Tag Archives: fracking

Friday Linkage 7/3/2020

Riddle me this, protestors in Aurora, Colorado were met with riot police when demanding justice for the death of Elijah McClain.  Their offense?  Playing the violin.  That’s it.  No violence, no looting, nothing.

In St. Louis it is apparently all right to be a cranky white couple brandishing firearms outside your home while protestors walk past.  How were the dealt with by the police?  Crickets.

Does anyone need a more clear example that the police in the United States are out of control?

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

House Democrats Laying Out New Roadmap for Cutting U.S. Greenhouse Gases—The Green New Deal is a dead letter, but its ideas can spur action along a number of different fronts.  We have the technology and the understanding to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions within our lifetimes.  Failure to do so is a dereliction of our duty to future generations.

Congressional Climate Crisis Action Plan Would Decarbonize U.S., Add $8 Trillion In Benefits By 2050—Another take on the potential plan coming from House Democrats.  Now you know and knowing is half the battle.  Thanks G.I. Joe.

Colorado Springs will Shut Down its Two Coal-Fired Plants by 2030. Now it’s Time for Xcel to Do the Same, Environmentalists Say.—2030 seems like a long way away, but it is less than a decade off.  My guess is that this closure can happen sooner if we really push for it to happen.  Plus, the Martin Drake power plant in Colorado Springs is an absolute eyesore.

Why the World’s Most Advanced Solar Plants Are Failing—The twenty four solar panels on top of my garage seem to be doing just fine day in and day out with no intervention from anyone.  The best answer is sometimes the simpler answer.

Inertia and the Unintended Consequences of More Renewable Power Deployment—Some interesting concepts here that might be an issue as we deploy every increasing amounts of renewable energy.

Chesapeake Energy, Fracking Pioneer, Files for Bankruptcy Owing $9bn—Chesapeake Energy may be the worst “bad actor” in the fracking industry, but it is hardly alone in its loose treatment of contracts and the fundamentals of business.  The idea is to make a profit.  These companies seem allergic to actually making money rather than just blowing through capital like Uber.

Chesapeake Energy Goes Bankrupt, Will It Spur The Industry To Police Its Own?—The short answer is no.  The long answer is that these companies have very little incentive to do anything of the sort because the government at all levels—local, state, and federal—backs them up.

$40 Oil Is The New Normal—If this is the new normal price then a lot of oil companies are going to have a hard time staying afloat.

Fuel Efficiency Rules Lead to Deadlier Car Accidents—This is the kind of hack statistical analysis that gets us into trouble.  Heavier cars are not necessarily safer.  Just take a look at what happens when a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu is slammed into a 1959 Chevrolet Bel-Air.

Impossible Foods Begins Selling its Meatless Sausage to Restaurants Nationwide—People are already concerned about the treatment of animals in industrial operations, the conditions for workers in meat processing facilities, and the general environmental harm that the entire supply chain for animal based protein is causing.  Now you can eliminate all of that with one change.  The future is a crazy place.

New Study Finds Microplastics in Fruits and Vegetables—Future generations will probably call us the “plastic people” for our infatuation with a material that does not degrade and infests every aspect of our lives.  Or we will just be known as the most ignorant epoch of humans.

CSAs for the 1 Percent—Now for something that no one asked for.

On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare—This opinion piece has been getting a lot of play on the Internet over the past few days and I think it is something that we all should read.  I do not necessarily agree with all or even most of the points, but there is something salient about the issue with alarmism.  I just do not know if we are concerned enough, in general, as opposed to small sub-sections of the population being over concerned.

More Companies Want to be “Carbon Neutral.” What Does That Mean?—Once Starbucks has co-opted something you know it is just a branding play.

Friday Linkage 6/5/2020

Are we living in the moment when the United States descends into a version of a dictatorship?  The signs seem to be pointing to yes, but there are several things that make me stop and wonder.

