Major Contributor to Climate Change Wants Help Avoiding Effects of Climate Change

It is impossible to deny, with any credibility, that climate change is a reality. The evidence is overwhelming. Even if we cut out the carbon immediately, we’ll be dealing with the effects of climate change for years to come. You know it’s bad when even oil companies need to shield themselves from the onslaught.

That’s exactly what an oil refinery in Delaware is doing. You see, this refinery is on the water front. A rise in sea levels is a manifestation of climate change that we can see happening. The sea levels rise and business as usual at the refinery is threatened. What’s a good business person to do? You ask Big Daddy Government for some help.

According to Grist, Delaware is a state that has a program that takes federal grant money and funnels it toward projects designed to protect coastal land against storm surges. Now, seeing its business threatened, this oil refinery has the gall to ask taxpayers to shell out money to protect a business that is contributing to the problem in the first place.

In Delaware, severe storms are eroding the shoreline and affecting homes and businesses up and down the coast – including the business of an oil refinery. The functioning of the Delaware City Refining Company property just south of New Castle, a division of PBF Energy, is threatened by increasing extreme weather. In other words, climate disruption is hitting the doorstep of its source.

The refinery has tried to get help, submitting an application with the Coastal Zone Management Act seeking shoreline protections due to “tidal encroachment” — which is one way of saying sea level rise.

“The extent of the shoreline erosion has reached a point where facility infrastructure is at risk,” says the permit application from the company.

Fascinating. If only someone had warned them. It’s just too bad that the refinery’s proposed plan of action won’t actually do anything to stop rising sea levels. The refinery’s wants to mitigate the effects by providing for the natural accretion of sediment and eliminating wave energy that is eroding the shoreline. However, none of that does anything to stop sea level rise. Delaware could see between a half meter and a meter and a half rise by 2100. Oh, and did I mention that the Delaware City Refining Company deals in tar sands oil, which is basically as carbon intensive as you can get.

Without actual efforts to stop the rise in sea level — not just keeping it at bay temporarily — flooding is going to be a problem for basically every place with a shoreline. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the rate of flooding is increasing the quickest around the Mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay, Carolina coasts and south Texas. And we’re not talking about small increases, either.

Among 45 locations that NOAA studied on all coasts and Hawaii, Annapolis, Maryland, had a 925 percent increase in annual flooding rates in a comparison of records for 1957-1963 and 2007-2013, while Baltimore’s frequency rose 922 percent. Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Philadelphia increased by 682 percent and 650 percent.

“As relative sea level increases, it no longer takes a strong storm or a hurricane to cause flooding,” said William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and the report’s lead author. High tides, along with land subsidence and rising water, are enough to push water to flood stages.

“It’s certainly consistent with what we’ve been saying, and how we will experience sea-level rise,” said Susan Love, a lead planner with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

To summarize: Oil refinery refines an incredibly carbon-intensive product, thus exacerbating climate change. Refinery realizes that the effects of climate change are endangering their business and asks for government assistance. But that assistance only patches the problem and doesn’t address the real, long-term problem ahead of us and would allow the industry to keep feeding fossil fuels into our economy. I don’t know what could possibly go wrong.

Image credit: Thinkstock


Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Paul Christensen
Paul Christensen3 years ago

Close it down move it clean up the ground period.Tidal effects in the long term are very powerfull changers of the coastlines or landscapes by themselves.Add to that the possibilities of increased storm activity and possible rising oceans.I for one believe this is happening now but for the sake of avoiding a personal attack of some kind I will use the term possible here.The risks are great by themselves naturally.To leave this plant where it is taking a huge risk.

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago


Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 years ago

Mark D.
What are you talking about? If you have been following my posts, that is what I have been saying. No one believes that the added CO2 will make no difference - well except for s deluded few. There are several here who think melting sea ice will raise sea level - I have been unable to convince them otherwise. The Arctic sea ice has been decreasing at a rate that, if continued, would create ice-free conditions by 2058. By the way, the Arctic was ice-free in the previous interglacial. There is one poster who believes that will happen next year. Yes, Antarctic ice has been increasing for years.

I am the one trying to educate posters in basic physics. Why all the animosity? If you understand this, then we should agree. Your insults would be better saved for the scientifically illiterate posters here, like the previous one, who likes to post inaccuracies, in order to sway others. What fish are dying?

Joseph Glackin
Joseph Glackin3 years ago

Mark D.--

Dan B. is, in the words of the McCarthy era, either a card carrying member or a willing dupe of the Energy Cartels.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

Dan B. There are several complex factors affecting the distribution of sea ice (and it's only Antarctic sea ice which has expanded, the Arctic ice has never been ice free in summers but man made global warming is now accomplishing this) and they are in fact related to the side effects of global climate change. What is significant is NOT SEA ICE but LAND BASED ICE. The melting of west Antarctica's land based ice sheets and Greenland's ice sheets are the factors which raise sea level dramatically. And another little clue which I'm sure you won't mention is glaciers and tundra all over the world that have been frozen for eons are melting rapidly, releasing more CO2 and methane a worse greenhouse gas. The ocean is turning acidic and coral reefs are dying off. Fish migration patterns are changing in the oceans because of man made global warming. Add to that the pollution and factory trawler decimation and you have dying oceans. All of this is reality and basic physics but I'm sure you aren't intelligent enough to recognize either.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

Dan B. believes that adding 20 billion tons of human emitted CO2 to the upper atmosphere yearly which the earth's systems cannot absorb has no effect whatsoever. Even when that 20 billion tons stays up there an average of 100 years and is accumulating. I think Dan B. is either deluded or on drugs.

Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago


Brett Byers
Brett Byers3 years ago

Fight climate change for the cost of a cup of coffee - stop 1000 tons of CO2 emissions by saving acres of rainforest for a few dollars: