Tag Archives: Brazil

Friday Linkage 11/1/2019

It’s a white Halloween…

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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 10/18/2019

As the investigation into Donald Trump’s administration deepens I do not see anyone really stepping back and asking, “How did we get to a point where an obviously corrupt and incompetent administration is allowed to operate with impunity?”

Granted, if I were Mitch McConnell—the grim reaper of American democracy—I would “get while the getting is good” because posterity will not be kind to the one man who is demonstrably responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today.

On to the links…

This Is What Adapting to Climate Change Looks Like—California is America on fast forward according to author Manuel Pastor.  Our collective future is going to look a lot like California’s present as the climate changes and the planet gets angry.

Staring Down Donald Trump, the Same Elephant in Every Room—In a little more than a year I hope that the results on election night play out like a national version of Greta Thunberg’s stare as we watch Donny Two Scoops melt down.

BLM Head: ‘What I thought, what I wrote, what I did in the past is irrelevant.’—In the swampy Trump administration it does not matter what you may have said or done in the past.  All that matters is fealty to the dear leader and a willingness to loot the public treasury for the benefit of private interests.

Why US Car Emissions Are Continuing to Rise in the Era of the Hybrid—No matter how many EVs and hybrids we buy it is being cancelled out by the rise in SUVs and pickup trucks.  It also does not help that we buy things from Amazon that have to be delivered by truck.

The Midwest’s Solar Future will be Unlike Anything Seen Before—I can see this happening first hand in eastern Iowa.  Lots of homes around me have gone solar as county wide efforts to bring down the per watt cost have increased the rates of adoption.  Farmers have installed massive ground mount arrays with the help of local co-ops and accommodating rural electric cooperatives.  What makes me hopeful is that there are so many more roofs that can be graced with solar panels.

Renewable Energy Surpasses Fossil Fuels in the UK—The ongoing Brexit debacle may have made the UK seem like a dysfunction mess, but there is real progress on becoming a post-modern energy state.

#Sludge Report: End Of Fossil Fuel Era Closer Than We Know—Like a snowball rolling downhill things start off small and slow but before long it becomes large and fast.

No Relief from Fracking Industry on Colorado’s Front Range—This is where fracking will be stopped.  Fracking is going to shoot itself because it does not care about the communities that it impacts negatively.

Another Insurer Will Dump Coal and Oil Sands—Boring but important news here.  Without insurance a lot of projects cannot get debt financing.  Debt financing is the lifeblood of fossil fuel projects.  You do the math.

Fast Food is Fueling Brazilian Wildfires—Global supply chains do not care about sustainability.  Global supply chains only care about getting commodities for the lowest possible price.  If the world has to burn to save a nickel the global supply chain will provide the match.

The Shadowy Beef Lobbyist Fighting Against Plant-Based ‘Meat’—The same cast of characters who coordinated the rear guard action for Big Tobacco are reassembling like a motley band of comic book villains to help the meat industry slow the advance of plant based alternatives.  The irony is that it did not work out so well for Big Tobacco.

The Impossible Whopper is Driving Steady Traffic to Burger King—People actually want to visit a Burger King to get an Impossible Whopper.  When was the last time you heard anybody say they wanted to go to Burger King?  This is what the meat industry fears.

Cities Are Worried About the Health Effects of Glyphosate—Everyone should be worried about the negative health impacts of glyphosate.  Monsanto lied and people died.

A Coffee Crisis Is Brewing And It Could Make Your Morning Joe Less Tasty—Climate change is coming for your coffee.  It’s not just climate change but international business and geopolitics as well.  Needless to say, you might want to read up on the robusta variety of coffee because you will be drinking it soon enough.

Buying ‘Green’ Won’t Make You Any Happier, but Buying Less Will—We cannot buy our way into a state of happiness and we cannot buy our way into a greener lifestyle.

It’s Better to Buy Less than to Buy ‘Green’ Products—The greenest thing that you can do is just say no when it comes to buying stuff.

