Tag Archives: climate change

Friday Linkage 4/3/2020

We are al alumni of Zoom University it seems at this point.

Seriously, why do some trolls feel the need to “zoombomb” the meetings were are conducting online?

That’s right, because even in the middle of a national crisis racist trolls are going to do the things that racist trolls will do.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

If The Virus Can Decimate Global Economies So Can Climate Change—All of the bad impacts of coronavirus are strikingly similar to the bad impacts of climate change except we cannot create a vaccine or therapeutic treatments for climate change.

Coyotes are Being Seen on the Empty Streets of San Francisco—It did not take long for the animals to decide to start taking over.

Oceans Can be Restored to Former Glory within 30 Years, Say Scientists—If the past few weeks have shown us anything it is that one of the most powerful things we can do as a species is to get out of the way of nature.  It will find a way to heal and rebalance.

Wildlife Charity Plans to Buy UK Land to Give it Back to Nature—Take this idea and spread it across the globe.  Pockets of rewilded nature everywhere.  Start to link those pockets and stitch them together with existing “wilderness.”  That sounds like a plan.

The EPA Appears to be Using Coronavirus to Make Huge Concessions to Polluters—Remember, Republicans used to be all about “law and order.”  Now, this usually means locking up people who cannot fight back with lawyers and lobbyists.  So, in the current world if you are a big company or a white collar criminal the laws do not actually apply to you.  Let the crime spree begin.

Federal Judge Tosses Dakota Access Pipeline Permits, Orders Full Environmental Review—I am almost certain that the Trump administration will try and ignore this ruling because they truly are the best administration that money can buy when it come to fossil fuels.

The Closure of Colorado Coal-Fired Powerplants is Freeing up Water for Thirsty Cities—The dirty little secret of fossil fuels is just how much water it takes to produce and use fossil fuels.  Now your calculus of closing down a power plant could include the financial benefit of selling water rights to a municipality.  Solar power never looked so good in Colorado.

Last Coal-Fired Generating Plants Closing In UK & New York—The end is near for coal in the UK and New York.

The Inevitable Collapse Of Global Oil Production—Global oil demand is expected to crash by more than 20% in April/May.  Can we find a way through where none of that production comes back online?

Fossil Fuel Industry Looks to Profit With Plastics—The oil and gas industry are finding it increasingly hard to make money selling fossil fuels for transportation and energy.  The key to their long term profitability and, thus, survivability is to pivot into making more plastic and chemicals.  If there was ever a reason to go plastic free this is it.

Solar Fuel: Yep, It’s A Genuine Artificial Leaf—The scary thing for oil and gas companies looking to make plastics and chemicals is that there are renewable ways to do the exact same thing.  Feedstock is feedstock whether it comes from a well in the ground or the sunshine hitting the Earth.

Scientists Find Bug that Feasts on Toxic Plastic—Imagine bio-reactors filled with this bacterium munching away on our generations worth of waste plastic.

Report Reveals ‘Massive Plastic Pollution Footprint’ of Drinks Firms—How about we just stop buying beverages in disposable plastic containers?

GCL Plans To Invest $2.5 Billion In World’s Largest Solar Panel Factory—60 gigawatts of annual solar panel production is monstrous.  Like half of the world’s annual demand monstrous.  If you ware a fossil fuel player, watch out.

This Company Wants to Turn Your Windows into Solar Panels—I have seen these kinds of announcements before and nothing ever seems to come of it.  Maybe this time is different.

Revealed: Monsanto Predicted Crop System Would Damage US Farms—The companies that produce these chemicals knew that their products would cause harm and they did not care because they stood to make billions of dollars.  If you think politicians care about farmers ask them to stop taking money from companies like Bayer.

Designing an End to a Toxic American Obsession: The Lawn—Let 2020 be the year that we kill the American lawn as we know it.  No more bags of fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides spread indiscriminately in the pursuit of an unnatural monoculture.

For Skiers, There’s a Contaminant Underfoot—The pursuit of the gnar does not mean that we have to pollute the food web of alpine environments.  One time base coats are an option.  So are more environmentally ski wax products like mountainFLOW eco-wax.

The Secret to Curbing Farm Emissions is Buried in the Stone Age—It seems like every solution that is proposed to help alleviate carbon emissions is about rediscovering a gentler way of conducting the business of being human.

