Tag Archives: natural gas

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 6/26/2020

Do you want to know why I want to see more long range electric cars?  It’s about the points of failure.

This past week I spent three hours stranded on the side of the road after the vehicle I was riding in had a spectacular failure of its water pump.  Without warning the water pump failed, sending shrapnel into the adjacent hoses, and dumping all of the engine’s coolant on the interstate.  Thankfully, we were near an exit and pulled off without causing any engine damage.

For anyone who tells you that electric cars are too complex just ask them about the cooling system on their existing ICE vehicle.  I doubt the person has a working knowledge of just how complex that system has become let alone the other liquid systems on the vehicle.  That is my rant for a furlough Friday.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Great American Outdoors Act Approved by Senate in Major Conservation Win—It’s a win, but it took vulnerable senators in an election year to get behind something that the majority of the American people support.  This is where our political climate is right now.  Republican politicians will only support things that a majority of Americans want to see if they are in a tight race for reelection.  Otherwise, it is gifts to rich people and corporations all day long.  Yes, I am looking at you Cory Gardner.

The Untouchables—Not the movie with Kevin Costner and Sean Connery.  Rather, we are talking about multi-national corporations that have become trans-national governments beholden to no one but their owners.  No wonder the planet is messed up.

Can Working Less Save the Planet?—It cannot hurt.

Trump Administration will Not Regulate Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water—Who wants to guess that somewhere a company with liability exposure to perchlorate pollution has donated money to Trump’s reelection campaign or his inaugural committee or stayed at one of his hotels or just handed an envelope of money to one of his doltish sons?  The opportunities for corruption are just too varied to even guess.

The $3 Trillion Green Plan To Get The Economy Out Of Intensive Care—It’s a good idea, but it is a dead letter in a Congress where Mitch McConnell has any role.

For Oil, The Writing Is On The Wall: New Times Call For New Energies—It is not longer a question of if, but rather when and how fast.

Wowzers — 2X More Electricity From Offshore Wind For USA—Basically, the U.S. has offshore wind resources that could power the electricity needs of the nation two times over.  Start building those turbines.

World’s Largest Liquid Air Battery Will Help the UK Go Carbon Neutral—It’s not all about lithium ion batteries, which are great for EVs but cost too much to really be a solution for stationary energy storage.  If we can deploy enough storage capacity to shift renewable energy from its peak production to the moment of peak demand the renewable revolution can succeed.

Taking a Page from Tesla’s Notebook, Sunrun Builds a “Virtual” Solar Power Plant in California—This idea is so cool.  Link a bunch of distributed power generation and storage assets in such a way that they become a virtual power plant with respect to the grid.

Central USA Set Several Wind Power Records In Spring—Damn, 62% of energy provided over the course of the day for the Southwest Power Pool came from the wind.  Remember when the maximum was supposed to be 5%.  Then the critics said 10%.  What happens if we get to 100% for a power pool and start exporting the excess?  The future is an amazing place.

‘Desperate’ To Get Natural Gas Out Of Appalachia, Pipeline Builders Face Long Battle Even After Supreme Court Victory—Even in defeat, the opponents of natural gas projects have to remain hyper vigilant because these people will never give up trying to destroy the land, air, and water of the United States.

A Utility In The Middle Of Coal Country Opts For Renewable Energy—When Indiana starts to abandon coal you know the writing is on the wall for coal in the United States.

Now Is Not The Time To Pump The Brakes On Fleet Electrification—Now is the time to retire old gas guzzling fleet vehicles and replace them with EVs.

Importance of Accelerating EV Adoption To Reduce CO2 Emissions, Using Kenya As An Example—Transitioning to EVs is not just an issue for developed Western economies.

India Eyes Private Investment to Open 41 New Coal Mines—Some ideas will just not die.  Despite the pollution, India’s politicians seem wedded to the idea of coal as the energy for the future of the country.

Cuba’s Clean Rivers Benefit From Sustainable Agriculture—Because of the political climate in the U.S.—particularly Florida—the U.S. is not really allowed to look at Cuba in a positive light.  Just ask Bernie Sanders how well it went over when he praised one aspect of the island nation’s development.

