On Sunday 5th June 2016, Tavira Em Transição held an event for World Environment Day in Tavira.
It started with a conversation on the importance of the environment to the region and in particular, the issues with the exploration for gas and petrol in the Algarve.
This was followed by music, which attracted more members of the public to stop and listen, to what was being said.
There also was a petition circulating against the proposed exploration in the Aljezur, which is to start shortly. Unfortunately, I left to cycle back to Monte Francisco before the finish. But to me, it seemed the audience was growing all the time.
Lord Browne, was Chief Executive of BP from 1995 to 2007 and during his leadership, health and safety management deteriorated. This led to a number of major incidents at BP‘s plants and ultimately the the March 23, 2005, explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, which killed 15 workers, injured 180 others. He has also been considered, ultimately responsible, for the disaster of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Instead of being held responsible for this tragic accident and others and put on trial. He sits in the unelected House of Lords, even spending time as a member of the UK Governments Cabinet. Pushing the exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels, through the use of slick water, high pressure horizontal fracturing, ‘fracking’ in the UK. This person has been behind the Government’s message that ‘fracking’ will be carried out safely and will not result in any environmental or health issues! Despite the fact, health and safety in the UK, is now down to self-regulation.
Would you trust anything this person says?
It is accepted that, at the best possible estimates, shale gas will supply the UK, for possibly 15 years. And yet, we have Babs Murphy of The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, stating “It is our responsibility to ensure that the economic benefits [of shale gas] will come to local businesses. We owe it to future generations not to let this opportunities pass by”! So they think, for a short-term ‘gain’, future generations should be ‘inconvenienced’ and suffer the environmental consequences?
The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has produced a new report on ‘fracking’ waste water: energy. Stating that the management and disposal of wastewater remains one of the biggest hurdles facing the ‘fracking’ industry. It does mention the possible need of a in some cases a radioactive substances permit will be required, if ‘fracking waste water is re-injected. Has the issue of radioactive waste water been down-played? Because it is classed as NORM, normally occurring radioactive material? We know United Utilities discharged radioactive ‘fracking’ waste water into the Manchester Ship Canal and the EA allowed them to.
And are people aware of the recent Federal Jury judgement: Federal jury awards $4.24 million to dimock families in fracking case
The public inquiry into Cuadrilla’s plans to frack near Blackpool reached its final stages last week with the closing arguments from half the groups involved.
Source: Final arguments as Cuadrilla fracking inquiry draws to a close
Despite the outcome of the IPCC latest report, COP21 and a new socialist government in Portugal. The new Portuguese Prime Minister says gas and oil exploration in the Algarve is to continue! A group of concerned citizens in the Algarve have been campaigning against the oil and gas companies efforts to explore and exploit potential fossil-fuel deposits. The campaign group Algarve Surfers and Maritime Activities Association (ASMAA) has been very active in raising public awareness of the issue.
These licenses are in areas that are environmentally sensitive, especially those off-shore and onshore the Algarve. With parts of the Algarve being designated areas of Natura 2000 sites. Also Algarve is economically dependent on fishing, sea salt, agriculture and tourism. All of which would be adversely affected by oil and gas exploitation, even without any accidents occurring. During off-shore exploration, seismic and sonar activity, have an extremely detrimental impact on marine life.
Our oceans are already being badly affected by pollution, global warming, acidification, overfishing and even excess carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide intoxication was also covered by Portuguese papers: Peixes podem ficar intoxicados em meados deste século. We are already feeling the affects of climate change, with major changes in our weather. JP Sottile, writing for the Truthout magazine puts the argument against further oil and gas exploitation quite well: Mother Nature’s invisible hand strikes back against the carbon economy?
I would call on the new Portuguese Socialist Government to cancel these oil and gas contracts. And to revitalise the last Socialist Governments investment in renewable energy developments and energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency (IEA) once praised Portugal’s efforts to strengthen its energy policy: Portugal 2009 review. Though I would not agree with all the IEA’s recommendations, especially with regard to privatisation.
Unfortunately, Portugal, like the UK, is still pursuing a fossil fuel future, despite agreeing to the COP21 Paris agreement. The Portuguese government has even granted oil and gas producers licenses to drill, onshore and offshore the Algarve. Even though the area is part of Natura2000, is dependent of fishing, agriculture and tourism. Even with a (so-called) Socialist coalition government, it looks like drilling will go ahead. Instead of investing in energy efficiency and renewables! Though there are groups such as the Algarve Surfers and Marine Activities Association (ASMAA), fighting these proposals.
The techno-narcissism of predatory neoliberal capitalism is locked into an endless war with the bastard monster of its own creation – Islamic State
Source: Terror, climate chaos, financial crisis are the costs of ‘doing business’
I have just seen an article about an incident, which could have been the North Seas’ Deepwater Horizon, but for favourable winds. The article in the Guardian does mention petroleum condensate causing damage to marine life: Total fined 1m North Sea gas leak. But the official press release from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) does not mention any environmental impacts of the release: Total ep UK ltd., received record fine following largest ever North Sea gas release. There was another incident reported earlier this year: Shell fined. This is how the incident was reported in the Guardian, which includes other failures by Shell: Shell North Sea oil leak. Another major incident in a mature oil and gas field, by a major oil and gas company. There a numerous incidents that occur in the oil & gas fields, that the public never hear about: HSE offshore statistics. So how can any politician allow oil and gas production in environmentally sensitive areas or even unconventional sources, with a clear concisions?