The Climate Change Solution Scientists Have Been Overlooking—This makes so much sense you know that organizations like the Catholic Church and Republicans will be against it because…reasons.

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested—If you do not think we need Medicare for All than you have never interacted with the system that actually put people in jail for medical debts.  Furthermore, this is a system that is using a power normally associate with absolute monarchs—contempt—to put people in jail for debts owed to private entities.  If there was ever a recipe for a revolution this would be it.

Friday Linkage 10/2/2015

The Tesla Model X came out this week and I want one. But, at a starting price of $80K I might be better off looking at used Nissan Leafs costing under $10K. When will the Model 3 come out?

Note, there will be no Friday Linkage next week since I will be spending the week in Los Angeles evaluating suppliers for my job.

On to the links…

Coal Mine Starts Continue To Decline—This is the second step on the journey to the death of coal. If fewer mines are opening than fewer mines will be operating further eroding the ability of the fuel to be effectively and efficiently pulled from the ground. Let’s kick coal while it is down.

Is Cargill Backsliding on its Promise to End Deforestation?—Few large corporations are as hard to pin down on issues than Cargill. As a privately-held firm it is not beholden to the same reporting rules that allow shareholders to extract information from publicly-held firms. Perhaps public pressure can take some of the slack and get Cargill to be a good corporate citizen. I am not holding my breath.

Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Is Wasted Annually, New Study Shows—Food waste is the single biggest environmental issue that we have control of in our own homes and through our consumption patterns. Every piece of food that we throw away is a wasted opportunity to reduce our impact on the world.

Batteries May Curb Sales by Power Companies, Moody’s Says—If the large scale deployment of energy storage technology is truly able to reduce peak demand power companies may lose a major source of profit. Power becomes very expensive and profitable for power companies when it comes at peak times.

Solar Hit ~7% Of Spain’s Electricity This Summer—Damn, 7% from solar is impressive any way you slice it.

Brazil Doubles Its Solar PV Target To 7 GW By 2024—What is the target in the good ol’ U.S.A.? Right, we do not have a national target for solar.

North Carolina Passes 1 GW Of Installed Solar—That seems like a lot of solar for one state that is not known as a particularly sunny locale.

Fracking has a Big Water Footprint, but That’s Not the Whole Story—The extraction of fossil fuels is a story about water. Without a lot of water it would not be possible.

Electric Buses Could Lead to Significant Savings Even for Smaller Cities—Why the government is not pushing electric buses and garbage trucks I will never understand. These vehicles seem like perfect candidates for conversion.

Saving Electricity—Spend a few minutes going through the various categories to see where you could be saving a lot of watts. Since I cannot get solar panels in the near term—thanks homeowner’s insurance—I am going to try and reduce my rolling twelve month usage below 300 kWh.

‘Thirsty’ Concrete Absorbs 880 Gallons of Water a Minute to Minimize Urban Floods—Why is this stuff not replacing hard concrete and asphalt in southern climes affected by heavy seasonal rains?

Friday Linkage 1/9/2015

Damn, it got cold here during the first full week of 2015. How cold? Like minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit air temperature overnight and school cancelled because of cold. Not a snow day, mind you, but a cold day. Heck, we had a two hour delay on Thursday because of cold following Wednesday’s cancellation. People are starting to get a little stir crazy.

On to the links…

Going Dry: The Benefits Of A Month Without Booze—I haven’t gone totally dry, like some participants did for the month of January, but I can confirm that anecdotally I feel better. I no longer have any pre-gout symptoms. Which is huge, because gout sucks.

The Three Biggest Solar Charts of 2014—Check out these charts and marvel in the progress being made in solar.

API Energy Report Says Solar Will Double In 2015-16—Basically, the U.S. has approximately 20 GW of solar PV with another 20 GW in the pipeline. Yep, that’s about double.

Renewables Over 13% of US Electricity Production Jan–Oct 2014—The numbers for the end of 2014 are starting to be compiled and it looks like a good one for the production of clean, renewable energy sources in the U.S.

