Tag Archives: Africa

Friday Linkage 11/1/2019

It’s a white Halloween…

IMG_20191029_071115875

Two days of measurable snow accumulation by October 31st.  Weird.

On to the links…

Offshore Windfarms ‘Can Provide More Electricity than the World Needs’This is some change that I can believe in.  How do we make the transition to offshore wind happen faster?

7 Ways Hurricane Sandy Started a Tidal Wave of ResilienceIt took New York City and a chunk of the eastern seaboard getting walloped for people to pay attention to resilience as a way to protect coastal communities and ecosystems, but it is a start.

‘Grand African Savannah Green Up’: Major $85 Million Project Announced to Scale up Agroforestry in AfricaIf only a portion of the projected benefits are realized this is a major victory.  As big as $85 million sounds, it is truly a drop in the bucket in a world where the US spends more than $2 billion a day on defense related accounts.

‘Green Gold’ Tree Offers Brazil Deforestation HopeWe must repair the damage caused by modern society.  Plant these trees now. Plant as many as possible. What is the downside?

The White House Wants Climate Change Off the G7 Agenda. It Doesn’t Really Work That Way.In Donald Trump’s world, Donnie Two Scoops gets what Donnie Two Scoops wants. Rules, decorum, whatever be damned.  It will be interesting to see how he handles a hostile impeachment process as the revelations of his administration’s misdeeds become common knowledge.  Then again this is a man who has a lawyer insist that the president is above the law.

Trump’s Public Lands Chief Wrote For A Cult Extremist’s MagazineThe Trump administration is so messed up and hurting for warm bodies that people aligned with Lyndon LaRouche are getting government posts.

4 Out of 5 EU Coal Plants Are Losing MoneyThe market has spoken and now the effort to phase out coal will run into the nasty business of politics.

Moody’s Sees “Significant” Drops In Powder River Basin Coal ProductionIt’s called a death spiral for a reason.  One company declares bankruptcy. This in turn raised the cost of capital for the existing coal companies.  This in turn caused their prices to rise. This in turn causes utilities and consumers to look at cheaper energy.  This in turn causes another coal company to declare bankruptcy.  

Murray Energy Is 8th Coal Company in a Year to Seek BankruptcyYou better believe that Robert Murray, the Dr. Evil facsimile who pals around with Donald Trump, will find a way to screw the American taxpayer through this bankruptcy.  My guess is that he will pay himself millions, vacate any pension or medical obligations, and find a way to dump clean up costs on the governments where these mines operate.

Kentucky’s Leaders Are Siding With the Coal Industry, and Its Poorest Residents Are Paying a PriceCoal companies have never cared about the people who mine coal or the land from which they mine coal.  They only care about money. The unholy alliance of Trump, coal company CEOs, and regular miners is coming to an end as everyone sees the fraud that is the blue collar billionaire and his corrupt cronies.

World’s Largest Storage Battery — 2.5 GWh — To Replace Gas Peaker Plants In QueensNo one wants a peaker plant in their neighborhood, but a battery can sit in a commercial building or the basement of a residential building just waiting to be deployed to smooth out the differences in supply versus demand on the grid.

No-Gold Perovskite Solar Cells Aim A Dagger At The Heart Of Fossil FuelsNuclear power was supposed to be too cheap to meter, but it looks like solar photovoltaic may actually get to that point if developments in perovskite solar cells can be commercialized.  

A $60,000 Solar Project, with No Money Down: A Colorado Program Helps Businesses Finance Renewable Energy ProjectsIf you hate solar power than a program like this should scare the living shit out of you.  Every panel that gets deployed is demand that is not coming back to the grid.

Heat (The Elephant In The Room)The path to deep decarbonization has to address our desire for heat.  Whether it is to heat our homes or the water with which we bathe this demand for heat drives demand for energy.  A lot of that energy is provided by fossil fuels.

‘Chocogedden’ is Fast ApproachingClimate change is coming for all of the foods that we love.  Maybe we should just get used to subsisting on soylent like “foods.”

It’s Time to Ban Filters on CigarettesThis was my father’s wish.  As a former smoker who occasionally lapsed in his middle age he felt that filters were a way to make people feel like smoking was not as bad for them as was the case.  And he hated the butts being thrown everywhere.

Friday Linkage 2/22/2019

What is it with my kids and John Tesh?  Every night when we drive home from various activities they both beg for the radio to be turned to the station that plays Tesh’s syndicated “Music and Intelligence for Your Life.”

It is so odd to hear them discuss the relative merits of whatever study or lifestyle tidbit Tesh brings up between songs.

On to the links…

Minnesota’s Climate Begins its Descent Toward an Unrecognizable Future—The future is happening now when it comes to climate change.  The impacts may not be noticeable in the short term, but the changes are happening.

