Tag Archives: chemicals

Friday Linkage 6/5/2020

Are we living in the moment when the United States descends into a version of a dictatorship?  The signs seem to be pointing to yes, but there are several things that make me stop and wonder.

The most prominent of those thoughts is that Donald Trump is the worst person you would want to pin your hopes on.  He is literally the definition of a coward and a bully, which is a bad combination for any potential strong man.

Furthermore, his base of support is quite narrow.  In order to win the election in 2016 he needed to fool the American people long enough to thread the most narrow of needle eyes to make it possible.  None of this will be true in 2020.

My great hope is that this period of time will pass like the tumultuous late-1960s and we will emerge as a better nation.  Plus, we won’t end up with Nixon as president again.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Who Killed Berta Cáceres? Behind the Brutal Murder of an Environment Crusader—It is dangerous to stand up for the health of the planet.  Moneyed interest will literally murder you if you get in the way of the making an extra percentage point on an investment.

The Trump Presidency Is the Worst Ever for Public Lands—Knowing Donald Trump he would likely consider this a feather in his cap.  At least he was number one in something.

Trump EPA Curbs State Power to Reject Fossil Fuel Projects—Trump loves state’s rights when it favors his little pet projects, but state’s rights are a bad thing when it gets in the way of his presidency being the worst for the nation in history.

Air Pollution in China Back to Pre-Covid Levels and Europe May Follow—There went the only good thing to come out of coronavirus.

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About—There is absolutely nothing more indicative of the corruption and rot at the heart of America’s utility companies than forcing consumers to pay more money for coal fired electricity.

EU’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue to Fall as Coal Ditched—Every coal plant that gets shut down is a victory for the planet.  After every coal plant is shut down we move on to shutting down every natural gas plant.  It’s war and we will win.

UK Electricity Coal Free for First Month Ever—It starts with a month and then it becomes a quarter.  Pretty soon you will be talking about coal free years in the United Kingdom.

UK Coalmines Operator Hargreaves Services to End Mining Next Month—After a certain point there will be an accelerating death spiral for coal as supporting companies and mines can no longer make the business an economically viable going concern.  Each additional business that exits the space makes it less economically viable in general accelerating the closures.

Chemists Identify Toxic Chemicals in Fracking Wastewater—Over two hundred different chemical compounds are in fracking wastewater and it is being disposed of in a myriad of ways.   You know, like reinjecting it into the ground.  What could go wrong?

Clear Skies Are a Cover-Up for India’s Fossil Fuel Expansion—The fossil fuel industry will not a let a good crisis go to waste.  We must keep the pressure on to stop the use of these planet killing fuels.

EVs are a Rare Bright Spot in a Pandemic-Struck European Car Market—People may not be buying cars in general, but people are buying EVs specifically.

Empire State Building Slashes Carbon Emissions By 40% With Energy Saving Upgrades—Efficiency is not as sexy as things like floating wind turbines or electric vehicles, but it is the quickest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions in the near term.  The most environmentally friendly kilowatt is the one you never need to generate.

Planting Invasive Species Could Make Our Carbon Problem Worse—Plant the right tree in the right spot is the mantra of foresters everywhere.  Just indiscriminately planting trees or other plants, for the matters, will not help anyone in the long term.

Americans Still Aren’t Cooking Much from Scratch—Even coronavirus cannot change the long term behavioral trend toward less cooking.  That is a damn shame.

Your Organic Meat Might Not Actually Be Organic—“Big meat” will lie to you about the nature of the food you are going to eat.  “Big meat” will work behind the scenes to fix prices while telling you how they are good for the consumer.  “Big meat” will literally kill their employees and tell you that this is the price to pay for abundant food.  Wrong.

The 160-Year-Old Reason You’re Obsessed with Your Lawn—Ugh, lawns.  If we could just give up lawns and golf America would be a much better place.

The Misunderstood Funeral Tech That’s Illegal in 30 States—The burial industrial complex in the United States is a racket.  It is expensive and bad for the environment.  My wish is to be composted at the end.

Friday Linkage 11/22/2019

This week one of the true giants of craft brewing announced a sale to a multi-national beverage conglomerate.  Fort Collins based New Belgium Brewery–the people behind Fat Tire Amber Ale–sold out to the group behind Kirin. This is the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States and the eleventh largest brewery overall.  Middle craft beer is dead. Support your small local brewery. Like today.

On to the links…

Keystone Spill Has Affected Nearly 10x More Land Than Was Estimated–Every time that someone brings up an argument in favor of an oil pipeline, especially the Keystone XL pipeline, just link to this article.  There is no such thing as a perfectly safe and secure oil or gas pipeline. The only perfectly safe and secure oil or gas pipeline is one that is not built.