California’s Governor: 50% Of Electricity From Renewables By 2030—If California can make this goal it might just drag a lot of other states along with it. Certain states—California and Texas primarily—are so large that decisions made in these states trickle down—voodoo policy?—to many other states.

Denmark Sets World Record For Wind Power Production—I live in Iowa, so I am a sucker for wind power. Last year Denmark got over 39% of its total electricity from wind power. Damn.

Renewable Energy Review: Brazil—Brazil’s renewable energy development is generally thought to be about ethanol and little else, but this provides a nice overview of other things happening in the southern hemisphere.

La Paz, Mexico to be 100 Percent Solar Powered by the End of 2015—Not 100 percent renewables, but 100 percent solar!

The Pace of Japan’s Renewable Development is Slowing—The pace was bound to slow after the rush following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but the surprising thing is that nuclear power is scheduled to come back online.

Six Renewable Energy Trends to Watch in 2015—I think that we are passed proving the technical capability of renewables. Now it is time to see if the services and financing around renewables can develop at a fast enough pace to really deploy some serious demand destruction.

The 41 Weirdest Things Ever Used to Make Biofuels—People will try anything to make a little go juice for the gas tank.

A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michigan For Two Months Straight—WTF? How can anyone ever listen to an energy executive talk about safety and a commitment to the environment without laughing?

Coal Companies Are Selling Coal To Themselves To Get More Government Subsidies—Basically, these companies are routing transactions through shell companies and fronts to pay less in taxes and royalties. If you and I did it we would go to jail for tax evasion. If a coal company does it they get more subsidies.

Don Blankenship Trial Delayed Until April—Can’t we just get this trial going? Seriously, does anyone think this guy is not guilty:

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Friday Linkage 11/7/2014

A few days after the mid-term election is a good time to sit back and reflect on what really happened. Mediocre candidates, running away from the president’s signature law, and a lot of money equaled a bad day for Democrats. Remember, however, that Republicans are now in the tricky spot of getting what they wanted. Now they have to govern with a presidential election looming and a seemingly strong opposition candidate already anointed in Hillary Clinton. Sometimes, I just love politics.

On to the links…

The Koch 130—Do you want to know how the Koch Brothers are influencing parts of your life? Run down this list and see what groups they fund interact with your interests. My guess is that there are several.

What It’s Like To Be Detained And Prosecuted Under Ag-Gag Law—With Republican victories across the U.S. in statehouses and governor’s mansions expect ag-gag laws to pop up in other states. Chilling speech, while unconstitutional, is a great way to stop dissent.

Peak Water: United States Water Use Drops to Lowest Level in 40 Years—I read through these charts and was just amazed at what it was telling me.

Public Opposition has Cost Tar Sands Industry $17 Billion—If you do not think that the public opposition to tar sands and other dirty fuels has had any effect than you have not been watching. This is costing those companies billions of dollars. Now is the time to turn up the heat.

Ethiopia “Regreens” Degraded Land; Plans to Restore 15m More Hectares by 2030—If we want to reverse the worst effects of climate change we need to restore degraded land to a more hospitable state. If Ethiopia can do it—a country whose very name is evocative for anyone who grew up in the 1980s—than other countries can make it work as well.

Brazil Solar Power Auction May Spur $1 Billion in Investment—Every day seems to bring another story of a developing or emerging economy having a huge auction for solar or wind power development. This time it is Brazil.

Wiki-Solar Claims Global Utility-Scale PV Capacity Passed 30 GW—This is just about the march of progress of solar.

Denmark Announces Plan to Wean Itself Off Coal Within 10 Years—Granted, Denmark is small but its progressive policies are sort of like a laboratory for the rest of Europe and eventually those ideas seep across the Atlantic Ocean into America.

A Look inside Sweden’s Recycling-Obsessed, Garbage-Powered Cities—I do not know if garbage incineration is the answer to the problem of landfills, but it is an answer and it seems to be working for Sweden. Could you imagine if the U.S. had to import garbage?

Global Wind Energy Market Rebounding, Set For “Unspectacular Growth”—I think unspectacular growth is a good thing for the wind energy business, so it can wean itself from the boom and bust cycles that have defined its business over the past decade or more.

