Tag Archives: Think Progress

Friday Linkage 7/6/2018

I absolutely love the discussion about civility in national politics right now.  I love how people like Donald Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or anyone else associated with the right wing can claim to hold any shred of credibility with regard to being civil when these are the same people who have given us the likes of Steve King, Louie Gohmert, and others.  Heck, they gave us Donald Trump who is literally the most vulgar person to hold the office of President of the United States in the history of the country.  Come at me with a different person, please.

We have truly entered the straight up Orwellian dystopia phase of the current political cycle.  Up is down, black is white, and Trump is right.  If you are not with the dear leader, regardless of where his policy position is that day, you are against the dear leader even if you have done nothing but maintain long held beliefs.  Just wait until they start burning books that do not have more space dedicated to pictures than words.

On to the links…

Scott Pruitt Asked Aides To Find His Wife A $200,000 Job—Scott Pruitt may be the most corrupt person in Washington D.C. since the administration of Warren G. Harding.

It’s Time for the Republican Congress to Impeach the EPA’s Scott Pruitt—This is not the opinion of a liberal mouthpiece.  It is coming from a business publication.  Here is the thing I wonder about.  When the administration changes how will Republicans react to the smallest of infractions by a Democratic administration?  What sort of faux outrage will people like Chuck Grassley manufacture after spending the prior four years closing their eyes, plugging their ears, and screaming “La, la, la!” while Trump and his cronies looted America?

This is how People Tried to Teach Scott Pruitt about Climate Science—Remember, this is the man in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.  You can’t teach Scott Pruitt because Scott Pruitt is bought and paid for by the oil and gas lobby.

Path to Zero Emissions Starts Out Easy, but Gets Steep—Does anyone really doubt that this is true?  However, we will not get to the innovation part unless we start on the easy stuff first.  If history is any guide to the future, however, advances in energy production will come along that moderate the steepness of the deployment curve.

Coal Power Plants Retiring Quickly During Trump Administration—It looks like we are already trying to get coal out of the picture.  Despite Trump’s best efforts—which have probably slowed down retirements but not stopped the trend—coal is not the way we will generate electricity in the future.  Maybe he really should try and bring back Blockbuster?  Or ToyRUs?

Solar Power Employs Twice As Many As Coal In US—For every coal mining job Trump claims he is trying to save, which is really code for him just trying to save coal barons’ paychecks at the expense of everyone else on the planet, he is endangering more solar jobs on the other side of the ledger.  This is a losing hand that he is playing to the bitter end.  Good luck with that Donny two scoops.

Electric Vehicles Alone Could Cause Peak Oil Demand within Decade—Peak oil used to be about Hubbert’s Peak and the decline of production based on economically producible reserves, but maybe the worm has turned and we will just demand to use less oil.  I like to think that I am contributing ever so slightly by biking into work several days a week.  Demand destruction is real.

Climate Change is Making it Harder to Revive Damaged Land—Just add this to the list of things that climate change is going to make harder for future generations.

Call to Turn Oil Rigs into Nature Reserves—Why don’t we just take every offshore rig at the end of its life and turn it into a combination artificial reef and offshore wind turbine?

UK Renewable Electricity Generation Tops 30%, Scotland Increases By 11%—The U.K. generated over 30% of its electricity in the third quarter via renewables.  Not for a day or a month, but an entire quarter.  In the same report it was noted that for the entirety of 2017 Scotland generated almost 70% of its electricity from renewable sources.  The future is now folks.

Battery-Backed Solar Power to Undercut Coal in China by 2028—So, once China figures out how to cut the price of solar with storage what is the market for energy going to look like?

Solar Power Fuels Savings, Consumer Loyalty and Competition Among Craft Brewers—You mean to tell me that people like it when their favorite beer makers also believe that the world is a better place with more solar power?  I would have never thought such a thing were possible.

The Dirty Little Secret Behind “Clean Energy” Wood Pellets—Do any biomass energy schemes ever work out as intended?  It always seems like the promise is predicated on a bunch of ifs.  If the forest is replanted or if the forest is not clear cut and so on.

The US has a 1.39 billion-pound surplus of cheese. Let’s try to visualize that.—I am stuck here thinking about what a 1.39 billion pound round of cheese would be like sitting on the mall in Washington D.C.:

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Friday Linkage 6/29/2018

If anyone does not believe that elections matter, consider that Donald Trump—a man wholly unfit to be president who lost an election by over three million votes—will get to choose the second Supreme Court justice of his presidency.  By the end of four years of this man the United States may no longer be a country that I recognize.

