Tag Archives: jobs

Friday Linkage 2/24/2017

November 9th was a day of some serious despair, but I see a lot of potential in the awakening of a progressive spirit and an exposure of the right wing’s anti-people agenda.  Yes, it will be a lot of work to make any kind of meaningful change given the dynamics of elections in the U.S.  Yes, Donald Trump is a dumpster fire in human form that happens to inhabit the Oval Office.  However, there has been a spark that has ignited a liberal fire like no other time in recent memory.

On to the links…

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lowest Since 1994—A lot of this decline has to do with the replacement of coal with natural gas in the electrical generation sector and a recession that dampened demand across a whole host of industries.  Nonetheless, the data is compelling:

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The Future of Solar Power Technology is Bright—No matter what the political environment looks like in the future, the potential of solar is very real.

Record Wind & Solar Keep The Lights On In NSW As Coal & Gas Went Missing—Renewable energy can make the grid more reliable.  This should put the argument about intermittency to bed.

Wind Technician Jobs Growing, in Iowa and Nationally—The sooner that everyone realizes that there are more people working in renewable energy jobs, like wind turbine technicians, the sooner that we can get past the narrative of coal jobs being the only energy jobs that matter.

Drilling Experts Explain why Trump Can’t Bring Back Oilfield Jobs—The jobs will not be coming back because like coal before it automation and market changes are driving the need for actual human labor down.

University of Iowa Announces it will be Coal-Free by 2025—Each power generating facility or consumer that goes coal-free is another brick in the wall in eliminating coal from our energy infrastructure.  Yes, it will take a long time.  Yes, it is inevitable if we keep up the pressure.

Petcoke Piles Gone, but Another Dangerous Pollutant Discovered in the Air—If you think that there is no place for the EPA it is likely that you do not live in a community affected by this kind of pollution.  Low income communities are at the mercy of polluters because they do not have the political clout of the Koch brothers.

Which Ski Run Is Better for the Planet?—Ski hills go out of business.  What comes after is hard to imagine as you spend your days sliding.  However, the way we develop ski runs can make a major difference for the next stage of the land’s lifecycle.

Almost Every Packaged Food Comes from These Two Companies—The merger between Kraft Heinz and Unilever may have died, but this should give you some sense as to how consolidated the center aisles of the grocery store have become.

Olive Oil Shortage Looms as Prices and Demand Rise—Climate change has come for our coffee, chocolate, and hops.  Now olive oil is the crosshairs.  When will the larger populace realize that the impacts of climate change is here.

Fifth of World’s Food Lost to Over-Eating and Waste—Food insecurity is not a question of production it is a question of distribution, availability, and affordability.  It is a god damned shame that we live in a world where a significant portion of the world’s population is overweight while a similarly large portion of the world’s population is food insecure.

Friday Linkage 2/10/2017

The abnormal has become the normal.  The surrogates of the president lie—massacres in Bowling Green, terrorist attacks in Atlanta, who knows that else—with a zeal that makes me wonder if it is overtly encouraged by the current president.  Alternative facts—known as lies to anyone with the sense of a first grader—have become the new currency of cable news.  Have we actually entered the Twilight Zone?

Wake me up in a few years.

On to the links…

U.S. Wind, Solar Power Tout Rural Jobs as Trump Pushes Coal—Trump has a narrative in his simple mind that coal is power and solar is for hippies.  Too bad the reality on the ground—like so many things—does not actually match this narrative.  Maybe it is an alternative fact?

Americans are Now Twice as Likely to Work in Solar as in Coal—If you were going to ask for a group’s support which would you pick: the group with more jobs that is growing or the group with fewer jobs that is declining?  Which one do you think the sitting president chose?

6 Reasons the Clean Energy Revolution Doesn’t need Trump’s Blessing—Trump may think that his perch atop his imperial presidency makes him capable of doing whatever he wants and making it happen via proclamation, but the reality on the ground is very different.

Reasons to be Cheerful: A Full Switch to Low-Carbon Energy is in Sight—I like the positive spin on this.

Cheaper Renewables to Halt Coal and Oil Demand Growth from 2020—This is what the death spiral looks like.  As the technology doing the replacing gets cheaper and easier to deploy there is no way that the displaced technology can compete on either cost or performance, so it’s displacement becomes self-fulfilling.  Once the coal mines shutter who is going to invest in coal?

