shameful attempt to yank health insurance away from 22 million Americans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved in late June to advance a huge, 800-page energy bill to the Senate floor. In his rush to get something — anything — done, he bypassed the standard committee review process and pushed the legislation straight to the full Senate floor.

There are plenty of compelling reasons for Senator Schumer (D-N.Y.) to marshal Democratic opposition to McConnell’s bad energy bill. The most basic is that Republicans and the Trump administration are clamoring for a win — literally anything they can point to as business getting done. They seek to strip healthcare from many of the most vulnerable Americans in order to generate huge tax cuts for the wealthiest few. This deplorable intention alone should motivate Democrats to resist everything Trump and the Republicans seek, including McConnell’s energy bill.

But there’s more to the story. This bill, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, is a shameless giveaway to the polluting oil and gas industry. It would lock in our country’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels for decades to come and intentionally undermine critical state and federal efforts to promote clean, renewable energy — our only path to staving off the worst effects of impending climate chaos.

McConnell’s energy package would speed approval of exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission more power to approve natural gas pipelines and spend nearly $200 million researching how to access methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 87-times more greenhouse gas heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period, beneath the ocean floor.

Expediting the build-out of fossil fuel infrastructure takes us in exactly the wrong direction at a time when we must urgently transition to a low-carbon economy. Building LNG export terminals would lead to expanded hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) across the country, meaning the development of new pipelines, new compressor stations and new gas storage facilities.

Increased fracking for natural gas would also feed the construction of new gas-fired power plants for domestic energy consumption — to say nothing of the inherent risks to air, water and human health fracking imposes on front-line communities where it occurs.

Even with the incredible profit margins built into global fossil fuel markets, such large scale investment in new natural gas infrastructure will require decades to be recouped by corporations. Once pipelines are laid, export terminals are completed and wells are fracked, we can be sure such infrastructure will be operated until profits are returned. By that time, decades from now, it will be far too late to save us. [more]

Senate energy bill would fan the flames of climate change

By Janet Redman
11 July 2017

(Oil Change International) – The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (S.1460) would pave the way for fossil fuel expansion, locking in decades of dirty energy and undermining the necessary clean energy transition.

The best available science shows an urgent need move off fossil fuels to avoid severe disruptions to our communities, our economy, and the planet. Burning the oil, gas, and coal reserves in already operating wells and mines would take us beyond globally agreed climate limits. Promoting new fossil fuels in the face of our climate crisis represents the latest form of climate denial. We simply cannot afford new infrastructure that expands fossil fuels.

Yet, this dirty energy bill:

Speeds up approval of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals [Sec. 2201]

The bill requires the Department of Energy to issue a decision on whether to authorize large-scale infrastructure projects within 45 days of issuance of the final environmental review. This rushes the timeline for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to thoroughly evaluate the review and undercuts the public’s ability to ensure that projects will not harm communities and ecosystems impacted by terminals and related pipelines, storage facilities and other infrastructure.

More LNG export terminals means more gas pipelines, more fracking, and more climate pollution.

Forces federal and state agencies to give “deference” to FERC in gas project review process [Sec. 3103]

FERC has a long history of rubber-stamping gas pipelines and other infrastructure projects while ignoring concerns raised by economists, climate scientists, and impacted communities about avoidable costs and environmental harm. S.1460 makes FERC the lead in ensuring gas projects comply with the National Environmental Policy Act - cutting off avenues for communities to appeal to state and other federal agencies to help stop pipelines. The bill also requires any federal or state agency, local government or tribe participating in the review process make a final decision no later than 90 days after FERC considers an application to be complete, making it all but impossible for impacted communities to wade through complex project documents and raise challenges in time. Rushing FERC to approve a natural gas buildout would undermine the public interest and U.S. climate goals.