The UK’s Barn Owls are Growing in Number – and for Once it’s Thanks to Humans—Maybe, just maybe, we are not completely trash after all.

Wood Heaters too Dirty to Sell are Clean Enough to Give to Tribes, says EPA—This is the EPA on Donald Trump.  It is like he is a drug for every bad idea to get all hopped up on and go out into the world to wreak havoc.

The Gas Industry is Paying Instagram Influencers to Gush over Gas Stoves—As a dyed in the wool evangelist for smooth top electric ranges—the clean up is just too easy—I am so tired of hearing people gush about gas stoves.  There is nothing quite like having an open flame spewing pollution into your home.  Now it comes out that the Instagram pimps are being paid by the gas industry to be shills for stoves.  The one thing I wish COVID-19 would kill off is the entire influencer “industry.”

Friday Linkage 6/19/2020

No linkage this week since I am on a working vacation helping a friend with a laundry list of “handyman” tasks around the house.

I will be returning next week.

Stay safe out there.

Friday Linkage 6/12/2020

It’s “furlough Friday” here and I am wondering when the world will seem like its back to normal.  It does not seem like a possibility right now.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

‘Collapse of Civilization is the Most Likely Outcome’: Top Climate Scientists—Now, for today’s most positive headline.

The US Could Shift to 90-Percent Renewable Energy by 2035 at No Extra Cost—This report has been making the rounds on the Internet the past few days.  The line that sticks with me is, “We’re spending too much time stressing about the last 10 percent and not enough time thinking about the first 90 percent.”

Thanks To Renewables And Machine Learning, Google Now Forecasts The Wind—The tools keep getting better, so that first 90% is looking very reasonable.

1.35 Cents/kWh: Record Abu Dhabi Solar Bid Is A Sober Reminder To Upbeat Fossil Fuel Pundits—Ultra cheap solar power is the future.  Imagine Australia receiving tenders for this price.  Or Arizona.  Or Algeria.  That is just the A places that I could think of off the top of my head.

A Plan For Accelerating The Exit Of Coal Power Globally—The plan is simple: stop burning coal.

Britain Goes Coal-Free for Two Months – Longest Period Since Industrial Revolution—When was the last time you read a headline about coal that was not about the fuel’s decline?

The U.K. Will Soon be Home to its First Consumer-Owned Wind Farm—If community owned solar can work, why not community owned wind?

One Town In UK Hopes To Have Britain’s First All-Electric Bus Fleet—The U.K. is kind of killing it right now.

Inside Indonesia’s Fight to Save its Most Important Soil—Fighting climate change is not just about forests.  Peatlands and grasslands are equally important.

Why Planting Tenacious Tamarisk Seemed like a Good Idea Until it Wasn’t, and Other Harrowing Tales of Colorado’s Invasive Species—The right species in the right place needs to be the mantra of the ecological restoration movement.  We do not need a repeat of the sins of the past.  Just ask anyone in southern California how they like having eucalyptus trees around in a fire zone.  Those things are like arboreal roman candles.

Trump Opens Marine Sanctuary to Commercial Fishing—I think that the key to understanding this man’s actions is to imagine everything he does preceded by someone whispering, “Obama did this…”  Magically, Trump will be against whatever it is that enters his skull after that opening line.

The 2nd Life Of Used EV Batteries—Racks and racks of used EV batteries as stationary energy storage to help facilitate the green energy revolution.  I am ready.  Are you?

The Meat We Eat is a Pandemic Risk, Too—If you wanted to create a perfect breeding ground for disease, you would design something that looked a lot like a CAFO.

The Meat Industry Could Face Losses of $20 Billion in 2020—Maybe it is time for us to examine what the meat industry looks like going forward.  A ruthlessly efficient system is not a resilient system.

Too Many of America’s Smartest Waste Their Talents—Every person that takes an education to Wall Street is a detriment to our society.  It is the world’s largest casino.