Is Fake Meat Getting too Much like the Real Thing?—This is kind of the point. No one wants to go back to the dark days of veggie burgers that tasted like stale quinoa and dry black beans.

Progress Against 2020 Goals in the First Quarter of the Year

Here is a breakdown by goal of my progress so far in 2020:

  • Deeper decarbonization: An electric lawn mower and weed eater are in the garage ready to go. I cannot wait to report on the run times for the batteries and the overall experience of completely shedding small engines for yard maintenance.  Some other projects, most notably a new electric air source heat pump water heater, are going to have to wait until the restrictions around coronavirus subside.  In a way, all of this restriction on travel, which leads to less shopping and wasteful trips, is decarbonizing my life.  It’s not good to be going through this saga, but the energy diet is a nice side effect.
  • Replace 500 Vehicle Miles with Human Powered Transit: This one is a little hard for me to imagine right now as we are not driving at all. The cars in our garage are basically sitting save for a weekly trip to get groceries.  I will be very curious to see what our mileage totals look like for the month of April as the lockdown continues.
  • Ride 2,500 Miles on my Bicycle: 47.93 miles by the end of March. It’s not much, but it is ahead of last year’s pace.
  • Ride 2 “New to Me” Trails: A goal for warmer weather. Stay tuned.
  • Local, Direct, and Packaging Neutral Beer: Check out the details here. A little bit of a misstep as I prepared for coronavirus lockdown by buying up some cans from local breweries.
  • Read 40 Books: 22 books down. Not too shabby for one quarter.
  • Reduce Lawn, Increase Landscape Variety: This is a goal for the spring, so look forward to some progress now that the temperature has gone up and the snow is off the ground. Plus, what else am I going to do in a world where we are sheltering in place.
  • Maximize Local Food: Until about mid-March I was killing it with local food. According to my calculations, local food comprised almost 50% of my grocery spend.  Then coronavirus happened and we decided to stock up.  A couple of big trips to warehouse clubs and weekly grocery pickup have killed my local grocery shopping.  Even so, local groceries make up about 33% of my household grocery spend.  I am hoping to improve upon that in the coming months as we all learn how to navigate a world impacted by coronavirus.

Friday Linkage 3/27/2020

Please stay safe out there.

If you do not have to go out, do not go out.

Wash your damn hands.

Hold your family members tight, call your parents, and remember what is important.

Also, turn off the news.  Listening to these people talk all day long is not doing anyone any favors right now.  Our collective mental health depends upon it.

On to the links…

‘Nature is taking back Venice’: Wildlife Returns to Tourist-Free City—Nature will find a way, right?  Your move Mr. Goldblum.

With Humans in Lockdown, Animals Flourish—I was so hoping that the drunken elephants story was true.

One Root Cause of Pandemics Few People Think About—The market’s desire for meat drives companies to throw caution to the wind and raise ever increasing numbers of animals within close proximity of one another where diseases can spread.  A quick hop, skip, and jump away to humans is all it takes to put us into the situation we find ourselves in today.

How Will The Coronavirus Affect Energy Use In America?—Will there be any long-term systematic changes or will things bounce back to pre-COVID-19 norms?

Why Rich People Use so Much More Energy—If there is one thing that COVID-19 is going to show us it is that the frivolous travel of the richest portion of the global population is unnecessary and indefensible.

Four Federal Policies Could Help Offshore Wind Jump Start Our Coronavirus Economic Recovery—Who wants to make a bet that rather than looking forward Donald Trump and his cronies in the U.S. Senate will propose policies that benefit fossil fuels?  Furthermore, these policy proposals will be framed as the path to get America out of the forthcoming recession.  Takers?

Big Wins Expected for Offshore Wind Over Next Decade—We can hope so.  Imagine thousands of megawatts of offshore wind just miles away from the large population of the eastern seaboard?

The $638 Billion Cost Of Keeping Coal Alive—If you are in charge of a utility that is building coal fired electrical capacity you are costing your ratepayers money.  This situation will only get worse as communities reject coal fired power plants because of pollution and climate change impacts.

Wyoming Coal Interests Funneled Money, Experts to Influence Colorado PUC Decision on Closing Parts of Pueblo Plant—Nothing like a lot of out of state money flooding in to influence an issue and still failing.  Wyoming has to try everything it can to keep coal viable because the state’s economy is so dependent upon coal mining.  Without coal Wyoming is West Virginia with better skiing.