Planting 1.2 Trillion Trees Could Cancel Out a Decade of CO2 Emissions—What are we waiting for?

Amazon’s $0 Corporate Income Tax Bill Last Year, Explained—This is the symptom of a failed policy.  Amazon makes billions of dollars a year and uses a loophole to pay no tax.

The Secret Ingredient for Cutting Costs and CO2 Emissions in Infrastructure—There are huge savings in terms of energy efficiency when we look at the biggest users of energy across the United States.  Cutting the energy consumption of these “low hanging fruit” could deliver massive savings for relatively low cost on a timescale that is fairly quick.

BP Energy Outlook Predicts Renewable Energy Will Be Dominant By 2040—Remember, this is an old line fossil fuel company putting out a technical analysis that says renewables are going to win.

Trump’s Intervention Fails to Save Coal-Fired Power Plant—Remember when Republicans were all about the free market because…uh, freedom?  The market has said that coal is a dead technology and that the transition is underway, but people like Trump and McConnell have coal barons to keep happy.

EU Setting its First Emissions Standards for Big Trucks to Lower C02—Cutting the emissions of heavy duty and heavy use trucks is probably the biggest bang for the invested dollar that we can get in the near term.

World’s Biggest Battery to Boost Solar in Texas—Texas, surprisingly, is driving a lot of innovation in renewable energy.  First it was a lot of wind and now it looks like solar plus storage is going to be the next big thing.  Everything is bigger in Texas.

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Hornsea One Generates First Power—I am noticing a trend with these renewable energy stories.  Every other one seems to be about the “world’s largest” something.  Largest storage battery, largest offshore wind farm…you get the idea.

Vineyard Wind Proposes 1,200 Megawatt “Liberty Wind” Offshore Project For New York—This would be America’s largest offshore wind farm.  Okay, that would not take a lot.

Here Comes All Your California Offshore Wind Jobs—The craziest number in this article is 112 gigawatts.  This represents the state’s technical offshore resources, which is a figure higher than the state’s current electricity needs.

Giant Wind Power Transmission Project Could Spark New Wind Rush In Wind Belt—The more wind power that we can deploy in the Great Plains the better.  It is clean, green power that helps economically depressed communities by bringing much needed income and property tax base.

Adding Balance to the Meat Debate—There is something to be said for balance.  What we eat is as important as how it was made.  A processed meat free “chicken” nugget may not be any better than a piece of chicken from a pasture raised bird.  There is a lot of nuance.  People hate nuance.  It forces them to think.

A Comeback for African National Parks—It’s not all bad news.  It appears that if we resource the parks and do not encroach on the boundaries with development that large animals can succeed.

Friday Linkage 6/1/2018

June…where did spring and May go?

On to the links…

New Documents Show Why Scott Pruitt Wanted a “Campaign-Style” Media Operation—It would not be a week without some good ol’ Scott Pruitt corruption.

Solar Power To Become 4th Largest Electric Power Capacity In The World (Passing Up Wind)—There was a time when naysayers told us that solar power would never amount to more than a fraction of the world’s electrical generating capacity.  Of course, a lot of people also said that there was no way Donald Trump could actually become president.

US Offshore Wind Revolution Sets 5 Gigawatt Target In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, & New Jersey—Offshore wind in the United States might be nearing its snowball rolling downhill moment.  Once these projects are underway and the costs are booked a lot of people are going to realize that it is very economical to deploy these projects.

The Repowering Mission: Breathing New Life into Our Aging Wind Turbine Fleet—This is the untapped potential that no one is really talking about.  As old turbines hit the end of their usable and reliable life, say twenty years, new turbines can go up on these sites that make more power.

320 GW Of Non-Traditional, Untapped Rooftop Solar Potential In USA—A lot of roofs and other surfaces have not been exploited for solar photovoltaics.  Imagine if every warehouse, apartment building, and parking lot were covered with solar panels?

Europe is Building More Wind and Solar — Without any Subsidies—So the price is now competitive and future fuel is free.  That is going to be pretty tough to beat for coal going forward.

Oil-Rich Saudi Arabia is Turning to Another Resource to Power the Kingdom — Sunshine—The old saw is that X country will be the “Saudi Arabia of wind” or solar or whatever.  What is Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Arabia of solar?

The Oil Industry Is Finally Being Affected By Norway’s Electric Vehicle Adoption—This demand destruction is occurring with a relatively small number of EVs on the road and relatively low oil prices worldwide.  What would happen if gasoline goes to $5 a gallon in the U.S. and people start beating the street for Chevy Bolts?

Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not—When we put our stuff in a bin for collection each week it is not recycling.  It is harvesting.  The actual recycling takes place somewhere else where the trash is either actually sent to be turned into something else or just thrown away.  It now looks like China is not taking our garbage anymore, so all of our harvesting is really just taking out the trash.

