Tag Archives: Finland

Friday Linkage 3/8/2019

Every week I think that world cannot get crazier and every week I am shocked to find that it may have actually gotten worse.

We now live in an America where layers upon layers of the President’s advisers, confidants, lawyers, and administration members are actually convicted of felonies and sentenced to jail time but Republican loyalists continue to defend the administration tooth and nail.

We now live in an America where a national news network is working hand in glove with a corrupt political party to sway Americans’ opinions on issues to favor billionaires despite these policies harming the vast majority of people in this country.

We now live in an America…just fill in the blank with the latest depravity.  When does this madness stop?

On to the links…

What Democrats and Republicans Drink on Mardi Gras—If your choice of beer in 2019 is Michelob Ultra than you are everything that is wrong with this world.

Republicans Warn That Liberals Are Coming for Your Burgers—It makes for a nice sound bite to rile up your Uncle Carl watching Fox News all day, but it is not true.  Today’s Republican Party is a joke.  It is a purely reactionary body of low level hucksters selling a vision of society that appeals to a narrow band of the American public.

To Revive Rural America, We Must Fix Our Broken Food System—When politicians talk about rural America or the farm economy they are really talking about policies that favor gigantic agribusiness at the expense of both farmers and food consumers.  Once you understand that paradigm everything in the farm bill begins to make sense.

Jay Inslee just Launched a Presidential Campaign that will be All About Climate Change—It is likely that Jay Inslee will fall short of the nomination.  Heck, with this many people running right now it is likely that a lot of people will fall short.  However, this is an important addition to the political conversation and I am glad that Jay Inslee has the courage to make it his issue.

Post-Hurricane Harvey, NASA Tried to Fly a Pollution-Spotting Plane over Houston. The EPA said No—In Trump’s America pollution is good for you because it is brought to you by oil and gas companies.  Of course they have the best interests of the public in mind.  Right?

Coal Burning Plants Aren’t Just Polluting the Air—They’re Poisoning Water—Exactly what is good about coal?

Banks around the World Opt to Offload Coal—Get used to hearing about the weighted average cost of capital for coal projects.  The higher the WACC goes the less likely it is for coal projects to get funded because they cannot deliver the necessary return on investment relative to their risk profile.  Banks getting out of the coal game drives the WACC higher.

Wyoming Legislature Extends Lifeline to Coal Power—This is what the free market looks like under modern day conservative leadership.  If something is uneconomical and bad for the environment it must get supported because the paymasters running oil, gas, and coal companies need to be kept in business at the expense of anything else.

Colorado Democrats’ High-Stakes Oil and Gas Bill Is Finally Here—Oil and gas companies have run roughshod over the people of Colorado for decade.  Fracking rigs come right up to residential neighborhoods.  Houses even end up exploding.  A changing state is the canary in the coal mine for oil and gas dominance of the American West.

An Illinois Bill Leans into the Most Contentious Part of the Green New Deal—Environmental justice is also social justice.  As the environment is degraded the people who will suffer the most are the ones who had the least responsibility for the degradation.

Finland Approves 2029 Coal Ban For Energy Use—You go Finland.

This Is What Peak Car Looks Like—The financial argument is one thing.  What happens when cities decide that dedicating so much valuable space to personal automobiles is a waste?  The future is now.

Electrify Everything: Why our Thinking has to be as Flexible and Resilient as our Buildings—The key to resilience is flexibility.  What works in one place may not be the best use of resource is another place.  Solutions are tailorable to particular locations.

This Is How the Age of Plastics Began—Plastic is the trash that we have the hardest time dealing with and this is how the problem began.  If we need to decarbonize our society we must also work on ridding our products of plastic.

Recycling Is Broken—How we deal with our trash—which is really what recycling is at the end of the day—is coming for a reckoning now that we can no longer easily outsource the job to China and other developing economies.

Californians are Losing Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Recycling Deposits—As human beings we are not the most rational creatures when it comes to money despite what economists would like to tell us.  Sure, this money is spread out in small amounts across large numbers of people so the perceived loss is low.  However, this is still a lot of money left on the table.

Is This the Death Rattle of Mail-Order Meal Kits?—God I hope so.  These kits are like the worst habits of your local grocery store delivered to your doorstep.  So much plastic.

The Science Behind Why Hipsters Always End Up Looking the Same—Interesting.

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5/11/2018 Friday Linkage

The world is full of bad news.  However, a beacon of hope was shining this week when it was announced the Wyld Stallyns would be returning for a third installment of most excellent adventures.

San Dimas high school football rules!

On to the links…

What Genuine, No-Bullshit Ambition on Climate Change would Look Like—Here is the deal: We have the tools necessary to make a serious effort to combat the causes of climate change.  We understand the risks of climate change and we can estimate the costs.  We have no excuses.

Winter Athletes Aren’t Going to Let Snow Vanish Without a Fight—I am a member of Protect Our Winters, but if you are a skier or a snowboarder or anyone who just likes winter you should be a supporter.

695,000 Winter Sports Jobs at Risk Due to Climate Change—Those million dollar houses are not going to be worth very much when the ski slopes are abandoned for lack of snow:

BLOGS18APR-3-NEW

EPA Clamping Down on Public Records Requests Related to Scott Pruitt—Take a moment to remember that Donald Trump was the political outsider who was going to “drain the swamp.” Too bad he just found the worst creatures to repopulate his swamp.

Passengers ‘Lashing Out’ At Scott Pruitt Justify First-Class Travel, New EPA Memo Says—People were going to be mean to Scott Pruitt so he had to fly first class.  That is the logic of these people.  It is also just corruption and thievery.

