Arctic Oil Drilling: Good News for Environmentalists

Arctic drillingIn this May 16 photo, activists opposed to Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the “Paddle in Seattle” protest.

Environmentalists who battled Arctic oil drilling by paddling kayaks, dangling from bridges and climbing onto rigs at sea have claimed a high-profile success against Shell and aim to funnel the resulting enthusiasm into other fights against fossil fuels.

Shell is abandoning its long crusade to find crude in the waters north of Alaska after disappointing results at a critical test well in the Chukchi Sea. While the company cited financial reasons for the pullout last week, the move nonetheless has emboldened environmental activists to fight against everything from Atlantic drilling to oil exports to additional activity in the Arctic.

“This is a victory that becomes a springboard for a lot of potential change,” said Franz Matzner, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Beyond Oil Initiative. “It is an encouraging sign to everyone who is concerned about the drilling, transporting and burning of fossil fuels that are putting our communities and climate at risk.”

A Tough Interview with David Cameron on Doing Business with Saudi Arabia

Cameron interviewSource: The Independent, October 7

David Cameron has repeatedly refused to explain why the British government agreed to a “squalid” deal with Saudi Arabia, as the country prepares to behead and crucify a teenager for engaging in pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring.

In an excruciating interview with Channel 4’s Jon Snow, the Prime Minister floundered for a response when questioned on the recently exposed secret deal with the Saudis to allow both nations’ election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2013.

“This sounds a bit squalid for one of the most human-rights-abusing regimes on earth,” Mr Snow comments. The PM claimed he would attempt to personally raise the case of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, a 17-year-old teenager arrested when he was 14 who faces the death penalty, but only if there was an “opportunity” with Saudi authorities. “We oppose the death penalty anywhere and everywhere in all our international contacts,” Mr Cameron added.

Asked three times by Mr Snow why – if Mr Cameron “completely disagreed” with the repressive state over their “punishment routines” as he claimed earlier – the UK had agreed to the deal with the Saudi government the PM claimed: “Well, I’ve answered the question.”

“Well, that isn’t an answer is it? I mean we have done a horrid deal,” Mr Snow responds.

Finally, the Conservative leader claimed it was because the British government has “a relationship with Saudi Arabia.”