Friday Linkage 7/23/2021

Should I turn off the news?  I am beginning to wonder if my desire to be informed about the world is just leading me down depressing rabbit holes.

It is one thing to understand that the world seems to be burning all around us.  It is quite another to spend an hour reading article upon article about the same topic as if just reading articles will make things better.

On to the links…

It’s Not a Border Crisis. It’s a Climate Crisis.—Get ready, the climate refugees are coming.

Here’s What Climate Scientists Are Really Saying About This Catastrophic Summer—Nothing good and we are not prepared for what is coming in the near future.

Climate Change is Making Poison Ivy Stronger and Itchier—Well, this just sucks.

‘Reckless’: G20 States Subsidised Fossil Fuels by $3tn since 2015, says report—The transition to a renewable energy future will only be delayed by the action of our politicians.

Five Reasons Why Electric Buses are Key to Biden’s Green Agenda—Buses and garbage trucks should be the first vehicles to go electric.  Predictable routes, slow average driving speed, lots of stopping and starting, fleet management, stationary for long periods during the day…the list goes on and on.

NYC Buying 7 Electric Garbage Trucks—Seven EV garbage trucks is good news.  However, this is a fleet with more than 6,000 garbage trucks so 7 is a drop in the bucket.

How We Can Stop Missing the Boat on Big Trucks—Just remember, big trucks—those heavy duty commercial vehicles—represent just 4% of the total fleet yet account for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions and a whopping 60% of NOx emissions.

GM Scales Up EV Fleet Support Infrastructure—These are those boring but important changes that will enable fleet managers to supplant ICE vehicles with EVs.

Study Suggests EVs Really are Cleaner than Gas-Powered Cars Over their Lifespan—Not really surprised.

How Nature has Taken over Chernobyl—Nature can heal even after we really mess things up.

Friday Linkage 7/16/2021

In 2021 everything is political theater and there are no greater actors than the politicians who call themselves Republicans.

The new venue for their animus is the border between the United States and Mexico.  Republican Governors have decided to send “support” to the border in Texas.  Iowa has sent state troopers at its own cost to “combat crime” in border communities. 

Not to be outdone by anyone, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem arranged a deal where a private citizen would cover the cost of a deployment of National Guard members to the same border.  Yep, the party that warns you about black helicopters is now using private funding to subsidize uniformed military personnel.  How soon before private citizens are hiring National Guard units for security?

Oh wait, that’s a job for Blackwater…er Xe Services…er Academi…whatever.

On to the links…

An American Kingdom—Are you scared?  You will be.  These are the people driving the Republicans ever rightward in an attempt to make their particular vision of Christianity the law of the land.  It’s not Gilead…yet.

Just 25 Mega Cities Produce More than Half the World’s Urban Greenhouse Gas Emissions—The good news is that we know where the emissions are coming from.  The bad news is that there is a lot of work to do in curbing those emissions.

The Second Wave of Renewables is Here. What Did We Learn with the First?—Technologies come in waves or cycles.  Renewable energy technologies were in the crawl to walk stage for the past couple of decades.  Now it is time to run.

A Supercycle Like No Other—The next supercycle is going to be powered by the transition to renewable energy.  The smart money is already placing its bets.  Guess where the Republican Party is placing its bets?

Rising Oil Price May Speed Shift to Electric Vehicles, says Energy Watchdog—This week’s entry in the “no shit, Sherlock” category.  Paying a lot of money every time you stop at the pump will make a lot of people wonder if they should just be plugging in at home.

Colorado Wants to Add EV Chargers to Rest Areas, but the Federal Government is Blocking the Road—Driving on I-76 a couple of times a year will make a person wonder why there are not EV charging stations at the few decent rest stops along the road.  Trust me, the rest stops are about the only place to stop on that god forsaken road.

Electric Yellow Schoolbus Will Try To Make Vehicle To Grid Power Work—Electric buses have predictable schedules and routes.  The fairly large batteries in these vehicles will sit in parking lots for fairly predicable times and provide virtual power plants.

