Tag Archives: Environmental Defense Fund

Friday Linkage 5/30/2014

This is going to be a short list of links because I am currently on a plane heading to Denver with my brother to spread my parents ashes near the Continental Divide. The upside to this depressing event is that I get to sample some great beers from Front Range brewers. More to come.

On to the links…

Obama to Unveil Rule to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions—With no action possible in Congress, the President will issue a new rule through the EPA under the Clean Air Act to, in essence, cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power plants. Republicans will howl that this is an “imperial President,” but conveniently forget how much they liked the same kind of action under the second Bush. It’s called progress.

There is Still Hope for the Climate: Regional Cures for Planetary Fever—I do not know if I am so positive anymore, but some part of me hopes that we cobble together a patchwork of solutions that will avoid the absolute worst of climate change and leave it to our children to fix the mess. We suck as a species.

Wind Energy In 2013 Was Equivalent To Taking 20 Million Cars Off The Road—It’s amazing how much wind energy has been deployed in the United States. Now imagine if we could have a similar commitment to deploy residential solar at this level. Damn.

Ohio Is Poised To Be The First State To Roll Back Its Renewable Energy Standard—Just when you think you are making real progress, ass clowns like those in Ohio’s legislature, egged on by Republican a-hole Governor John Kasich, decided to gut the state’s RES. Progress be damned in the face of Koch money!

On the Road to Green Energy, Germany Detours on Dirty Coal—Following the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the German government pledged to get the country out of the business of generating power from nuclear sources. While laudable it does mean that the country is going to have to turn to coal to meet its commitment.

‘A Government Of Thugs’: How Canada Treats Environmental Journalists—Apparently, my view of Canadians being easy going was dead wrong when it comes to the government’s treatment of environmental journalists and activists. It’s an insidious thing for a government that claims to be transparent to act as an agent for private development, but it is the nature of our modern governments that this is the case. If you do not believe this to be true, just review the case of Tim DeChristopher.

Resiliency+: Distributed Generation and Microgrids Can Keep Lights On During the Next Storm—Every time there is a storm or major power disruption on the east coast of the United States this topic comes up because somewhere in the center of the problem was a microgrid powered by renewables that kept the lights on. Maybe it’s a trend now.

Turbines Popping Up on New York Roofs, Along With Questions of Efficiency—I guess that in order to attract trust fund hipsters a developer needs to include some sort of greenwashing for their project.

The Time My Mom Got Me A Tiger—It’s not what you think. This video talks about the problem of captive tigers being used for photo opportunities and the chance he got to “adopt” his tiger.

Strange Brews: The Genes of Craft Beer—I brew a lot of beer and the science of yeast really escapes me. It seems that it does not make a difference in some recipes and, yet, in others the difference is marked. What gives?

Chef Dan Barber on the Farm-to-Table Movement’s Next Steps—I don’t always agree with Dan Barber’s ideas about food as I find them to be difficult to scale in order to “feed the world” but nonetheless he is an important influence in how the system develops.

Solar Roadways: A Modest Proposal?—I love seeing this idea get press outside of the normal “green” outlets. One thing lost in the discussion about these panels is that it does not even have to be used on roads to be really effective. How many square feet of driveway, sidewalk, and parking lot exist in just the united states that could be covered with the material? Just saying.

Ford’s Customers Tested Its New Trucks for Two Years, and They Didn’t Even Know It—I am watching the development of the next generation Ford F-150 with a lot of interest. For one, I own an F-150 for work. Second, it’s the best selling vehicle in America so any technology deployed successfully on this platform will likely find itself adopted across a broad swath of vehicles. Of most interest is the new aluminum body, replacing traditional steel, that is purported to cut over 700 pounds off the weight of the truck in the interest of fuel economy. Interesting.

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Friday Linkage 11/8/2013

I cannot believe that Initiative 522 failed to gain approval in Washington.  If passed, Initiative 522 would have required foods containing GMO ingredients to be labeled as such.  It would have been the first such state to require the labeling.  Interestingly, almost all of the money funneled into the campaign on both sides of the issue came from out of state.  Hmmm…

On to the links…

The Stunning Collapse Of Infrastructure Spending In One Chart—I think the chart speaks for itself:

infrachart-11113

I think that everyone needs to send this to their members of Congress and ask, “Why?”  I am going to start sending the message every day.

The Climate Impact Of Canada’s Tar Sands Is Growing—Here is why opposing the Keystone XL pipeline is so important.  It’s not just about the singular issue of the pipeline.  Rather, it’s about opposing the dirty oil from the tar sands more generally.  That stuff is just nasty.

Methane: A Key to Dealing With Carbon Pollution?—Methane is a bad actor.  No one can deny the fact.  Regulating methane may be an indirect way to regulate carbon emissions because the two are wedded in some ways.

5 Reasons Solar Is Already Beating Fossil Fuels—I would only need one…it’s awesome.

In Heated Arizona Solar Battle, Top Regulators Tied To ALEC—Like the Koch Brothers, if you read about someone fighting solar or wind power usually ALEC shows up.  These clowns do not like anything that might be cleaner than coal or less damaging than fracking.  Clown shoes.

