Tag Archives: New Jersey

Friday Linkage 9/28/2018

Some weeks feel like we are living through an episode of the Twilight Zone.  I keep waiting for Rod Serling to introduce the day’s episode.  Don’t believe me?  Think about what happened this week:

  • Cleveland Browns win a game for the first time in over 630 days
  • Trump’s performance art speech at the UN General Assembly
  • Brett Kavanaugh’s increasingly bizarre path to confirmation
  • Buffalo Bills stomping on the Minnesota Vikings
  • Cats and dogs sleeping together, sorry that was Ghostbusters

On to the links…

Rising Seas Could Cause a Mass Migration of Americans Seeking Higher Ground—If you want to imagine a dystopia imagine millions of people forced to move because climate change and its impacts make communities unlivable.  Imagine wide swaths of the eastern seaboard rendered a climate change wasteland and those people moving inland.

Fear Climate Change — and Our Response to It—Humans are not rational creatures, so any model that assumes rational behavior is bound to end in failure.  We are not rational about climate change.

Carbon Emissions Could Be Costing the US 8 Times What Trump’s EPA Estimates—When the government in Washington D.C. is somewhat rational again we need to make sure that the figures used for estimates of climate change and its impacts are properly accounted for in any and all models.

Toxic Red Tide Could Fuel a Blue Win in Florida—Rick Scott represents some of the worst trends in American politics.  He is a scammer who takes no responsibility for his shenanigans and then tries to blame everyone else for his own behavior.  He has made the environment in Florida worse by being in the pocket of developers and big sugar.  Hopefully this is the grifter’s last con.

Trump Admin to Move $260M from Cancer Research, HIV/AIDS and Other Programs for Migrant Child-Custody Costs—You just know that Donny Two Scoops will brag about this on the campaign trail when e is trying to gin up what is left of his Alt Right supporters and closeted racist Republicans who cannot stand to see a brown person.

China Bumps up Renewable Energy Target to Reduce Reliance on Coal—China is trying to kick the coal habit.

Renewables in UK Energy Mix Hit All-time High—The mix actually was not super favorable to renewables as onshore wind suffered from lower wind speeds and hydro suffered from reduced rainfall.  Imagine what this will look like when the wind blows and the rain falls.

A Hail Mary Attempt to Save the West’s Largest Coal Plant Has Failed—This particular coal plant closing is a big deal.  The coal industrial complex has always viewed this plant as one of its redoubts.  It is now closing in 2019 after the latest attempt to keep operating beyond that date failed.  Yes, the local economy is going to need help because of the loss of jobs.  Yes, this is an unalloyed good in the fight to kick the coal habit.

Texas Coal Plant Announces Plans to Shut Down—The market is speaking and even in deep red Texas money still talks.  According to the article, this represents the fifth announced closure of a coal plant in Texas this year.

As Coal Stalls, Wyoming Considers New Environmental Clean-Up Rules—When Wyoming comes to the realization that trusting coal companies to pay for clean-up costs is unrealistic you know that coal is in trouble.

New Jersey Makes Way For 1.1 Gigawatt Offshore Wind—Usually, people are making fun of New Jersey for being corrupt or downright awful.  Go New Jersey!

How a New Zinc-Air Battery Could Transform the Grid—Cheaper batteries are the next hurdle for the clean energy revolution.  It is already cheap to generate power from sun and wind.  Now we need to be able to store some of that bounty for times when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow.

Fast Charger Infrastructure In Iowa Limited By State Law & Utility Rules—This is why people hate utility companies.  The double speak is amazing.  Saying people do not understand billing by kilowatt hours is the most asinine thing yet because most, if not all, utility companies send out bills calculated via kilowatt hours.  It’s a fairly well understood metric.

No, Avoiding Meat and Dairy is Not ‘Elitist’—Here’s the thing, most of the world already avoids meat and dairy because it is too expensive.  Only in the West, particularly in North America, do we consider a meat or dairy free diet to be elitist.  Then again we live in a country where a man with his name plastered on buildings and a private plane was called the “blue collar billionaire.”

9 Times Mister Rogers said Exactly the Right Thing—Appreciate Mister Rogers as the antithesis of our current predicament.


