It’s been seventeen years since the attacks of September 11th. It is amazing to believe that the students entering college this fall have no personal living memory of that day when it is so indelibly scarred on so many of our consciences. Time marches on without regard to our humanity.
It is also amazing to think about the path we chose to follow as a country in the aftermath of September 11th. The administration of George W. Bush, which seems like a gauzy dream during these days of Trump, got us into two wars from which we are not out of seventeen years later. All for a total cost of more than $1.5 trillion and counting.
What could we have done with $1.5 trillion in the United States? Remember, this money is gone and what it bought is used up, blown up, stolen, or just plain abandoned in the desert. In essence, we have gotten nothing for our blood and treasure.
On to the links…
The Most Ambitious Climate Plan In History—In the coming years the battle lines will be drawn over a carbon tax. All the other mechanisms, carrot and/or stick, will be shelved in favor of a simple carbon tax. As they say on sports talk radio, book it.
U.S. Budget Deficit Widens to Fifth-Highest Ever, CBO Reports—Any time a Republican says “Tax cuts pay for themselves” please ask them for evidence to back up that claim that does not come from the Heritage Foundation. It is not that the United States does not have enough money for a progressive agenda, it’s that America is being looted by the right wing for corporate interests.
Trump Administration Rushes To Lease Federal Lands—These bastards know that they are living on borrowed time, so they better get while the getting is good. Teapot Dome scandal will have nothing on these grifters when the final accounting is complete.
The E.P.A.’s Review of Mercury Rules Could Remake Its Methods for Valuing Human Life and Health—In Trump’s America your life is worth less than a coal baron’s ability to make a lot of money. There is no other reason to change this rule except to mollify the retrograde coal companies that are one of the last groups to actually like Donald Trump.
Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane Into Air—Oh wait, oil and gas bros also still like Donald Trump because his administration is doing yeoman’s work for them.
Scott Pruitt in Talks with Coal Company for his Next Job—Nothing says looking out for Americans’ interests quite like taking a job with the type of company you favored over the aforementioned Americans’ interests not three months after leaving office in a cloud of scandal. Maybe they offered him a Trump mattress and some of that special lotion as a signing bonus?
Cover the U.S. In 89 Percent Trees, or Go Solar—Why not do both? I love trees and I love solar. Until every south and west facing roof is covered in solar panels we have not done enough.
California Commits To 100 Percent Clean Energy By 2045—It’s big and it’s bold. Is it possible? I don’t know, but watching California lead the pack will be interesting. I would love to see Iowa go 100% wind powered and beat everyone to the punch.
For States That Have Already Met Their Renewable Energy Goals, A New Question: Now What?—If you do not think local and state elections matter then consider this possibility: states that have met their RPS could just stay put and do nothing more going into the future if there is no push from local constituencies. Or, these same states could do more. Your call.
Sony Vows to Use 100 Percent Renewable Electricity by 2040—If your state won’t commit to renewables maybe your favorite company can. Heck, some of these companies have a carbon footprint of small countries.
How Solar Power Saved $6.7 Million on a Tuesday—It got really hot in the Northeast U.S. However, solar power pushed peak demand pricing to later in the day when things cooled down by providing up to 20% of the electricity on the grid. What did coal do for you today?
Coal-Dependent Utility Fights Efforts to Reveal Whether Power Plants are Cost-Efficient—These are the boring but important stories to watch. State utility boards are the definition of boring government business. That being said, these same utility boards hold hearings that can eviscerate the economic basis for continuing to use coal.
Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens off England’s Coast—I have to imagine that offshore wind is a Republican nightmare. It is wind power, so they hate it. However, it is offshore so any protest about appearance or the environment would also argue against offshore oil and gas drilling. What is someone bought and paid for by Exxon cash to do?
Coal-Killing Energy Storage Grows By 200% In US—The last thing coal has going for it is that it is baseload power. It can be counted on to deliver power when it is scheduled to deliver power. However, the intermittency of renewables can be mitigated with some measure of storage.
Fossil Fuel Demand Set To Peak In The 2020s—It should be our mission in life to see that this peak happens sooner than forecast and that demand declines at a precipitous rate thereafter.
Large Trucks are Biggest Culprits of Near-Road Air Pollution—This is just one of the many reasons why electrification of transportation should focus on commercial trucks and busses first.
By 2040, Most of the World Won’t Have Enough Water to Meet Demand Year-Round—If you do not things are going to get turbulent and violent in the coming decades just wait until the taps run dry in many parts of the world. Do you still want to be watering a lawn in Utah?
How to Eat Well – and Save the Planet—Most of these ideas are not rocket science. Eat less meat. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. It it’s processed, leave it on the shelf at the store. And so on…
Fundraisers for Sick Restaurant Employees Represent the Failure of American Health Care—The other battle line in America, in addition to a carbon tax, is with regard to health care. The right wing does not care that you cannot get health care. The right wing wants you to get sick and die, but only after spending all of your assets to obtain some measure of care. They want you to die with a single red cent left to your name.
More Older Americans Are Turning To Marijuana—If you have any doubts about the future of marijuana legalization in the United States imagine what the situation will be like when AARP and baby boomers get behind the trend? Federal legalization is a fait accompli.