Tag Archives: debt

Friday Linkage 7/26/2019

The heat and humidity finally broke here in eastern Iowa this week and we got to open the windows.  Okay, we opened the windows in our house but it seems like everyone else still has their air conditioning running full blast.  Naturally, this includes my neighbors who run their air conditioning even when it is sixty degrees outside.  It must be an ice box inside that house.

These are the same neighbors who complain about their high electricity bill.  So it also makes sense that these same neighbors would install a hot tub.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, says high electricity costs quite like a hot tub.

On to the links…

American Green—If there is one thing that I wish people would do it is that they stop obsessing—in terms of both time and money—about the lawns surrounding their homes.  Who cares if a stray dandelion shows up or some clover has established itself?  Who cares it some spots start to brown out when the mercury hits 90 degrees?

New York Just Passed the Most Ambitious Climate Target in the Country—There is no climate leadership at the federal level, so it falls to cities and states to move things forward.  Luckily, the states most likely to move forward also happen to be home to a lot of people and a lot of economic activity.

Refinery Explosions Raise New Warnings About Deadly Chemical—If a Tesla or other electric vehicle catches fire there is sure to be a whole raft of coverage.  If a normal ICE car bursts into flames or an oil refinery explodes there is little coverage.  Never mind the potential of a truly catastrophic incident at an oil refinery.

It’s Just Good Business: Even Red States Are Dumping Coal for Solar—I think that this needs to be the response for anyone who gets asked a question about solar power.  It’s just good business.

Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World—Plastic is bad.  It may be a necessary evil in some applications, but limiting the use of plastics is the ultimate goal.

Cigarette Butts are the Most Pervasive Man-Made Pollutant—My late father, a former smoker who quit in his thirties, hated cigarette butts with a passion and had a more hot burning hate for the people who threw their cigarette butts about with abandon.  His whole theory was that cigarettes with filters should be banned, all cigarettes should be called coffin nails, and the package should say “Smoke More, Die Younger.”

10 Ways the Bicycle Moved Us Forward—The bicycle is a humble solution to a lot of problems.  As we design ever more complex solutions to our problems we need to remember that easier solutions exist.

In Madrid, a Car Ban Proves Stronger Than Partisan Politics—I know it will come as a shock to most right wing reactionaries, especially the ones on Fox News who want to cover themselves in a cologne called Fossil Fuel Funk, but people actually like living in places where cars are not valued over people.  Remember, in most modern offices your car will be allotted more space in the parking lot than you will be inside the building.

How ‘Corn Sweat’ Makes Summer Days More Humid—If you live in Iowa during the summer you understand this phenomenon all too well.  The humid haze that rises from the endless fields of tall corn in July and August is like an oppressive ghost moving through the landscape.  Maybe I spend too much time cycling along these same fields in the heat.

Dunkin’ Adds Beyond Meat’s Sausage to its Menu, Starting in New York—Are we turning the corner into a world where renewable energy is the cheapest source of electricity, people actually care about the climate, and non-meat alternatives are commonplace?  I sure know that non-meat alternatives seem to be everywhere.

Can You Taste the Difference Between Plant-Based Meat and Beef? Burger King Sweden is Betting No.—This is what the people behind calling plant protein “meat” in Arkansas are worried about.  Okay, their actually being funded by a locally powerful meat industry to take this fight on but their paymasters fear this outcome.

Has Wine Gone Bad?—When reading Napa at Last Light by James Conaway I was struck by some critiques of wineries for the total lack of environmental consideration.  The gist was basically that if anyone actually knew just how much of a bad actor the wine industry was in California it would cripple the industry’s marketing efforts.

The Budweiser Beer Empire was Built on Debt. Now it’s Racing to Pay it Off—Geez, I cannot imagine how building an empire through acquisitions fueled by debt could ever go wrong?

Friday Linkage 7/5/2019

With July 4th falling on a Thursday this year it makes for a rather strange week.  If you are not taking vacation, like half of my building it seems, you get a day off near the end of the week and have to come back for a Friday.

It’s like a ghost town in the office right now.

On to the links…

What Will Our 2040 Energy Future Look Like?—These forecasts have a way of being very wrong when market forces and technology collide to change the paradigm.  However, when a relatively conservative news outlet like Forbes is sounding the death knell for certain fossil fuels you know something is up.

There’s a New EPA Air Sheriff in Town, and She’s Got a Shaky Grasp on Climate—Where is the Trump administration finding so many barrel bottoms to scrape these political appointees from?  How soon before Sean Hannity is appointed to be Secretary of State or some such BS?

The Sack Of Washington—Oh wait, it is like a concerted plan by the most polluting industries to destroy the EPA from within.  I was giving ol’ Donnie Two Scoops too much credit.  [LINK: https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/two-scoops%5D

For the First Time Ever Renewables Beat Coal in the US—23% of U.S. power in April was generated by renewables. 23%!

Market Efficiency, Not Regulation, Is Driving People from Coal—Nothing Donald Trump does can stop this from happening.  His actions can slow down progress, but come January 2021 the game us up.

As Trump Attempts to Prop Up the Struggling Coal Industry, Illinois is Taking Another Step Away from its Dirtiest Source of Electricity—Illinois is merely pushing over a tottering industry.  The article states that the eight coal fired power plants at risk for closure are already uneconomic to operate.

A 100% Renewable Grid isn’t Just Feasible, it’s in the Works in Europe—I have said this many times on this blog, do you remember a time when skeptics said renewables could only be a small portion of our electricity generation? First, it was no more than 5%.  Then it was adjusted higher.  Each time renewables exceed a certain threshold the skeptics just keep adjusting higher.  100% is going to be the upper limit.