Friday Linkage 4/27/2018

The weather has finally turned here in eastern Iowa and it feels like spring.  What is really important is that several days in a row of solid sunshine means my solar panels are producing mad wicked power.

On to the links…

The Global Crisis of Plastic Pollution—This is the environmental crisis that I believe we can unite disparate groups behind to create an eco-consensus.  Who can argue, in any legitimate and coherent way, that we should not strive to have oceans free from plastic pollution?

Plastic Pollution Now Being Found In Arctic Ice Sheet—Nothing is pristine anymore because we are the worst species on the planet.  We just trash everything without regard for the consequences or the future of anyone but our immediate selves.

The GOP House’s Farm Bill Would Gut a Key Conservation Program—Get ready for some of the right wing’s worst ideas to come out in the form of the gestating farm bill.  SNAP benefits?  Probably cut a lot.  Conservation?  That is communist, pinko, hippie shit according to the GOP.  Subsidies for big agriculture?  ‘Merica!

EPA Proposal would let States Relax Coal Plant Pollution Rules—This is the kind of crap you get with Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA. It also shows the importance of removing coal fired power from our grid.  Without the need to burn coal there would be no coal ash and thus no need to dispose of coal ash.

Wind, Solar Provide 98 Percent of New US Generating Capacity in January and February—Basically, no one added any new fossil fuel generation to the mix.

US Wind Energy Now Supplies More Than 30% In Four States—Four red states—Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota—get a lot of electricity from wind power.  These are fairly “red” states in the political parlance.  I also think it is interesting that 14 states are generation 10% or more of their electricity from the wind.  Weren’t renewables supposed to be incapable of providing a substantial amount of energy?

The Gloves Are Off: $105 Million Greenbacks For US Solar Energy Industry—Trump, Scott Pruitt, and Rick Perry may hate renewable energy but even the retro-grouch luddites in control of Congress see the value in renewable energy for producing clean power, jobs, and a general boost to the economy.

Linn County Receives Gold Designation from SolSmart for Solar Energy—The part that made me laugh is that this program is run by the Department of Energy headed by Rick Perry.  Do you even think he knows that there is a program that recognizes municipalities for creating environments helpful to deploying solar energy?  My guess is not.

Cost, Schmost! Energy Dept. Touts Coal-Killing Atlantic Offshore Wind—Yes, Rick Perry’s Department of Energy has published a report promoting offshore wind as a cost effective renewable energy solution.  Are we living in bizarre world right now?

The UK Just Went 55 Hours Without Using Coal for the First Time—The United Kingdom is probably the one country most associated with coal due to the Industrial Revolution and what not.  For that country to have gone more than two days without burning coal to make electricity is a major step.

Crunch Time For Renewable Energy In Southern California—A municipality is asking for industry to present solutions to a problem that is going to be vexing a lot of other municipalities in the coming decades.  Can renewable energy be deployed in such a way to take the place of ageing and expensive fossil fuel assets?  Can renewable energy plus storage provide baseload like power for cities?

The Latest State to get Serious about Climate Change is … New Jersey?—If we retire all of our nuclear plants than renewable energy will just be deployed to replace energy that was not producing carbon emissions already.  This type of plan, in of all places New Jersey, might serve as a template as we bridge to a future energy paradigm.

Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry—I say forget incentives to deploy EVs for personal automobiles.  Drop every one of those dollars into incentives for cities to deploy electric buses, garbage trucks, and other high mileage heavy duty vehicles.

Bitcoin mining is using as much power as 5,699,560 American households.—Can we just stop the cryptocurrency madness?  The model is ripe with potential for scammers as witnessed by every initial coin offering that seems to pop up daily.  The underlying value of the cryptocurrency is even more nebulous than our regular paper currency.  And the energy used to “mine” cryptocurrencies is outrageous.

Mass Timber is in for Massive Change—Wood is good.  Mass timber might be better.  Given the climate change implications of concrete—huge source of greenhouse gasses if you did not already know—mass timber construction could be the better choice for building increasingly dense communities.

Study: The Greenest States in the U.S.—How does your state rank?