See How Good the World Could be in 2040—If We Act on Climate Solutions Now–Lost in a lot of the pessimism about climate change specifically and the state of the world in general is that a future dystopia is not the only path available to use if we act.  Sure, right wing fanatics would have you believe that accelerationism–which is really just a pet theory for apocalypse nuts–is driving the world to the end times but they are wrong.

How Much Energy do We Really Need?–This is the kind of question that we need to be asking because it cuts at the very heart of the perpetual growth arguments of modern economic theory.  If we do not need to grow in perpetuity than we will need less energy than forecast in the future.

How to Cut U.S. Carbon Pollution by Nearly 40 Percent in 10 Years–Common sense and simple solutions to accelerate the climate change solution are available.  The problem is that a portion of this country’s politicians have no incentive whatsoever to embrace anything other than reactionary politics.  This is how we got a place where a conservative solution to health care coverage became the right wing’s bugaboo. We are doomed as long as these people are given any agency.

A Carbon Tax Won’t Kill the Economy–When someone at Forbes writes this article you have to wonder if the worm has turned.  It could also be that even the people at Forbes realize that America is relatively undertaxed and a carbon tax would go a long way to addressing destructive behaviors.  Somewhere Grover Norquist is hiding under his bedsheets and crying.

Two of America’s Biggest Coal Plants Closed this Month–This is why we keep pounding away at the problem by increasing efficiency, installing solar panels, and fighting for the true costs of fossil fuels to be included in the price of extraction.  Even with a president in the pocket of coal barons the ancient fuel is dying. Here is the damning paragraph from the article:

Together, the two retirements equal all the emission reductions from coal plant shut-downs in 2015, a record year when 15 GW of mostly smaller and older units were shuttered, reports Scientific American. Last year, 14 GW were mothballed. In 2020, more are on the way, including Kentucky’s Paradise plant.

The Paradise plant in Kentucky represents 1.15 GW of coal fired capacity.  It’s closure and another TVA asset in the region will save customers over $300M.  That is economics, bro!

5 Things to Know about Fighting Climate Change by Planting Trees–Here is the thing that gets me about this debate: the argument is that planting trees is not as good as some people make it out to be.  Okay, but that does not mean it is not beneficial. Just because the upside potential is lower than advertised does not mean that it ceases to be a worthwhile endeavour.  What is the downside?

When Residents Support Solar—Just ‘Not in My Backyard’–This is the worst.  Supposed liberals and supporters of green energy who just want to put energy production somewhere else.  Take responsibility for your consumption.

EasyJet Flights are Now Carbon Neutral–Carbon offsets are kind of the crack cocaine of the climate mitigation movement.  Easy to consume and oh so addictive. “See, we are carbon neutral,” a company can say without really addressing the underlying environmentally destructive behaviors that drive their business.

This Man Wants to Convince America Beef is Healthier than Meatless Burgers–This is also a man who worked for years to convince the American public that smoking was not a public heath crisis.  This is the same kind of man who will tell you industrial pollution is actually good for you. This is the same kind of man who will sell his soul for a few extra dollars in his bank.  This is the kind of man who needs to rot in hell.

There Are 2,000 Untested Chemicals in Packaged Foods — and It’s Legal–In some dark basement somewhere Richard Berman is swimming in his ill gotten gains like an oily Scrooge McDuck wondering if he should contact the packaged food industry to begin a campaign of telling us that untested chemicals in our food are really good for us.  Or, we could just avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store.

Los Angeles Places Largest Single Electric Bus Order In US History — 130 BYD K7M Buses–I am really waiting for the day when orders like this are just commonplace.  Or when orders of a much larger magnitude are what we report about. Still, progress.

Dominion Energy’s Electric School Bus Program Offers Valuable Vehicle-to-Grid Lesson–When electric buses are idle those big batteries can be part of the solution in shifting the mismatch between the supply of renewable energy and the demand for electricity.

Thermal Camera Reveals Efficiency Gap Between EV And ICE–About this time of year I wished I had a little bit of that wasted energy for heating my Nissan Leaf.

The U.S. Natural Gas Boom Is Fueling A Global Plastics Boom–Cheap natural gas equals cheap plastic.

Fast Shipping isn’t Great for the Environment— 7 Ways to Cut the Carbon Footprint on your Amazon Deliveries–Until Amazon is rocking a fleet of Rivian electric delivery trucks you are stuck with getting stuffed shipped the old fashioned way–heavily carbon intensive.  The advice is really simple: ship it together and ship it slowly. Or just stop buying stuff online.