Commutes on Foot or Bike Tied to Lowered Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke—You mean to tell me that if people get out and move that the likely health outcomes are improved?  Stunning.

How to Rewild your Garden: Ditch Chemicals and Decorate the Concrete—What if we all took the time to make our yards and garden a little more wild?

Saving Africa’s Wildlife—We killed the animals, so it is only right that we try and repopulate the landscape.

Friday Linkage 12/2/2016

It’s December.  The snowpack is slow to build—damn you climate change—but there is hope that by the holidays lots of terrain in the mountains will be open for skiing and riding.  We still live in Trumplandia.  However, it is important to remember that there are still many good things in this world to celebrate amidst the doom and gloom.  It is also critically important to remember that we need to fight the agenda of man who got over two million fewer votes than his opponent and a man from Wisconsin who wants to roll back the safety net to resemble some sort of Ayn Rand wet dream.

On to the links…

Under Trump, NASA May Turn a Blind Eye to Climate Change—The thing that scares me the most about the next few years is that there is going to a chilling effect on scientific inquiry through the executive and legislative branches use of their budgeting and bullying powers.  The House may not end up holding hearings on Trump’s many conflicts of interest, but I am almost certain that scientists will be dragged before committees to testify about science by people with no knowledge of science.

Outdoor Industry will be Added to the Calculus of the US GDP—Inclusion in this calculation will allow for the outdoor industry to make the same claims to job creation at the national level like other industries.  It is a major win because it gives the industry additional clout when lobbying for legislation.

These 6 Unexpected Countries Are Going Renewable—Despite what happens in the United States over the course of the next two years—I am hoping for some electoral retribution related to an extreme right wing agenda spearheaded by Paul Ryan—the world is moving forward with a clean energy revolution.

What Happened To Germany’s Energy Transformation?—The answer is…nothing.  It is happening.  It just happens to be maturing as would be expected.  In 2015 the entire country generated more than 31% of its electricity from renewables and policies are in place to get to 45% by the middle of the next decade.  Even if growth stops it is not like solar panels and wind turbines stop producing clean electricity.  The demand destruction for fossil fuels has already occurred.

Yet Another Country, and Two Huge Utilities, Finished with Coal—Here is why coal is dead.  No one wants to use the stuff except for ass clowns like Don Blankenship…oh wait, he’s just a convicted criminal living in a hilltop mansion now instead of a coal company baron.

Want to See Why Trump will Struggle to Save the Coal Industry? Look at Michigan.—The real answer to the question is that Donald Trump has no idea how to “save” the coal industry and he has no intention of actually trying to reemploy coal miners.  He cares about himself, first and foremost, with fellow billionaires, assuming he is actually a billionaire before raping the United States from the Oval Office, coming in a distant second.

From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years—Oh my, how times change.

Have We Reached Peak Gasoline?—As EVs, plug-in hybrids, and more efficient vehicles proliferate combined with fewer miles driven per person the demand for gasoline has to stagnate at some level.  At what point does this stagnation begin to destabilize the fundamental economics of gasoline refining?

Copenhagen Now has More Bikes than Cars—Copenhagen is a dream city for many people.  It can also serve as a model for many urban centers.  It is not a place of ideal mild climate, yet pedal power is becoming the dominant mode of transportation through policy encouragement.

The Colossal African Solar Farm that Could Power Europe—It has been a dream of Europeans for many years to develop massive solar farms in sunny North Africa where land is plentiful for transmission back to Europe.  Maybe now that idea is coming to fruition.

University of Minnesota Study Identifies Key Culprits in Cropland Greenhouse Emissions—Rather than try to tackle all of the sources of greenhouse gasses, why don’t we try and lock up the 60 to 70% of bad actors that will return a great deal of “bang for the buck?”

Canada Just Took a Big Step Toward Banning a Nasty Pesticide—The rest of the world will march on and the United States will stagnate under Trump.  What we can hope for is that a tide of anger will sweep our sclerotic political culture aside, much like the progressives did, and enact truly forward thinking legislation.

Scientists Discover Why Diet Coke Is Probably Undermining You—File this under the “You Can’t Fool Your Body and Expect Positive Results” heading.  Just another reason to stop buying water, which makes up something like 99% of a bottle of diet soda, in disposable plastic bottles.

Grand Slam for Zambia: Power of 5

Bicycles are an amazing thing.  A bicycle can open the horizon in a way that is transformative.  As adults, I believe, that we forget just how powerful the moment when we conquered riding a bicycle was in our lives.  Suddenly our horizons were not restricted by the short distance we could walk in a reasonable time.  What was beyond the horizon was suddenly possible.

The same thing is true on the developing world.  In the past I have donated to World Bicycle Relief as part of the Fat Cyclist’s efforts to raise money for the charity.  This year is no different as the effort this year is Grand Slam for Zambia: The Power of Five.