Electric Vehicles Will Be A Major Oil Price Driver In The Future—The question is how much a disruption in oil demand will be needed to make a major difference in price.  Recently, we have seen swing production of less than 10% cause major price disruptions.

We’re Probably Underestimating How Quickly Electric Vehicles will Disrupt the Oil Market—Disruption can happen fast.  I cannot wait to see what the EV market looks like when both Chevrolet and Tesla are selling EVs at volume for an attainable price.

Californians are Paying Billions for Power they Don’t Need—This story kind of blew my mind.

Rachel Carson, ‘Mass Murderer’? A Right-Wing Myth about ‘Silent Spring’ is Poised for a Revival—With people like Scott Pruitt installed at the EPA and right wing whack jobs in Congress I am expecting this old trope to get a lot of play on the cable news cycle.

L.A.’s Mayor Wants to Lower the City’s Temperature, and these Scientists are Figuring out How to do it—The L.A. Times came strong with some stories this week that I think are of relevance to our understanding of the world.

Invading Pythons and the Weird, Uncertain Future of the Florida Everglades—Florida is a petri dish for everything we have screwed up over the past few decades.  Now it is also a living laboratory for what happens when invasive species change the dynamic.  After reading The New Wild [https://www.amazon.com/New-Wild-Invasive-Species-Salvation/dp/0807039551] I am left to wonder if anything can be considered invasive in Florida anymore given how dramatically that landscape has been changed over the last few centuries.

Friday Linkage 1/13/2017

Did that circus sideshow…er, press conference actually occur on Wednesday morning?  Is this the beginning of the end for the American experiment?  Or is it the beginning of the end of the Republican Party?  We can always hope.

Furthermore, can someone please tell right wingers to stop making comparisons to Nazi Germany.  One, it is factually wrong on so many levels and right wingers have been getting it wrong for the better part of a decade.  Just because the official party name included the word “socialist” does not mean that the Nazis had anything to do with socialism.  Two, it cheapens the horrors committed by the Nazis and their allies.

On to the links…

All the Risks of Climate Change, in a Single Graph—Try and think some happy thoughts:

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States, Power Companies Lead in Cutting Carbon; Election Not Slowing Expected 2017 Progress—The Federal government may be screwed for the next several years, but paralysis at the national level will not stop progress by states and utilities.

US Energy Analysis Sees Renewable Electricity Passing Coal by 2030—Granted, natural gas is still going to be getting burnt.  A lot, but there is hope that we can kill the coal beast.

Arab Gulf Firms Set their Sights on the Region’s Growing Appetite for Solar Power—Lots of sunshine…check.  Available land…check.  Urban populations…check.  When oil rich gulf states are realizing the potential you know the jig is up.

Costa Rica got 98 Percent of its Electricity from Renewables in 2016—Costa Rica uses a lot less electricity per capita than other nations, but 98% is a totally rad figure.  Yes, I used the adjective rad.

China Is Pumping Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Into New Renewable Energy Projects by 2020—While the U.S. led by an orangutan dithers on what to do about the next generation of energy, China is blowing everyone’s doors off by investing billions on top of billions into renewables.

Clean-Energy Jobs Boosting Colorado’s Economy—The key element of this report is not the jobs related to energy production like wind turbine mechanics or solar installers, but the jobs around things like energy efficiency.  There is hay to make in driving efficiency into all corners of our economy.

Arizona still a Force in Solar Power, despite Other States’ Gains—The economics must be good because Arizona politicians have definitely tried to kill solar power on a number of occasions.

Infinite Solar Power Technology Could Completely Change Our Future—Headlines like this remind me of old newsreels that proclaimed nuclear power was going to be so cheap that it would be “too inexpensive to meter.”  How did that work out?

The Bizarre and Inspiring Story of Iowa’s Fish Farmers—What if our fish came from aquaculture in the middle of the U.S. instead of dirty farms in South America or Southeast Asia?  What is that fish was raised on plant based meal instead of ground of fish meal?  What if…

Nine Easy Things You Can Do To Save the Ocean—Some of this is obvious, but repetition is not always a bad thing when you are trying to change people’s behavior.