We Must Burn the West to Save It—The western United States will burn.  No amount of fire suppression will stop this reality.  As a matter of fact, our fire suppression regime has made the situation much worse.

The U.S. Wheat Crop Is in Trouble—Is this a harbinger of climate related food crises to come?

‘Wobble’ in Moon’s Orbit Could Result in Record Flooding in the 2030s—Somewhere Louie Gohmert is asking about “nuking the moon” to prevent it from wobbling.

Raw Dog Food Might Be Driving the Spread of Dangerous Superbugs—Add this to the list of things that we need to avoid.

Friday Linkage 7/9/2021

Man, back from vacation and the world is still a crazy place.  Maybe that should be comforting to some degree.  The world will keep on keeping on—thanks, Joe Dirt—regardless of how involved or important we perceive ourselves to be.  Sorry for the philosophy on a Friday.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Global Wind and Solar Power Capacity Grew at Record Rate in 2020— Every wind turbine and solar panel is like a nail in the coffin of fossil fuels.

Since 2018 Law, Iowa Utilities are Doing a Lot Less to Help Customers Save Energy—Is anyone else really surprised that if the legislature is not going to hold utilities’ feet to the fire that the utilities will just not execute energy efficiency programs?

Colorado Doesn’t Want to Foot the Bill for Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells. Here’s How it Will Avoid Picking up the Tab.—I wish the state of Colorado all the luck in the world.  If there is an industry that knows how to use the law to avoid paying for cleaning up after themselves it is oil and gas.  These guys are just the masters at avoiding responsibility.

Simple Tax Changes Can Unleash Clean Energy Deployment In USA—Nothing is simple when it comes to taxes and beware the unintended consequences of any major tax change.  Regardless, it is worth trying.

Electric Car Sales Surge as Europe’s Climate Targets Take Hold—It is an inflection point.  From here on out the new EVs should be replacing dirtier ICE vehicles which will lower the carbon intensity of the entire fleet.

German Carmakers Fined $1 Billion For Conspiring To Hold Back Green Emissions Tech—The dam seems to have burst for legacy manufacturers who had their hands in perpetuating climate denial and retarding the development of solutions.

Tesla is Just Another Car Company, and Elon Musk is Just Another Billionaire—Tesla is worse than just another car company because it acts like a Silicon Valley start up that does not feel the need to follow long standing rules and regulations put in place to protect consumers.  Fail fast and fail often is fine when you are designing apps, but it is another thing altogether when selling automobiles.

The US is About to Go All-In on Paying Farmers and Foresters to Trap Carbon—The worst thing that will come of this is that some money gets diverted to rural communities and does not quite reach the carbon capture goals set out.  Oh well.

New US Rule is Expected to Make it Easier for Farmers to Sue Companies Over Unfair Practices—A little power back in the hands of farmers and ranchers is a good thing.

Iceland Tried a Four-Day Work Week. It was an Overwhelming Success—If there is one thing I want to come out of this whole coronavirus thing it is a reevaluation of our work week.  No one likes coming into the office five days a week.  We know that for a fact.

PSYCHEDELIC DRUG PSILOCYBIN SPARKS IMMEDIATE AND LASTING GROWTH TO NEURAL CONNECTIONS—Maybe magic mushrooms have some value, maybe not.  Unless we study the issue we will never know.

Forget Overpopulation, Many Countries are Running Out of Young People. Now What?—Really?  After thirty years of fear mongering about over population we are now going to pivot to under population?  Ugh.

The Lie of “Expired” Food and the Disastrous Truth of America’s Food Waste Problem—Our habit of wasting food in the west is a big problem.

Second Quarter Progress on My 2021 Personal Goals

It has been six months since January 1, which kind of blow my mind.  In my household, that means we are on the downhill slide—pun intended—to winter and a, hopefully, abundant ski season.  I hope that I have not pissed off Ullr and cursed my future years of skiing.