Johnson County’s Field of Beams—Sometimes we think of solar energy as something that happens in Arizona or Colorado, but it is happening on a pretty large scale right here in Eastern Iowa.

Poland Wedded to Coal, Spurns Europe on Clean Energy—No matter how much clean energy that western countries deploy, it must be remembered that unless countries that still deploy inordinate amounts of coal are brought along the effort is somewhat for naught.  I am not advocating for doing nothing, but we need to deploy the technology in all places to displace dirty fuels.

Oil Company Predicts Gas Powered Cars will be Nearly Gone by 2070—By 2070?  Given the trend in miles driven and the ownership demographics I would guess that that the bulk of gas powered cars might be gone before that date.  Granted, the long tail of eliminating the platform will take longer.

Texas Oyster Reef Restoration Project Begins in Gulf of Mexico—I am increasingly fascinated by oyster reefs, especially the artificial variety put in place to help restore ecosystems damaged by a variety of factors.  This seems like something that we should be deploying on a larger scale to help heal the scars of our coastal waterways.

3-D Printed Reef Brings Back Sea Life in Persian Gulf—This is a sweet application of 3-D printing to create complex objects for reef restoration.  Again, why are we not deploying this kind of technology on a massive scale?

These Fish are Eating the Plastic You Throw in the Ocean—Humans suck.  We truly suck.  Our plastic pollution epidemic is truly horrible in so many ways that it is hard to find the appropriate adjective to accurately describe our stupidity.

Obama’s 5 Biggest Sellouts to the Meat Industry—The meat industry is not less a many tentacled beast now than what it was like in the days of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  It’s just a lot less visible to people now because the production of meat is such a rural affair.

Why Are Pig Farmers Still Using Growth Promoting Drugs?—It appears that improved hygienic practices—e.g. better farming and livestock management—have reduced or eliminated the need for prophylactic antibiotic treatment of hogs.  Yet, many farmers still dose their animals.  Why?

It Turns Out Kopi Luwak is Not Just Weird, it’s Cruel—Before anyone thinks about having a cup of Kopi luwak—yep, the cat poop coffee—consider how cruel the process actually is.  This is not some farmer collecting random beans in the morning sun.  It’s an industrial animal cruelty operation.  On top of the fact that it is just gross.

Why Does Cooking at Home Fight Hunger?—I have long thought that if everyone dedicated themselves to cooking a couple more meals per week at home—not just reheating, but actually cooking—that a lot of problems would solve themselves.  So many things that I hold dear come together in the kitchen in a visible and powerful way.

This is What the Earth will Look Like if All the Ice Melts—Get ready for some nice coastal property in Arkansas.  Ugh.

Friday Linkage 3/29/2013

It finally feels like spring with the mercury tickling 50 degrees and the sun coming out for long stretches at a time.  It’s the perfect weather to put a vest on and chase the kids around outside for a change.

On to the links…

How The EPA Could Help Cut Carbon Emissions 17% By 2020—There seems to be so much room for the government to affect climate change without resorting to the swamp that is Congress it makes you wonder how much of a stomach the President has for this kind of action.  It’s not like he is running for office again.

Life After Oil and Gas—This opinion article got a lot of play over the last week and it should have because it gets at the central fallacy of fossil fuels.  Is the use of fossil fuels a need or a choice?  When the question is asked, the argument is on.

Rising Solar Power Production In U.S. Likely To Make It Second-Largest New Source In 2013—For anyone who does not believe that solar photovoltaic is a real and viable technology, just look at the stats.  The part of the story that often does not get told about solar is that it is generally generated near the point of consumption, so no costly infrastructure is needed for deployment.

Chasing Green: Going Solar by Paying Your Utility Bill—All of these different financing vehicles for deploying renewables are fascinating.  I saw a project in Breckenridge where individuals could purchase “plots” in a solar PV “garden” instead of deploying panels on their own homes.  It’s getting real folks.

Agriculture Giants Use Emergency Budget Bill To Sneak In Big Gifts For Themselves—Surprise, surprise that big companies would use their lobbying power to sneak “gifts” into emergency budgets meant to avert a government shutdown.  I love how biotech firms are allowed to willy-nilly deploy unproven seeds into the marketplace without proving safety and now the government is trying to shield them further.  Shameful really.

Are Agriculture’s Most Popular Insecticides Killing Our Bees?—I always love how it is treated like a revelation when the use of chemicals by humans is found to have a detrimental effect on nature.  You mean to say that after millions of years of evolution there might be a reason why these compounds do not exist naturally?  Shocking!

The Sly Coyote Becomes a Hunter’s Target in Utah—We always want to blame nature’s predators for things when the problem really lies within our own actions as humans.  Just look at what the state of Oregon is doing to sea lions in the name of salmon.  Never mind that human interference is leaps and bounds more damaging to salmon populations than sea lions ever could be.