Wastes billions on boondoggle coal projects [Sec. 3402]

In an act of climate denial and ignoring clear trends in the national energy market, the bill establishes a new coal technology program to “ensure the continued use of the abundant, domestic coal resources.” It authorizes $3.1 billion over 5 years for carbon capture research, development, and demonstration projects - even as the nation’s premiere “clean coal” power plant shutters its doors. Unproven and energy-intensive technologies like carbon capture do nothing to protect communities from the full impacts of coal power - from mining, to transport, to coal ash disposal.

More handouts to dirty energy development

In addition, S.1460 sets up a pilot program to streamline the review and approval of permits to drill for oil and gas on the nation’s public lands [Sec. 3104], and authorizes Congress to spend $175 million on research and development for extracting methane hydrates [Sec. 3101] - another potential source of fossil fuel that we cannot afford to burn.

No love for renewables

Surprisingly, fast-growing and increasingly cost-competitive wind and solar power get little mention in this bill. And the renewable energy provisions that are included are undermined by support for fossil fuel infrastructure that would entrench dirty energy in our country’s power mix and put us on a path to climate chaos.

Vote “no” on S. 1460

Expediting the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure undermines what the American people want and need - action on climate change and the creation of good jobs in the sustainable energy sector. Passing the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 would be a giveaway to the oil, gas, and coal industry and an act of climate denial.


Janet Redman
Oil Change International

Dirty Distraction: The Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (S.1460)

Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign adviser and one-time conservative talk radio host, has no background in the hard sciences, nor any policy experience with food or agriculture. Still, that did not stop President Donald Trump from officially nominating Clovis to the position of the United States Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, the agency’s top science position. Photo: Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

By Natasha GeilingFollow
20 July 2017

(ThinkProgress) -- Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign adviser and one-time conservative talk radio host, has no background in the hard sciences, nor any policy experience with food or agriculture. Still, that did not stop President Donald Trump from officially nominating Clovis to the position of the United States Department of Agriculture’s undersecretary of research, education, and economics, the agency’s top science position.

In the past, the undersecretary of research, education, and economics has brought years of experience in science, public health, or food policy. Previous undersecretaries have been biochemists, plant physiologists, or food nutrition experts. The most recent undersecretary, Catherine Woteki, came to the position from Mars, Inc., where she helped manage the company’s scientific research on health, nutrition, and public safety.

Clovis, on the other hand, comes to the position after serving as national co-chair for the Trump campaign, which he joined in 2015. Before that, Clovis was a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. He has a doctorate in public administration, and unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014. […]

Clovis, like so many of the Trump administration’s top policy officials, does not accept the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2014, he told Iowa Public Radio that climate science is “junk science” and “not proven.” He also said in an interview with E&E News in October that the Trump administration would not prioritize climate change or climate science at the USDA — a sharp break from the Obama administration, which made a point of trying to better prepare farmers and the food system for imminent climate-fueled changes like droughts or heavier storms. […]

Clovis would not be the only senior official at USDA to question established climate science. Secretary Perdue called climate science “obviously disconnected from reality” and “a running joke among the public” in a 2014 op-ed published in the National Review. [more]

Trump officially nominates climate-denying conservative talk radio host as USDA’s top scientist

Projections of emissions intensity trends of electricity based on current policies compared to 1.5°C and 2°C scenarios for the EU, US, China, and India, based on the MESSAGE Model (IIASA 2016). Graphic: Climate Action Tracker

22 June 2017 (Climate Action Tracker) – The future of natural gas is limited, even as a bridging fuel. Continued investments into the sector create the risk of breaching the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal and will result in stranded assets, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) said today.

As part of its decarbonisation series, the CAT today released an examination of gas in the power sector.  The report, titled Foot off the gas: increased reliance on natural gas in the power sector risks an emissions lock-in, warns that natural gas will have to be phased out along with coal, if the world is to limit warming to 1.5?C, as spelt out in the Paris Agreement long term temperature goal.

The CAT foresees a dwindling role for natural gas in the power sector toward the middle of the century, not only to meet the Paris Agreement goals, but also due to increasing competition from renewables.