For Cellulosic Ethanol Makers, The Road Ahead Is Still Uphill—I hold out hope for ethanol’s second generation. The first generation uses corn, which can also be used for food, and thus has the potential to drive up global food prices. Second generation biofuels are going to use non-foodstuffs.

Nissan Leaf Sets Another Monthly Sales Record, Chevy Volt Remains Steady—The thing to remember with these cars is that this is the first generation of both models. Sales never really take off until the second generation. Look at the Toyota Prius’ sales figures. In 2000, the first year the model was available in the U.S., it sold 5,600 units. The second generation vehicle sold 54,000 in the first year of its U.S. availability. Just saying.

Rick Berman Caught on Tape: Hear His 10 Tactics to Aid Dirty Energy Corps—If you thought the mid-term election and the period leading up to it were bad, get ready for this guy’s tactics to be on full display for the next two years in the run up to 2016.

Libertarians Sue White House Over Climate Change Video—I love libertarians and other right wingers who decry activist judges yet use the courts at every turn to advance their agenda or slow down someone else’s. Hypocrisy, it’s what makes the world go round.

Remove or Revive? Dakota County aims to Update Old Dams—The U.S. is covered in old dams that are either failing or no longer serving a useful purpose. Municipalities across the U.S. are going to facing the same decision as Dakota County over the next decade: what to do about old dams?

Friday Linkage 10/10/2014

Fall is really in the air, so that means it is time to blow town and go on vacation. The family and I leave next week for a quick jaunt to the swamps of Florida for enforced fun with Mickey Mouse and his furry friends. My son has not stopped chanting “tea cups!” for the past week. Save me, please.

On to the links…

Teacher Sends Hungry First Graders Home With Backpacks Full Of Food—I both love this story and hate this story. I love that a teacher took this upon themselves to help their students, but it makes me sick that in the United States we have children that are hungry. There is no excuse why any person in this country should be hungry on a given day unless it is their choice to not eat. No excuse.

How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground—School lunch is big business and even bigger politics. It’s why, as parents, we should be fighting tooth and nail to change the system.

If America Cared about the Planet as Much as the NFL, This is What it Would Look Like—When the NFL was about to go on strike a few years back the news and analysis of the labor negotiations was amazing in its depth. If people cared about anything other than sports that much the world would be a much better place.

EPA says 24.1-mpg New Car Average is Best-Ever—Our average vehicle fuel economy keeps creeping up and as new technologies come on board—hello aluminum F-150—the numbers will keep getting better as we approach the 2025 deadline.

America’s Biggest Solar Provider Has A New Way To Make Rooftop Systems More Affordable—Every day brings stories about how solar is becoming increasingly affordable. Pretty soon it will be the same as putting on a new deck for a lot of people. I hope to put my solar system on the house next year. Yee hah!

Home Solar Plus A Battery Could Be Cheaper Than The Grid In Germany In Just A Few Years—Think about a market where solar plus a battery being cheaper than the power provided by a centralized grid? The demand destruction would be enormous.

$7 Million Annual Reduction In Lighting Costs For Ford Due To $25 Million LED Investment—This is a great investment. How good? The NPV value of this deal is $29 million assuming a discount rate of 5% and no inflation of the annual reduction in costs that might happen due to increasing energy costs. Efficiency is sweet.

Obama to Declare National Monument in San Gabriels—This is another step closer to creating a national park right on the doorstep of metro Los Angeles. Imagine that.

Translogic 160: Detroit Bus Company—This is a great story about someone creating a solution to a community’s need. A lot of the world may have left Detroit for dead, but there are a lot of people who refuse to believe the commonly held sentiment about the city’s future.

A Cool Folding Tricycle That Can Also Haul Your Groceries—I really hope that human powered mobility is the future of transportation for a majority of our needs and I hope more nifty solutions like this come to market. It’s just cute and cool.

