Tag Archives: Arctic

Friday Linkage 9/5/2014

Big changes. The reason I have been somewhat radio silent the past couple of weeks is that I have been “reordering” my life. Nothing major like getting divorced or a death in the family—too much of that in recent years for my tastes. Rather, I decided of my own volition to make some adjustments in my approach to life for happiness and health reasons. I will get to the details later.

On to the links…

22.6% Of Homes Use Solar In South Australia—Damn, imagine if sunny states in the U.S. like California, Arizona, or Colorado approached a number like this? One can always dream.

Solar Makers Set for Record 2014 Shipments on Strong Demand—Why do I foresee a near term future where every headline is about a record with regard to solar?

Propane Made with Renewable Process for the First Time—This is kind of cool. Drop in biofuels are sort of the holy grail of the industry.

Communities Going into Power Business to Cut Cost, Carbon Footprint—Local control means that the communities can decide the path forward for their power generation. If left to private power companies it would be dirty coal. All the time.

Shell Submits a Plan for New Exploration of Alaskan Arctic Oil—After a disastrous initial campaign highlighted by the beaching of its massive drilling rig, Shell is back to try and drill in the artic again. Nothing has changed and this will more than likely end in ecological disaster.

Does Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Negate Climate Change? Scientists Say No—When are people, in general, and climate deniers, in specific, going to realize that it is global climate change brought about by a globally warmer climate. Some places will get wetter while others get drier. Some places will get colder while others get warmer. The dominant theme however is that the climate is going to get weird.

Seeing Discolored Lawns, California Businesses Apply Dab of Green—No matter what happens to the climate at least the invisible hand of the market has figured out a way for you to have a nice green lawn in the worst drought.

Why Coal Is (Still) Worse Than Fracking and Cow Burps—This is an interesting take on the compounds responsible for climate change. Read it and let me know what you think.

Sweden Now Recycles a Staggering 99 Percent of its Garbage—Damn. Regardless of how the Swedes got to this point, it is impressive.

Inside the Rainbow Factory Where Crayola Crayons Are Made—Factory tours are cool. Crayola Crayon factory tours are even cooler.

You Must Read—Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming

If you spend enough time around researchers or market analysts you will learn one adage—it’s not what a company says that is important, it’s where a company puts its money that matters. This is not just about “following the money” per se, but trying to determine where a company thinks it is wisest to invest for the most return.

9781594204012As you read McKenzie Funk’s Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming it is readily apparent that there are a lot of people all around the world who are betting on a very different climate in the near term.

Whether it’s the coming thaw in the Arctic that will allow for reliable shipping through the famed Northwest Passage or the inevitable fight that will occur over the oil and minerals long buried beneath ice choked landscapes there are companies and governments betting on that future. It is telling that they are not betting on a future where the potential warming stalls out and the landscape looks like it does today. How does that make you feel about international climate accords? Thought so.

The business of global warming is actually pretty frightening. As wildfire season begins again in the American west—if it ever really ends anymore as persistent drought is the rule of the day—insurance giants are turning to private fire companies to protect high value properties. It’s a libertarian’s wet dream in warmer world. Private fire companies pale in comparison to what the business of water in a hotter and drier world looks like. Parts of the world will also get wetter, but the amount of potable freshwater will decline so it is not really a net gain.

Funk’s book is not just about the business of global warming, but the radical restructuring of our complex civilization that may occur because of climate change. Some places will witness sea levels rise more than others because of plate tectonics, ocean sub-floor, etc. It’s not fair because the places most likely to be dramatically affected are the same places that emit very little carbon on a per capita basis. No one in Bangladesh is responsible for global warming.

Apparently there are winners in this global reordering as Greenland will likely move closer to independence based on the fact that it has rich resources which will become viable for extraction as glaciers melt into the sea. Greenland’s gain, Denmark’s loss, and the world is just screwed in general.

The one real takeaway from Windfall was that the people who are most likely to see their lives washed away are the poorest and least responsible for the changes brought about in the Anthropocene. Rich people in the developed western world will build flood barriers and desalination plants and move to higher ground, but there are billions of people who cannot. How chaotic will our future be when we have displaced hundreds of millions if not billions of people? That is really scary.

Friday Linkage 1/31/2014

It’s going to be a light week of links.  I was hella busy closing my father’s estate and getting the house ready for closing, which is a good problem to have because I will no longer have that issue hanging over my head.  It just means I did not get to some of the fun stuff like I wanted to get done, like completing my keezer.  Being an adult means you can eat ice cream for dinner, but you also have to be responsible sometimes.

On to the links…

Anti-Fracking Activist Barred from 312.5 Square Miles of Pennsylvania—In a total WTF story for the week I give you Vera Scroggins.  She is an anti-fracking activist in Pennsylvania who was given a temporary restraining order barring her from any properties owned or leased by the area’s big fracker Cabot Oil and Gas.  This is an action taken against a protester who has broken no laws and acted in a peaceful manner.  So much for speaking truth to power.

Shell’s Arctic Offshore Drilling Ambitions Stymied In Appeals Court—Is there a worse idea lately than Shell’s plans to drill in the arctic?  As if last year’s debacle with the drilling platform breaking free of its tug and the dubious economic argument, this project has the distinction of being dumber than either Keystone XL or the Pebble Mine.

How do You Recycle a Solar Panel?—I think this is a great question to ask considering the proliferation of panels throughout the world.  Disposal of an item at the end of its usable life is a major issue when it comes to calculating the lifecycle cost of that item.

UK Should have 10 Million Homes with Solar Panels by 2020—Could you imagine a world where we get 40% of our power on sunny days from solar panels?  Apparently someone is Britain is looking forward to that day.

World’s Largest Wind Turbine Starts Generating Power For First Time—This turbine has a rated generating capacity of 8 megawatts.  That is over five times what the common 1.5 megawatt GE turbine you see dotting the landscape.  One of the bad boys can power over 3,000 American households.  Damn!

A Mafia Legacy Taints the Earth in Southern Italy—I have a relative who lives in Naples and he confirms that things are as bad, if not worse, than what is described in this article.  During my one visit to Italy I saw none of the horror scenes being described, but I may not have been looking.  It’s an awful story.  It also kind of sounds like the world Republicans in Congress would like us to have here in the U.S.

Chipotle Blurs Lines With a Satirical Series About Industrial Farming—Chipotle is killing it with their recent ad campaign.  The fact that this campaign is getting so much press can only be a good thing considering its send up of factory farming.

A Look Inside the Protein Bar—I have never understood people’s obsession with finding a packaged alternative to otherwise satisfying foods.  Like the article says, wouldn’t a sandwich with the same amount of protein be more satisfying than a single foil wrapped bar?

Low Glare Lights a Hit on the Ski Slopes—These Snow Bright lights are wicked cool.  In college I worked for a company that built custom lighting rigs for various applications and we used magnetic induction lamps once.  Could not figure out why these strange bulbs were being used.  Now I get it.

The Compost Bowl? Food scraps to be collected at MetLife Stadium—I always wondered if those bizarre stadium nachos were compostable.  I guess we will find out soon enough.  My money is on the cheese still being recognizable years down the road.