This outlook challenges projections that forecast an increase in natural gas consumption. Although these projections have proven too bullish in the past, governments and companies are staking significant investments in natural gas infrastructure on them, ignoring the increasing role of low-carbon alternatives, and the need to reduce emissions to combat climate change.

“Natural gas is often perceived as a ‘clean’ source of energy that complements variable renewable technologies.  However, there are persistent issues with fugitive emissions during gas extraction and transport that show that gas is not as ‘clean’ as often thought,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.  “Natural gas will disappear from the power sector in a Paris Agreement-compatible world, where emissions need to be around zero by mid-century.”

Although the emissions from gas plants can be reduced by up to 90% with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), this is not sufficient for full decarbonisation.  Even if these capture rates could be increased, ultimately, the cost of gas with CCS is unlikely to be competitive with renewables and a flexible grid, the CAT said.

“The idea of a continuing role for natural gas as a bridging technology is not consistent with the reality of advances in flexibility enabling technologies, such as grid expansion, supply and demand response, as well as storage,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, a Navigant company.

Many projections for the use of natural gas—including from the International Energy Agency, investors, and many governments—not only fail to consider the need for complete decarbonisation within three decades, but they also ignore the increasing role of low-carbon alternatives.

Wrong direction: Natural gas in electricity generation must decline rapidly in the long term. Projected share of electricity from natural gas compared with the range of global scenarios consistent with 1.5°C/2°C concerning the share of electricity from gas without CCS. Calculations based on MESSAGE (IIASA 2016), IEA WEO. Graphic: Climate Action Tracker

“One example is China, where in 2016 the IEA projected renewables would rise to 7.2% of the power supply by 2020—but by the end of 2016 they had already reached 8%. Additionally, India and the Middle East are also seeing renewables rising much faster than mainstream projections,” said Niklas Höhne from NewClimate Institute.

Despite these developments, massive investments into LNG pipelines and terminals continue, even as the utilisation rates of such infrastructure are decreasing.  For example, utilisation rates in US natural gas infrastructure are at 54%, and are even lower in Europe at 25%.

“This overinvestment in natural gas infrastructure is likely to lead to either emissions overshooting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C and 2°C goals—or a large number of stranded assets as the shift to cheaper renewables takes place, “ said Andrzej Ancygier of Climate Analytics.

Foot off the gas: increased reliance on natural gas in the power sector risks an emissions lock-in

Global fossil fuel burn: the total energy consumed from burning fossil fuels each year, 1990-2016. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017. Graphic: Barry Saxifrage

By Barry Saxifrage
13 July 2017

(National Observer) – To address the twin threats of climate change and ocean acidification, nearly every nation has promised to reduce fossil fuel burning.

But so far, humanity keeps burning ever more. Last year we did it again, burning an all-time record amount.

That's according to data compiled from the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy. This annual report is one of the most widely used and referenced around the world. It's big and comprehensive with fifty pages, thirty-three spreadsheets and forty charts. The report highlights most of the important trends in global energy. Most. But one critical trend was nowhere to be found.

Conspicuously absent was the basic statistic on fossil fuels that I, as a climate reporter, was looking for: how much fuel is the world burning each year? Such a simple question, and the answer tells one of the most important stories in the world: are we finally turning the corner on our fossil fuel dependency?

To find that missing story, I needed to download and combine multiple BP data sheets, do the math, and then build my own charts to reveal the trends. Here (drumroll, please) are the "missing charts" and what they have to say to us…

The missing charts: how much carbon-polluting fuel is humanity burning?

I built three charts using the compiled BP fossil fuel data. This first chart shows the total energy consumed from burning fossil fuels each year [above].

As you can see, the amount we burn continues to rise. Last year humanity set another fossil fuel energy record of 11.4 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (Gtoe). A decade ago we were at 10 Gtoe of energy. In 2000, we were at 8 Gtoe.