The most prominent of those thoughts is that Donald Trump is the worst person you would want to pin your hopes on.  He is literally the definition of a coward and a bully, which is a bad combination for any potential strong man.

Furthermore, his base of support is quite narrow.  In order to win the election in 2016 he needed to fool the American people long enough to thread the most narrow of needle eyes to make it possible.  None of this will be true in 2020.

My great hope is that this period of time will pass like the tumultuous late-1960s and we will emerge as a better nation.  Plus, we won’t end up with Nixon as president again.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Who Killed Berta Cáceres? Behind the Brutal Murder of an Environment Crusader—It is dangerous to stand up for the health of the planet.  Moneyed interest will literally murder you if you get in the way of the making an extra percentage point on an investment.

The Trump Presidency Is the Worst Ever for Public Lands—Knowing Donald Trump he would likely consider this a feather in his cap.  At least he was number one in something.

Trump EPA Curbs State Power to Reject Fossil Fuel Projects—Trump loves state’s rights when it favors his little pet projects, but state’s rights are a bad thing when it gets in the way of his presidency being the worst for the nation in history.

Air Pollution in China Back to Pre-Covid Levels and Europe May Follow—There went the only good thing to come out of coronavirus.

The Coal Bailout Everybody Is Talking About—There is absolutely nothing more indicative of the corruption and rot at the heart of America’s utility companies than forcing consumers to pay more money for coal fired electricity.

EU’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Continue to Fall as Coal Ditched—Every coal plant that gets shut down is a victory for the planet.  After every coal plant is shut down we move on to shutting down every natural gas plant.  It’s war and we will win.

UK Electricity Coal Free for First Month Ever—It starts with a month and then it becomes a quarter.  Pretty soon you will be talking about coal free years in the United Kingdom.

UK Coalmines Operator Hargreaves Services to End Mining Next Month—After a certain point there will be an accelerating death spiral for coal as supporting companies and mines can no longer make the business an economically viable going concern.  Each additional business that exits the space makes it less economically viable in general accelerating the closures.

Chemists Identify Toxic Chemicals in Fracking Wastewater—Over two hundred different chemical compounds are in fracking wastewater and it is being disposed of in a myriad of ways.   You know, like reinjecting it into the ground.  What could go wrong?

Clear Skies Are a Cover-Up for India’s Fossil Fuel Expansion—The fossil fuel industry will not a let a good crisis go to waste.  We must keep the pressure on to stop the use of these planet killing fuels.

EVs are a Rare Bright Spot in a Pandemic-Struck European Car Market—People may not be buying cars in general, but people are buying EVs specifically.

Empire State Building Slashes Carbon Emissions By 40% With Energy Saving Upgrades—Efficiency is not as sexy as things like floating wind turbines or electric vehicles, but it is the quickest and most cost-effective way to reduce emissions in the near term.  The most environmentally friendly kilowatt is the one you never need to generate.

Planting Invasive Species Could Make Our Carbon Problem Worse—Plant the right tree in the right spot is the mantra of foresters everywhere.  Just indiscriminately planting trees or other plants, for the matters, will not help anyone in the long term.

Americans Still Aren’t Cooking Much from Scratch—Even coronavirus cannot change the long term behavioral trend toward less cooking.  That is a damn shame.

Your Organic Meat Might Not Actually Be Organic—“Big meat” will lie to you about the nature of the food you are going to eat.  “Big meat” will work behind the scenes to fix prices while telling you how they are good for the consumer.  “Big meat” will literally kill their employees and tell you that this is the price to pay for abundant food.  Wrong.

The 160-Year-Old Reason You’re Obsessed with Your Lawn—Ugh, lawns.  If we could just give up lawns and golf America would be a much better place.

The Misunderstood Funeral Tech That’s Illegal in 30 States—The burial industrial complex in the United States is a racket.  It is expensive and bad for the environment.  My wish is to be composted at the end.