EPA “Head” Scott Pruitt Discounts The Value Of Human Life—This is dynamic scoring for the pollution set.  Your health and well-being does not matter one bit compared to the profits to be gained by soiling the air, ground, and water.  This is the world of Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt.

Rick Perry Suggests Using ‘National Security’ to Override Opposition to Pipelines—If “national security” were really the goal, would it not be a better solution to produce power as locally as possible so it was not reliant on an exposed infrastructure?

Sun And Solar Power Cut Electricity Demand From New England Grid To Lowest Ever—Demand for baseload power dropped to a level lower than when the sun is not shining.  Solar works.

For First Time Ever, Solar Dominates UK Power Supply—This is the United Kingdom, famous for its notoriously gray weather, not Spain, famous for its sun.

US Wind Development Surges As Pipeline Exceeds 30 Gigawatts—The pipeline is critical because these are the projects that will keep the industry humming along until we can vote out the fossil fuel soaked members of Congress and the sitting President.

U.S. Added 2,000 Wind Turbines in 2017—AI Would Add 2,200 More Today—It’s not about adding more wind turbines, but wringing more power out of the wind turbines that we have already installed.  Combined with replacing the oldest and least efficient wind turbines there is a huge opportunity to expand power production.

The Puerto Rican Families Who’ve Gone Off the Grid—Puerto Rico is the unintentional laboratory for renewable energy and resilient microgrids.  What this community has learned the hard way will be good lessons in our rapidly changing climate.

The Miracle of Finland: What a Tiny Northern Minnesota Town can Teach America—In a less industrialized and less carbon intensive world I think that things will begin to look a lot more like Finland, Minnesota.

Cheap Tires Are Costing You Money and Probably Also Killing the Planet—I have a car enthusiast friend who always says, “People will spend five bucks a day on a cup of coffee, but want to save a few dollars on tires which are the only thing between you and the road.”  I have the same feeling about bicycle tires as well.

Friday Linkage 6/13/2014

I watched the primary returns on Tuesday night with a disinterested eye that was more focused on drinking a glass of my latest House Pale Ale and figuring out the family’s upcoming trip to Colorado with my wife. When the news came in that Eric Cantor had been defeated in what was being described as a stunning defeat my ears perked up.

Is this the last gasp of the Republican Party as a national party? Think about it for a moment, Eric Cantor was considered too “moderate” to win a primary in a Congressional district where he was the incumbent. Never mind he outspent his opponent by a factor of 10 or more and his opponent was a virtual unknown to boot. If you thought the days of Todd Akin, Sharon Angle, and Christine O’Donnell were over…well, it’s mid-term election season baby!

On to the links…

In Some States, Emissions Cuts Defy Skeptics—Some states have already made the cuts in carbon emissions being rolled out by the EPA at the behest of the president. To complain vociferously is to prove that your elected leaders are in the pocket of special interests and not concerned with the long term viability of the planet.

Krugman: In The Real War On Coal, The Mining Industry Won And Workers Lost—The coal industry has a mythic hold on portions of this country, but it is ironic because the industry has been notoriously bad with regard to the treatment of its employees.

EPA Carbon Standards and Iowa: Breezing Past Proposed Goals—Sometimes, Iowa does not get the credit for being bad ass when it comes to renewables. As it stands today more than one quarter—27%–of our electricity is generated via wind and with new investments coming on line that numbers could approach as much as 40%. Now, if we can just get some solar rocking then Iowa will blow past whatever carbon goals are set at a national level.

In Response to President Obama’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Republicans Roll Out Their Usual Lies—At what point do people just stop believing these guys? It’s kind of silly at this juncture. Maybe that is why the only place the party is viable is in gerrymandered districts with voter suppression and a high viewership of Fox News.

Finland to Cut CO2 Emissions 80% by 2050, Legally Binding—Just when I think we are doing something grand in the U.S., some country in Europe goes and steals the thunder. Finland…way to go.

The Hot New Frontier of Energy Research Is Human Behavior—The way we act everyday can have a major impact on our energy usage. Just think about driving. You could take three drivers—one who drives normally, one who drives conservatively, and one who is a hypermiler—and get radically different mileage results with the same vehicle. Expand this to the rest of our daily interactions with energy.

It Took Until June, But The Great Lakes are Finally Ice Free—The summer has been a little cool in my neck of the woods, but it is nothing compared to seeing ice on the Great Lakes over Memorial Day. The last vestige of this very cold winter is finally gone.

St. Paul Makes a Bet on Revival with Green Line Light-Rail Train—It’s amazing how the residents along the Green Line LRT route are looking at the development as a way to really revitalize what has been a lagging area of the Twin Cities metro. I watch with interest as new light rail lines are installed in places because the development has been fascinating.

Illinois May Have Just Banned Your Favorite Face Wash—Thank god some state has finally taken action of getting these silly plastic microbeads out of the water supply. Do we really need to exfoliate with something that pollutes our waterways with even more plastic? Nope.

40 Maps that Explain Food in America—I have been a little light on infographics lately because nothing has really piqued my interest. This series of maps is interesting in a different way.

Farmers Markets Reaching more Consumers Who get Nutritional Benefits—These programs seem like one of those rare win-win type moments. People who need access to more fresh food are afforded access, farmers get access to a pool of money, and the community has better health as a result. Dig it.

Driving a Car Built in the ’90s? Join the Club—Now, think of all of these cars being retired in the coming years and replaced with vehicles meeting new mileage requirements. I am guessing this will be a driver, pun intended, of fleet mileage increases for years to come.

Japan Seeks to Squelch Its Tiny Cars—I have never owned or ridden in a kei car, but these little sprites just seem so Japanese. On my one visit to Japan these cars were part of the scenery that was unique to the country. I guess globalization will claim another victim in the inexorable drive toward a homogenized landscape.