Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Friday Linkage 11/22/2019

This week one of the true giants of craft brewing announced a sale to a multi-national beverage conglomerate.  Fort Collins based New Belgium Brewery–the people behind Fat Tire Amber Ale–sold out to the group behind Kirin. This is the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States and the eleventh largest brewery overall.  Middle craft beer is dead. Support your small local brewery. Like today.

On to the links…

Keystone Spill Has Affected Nearly 10x More Land Than Was Estimated–Every time that someone brings up an argument in favor of an oil pipeline, especially the Keystone XL pipeline, just link to this article.  There is no such thing as a perfectly safe and secure oil or gas pipeline. The only perfectly safe and secure oil or gas pipeline is one that is not built.

See How Good the World Could be in 2040—If We Act on Climate Solutions Now–Lost in a lot of the pessimism about climate change specifically and the state of the world in general is that a future dystopia is not the only path available to use if we act.  Sure, right wing fanatics would have you believe that accelerationism–which is really just a pet theory for apocalypse nuts–is driving the world to the end times but they are wrong.

How Much Energy do We Really Need?–This is the kind of question that we need to be asking because it cuts at the very heart of the perpetual growth arguments of modern economic theory.  If we do not need to grow in perpetuity than we will need less energy than forecast in the future.

How to Cut U.S. Carbon Pollution by Nearly 40 Percent in 10 Years–Common sense and simple solutions to accelerate the climate change solution are available.  The problem is that a portion of this country’s politicians have no incentive whatsoever to embrace anything other than reactionary politics.  This is how we got a place where a conservative solution to health care coverage became the right wing’s bugaboo. We are doomed as long as these people are given any agency.

A Carbon Tax Won’t Kill the Economy–When someone at Forbes writes this article you have to wonder if the worm has turned.  It could also be that even the people at Forbes realize that America is relatively undertaxed and a carbon tax would go a long way to addressing destructive behaviors.  Somewhere Grover Norquist is hiding under his bedsheets and crying.

Two of America’s Biggest Coal Plants Closed this Month–This is why we keep pounding away at the problem by increasing efficiency, installing solar panels, and fighting for the true costs of fossil fuels to be included in the price of extraction.  Even with a president in the pocket of coal barons the ancient fuel is dying. Here is the damning paragraph from the article:

Together, the two retirements equal all the emission reductions from coal plant shut-downs in 2015, a record year when 15 GW of mostly smaller and older units were shuttered, reports Scientific American. Last year, 14 GW were mothballed. In 2020, more are on the way, including Kentucky’s Paradise plant.

The Paradise plant in Kentucky represents 1.15 GW of coal fired capacity.  It’s closure and another TVA asset in the region will save customers over $300M.  That is economics, bro!

5 Things to Know about Fighting Climate Change by Planting Trees–Here is the thing that gets me about this debate: the argument is that planting trees is not as good as some people make it out to be.  Okay, but that does not mean it is not beneficial. Just because the upside potential is lower than advertised does not mean that it ceases to be a worthwhile endeavour.  What is the downside?

When Residents Support Solar—Just ‘Not in My Backyard’–This is the worst.  Supposed liberals and supporters of green energy who just want to put energy production somewhere else.  Take responsibility for your consumption.

EasyJet Flights are Now Carbon Neutral–Carbon offsets are kind of the crack cocaine of the climate mitigation movement.  Easy to consume and oh so addictive. “See, we are carbon neutral,” a company can say without really addressing the underlying environmentally destructive behaviors that drive their business.

This Man Wants to Convince America Beef is Healthier than Meatless Burgers–This is also a man who worked for years to convince the American public that smoking was not a public heath crisis.  This is the same kind of man who will tell you industrial pollution is actually good for you. This is the same kind of man who will sell his soul for a few extra dollars in his bank.  This is the kind of man who needs to rot in hell.

There Are 2,000 Untested Chemicals in Packaged Foods — and It’s Legal–In some dark basement somewhere Richard Berman is swimming in his ill gotten gains like an oily Scrooge McDuck wondering if he should contact the packaged food industry to begin a campaign of telling us that untested chemicals in our food are really good for us.  Or, we could just avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store.

Los Angeles Places Largest Single Electric Bus Order In US History — 130 BYD K7M Buses–I am really waiting for the day when orders like this are just commonplace.  Or when orders of a much larger magnitude are what we report about. Still, progress.

