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Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

Gas fracking has be estimated to release much more methane than previous gas industry claims. The worst offender for Methane releases in the US is probably the natural gas field in the Four Corners area.

Methane anomaly in Four Corners area under investigation

By John Hollenhorst

DURANGO, Colo. — There's something in the air in the Four Corners region. Methane. Natural gas. Four research planes and more than two dozen scientists and technologists have descended on the region to figure out where it's coming from.

In the region where Utah rubs shoulders with three other states, satellite imagery detected the nation's worst methane hot spot.

“That’s a huge anomaly,” said Andrew Thorpe from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “But we don’t know exactly where the methane is coming from.”

The most obvious suspect is the natural gas industry. It's one of the most productive natural gas fields in the country.

Aubrey explained, “I think it was intriguing to us and deserving of more study.”

Planes operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are collecting airborne samples to quantify the methane.

Eric Kort, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Michigan, said they are also measuring the chemical fingerprints in the area.

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For anyone interested in debunking climate change myths, there's a great resource that should be your first read: the Debunking Handbook. It's a short and simple guide on what to do and what not to do when countering misinformation from the masters of myth-busting at Skeptical Science. (For those that want a more advanced course, consider signing up for their MOOC on climate denial.) The main points? Don't repeat the myth, keep the rebuttal simple and work within your audience's worldview.

One person who needs to read the handbook is Hannah Devlin, who has a piece in the "Observer Tech Monthly" special on climate change that attempts to confront some big climate change myths. For some reason, Devlin not only repeats the myths, but does so in ALL CAPS, UNDER BOLD HEADERS. While the following paragraphs attempt to debunk the myth, the reader inevitably walks away with a reinforced memory of the myth, since short simple sentences in ALL CAPS AND BOLD stand out to the eye and are remembered much more than longwinded and technical paragraph text. By making myths stand out in a way that's generally reserved for the most important (and true) information, it reinforces rather than debunks them.

Further, the piece attempts to "explode" some myths on "both sides of the divide," meaning that Devlin unfortunately slips into false balance framing. For example, she discusses the idea that humans face extinction (other animals, yes, humans, not likely) and conflates micro and macro issues by explaining that warming will "be fortuitous for some." Yes, there are a handful of positive outcomes, but those are swamped by the variety and severity of negative consequences.

Overall, please remember that if you want to debunk something, the last thing you should do is make the myth look like THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER by employing the same font or typeface generally reserved for headlines and main points.

One last thing: There's another piece in the Observer Tech special. In it, "naive" Tamsin Edwards comes to the defense of "lukewarmers" (AKA delayers) who accept some climate change science, but, one way or another, always end up arguing against taking swift and meaningful action. Her defense rests on the case for a lowered climate sensitivity, which has been debunked repeatedly. Most recently was Dana Nuccettilli's warning against single study syndrome, published just days before the Edwards piece.

Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:
Scientists: EPA’s curbs on coal-burning will save thousands of lives. The Obama administration’s proposed curbs on coal-burning power plants could prevent thousands of deaths each year from heart attack and respiratory disease, scientists said Monday

Melting Antarctic: Failure to cut emissions now could raise world's oceans by several metres. Studies find West Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting faster. But a new look at the ancient past suggests it once pushed sea levels up by three metres

The world needs to triple its investments in clean energy innovation if we’re to have a chance of keeping the world below 2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels — a level beyond which truly dangerous climate change might set in.

Ten Western mountain towns feeling the effects of climate change are launching a campaign that targets the coal industry, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars a year from companies to help communities adapt.

Yes, it's the waste water left over from fracking. The fracking liquid that contains chemicals we don't know about. This is the kind of idiocy posing as one solution to the California man-made water crisis. Although the drought is exacerbated by climate change, the water crisis is occurring due to irresponsible farming practices. Specifically, the 47% of California water which is used for dairy factory farms, livestock production and crops used for animal feed which I wrote about here, here and here. The LA Times has the story:
in California's thirsty farm belt, where pumpjacks nod amid neat rows of crops, it's a proposition that seems to make sense: using treated oil field wastewater to irrigate crops.

Oil giant Chevron recycles 21 million gallons of that water each day and sells it to farmers who use it on about 45,000 acres of crops, about 10% of Kern County's farmland.