Meet the Propagandists and Conspiracy Theorists Behind the One America News Network—No one may actually watch One America News, but get ready to see these clowns all over the place during the run up to the election in November.

Donald Trump Jr.’s Mongolia Hunting Trip Cost Taxpayers $77,000—You are paying for Donald Trump’s crotch goblins to be globe trotting asshats.

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 5/29/2020

Just when you thought things could not go from bad to worse in 2020 the Minneapolis police came to the rescue to reignite the storm over police killings of men of color.  Oh, and the prototype for “Karen” really outdid herself with that show in Central Park.

How is it that it is acceptable for men to cosplay as insurgents, publicly threaten duly elected officials, and verbally threaten police officers all while armed with weapons similar to what is carried by uniformed members of the military with nary a summons while protesters—also exercising their Constitutionally protected right to freely assemble—are met with fully equipped riot police?  Oh wait, one group is mostly comprised of middle-aged white men and the other is comprised of a heterogeneous slice of non-Trump America.  Got it.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

US Lets Corporations Delay Paying Environmental Fines Amid Pandemic—In the final eight months of the most corrupt presidential administration in American history—yes, I am projecting how history with judge Donald Trump and the rest of his enablers—there will be a lot more actions like these.

What The Post-Pandemic World Needs Is A Solar Energy Revolution—How about we just subsidize every rooftop solar project in the United States?  Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people put to work installing clean, green solar electricity that will pay dividends for the next twenty five years.  That’s right, nothing like this will ever happen with the McConnell-Trump axis of corruption in Washington D.C.

Coronavirus Cost Colorado’s Solar Industry Thousands of Jobs, but There’s One Bright Spot—Bring in some stimulus subsidies and watch the jobs follow.  All that extra rooftop solar would just be a bonus.

The Climate Case for the Four-Day Work Week—Post-pandemic I hope that we reexamine the behaviors that we took for granted pre-pandemic.  Is this the death of commuting culture in the United States that has driven so much post-World War II development?

It’s Time to Have a Conversation About Smarter Meat Eating—It took coronavirus for us to finally consider the impact of our insatiable desire for meat.  It is killing the planet.  It is killing the workers who process the meat.  It is damaging our health.  Is there anything or anyone it is not harming.

The UK’s CO2 Emissions Dropped To A Hundred-Year Low During Lockdown—This image just blows my mind:

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Renewables Crushing Coal in the USA— Won 100 Days Already In 2020—The white space represents a day or days when the production of electricity via renewables was greater than the production of electricity via coal:

US-renewables-vs.-Coal-2019-vs.-2020-YTD-UCS-from-EIA-1-1024x281

Renewable Energy May be Switched Off as Demand Plummets—Think about phrases like “record low consumption.”  How do we carry forward some of these behavioral changes post-pandemic?

Nearly 85% Of Power Capacity Added In India In Q1 2020 Was From Solar & Wind—The problem in India is that there is still a lot of coal being burned alongside a lot of other industrial pollution.

US Wind Power Plants Show Little Decline With Age—Looks like even older wind turbines are still cranking out a lot of the electricity that they were rated for when new.  I guess this kills another old say about the deterioration of generating capacity over time.  How is that shale oil well doing in Year 2?

Will Floating Turbines Usher in a New Wave of Offshore Wind?—Imagine placing a wind farm offshore of the eastern seaboard of the United States with each turbine generating the equivalent of thousands of homes’ electricity demand.  This is major change.

Rooftop Solar & Grid-Scale Storage Move Forward In Hawai’i—Hawaii is our great laboratory for renewable energy.  Due to high prices, an isolated grid, and social pressure there is a chance that Hawaii will go 100% renewable in the near future.  What they learn on the islands are lessons that can be brought over to the mainland.

Xcel Exploring Renewable Natural Gas Options—If this is an economically viable solution, why could it not be scaled across the United States?

World’s Largest All-Electric Aircraft Set for First Flight—It’s a relatively small first step, but anything that can reduce air travel’s emissions is a step in the right direction.  Or we could just stop flying.

The Recycling Dilemma: Good Plastic, Bad Plastic?—The only good plastic is one that does not end up in the waste stream, recycling or otherwise.