Dominion Energy’s Electric School Bus Program Offers Valuable Vehicle-to-Grid Lesson–When electric buses are idle those big batteries can be part of the solution in shifting the mismatch between the supply of renewable energy and the demand for electricity.

Thermal Camera Reveals Efficiency Gap Between EV And ICE–About this time of year I wished I had a little bit of that wasted energy for heating my Nissan Leaf.

The U.S. Natural Gas Boom Is Fueling A Global Plastics Boom–Cheap natural gas equals cheap plastic.

Fast Shipping isn’t Great for the Environment— 7 Ways to Cut the Carbon Footprint on your Amazon Deliveries–Until Amazon is rocking a fleet of Rivian electric delivery trucks you are stuck with getting stuffed shipped the old fashioned way–heavily carbon intensive.  The advice is really simple: ship it together and ship it slowly. Or just stop buying stuff online.

Friday Linkage 10/4/2019

For the first time in forever…sorry, Frozen fans I was just thinking that for the first time in a long time it actually feels like fall.  Within the span of a single work week we have seen the temperatures drop from nearly ninety degrees to nearly freezing overnight.  Welcome to the Midwest during the shoulder season!

On to the links…

The Short List Of Climate Actions That Will Work—It is super easy to explain to people:

  1. Electrify everything
  2. Overbuild renewable energy generation
  3. Integrate electrical transmission across continents
  4. Build hydropower storage systems
  5. Plant a lot of trees
  6. Reform agriculture to capture carbon in the soil

And so on.  None of these actions is hard to grasp or hard to implement.  It just takes political will.

Solar, Wind Are Now Cheaper Than Coal In Most Of The World—The battle has been won.  To win the war we must keep pressing forward.

World’s Largest Wind Turbines to be Built off Yorkshire Coast—It is hard to grasp the scale.  A single turbine producing enough electricity to power 16,000 homes.  Wow.  This is why the UK is transitioning away from coal.

McCharge? Yes, McDonald’s Wants To Charge Your EV—One of the goals of any convenience type purchase—food, gasoline, coffee, etc.—is to increase the number of trips you make to the location.  The more trips a person makes increases the potential that the person will spend more money.  If you could spend thirty minutes on a DC fast charger at McDonald’s while wolfing down a Big Mac it might make you stop.

Volta’s EV Network Gives You 30 Minutes of Free Fast Charging—Think about this as an amenity that draws traffic.  If you have an EV and can get thirty minutes of high voltage charging would you be more likely to stop at that retail location over another?  Probably.

First Gas Station in America to Ditch Oil for 100% Electric Vehicle Charging Opens in Maryland—Someone had to be first.  However, given that EV charging does not require expensive underground storage tanks for a flammable liquid like traditional gas stations I have to imagine that the old model of gas stations is a dinosaur.

Here Is Why Electrification Of Medium/Heavy Trucks Is Important—Representing just 4% of vehicles these trucks are responsible for 9% of vehicle miles traveled and 26% of fuel gallons consumed:

Vehicle Population, VMT, and Fuel Use by Vehicle Class, 2017 Source energy.gov.png

Anheuser-Busch To Deploy 21 BYD Electric Trucks In California—The truck that is delivering those cases of Natty Light may now be an EV.

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef—One change, half of our greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.  Simple.

That Viral Study About Red Meat Left Out The Most Important Part—Climate change is the greatest risk to our collective health.  Ignoring its potential impacts when considering the climate change impacts of red meat production is like trying to quantify the opioid epidemic without looking at heroin use.

Amid Rising Demand for Beyond Meat Burgers, U.S. Farmers Can’t Solve This Supply Problem—It has not even been a complete growing season in North America since Beyond Meat went public and meat substitutes became a thing in the United States.

Germany Makes a National Commitment to Rescue Its Forests—There is a massive amount of climate change mitigation potential waiting to be exercised in rebuilding our stocks of forested lands.  As rain forests in South America and Indonesia burn as a result of bad policy it is more important than ever to rethink our relationship to the forests in our collective backyards.

Los Angeles, a City Known for Its Freeways, Is About to Plant a Shit Ton of Trees—I do not know if it is actually a “shit ton” of trees, but it is a start.  Now imagine communities across the United States and the world for that matter doing the same thing.  It is possible.