Friday Linkage 1/30/2015

It is almost February. Wow. It’s about time to start thinking about spring planting and summer projects that need some planning to pull off. I am really hoping that this year will be the season where I start to bring my landscape closer to my ideal state. Stay tuned.

On to the links…

White House Proposes Protecting More Than 12 Million Acres Of Alaska’s Arctic Refuge—I am glad to see someone trying to put drilling in ANWR to bed once and for all, but I feel like the eastern seaboard of the U.S. got sold out to try and make this happen.

‘World can cut carbon emissions and live well’—Too often the debate sounds like status quo on one side and primitive living on the other, but to combat climate change—which really comes down to cutting carbon emissions—our quality of life does not have to suffer. Granted, the measurements of quality of life are critical to making that determination but still…

7 Interesting Global Renewable Energy Trends From NREL—The growth of renewables is starting to reach a tipping point in the U.S. after decades of fits and starts. Every time I drive somewhere in town I imagine solar panels on every south facing roof.

Solar Costs Will Fall Another 40% In 2 Years. Here’s Why.—The balance of system costs, like installation and permitting, are finally beginning to fall at a pace fast enough to bring down system costs.

U.S. Wind Power Installations Swelled Sixfold in 2014—The headline number here is that the U.S. added ~4.7 gigawatts of onshore wind power capacity in 2014 versus just 764 megawatts in 2013.

Offshore Wind Energy Would Produce Twice as Many Jobs as Oil and Gas Operations in the Atlantic—Let’s remember that the jobs produced by oil and gas drilling can be replace by jobs in clean tech industries. It’s forgotten too often as we debate another round of offshore drilling leases in American waters.

The Solar Industry is Creating Jobs 20x Faster than the Rest of the US Economy—Oh wait, the solar industry is killing it when it comes to jobs.

US Navy + Air Force Commission 120 MW Of New Solar Power Plants In Florida—Florida may suck for individuals wanting healthcare or solar energy, but the U.S. military is going to go ahead and make it happen for themselves. Does Rick Scott suck or what?

Bangladesh Wants to Become the World’s First “Solar Nation” by 2021—Bangladesh may be poor, but the country does not lack ambition.

More Than 125,000 UK Homes Installed Solar PV Last Year—This is in the U.K. which is not a place known for its sunny climate.

SkyMall’s Demise Could Save American Airlines $350K a Year on Fuel—If you doubt the power of little things adding up, consider the case of removing those silly SkyMall catalogs from the seatback pocket of every airplane in American Airlines fleet.

Ecopolis Iowa City: As State Leads in Wind, Can Iowa City Become ‘City of Solar’—Just thirty miles to the south of me and I completely missed this going on. Huh.

11 Must-Know Cleaning Tricks to Green Your Routine—Getting the toxic, harsh, and just plain nasty chemicals out of our daily cleaning regime is a necessary event for every household. Trust me. When I walk into a place that has been cleaned with something more mainstream my senses are assaulted.

10 Handy Hacks for Emergency Situations—The snow-pocalypse may have spared New York City, but hammered some other parts of the northeast. It is still a good idea to think through how you would survive a few days without electricity or heat. It’s not a prepper thing.

If you thought U.S. unemployment was bad…

The unemployment situation in the U.S. is ugly right now.  The Bureau of Labor Statisics has a site that will show you the rate by state:

There are some truly bad unemployment numbers in states like Nevada (11.6%), Rhode Island (11.0%), and California (10.8%).  The national average stands at approximately 8.2%.

Compare that to Europe:

The EU27 unemployment rate stands at 10.3%, but there are some truly horrible pockets.  Spain (24.3%) and Greece (21.7%) are true basket cases.  Heck, there are 8 EU27 member states that have a higher unemployment rate than the worst U.S. state.

Germany, the paragon of modern industrial export oriented economies, has an unemployment rate of 5.4% which would put it on worse footing than Iowa (5.1%), New Hampshire (5.0%), Oklahome (4.8%), South Dakota (4.3%), Nebraska (3.9%), and others.

Why is this important?  In the coming months there is sure to be a debate about the forthcoming sequestration that Congress enacted a year ago to beat the debt ceiling deadline.  It’s a debate that is sure to include the concept of increasingly austere government budgets as an economic way forward.  Europe was on the leading edge of austerity in this recession and the economies of these countries look worse for wear because of it.

Never let evidence get in the way of a good sound bite though.