On to the links…

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting—The world would be better is everyone were just a little more present in the “real.”  I cannot count how many times I have been in a bar or restaurant and seen entire tables of people staring into their phones’ screens.  It is insanity.

She Spoke out About Climate Change—and They Tried to Make Her Pay for It—Sarah Myhre is right.  Science has always been political.  There is a reason why religious authorities persecuted scientists.  Empirical observations served to undermine the authority of the religious entity because their authority was based on a flawed text interpreted over the course of generations. Nothing has really changed.

News of Scott Pruitt’s ‘quid pro quo’ Condo Deal Raises Questions about Criminal Law Violations—Does anyone actually think that Scott Pruitt or any other member of the Trump administration would actually be prosecuted for doing something criminal?  This is the most ethically and criminally compromised presidency in American history and the Republican party is allowing it to run amok with no oversight.  Do you remember when the process in which Hillary Clinton handled her emails was considered the height of impropriety?

Scott Pruitt Was So Sloppy Telling Oil Execs and Cronies He Could Get Them Hired, It’s Embarrassing—This fucking guy:

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Scott Pruitt’s “Tactical Pants” Scandal, Very Briefly Explained—It’s not nearly as much fun as his lotion runs or his attempts to buy a used mattress or his attempts to weasel a chicken franchise for his wife or…well, it is Scott Pruitt and every week brings a new scandal.

How Trump is Letting Polluters Off the Hook, in One Chart—When the EPA is run by an industry toadie more interested in finding his special lotion to keep his skin soft while he lounges in his used bed this is the result:

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Ethically compromised is one thing, but being just downright pathetic at your job is turning out to be a Trumpian trait du jour.

The Argument for Fracking as a Climate Solution Just Went Down in Flames—Methane is a bad climate actor and mismanaged wells are releasing a lot of methane.  Sorry folks, but fracked natural gas is not the bridge fuel to the future.  It’s just another fossil fuel bait and switch.

Investigators say China is Behind Illegal CFC Emissions—Maybe Donny two scoops will add this to his list of grievances with China or he will just use it as a another lever to extract payoffs from the Chinese for a project somewhere in the world.

UPS Places Order For 950 Workhorse N-GEN Electric Delivery Vans—Before we spend a lot of time and energy electrifying personal automobiles, the government should focus its efforts on converting the fleets of commercial vehicles to electric.  These are large buyers of vehicles, so one sales pitch can lead to a lot of sales, that are very sensitive to fuel cost fluctuation.

Will the Boomers Leave Us Bust?—Let me skip to the punch line: if baby boomers have to give an inch to save future generations they will fight tooth and nail to preserve that inch because they are the most self-centered generation in American history.  As the, hopefully, last baby boomer president wreaks havoc on the national and international order it is starting to look like a multi-decade fixer upper job for those of use left.

Goats Used For Colorado Wildfire Mitigation—The world just might be a better place if we spent more time thinking about goats.  Everyone else can worry about Trump today.  I am going to spend my day thinking about goats.

Friday Linkage 4/6/2018

The weather here in Iowa has been brutal for spring.  It actually feels more like winter than spring.  Temperatures in the teens, snow in the forecast, cold winds blowing…you get the idea.  It is also killing my bike commuting since the one thing I am somewhat unwilling to deal with is ice covered roads.  Cars and trucks already view cyclists as sport targets.  I do not need to make their passion come any easier.

On to the links…

Sinclair’s Pro-Trump News is Taking Over Local TV. See if They Own Your Station.—The Sinclair Broadcast Group is the propaganda arm of Trump and whoever is on the president’s good side this morning.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Do not support the stations that these half-baked propaganda ministers own.

A Running List of Wild Shit Scott Pruitt Hasn’t Been Fired For (Yet)—As I go to press with this I am holding out hope that I have to amend this headline.

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Too Crooked to Fail: Why Scott Pruitt Still Has His Job (for Now)—I am really starting to love that every article about Scott Pruitt is followed with a “not yet” or “for now” when discussing his employment within the Trump administration.

Scott Pruitt’s Rent was Half what it Costs D.C. to Shelter Homeless Families—The thing about Trump and his “best people” is that these people are not even very good at corruption.  It is like they are not even trying to hide their corruption and incompetence.

Leaked EPA Talking Points Tell Employees to Sell the Climate Change ‘Debate’—Here is the problem with this directive: There really is not a debate among actual scientists.  The debate is among hacks, political hucksters, and right wing ideologues.  No one with half a brain and an actual interest in seeing a habitable planet thinks this is a debate.  Plus, Scott Pruitt is doing this so he can line the pockets of his masters.

