Alaska Ecological Disaster

"To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season." NYTimes, June 2002

  1. "it means high water eating away so many houses and buildings that people will vote next month on moving the entire village inland ....
  2. "it means coping with mosquitoes in a place where they once were nonexistent ....
  3. "it means living with hydraulic jacks to keep houses from slouching and buckling on foundations that used to be frozen all year. Permafrost, they say, is no longer permanent.
  4. "it means living in a four-million-acre spruce forest that has been killed by beetles, the largest loss of trees to insects ever recorded in North America,"

Is it a mere coincidence that the largest oil field in North America came on line 30 years ago and in the last 30 years Alaska has suffered the largest temperature rise in the world?  No. Consider the following daily flaring of CO2 from only one pool of oil in Prudhoe Bay, the Lisbourne Pool, One Billion cubic feet. Figures could not be found for the other fields For comparison, Saudi Arabia reports releasing 4BCF. At the height of the Dustbowl of the1930's, "One historian estimated that in 1934 approximately a billion cubic feet [author's emphasis] of unassociated gas was stripped and released or flared daily in the Texas Panhandle alone." Methane

The flaring does not include the CO2 released from the largest density of gas turbines (98 in 1988) in the world that produce electricity to power oil pipeline flow and infrastructure.While having relatively few people, Prudhoe Bay produces more pollution than Washington, DC (ibid.).

Since the 1970's, Prudhoe Bay can be compared to Alaskans winning a lottery without buying a ticket. "It is Prudhoe oil that shows up in the Christmas stockings of every Alaskan, in the guise of a $2,000 royalty check."  Source However, Alaska will end up like the first U.S. lottery winner who retired from work for 20 years only to find himself bagging groceries because in his late fifties he had no job skills, job history or retirement funds. As the first lottery winner bit the dust, so has and will Alaskans bite more dust each year under the dessicating Prudhoe plumes of CO2.

"Black smoke pours from oil production facility at Prudhoe Bay." Photo Pamela A. Miller

For many years, Alaskans thought they were benefitting from the Oil Pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. The dessicating effect and local warming of the CO2 plume associated with the Alaskan Oil make the tax rebates an environmental trojan horse. Oil was pumped. Gas was flared.

The Bushitters plan to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve will achieve the Texan joke of making Texas the biggest state again by melting all the ice in Alaska. You can reduce the environmental footprint of oil rigs to the size of a cyanide pill but the effect of CO2 will be the same.

Prudhoe Bay is a lesson for all other national and state economies that want to be driven by energy development. The energy picture is part of the existential meltdown of civilization, exploding problems  with fewer solutions.

As the East African drought disappeared for the duration of the OPEC embargo in the early 1970's, so would the Alaskan Ecological Disaster disappear if they close down Prudhoe Bay or the Alaskan Oil Pipeline. Choice is simple: Water or Death.

Given the independent spirit of many who moved to Alaska to get away from it all, for one way or another, the pipeline's days are numbered like Ocensa. As global warming worsens, all pipelines will be targets of eco-survivalists. The idea that Alaskans will let non-Alaskans rape their environment is far-fetched. Already looks like an abandoned railroad track. 

On behalf of the American people who have no local oil reserves and who live grossly beyond our means as a nation and as individuals (driving huge SUV and Abrams tanks on borrowed money), I want to thank you for the gracious manner in which you are accepting the destruction of your environment and lifestyle as well as mental impairments for rapid rises in local CO2 levels.

Most people won't thank you for being our slaves because of the lack intelligence and integrity. But I want to be the first to thank you. Like oil from Prudhoe Bay and child tax credits, you will support the politicians' promise of "Peace in our time" despite the fact that you wasted the Prudhoe oil royalties on things you didn't need. Thanks for giving me a higher standard of living than I deserve by lowering your standard of living.

  1. 021205 "Powell Pledges More Support For Colombia's Anti-Rebel War"
  2. 021206 "Warm weather melts snow-based profits"
  3. 021206 "While East Coast shivers, Alaska thaws"--All over Alaska, people are asking the same question: "Where's our winter?"
  4. 030211 "Mushers in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have been notified by e-mail that the race restart will be moved north to Fairbanks or Nenana, due to rapidly deteriorating trail conditions in Southcentral Alaska .... warm weather and rain have turned miles of snowpacked trail to bare ground. Creeks and rivers that are usually frozen have spans of deep, open water.
  5. 030416 "Fire season began Tuesday — two weeks earlier than normal — in southcentral Alaska."
  6. 040123 "U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed off on a plan Thursday for opening most of an 8.8 million-acre swath of Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas development."
  7. 040113 "Oil-prospecting convoys in search of new deposits are allowed to crisscross the fragile tundra only when it is snowy and solid. But over three decades, rising temperatures have cut this frozen season in half, to 100 days from 200."
  8. 040701 "Dozens of Alaskans flee wildfire" ... "There were 60 active fires in Alaska on Wednesday, 13 of which were staffed. The rest were being monitored. So far this year, fires have burned 977,902 acres."
  9. 040721 "Alaskan wildfires have far-reaching effects .... The National Weather Service said Tuesday that the smog — smoke from Alaska wildfires — was moving out of the state" Image

Quality Control Tools for Higher iCube ... Frog Leaping.
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 > #8 040113 040113 Perma Thaw Oil Exploration040113 N Y T
 > #9 040701 040701 112 Acre Wild Fire Fairbanks A K040701 U S Atoday
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