Siemens Receives First Order For Battery-Powered Trains—The idea here is not to have the entire journey be conducted on battery power alone, but to use the battery as a bridge between electrified sections of track.

The Pros and Cons of Planting Trees to Address Global Warming—I understand the idea of balance in reporting, but do we really see a lot of downsides to planting a lot trees?  Furthermore, are those downsides really all that bad?

How will Tree Planting Help the UK meet its Climate Goals?—Mistakes will be made and the end result may not be as carbon “negative” as projected, but what is the real downside to trying if the right species of tree is planted in the right ecosystem?

A Vision for Agriculture—We know how to raise animals in a way that does not poison our air, land, and water.  It is not a question of knowledge, but one of will.

Dentists Under Pressure to Drill ‘Healthy Teeth’ for Profit, Former Insiders Allege—As if COVID-19 has not shown the flaws in America’s for profit health system perhaps you need a reminder why it is not a good idea to have private equity or hedge funds determining care plans.

Friday Linkage 3/20/2020

My family was supposed to be on vacation this week, but COVID-19 got in the way.  Our loss of days on the mountain skiing is nothing compared with the people who are dealing with sickness and loss of income.

The world has gotten scary again.  For those of us who were old enough to remember the days and weeks after September 11th, 2001 this has some of the same feeling.  However, there is something inherently more frightening about a virus that you cannot see.  It leaves you feeling a little helpless and hopeless.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

How the GOP’s War on Government Paved the Way for Trump’s Deadly Incompetence—Part of the reason for the incompetent response is that the right wing in the United States has spent the better part of nearly forty years telling anyone who would listen that government was the root of their problems.  Well, when you count on people to respond to a crisis who happen to think they are the problem this is the result.

‘Tip of the iceberg’: Is Our Destruction of Nature Responsible for Covid-19?—Did we “let the cat out of the bag” by paying no attention to our impact on the planet’s natural world?  This idea frightens me.

Will the Coronavirus Kill Globalization?—It will not kill the idea, but it will force us to rethink our relationship with the concept.

Coronavirus Pandemic Triggers Reduction in Global Air Pollution—Unintended consequence for sure, but it goes to show just how much of a difference our daily activities make in the production or reduction of emissions.  This before and after of nitrogen oxide emissions in China is all over the internet:

China-pollution.jpg.838x0_q80

We’re All Living a 1.5 Degree Lifestyle Now—Welcome to the future.

Social Distancing Is Also Helping the Climate—Again, unintended consequences.

Want to Jump-Start The Economy? Include A Green New Deal In The Stimulus Package—This is an opportunity for us to shape the future for decades to come.  Imagine a stimulus bill that funnels money toward wind and solar projects all across the country.  Just imagine…

Public Transit Is the Way to a Green New Deal—We should not build a single mile of new highway in the United States until we fully fund an expansion and modernization of public transit.

Solar Accounted For 40% Of New US Electricity Generation Capacity In 2019—The fact that caught my eye was that the U.S. now has 76 GW of solar generating capacity installed which is up from just 1 GW of installed capacity at the end of 2009.  How much more could we do?

Republicans Push through Indiana’s Coal Bill, which Now Heads to Governor’s Desk—The same state that gave us Mike Pence is also the same state that is pushing retrograde energy bills like this particular piece of crap legislation.  Nothing like the invisible hand of the free market being manipulated by legislator’s for the benefit of a few companies at the expense of every rate payer in the state.  Crony capitalism at its finest.

Restoring Soils could Remove up to ‘5.5bn tonnes’ of Greenhouse Gases Every Year—The soil can save us.

The Future of Plant-Based Meat—Right now, considering coronavirus and all, it is hard to think about the future of anything.  However, plant-based “meat” products are part of the future.

How Toyota Uses Static Electricity to Make Painting Cars Greener—I was shocked to learn how much impact, in terms of emissions, that just painting a car could have.

Friday Linkage 3/13/2020

If there is one thing that was not going to reassure the American people it was Donald Trump giving an address from the Oval Office.  It kind of went like this:

remain calm

If there is any toilet paper left in any big box store after last night I would be surprised.

On to the links…

How Big Oil and Big Soda kept a Global Environmental Calamity a Secret for Decades—If there is one aisle of the grocery store that I wish I could eliminate overnight it would be the soda aisle.  It is usually an entire aisle filled with sugary beverages that bad for our health that are packaged in single use plastic bottles and cans.