There is certainly no sign in this chart of a turning point in our relationship to fossil fuels. […]

Fossil oil dependency rockets upwards

Global energy use, 2011-2016. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017. Graphic: Barry Saxifrage

My chart [above] shows the increase in global energy use over the last five years. Renewables are in green and oil is in black.

Notice any turning point?

To make matters worse from a climate perspective, an analysis by ARC Energy Institute shows that the oil-efficiency of the global economy has also been getting significantly worse in recent years. In other words, humanity has reversed course and is now burning more oil per dollar of GDP with each passing year.

They conclude: "Headlines around electric cars and carbon policy suggest our oil dependency is on a slippery downward slope. Recent data from 2016 suggests the opposite: our worldwide addiction is getting stronger."

With no sign yet of a turning point in oil burning, let's look at fossil gas. [more]

These 'missing charts' may change the way you think about fossil fuel addiction

Map of the Larsen C ice shelf, overlaid with NASA MODIS thermal image from 12 July 2017, showing the iceberg A68 has calved. Graphic: Adrian Luckman / Project MIDAS / Swansea University

By Adrian Luckman and Martin O'Leary
19 July 2017

(Project MIDAS) – On July 12 2017, data from the Sentinel-1 satellite confirmed the calving from the Larsen C Ice Shelf of Iceberg A68, a slab of ice 5,800 km in area and weighing more than 1 trillion tonnes. New Sentinel-1 interferometry data from July 18 now shows how the remaining ice shelf is responding to the calving event.

Rifts (dark curving lines in the image), already present before A68 detached, are still in evidence and show where further small icebergs will probably be created. In a further development, a new rift appears to be extending northwards (towards the top left) and may result in further ice shelf area loss. Although this new rift will probably soon turn towards the shelf edge, there may be a risk that it will continue on to Bawden Ice Rise, a crucial point of stabilisation for Larsen C Ice Shelf.

The MIDAS Project will continue to monitor the ongoing impact of these events on the Larsen C ice shelf. Further updates will be available on this blog, and on our Twitter feed.

Larsen C responds to the calving of A68

Annual mean growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide in Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Atmospheric CO2 rose at a record rate in 2015 and 2016. Source: NOAA. Graphic: The New York Times

By Justin Gillis
26 June 2017

CAPE GRIM, Tasmania (The New York Times) – On the best days, the wind howling across this rugged promontory has not touched land for thousands of miles, and the arriving air seems as if it should be the cleanest in the world.

But on a cliff above the sea, inside a low-slung government building, a bank of sophisticated machines sniffs that air day and night, revealing telltale indicators of the way human activity is altering the planet on a major scale.

For more than two years, the monitoring station here, along with its counterparts across the world, has been flashing a warning: The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017. [cf. NOAA’s greenhouse gas index up 40 percent since 1990 – Carbon dioxide increase is accelerating]

Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions.

That raises a conundrum: If the amount of the gas that people are putting out has stopped rising, how can the amount that stays in the air be going up faster than ever? Does it mean the natural sponges that have been absorbing carbon dioxide are now changing?

“To me, it’s a warning,” said Josep G. Canadell, an Australian climate scientist who runs the Global Carbon Project, a collaboration among several countries to monitor emissions trends.

Scientists have spent decades measuring what was happening to all of the carbon dioxide that was produced when people burned coal, oil and natural gas. They established that less than half of the gas was remaining in the atmosphere and warming the planet. The rest was being absorbed by the ocean and the land surface, in roughly equal amounts.

In essence, these natural sponges were doing humanity a huge service by disposing of much of its gaseous waste. But as emissions have risen higher and higher, it has been unclear how much longer the natural sponges will be able to keep up. [more]

Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize

By Joel Clement
19 July 2017

(The Washington Post) – I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.

I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration.

Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,” the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

I am not an accountant — but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up. A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers. Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs.

I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.