Friday Linkage 5/15/2020

Mid-May and I am wondering if there is a light at the end of tunnel for this entire COVID-19 situation.

If I listen to Donald Trump or Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds it sounds like we have already beaten the virus.  Yet, everyone seems pretty afraid to just go back to normal.  And rightfully so because this is still a bad situation.

I hope that in a few months we come out into the sunlight, blinking a little bit, and wonder what the heck we just went through while we sort through the self-inflicted wreckage of our own collective hubris.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

America’s Meat Shortage is More Serious than your Missing Hamburgers—Our food system is designed for maximum efficiency in producing profit for multi-national corporations.  It is not designed to produce the best quality food nor is it designed to protect the safety of its employees or its consumers.  When you depend on a system that prizes efficient production of profit above all else you get “shit in the meat” so to speak.

Trump Dismantles Environmental Protections under Cover of Coronavirus—The coronavirus profiteers have lined up at Trump’s hotels to get in good with the most corrupt president in the history of the United States.  These same profiteers realize that this might be the twilight of their influence as broader macro changes are threatening their primacy.

If We Don’t Take Climate Seriously After COVID-19, We’ll Deserve the Consequences—Let’s get some adults in the room and figure out solutions.

India’s Carbon Emissions Fall for First Time in Four Decades—I guess it is good news.  Too bad it took a global pandemic and horrible recession.

Wind & Solar = 11% Of Electricity Generation In January & February In USA—There was a time when renewables were thought to be limited to less than 5% of the total market.  Now we see greater than 10% market share for non-hydro renewables.  I wonder what the numbers will look like in March and April as our collective power down due to coronavirus ripples through electricity markets.

U.S. Drillers Cut Oil & Gas Rigs to Historic Low—Shale oil was on the ropes before COVID-19 and now it appears like the industry is basically pulling up stakes to wait for better times.

Environmentalists Worry Colorado will See a Surge of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells as Industry Tanks—These companies will find a way to weasel out of any obligations by declaring bankruptcy or just having legislatures change laws.  Have no fear, you will be paying to clean up their mess for decades.

Minnesota’s Great River Energy Closing Coal Plant, Switching to Two-Thirds Wind Power—Another one bites the dust.

These Dirty Power Plants Cost Billions and Only Operate in Summer. Can They be Replaced?—So-called peaker plants should be the next wave of cancelled fossil fuel electrical plants targeted for closure.  These are expensive and inefficient power producers.  Demand shifting, energy storage, and greater efficiency will drive them out of business.

Location Selected for Operations Base which will Serve ‘World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm’—These offshore wind farms in the UK are crazy big.  Millions of homes powered by offshore wind.  It feels like the future is here already.

Future Energy: Zero-Carbon Heating—In the drive to cut our reliance on fossil fuels the need to electrify our home heating is paramount to success.  Thankfully, technologies exist today that will allow us to get most of the benefits without a breakthrough.

Gas Stoves can Generate Unsafe Levels of Indoor Air Pollution—Who thought it was a good idea to have an unsealed natural gas powered flame just burning in a kitchen?  We no longer accept open flames in our furnaces or water heaters, so why is this accepted as a feature of homes?

Plastic Recycling is Broken. Why Does Big Plastic Want Cities to Get $1 Billion to Fix It?—You cannot fix plastic recycling because there is no such thing as plastic recycling.  All that collection in blue and green bins is just another waste stream that makes us feel virtuous.

Florida Beachgoers Left Behind 13,000 Pounds of Trash Last Week on This Beach—Thanks for wrecking everything Florida.

Why You Should Start Squirting a Little Bit of Dish Soap Down the Drain—I one of those zealots who cleans their sink daily after dinner is put away because I cannot stand a dirty sink.  Just clean up after yourselves.

These Insects Are Not ‘Murder Hornets’ So Please Stop Killing Them—2020 has brought us a lot of bad shit, but murder hornets?  Now it just feels like the world is fucking with us for fun.