Toxic Coast: Cleaning Up a Century of Industrial Waste in New Jersey—New Jersey has been the butt of toxic waste jokes for fifty years and, apparently, with good reason.

Grenfell Fears Prevent Timber Building Boom—Is it not ironic that a disastrous fire caused in part by petrochemical-based building cladding is causing delays in the construction of wood buildings?  Never mind study after study showing mass timber construction to have a fire-retardant effect inherent in its design.  Facts never got in the way of a good industry lobby.

Threat to Billions of Ash Trees by Deadly Beetle Could be Thwarted as Scientists Identify Protective Genes—This reminds me of people looking for genes to aid in the fight against chestnut blight in the United States.

A Pizzeria Owner Made Money Buying his Own $24 Pizzas from DoorDash for $16—You have to love “new money” business models.

Friday Linkage 5/22/2020

It’s “furlough Friday” in my household.  Thanks to general economic malaise we get a five day weekend over the Memorial Day holiday.  Too bad it looks like it is going to rain from Saturday through the next week.  May showers bring…oh, that’s not right.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

Coronavirus To Cut U.S. Emissions 11% In 2020, But It’s No Climate Victory—If we return to “business as usual” it will be defeat.  If we can make this an inflection point it will be a victory.

How Will Americans Commute After Lockdowns End?—I hope that one of the things we take away from this crisis is just how silly our commuting culture has become in the modern age.  Maybe we will move to a post-modern commuting culture that actually values the endless hours we used to spend in a steel coffin belching climate change causing emissions.  Just a thought.

‘A New Normal’: How Coronavirus will Transform Transport in Britain’s Cities—It seems like this is one of the questions that everyone is asking as we look toward the end of the first phase of the crisis.

Why We Shouldn’t All Move to Montana after the Pandemic—We should not all move to Montana, but some redistribution of economic development away from the coastal cities would be a good thing.

Big Oil Taking $1.9 Billion in CARES Act Tax Breaks—Imagine what almost two billion dollars could do in a different circumstance.  By my back of the envelope calculations it could reforest ~2,000,000 acres of land in the United States.  Yes, two million acres.

Why U.S. Oil And Natural Gas Demand Will Rebound From Coronavirus—The rebound for demand is going to be one of the more interesting things to watch as this calamity plays out.  If demand comes back to 80% of the prior level can the oil and gas industry survive in its current format?

Renewables Surpass Coal in Both the U.S. and U.K. in Historic Firsts—The nails are being driven into coal’s coffin and one of the few things keeping it from being buried are Trump’s little orange fingers prying back the cover.  2021 is the year to declare victory.

The Nature Conservancy To Unlock Solar Potential On Retired Appalachian Coal Mine Land—There is a path forward after coal.

Unacceptable: Reports Indicate EPA will Refuse to Limit Brain-Damaging Chemical in Water—You have to love an administration that allows known brain damaging chemicals to be released into your water.

Liberal-Leaning States Target EPA In New Lawsuit—Prior to the Trump administration the government tended to win something like 90% of these lawsuits.  True to trend, Trump’s people tend to lose 90% of these cases.  At what point do people realize that this guy is really just a loser who has failed upwards his entire life.

A Plague of Delicious Purple Urchins is Taking Over the California Coast and It’s Our Duty to Eat Them—There should be a better answer to plagues of invasive species, but we are stuck with “eat them” as an answer.  Solution to invasive lionfish?  Eat them.  You get the idea.

Giant Lizards Are Spreading in Georgia—Burmese pythons, killer bees, giant snails that eat stucco, and now giant lizards.  Are these the end times?

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 5/8/2020

Where do we go from here?

If you are a Trumplican, it is time to reopen everything.  Consequences be damned!  The economy is worth more than any single life.

Isn’t it ironic that the political party that supposedly defends the sanctity of the life of innocents—at least until these lives are out of the womb and require any sort of assistance—is the same party telling people that there is an acceptable level of death in order to make sure the stock market rebounds.  If you thought the money changers were a bad sort these people are historically awful.

