Tag Archive: Climate Change

Sep 25 2017

When All Else Fails, They Lie

The Republicans are determined to pass some form of health care bill by the end of this week when the time runs out to pass it with 51 votes. In a desperate move to get the needed votes from two of the three hold outs, Senators Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), revisions were …

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Sep 18 2017

States Rights California Style

In his “New Rules” segment of his HBO show Real Time, Bill Maher took a stand against “outside agitators” who are trying to interfere with California’s liberal agenda. Adopting a good ol’ boy accents while lamenting federal overreach, Bill Maher wrapped up tonight’s Real Time episode with a New Rule: The “States’ Rights” issue now …

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Sep 07 2017

Now There Are Three

While Category 5 Hurricane Irma is plowing through the Caribbean Islands heading towards southern Florida, she was joined by two more, Hurricane Jose, at category 2 storm, trailing right behind, and in the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia, a category 1 that is threatening the coast of Mexico near Veracruz. As of at 2 p.m. …

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Sep 06 2017

Waiting For Irma

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse than the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the US mainland is now bracing for a category 5 hurricane, Irma. It is the strongest storm ever reported in the Atlantic with sustained 185 mph winds and gusts up to 225 mph, not to mention torrential rain and …

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Jun 01 2017

We’re Melting

Update 1700 ET: As expected Trump has withdrawn the US from the Paris Climate Agreement citing a litany of lies about the agreement and climate change. The US is the world’s second largest largest greenhouse gas emissions. This afternoon Donald will announce his decision whether to stay in the Paris Climate Accord. Withdrawal from the …

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Dec 15 2015

Climate Change Accord: Wrong Track?

While world leaders pat themselves on the back for approving, what is being called, a historic climate agreement, some climate scientists and activists believe it fall far short of what is needed to stop global warming. It’s astonishing how matter-of-fact most of the world is about paragraphs like this one https://t.co/mB1c7X35nP pic.twitter.com/vjDj10pRuS — Glenn Greenwald …

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Aug 31 2015

Sunday Train: Can Nuclear and Renewable Energy Be Friends?

There is an ongoing general discussion in the field of sustainable energy that does not carry the risk of the destruction of our current industrial society and economy about variable renewable energy.

Renewable energy includes a range of low or no carbon sources of energy – but not all renewable energy is sustainable, and not all is low or no carbon. And not all low or no carbon energy sources are from renewable energy resources.

Among the sustainable, no/low carbon renewable energy resources, the most abundant involve the harvest of variable renewable energy, with windpower and solar PV being the most notable. So one obvious strategy for a no-carbon-emitting energy system is to base it on collecting as much of these affordable variable renewables as practicable, and then use other no/low carbon sources to fill in the gaps.

However, in some quarters, this elicits a counter-argument. The most “successfully de-carbonized” economies of the world today are either those with a very high reliance on reservoir hydropower … which while very useful in the United States offers nowhere near a large enough economic resource to meet any large fraction of our current consumption … or those with a very high reliance on nuclear power.

Indeed, near the beginning of this month, Stephen Lacy briefly reported on a report from the Breakthrough Institute that raised an alarm that the new Clean Power Plan may in fact oversee a net increase in GHG emissions. The final plan does not include measures to avoid the decommissioning of substantial numbers of nuclear power plants. And the numbers are stark:

  • The 30 nuclear plants at risk by 2030 avoid over 100 MMT of CO2 emissions
  • New non-hydropower renewables are expected to avoid 60 MMT of CO2 emissions by 2030
  • New nuclear plants under construction are expected to avoid under 30 MMT of CO2 by 2030

So where retention of those 30 nuclear power plants would find us over 80 MMT of avoided CO2 ahead, and in a position to accelerate that in the following decade … their closure could leave us over 10 MMT below where we are now.

Aug 19 2015

Obama’s Latest Bad Idea: Arctic Drilling

This past Monday, the Obama administration issued the final permits allowing Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. to begin drilling oil wells in the Arctic. This is the same oil conglomerate that lost control of its drilling rig in December of 2012 that crashed onto the Alaskan coast in heavy seas. The disaster also lead to eight felony convictions and a $12.2 million fine

Considering President Barack Obama’s promises to focus on climate change and big speeches on controlling carbon emissions, this has to be one of his most hypocritical decisions. Compounding that hypocrisy, the president has planned a visit to the Arctic region later this month. He is the first sitting president to do so. This decision didn’t sit well with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who expressed her opposition in tweets and at her press conference in Nevada:

I think the very grave difficulties that Shell encountered the last time they tried to do that should be a red flag for anybody. I have been to the Arctic, I have been to Barrow, our most northernmost outpost in the United States and I think we should not risk the potential catastrophes that could come about from accidents in looking for more oil in a pristine – one of the few remaining pristine regions of the world.

In a segment on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow blasted the president calling this decision “the most awkward and ill-timed thing he’s done in a long time”

While we should praise Secretary Clinton for this stand and her environmental platform that put an emphasis on renewable energy, she now needs to take a stand on the KeystoneXL pipeline.

Jun 15 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 6.15.15

Well, this is a big week in climate change what with the Pope’s encyclical due t be released Thursday, so today is gonna be climate change Monday!

First, a couple about the upcoming encyclical:

Pope Francis to Explore Climate’s Effect on World’s Poor

The first clue of the pope’s interest in the environment came when he chose his name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century friar who dedicated himself to the poor and is considered the patron saint of animals and the environment. Francis had shown interest from his days in Argentina, when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

There, he played a major role in convening different leaders to seek solutions for Argentina’s social ills. Francesca Ambrogetti, who co-wrote a biography of Francis, said he pushed for scientists at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina to investigate the impact of environmental issues on humanity. As far back as September 2004, Cardinal Bergoglio cited the “destruction of the environment” as contributing to inequality and the need for social reforms. At a 2007 meeting of Latin American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil, he oversaw the drafting of a broad mission statement that included an emphasis on the environment.

Pablo Canziani, an atmospheric physicist who researches climate change, said Francis, who had once trained as a chemist, became very interested in the links between environmental destruction and social ills, including a dispute over paper pulp mills on the border with Uruguay, which Argentina claimed were polluting local drinking water.

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Jun 09 2015

TBC: Morning Musing 6.9.15

Hello! I have 3 articles for your perusal this Tuesday morning!

First up, California’s got some trouble:

California is sinking, and it’s getting worse

Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink.

But the extent of the problem and how much it will cost taxpayers to fix are part of the mystery of the state’s unfolding drought. No agency is tracking the sinking statewide, little public money has been put toward studying it and California allows agriculture businesses to keep crucial parts of their operations secret.

The cause is known: People are pulling unsustainable amounts of water out of underground aquifers, primarily for food production. With the water sucked out to irrigate crops, a practice that has accelerated during the drought, tens of thousands of square miles are deflating like a leaky air mattress, inch by inch.

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