On 19 July 2017, the former top climate policy official at the Department of Interior filed a complaint and a whistleblower disclosure form with the Office of Special Counsel. The official, Joel Clement, says the Trump administration is threatening public health and safety by trying to silence scientists like him. Graphic: Adriana Usero / Kate Woodsome / The Washington Post

On Wednesday, I filed two forms — a complaint and a disclosure of information — with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. I filed the disclosure because eliminating my role coordinating federal engagement and leaving my former position empty exacerbate the already significant threat to the health and the safety of certain Alaska Native communities. I filed the complaint because the Trump administration clearly retaliated against me for raising awareness of this danger. Our country values the safety of our citizens, and federal employees who disclose threats to health and safety are protected from reprisal by the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

Removing a civil servant from his area of expertise and putting him in a job where he’s not needed and his experience is not relevant is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Much more distressing, though, is what this charade means for American livelihoods. The Alaska Native villages of Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik are perilously close to melting into the Arctic Ocean. In a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the land upon which citizens’ homes and schools stand is newly vulnerable to storms, floods and waves. As permafrost melts and protective sea ice recedes, these Alaska Native villages are one superstorm from being washed away, displacing hundreds of Americans and potentially costing lives. The members of these communities could soon become refugees in their own country. [more]

I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration.

Plot of extinction intensity (percentage of marine genera that are present in each interval of time but do not exist in the following interval) vs time in the past. Geological periods are annotated (by abbreviation and colour) above. The Permian–Triassic extinction event is the most significant event for marine genera, with just over 50 percent failing to survive. Graphic: Wikimedia Commons

By Peter Brannen
11 July 2017

(The Atlantic) – "Who you with?”

“I’m a science journalist,” I said, jolted from my reverie on the shoulder of I-68 in Maryland, where a crowd of geologists had gathered on a field trip to poke at some rocks revealed by the highway department’s dynamite. The rocks, slate gray and studded with pebbles from a punishing ice age, spoke to a mysterious global die-off at the end of the Devonian period, hundreds of millions of years ago.

“I’m researching a book on mass extinctions,” I said.

“Cool, I work on the end-Permian boundary in Wyoming.”

My ears perked up. He was talking about a line in the rocks that recorded the greatest catastrophe the Earth has endured in its entire history.

“I didn’t really realize there was a—”

“Let’s go out there. Want to go out next week?”

This was my introduction to Jonathan Knapp, a PhD candidate at West Virginia University. The surprisingly bold introductory exchange, I would later learn, was not atypical for Knapp, for whom there are no half measures. A week later I was in his passenger seat on a road trip across the country to Wyoming to see the worst thing that’s ever happened in person: the end-Permian mass extinction.

Imagine you took a random spin in a time machine and ended up in the Permian. Now imagine the time machine breaks down. You slam your fists on the dashboard and a digital red “251.9 MYA” dimly flickers and dies. The view out the cockpit window reveals red sand dunes and little else. From what you remember of your geology training you know that 252 million years ago is just about the worst thing you could possibly read on your display.

You kick the door open and—holy hell is it hot. You scarcely believe your breath. As you reach for the latch to slam it shut you’re startled by a thundering roar coming from the other side of the dunes. Curious, you step out into the primeval landscape. There’s no life, save a wilting weed here or there, where the dunes give way to barren soils, cracked and crusted with salt. The sandblasted husk of some odd creature sprawls across the wastes, its fangs bared.

A sole mayfly buzzes in and out of your sight—its presence in this desolate wilderness is comforting. Scrambling over the red sand, and gasping for air, you follow the distant roar. You notice that, though the sun is out, there’s a funereal gloom to the day. As you crest the dunes you see why. A strange ocean spreads out before you, hosting the largest waves you’ve ever seen. They’re eerily backlit and slosh a sickly purple and green. Through the haze, and over the roiling ocean, a sublime darkness organizes on the horizon. [more]

Burning Fossil Fuels Almost Ended All Life on Earth


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