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They Know But Won't Admit: How Oil and Gas Companies are Adapting to Climate Change

While their public comments deny the very existence of climate change, oil and gas companies are secretly adapting for its inevitable impacts.


In one of most ironic flip-flops in environmental history, the oil and gas industry is beginning to adapt to climate change. And it's no wonder. The majority of industry's infrastructure is located in some of the most climate vulnerable regions on the planet. Nearly 75 percent of the Alaskan pipeline, for example, is built over increasingly unstable permafrost, which is now thawing under warmer temperatures. The Mackenzie Valley in Canada alone has recorded over 2,000 sink holes, rock slides, and large depressions from thawing permafrost.

The pipeline's famous elevated design was the result of a 20 year study (PDF) on the stability of climate and permafrost from 1950 to 1970. Based on the historic record, engineers designed the supports for the pipeline to withstand some fluctuation in permafrost, but not for the extensive melts now predicted. Indeed, that 20 year study was the one of the coldest periods in Alaskan history. Whoops. Now the supports for the Alaskan pipeline have to be upgraded for a changing climate, and, since the physical lines are heavily subsidized by federal and state governments, it is unclear who will pay.

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Obama's "Secret" Climate Adaptation Plan

Whether he'll talk about climate change publicly or not, the President is preparing all federal agencies for its inevitable impacts.

On March 4th, in a move surely designed to side-step Congress, Obama's Council on Environmental Quality issued instructions to all federal agencies on how to adapt to climate change. All agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Defense, will be required to analyze their vulnerabilities to the impacts from climate change and come up with a plan to adapt. Thousands of governmental employees will be trained on climate science, like it or not.

The changes aren't limited to just federal agencies. Countless numbers of private businesses that sell, build, provide logistics or maintenance, or anything else to the government will be forced to comply with new Federal climate adaptation guidelines—all because of Presidential Executive Order 13514.

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See This Earthquake Ravaged Japanese Highway Rebuilt in Three Days Earthquake Ravaged Japanese Highway Rebuilt in Three Short Days

Check out these amazing photos of a totally devastated stretch of Japanese highway that was rebuilt in three short days.


These two photos show the same stretch of road—the Great Kanto branch—three days apart. By March 16th, just three days after the earthquake tore it apart, the road was rebuilt to the condition seen in the photo.

Here's the press release (run through Google Translate) from Nexco East, the company that runs that stretch of regional highway. I'm sure there's more of a point to be made about such a stunning display of resiliency, or as Michael Cote described it, the "diligent efficiency" of the response. About whether it would be possible if the government alone—and not a private company—would be able to work so quickly and efficiently. About whether anything like this would ever be possible in the United States. (Doubtful.) But for now, it's just an amazing thing to see.

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