California seems to think it has a good thing going utilizing fracking waste water. California produces nearly 50% of all fruit and vegetables in US. Although there are other areas in US more suited to produce produce than California, California seems reluctant to cede it's production to more suitable areas regardless of the consequences to our food supply.
Until now, government authorities have only required limited testing of recycled irrigation water, checking for naturally occurring toxins such as salts and arsenic, using decades-old monitoring standards. They haven't screened for the range of chemicals used in modern oil production.

No one knows whether nuts, citrus or other crops grown with the recycled oil field water have been contaminated. Farmers may test crops for pests or disease, but they don't check for water-borne chemicals. Instead, they rely on oversight by state and local water authorities. But experts say that testing of both the water and the produce should be expanded.

A Chevron spokesman had this to say: "Protection of people and the environment is a core value for Chevron, and we take all necessary steps to ensure the protection of our water resources,"

There, doesn't that make you feel better?  I encourage you to read the entire LA Times piece, it's a stunner.

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Reposted from Meteor Blades by LakeSuperior
Coal power plant
Curbing coal plant emissions would save lots of lives. Not that this matters to EPA haters.
A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan proposed rules curbing CO2 emissions at electricity-generating plants will have a powerful side benefit: saving thousands of people from death as a result of respiratory ailments from emissions of soot, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and other pollutants. The rules are a major element in the Obama administration's Climate Action Plan to be finalized in mid-summer. They are under serious attack from industry, Republicans and a few Democrats in Congress, and some state governments.

Charles Driscoll, a professor of environmental systems engineering at Syracuse who is the lead author of the study, said: “The bottom line is, the more the standards promote cleaner fuels and energy efficiency, the greater the added health benefits.” Although the number of lives saved varies depending on the scenario, the authors concluded that the strongest version would save 3,500 lives annually. The study also said more than a thousand heart attacks would be prevented. The benefits would be immediate.

David Doniger, a lawyer who is the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate and Clean Air Program, writes:

We can likely save even more than 3,500 lives if the EPA strengthens the final Clean Power Plan rule, expected out this summer. NRDC's analysis shows that we can economically cut power plants' carbon pollution by 50 percent more than the EPA proposed, and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. "There's definitely room for additional benefits," says lead researcher Dr. Charles Driscoll, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Syracuse University. "You can push further."

The lives saved will come from cutting the hundreds of thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen that pour out of our nation's power-plant smokestacks along with carbon dioxide. These pollutants form dangerous soot and smog as they float downwind and cook in the atmosphere. These pollutants increase our risk of heart attacks, asthma attacks, respiratory diseases like emphysema, and even lung cancer.

The rules' biggest beneficiaries live in states such as Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio. The latter two are home to some of the loudest foes of the rules. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents coal-rich Kentucky, has urged states not to go along with the EPA's call for each of them to come up with its own plans to comply with the rules.

The study comes on the heels of a report that said the Clean Power Plan would generate up to 273,000 jobs. That is a five times more than the EPA had forecast, writes John H. Cushman Jr., "because the agency had looked only at the direct impact of its proposal while the new analysis calculated the ripple effect across the whole economy." That's also more than five times as many jobs as are expected to be lost in the coal and utility industries because of the rules.

Cleaner environment? Better health? More jobs? Not something the fossil fuelists and their marionettes in Congress have the slightest interest in.


We spend a lot of time talking about James Delingpole, and occasionally it seems like maybe we're picking on him a bit too much (and giving him more attention than he deserves).

But then he goes and publishes something so disgusting and disrespectful that our fears are assuaged, and we're again convinced no amount of disdain is sufficient. Case in point, his May 1st Breitbart post, titled, "Five years on: Why Obama will always cherish the Gulf Oil spill."  

Delingpole claims to think (because no one could possibly believe this) that, "greenies and lefties," actually, "love oil disasters because they are the perfect way of dressing up their bitter, chippy, divisive war on capitalism as simple, honest, decent concern about the environment." He goes on to say, "the left-liberal media," plays up the stories because they're, "the kind of stories absolutely guaranteed to get their readership big in their trousers and hot in their knickers."

According to Delingpole, the fines levied on BP for the pollution are, "an act of daylight robbery against a company and its shareholders," by Obama, who Delingpole says is, "the most aggressively left-wing president in recent memory."  

In arguing how the Deepwater Horizon spill wasn't actually that bad, Delingpole must've forgotten about the 11 oil rig workers who lost their lives, the 8,000 marine animals found injured or dead and the long-term environmental impacts.

Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

The GOP attack on climate change science takes a big step forward. Living down to our worst expectations, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology voted Thursday to cut deeply into NASA's budget for Earth science, in a clear swipe at the study of climate change.

