Friday Linkage 9/6/2013

Some of these links may be a little dated given that it is the news that I have been interested in over the past couple of weeks.  Obviously, I had some stuff going on at the homefront.

On to the links…

Beer vs. Oil: Beer Wins—Enbridge Oil is a ship of fools.  First, they spill a bunch of nasty tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River.  When they get ordered to clean up their spill completely, which they probably tried to get out of using some technicality, the plan was a joke.  At least the good guys won this one.

The Untold Story Of Western Ranchers And Their Epic Battle Against Coal—Has the coal industry found a way to piss off everyone in the U.S.?  Now it looks like they have lost the rugged ranchers of the western U.S.  Who is left on their side?  Congress.  Damn.

Climate Change’s Original Sin—There is no discrete “environmental” journalism anymore because climate change is the single issue that is enmeshed with every decision that we will make for the foreseeable future.

Cattle—not climate change—killing the Great Barrier Reef—It looks like the obsession with eating meat is the primary cause of destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.  Enjoy the hamburger, mate!

The Real Reason Kansas Is Running Out of Water—So, we suck water out of the ground to grow corn that we stuff down the gullets of feedlot cattle.  Great system.

A Nevada Tribe’s Epic Battle To Replace A Deadly Coal Plant With Solar—Even if the Moapa Paiutes are successful in cleaning up the Reid-Gardner power plant there is a chance that natural gas development will follow.  Given the history of suffering of native people, is there an end in sight?

The Fracking Rig Next Door—Do you wonder what it would be like to have a fracking rig move in down the street?  Well, here are the photos.  Think about what it would be like before you spout off that fracking is our pathway to energy independence.

Four New Wind Farms In The Upper Midwest Could Power 750,000 Homes— Every week or month seems to bring news of a windfarm development in my neck of the woods that is bigger and badder than the prior announcement.  One of the numbers in the article that is crazy is 1,650.  That is the number of windpower megawatts that Xcel is awaiting on approval.  Blow, baby blow!

With Rooftop Solar on Rise, U.S. Utilities Are Striking Back—Utilities are scared of the rise in rooftop solar because it shakes their business model to its very foundations.  They also like total control.  Bullies don’t like it when someone takes away their toys and control.  Get ready for the playground fight of the next decade.

The Latest Clean Energy Cocktail: Bacteria And Fungus—It is crazy to see what scientists are doing with simple organisms in the pursuit of biofuels.  As the technology develops and matures there may be a hope for next generation biofuels to fulfill the promise of the current generation of biofuels.

Why Pushing Alternate Fuels Makes for Bad Public Policy—John DeCicco makes a salient point that there is no environmental reason to make a headlong rush into promoting alternative fuels for transportation use.  His point is that cleaning upstream power generation—in terms of both pollutants and carbon dioxide—is more important than cleaning up downstream users—e.g. you and I.  I am down with this point to a certain level.  I believe that we need to attack the problem from both ends, but the political reality is that there is only so much political capital to tackle these problems.

The United States uses 39% of the energy it produces, wastes 61%…—If you thought that there was not room for efficiency in the portfolio of climate change solutions, I give you this graphic:

llnl-usa-energy-usage-2012.png.0x545_q100_crop-scale

Six Tips to Buying Better Olive Oil—Olive oil is such a huge part of my culinary regime that it is hard to read an article like this and not wonder about the liquid in my cabinet.  Of course, I try to buy oil sourced from U.S. farms so some of my concerns are overblown. As it says in the final tip, “If there’s a shorthand way of looking for quality, reach for olive oil from the Golden State.”

Building a Better Mass-Market Tomato—There is not better way to improve the lot of grocery store vegetables than to finally develop a tomato that actually tastes like something more than acid water.  We can all hope, right?

The Obesity Era—This has to be one of the most thought provoking and depressing things that I have read in a long time.  Do we live in the obesity era?

Where Sand Is Gold, the Reserves Are Running Dry—Is there a more unsustainable state than Florida?  It’s beaches are eroding, the ground literally swallows buildings, and the landscape is a haven for invasive species.  Does it ever end?  I cannot wait for vacation in Orlando.

After the Fire: The Uncertain Future of Yosemite’s Forests—Our management policies and climate change may have conspired to create a fire regime that now threatens to permanently alter the landscape of the western U.S.  Uh oh!

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