Friday Linkage 5/1/2020

I cannot say if April was the longest month I have every endured or if it was the shortest month.

Most days felt like the day before it.

However, not commuting to work has its own joys.

Everyone is starting to go a little stir crazy in the house, but I do not share the governor of Iowa’s opinion that it is time to start reopening.  I fear that we are staring a flare up of cases across the state.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Iceland Ends Its Minke Whale Hunt—At least there is one bit of good news out there.

The Novel Frugality—Every time there is a major downturn in economic fortunes there is a rush to discuss how Americans will become more frugal.  When the economy snaps back there is a rush to buy another flat screen television because one just cannot survive with a sixty inch model when seventy inches is so much better.

How Pepsi and Coke make Millions Bottling Tap Water, as Residents Face Shutoffs—In America if an individual commits an offense it is criminal.  However, if a company commits an offense there is suspension of enforcement because corporations have become more valuable than people.

Donald Trump Is Exploiting the Coronavirus Pandemic to Sell Campaign Swag—I am waiting for the claim that a red MAGA hat will keep you safe from the coronavirus.  I am sure that Sean Hannity and Alex Jones would be all over promoting this for a cut of the proceeds.  Granted, Donnie Two Scoops is not someone who likes to share profits with anyone.

Full Steam Ahead—My guess is that oil and gas companies are staring at the next nine months as the last gasp of a pliant administration.  Once the worst president in American history returns full-time to Mar a Lago for tacky brunches and sub-standard rounds of golf there will be less inclination in Washington D.C. to just let oil and gas companies do whatever they want.

For Oil and Its Dependents, It’s Code Blue—There has never been an event with demand destruction this severe this quickly.  Oil tankers are literally floating off the coast of the United States with no place to unload oil.  Texas—Texas!—just recommended a 20% reduction in oil production.  This is uncharted territory.

Plastics Industry Requests $1 Billion Bailout From Fed—This is just what we need.  More plastic to be dumped into landfills.  And we get to pay for it with tax dollars.

How Coronavirus Has Changed the Way We Think About Disposable Plastics—Without proof the plastic industry and its retail partners have been pushing the story that disposable plastic items are safer, in terms of coronavirus exposure, than other forms of packaging including paper and reusable.

Empire State Blows Past Offshore Wind Limit With 1,000 (More) MW—Offshore wind is where the action is going to be for the next decade or so as established renewables like onshore wind, residential solar, and utility scale solar complete build outs.

Britain Breaks Record for Coal-Free Power Generation—The transformation in the graphic below is just amazing:

UK Carbon Intensity

Sweden Shuts Down Its Last Coal Plant Two Years Early—The hits just keep on coming for coal.

LA’s Mountains Make Another Case For Electric Cars—Clear skies and long forgotten views remind us that the problem is with how much driving and flying we do.  If there is anything good to come out of the current crisis it is that people will realize just how bad daily driving is for the planet.  The proof is in the views.

Paris Has a Plan to Keep Cars Out After Lockdown—We will take back our cityscapes from automobiles and return the common space to actual people.  It will not happen overnight and it will not happen everywhere, but the future is one where people matter more than automobiles.

Permian Basin Methane Emissions Found to Be More Than 2x Previous Estimates—As if you needed another reason to figure out how to eliminate fossil fuels from your daily life.  It is not just the burning of these fuels that is a problem, but the entire chain of production from well to exhaust.

Are Gas Furnaces and Boilers the New Diesel Cars?—In the hunt to electrify everything—because as this article states electricity is the only fuel that can be produced cleanly—our homes will be the great challenge.  If you think automobile ownership cycles are long, just get a load of how long people keep a furnace.

The Pandemic Will Change American Retail Forever—American retail needed to change.  Our development pattern for the last fifty years or so has been ever more retail.  Even as we built multiple times more retail per capita than any other country there was a thirst to build ever more.  Now is the time to reconfigure and repurpose.