Coronavirus Could Cause Fall in Global CO2 Emissions—It’s not a good thing that we are dealing with coronavirus.  However, maybe it will make us realize that we can reduce our global carbon emissions without reducing our standard of living too dramatically.

Three Charts that Explain What Coronavirus is Doing to Climate Emissions—This can give you an idea of what is happening.  It is actually part of a long historical trend, not surprising, where crises lead to depressed greenhouse gas emissions.  The question is what happens afterward.

Carbon Emissions Fall as Electricity Producers Move Away from Coal—Natural gas and renewables are eating coal’s lunch.  It is my hope that the next time natural gas prices spike that utilities really lean into renewables and we see the same death spiral for natural gas.  A boy can hope, right?

The Coal Industry Has Lost Almost One Thousand Jobs Since Trump Became President—Somewhere, someone is wondering just when is Donald Trump going to make “coal great again.”  It is not going to happen, but do not let that stop people from believing.

Virginia Becomes the First State in the South to Target 100% Clean Power—Virginia may geographically be “in the south” but its politics have been trending more like a northeastern blue state for years now.

The Climate (and All of Us) may have Dodged a Big Bullet, All Thanks to Trump’s Incompetence—Our collective future hangs on the incompetence of “Trumplicans.”  These people are so bad at their job that just figuring out what they failed to accomplish will probably take the next administration months to figure out.

As the World Burns, Americans Buy Bigger Cars—I wish we would just stop this delusion of SUVs, crossovers, or whatever the marketing people decide to call butched up wagons.  As the drive of a compact Nissan Leaf I can tell you the car pretty much handles every daily task that I could ask of it.  Hauling bags of softener salt back from the store?  Check.  Taking my bike to a trailhead for a group ride?  Check.

Minneapolis Bets on Walking, Public Transit to Overtake Driving by 2030—If Minneapolis, a city known for a long and miserable winter, can develop a workable transit plan that includes walking then it is my belief that any city in America can pull off the same trick.

How Heat Pumps can Help Fight Global Warming—It’s about efficiency and heat pumps are wicked efficient.  Heat pumps are also a part of the deep electrification path for our economy because they use electricity rather than natural gas to produce heat for your home.

How South Korea Is Composting Its Way to Sustainability—If South Korea can pull off a nationwide increase in composting then the United States should also be able to pull this off.

UK’s Lost Sea Meadows to be Resurrected in Climate Fight—When I see articles like this I wonder how easily and cheaply we can scale some climate solutions.  Seriously, this is a guy seeding shallow water with a bag towed behind a small motorboat.  Are you telling me that a few million dollars could not put a ton of people to work doing this across whole countries?

Friday Linkage 3/6/2020

I looked up and realized it was March already.  Wow.

Mike Bloomberg just spent half-a-billion dollars to win American Samoa outright, get schooled by Elizabeth Warren, and drop out after Super Tuesday.  What would you have done with 500 million dollars?  Probably not what he just did.

On to the links…

Calling Out the Super Polluters—Just 100 industrial sites in the U.S. account for approximately one third of toxic emissions.  This list should serve as the priority list for closure.

This Is An Unprecedented Drop In Oil Demand—Coronavirus is the cause, but the effect has been startling.  Oil demand is way down.  Satellites are showing images of pollution being way down in China because factories and power plants are not running.  The question is what will the demand be when things return to “normal.”

Your Plastic Addiction Is Bankrolling Big Oil—As demand drops, oil and gas producers are going to have to find ways to remain profitable.  Making plastic is one of those ways.  Reducing our demand for plastic could do just as much as using less oil to drive our cars for the environment.

Peak Permian Oil Production May Arrive Much Sooner Than Expected—Oil and gas production in the United States is defined by boom and bust cycles.  We have been in one of the longest “booms” in recent memory, but just as the stock market has sown recently there is a lot of unease about the past decade.

Will U.S. Coal Power Plant Retirements Slow Down?—It is almost a given that coal retirements will slow down in the coming years.  One, fewer plants will be available to be closed.  Two, those that remain are the most entrenched whether that is politically or economically.  We just need to keep pushing the deployment of renewables and killing coal.

Wind has Become the ‘Most-Used’ Source of Renewable Electricity Generation in the US—That statement is true if you consider hydropower to be renewable, which some people do not because of its reliance on dams.  Regardless, wind is killing it.