SolarCity Taking Orders for Tesla Batteries Starting at $5,000. For a 10 kilowatt-hour system, customers can prepay $5,000 for a 9-year lease, which includes installation, a maintenance agreement, the electrical inverter and control systems. Customers can also buy the same system outright for $7,140

Tourist stops change dramatically as the climate shifts "We're losing the equivalent of one football field worth of land every 40 minutes here"

Mark Ruffalo placed on terror list for opposing oil drilling method

Reposted from Sunday Train by BruceMcF

Much of the focus on the Sunday Train is on electrification of transport, ranging from 2,000 mile hauls of electrified freight through to hopping on an e-bike to pick up some groceries. And spending this school year mostly living and working in Beijing brings many of the possibilities to life ... from riding the subway to get to the Sanlitun district for Texas BBQ, to seeing an electric freight train passing on a line overhead as the bus we were riding for our school spring outing last Saturday was bogged down in Beijing traffic, to seeing the electric delivery tricycle used by the pizza delivery from Woudaokou for the neighbor down the haul who seems to live in delivered pizza and Indian food.

But the efficiency gains of electric traction are only half of the story for sustainable transport, since its not fully sustainable unless that electricity is generated in a sustainable way.

And when following online discussion of renewable energy at the Energy Collective, which attracts both advocates for and detractors of investment in renewable energy resources, a perennial source of ammunition for attacks on renewable energy are the challenges of meeting demand for electricity with the harvest of a variable source of energy that is available on its own schedule, and not ours.

This is a topic I have touched on before (cf Sunday Train: The Myth of Baseload Power, Sunday Train: The Two Transitions to A Renewable Electricity Supply), Inspired by the article at the Energy Collective: Will Natural Gas Peaker Plants Become Obsolete?, I am coming back to today. What I want to focus on today is the opportunities offered by dispatchable demand for better integration of variable renewable energy. And I would be happy if you would join me to discuss this topic (or any other topic involving sustainable transport), below the fold.

cross-posted from The Sunday Train

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Reposted from LakeSuperior by LakeSuperior

National environmental organizations and Democrats [often motivated by Tom Steyer campaign contributions] have created a mythology about the Keystone XL Pipeline claiming this to be an "export pipeline" and alleging that crude oil deliveries from the proposed pipeline would go to China or everywhere else other than the United States.

Sierra Club sends out fund solicitations showing cartoon graphics of tankers labelled "China" being loaded by KXL crude and Steyer's NextGen shows dramatic footage in a polished political ad making this claim alleging the crude oil will go to China.   Michael Brune goes to a congressional committee and on national television making similar claims alleging that the United States will not receive any benefits from the alleged "export pipeline."

For both Democrats and environmental organizations...the claim that the Keystone XL Pipeline is an "export pipeline" is reality denial and engineering denial.   Engaging in such reality denial is not compatible with ethical conduct considerations, science-based conservation stewardship and public trust energy/environmental protection decisionmaking.

Nothing in Department of State Final Supplemental  Environmental Impact Statement supports the claim or notion that the Keystone XL Pipeline is an "export pipeline."   There is no basis in the DOS FSEIS for President Obama to make a decision on TransCanada's application on the basis that it is a crude oil export pipeline.

The DOS FSEIS document acknowledges the physical and economic realities that KXL-delivered heavy sour crude is destined for United States petroleum refineries on the Gulf Coast.   These same USA petroleum refineries sell the majority of their total finished petroleum products in the USA.   Even if such refineries sold their products mostly for export, it would not change the fact that KXL as proposed is a USA crude oil import pipeline and NOT an "export pipeline."

In order to drive the point home that KXL is not an "export pipeline," recent news yields a very clear example demonstrating a proposed border crossing pipeline that actually and legitimately is a USA crude oil export pipeline.

This is a clear example of a pipeline project which will need a Presidential Permit for an international border crossing that is clearly an "export pipeline"  -- recent news yields this story on TransCanada's proposed Upland Pipeline Project running from North Dakota to Saskatchewan.  

The Upland Pipeline Project will carry Bakken crude for export from the United States to Canada....making it a "USA crude oil export pipeline."

Reposted from Lefty Coaster by Lefty Coaster

Republican shills for Big Carbon are launching a direct assault on NASA funding designed to gut any future enhancements to the Earth Sciences capabilities to monitor changing conditions on our planet from orbit using satellites.  