Scientists Agree: Coffee Naps Are Better Than Coffee or Naps Alone—I am down with coffee naps.  This might be my new isolation routine.

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 1/24/2020

Evangelicals who support Donald Trump may welcome the end times—their assumption being that during the end times their beliefs will be rewarded at the expense of others—but watching him stumble through the throngs of the global elite in Davos is just sad.

Do you remember the time when Fox News lost its collective shit that President Obama wore a tan suit to a briefing?  Do you remember the time that the same network again lost its collective shit when President Obama saluted with a disposable coffee cup?  Yeah, I remember all of that and it makes me wonder why they are not losing their collective shit over the degradation of America’s world standing under Donald Trump.

No one respects us anymore.  We are tolerated because of economic size and military might.  It’s like the rich kid who gets invited to a party because he can buy beer.

On to the links…

Homeland Security Listed These Climate Activists as ‘Extremists’ Alongside Mass Killers—We live in a time where people protesting oil and gas projects are treated with more scrutiny than people who advocate for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

Energy Companies Have a Great Friend At Trump’s Interior Department: Their Former Lobbyist—The Trump administration is the best government that petro-dollars can buy.  If there is one thing a different president could do in January 2021 it is to make life a little harder for oil and gas companies.

Interior Attorney gave False Information to Congress about Contact with Koch Foundation—Need advice?  Of course you would reach out to the Koch Brothers.  Sorry, you would reach out the Koch Brother.  What could the possible conflict of interest be in this case?

How Much Energy Does The US Consume & Where Does It Come From?—In order to decarbonize our economy we need to know where we use energy and where that energy comes from.  This is a guide:

Total-US-energy-usage-Pew

Carbon Offsets Work. But are They an Excuse for Big Companies?—Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, it is an excuse for companies.  However, it is better than doing nothing.

Wind & Solar Power Will Dominate 2020 In US, Despite Trump—It’s cheaper and there are no greenhouse gas emissions.  Yep, that is pretty much a winning formula.

America’s Radioactive Secret—Fracking produces wastewater that is laced with radioactive material.  This is yet another reason to decarbonize.

Germany to Phase out Coal by 2038—2038 seems like a long way away, but I remember partying like it’s 1999 so maybe it is not so far away.  Maybe developments turn this into a 2035 goal or a 2032 goal.

Agrovoltaics Could Help Calm Fears About Renewables For Iowa Farmers—I do not believe that Iowa farmers have any issues or fears about renewables.  How do I know?  Spend any time driving in eastern Iowa and you will see solar arrays on a lot of farms.  Head south of where I live into Washington County and you will see solar arrays just about everywhere.

The JX Ranch—There is a place for ranching and grazing in our ecosystems.  It just takes care and patience to ensure that the practice can restore and sustain the land.  It can be done.

Modified Plants to Curb Climate Change—I get the idea, but this has unintended consequences written all over it.

China Announces Major Phaseout of Single-Use Plastics—I will believe this when I see it happen on the ground in China.  Official laws and announcements are one thing in China as the reality on the ground is often quite different.

Plastic Bags Have Lobbyists. They’re Winning.—The plastic industry is the same as the fossil fuel industry.  Where do you think the raw material for plastic comes from?  Oil and gas.  In fact, the production of feedstocks for industries other than liquid fuel is what drives the profitability of oil and gas refiners.  Without these additional revenue streams the business case for refining liquid fuels would look quite different.

How We Reduced the Environmental Impact of (Almost) Everything We Buy—No one wants to say it, but the best thing you can do for the environment is nothing.  Just stop buying stuff.  If you have to buy something, buy it used.  It is amazing how environmentalism and frugality intersect.

World’s Consumption of Materials Hits Record 100bn Tons a Year—Just stop buying stuff.