  1. Read 60 books—36 books down.
  2. Ride 3,000 miles on my bicycle—1,441.72 miles by the end of June.  Okay, it was really by June 23rd since we left on vacation.  I was really ahead of prior years’ pace.  If I do not lose 10 days in August to another derecho level event this should be another big year for miles ridden.
  3. Ride 3 “new to me” trails—Nothing to report so far.
  4. Local, direct, and packaging free beer—Keeping it local.  About the only “misstep” was buying a six pack of Odell Brewing Company beer in Denver rather than something from one of the local breweries that I visited, but nothing was really hitting the spot that was packaged. You can check out my beer purchasing below:
  • No new car in 2021—Fail.  I have spent enough time dwelling on this failure.
  • Less lawn, more life—Drought really helped this goal along in late-May and June.  I mowed twice in six weeks and once only because we were leaving town.
  • Deeper decarbonization—This is an interesting case.  Through six months my wife and I have avoided 112 days’ worth of commuting.  This translates to a household savings of ~4,167 miles and 5,556 pounds of carbon dioxide.  In June my household also went “into the black” in terms of solar PV production versus electricity consumption.  Unfortunately, my goal of replacing natural gas fired appliances in my home—both water heater and furnace—has run up against supply chain realities.  Our HVAC contractor advised us to wait a year unless we really needed to switch.  Selection and price are not in your favor right now if you are looking to upgrade your home’s internals.  At least lumber futures are coming down.

Books I Read in the Second Quarter of 2021

I am going to admit that I really started to dog it this quarter with regards to reading.  Granted, I have spent a lot more time outside in the year or on my bike as opposed to the closing months of winter when one just wants to snuggle in under a thick blanket.

Also, I struggled through the last few books in the Wheel of Time series.  In hindsight, I should have taken a break between the books but I “powered” through and got stuck when it seemed like all the author wanted to do was talk about the various ajahs of the Aes Sedai.  Dude, I get it, you created an alternate universe but we could do with a little more forward motion in the plot.

Here are the books that I read during the second quarter of 2021:

Second Quarter

Over halfway to my goal of sixty books read over the course of the year!

June 2021 Solar PV Production and EV Efficiency

I want to imagine that AC/DC’s rock anthem ‘Back in Black” is playing as I look over the numbers from July.  Here is what my solar system’s production looked like:

That is 1.13 megawatt hours for the month of June.  For the month of June, my household ended up “in the black” ~559 kWh.  For the year so far, my household has crossed over to be “in the black” ~380 kWh.  Hopefully, July through September can pad those numbers a little bit.  Not losing weeks of production to a derecho and a roof replacement should help.

In terms of EV efficiency, I drove my Nissan Leaf 301.5 miles in June at an average efficiency of 5.9 miles per kWh.  Assuming I drew all of my power from the grid at an average carbon intensity for my region I avoided emitting ~351 pounds of carbon dioxide.  The crazy thing last month is the just over 300 miles of driving represented an ~17% increase over the prior year.  It is just weird to think back to how locked down we were in April through June because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday Linkage 6/18/2021

There are going to be no posts for a while as I head out of town for the high country.  It is going to be craft beers, mountain views, and lots of downtime with no connectivity.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

It’s Not Just Income Taxes. Billionaires Don’t Pay Inheritance Taxes Either.—Our tax system is designed to reward the uber rich.  If you are a billionaire you pay less in tax, as a percentage of your net worth, because that is they way Congress has rigged the system since Ronald Reagan.

Biden’s American Jobs Plan Would Supercharge Our Grid: Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs, Billions In Savings, Increased Reliability For Extreme Weather—Basically, it has wins for just about everyone.  Naturally, Republicans will fight it tooth and nail because of…reasons.

It’s Congress’ Turn to Stop Arctic Refuge Oil Drilling—The possibility of drilling in ANWR needs to be permanently taken off the table.

Biden Plans to Reverse Trump’s Alaska Policy. Here’s Why it Matters.—Alaska has not been in the news this much since Sarah Palin flamed out as a VP candidate and then decided to quit halfway through her term as the governor.

The Louisiana Gas Industry’s Answer to Lax Safety Enforcement? Loosen It More—This modern Republican logic in a nutshell.  The answer to everything is more of what you have been doing even if the results are not what you intended.  See the logic on tax cuts.  It does not matter what the economic issue is facing the country, Republicans will answer with tax cuts.