Why Trump’s Base Probably Doesn’t Care About Corruption—For all of the fire and fury during the campaign about the alleged corruption of the Clintons you have to star in amazement at the sheer chutzpah of the current presidential administration when it comes to corruption.  Too bad Trumpkins—I saw that label on another site and just love it—do not care what happens as long as the vulgarian keeps “telling it like it is.”

Stunning Drops in Solar, Wind Costs Mean Economic Case for Coal, Gas is ‘Crumbling’—Crumbling is a serious word, but the fact that it is tied to phrase economic case makes me jump for joy.  When the economics have turned, the markets will turn.  When the markets have turned, coal and other dirty fossil fuels will only have the corrupt politicians in their pockets left.

FirstEnergy Shamelessly Begs DOE to Prop Up Uneconomic Coal and Nukes—Oh wait, it has already begun.  Just remember, when you are rich and powerful you just get to rewrite the rules of the market so that you maintain your wealth and influence.  The actual free market is only allowed to work when it hurts poor people and minorities and women and…you get the idea.

FirstEnergy Files for Bankruptcy after Begging Perry to Declare Power ’Emergency’—Looks like even with friends like Rick Perry FirstEnergy’s business model is screwed.

First Floating U.S. Wind Farm May Be Built Off California Coast—Unlike previous offshore wind farms like Cape Wind, a floating wind farm can be built in deeper water farther off the coast.  Also, California has a lot of coast off of which to build these wind farms and a desire to be free from fossil fuels.

College in Maui Reaches for Net-Zero Status with Solar Plus Storage—The first places that will completely untie themselves from the grid will be those with very expensive electric power or very unreliable electric power.  Maui is on the very expensive end of the spectrum, but it also has a culture and community that is dedicated to getting off of the very dirty diesel used to power the island.

Study: Wind and Solar can Power Most of the United States—We have moved past the question of “can we be powered completely by renewables?”  The question is now “how do we transition to 100% renewables?”

Rio Tinto Sells Last Coal Mine, Has Now Completely Exited Coal—This is not Patagonia getting out of coal.  This is a steely eyed multi-national mining conglomerate seeing that the future is not in burning a black rock.

Dubuque Landfill Hopes to Convert Gas from Trash into Fuel for Cars—If this is even mildly economic, why aren’t we tapping landfills across the country for the gas that could be repurposed?

Who do GOP Voters Like for 2024 Iowa Caucuses?—You have got be freaking kidding me.  Who is even thinking about the Iowa caucus that comes after the next Iowa caucus?  We are talking about six years from now with more than two of those years being Trump years, which are like ten years of any normal president not named Warren G. Harding.

Friday Linkage 12/8/2017

I am glad to see that Chuck Grassley, one of the most hypocritical members of the Senate, thinks that anyone who does not benefit from the estate tax repeal is just someone spending the money on booze, women, and going to movies.

Hey loyal viewers of Fox News and other right wingers, this is what your elected officials think of you when they take the time to actually think about someone other than the mega rich donor class.  Your opinion, desires, and hopes only matter so long as it enables clowns like Chuck Grassley to keep getting elected and lining the pockets of his donors.

BTW, Chuck Grassley likes to point out that the estate tax endangers Iowa family farms but the reality is quite different.

I will save you the hassle of reading the article.  Every year approximately 1.4 million Iowans file tax returns and, depending upon the year, approximately 30 to 60 are subject to the estate tax.  Chuck Grassley is worried about the smallest percentage of Iowans it is not even funny.  Like strange mathematical results small percentage.

On to the links…

Ryan Zinke Memo Signals Trump’s Attack on Public Lands is Just Getting Started—This issue needs to be the rocks upon which the Donald Trump presidency falters.

Senate Tax Measure Helps President Trump Pivot Away from Clean Energy and Back to Fossil Fuels—Never mind the jobs in renewable energy and, heaven forbid, you think about climate change in a realistic manner for once.  This is about a final payoff to the fossil fuel interests that have greased the skids for people like Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McConnell.

EPA Scuttles Rule on Mining Cleanup Funding—This is what you get from the party of “personal responsibility.”  Mine companies know that the cleanup costs from their waste will be borne by the public and it is how they model their financials.  The plan is to declare bankruptcy, move the productive assets to a new legal entity, and stick the liabilities for cleanup with the bankrupt company that communities, states, and the federal government have to deal with for decades more.

Trump Science Job Nominees Missing Advanced Science Degrees—How many times do Republicans get to say, “I’m not a scientist” right before offering an opinion on a complex scientific issue.

“Alternative Facts” about Climate Change—Let me tell you what Trump and his cronies are doing: lying.  Alternative facts is just an Orwellian…er, Trumpian way of saying lies.