The Carbon Footprint of Dinner: How ‘Green’ are Fish Sticks?—The climate impacts of processing are something that we all need to be aware of in this climate crisis time period.  It is silly to truck salad greens thousands of miles and it might be silly to process food into items that only resemble food.

California has Been Passing Tough Animal Welfare Laws. A Court Just Handed the State a Big Victory.—Remember, Republicans only like local control if it favors allowing people to own machine guns and tell you what to do with your own body.  Otherwise, big business should get to make the decisions based on Republican logic.

Spending a Lot On Books? This Browser Extension Tells You if They’re Available at Your Local Library—This browser extension is absolute genius.  Install it.  Use it.

The Financial Math Behind Decarbonization

What if I told you that for the price of a base model Tesla Model 3—good luck actually finding one—you could decarbonize your household?

What if I told you that this is not a thought exercise but an examination of steps already taken?

Are you ready?

The price for base Tesla Model 3 is ~$35,000.  That is the price assuming that you can actually purchase the so-called “standard range” model and before any applicable tax credits.  For the purposes of this discussion I am going to leave tax credits aside for the time being.  So, we are working with a starting price of $35,000.

For that price you get an electric vehicle that has to draw power from the grid, which depending upon your locale and power company may support coal fired electricity.  It may also support fracking for natural gas or the nuclear power energy, assuming any of that industry remains in your region.

What else could you do with that $35,000?

Over the course of the past two and half years I have installed solar photovoltaic panels on my roof in two phases.  Why two phases?  Initially, my power company would only allow my roof mounted solar photovoltaic array to exceed my annual consumption—based on average expected production—by ~10% or so.  Considering how little electricity my household used in comparison to the average this worked out to a system of 4.64 kWh.  This initial phase cost me ~$11,000 before tax credits at the state and federal level.

In the past month I added ~62% more capacity to my existing solar photovoltaic array at a cost of ~$7,500.  In the past year I added an electric vehicle to the mix, which has upped my household consumption, in addition to a few winter months in 2019 where my prior panels were covered under deep snow curtailing production.  We also forgot to turn off a garage heater, which ran up the electric bill in February.  All told these changes goosed our consumption just enough to allow me to install an additional eight panels on my roof.

As it stands right now the photovoltaic array on my roof has a nameplate capacity of 7.52 kWh.  This was complete at a total cost of ~$18,500 before any tax credits.  Remember, we are leaving tax credits aside for the moment.  Assuming my household usage patterns hold—including one electric vehicle—this system will produce more than 100% of my household’s electricity requirements for the year.  The estimated excess production should allow me to replace my natural gas water heater with an electric air source heat pump model further reducing my household requirements for fossil fuels.  With the water heater replaced in the next year my household will only use natural gas for the forced air furnace in the colder months.  Trust me, I am looking at options to replace that as well.

What about the electric vehicle?  This is where the power of the market and a realistic assessment of one’s needs come into play.

A Tesla Model 3 is a fine automobile.  Dollar for dollar, it may be the best vehicle on the market right now when one considers its relative performance and environmental bona fides.  However, it still costs $35,000.

In January of this year I purchased a used Nissan Leaf for ~$11,500.  The Leaf had ~33K miles on the odometer, but the battery was in great condition being that the 2015 and later model years utilized an updated architecture that corrected some of the prior model years’ most glaring problems.  A purchase price of more than eleven thousand dollars might sound like a lot, but this was a car that retailed for more than $30,000 when new.  Losing two thirds of car’s value without high mileage is crazy town.  Or, good for the person who can take advantage.

If one can live with a lesser range, one can take advantage of the market punishing these older EVs for not being up to Tesla’s newer standards.  If one drives in town, for the most part, there is no disadvantage.  In almost a year of daily driving I have had just one instance of the range “guess-o-meter” dropping below ten miles remaining and I have never experienced the indignity of “turtle mode.”