House GOP Wants to Eviscerate NASA Earth Sciences in New Budget

By Phil Plait

A passel of anti-science global warming denying GOP representatives have put together a funding authorization bill for NASA that at best cuts more than $300 million from the agency’s current Earth science budget.

At worst? More than $500 million.

The actual amount of the cut depends on whether some caps enacted in 2011 are removed or not. If they are, then Earth sciences gets $1.45 billion. If not, it gets $1.2 billion. The current FY 2015 budget is $1.773 billion.

Compare that with the White House request for FY ’16 of $1.947 billion for Earth sciences. The bill will be marked up (amended and rewritten) by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee today.

The authorization bill passed along party lines (19 Republicans to 15 Democrats) and will move to the House floor eventually for a vote. Rep. Edwards put in an amendment to restore the Earth sciences budget but was voted down ... again along party lines. So there you have it. If this authorization is upheld by the House, it will be reconciled with a Senate version, and then negotiated with the White House. But for now, the huge and devastating cuts to NASA's ability to monitor our warming planet will be the baseline.
From the LA Times:
The GOP attack on climate change science takes a big step forward

By Michael Hiltzik

Living down to our worst expectations, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology voted Thursday to cut deeply into NASA's budget for Earth science, in a clear swipe at the study of climate change.

The committee's markup of the NASA authorization bill for fiscal 2016 and 2017 passed on a party-line vote, Republicans in the majority. The action followed what appears to be a deliberate attempt to keep Democrats out of the loop. According to Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), the committee's ranking Democrat, her caucus "did not even know [the markup] existed before last Friday. ... After we saw the bill, we understood why."

From the Washington Post:
Cutting NASA’s earth science budget is short-sighted and a threat

By Marshall Shepherd

When I went to bed last night, I had no intention of writing this commentary. However, I literally could not sleep contemplating the reckless cuts to NASA’s earth sciences budget being proposed by some in the U.S. House of Representatives.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, one of the few people that has actually seen our home planet from the vantage point of space, issued a statement noting that proposed cuts, “gut our Earth science program and threatens to set back generations worth of progress in better understanding our changing climate, and our ability to prepare for and respond to earthquakes, droughts, and storm events…” This statement is measured and appropriate, but I am writing to amplify this statement.

Cuts in the $300-500 million dollar range as proposed literally take NASA’s earth science program from the “enhanced” smart phone era back to the first-generation “flip” phones or maybe the rotary phone. It also fundamentally challenges the Congressional mandate of the 1958 Space Act creating NASA.

NASA chief: House budget may 'set back generations worth of progress' in climate research

These Republican imbeciles and the charlatan "experts" they follow are all bought and paid for by fossil fuel billionaires like the Kochs, and other obscenely wealthy individuals blinded by their own insatiable greed.

We haven't seen such a heavy handed attack on science since 1616 when Pope Urban VIII disturbed by Copernicus' Theory of Sun Centered Universe banned its printing and publication, eventually resulting in the trial of Galileo a few decades later.

                                                        Pope Urban VIII
                                             Role Model for House Republicans

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Fri May 01, 2015 at 08:49 AM PDT

The kids aren't all right

by ClimateDenierRoundup

New pollingof young adults from the Harvard Public Opinion Project is getting deniers excited about the future. It found that 18 to 20-year-olds were the group least inclined to agree with the statement, "Global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants."

The polling also showed that only around a third of those surveyed agreed the government should do more on climate at the expense of economic growth. Again, the youngest group was also the most conservative, flying in the face of conventional wisdom.

Chris Mooney at WaPo looks at the survey, noting the "somewhat odd question setup" that splits the "global warming is a proven fact" option into man-made and natural-caused. As a result, respondents were divided about the cause of warming, with 20% thinking the causes are natural and 55% knowing its human-caused. Mooney notes that this is about equal to the general public, leading to the conclusion (and headline) that millennials aren't that different from their parents, at least on climate.

Two other stories from Harvard provide a bit more context, though not necessarily more clarity. One shows that young Americans oppose fracking more than the general population, while the headline of the other piece may provide context as to why young Americans aren't more in line with the science on climate change: "Young American's Growing Distrust of Science."

It seems that—thanks to the controversy (legitimate or manufactured) over GHGs, GMOs, PCBs, vaccines and evolution—scientists no longer enjoy the same level of respect they once did. Ironically then, the generation most enamored by technology may end up being the most mistrusting of those who create it.


Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

Democrats Press FCC to Unmask Koch-Backed Groups. The Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act (yes, that's the "KOCH Act") would direct the FCC to require that super PACs and other outside political groups disclose their major donors in TV and radio ads.