Zinke Seeks Protections for Public Lands in his Home State While Attacking Utah Monuments—I guess you can add being a hypocrite to being a corrupt public official.

The Accelerating Market for Zero Emission Trucks—There is no better place to invest dollars in zero emission vehicles than heavy dirty commercial trucks.  A smallish fleet is responsible for a disproportionate share of emissions.

Electricity Sector No Longer Biggest Emissions Source In US — Guess What Is—This is why dealing with transportation emissions is such a big deal:

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Iowa Might Lack Green Policy But It Still Beats Out California With Cleanest Power—This is a great look at power generation across states.  What this fails to see is that with the pipeline of projects in Iowa over the course of the next couple of years the percentage of power in Iowa generated from clean sources will be greater than 50%.

Wind Power Capacity Has Surpassed Coal in Texas—That is to say that clean energy from the wind is a bigger part of the mix than coal.  What do you think is going to happen in the future as coal gets more expensive and wind turbines keep producing electricity with no fuel costs?

As Coal Falters, Larimer County’s Largest Polluter Could Close its Doors—It looks like another one is going to bite the dust.

One of the Biggest US Oil Fields Turns to an Unexpected Power Source: Solar—This is one of those odd juxtapositions of old versus new.  The Belridge field in California is a monstrosity of Twentieth Century oil extraction.  It is also a huge user of energy as it takes a lot of power to coax black gold from the ground.

10 Stubborn Body Myths That Just Won’t Die, Debunked by Science—Please don’t pea on anything as a solution.  That is really my takeaway from this.

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 2/3/2017

Well, this week happened.  It was a week in which I found myself agreeing with Dick freaking Cheney.  The man better known as W’s Darth Vader actually came out against Trump’s horrible ban on refugees as “against everything we stand for and believe in.

Never mind the failure to actually limit immigration or entry into the United States from countries that have exported terror to the United States—yes, I am wondering why Saudi Arabia was left off the list and it could not have anything to do with Trump’s sons business dealings.  You remember that Eric and Don Jr. are running the empire now, right?

On to the links…

This Map Might Make You Think Twice About Trump’s Immigration Ban—I wonder why Donald Trump and Steve Bannon did not include Saudi Arabia—home to almost all of the 9/11 terrorists—on their list of countries?  Oh right, conflicts of interest:

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Republican Bill to Privatize Public Lands is Yanked after Outcry—Your voices matter.  When a snake oil salesman like Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is forced to back down amid public outcry, you know something is working in this messed up world.  Keep up the heat and make sure that every member of Congress knows that we are watching.

‘It’s A Big One’: Iowa Pipeline Leaks—The number of gallons of diesel fuel leaked is being debated.  Of course the oil company says it is fewer than reported, but who really believes them?  Remember this every time someone says that oil pipelines are so safe.

US Coal Industry Will Continue Historic Decline Through 2017—In spite of Donald Trump’s rhetoric coal will continue to fall out of favor in the U.S.  It is called a death spiral for a reason.

The Great Energy Disruption—When you go back and look at these projections, as the author points out, many of the assumptions driving the models are wrong…to the better.  Renewable energy generation has gotten cheaper, faster.  Energy storage has gotten cheaper, faster.  The beat goes on.

Who Installs More Solar Power? Republicans and Democrats are Pretty Much Tied.—Must not be any of the Republicans elected to Congress.  Those guys hate solar.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt May Be The Start Of The Everyday Electric Revolution—This is why the Chevy Bolt may be the true winner of the electric vehicle war to come…it’s kind of boring, in an everyday get my stuff done kind of way.

The Next EV Revolution: Think Trucks and Buses—If you are looking to get some serious savings in terms of oil consumed in the transportation sector look to heavy duty commercial vehicles.  This quote from the article encapsulates the opportunity perfectly: While medium and heavy trucks account for only 4% of America’s 250+ million vehicles, they represent 26% of American fuel use and 29% of vehicle CO2 emissions.

Chart of the Month: Driven by Tesla, Battery Prices Cut in Half since 2014—Think about that for a moment—battery costs have been cut in half in approximately three years.  This is before the Gigafactory and mainstream EVs really hit the market bringing some true economies of scale to bear:

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Going Local: The Solution-Multiplier—In the age of Trump local matter more than ever.

Diageo Opening Guinness Brewery in US—With all the great craft beer in America, do we really need Guinness to open up a destination brewery?  I have had their rye pale ale and it does not belong on the shelf with a hundred other great American beers.

Nation’s Bacon Reserves hit 50-year Low as Prices Rise—In case your week was not crappy enough there may not be enough sweet, savory, delicious bacon to salve our wounded souls in the era of Trump.  WTF?