When the Frackers Get Too Close for Comfort—Nothing else matters to Republicans than the pursuit of fossil fuel dollars.  Not your home.  Not your safety.  Not the health of your children.  All will be sacrificed on the alter of oil and gas drilling.

Renewables = 21.6% Of US Electricity In 1st Quarter, 25.5% In March—Every month there is progress toward a future where all electricity is renewable.  It’s a ways off, but you would have been called crazy for thinking more than 25% would ever be renewable just a few years ago.

The Mice that Roared: How Eight Tiny Countries Took on Foreign Fishing Fleets—People can fight back against the companies and countries that want to destroy their homes.

Mr. Trash Wheel is Gobbling Up Millions of Pounds of Trash—I want a Mr. Trash Wheel in my neighborhood.

Takeout Food and Drink Containers Account for Bulk of Ocean Litter—How much more of this trash is there after a year of takeout dinners due to COVID-19?

If Only 19th-Century America Had Listened to a Woman Scientist—If only America had listened to…has to be the statement that defines our experience.

Friday Linkage 6/11/2021

I guess it is an improvement when a GOP congress critter is not referencing “Jewish space lasers” but Louie Gohmert (R-Texas, naturally) takes the cake with his recent line of questioning.  Whoever had “alter the orbit of the Moon to address climate change” in the whack-a-do bingo game is a big winner.  I never thought that square was going to come up.

Granted, I did not think “COVID-19 vaccine will make you magnetic” was a winner either.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Elon Musk Paid $0 in Federal Income Tax in 2018: Report—It’s not just Elon Musk but the entire population of American oligarchs who reap rewards from a system built prior to their massive wealth was created and now is tottering due to their unwillingness to pay up.

The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Officially Dead—This is just great news.

Major Land Agreement Could Be “Nail in the Coffin” for Alaska’s Pebble Mine—Please let this be the end of this project.  If the Keystone XL pipeline can die, so can the Pebble Mine.

GM Agrees to California’s Tough Standards for Curbing Car Pollution—It’s like GM was saying, “Yeah, sorry about that whole Trump thing.  We’re good with California now.  Want to buy an EV?”

Illinois had a Chance to Pass One of the Most Progressive Clean Energy Bills in the Country. It Failed.—Illinois, where good ideas go to die on the altar of special interest politics.

How Bankruptcy Lets Oil and Gas Companies Evade Cleanup Rules—Here is the basic idea: declare bankruptcy, leave the clean up liabilities with a zombie company, and move everything with value to a new entity.  Bam!  No clean up liabilities for the new company.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Republicans Pledge Allegiance to Fossil Fuels like it’s Still the 1950s—Republicans are like nostalgic baby boomers who cannot get over visions of the perfect 1950s when…well, the 1950s sucked for just about everyone except people who identify as Republicans today.

Biden’s 80% By 2030 Clean Electricity Standard Would Unlock $1.5 Trillion Across The U.S.—The clean energy transition can be about the environment and the economy.

123 Of 60,000 Permian Oil & Gas Sites Account For 29% Of Region’s Methane Pollution—So, two tenths of one percent of wells are responsible for almost one third of the methane pollution.  Seems like low hanging fruit to me

Biden’s EV Push Includes a Battery Recycling Program—What is the easiest source of lithium?  The one sitting in batteries in old Toyota Prius hybrids or Nissan Leaf EVs.

Las Vegas’s New Strategy for Tackling Drought – Banning ‘useless grass’—Somewhere there is a local Republican politician in Nevada working on his “movement” to “save the grass.”

‘It will be beautiful again’: How California’s Redwood Forest is Recovering after Last Year’s Wildfires—California’s natural history is punctuated by fire events.  The ecosystem has evolved to embrace fire.  It has not evolved to embrace humans’ perceptions of its ecosystem.

It’s Raining “forever chemicals” in the Great Lakes—We do not even know what problems this might cause, but industry is allowed to keep pushing these chemical compounds without regard for long term safety.