The Story of The Largest Private Land Donation In History and Creation of Patagonia National Park—Just take a few minutes out of your day and watch this video.  Also, imagine a world where the uber rich like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg spent money on truly bold conservation efforts.

What Would It Be Like to Live in an Era of Geoengineering?—Is it our fate to live on a planet where we have knowingly changed the natural systems to counteract our own collective stupidity?  God I hope not.

Friday Linkage 3/31/2017

It is starting to feel like spring in Iowa, which means it has rained for several of the past few days and the temps are holding to a balmy mid-40s range.  Joy.

Despite the less than stellar weather it is time to start thinking about warmer weather projects and the list is long this year.  I cannot wait to get my hands dirty again.

On to the links…

What If They Killed The Clean Power Plan & Nobody Cared?—This is the best case scenario for the next few years.  We can only hope that the cost curve keeps bending in renewable energy’s favor and that coal continues to die a long, slow death.

Top US Coal Boss Robert Murray: Trump ‘Can’t Bring Mining Jobs Back’—Donald Trump lied, no big surprise, because coal jobs are not coming back.  No one is going to reopen old mines in Appalachia and the mines in the western U.S. are all about big machines.

Clean Energy Employs More People than Fossil Fuels in Nearly Every U.S. State—Seems like the jobs argument is pretty simple.  Granted, Exxon Mobil does not give donations to its political cronies to promote solar jobs.

Do Environmental Regulations Reduce Employment? Not Really.—Facts do not matter to the current administration and its Russian stooges, so I imagine that a fact based argument about environmental regulations would be shouted down as fake news or some such bullshit.

Alaska Warms to Solar Power as Prices Fall and Benefits Grow—This is Alaska.  Other than Wyoming fewer states are more associated with fossil fuels than Alaska.  If Alaska goes solar what’s left?

As Energy Mix Becomes Cleaner, Minnesotans Paying Less for It—So a cleaner power grid is a cheaper power grid.  Okay, who wants to argue against cheaper and cleaner?

Tesla Solar in Hawaii is a Sign of Things to Come—The future is now.

Australian Rooftop Solar Installs Are Up 43% In 2017—Australia should be covered in solar panels.  The country is more sun baked than any I can think of outside of the Middle East.

Rescuing Los Angeles—I am beginning to think the future will look a lot like this small patch of Los Angeles.  As institutions are increasingly prevented from being effective by elected leaders beholden to deceitful special interests solutions to livability will be hyper-local and inherently DIY.

Solving Global Dietary Problems is a Bigger Challenge than Climate Change—Meat is bad for the climate.  There is little logical argument against this statement.  Also, western societies eat too much meat.  Again, there is little logical argument against this statement.

Cycling in Minnesota Creates Thousands of Jobs and Cuts Health-Care Spending—Basically, cycling is awesome.

5 Packaging Materials You Didn’t Know are Difficult to Recycle—How many of these packaging materials have you or I blindly thrown in the recycling bin?

Illinois Considers Legalizing Marijuana for a Fiscal Boost—This is the end of prohibition on marijuana in the United States.  Once the first state does it for economic reasons every other non-legalized state will follow.  It’s all about the Benjamins.

U.S. Craft Brewers Up 6% in Volume, 10% in Retail Dollars—Craft beer in the U.S. continues to grow at a rapid clip. However, I am worried about the long term prospects for so many breweries.

Rapidgrass Sings The I-70 Blues—If you have ever thought your ski vacation would begin soon after seeing the mountains poke through Front Range haze on I-76 you have not experienced the I-70 blues.

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 8/2/2013

It’s August…wow!  My daughter starts kindergarten in less than three weeks, so that is kind of mind blowing.  Where did all of that time go?  Where did that little girl go?

On to the links…

World Solar Power Topped 100,000 Megawatts in 2012—Just look at the graph in the first part of the article that shows the cumulative solar installations since 2000.  It’s amazing.

Thai Beaches Blanketed in Crude—And if you want to see what our future holds if we continue to be reliant on petroleum, witness the coast of Rayong.  Nice, huh?

A Plan to Save Yosemite by Curbing Its Visitors—I have not made it to Yosemite National Park yet, but I have read enough articles to know that the crush of tourists in the summer can be a little much.  So much so that it almost destroys the awesome beauty of the place.  Almost.

