Tag Archives: Denmark

Friday Linkage 2/16/2018

There are no words.  There are no prayers.  Nothing matters except action.  The United States is the only developed country that accepts routine mass gun violence.  Every other developed country in the world has acted in some way to address this problem, but the United States has failed to act because a large percentage of its politicians are in the pocket of an industrial gun lobby that masquerades as a defender of constitutional liberties.

On to the links…

The Outdoor Recreation Industry Generated $374 Billion in 2016. It’s Ready to Wield that Influence in Washington and on Wall Street.—The debate over public lands and the giveaways by the Trump administration should highlight the power and clout that outdoor recreation can wield.  Politicians need to realize that when the fossil fuel industry comes knocking its interests are in direct opposition to a large outdoor recreation industry that can generate economic activity without the environmental degradation.

Survey Says: The American Public is Souring on Coal—No one wants these plants in their communities,  no one wants to deal with the waste in their environment, and no one wants to hear Trump talk about beautiful, clean coal.

MidAmerican Energy Completes Two New Wind Farms in Iowa—The amazing thing is that there is a lot more wind power in the plan for the state and older turbines are being replaced with newer, more powerful turbines generating more clean power from the wind.

2018 Solar Power Rocks Report Grades Every State On Solar Friendliness—How does your state compare:

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Major Utility Fails to get West Virginia Customers to Bail out its Aging Coal Plant—Right wing coal barons love the free market except when it is crushing their pet fuel.  The plan here was just ridiculous.  FirstEnergy wanted to take a non-competitive coal plant supplying a deregulated energy market and transfer it to a regulated markets thus burdening the regulated market with a costly energy source that no one wanted.

Mix of Solar and Batteries Is Beating Natural Gas—This is where the future begins.  Having the ability to store and dispatch renewable energy allows for the leveling of demand across the day to match production which moderates the variability of renewable production.

Australia’s Solar Energy Capacity Could Almost Double in One Year—These are monster numbers.  Imagine if the western United States deployed solar at these kind of rates?

Total Wind Capacity Surges While Total Number Of Turbines May Soon Plummet: Indulging In 4 Decades Of Danish Wind Energy Data—This is a treasure trove of data.  The opportunity to replace existing sited turbines with infrastructure in place with more powerful turbines represents a mind boggling opportunity to deploy more power in a quick manner.

Where Does The IOC’s Money Go?—Let me give you a hint: the billions do not go to the local communities or the cities or the athletes.  The money goes into the pockets of the IOC which is a corrupt cabal extorting money from countries with the promise of global goodwill.  Remember this as your city might consider bidding for the games.

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Friday Linkage 7/17/2015

Where do the days go during the summer? Maybe it’s the lament of the modern age, but time does seem to just fly by.

On to the links…

We Broke a Whole Lotta’ Climate Records in 2014—For the record, it is not a good thing to be breaking these climate records. The world is getting hotter. The oceans can no longer absorb the excess heat. Weather is local and climate is global despite what clowns like James Inhofe say. Something is broken and we need to fix it. Fast.

How To Talk To A 5-Year-Old About Climate Change—What do you say, really? I am sorry that previous generations were selfish fools who stupidly left you with a big god damned mess to clean up?

Price of Solar Hits Record Low Again!—I keep looking at getting a solar panel installation on my roof and every time that I come back to the idea it seems like solar has hit a new price record.

Can Installation Innovations Keep Cutting Solar Soft Costs?—While panels have gotten a lot cheaper in recent years, the soft costs of a solar system have been a lot stickier. It just costs a lot of money to put people on your roof installing panels.

Gas Surges Ahead of Coal in US Power Generation—Nobody wants to be associated with coal anymore. The companies that mine coal are losing value like crazy. Power companies want to transition away from the dirty fuel. Customers do not want to pay for an energy source that is killing the planet. Can we finally start playing taps over the body of coal?

Wind Power Generates 140% Of Denmark’s Power Demand—Sometimes these numbers are a result of locally favorable conditions and not a product of long term trends. I still love seeing a country generate so much green power that it almost has to give it away to neighbors.

23% Of New Cars In Norway Now Electric Cars—I know Norway subsidizes the hell out of EVs, but I am impressed by the adoption rate.

Solar Provided 2.4% Of Australia’s Power Generation In 2014—2.4% might not seem like a big number, but it is huge for solar.

Australian Government Curbs Investments in Wind and Solar Energy—About the time you think Australia is on the right path deploying renewables and protecting the environment the government goes all retro on you.

‘Before and After’ Satellite Imagery Shows how Earth’s Prominent Features Change—I could spend hours looking at similar photo sets with sliders showing change over time. We live in the Anthropocene for sure.

Rotterdam may Pave its Roads in Recycled Plastic—Maybe there is finally a use for all of those single use plastic water bottles that seem to multiply when the weather gets hot.

SeaWorld Accused of Sending Employee to Infiltrate Animal Rights Protests—Really SeaWorld? Really?