What Actually Happens to the Clothes you Donate Depends on Where you Live—Do people actually have any clothes left to donate after a year and a half of coronavirus?  My wardrobe has become t-shirts and shorts year round at this point.

WTB Byway 40C 1,000 Mile Check-IN

I just ticked over 1,000 miles for the season on the WTB Byway 40C meats on my Breezer.

The biggest issue I would like to highlight with regard to these tires is trust.  Unlike the WTB Venture 40C tires from last season, the Byways require you to trust the tire.  When the going gets soft or loose the Byway has a moment when it does not seem like the tread pattern is doing anything.  Once the tire’s sidewall knobs start to grip it’s like traction control kicking in on a mod-90s GM product.  The Ventures, by contrast, had fairly consistent grip from the centerline onward.  At least until I wore the centerline smooth.

Wear seems to be better than the Ventures, but that is to be expected with a solid centerline and relatively low intensity riding.  Although, my pavement/gravel split is probably a little biased toward the loose stuff as I ride frequently on and around where the Cedar Valley Nature Trail is supposed to close for paving this month.  The trail has remained open for almost my entire route into Urbana, but the heavy machinery is parked near where the work will start.

Below you will see how my tires have weathered the riding season so far:

Friday Linkage 6/4/2021

I know that I say this a lot, but damn I cannot believe it is June already.  Maybe my sense of time has been warped by the past eighteen months or so of COVID-19 lockdown and reopening.  Or, I have lost any sense of anchoring without a ritual commute into work, normal kids’ activity schedules, etc.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Trump EPA Officials Hid Threats of Toxic Dicamba Herbicide, IG Report Shows—Trump lied and people will die.  This is the legacy of our illustrious former president.

The Day The Energy World Changed—The impacts may not be felt immediately, but the ground has shifted beneath the feet of oil and gas companies.

Biden Administration Suspends Oil and Gas Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—Seems like the low hanging fruit of policies to cancel from the Trump years.  I am sure Republicans will cry themselves to sleep now that oil and gas companies cannot ruin another landscape.

The Smartest Way to Finance Clean Energy that You’ve Never Heard Of—Somehow I believe that Republicans will call this socialism and threaten to shut down the government if it were to come to pass.

87 Front Range Oil and Gas Wells Ordered to Shut Down after Operator KP Kauffman Fails to Clean Up Spills—Oil and gas companies have left the United States riddled with problem sites that they have no intention of ever cleaning up.

Iowa, Texas Companies Propose Multi-Billion Dollar Carbon-Capture Pipelines across Iowa—Ahhh, carbon capture…the last gasp of the fossil fuel industry and its attendant hangers on trying to stay relevant in a world quickly passing them by.

THE PLACES PAVING THE WAY TO 100 PERCENT RENEWABLE ENERGY—The renewable energy future is not scary.  It’s a little crunchy, so to speak, but it is a pretty damn good future.

May In France: Plugin Vehicle Sales At 17.3% Share — Up 2.3× Year On Year—Every month more and more EVs are sold.  More and more hybrids and PHEVs are sold.  We are making progress.

7-Eleven to Add 500 Electric-Vehicle Charging Ports by End of 2022—The line is “It’s the right thing to do.”

Airships for City Hops Could Cut Flying’s CO2 Emissions by 90%–Generally, the slower things move the more efficient it is a moving.  I cannot imagine this working in a market where air travelers do not like turboprops.

End Mowing of Road Verges to Create Huge Wildlife Habitat, says UK Study—Maybe we should just try stopping to dominate every last little bit of the landscape.  Heck, I am sitting here wondering if I could let lawn go the entire month of June without mowing.

Hundreds of Fishing Fleets that go ‘Dark’ Suspected of Illegal Hunting, Study Finds—High seas fishing is lawless.  Unless you know where your fish came from you are likely supporting this system.

Stunning New Photos Reveal Depths of ‘Historic’ California Drought—California is very dry right now and it is likely to get worse as the summer drags on.

Foreign Firms Sucking “Virtual” Water From America’s Parched Southwest—Nothing like growing alfalfa for Saudi Arabian cows in Arizona.