How does this all add up?  Total cost for me to purchase an EV to replace all of my daily driver miles and enough solar photovoltaic capacity to power me entire household, including EV electricity requirements, was less than $30,000 before any tax incentives.  Compared to a $35K Tesla Model 3 I would say that I ended up in a better place.  Five thousand or so dollars better, mind you.

This is not to diminish the decision of someone purchasing a Tesla or any other EV.  Rather, it is to illustrate that there is an alternative path to decarbonization that is neither as expensive as portrayed by many and without any appreciable downsides.

The future is now.

Friday Linkage 11/8/2019

Did Trump suffer the greatest defeat of all time in Kentucky?  Not so much. He was in that state to rally for a horrible candidate who ended up losing by a razor thin margin.  However, Trump is a loser nonetheless. And a clown.

On to the links…

It’s Official: Trump Just Started the Process to Formally Pull Out of the Paris Climate Accords—This is where we are now.  In one year we have the best chance and maybe our only chance to stop this madness.

EPA to Ease Restrictions on How Coal Plants Store Toxic Waste—This is what you get with the Trump administration.  Coal companies want to pollute without regard for anything.  Coal companies get what they want because they are sucking up to Trump and will be with him until the end.

Why Restoring Nature is so Important to Limiting Climate Change—Restoration is the concept we need to be fighting for right now.  If we can restore forests, wetlands, bayous, grasslands, and what not we have a chance.

How To Reach U.S. Net Zero Emissions By 2050: Decarbonizing Industry—Transportation gets all of the attention because cars are part of our national psyche, but industry is a big player in terms of emissions.  Just reducing emissions by concrete and steel producers would do a lot to put us on the path of net zero emissions.

How America Can Reach Net Zero Emissions By 2050: Decarbonizing Buildings—There is a lot of progress that can be made by figuring out how our buildings are using energy and fossil fuels.

Race Heats Up For Title Of Cheapest Solar Energy In The World—This is a race to the bottom that you want to participate in as much as possible.  How is coal and, perhaps, natural gas going to compete with solar at $0.0164 or lower per kWh?

Huge Battery Investments Drop Energy-Storage Costs Faster Than Expected, Threatening Natural Gas—Peaker plants are going to be replaced by big batteries.  Like replacing coal, these batteries are going to replace the most inefficient and polluting natural gas electricity sources.  Overbuilding renewables and building out a level of storage is how we beat the “duck curve.”

Giant Water Battery Cuts University’s Energy Costs by $100 Million Over Next 25 Years—This is so low tech and cool at the same time.  Why can’t this type of solution be deployed in places like California and Arizona?  Oh wait, it could.

New Lithium Ion Battery Design Could Allow Electric Vehicles to Be Charged in Ten Minutes—This is how EVs get better without a major breakthrough in battery technology.  Improve the charging, increase the efficiency of the components, etc.

Can ‘Nests’ and Eco Bikes Reduce the Environmental Impact of Parcel Delivery in Cities?

—Bikes are amazing and if we are going to insist on buying everything from Amazon at the very least the delivery can be eco-friendly.

Sydney Hints At Electrification Of 8,000 Buses—We are never going to build out rail networks in our cities that are built for automobiles using surface streets.  However, as density increases we can utilize electric buses to utilize the existing infrastructure in a better way.

Backcountry.com Breaks its Silence Amid Trademark Lawsuit Controversy to Apologize and Aay “We made a mistake”–The first rule of being an outdoor manufacturer or retailer should be “Don’t be a dick.”  No one was confusing someone talking about backcountry skiing with an internet retailer.

Friday Linkage 10/18/2019

As the investigation into Donald Trump’s administration deepens I do not see anyone really stepping back and asking, “How did we get to a point where an obviously corrupt and incompetent administration is allowed to operate with impunity?”

Granted, if I were Mitch McConnell—the grim reaper of American democracy—I would “get while the getting is good” because posterity will not be kind to the one man who is demonstrably responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today.