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 2/21/2014

I am going to blame climate change of the schizophrenic February weather here in Iowa.  On Monday it snowed about four or five inches.  On Tuesday and Wednesday it was forty or almost fifty degrees.  On Thursday and into Friday we got a nice wallop of a winter storm.  I cannot wait to see what the future looks like if this is the present.

On to the links…

Saving an Endangered British Species: The Pub—It’s not the most important news story of the week, but it is the most poignant to me.  There is something deeply romantic about the “local.”  However, as time marches on and dollars get in the way the local pub is going to give way to malls and lofts.

Obama Directs EPA and DOT to Tighten Fuel Efficiency Standards for Heavy Trucks by 2016—This is one of those “boring but very important” stories that tends to get missed in all the headlines about containers being repurposed into student housing or another ten uses for mason jars.  As the article states, these trucks represent 7% of the vehicles on the road yet account for 25% of the transportation fuel consumed.

New York Scrubs Microbeads—Microbeads, those little balls of plastic in cosmetics and facial cleansers, are really bad for water.  Why?  Because the small little bits of plastic do not necessarily get filtered out and make their way into the food system.  All for cleaner, brighter skin.

Train Carrying Canadian Oil Derails In Western Pennsylvania—I am not in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline and I think that it would be best if tar sands oil were left in the ground.  However, if the oil is going to be transported to the U.S. should it not come over the border in a way that is safer than trains of flammable liquid rolling through our towns?

Here’s Why 50 Percent More Coal Plants Could Be Retiring Than Experts Previously Thought—Maybe it’s because coal basically sucks.  It pollutes.  It’s a big contributor to climate change.  Mining coal is a disaster.  Oh wait, and it does not make economic sense.  Okay.  Got it.

A Huge Solar Plant Opens, Facing Doubts About Its Future—The Ivanpah facility is amazing and according to the chattering class it will probably be the last of its kind built.  Still, 377 megawatts from the sun is amazing.

Water-Cleaning Technology Could Help Farmers—When you read through this article think about the technology that the company is using.  Not a single thing is brand new or needing to be worked on.  This is an application of existing technology to solve a current problem.  Pretty sweet.

Can Anybody Save California?—The title is provocative, but the question is too simple.  The real question is can anyone save what California has become?  There is a future for the state if it can learn to live within its hydrological means, but history has shown that it is incapable or unwilling to even try.

Denmark Is About To Set Even More Ambitious Climate Goals Than All Of Europe—I wish more countries could be like Denmark.  It’s not just their stance on trying to mitigate climate change, but the country’s whole attitude in general.  If I could choose a country beside the U.S. to live in it would probably be Denmark.

How One Brown Student Shut Down The NRA—Sometimes all it takes to stop the giant is persistence and the courage to stand up.  There are few bullies bigger than the NRA.  In American politics they are the Christ Christie of special interests, but they can be taken down.

No, GMOs Won’t Harm Your Health—The fervor about the health impairment of GMOs reminds me of the anti-vaccine fears promoted by a misinformed population that could not be swayed from their opinion regardless of facts.  Of course, that also sounds like climate deniers who cling to faith as the sole reason to ignore science.

Butter and Whole Milk Linked to Lower Obesity Rates—Have we finally moved past the anti-fat crusade?

How To Clean Your Microwave Naturally With Just a Lemon—Cleaning the inside of a microwave is about the worst job in the kitchen because there does not seem to be a way to do it well.  I use a cup of vinegar in a way similar to the lemon in this article.

God’s 12 Biggest Dick Moves in the Old Testament—Speaking of faith, here is a decent list of the biggest ass clown moves God pulled in the Bible.  I always find it interesting when “New Testament” Christians tell me how God is all about love and what not.  If they read the Old Testament things might be a little different.  Then again, these people like to cherry pick what parts of the Bible they need to suit their prejudices.

The African Savannah Is Even More Beautiful From a Bird’s-Eye View—Nature is freakin’ amazing.  Sometimes we just need to sit back and be amazed by the beauty.

Friday Linkage 7/27/2012

Some storms moved through the area on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and the temperatures went from above 100 degrees to a manageable 85 or so by Friday.  It is amazing how people’s mood changes when the temperature drops from the triple digits.  Everyone is a little less edgy right now.

On to the links…

Veganism by the Numbers—Let’s start the ball rolling with a good ol’ infographic:

Any Shoe Can be Clipless—Retrofitz has developed a system to seemingly turn any show into a clipless compatible shoe.  All right!  Maybe now I can finally fulfill my vision of SPD Chacos.

What to Buy for $5.63 in a New York Bodega—Anyone who has ever spent any time in New York City has run across the peculiar institution of the bodega.  A cross between a meeting place, restaurant, grocery store, and whatever else the owner can cram into an impossibly small place the bodega is also a place where one can indulge in junk food fantasies.

The Hidden Cost of Cheap Lobster—Looks like climate change is affecting the lobster catch in several ways.  Maybe Mitt Romney will finally get concerned when his lobster dinner is imperiled.  Probably not.

Good Eggs is the Etsy for Local Foodies—I like the concept, but I feel this is one of those ideas that will not scale beyond its hipster roots.  I do not know, I probably said the same thing about Etsy as well.