Friday Linkage 6/7/2013

Man, life gets in the way, I look up, and it’s already Friday morning.  I do not know if it is some new strain of the flu going around, but everyone I know is battling some brutal sickness right now.  It just knocks you out with a violent fever and your joints feel like someone is stabbing swords into you repeatedly “Red Wedding” style.

On the plus side, the weather has been wet and overcast for much of the week so no one really noticed spending the better part of a few days alternating between the couch and bed.  How wet?  Just look at the latest map of Iowa from the U.S. Drought Monitor:


All of Iowa is almost out of drought conditions.  With the temperature staying low right now the conditions are ripe to keep the trend going.  Granted, we had flooding in eastern Iowa but beggars cannot be choosers.

On to the links…

Q&A with Paul Watson—It is amazing the lengths that the Japanese government will go to in order to preserve a barbaric practice like hunting whales.  Never mind that it was not really part of the Japanese culture until after World War II.  If anything, the focus on Paul Watson has created a martyr for the cause of anti-whaling.

How to Fix Climate Change in One Flowchart—Dig it:


The Social Cost of Carbon is Double what was Previously Estimated—This is one of those boring, but important, stories.  Why?  When the CBO or other government agencies model the cost of things there is a table of accepted numbers that get used in the models.  That way everything is done on an “apples to apples” basis.  With the cost of carbon, generally considered an externality, doubled the models will now show that regulations are not cost negative.  It’s a pretty big deal around here.

An Inside Look at what a Coal Terminal is Really Like—If you want to talk about externalities, read this story about the reality of coal export terminals.  The pollution and environmental degradation is not paid for by the coal exporter.  It is a burden on the community.  Sad.

Huge Petroleum Coke Pile Headed Back to Canada—It looks like the Koch’s coke pile is heading back whence it came.  Okay, it’s really heading to another part of Canada but it is not going to be blighting the Detroit waterfront any longer.  It was amazing how fast this pile of black goo is going to disappear after some national attention was applied.  You have to wonder if the Koch’s thought they could just pile the stuff up on the waterfront in Detroit because…well, it’s Detroit.

Franken-salmon Could Breed with Trout to Produce Franken-trout—So, GM wheat makes an unannounced appearance in a field in Oregon and now we are considering GM salmon.  How bad could this be?  Oh right, catastrophic.

Endangered Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle Feeding Grounds Discovered in Gulf of Mexico—Here is how much we know about the natural world…not a bit.  We think that our knowledge allows us to have dominion, but every day we discover things that we did not know.  It’s not like the Gulf of Mexico is some remote artic body of water.

How Do We Save Coral Reefs, Stop Deforestation on Land—The environment is a complex ecosystem and we fail to understand that more often than not.  Reefs are not just a product of their local climate, but the broader ecosystem in general and this includes terrestrial components like forests that slow and filter water as it runs toward the ocean.

Battling Deforestation One Firm at a Time—It’s a long slog to try and change the behavior of a company.  Especially when that company is relatively aloof to international pressure like Asian Pulp and Paper.  But, it looks like the efforts are not in vain.

Why a Chinese Owned Smithfield Foods could Clean Up U.S. Pork—It’s a strange thought, but as the always excellent Tom Philpott points out China does not, officially, allow the use of clenbuterol.  Don’t remember what clenbuterol is?  It’s the stuff that some guys in the Tour de France have been nailed for doping with.  It’s bad stuff.

WalMart’s Low Prices and Big Profits have a High Cost—I do not think this will come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain and five minutes to spend reading the news.  Nonetheless, it’s ammunition in the fight against subsidizing such a crappy company:


New Jersey Approves $500 Million Solar Program—This is not California or, even, Minnesota but New Jersey.  When New Jersey is jumping on the solar bandwagon you know things are beginning to happen.  I really like how the effort is spread across a few different fronts.  It will allow for an “after action” assessment to see what was most effective.

Solar Brings Reliable Energy to Haitian Hospital—I love seeing solar used in developing countries to counteract the dominant paradigm of a centralized power grid.  If one thing has held back development for many it is the lack to reliable and affordable electricity.  Without it vaccines cannot be stored, food spoils quickly, communication is sporadic, etc.

World’s Biggest Coal Company is Turning to Solar Industry—When even coal companies in India are turning to solar you know the “worm has turned.”