Sierra Club - Michigan Chapter - Three Lakes Group
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Spring Programs 2019

We are working on scheduling our Spring programs for this year, once scheduled the details will be listed under the Upcoming Events tab to the right, and on our Facebook page. Stay tuned!

UPEC's Celebrate the UP 2019

UPEC is hosting the 2019 Celebrate the UP! March 29/30 in Marquette, see the link below for more detail.

The World Oil Supply is Infinite: I Know That Because I Believe It
~ Roger Blanchard

Earth scientists have been making the case for years that the present level of human activity is not sustainable. We’re rapidly depleting resources, degrading ecosystems, altering the atmosphere, etc. What earth scientists are saying is generally not covered by the mainstream media, or is sugar coated, because the mainstream media is an outlet for the corporate perspective on the world.

Celebrate the UP! 2018

You are invited to join us in a celebration! On Friday and Saturday, March 23rd - 24th 2018 UPEC's Celebrate the UP 2018 is being held at the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center on the Houghton waterfront.

In order to create a greater appreciation of our environment and heritage across the UP, UPEC, along with the The Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) and Friends of the Land of Keweenaw (FOLK) are co-sponsoring the 2018 Celebrate the UP! There will be informational programs related to Lake Superior, …. This event is free to the public, and includes an outdoor outing to enjoy the Michigan Tech world class trails with skis, snowshoes or fat bikes! (trail pass of $10 needed, bring your own equipment; ski and snowshoe rental available for another $10) UPEC Celebrate Site

Celebrate the UP! Sault Sainte Marie

You are invited to join us in a celebration! On Saturday, September 16th, we are having a celebration on LSSU's campus. This event, Celebrate the UP!, is co-sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and by the Three Lakes Group of the Sierra Club, and is free and open to the the public. Starting at 9 a.m. and going until 4 p.m., there is a series of informational programs throughout the day, and optional activities following, with lunch available for purchase through the LSSU Quarterdeck Cafeteria. If you are interested, please go to our information site and register for this event (this will help us with planning).

Article: Unusually Thin And Fractured Arctic Ice Hints At Yet Another Record Melt
~ Dominique Mosbergen

Could we even be facing an ice-free Arctic summer?

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) hadn’ t updated its near-real time daily chart of Arctic sea ice levels in more than a month. A satel lite that monitors the ice malfunctioned, forcing the center to suspend the service.

Article: Global 2040 Forecast Sees Only Slight Fall in Fossil Fuels
~ Bobby Magill

Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions.

Report: Eagle Ford Shale Has Peaked...

A new report published by the Post Carbon Institute concludes that Texas' Eagle Ford Shale basin, the most prolific shale oil basin in the U.S., has peaked and may have reached terminal decline status. The Post Carbon report dropped just as Congress is on the verge of lifting the oil export ban for U.S.-produced crude oil, which will only further incentivize drilling and fracking.

Climate Change 2015 - A Poem
~ Annemarie Askwith

The U.S. Production Decline Has Begun
~ Arthur E. Berman

Photo Credit: Shutterstock The U.S. oil production decline has begun. It is not because of decreased rig count. It is because cash flow at current oil prices is too low to complete most wells being drilled. The implications are profound. Production will decline by several hundred thousand of barrels per day before the effect of reduced rig count is fully seen. Unless oil prices rebound above $75 or $85 per barrel, the rig count won’t matter because there will not be enough money to complete more wells than are being completed today.

“Motherfrackers” and Big Oil Hypesters
~ Deborah Lawrence

Photo Credit: Shutterstock Forbe’s contributor Christopher Helman has always been an unapologetic supporter of shales. For instance, only last September he wrote a piece entitled “America’s Energy Outlook is Fracking Great, For Now”. Never mind that oil prices had begun their downward spiral three months prior to this statement. Never mind that every shale gas play in the US with the exception of the Marcellus had already tipped into decline. And never mind that reserve estimates had been repeatedly downgraded culminating with the colossal downgrade of the Monterey shale in California by 96% by EIA. You bet…fracking great!

Renewable Energy: Is That Where Salvation Lies?
~ Roger Blanchard

Photo Credit: Shutterstock NA number of prominent American environmentalists, as well as individuals not necessarily noted as environmentalists, have stated that the best way to avoid catastrophic global warming is to switch, as quickly as possible, from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. The list of noted individuals seeing salvation in renewable energy includes Bill McKibbon (, Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Paul Krugman (economist), and Joe Romm (Climate Progress).

According to Paul Krugman, not only can renewable energy sources replace fossil fuels, presumably totally, but they can do it cheaply, rapidly and with economic advantages to those countries that move in that direction. Michael Brune has written that the U.S. can be essentially free of fossil fuels by 2030, 15 years from now. Easy, cheap and fast - that’s what I call optimism.

Joe Romm: Rate Of Climate Change To Soar By 2020s, With Arctic Warming 1°F Per Decade

Photo Credit: Shutterstock New research from a major national lab projects that the rate of climate change, which has risen sharply in recent decades, will soar by the 2020s. This worrisome projection — which has implications for extreme weather, sea level rise, and permafrost melt — is consistent with several recent studies. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” finds that by 2020, human-caused warming will move the Earth’s climate system “into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years.”

The warming rate in the central case hits a stunning 1°F per decade — Arctic warming would presumably be at least 2°F per decade. And this goes on for decades.

No rational civilization would ever risk anything like that happening. Nor would they even risk the “moderate” warming of the RCP4.5 case. So let’s not!

Richard Muller: I Was wrong on Climate Change

Richard Muller, Physics Professor a the University of California, Berkeley and a Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, became the darling of the climate denial community a few years ago when he made a number of statements questioning the integrity of climate scientists and science. Since then, his own studies have (re)confirmed the rise in global temperature, and the cause, - human generated carbon dioxide.