The election is just six months away and I cannot fathom how people could vote for Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell or Joni Ernst or any other member of the Republican death cult.  However, no matter what these people do there is a core of the American population that will not abandon them regardless of how bad things get.

Stay safe out there.

On to the links…

‘There’s a sense that celebrities are irrelevant’: Has Coronavirus Shattered Our Fame Obsession?—We can hope that people stop caring about Kardashians or, gasp, Trumps when this is all over.  Our obsession with celebrity is one of the things that got us into this mess.  When you elect a failed reality television star to lead your country expect the result to be like a failed reality television show.

Local: A Glimmer of Hope for a Post-Pandemic World—I think there is a blueprint here in hyper local craft beer.  These are brewers who sell almost exclusively through their taprooms to their immediate communities eschewing the rate race of commercial accounts and package beer.  Now apply that to a restaurant or a salon.  Imagine the city of the future is really just a series of mashed up little villages.

Need More Outdoor Public Space? Maybe Cities Already Have It.—Golf courses.  Never has so much land been allocated to such a small sliver of the population.  God help you if you consider closing a golf course as visor clad retirees will fill a meeting and yell about access.  As if they were toddling over on foot to play a round.

The Oil Execs on Trump’s “Opening the Country” Council Are Major GOP Donors—He really is the best president that money can buy because he does not care about anything else.  Except for Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The man loves fried chicken.

How Working From Home Will Impact Oil Demand Forever—Even if we do not stay at massive levels of working from home in the future, I have to believe that something structural has changed in our work culture that will allow us to break the daily commute cycle that drives so much demand for energy.

False Solutions to Climate Change: Transportation—If the current crisis has shown us anything it is that maybe there is a way forward where we just drive and fly less.  Fewer miles driven means fewer miles of roads are needed.  And the virtuous cycle continues.

London Looking to Increase Cycling Tenfold after the Coronavirus—The humble bicycle will be our salvation.

The US Wind Industry Installed over 1,800 Megawatts in First Quarter, but the Coronavirus Remains a Risk—Every clean, green megawatt is a good thing.  If we can keep our demand lower these wind megawatts will replace dirty coal megawatts.

Looming Coal and Nuclear Plant Closures Put ‘Just Transition’ Concept to the Test—We are getting to the point in the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables where we are forced to reckon with the economic/social impact of plant closures and the ripple effects through an energy economy.  This is a good problem to have to solve.

City of Houston Surprises: 100% Renewable Electricity — $65 Million in Savings in 7 Years—Houston, the beating heart of the American fossil fuel industry, is a surprisingly progressive place.  Of course, saving millions of dollars will turn even the crustiest wildcatter into a greenie.

Microplastics Found in Greater Quantities than Ever before on Seabed—We will be known as the plastic age when generations of the future dig up the layers of garbage we have left behind.

Bioplastics Developer Raises $133 Million in New Funding in Quest to Replace Single-Use Plastics—I have learned not to get my hopes up when it comes to bioplastic.  Most bioplastic innovations are just ways for the plastic industry to push more plastic into the waste stream at the expense of doing something truly beneficial.

Cutting U.S. Meat Consumption by Half would Reduce Dietary Emissions by 35% within Decade—As the public learns just how brutal the meat packing industry is in America in 2020 maybe we can stop blindly buying cellophane wrapped packages of steaks for the grill.  Each purchase perpetuates a system that debases humans, tortures animals, and is bad for the planet.

Your Perfect Green Lawn Is a Buzz Kill—As I sit here typing I can see a lawn care company applying chemicals to a neighbors lawn in a hopeless attempt to turn a crappy lawn into a green carpet.  The problem is that the underlying soil is junk, but my neighbor has no desire to put in the hard work to rejuvenate the soil.  He just wants to spray some chemicals and hope for the best.  The lawn care industry is only too happy to take his money.

Pakistan Turns Unemployed Workers into Tree Planters—Why can’t we do this in the United States?  Hire people in rural communities to plant trees in burnt over areas.  It’s jobs and climate change mitigation all in one.

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.