Florida Approves Largest Community Solar Program In The US—These projects are a great way for people to help drive the renewable energy transition if they cannot put solar panels on their own homes.  The fact that this is occurring in Florida surprises me considering how retrograde that state has become in the past few years.

Los Angeles Orders 155 Electric Buses: Largest In U.S.—Buses are the humble workhorses of public transportation.  However, I believe that an electrified bus system can be the catalyst for greener transportation.  A municipality can deploy electric buses as existing platforms wear out due to use without a wholesale overhaul of their fleet.  Each electric bus is like a rolling symbol of demand destruction.

What a Green New Deal Would Look Like in Every State—It’s a little light on the details, but the idea is that the solutions are not the same for all states.  What is right for West Virginia is not the same as Iowa and that is a good thing.  Let each region and state figure out the best way forward.

The Rise of Cloud Computing has had a Smaller Climate Impact than Feared—I still think people need to quit Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter but at least the feared energy use increase did not happen.

Greggs Profits Still on a Roll with a Boom in its Vegan Snacks—I do not get Greggs.  As an American in London last summer it seemed like one of those odd “junk foods” that people from the country love but no one else really understands.  Apparently, even vegans crave a sausage roll.

A Trump-Elevated Skeptic has Been Ordering Interior Scientists to Muddy Department Climate Reports—This is the best government money can buy for fossil fuel companies.

Taxpayers Are Likely on the Hook for Eric Trump’s Trip to His Dad’s European Resorts—Just your weekly dose of Trump family corruption.  These people are an extended clan of grifters and con artists.

Friday Linkage 2/28/2020

Something about leap year just throws me off.  My mind is so wrapped around twenty-eight days in February that an extra day just seems…wrong.

Granted, a lot of stuff seems wrong right now.  That seems to be the theme of our world.
On to the links…

Is This the Year Democrats Finally Take Down Steve King?—We can hope so.  However, his potential primary opponent is Randy Feenstra is just another right wing extremist with a gentler demeanor.

The Green Miles—If I was Jeff Bezos—I realize that this article is in a paper that he owns—I would spend some of my $10 billion dollar pledge on efforts just like this.  How much good could be done by reforesting mountaintop removal mining sites across Appalachia.

How Can Jeff Bezos Spend $10 Billion Fighting Climate Change? We Have a Few Ideas.—See above.

Environment and Animal Rights Activists Being Referred to Prevent Programme—Green is the new red.  Across the globe environmental activists are being lumped together with the worst violent extremists in a bid to stifle protest.

Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050—We know that it is possible.  How do we make it probable?

Australia’s Electricity Market Must be 100% Renewables by 2035 to Achieve Net Zero by 2050—The path is clear.

Want Cheaper Electricity? Xcel Energy Wants to Help — If You’re Willing to do Your Laundry at 2 a.m.—Want to deal with the problem of the “duck curve?”  Institute time of day or time of use pricing.  Between shifting behaviors and advances in energy storage we can deploy ever increasing amounts of renewable energy.

The False Promise of “Renewable Natural Gas”—When a fossil fuel company promises something is renewable it is likely to be a Trojan Horse.  Do not trust fossil fuel companies bearing gifts.

Drax Power Plant to Stop Burning Coal—The closure of the largest coal burning power plant in England is now four years ahead of schedule.  Coal is in its death throes.

Closing Of Coal Power Plants Means Debates On What To Do With The Water They Used—Coal plants use a lot of water.  One of the benefits on moving to renewables is a release of those water rights for other uses.

Most Used Wind Turbine Blades End Up in Landfills. Colorado is Part of the Push to Make the Industry Greener.—This is the latest critique of wind power from the right wing.  As if fossil fuels have no waste products.  Never mind comparing the relative harm of a windmill blade versus fracking wastewater or mine tailings.  Which one would you want in your community?

How to Reduce Your Food’s Carbon Footprint, in 2 Charts—The moral of the story is really eat less meat:

carbon_impact_of_food

Meat Company Faces Heat Over ‘Cattle Laundering’ in Amazon Supply Chain—You cannot trust the source of your meat unless you know the rancher or farmer.  The supply chains are too large and too complex.  The meat companies also have a vested financial interest in keeping their supply chains as opaque as possible.

What Happens When You Give Up Plastic—I do not know if the goal needs to be zero plastic.  It may be more beneficial for everyone to aim for no stupid plastic.

Oh, No, Not Knotweed!—I have not had the “pleasure” of experiencing knotweed first hand, but everyone I know fears this invasive.