500For $134 World Bicycle Relief will provide a Buffalo bicycle to someone in Zambia.  That person’s life is transformed because they can suddenly go farther, carry more, and do it all in less time.

If you donate through the Fat Cyclist’s contest you have a chance to win one of five dream bikes and a bicycle trip of a lifetime.

It’s a chance to really change the life of someone and I do not think that there is any better sentiment during the holiday season.  Please donate today.

Faux Craft: Safari Amber Ale

If you are seeking out beer at Walt Disney World get ready for a strange experience.  In some instances you might be overwhelmed with choices.  The standard beer menu is pretty extensive and there are some nice selections that are unexpected.  However, outside of bars that offer the standard beer menu the selection can vary wildly.

If you are in Magic Kingdom you will be out of luck searching for suds unless you have a reservation at Be Our Guest, the restaurant in the new Fantasyland that always has long lines or full reservation books.  It has a minimalist selection of beer, but after eight hours of Mickey fun even a PBR would have been welcome.

Epcot deserves its own analysis as each area of the world showcase offers regionally specific beers and the festivals can bring the selections to even more corners of the globe.

Animal Kingdom is an interesting beast.  Several of the bars and restaurants offer beers from Africa and Asia, in keeping with the themes of the park.  Granted, none of these was particularly special in any way but it was kind of an escapist fantasy to drink a Tusker at the Dawa Bar and imagine that I was an expat in Africa.

The one beer that I sought out was Safari Amber Ale:

Safari Amber Ale

It is never stated anywhere, but commenters across the Internet assume that the beer is brewed for Disney by AB-InBev.  It’s rumored to be offered to other outlets as a “house beer” and may also be offered at other Disney locations under other names.

The example that was poured during my dinner at Boma was entirely forgettable.  It was not particularly carbonated, which may be a function of the bar that it was poured from rather than inherent to the recipe.  It was slightly sweet and kind of chewy.  This seems like a silly adjective for beer.  What does it mean to be “chewy?”  When you drink a beer sometimes that malt is so front and center, without any balance, that it literally seems like you are drinking liquefied bread.

Furthermore, the sweetness and heavy malty profile had almost no discernible bitterness to act as a counterweight.  I am no “hop head” but if you are going to go sweet with an ale it better be balanced.  Otherwise it starts trending toward mead.

If you get a chance to enjoy a beer at Walt Disney World stick to brewers who you know are producing excellent suds.  There are many bottles of beer on the standard menu that will be more satisfying than this mediocre example of amber ale.

My thanks go out to the good folks at Beers and Ears.  If you travel down to Walt Disney World the app from Beers and Ears will be a lifesaver when you are trying to avoid the horror that is a beer selection of Bud Light and something equally boring.

Donating to the Grand Slam for Zambia 2

500The holiday season is in full-swing.  Since I am avoiding retail stores like the plague, my attention focuses on charity like it does for so many others during the holidays.  Like in years past, my family has foregone the gift giving madness and made our monetary donation to the local food reservoir—it is amazing how much relief these organizations can provide with each dollar donated.  This year, however, I turned my gaze a little bit more outward.

Over the years I have followed the blog Fat Cyclist for a variety of reasons.  It started out when my wife lost her father to kidney cancer and I lost my mother to lung cancer with the span of a year.  Here was someone who had dealt with loss due to cancer and loved bicycles.  Seemed like a kindred spirit.

As time has passed, I have admired the work that the eponymous Fat Cyclist has done in the name of charity.  There is the to be expected fund raising on behalf of cancer charities, but the one effort that I identify with the most is the fund raising for World Bicycle Relief.

For those of you unfamiliar with World Bicycle Relief please head over to their website and read up.  It is a very worthy cause.  The short version is that the organization donates bicycles and the means to keep those bicycles operational to communities in need.  A particular focus area is providing bicycles to health care workers in order to increase the reach of these desperately needed providers of care.  The mission may seem simple, but the impact is enormous.

Last year, Fat Cyclist put together a fund raising drive—Grand Slam for Zambia—that raised almost $159K for World Bicycle Relief.  That dollar value is equivalent to approximately 340 bicycles that have the capability of changing someone’s life in a positive way.

For 2012, Fat Cyclist is back at it again with Grand Slam for Zambia 2.  The goal this year is to raise $125K, which will be matched dollar for dollar for a total impact of $250K.  What does that mean?  It will buy 1300 bikes and train 260 mechanics to keep the bikes in operation.  Damn!

If you want an idea of what this can mean to a community, check out the post where some of the bicycles are distributed.

This year I am going to jump in and help a little bit.  A donation of $134 is considered to be the equivalent of one bicycle.  I have made my donation of that amount.  There is no requirement to donate any set amount, but it seemed only right to donate an amount that I could equivocate to something tangible.