Watch the following interview video of Richard Muller: Climate Sceptic Richard Muller Admits Global Warming is Real and Humans are the Cause

Comparison Pictures of Receding Glaciers
~ Roger Blanchard

In the photo to the left, the west shoreline of Muir Inlet in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is shown as it appeared in 1895. Notice the lack of vegetation on the slopes of the mountains, and the glacier that stands more than 300 feet high. See the glacier as it looked in 2005 on the next page. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)

In the photo to the right, the west shoreline of Muir Inlet in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is shown as it appeared in 2005. Over the century since the first photo was taken, Muir Glacier ceased to have a tidewater terminus. Note the lack of floating ice and the abundant vegetation on many slopes. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)

The Status of U.S. Oil and Gas Production (Spring 2014)
~ Roger Blanchard

I find it interesting that many of the individuals expressing the greatest concerns about oil and natural gas supplies are petroleum geologists. The list includes, but is not limited to, Jean LaHerrere, Colin Campbell, Art Berman, Jeremy Leggett, David Hughes and Jeffrey Brown. Prominent entities expressing the view that there is no problem with oil and gas supplies include media sources, politicians and bureaucrats in organizations like the U.S. Department of Energy. Is it more reasonable to expect experts in petroleum geology to give an honest assessment of petroleum resources or politicians, bureaucrats and media sources who stand to benefit from optimistic pronouncements?

Based upon numerous media reports and statements by politicians you may have the impression that life couldn’t be any better for the U.S. oil and gas industry. Production is booming and oil and gas companies are rolling in dough. Fracking has made natural gas very cheap and will soon make oil cheap. Could it be that those reports and statements are not telling the whole story? The petroleum geologists listed above, as well as numerous recent reports that can be found on the Internet, tell a very different story.

Analysis of Well Completion Data for Bakken Oil Wells
~ Roger Blanchard

The following analysis uses “well completion information” contained in a newspaper called the Bakken Weekly, a paper covering western North Dakota. The Bakken Weekly started providing well completion information for North Dakota counties in the Bakken region in early 2012.

The well completion information in the Bakken Weekly includes initial production data for approximately 50% of wells. I suspect that many wells don’t have initial production data because there was little or no initial production, although that is generally not stated. There are a few cases where either 0 b/d is given or it is stated that the well was dry, but that is rare.

A fact that suggests that many of the completed wells don’t produce oil is that the sums of well completions in the Bakken Weekly increases significantly more rapidly than the number of producing wells provided by the state of North Dakota. In this analysis, I will assume that initial production was 0 b/d for wells in which initial well production data was not included.

Intensity of Weather Events
~ Roger Blanchard

Sault Ste. Marie had an interesting weather year. The city set the yearly precipitation record, measured as liquid precipitation, in 2013 at ~48.78 inches. The previous record was 45.84 inches in 1995.

Below are some daily rainfall records of 2013:
June 21 – 1.43 inches, July 26 – 2.23 inches, August 26 – 1.26 inches,
September 6 – 1.49 inches, September 9 – 2.56 inches, October 31 – 1.31 inches, November 17 – 2.54 inches

After the Haiyan Typhoon, I read that 6 of the 8 most powerful tropical storms on record had occurred from 1998 to the present. That didn’t surprise me at all. In order for a Category 5 storm to maintain itself, the water column under the storm has to have a relatively high temperature at considerable depth. I’ve read that the ocean water under Haiyan was 79oF at 100 meters. The reason warm water at depth is necessary is because an intense tropical storm churns up the water extensively. If the water is cold below the surface, the cooler water, when brought to the surface, will reduce the intensity of the storm.

Climatologist Kevin Trenbreth and others have documented that precipitation events are becoming more intense. That’s to be expected in a warming world because as water warms, the rate of evaporation increases. As air warms, it can hold more water vapor. Combining the two, the result is more intense precipitation events.

Oil & Water Don’t Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes

Part of the Kalamazoo River was ruined when a million gallons of poisonous tar sands oil spilled from a poorly maintained pipeline, owned and operated by Enbridge Energy. Enbridge, the company responsible for more than 800 oil spills since 1999, has also been pumping oil through two 60-year-old pipes that run through the Straits of Mackinac. Now the company plans to increase their capacity drastically, pumping even more oil through the Straits – including the toxic and corrosive tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada.

Join with Great Lakes neighbors in the shadow of the Mackinac Bridge to tell Enbridge we will not allow tar sands oil to spill into our freshwater seas!

What: Oil & Water Don’t Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes

Where: Bridge View Park, north of the Mackinac Bridge, Boulevard Drive, St. Ignace, Michigan

When: Sunday, July 14, 2013, Noon – Rain or Shine!

Who: Speakers include Bill McKibben, Beth Wallace (NWF), and others. Music by top Michigan artists Seth & May, Lake Effect, and many more!

For more information go to:

Texas and Eagle Ford: Where the Action Is

An article by Roger Blanchard
A lot has been made in the media about how rapidly oil production is increasing in North Dakota due to development of tight oil in the Bakken Shale region of the state. Less has been made of the rapidly increasing oil production in Texas.
According to United States Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration (US DOE/EIA) data, oil production is rising faster in Texas than it is in North Dakota: a 523,000 b/d increase for Texas versus a 243,000 b/d increase for North Dakota in 2012, relative to 2011, based upon US DOE/EIA data as of 2/28/13.
In Texas, most of the recent oil production increase has come from a shale formation called Eagle Ford. Figure 1 is a diagram showing where Eagle Ford is located within Texas.

Click the link to the right to read the full article