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering its DNA—Apparently there is a disease called citrus greening that is devastating the citrus fruit industry.  The interesting statement that I found in the article was that there was no proof of immunity in all of the cultivated citrus.  What about all citrus?  You know, including the citrus that might not be cultivated.  Just saying.

Too Much Rain in the South means Too Little Produce on the Shelves—Man, the southern U.S. cannot get a break.  First it was drought and now it is too much rain.  Keep electing those climate change deniers guys.  It’s working out really well.

New York Is Pretending Factory Farms Aren’t An Environmental Problem For The Sake Of Greek Yogurt—Basically, the state of New York changed the rules on regulating dairy farms so that the facilities that produce milk for Greek yogurt could escape expensive CAFO regulations.  Nothing like money to grease the wheels of government.

City of Los Angeles says Parkway Gardens Need to Go—Yep, because when I have been to Los Angeles the number one problem I saw was people planting some gardens in the parkways.  Actually, it was horrible to see some green in the landscape on a long overlooked piece of land.  How awful!

Tour of an Oyster Farm—I do not eat oysters.  Something deep in my soul is scarred after watching my parents slurp down a whole lot of them when I was a child.  Nonetheless, how these bivalves are grown or farmed is pretty interesting.

Pro-Hemp Group Seeks Sen. Mark Udall’s Support—With Amendment 64 passed in Colorado and other states taking a more liberal stance on marijuana, I am hopeful that industrial hemp will get a second look as a viable crop.  I do not think it is a miracle plant like some proponents, but it is intriguing for a number of applications.

Cannabis in Your Car Doors, But not to Smuggle It—Speaking of applications, the newly introduced BMW i3—which I am digging as an EV—uses kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) in the door panels.  Dig it.

Sailing Barge Launches in Vermont to Test Carbon-Neutral Shipping—There is something really romantic about the notion of sailing barges plying the Great Lakes to move cargo.  Boats harnessing the wind to deliver goods without the loud, dirty engines of the massive cargo ships.  Interesting.

Could Planting Trees in the Desert Mitigate Climate Change?—This idea has some merit, but the jatropha tree seems like snake oil.  It was supposed to be a miracle tree as an oil producer but that did not pan out when people realized that planting trees on marginal land would yield marginal results.

Nepal’s Tiger Population on the Rise—It was not all bad news this week.   It looks like there are now more tigers in Nepal than anytime since the 1970s.  If we could bring back Nehru jackets to celebrate things would be sweet.

The Medium Chill—A friend of mine like to quote that there is a leisure class on either end of the wealth spectrum.  It’s the people in the middle range who seem to be stuck in a never ending cycle of work.  I think that examining what really makes you happy is essential and that a lot of people would be surprised to find out what truly makes them happy.

How to Make the Perfect Hipster Label in 6 Easy Steps—Is there anything more annoying than the overwrought artisan movement?  Yep, hipsters involved in the overwrought artisan movement are more annoying.  I love artisan products, but there is a bland sameness to many of the products now that it almost seems like these things come from a hipster artisan private label manufacturer.

Friday Linkage 7/19/2013

The heat was just brutal this week.  Storms look to be on the horizon for Friday and the heat looks like it is going to “break” over the weekend.

On to the links…

The Anti-Science Climate Denier Caucus Infogaphic—Follow the money:

Denier-Caucus-FINAL

Keystone XL would Raise Gas Prices—So, how many lies and falsehoods are people willing to accept when it comes to the story surrounding Keystone XL?  This pipeline is like the gift that keeps on giving in terms of underhanded and devious play on the part of its backers.

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners—Our electricity grid is a shambles because it is fractured along so many lines with so many competing interests at play.  A truly modern grid, however, is probably a pipe dream because of that dynamic.

Next Generation Wind Turbines With Storage Are Cheap, Reliable And Brilliant—Well, if our grid is going to remain dumb and outdated at least the wind turbines that are connected to the grid can be smart.  Each advancement in renewable energy brings the day closer when we will wonder why we even bothered with coal in the first place.

Xcel Energy to Boost Wind Power in Upper Midwest by 33 Percent—Lost in the headline is the statement that the utility believes the introduction of more wind power generation will save consumers in excess of $180M over the lives of the projects.  So, it’s not just a “green” play anymore.  It’s the smart money play as well.