Fracking Creates A Glut Of Fossil Fuels & A Mountain Of Debt—If you want to destroy value just invest in the fracking industry.  Don’t listen to me, listen to a former shale gas executive lay it out:

The shale gas revolution has frankly been an unmitigated disaster for any buy-and-hold investor in the shale gas industry with very few limited exceptions. In fact, I’m not aware of another case of a disruptive technological change that has done so much harm to the industry that created the change. While hundreds of billions of dollars of benefits have accrued to hundreds of millions of people, the amount of shareholder value destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The industry is self-destructive.

Cement Production makes More CO2 than all the Trucks in the World—Our love affair with cement and concrete is killing the planet.  This is why tall timber buildings are the future.

Shipping Sector Comes Under Increasing Pressure To Cut Its Carbon Footprint—This is why it is so critical to stop buying so much stuff.  That stuff we buy has to be shipped and shipping is a carbon bomb.

Cities are Beginning to Own Up to the Climate Impacts of What they Consume—What we consume has a direct relationship to our carbon emissions.  Consume less, emit less.  As the economic engines of the modern world cities have a lot of power to change consumption patterns.

One Man Is Trying to Fight Climate Change By Mobilizing an Unlikely Team: Iowa’s Farmers—Actual farmers, as opposed to giant corporations and absentee land owners, care about the soil because these men and women understand that the soil is what sustains generations upon the land.  We need to support policies that reinforce these beliefs at the expense of the agricultural industrial complex.

Big Farms Find Easy Ways around Trump Trade Aid Limits—Color me surprised that big corporate agricultural interests found a way to work around rules meant to benefit smaller producers.  Oh wait, that is basically how agricultural policy in the United States has worked for the past fifty years or so.

Everything You Need to Know about the Booming Business of Fighting Food Waste—We waste a lot of food.  Combating food waste is both an economic and environmental imperative.

Give Your Yard Back to Nature—Every square foot of turf grass that we replace with low maintenance native plants is a victory for bugs and the land.  Our never ending expanses of artificially green turf grass is an eco-catastrophe.

The Mycelium Revolution Is upon Us—There is a fungus among us.  Sorry, I could not help myself.

Friday Linkage 11/6/2015

What happened on Tuesday? In an off-off year election there are always bound to be some odd results, but Matt Bevin winning in Kentucky is just bizarre because he was such a bad candidate. Like Sharon Angle bad. Oh well, now he can spend the next several years reminding the people of Kentucky why you do not elect a governor who does not like government. Just see how well it worked out for Kansas with Sam Brownback.

On to the links…

Almost 40% of Americans ‘not too worried’ about Climate Change—I do not put a lot of faith in polling of general public attitudes because the way in which the survey is constructed can have an outsize influence on the way in which the results are calculated. However, I am frightened that Americans do not take climate changes seriously.

China Has Been Spewing Out Much More CO2 Than Previously Reported—Here is the problem with China: You can never trust the numbers you get from the government. Whether it is regarding CO2 emissions or job statistics or whatever, the government has a habit of hiding the bad information in order to prop up the central government’s narrative.

U.S. Electric Sector Expected To Hit Lowest CO2 Emissions In 20 Years—These are good numbers and it shows just how much progress has been made in cleaning up our generation of electricity. The fact remains that there is a lot more that we could be doing, but it shows progress and progress is good.

Watch US Electricity Grid Evolve Before Your Eyes—You can kind of sit there and watch this graph for a few minutes. It’s mesmerizing:


Renewable Electricity Surpasses Coal In UK—Few countries have as much identity tied up in coal as the United Kingdom. It is the fuel that powered the Industrial Revolution that turned a little island into the British Empire. Now, it is slowly dying off. Good riddance.

Alberta Promises To Boost Renewables, Phase Out Coal—Alberta, the land known for tar sands and Keystone XL, is going to phase out coal. Where does coal go from here?

Germany Will Reach 33% Renewable Electricity This Year—Germany’s commitment to renewables amazes me.

How Germany Could Reach 150 GW of Solar Capacity—150 GW of solar in “sunny” Germany. Think about that number for a moment. Energy storage is going to play a role, but these are impressive numbers. Now imagine if the U.S. drove toward the same kind of numbers on a per capita basis…

World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm gets Green Light—There is only so much space near the coasts that is good for siting traditionally moored off shore wind turbines. If the turbines could float, a lot of ground would be opened up.

Human Waste Could Light Up More Than 138 Million Homes—Maybe there is an energy solution residing in our bathrooms.

California Takes A Stand On Antibiotics In Livestock—If you are not going to give up meat eating—which you should because it is the best thing you can do for the planet right now—than you must demand that animals be raised without antibiotics. It might literally end up saving your life.

40 Percent of Your Chicken Nugget Is Meat. The Rest Is…—These are just frightening stories.

These Are the Most Addictive Foods, According to Science—Did someone really need to spend time and money to figure out that pizza and chocolate were addictive? No, really, just spend some time with people who are not torturing themselves on a diet and you will see these foods being consumed happily.

Bicycle Culture Mythbusting – The Complete Guide—I love riding my bike and living in the Midwest United States means that I get to deal with extreme winters and summers. If people can enjoy riding a bike and commuting via bike in these conditions than it can be done anywhere. Easily.

Auto Loans Reach an All-Time High—As a nation we are hooked on debt. Too many people forget that debt can be a killer when economic times are bad. The fact that we take out so much debt to buy cars is even crazier considering how much money we end spending to operate said cars on a daily basis. Just go by bike. It’s better.