Norway Cuts Palm Oil Use 64%–Why is cutting palm oil use so important?  Because the rain forests in southeast Asia are being clear cut for palm plantations to feed to modern world’s voracious appetite for this particular fat.

Quebec City Orders Front Yard Garden Removed—Is this not one of the best looking gardens you have seen in a long time:

Why would any city official want it torn out and replaced with a monoculture of grass?

One of Denmark’s Oldest Eco Villages—Why does Treehugger taunt me with slideshows of these communities that I would so like to live in?  It’s a cruel world.

How to Rebuild the Mississippi Delta—The destruction of the Mississippi Delta is one of the late-20th Century’s environmental catastrophes that no one ever seems to talk about.  It looks like a strategic rethinking of how the entire system operates could recover some of what has been lost.

Will Falling Renewable Energy Prices do in Fracking?—This is one of those “I hope so” type of moments.  The tipping point for renewables—where the installed cost per watt is low enough to compete with cheaper forms of subsidized fossil fuels—has been rumored to be on the horizon for years.  I think we have finally seen enough installations of all types to show that the numbers now back up this belief.

Strong Storms Threaten Ozone over the U.S.—It looks like the news just keeps getting better and better with regard to climate change’s effects.  First it’s a mega drought.  Now, the ozone layer is under threat.

Fuel Economy in U.S. Hits New High in First Half of 2012—It looks like, on average, Americans are finally purchasing more fuel efficient cars and trucks.  It’s a long way from real victory when I consider how many full size trucks I see in the parking lot at work, but it’s a start.

And by the way, Herman Cain is still an ass.

Friday Linkage 7/20/2012

The drought that is gripping the U.S. is now the worst since the 1950s.  The Dust Bowl seems just around the corner.  Maybe not.

On to the links…

U.S. Leads the World in Cutting Emissions—Yep, the U.S. is leading the world in cutting its emissions of carbon.  A lot of it has to do with the recent recession, but there are other positive trends at play like the decommissioning of coal fired power plants, increased vehicle fuel efficiency, and a general reduction in transportation fuel demand as a result of changing habits.  I wonder why no one is making a bigger deal out of this?  It’s not like the recession was a secret.

What’s Killing Coal in West Virginia?—How about we finally realize that this is an environmentally harmful way to generate electricity that harms just about everyone who touches it along the way?  Just saying.

Denmark Ups Its Wind Power Ambition to 50% by 2020—Not to make the rest of the world feel like slackers by comparison, but Denmark is ahead of itself on its goals for wind power as a percentage of total generation.  So, what do they do?  Up the target.  Go Denmark!

Why We Pay Double for Solar in the U.S.—Basically, the balance of system costs in the U.S.—non-panel hardware, permit fees, installation, etc.—drive the price of residential solar higher than anywhere else in the world.  This sucks.

Nevada Plant Combines Solar and Geothermal—This just seems like one of those sensible ideas that everyone smacks their forehead after seeing it in operation.  Why didn’t I think of that?

New Biofuel Process Dramatically Increases Yield—Researchers at Michigan State University have created a process that can increase the energy recovery of biofuel processes by a factor of 20.  Not 20 percent, but 20 times.  The key here is obviously scale.  However, if biofuels are to become a critical piece of our energy future—which I believe is necessary—then innovations like this are critical components.

The Corn Identity—Just take a moment to ponder this infographic:

The U.S. will make ethanol from corn that would be capable of feeding over 400 million people.  This is why ethanol, as it is currently produced, is not a viable solution.

Fracking in U.S. Lifts Indian Farmers—An unintended consequence of the fracking boom in the U.S. is that Indian farmers in Rajasthan have a newly lucrative market for their guar.

Has Organic Been Oversized?—A good article on the divergence of the organic food movement from its origins to its current corporate state.  It poses the really good question of the rule of the law versus the spirit of the law.  No earth shattering or ground breaking insight, just a solid look at a disheartening development.

Jump Starting Urban Agriculture in San Francisco—I am all for producing as much food as possible in every location possible, but have we blown the potential for urban agriculture up just a little bit?  A few books and blogs make everyone think that they can have a little homestead on the freeway.

Bronx May Get 5 Acre Rooftop Farm—Maybe I was being a little cynical about the potential of urban agriculture.  Five acres in town has a lot of potential to put fresh, local produce in people’s hands.

Small Scale Grains a Part of the Locavore Puzzle—One component of our food system that is hard to source locally is grain.  Mass industrial production was almost perfectly suited to these plants as opposed to tomatoes or peppers or even corn.  It’s hard to grow a row of wheat in your home garden.  It looks like some people are out to solve that riddle.

Fermented Food Big on the DIY Scene—Without going all Portlandia on you…we can pickle that!

Otter Attack—I guess the otters in Minnesota did not get the memo about being nice.  How rude!

Zubaz Unleashed—This has nothing to do with the environment or greener living.  It’s just an amazing story.  When I was a kid these pants were huge.  Everyone wanted a pair and if you had a pair you wanted two.  Then one day the things just disappeared only to be seen on gameday parking lots worn by overweight, middle aged white men in team colors.  Even then it was considered in poor taste.