Climate change deniers are among the more than 12,000 people who have signed up for a free online course in how to combat climate change denial.
Why Tesla’s announcement is such a big deal: The coming revolution in energy storage

Exclusive: TransCanada Keystone 1 Pipeline Suffered Major Corrosion Only Two Years In Operation, 95% Worn In One Spot

One in six of world's species faces extinction due to climate change – study

Church of England ends investments in heavily polluting fossil fuels. Move by church’s £9bn fund to divest £12m from tar sands oil and thermal coal reflects more interventionist stance and sets lead for other institutional investors

The Republican Congress and President Barack Obama have accomplished something unusual: a deal on energy-efficiency legislation.


Fri May 01, 2015 at 07:34 AM PDT

Victory! Fracking defeated in Florida!

by VL Baker

Reposted from Climate Action Hub by VL Baker
I've been working on this Florida issue, so happy to spread the news that even in Florida with enough work and fantastic allies we can accomplish the almost impossible.

How we did it was with allies like Food and Water Watch. Food and Water Watch did massive  ground work necessary in this victory. Support them if you can, I do.

Statement From Jorge Aguilar Food & Water Watch Southern Region Director

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—“ Today, Florida state legislators responded to the growing movement of Florida voters who are standing up against fracking and the oil and gas industry. By killing two pro-fracking bills that would have allowed new dirty forms of fracking in Florida, and would have also barred local communities from enacting their own local fracking bans, legislators have protected Florida from the public health and environmental risks associated with drilling and fracking.

“Just like in New York and Maryland, the science showing the dangers of fracking has won out over the powerful oil and gas lobby. A large coalition of grassroots groups devoted to fighting against fracking have once again showed that voters have a say in ensuring that fracking will not be allowed to contaminate our air, pollute our water, and harm our communities.”

"Lest We Forget Those Who Denied" by Ian Wolter
Ian Wolter's "Lest We Forget Those Who Denied"
As a tribute to six of the UK's leading climate change deniers, Anglia Ruskin University student Ian Wolter created a masterpiece. This 'oil painting'/ sculpture won the school's annual Sustainability Art Prize and is now officially our new favorite work of art.

Elegant in its simplicity, the work is a seven-foot tall black faux-stone slab, with an inscription of the six deniers' names beneath the words, "Lest We Forget Those Who Denied."

Flowing over the words is a continuous stream of motor oil.

Among those immortalized are "journalists" Melanie Phillips, James Delingpole and Chirstopher Booker and politicians Nigel Lawson, Christopher Monckton and Owen Paterson. Delingpole, being entirely devoid of any normal sense of shame, glows over having "been celebrated and immortalised" by the installation.

We would love to see an American version, but recognize that between the GOP, WSJ and Fox News we would need  a much bigger sculpture.

Top Climate and Clean Energy Stories:

Obama: We can no longer delay action on climate change. "Because the folks I met in Florida don’t have time to deny climate change — they’re busy dealing with it."

California’s Brown Seeks Nation-Leading Greenhouse Gas Cuts. Issued an executive order establishing a target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Revealed: Alberta’s ploy to break First Nations' pipeline opposition. Premier Jim Prentice angled for Alberta’s First Nations to sign a pact that would turn them into pro-pipeline lobbyists in exchange for oil and gas profits

With less pollution, Beijing's Olympic babies born heavier, says study. Women in the Chinese capital in the final stage of pregnancy during the 2008 Beijing Olympics — when officials strictly controlled air pollution — gave birth to heavier babies than in years when the city was smoggier

Climate change: Diseases, heatwaves, lost jobs to impact human health, experts warn. Australia's top doctors and scientists are urging the Government to show leadership on climate change after a new report warned human health would feel the most immediate impacts of global warming.

Solar power plant floating on wastewater hailed for multiple environmental benefits. "We can get about 57 per cent more efficiency than a land-based solar system."

Reposted from guavaboy by rebel ga

My adult daughters, in a strange turnaround, keep demanding to know my exact whereabouts these days, since the earthquake here in Nepal.

I am fine and I was nowhere near the epicenter. My teaching project here takes me outside the Kathmandu Valley about half the time, and I was in the Terai, teaching at a medical school, when this happened. It's the hot flat part far from Everest.

My daughter asked how to show some visible solidarity with Nepal, and then she asked me a question that made a lightbulb go off...... step over the orange piece of earthquake rubble to read what it was.....

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