90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
On Point Live!

Once a year, On Point Live comes to Boston.  It’s a little wild: the crew, the cues, the energy.

This year, our special guest is environmental hero Bill McKibben – from the thick of the Keystone Pipeline, fracking, climate change battlefield.  We’ll also have musical guest Martin Sexton.  And our own Jack Beatty in the house. A crackling show and time to talk and mingle with you!

Join us for On Point Live at the Paramount Center June 14, 2012.

Get your tickets here.

Tom Ashbrook and On Point news analyst Jack Beatty on stage for On Point Live at the Paramount Theatre.

Tom Ashbrook and On Point news analyst Jack Beatty on stage for On Point Live at the Paramount Theatre, 2011.



Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Dr. Darrell D. Davisson

    With regard to the Keystone pipeline, I do not recall having seen one mention of what is intended for the tar-sands after they have been processed. The obvious answer is that they will be dumped, residue oils and all, into the Gulf already in acute recovery. Any information would be appreciated, as the answer would appear to be a great argument against the whole idea.
    Dr. DDDavisson

    • Richard

      The tar sand will be processed and turned into syncrude in Alberta where they are mined.  The waste will end up near the source in Alberta.  What’s piped will all get used as energy or product.

      • John How

        Primary processing will in fact occur in Alberta, with the lucky contestants living downstream all the way to the Arctic Ocean enjoying the leachate from the leaky settling ponds.  What will be shipped South will be a mixture of bitumen and a dilutant, such as leaked into the Kalamazoo river last year.  (That one, I believe, is still in the “cleanup” stage).  What Texas does with the toxic by-products of processing the bitumen is up to the EPA.  

  • TyroneJ

    I’d like to hear Mr. McKibben’s thoughts on James Lovelock (creator of the Gaia hypothesis) description that he had previously been “alarmist” about the timing of climate change. I’d also like to hear Mr. McKibben’s thoughts on Peter Kareiva’s (Chief Scientist for the Nature Conservancy) recent article “Conservation in the Anthropocene”.

  • Pointpanic

    Not to quibble but I hate the reference to Bill McKibben as an environmental “hero”. Hero mythology is the stuff of comic books and ancient lore, where the”hero” slays the dragon . McKibben,unlike a hero, is calling us to action. He knows that we must solve our problems as citizens of a democracy, rather than wait for the knight on the white horse to come to the rescue. Sp please stop throwing the word “hero” around and let’s have an honest critical discussion about the serious threat of climate change.

    • vandemeer

       whatever… going against the “drill baby, drill” folks and big oil can make one a hero.

  • vandemeer

    Tom and Bill, What do you make of Fareed Zakaria’s remarks this past Sunday on his show GPS?
    ZAKARIA:” Now for our “What in the World” segment.

    year, the world’s energy watchdog published a report which asked an
    important question. “Are we entering a golden age of gas?” So I was
    struck when I saw the International Energy Agency’s 2012 report. Gone is
    the question mark.

    Instead it simply says, “Golden rules
    for a golden age of gas.” And the starting point of that golden age is
    right here in America. It’s become increasingly clear that the shale gas
    revolution is a game-changer not just for the energy industry, not just
    for the U.S., but for geopolitics.

    The technology behind
    shale gas production, where shale rock is blasted with a mixture of
    water, sand, and chemicals, is only two decades old. The process is
    called fracking.

    And in a short time, its success has led
    to the drilling of 20,000 wells in America, the creation of hundreds of
    thousands of jobs, and a guaranteed supply of gas for perhaps 100 years.

    The International Energy Agency says global gas
    production will rise 50 percent by the year 2035. Two-thirds of that
    growth will come from unconventional sources like shale, a market the
    United Sates completely dominates.

    We’ve become the world’s
    lowest-cost producer of natural gas at a cost of $2 per thousand cubic
    feet. Compare that with many European countries which have to pay seven
    times as much to Russia.

    It’s increasingly possible to use
    liquefied natural gas as a substitute for oil as a transportation fuel,
    so the effects go beyond generating electricity. General Motors, for
    example, is planning to produce cars that can take natural gas or oil in
    their fuel tanks.

    Aside from the advantages to America,
    shale gas has the potential to change the geopolitics of energy. So
    far, gas has been supplied by a handful of regimes, Russia, Iran,
    Venezuela, many of them nasty and illegitimate, thriving on global
    instability, which actually helps their bottom line since instability
    equals higher oil and gas prices.

    In the next 20 years,
    however, much of this new energy could come from stable, democratic
    countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Poland, France and
    Israel. That would be good for the free world, bad for the rogues and
    good for global stability.

    China has huge shale reserves
    and, even though it is not democratic, it is a country that seeks
    stability, not instability. One problem, there’s a significant lobby
    against shale gas and the way it’s produced. Fracking consumes a lot of

    Shale production also creates large quantities of
    methane, a greenhouse gas. Sometimes methane pours out of faucets in
    areas near shale gas production centers. Look at this video. Critics
    also claim fracking can trigger minor earthquakes. So what do we do?
    The good news is that these risks are manageable as the IEA’s new report
    points out and it has a list of golden rules to follow, from safety
    measures to reducing emissions to engaging with local communities. The
    IEA estimates these measures would add just seven percent to the cost of
    the average shale gas well. Many of the riskiest practices are
    actually employed by a small number of the lowest cost producers, so
    it’s a situation that calls for sensible regulation. Read the IEA’s
    report, we’ve put a link to it on our Website. Let’s figure out how to
    make fracking cleaner and safer. We can regulate the process with good,
    simple rules. The benefits are immense and the problems are

  • Peter

    Half-way through your weekly program you play a marvelous piece of music–violin rendition of Ain’t Misbehavin’.  Who is the player?

  • Jeremy McMullen

    On energy…Do the Republicans realize that Oil and gas is a commodity and that it goes on the open market and that it take s about 10 years to the point of car ready fuel? What about the fact that we the tax payers are paying billions in subsidies for oil companies? The only way this energy plan will work is for the US to nationalize our oil and gas production. Will the republicans do this?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ren.knopf.9 Ren Knopf

    Thank you. Thank you for making the point that it is up to voters to make their disatisfaction known not in polling, but by unelecting those who impede the measures this country needs. Ren Knopf

Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

More »
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
Our Week In The Web: August 15, 2014
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

More »