Is Solar Cheaper than Grid Electricity? Yes and No—Here’s the thing, getting down to what is the “true” price of any electricity, regardless of generation method, is damn near impossible because of subsidies and externalities.  At the end of the day, the moral of the story, is that solar is getting cheaper every day.

Wind At Parity With New Coal In India, Solar To Join By 2018—I remember listening to someone say that the price of solar and wind in the U.S. was almost irrelevant because it was the China or India price that mattered.  Guess what?  The renewables are already at the India price.

China Plans a Major Solar Buying Spree—Speaking of China.  It looks the Chinese government is going to try and erase the glut in solar panel supplies by massively expanding its capability to generate power from the sun.  Dig it.

In Los Angeles, Developer are Building Small Homes on Tiny Lots—I read this whole article thinking, “It’s called supply and demand.  Why are we surprised?”  People do not want to spend the better part of several hours in a car to get the simplest tasks done anymore.  Developers will have to accommodate that desire if they want to sell houses.  End of story.

Friday Linkage 7/12/2013

It is almost mind blowing how time just flies during the summer.  You spend the week doing a few things in the yard, attend a few teeball games, and suddenly it’s Friday afternoon. The weather has been beautiful and I am really looking forward to a lot of unstructured time this weekend to work on a few projects that have been lingering.  I promise that there will be some non-beer related posts in the near future.  Of course, there will also be some beer related posts as well.

On to the links…

What’s in the Water: Searching Midwest Streams for Crop Runoff—This is one of those problems that people do not ever really think about, but field runoff is a huge problem here in Iowa.  This is especially true when the fields have recently been treated with waste from hog CAFOs.  Yep, there is shit in the water.

How Can You Give A Community Better Health?—I have watched several presentations by Ron Finley and I have loved every one of them.  His line about people in poor neighborhoods being killed not by drive bys, but by drive throughs is priceless wordsmithing.

Scientists Work to Perfect Broccoli—I would argue that sans-genetic engineering broccoli was already pretty much perfect.  Sure, the heads of broccoli in the grocery store are often inedible bunches of bitter tasting green stuff.  But, a fresh head of broccoli during the cool season is a perfect treat.

Monsanto Is Losing the Press—Big Ag’s problems keep piling up because the problems are legion.  If it’s not genetically modified wheat showing up in Oregon, it’s scientific studies questioning the health impacts of GMO crops or citizens demanding that products be labeled in such a way to make it apparent that the food contains GMO ingredients.  It’s got to be like holding back the sea for these guys.

Republicans are Happy to Help Big Ag, but Feed the Hungry…Not so Much—I just do not understand the conservative furor over the food stamp or SNAP program.  Why is feeding people who are the most vulnerable something to cut from the federal budget when sacred cows like defense spending survive.  Gotta’ keep those defense contractor CEOs in the steak dinner!

Your Clothes Biggest Ecological Impact is not What You Think—Big surprise…it’s the lifecycle of an item that really measures its impact on this planet.  I try to get people to think about lifecycle costs and embedded energy all the time.  It rarely works.

Solar Costs and Grid Prices on a Collision Course—Every day the cost to deploy solar gets lower.  Considering that the fuel to keep a solar PV panel running is free for eternity—assuming energy companies don’t figure out a way to restrict our access to the sun—the lifecycle costs are going to be low.  Solar power is part of the energy solution.  People just need to deal with that reality.

The Coal Industry Knows That Enviros Are Winning—The game is over for coal in general because everyone realizes that it is the fuel of the past.  The real question becomes how do we unwind modern society from the coal hydra without causing massive disruption.

Bad Infrastructure Design Leads to Bad Bike Behavior—People are surprised by this idea?  Why?  When I am on my bicycle, particularly if I am commuting somewhere, I am more worried about staying alive and unharmed as opposed to being a good citizen.  Sorry, but arriving alive is the first order of the day.

Climate Change: Summer Bummer For Your Fourth Of July?—And if you needed any reminders about climate change, here is an infographic to totally bum you out:

2013_06_ClimateChangeJuly4th_DISTRESS

China’s Beaches Overwhelmed by Algae—But, if you think you’ve got it bad in the U.S. just check out what China’s beaches look like covered in a thick blanket of algae.  What does 20,000 tons of algae even look like?

Piling Up Keystone XL’s Petcoke—If you thought 20,000 tons of algae was a disturbing proposition just think about what the petcoke byproduct would be like from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline:

oci_petcoke_infographic