On to the links…

This Is What Adapting to Climate Change Looks Like—California is America on fast forward according to author Manuel Pastor.  Our collective future is going to look a lot like California’s present as the climate changes and the planet gets angry.

Staring Down Donald Trump, the Same Elephant in Every Room—In a little more than a year I hope that the results on election night play out like a national version of Greta Thunberg’s stare as we watch Donny Two Scoops melt down.

BLM Head: ‘What I thought, what I wrote, what I did in the past is irrelevant.’—In the swampy Trump administration it does not matter what you may have said or done in the past.  All that matters is fealty to the dear leader and a willingness to loot the public treasury for the benefit of private interests.

Why US Car Emissions Are Continuing to Rise in the Era of the Hybrid—No matter how many EVs and hybrids we buy it is being cancelled out by the rise in SUVs and pickup trucks.  It also does not help that we buy things from Amazon that have to be delivered by truck.

The Midwest’s Solar Future will be Unlike Anything Seen Before—I can see this happening first hand in eastern Iowa.  Lots of homes around me have gone solar as county wide efforts to bring down the per watt cost have increased the rates of adoption.  Farmers have installed massive ground mount arrays with the help of local co-ops and accommodating rural electric cooperatives.  What makes me hopeful is that there are so many more roofs that can be graced with solar panels.

Renewable Energy Surpasses Fossil Fuels in the UK—The ongoing Brexit debacle may have made the UK seem like a dysfunction mess, but there is real progress on becoming a post-modern energy state.

#Sludge Report: End Of Fossil Fuel Era Closer Than We Know—Like a snowball rolling downhill things start off small and slow but before long it becomes large and fast.

No Relief from Fracking Industry on Colorado’s Front Range—This is where fracking will be stopped.  Fracking is going to shoot itself because it does not care about the communities that it impacts negatively.

Another Insurer Will Dump Coal and Oil Sands—Boring but important news here.  Without insurance a lot of projects cannot get debt financing.  Debt financing is the lifeblood of fossil fuel projects.  You do the math.

Fast Food is Fueling Brazilian Wildfires—Global supply chains do not care about sustainability.  Global supply chains only care about getting commodities for the lowest possible price.  If the world has to burn to save a nickel the global supply chain will provide the match.

The Shadowy Beef Lobbyist Fighting Against Plant-Based ‘Meat’—The same cast of characters who coordinated the rear guard action for Big Tobacco are reassembling like a motley band of comic book villains to help the meat industry slow the advance of plant based alternatives.  The irony is that it did not work out so well for Big Tobacco.

The Impossible Whopper is Driving Steady Traffic to Burger King—People actually want to visit a Burger King to get an Impossible Whopper.  When was the last time you heard anybody say they wanted to go to Burger King?  This is what the meat industry fears.

Cities Are Worried About the Health Effects of Glyphosate—Everyone should be worried about the negative health impacts of glyphosate.  Monsanto lied and people died.

A Coffee Crisis Is Brewing And It Could Make Your Morning Joe Less Tasty—Climate change is coming for your coffee.  It’s not just climate change but international business and geopolitics as well.  Needless to say, you might want to read up on the robusta variety of coffee because you will be drinking it soon enough.

Buying ‘Green’ Won’t Make You Any Happier, but Buying Less Will—We cannot buy our way into a state of happiness and we cannot buy our way into a greener lifestyle.

It’s Better to Buy Less than to Buy ‘Green’ Products—The greenest thing that you can do is just say no when it comes to buying stuff.

The Climate Change Solution Scientists Have Been Overlooking—This makes so much sense you know that organizations like the Catholic Church and Republicans will be against it because…reasons.

When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested—If you do not think we need Medicare for All than you have never interacted with the system that actually put people in jail for medical debts.  Furthermore, this is a system that is using a power normally associate with absolute monarchs—contempt—to put people in jail for debts owed to private entities.  If there was ever a recipe for a revolution this would be it.

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.