SS Badger and EPA Reach an Agreement—I find this agreement to be pathetic.  Allowing the dumping of any waste into Lake Michigan is deplorable and allowing it to continue is nothing short of weakness.

Grasping at Straw—I saw this article and another similar story on Root Simple.  I fell in love with the concept and ordered the book by Joel Karsten right away.  So cool.

Heating Homes With Switchgrass Pellets Could Save Northeasterners Billions And Cut Their Carbon Emissions—I am fascinated with pellet stoves and switchgrass.  Combine the two and I think I might be in love.

Kraft Mac & Cheese Is Nutritionally Equivalent to Cheez-Its—The good old standby in the blue box is having a tough go of it lately.  First, the online world is abuzz that the dyes used in American Mac & Cheese are not used globally because of concerns about long term safety.  Now, it’s being compared to the symbol of nutritional absence—the cheese cracker.

Friday Linkage 9/28/2012

Where did September go?  The fall color is going to be early and short lived because of the drought that gripped much of the Midwest during the spring and summer.  So, no beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges to ease us into winter.

The Iowa Hawkeyes gakked all over themselves en route to a 2-2 non-conference record in football.  So, we have very little to look forward to as Big 10 play begins this weekend with a visit from the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  Who, by the way, are 4-0 on the season and riding a 2 game win streak against the hapless Hawks.  Ugh.

Ahhh, but the weather has been pitch perfect the past week.  Warm days and cool nights.  The fleece is getting broken out and hot chocolate has made its way back onto the daily treat menu.  There are few more guilty pleasures than sneaking an extra marshmallow into my daughter’s hot cocoa.  I am a bad man.

On to the links…

Chipotle in Hot Salsa over Farm Workers’ Rights—I lead off with this because there is no reason that Chipotle should not do the right thing.  If freakin’ McDonald’s can do the right thing and sign on to the Fair Food Program, Chipotle can do so as well.  It already cultivates the image of a “better than the rest” chain, but it’s appalling lack of action on behalf of farm workers obliterates that illusion.

Dispatch from Ohio, Land of Public Markets and Urban Farms–When I read stories about public markets across the U.S. it really gives me hope that the about to open Newbo City Market in downtown Cedar Rapids will develop into one of those cornerstone type establishments.

What Does History Say About the Costs and Benefits of Environmental Regulation?—Just think about how much misinformation about the cost of environmental regulation has been spewed in the current election cycle.  Now, think about the historical trend.  In essence, as the infographic from the Environmental Defense Fund shows, industry lies about the cost by a great deal:

What Cuts to National Parks would Mean—The looming threat of sequestration and the trend of declining funding for the national park system has been brutal and promises to be catastrophic.  Somehow, Republicans can find it in their moral compass to support boondoggle military procurements (see F-35, Littoral Combat Ship, Future Combat Systems, and others too numerous to mention) and big subsidies for big oil, but the national parks are a bridge too far:

Republicans Claims Wind Tax Credits too Expensive after Voting for Big Oil Subsidies—I guess for Big Oil it pays to have friends in the right places.  Especially when your friends are hypocrites.  There is no other label to apply to congressional Republicans except for hypocrites because these clowns continually beat the drum of fiscal responsibility yet constantly rain largesse on oil companies and defense contractors.

Offshore Wind Turbines Could Power Entire Eastern U.S.—That’s right, the eastern U.S. could be powered entirely by offshore wind.  Okay, so it would take 140,000 offshore wind turbines but once those are installed the power is essentially free.  No coal, no nuclear, no natural gas…oh wait, Republicans wouldn’t like that.

Europe Accounts for 70% of Global PV—Pretty self-explanatory.  Europe is leading the way in installing solar photovoltaic power.  It’s not just the sunny Mediterranean countries either.  Germany is the leader.

How to Reclaim Our Seed Culture—It is one thing to be able to coax healthy produce from our gardens and farms, but our resilience depends on the ability to save seeds from one season to the next.  Too many modern plants are designed to not pass on genetic information from one generation to the next because it makes us reliant on seed companies.  This is unacceptable.

The Farm Life Draws New Blood—The honest work of agriculture appears to be an option for new college graduates and others who view traditional corporate careers with a jaundiced eye.  The world would be a better place if more people actually saw the value in the work that grows our food.

Why do We Eat so Much Tuna—Basically, it does not taste much like fish.  In the U.S. we like to eat a lot of foods as long as they all taste like bland white meat.  Even our chicken does not taste like chicken.  It tastes like bland white meat.  It’s why I have never understood the aversion to tofu by most people.  If you eat a commercial broiler in the U.S. you might as well eat firm tofu because the taste and texture is about the same.

Your Dust Bunnies are Likely Toxic—Great, now the dust in my house is not only annoying but also potentially toxic.  I feel a little better about my situation because we avoid the nasty chemicals meant to help you dust and I am freak about wiping things down with a microfiber cloth.  Still…

Long Bike Rides are a Journey for the Mind—There is something to the rhythmic cadence of pedaling down a lonely road that refreshes and reinvigorates like nothing else.  I think this is what separates cyclists from non-cyclists.