quinta-feira, 21 de novembro de 2013

A última rave da Humanidade: shale gas and oil

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O mito do problema único de energia foi discutido em seus livro pelo Nicholas Georgescu Roegen, mas ele se materializou diante de mim quando Sir Nicholas Stern deu ao vivo e a cores a seguinte reposta à pergunta que fiz sobre o mito do crescimento:  “Hugo, se acharmos uma fonte infinita e limpa de energia, o crescimento da economia pode ser eterno, não há mais limites.”

É como se a energia não fosse usada para movimentar, transformar, mudar, alterar, usar matéria, como se matéria e energia não se combinassem o tempo todo ou como os físicos dizem, tudo à nossa volta é matéria e energia e para ter mais dois dois, precisamos mais dos dois.

Quando lemos a crítica de Roegen sobre o mito do problema único de energia e a forma como o problema principal é de matéria, parecia exagerado, porque qualquer criança de cinco anos conseguiria entendê-lo.  É um mistério que só as crianças entendam isso não, o poder político-econômico corrupto mancomunado não.  Outras visões científicas mostram que a Terra não nos oferece problema como fornecedor de recursos e que é um ledo engano achar que vamos ficar sem os recursos palpáveis como petróleo, gás, ferro, etc se sequer exploramos 5% da nossa crosta. O problema que o planeta nos oferece é como absorvedor do impacto das nossas atividades e ao mesmo tempo manter os mecanismos de sustentação da vida na Terra, a regeneração bioquímica da água, do ar e do solo.

Se o ser humano é parte da vida una planetária, teremos um problema muito sério no prazo de 10-20 anos, mas se formos deuses não. Nós nos comportamos como se fôssemos deuses. Deuses inconscientes de todo o resto, e cruéis.  Deuses não, demônios.

O mito do problema único de energia virou o mito da energia limpa para resolver o mito do problema único do aquecimento global e por aí vai. A Terra não é ilimitada, mas a nossa capacidade de geraçaõ de mitos sim. A nossa vontade de mudar é mais finita que a Terra, portanto, somos muito mais finitos que a Terra, na verdade, a filosofia do nunca morri é nosso maior mal, essa espécie que com tanta informação poderia mudar seu destino, faz o contrário.  Eu escrevo esse email agora, isso significa que não morri até agora. Significa que nunca morrerei?  A Terra nunca expulsou a espécie humana nos últimos segundos de sua vida que aqui chegamos.  Isso significa que nunca o fará?


Botswana: Fracking the Kalahari

     Nov. 19, 2013 (All Africa Global Media) -- While a fierce debate rages about fracking in South Africa and elsewhere, the Botswana government has been silently pushing ahead with plans to produce natural gas, keeping the country in the dark as it grants concessions over vast tracts of land, including half of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve - the ancestral home of the San.
     A new documentary film - the High Cost of Cheap Gas - has uncovered incontrovertible evidence that drilling and fracking are underway in Botswana and that international companies are planning massive gas operations in the future. But there has been little attempt to inform the public, despite growing international concerns about the harmful effects of natural gas production.
     "The people of Botswana have the right to know about developments on this scale and to be given the chance to publicly debate their pros and cons and then decide whether natural gas production is in their best interest," said Jeffrey Barbee, Director of the film, which was funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
     For more than a decade, the authorities in Botswana - routinely referred to as one of Africa's best governed states - have been quietly granting licences to international companies.
     South Africa's SASOL, Australian-based Tamboran Resources, Anglo American, Tlou Energy, Kalahari Energy, Exxaro and many more are drilling for Coal Bed Methane (CBM) without any public debate about the industry, particularly the serious threats these large scale developments pose to the environment and communities.
     While activists have been campaigning against the extraction of shale gas and coal bed methane for years, the film documents alarming new evidence from the United States, exposing the damage these industries can inflict on human and animal health, and the environment.
     Structural problems with the entire production process mean that 'unconventional' natural gas like this can end up being 'dirtier' than coal - contributing even more to greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change.
     For a water scarce country like Botswana gas extraction - whether through fracking or simple drilling - poses another worrying threat: Coal Bed Methane extraction requires vast amounts of water to be pumped out of the ground, which can significantly lower the water table. In some parts of America, where this process was pioneered, water tables have dropped by as much as 30 meters.
     "Lowering the water table in parts of rural Botswana could mean the difference between a community having access to water one day and not the next," said the film's director, Jeffrey Barbee.
     "It might be in Botswana's best interests to allow fracking but only if all the potential impacts based on the latest science - not just the promises of gas companies - are openly debated and if the regulations are tough enough and are rigorously enforced long after drilling has stopped."
     However, if America is anything to go by, the natural gas industry is adept at undermining, bypassing or riding roughshod over government regulations and regulators.
     Astonishingly, fracking companies in the USA are not bound by the Clean Air Act, the Community Right to Know Act or the Clean Water Act.
     And despite Botswana government claims to the contrary, a senior official at SASOL, which is planning thousands of gas wells in Botswana, says in the film that they were not required to produce an environmental management plan.
     Apparently, SASOL did produce one anyway since it is international best practice, but other companies might be more willing to exploit this inexplicable weakness in the regulations.
     In particular, there are fears that the hard won right of the San to live on, and access water from, their ancestral land will be threatened by the coal bed methane concessions in and around the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
     Indeed, according to the film, drilling is already taking place within the confines of the world famous reserve.
     Elsewhere in the country, the unfenced buffer zones on the borders of other bio-diversity rich - and economically important
- national parks, like Chobe and Kgalagadi, are already being drilled.
     In fact, it appears that the government has also granted some concessions within Chobe National Park. This endangers not only the local communities but also the largest herd of migrating elephants left in the world.
     The gas industry promises jobs and economic development but evidence from the USA shows that the few local jobs are created and that riches usually do not trickle down to the local communities, who have to live with the extraction.
     "It is time for the Botswana government to come clean about natural gas operations in the country and to encourage an open and genuine debate so that the population can decide what is best for them and their country - not just an elite few", said Barbee.
     "Instead the authorities keep everyone in the dark, particularly the San, who now face another grave threat to their future from Botswana's secretive dash for gas."
     Botswana mineral concession map of energy minerals for September 2012
     Overview of High Cost of Cheap Gas film
     High Cost of Cheap Gas photo gallery
     Botswana accused of sacrificing Kalahari

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