Your Coffee is about to Get a Lot More Expensive—Climate change may be about to smack our favorite morning indulgence. Drought in Brazil, rust in Central America, and god knows what else around the world is sending coffee prices soaring in wholesale markets.

Colorado’s First Legal Hemp Harvest Since 1957 is Underway—It’s not going to set the world on fire because seed stocks are limited and expertise is lacking, but the future of hemp farming in America is happening. A lot of this year’s efforts are going into seed saving which will help subsequent years be successful.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Infographics Are Made—I love infographics for some strange reason. Some people like trashy romance novels or porn. I like infographics. It’s interesting to see some of the tricks of the trade.

Friday Linkage 11/30/2012

It’s the last day of November and I am sad to see this month go.  It really brought some good things to this world.  For example, the reelection of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney’s recent unemployment, Karl Rove getting his comeuppance on national television, Gene Chizik finally coming to the end of a career of failing up, and so many others.

Bring on December and the links…

Eight Ways the Drought is Influencing Thanksgiving—Now that the leftovers have been mostly consumed and the relatives have left for the far reaches of the country, it is time to take a moment and consider how climate change and drought are affecting our holidays.  It’s an ugly picture.

The Ugly Truth About Food Waste in America—Every year Americans waste 33 million tons of food and it is a growing problem.  Yet, we live in a country where millions of people are considered “food insecure.”  It’s not a problem of food scarcity, but of efficiency and distribution.

Hunger in Plain Sight—It is shameful that in the U.S. politicians on the right argue about the funding levels for programs like SNAP that provide a minimum safety net for people to avoid going hungry.  It is not a ploy to avoid work or milk the system.  These programs provide a crucial life line so that people can live.

How Access to Food Stamps Leads to Better Health and Economic Outcomes— Do you still doubt the validity and efficacy of food programs like SNAP?  Too bad, because you are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Going Undercover in the Modern Factory Farm—Anyone who has spent any time reading about food issues in the United States is aware of the problems associated with factory farms, but what about the people who risk their safety to go undercover to expose the horror?  Now you can find out.

Consumer Reports Finds Most Pork Contaminated with Yersinia—Another day, another report of drug resistant bacteria being prevalent in the food supply due to the prophylactic use of antibiotics in factory farms.

The Modern American Family and What it Means for Sustainability— Demographics are destiny, as the Republicans discovered when they nominated a race and class baiting white guy, so there has to be an impact of sustainability.  Yep.  The question remains if we will see fundamental shifts in our development patterns or will the momentum of more than sixty years of suburban development be too much to overcome.  Stay tuned.

Wind Power Makes up 26% of ERCOT’s Power in November—Even the wind power is big in Texas.  The Electric Reliability Grid of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas grid operator, received 26% of its electricity for the grid’s load from wind power which was a new record.

Studying Cities to Find Global Warming’s Benefits—Let me get this out of the way: there are no benefits to global warming, generally, because the damage to the entire system is too great for even localized gains to matter.  There may be unanticipated adaptions or similar phenomena, but no benefit.

Why Picking “Low Hanging Fruit” Hurts Efficiency and How to Fix the Problem—Basically, the return on an investment in efficiency needs to be complete in as little as three years, but often no more than five years.  For a lot of projects that timeframe is ridiculous.  Therefore, it is only the superficial projects that really get addressed.  Interesting hypothesis.

Another Path to Biofuels—Readers will know that I have hope for biofuels, but not the current generation of corn derived ethanol or soy derived biodiesel because of problems of competing with food crops.  Algae seems like the source for future biofuels and there are a lot of projects out there trying to be the first to really pull it off.  Here is what is going on in Brazil.

Let’s Stop this Mindless Tree Planting—This is less a scree about tree planting and more a condemnation of willy nilly geoengineering, in a way.  Tree planting schemes usually focus on either rapidly growing trees or economically valuable trees planted in relatively uniform stands rather than diverse woodland stands.  So, when something afflicts one species of tree there is a large problem.  Diversity is the key?  Who would have thought?

The Sustainability of Tablets—How eco-friendly is that new tablet you have been eyeing: