[I]n 2011, with gas prices spiking again, and America ever more reliant on oil imports, is it any surprise that the Koch Brothers have been fighting tooth and nail against government/private funded research and development pf green technologies. Last year the Kochs were the primary sponsor of the referendum that sought to repeal California's "Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" which requires cuts to carbon emissions and investment in green technologies.The Koch brothers spent $2.51 million from their political action committee,since 2006 on political campaign contributions, more than any other oil and gas industry PAC.
They are also the primary funders of a number of conservative astroturf and tea party affiliated groups including $5 MILLION for Americans for Prosperity a well known organizer of tea party events, a major funder of climate change deniers like The Heartland Institute, and a supporter of "pro-tobacco industry positions on issues like cigarette taxes and clean indoor air laws" that has fought against "smokefree workplace laws and cigarette excise tax increases."
This year, Koch funded House Republicans are attempting to strip both federal funding for investment in green technologies and the EPA's right to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels such as petroleum products made by (cough, cough) Koch Industries. And, (more shocks) the Kochs stand to make billions from their investments in Canadian Tar Sands. …After the 2010 midterm elections, they have become established at the center of GOP power, according to The Los Angeles Times. The paper reported this week that Koch Industries and its employees formed the largest single oil and gas donor to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
That includes the campaign coffers of the new committee chairman, Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who though once a moderate is now leading the anti-regulatory charge in the Republican-dominated House.
They don't want good paying green tech jobs in the US because that would hurt their bottom line. They are sellers of foreign oil and refiners of foreign oil products. Green technology, conservation, energy efficiency, restrictions on carbon emissions, regulations regarding air and water pollution, all of which would lead to many, many American jobs would hurt their business interest in selling you and I dirty oil from the holdings abroad, and dirty oil products that they refine. …
After all, their motto isn't E PLURIBUS UNUM, it is GREED IS GOOD. And indeed greed has been very very good to them, even as it harms your future, my future, the future of our children, the future of our country and the future of our planet.
The Green Diary Rescue begins below and continues in the jump. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement with its contents.FishOutofWater explores the New Kilauea Fissure Eruption! Movies & Images: "A rare fissure eruption began at Kilauea, Hawaii Saturday, fountaining lava up to 80 feet high. It was foreshadowed by swarm of earthquakes (in yellow) near the caldera of the Kilauea volcano in late February and the first 4 days of March. The earthquakes were caused by a series of shifts in the deep plumbing of the east rift zone that has been maintaining Kilauea's continuous eruption, centered at the Pu'u O'o crater, since 1983."
On Valentine's Day, my colleague Mark Sumner began what has become a spectacular little diary series titled "The Daily Bucket." It's a place, as he explains, "to catch your casual observations of the natural world and turn them into a valuable resource. Whether it's the first flowers of spring or that odd bug in your basement."
From Maine to New Mexico and across the seven seas, even the most urban Kossacks live amid nature. Wherever you are, just outside your door or a two-hour hike away, insects and other animals, trees and other plants are always in a state of flux. In our backyard right now, the first blooms of the 17-year-old wisteria are adding their lavender beauty to the deck. Less than a block away, at dusk each night, hundreds of crows return to a small cluster of trees for their evening rest. Their cousins, the ravens, come in far smaller numbers but take the best spots, tree tops or far out on the finest branches. Soon they'll be fanning out, returning to the trees where they raised their small families last year and the year before that. And in a few months, we'll get to watch them noisily teach their little ones how to fly.
You can find out more about The Daily Bucket here and perhaps become one of the contributors.
Round-ups, Wrap-ups, Live-Blogs and Summaries
In the Daily Bucket series, enhydra lutris wrote about the arrival of Bees: "The little native Bumblebees are out hanging around our flowering currant. That means it is time to put out my native solitary bees."
She also wrote about another recent arrival in The Daily Bucket: What are you seeing?: "Today, in Castro Valley, CA, I was awakened about 3:00 am by a Northern Mockingbird. Our neighborhood long had a resident pair, then they vanished. Since then, on a seemingly random basis, one or a pair will come hang out, for a few days to a few months. Today, one, at least, is back."
CitizenScientist found some plants. The Daily Bucket: What's Going On Saturday?: "Here in southern Pennsylvania (or south-central PA, as we like to call it), winter is still hanging around. We'll have overcast skies and rain the the next two days, but spring is coming: the hyacinths in my smalltown backyard are poking through the soil and I suspect the tulips will be coming soon. New buds are forming on the rose bush and lilac."
Mark Sumner introduced a new element for The Daily Bucket in the Break the Map Edition: "See that map down below? Sure it may not show much right now, but it's a magical growing map! It soaks up your observations about the natural world and expands with joy each time you post, turning your words into particolored pixels of... of... "
As part of the series, he also wrote Get Outside Now: "Still not one flower in my garden. However, the new greenhouse has arrived in all it's multipackage, holy cow that's a lot of parts, glory. This is a Rion model, replacing the sad little aluminum framed thing that's wilting in the side yard."
And the world goes on: "Like finding a giant millipede coiled on the mat outside your shower (as I did this morning) waking up to the latest GOP rights-grabbing maneuver can be shocking. Unlike that millipede, the GOP is sadly not harmless."
And Waiting on Spring: "What I do have is a steep little valley with a nice patch of woods. My 'backyard' isn't a park, it's hardwood forest made a bit extra scraggly by the rampant undergrowth typical of edge community. In the summer my view often extends about ten feet, right into the dense leaves of an oak or elm. But through the winter I can see down the slope and across to the, um, not-quite-towering 850' ridge across the creek."
And the face of spring: "The daffodils are not blooming at my house. Crocuses are showing their heads and whispering 'any day now,' but not quite yet. There are no buds on the redbud tree. Still, spring is here. How do I know? Because the turkey vultures have returned. Of course, these friendly fellows are visible in my area throughout the winter. However, there is a large group that dissappears from our neck of the woods each fall, and returns in the spring. At sunrise on most mornings between now and autumn, I'll find some two dozen turkey vultures either clustered in a large dead birch tree down at a bend of the creek, or circling above, testing out the morning currents that rise off the edge of the nearby bluff."
In Gulf Watch #483, Lorinda Pike had a questionIt Was Dangerous Paperwork - BP Catastrophe: "Could Cornstarch Have Plugged BP's Oil Well? While you were thumbing through your Feb. 4 issue of Physical Review Letters, perhaps you noticed the article titled 'Viscoelastic Suppression of Gravity-Driven Counterflow Instability.' OK, maybe not. But it was actually worth a look. It turns out the article describes how engineers might have been able to stop the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico last year using a child's plaything: oobleck. It's a weird mixture of cornstarch and water. When it moves slowly, it flows like a liquid. Move it fast, and it freezes into a solid."
peraspera wrote #484 Shoddy engineering docs on oil rigs perfectly legal - BP Catastrophe: "‘Red flag’ in oil-spill health study. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade has just published BP Oil Disaster: Results from a Health and Economic Impact Survey in Four Coastal Louisiana Parishes (PDF) which has turned up some troubling results. Neither health nor economic needs of BP's victims are even close to being met."
And Lorinda chimed in with #485, Smoke, Mirrors and the Noise Machine - BP Catastrophe.
ninkasi23 introduced a new series, Tasty Bits: A Weekly Roundup.
fiver compiled the Eco Roundup 3.8.11: "Of course, nuclear is absurdly over-subsidized (see “Nuclear Pork—Enough is Enough“). In fact, a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies, finds: 'Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away ….'"
Adopting the theme "Polluters vs. People," Target Global Warming liveblogged the House Climate Hearing: "If your doctor warns you that your arteries are clogging & you're at risk of suffering the worst impacts of heart disease, you should wait & see if you have a heart attack first before doing anything. That's the basic message you can expect to hear from polluter allies at today's House Energy & Commerce Committee Hearing. Of course, the committee tipped its hand on who it's really beholden to last month at its first hearing on the issue. Did it call scientists to give the first word? Nope. The committee wanted to hear first from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Big Oil's MVP who's calling the shots on climate policy. Today's science hearing came only after climate science champions like Rep. Henry Waxman & Rep. Ed Markey demanded it."
possum wrote another installment in his long-running series, Science Tidbits: "Lodgepole pine ecosystems occupy large areas following major fires where extreme cold temperatures, poor soils and heavy, branch-breaking snows make it difficult for other tree species to compete. This includes large parts of higher elevation sites in Oregon, Washington, the Rocky Mountains and western Canada. Yellowstone National Park is dominated by this tree species. However, warming temperatures, less winter precipitation, earlier loss of snowpack and more summer drought already appear to be affecting the range of lodgepole pine, at the same time increasing the infestations of bark beetles that attack this tree species."
AnimalsMillions of dead fish in Redondo Beach, California: "Pretty shocking huh? This happened at Kings Harbour, in Redondo Beach California over the last day. Fish, including anchovies, sardines and mackerel were floating lifeless in Basins 1 and 2 of the north side of the Harbour. 'There’s basically fish everywhere you go in the harbor,' said the harbor's assistant manager, Jason McMullin, who added that there were reports that a red tide which is a naturally occurring bloom of toxic algae that can poison fish or starve them of oxygen, may have driven the fish into the harbor in massive numbers where they died because of limited oxygen. All the dead fish are attracting hoards of seagulls."
sricki lamented the fact that the Shark Population Is Unexpectedly Low Off the California Coast: "Whatever one’s personal feelings about great whites, they are undeniably a valuable part of the ecosystem. As a high-level predator, a severe depletion in great white populations could lead to an explosion in the populations of marine organisms lower in the food chain, which could in turn alter the ecology of the entire area. Already considered vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a potentially alarming new study indicates that there are significantly fewer great white sharks inhabiting the waters near the California coast than scientists had previously believed."
Toxins, Waste and Hazardous Waste
Phil Radford II Greenpeace found it more than a little disturbing that Homeland Security Chairman Peter King ignores poison gas disaster threat to New York City: "Instead of ensuring that the highest risk chemical plants convert to safer technologies, [Rep. Peter] King joined Representatives Dan Lungren (R-CA) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in supporting weak chemical plant security standards. Championed by chemical industry lobbyists, these rules leave 110 million Americans threatened by these pre-positioned weapons of mass destruction."
Personal experience as a child makes ninkasi23 unhappy about a continuing probem, as noted in the diary Leftovers: "I grew up in a lower middle-class, single-parent household in the late 70's into the 80's. My mom would cook pretty simple meals every night and the leftovers that didn't get eaten that night would often reappear later in the week as our dinner. While she sometimes got creative and transformed them into new dishes, more often than not it was just a mish mash. I got used to it, and unless it was something I really disliked I ate it. Wasting food that wasn't spoiled, molded, burned, or tainted some way was a big no-no. That line of thinking has ingrained itself into my being. Which is why it is so frustrating to read about the amount of food waste we produce."
After 15 months when he wrote his first diary on the subject, chipoliwog wrote another to discuss Oil Price Predictions Revisited: Jeff Rubin said oil would be $100-$200 a barrel by now, and it is.
Visionary Excellence reminded us of who controls our electricity and thus our lives in OFF GRID - Distributed Generation = activism: "What’s the best way to undermine the $ power? Distributed energy generation. Home solar. Home wind. 40% of generated energy goes into structures. You can also buy solar chargers for your electric car. There is a reason worldwide there is less than $1B per year spent on renewable energy research. The energy industry owns our govs."
Illustrating that point, jamess provided an example of how those controllers want to keep things that way in Undercutting the Future -- the GOP would Halt Solar Plant in its Tracks: "Solar Plants? well you know, they have a little problem with Storage Capacity -- the Sun DOESN'T shine at Nite! What's that? The Nevada Plant -- the one the Republicans want to kill -- Has solved the "Storage Capacity" problem. No wonder THEY hate it So Much!"
There were again several diaries on hydraulic fracturing:
carolita introduced Top Comments with Frackin’ Unbelievable Edition: "No one could have imagined that drilling deep holes and pumping down a pressurized heavy, dense slurry of chemicals designed to fracture the overburden and underlying rock formations along a KNOWN EARTHQUAKE FAULT would cause a problem."
Food and Water Watch said we should stop dilly-dallying because It's Time for a Ban on Fracking!: "Another Urbina piece was unveiled on Tuesday by The New York Times, this time focusing on fracking fluid disposal and various methods energy companies utilize to recycle it, including using it to de-ice roads in the winter. But what goes on the roads ends up in the sewers. Ultimately, there are many reasons to believe that we are not doing enough to prevent dangerous chemicals from getting into our wastewater treatment plants. And where does this water go from there? Back into our rivers and streams."
DWG provided some detail about De facto deregulation of shale gas drilling in PA: "Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale gas boom. With that boom have come questions about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater supplies and the handling of drilling wastewater. The EPA sent the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a letter of inquiry on March 7 into the state's oversight of drilling wastewater."
wv voice of reason also looked at shale gas in And we thought coal would be the death of us.: "West Virginia is now ground zero for another environmental disaster, Marcellus Shale gas extraction. If it is allowed to continue without regulation, Marcellus Shale drilling and fracking could make Almost Heaven, Wild Wonderful WV virtually uninhabitable. …The fact is that the legislation is not about hurting the industry, it is about protecting the rights of every WV family who would like to have clean, safe, water and air. It is about protecting our property rights. And it is about making sure that WV taxpayers are not picking up the tab for road and bridge repair and clean up of damages, contamination and health problems that will be left by the gas industry when they are done with WV and leave to go back to their own states."
Poycer took a broad look in This Week in Fracking: "The New York Times gave a huge boost to drilling opponents with the publication of a 3-part series on Marcellus shale drilling by reporter Ian Urbina. Among the revelations: the fracking waste water being 'treated' at sewage treatment plants and then released into rivers just a short distance upstream from drinking water intakes. In the cases where test results could be located (documents also posted on the Times's website), the waste water contained very high levels of heavy metals and the radioactive element radium. One of these potentially contaminated drinking water supplies is in the town where I work. Senator Bob Casey and others have called for immediate water testing and water companies say they're going to comply."
And I wrote about the former Bush EPA appointee who says 'fracking' exemption needs fresh scrutiny. Congress went too far by giving hydraulic fracturing a permanent exemption from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the guy says.
The situation with some Japanese nuclear power plants after Friday's tsunami generated a lot of interest both in the acute crisis and the long-term effects on nukes given the view of many that they will provide the only way to curb greenhouse gases effectively and the view of others that they are ultimately just another way for the Grim Reaper to collect his due.
Radical def reported 5 Reactors in Danger: Fukushima Overheating, Venting, Could Meltdown..
Lefty Coaster wrote Nuclear Plant near Sendai declares "nuclear emergency situation" UPDATE: Evacuation ordered: "Following the massive earthquake off of Japan's Pacific Coast north of Tokyo Japanese nuclear plant operators are struggling to restore the primary cooling system to the Onagawa reactor 40 miles from the city of Sendai. The Onagawa Reactor is about 310 miles north of Tokyo."
And he followed up with Japanese media reporting "Possible Meltdown" - Explosion destroys reactor building: "The reports are that the top one and a half meters of the fuel bundles in the reactor's core are no longer immersed in the cooling water as the level of critically needed cooling water has [fallen] despite frantic efforts to pump more coolant into the reactor. With the tops of the fuel bundles exposed they can be expected to superheat, possibly reaching 5,000 degrees leading to a meltdown."
Brainwrap reported on 2nd Plant Emergency Declared: Only hours to cool reactor or face a nuclear meltdown.
Long-time anti-nuclear activist harveywasserman claimed that Japan's Quake Could Have Irradiated the Entire US: "Had the massive 8.9 Richter-scale earthquake that has just savaged Japan hit instead off the coincidence that electrical energy is also called power, the same word that also refers to the California coast, it could have ripped apart at least four coastal reactors and sent a lethal cloud ability to free yourself or control others. In recent history, almost all development has taken of radiation across the entire United States."
Liberation Angel added Can Our Nuke Plants Survive a Japan Strength Earthquake? Nope.
onanyesgave us an expert's opinion in
Japan's nuclear troubles: "Disclaimer: I haven't operated a nuclear reactor since 1984 and I have not kept up with it closely. But I do know some basics and have written a short note."
crystal eyes wrote Fok News- #10 And Good Night American Nuclear.
Looking at the policy end of things, greenfire wrote Containment Breached: "President Obama has a well-earned reputation for intelligence. Shifting from nuclear to clean alternative energy is a no brainer... based upon this dramatic demonstration of how nuclear power is inherently unsafe."
VA05Liberal appealed to Kossacks to join NO GAS DAY!: "A campaign has started on facebook to declare March 31st an official 'No Gas Day.' That doesn't mean fill up your car on the 30th, that means that on the 31st we need as many people to ditch their cars, take the bus, carpool, or find some other way to work as humanly possible."
Eclectablog urged more investment in rail transportation in ACTION: Mad Men on Trains - this is no "Snakes on a Plane": "We invested in the highway system far beyond rail and air. So it's no surprise that nearly everything we do relies upon the U.S. highway system. We have an opportunity right to set our country on a path that promotes high-speed rail in the way we should have 70 years ago. We have President who thinks it's a high priority and we have an economy that could use the economic benefit that would result from a New Deal-type investment bringing jobs to every state."
vonzapfenau wrote that It's a Cluster!: "…if you're thirsting for some optimism on this topic, and I can't see how you wouldn't be, I recommend you take a look at Christopher Steiner's well-researched work of prophecy, $20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better. Seriously."
Tongue-in-cheek but with fist clenched, Muskegon Critic wondered, Do Tea Partiers Take Joy in ANYTHING?: "It's the naysayers that really make my teeth itch. I think that's one of the biggest things that drives me up the wall about the whole Tea Party movement. The Can't Do attitude. That's why reading the comment threads to local articles is bad for my dental health. There's so much awesome stuff going on, and these dudes...they're just...they're just so gratingly negative and gloomy. For example: The high speed trains. That's awesome. FRIGGIN' awesome. What kind of nay-saying maniacs would want to crush friggin' HIGH SPEED RAIL? It's like saying no to jet packs, or puppies, or puppies with jet packs. It's like saying no to flying cars...or...cars that run on friggin' electricity. Friggin' awesome."
Checking out the "facts of life" on high gas prices, Consumer Watchdog claimed It's the Speculators & Oil Companies To Blame, Not Middle East: "While skirmishes in Libya and uncertainty in the Middle East are nice cover for outrageous gasoline prices, the fact is the same old suspects are making a killing from sky-high gas prices approaching $4 dollars per gallon in California: big oil companies and greedy speculators. The speculative market may have driven crude oil prices up, but that's not the price oil companies pay for the crude oil that goes into our gasoline. America's big oil companies use crude oil that they have harvested from the ground or bought much cheaper through long term contracts to refine into gasoline. You'll see the results in next quarter's profit statements: big profits from both crude oil sales and refineries that make gasoline, what's called 'upstream' and 'downstream' operations in profit reports."
Brudaimonia did some head-shaking over Barnes op-ed showcasing conservative bewilderment with urban transportation: "I don't know if I've ever read a single op-ed saturated with clunkier thinking than Fred Barnes' recent peck at progress, 'The Way We Drive Now: There’s a reason Washington can’t get Americans out of their cars.' For most Americans—make that most of mankind—the car is an instrument of mobility, flexibility, and speed. Yet officials in Washington, transportation experts, state and local functionaries, planners, and transit officials are puzzled why their efforts to lure people from their cars continue to fail. The Obama administration is only the latest to be bewildered. Let's see who is really bewildered. First of all, 'most of mankind' does not own a car. In 2002, there were 130 vehicles per 1,000 people worldwide. There are more people at risk from car-influenced climate change than there are car owners, much less those who idolize their cars as 'instruments of mobility, flexibility, and speed.' With the trajectory of gas prices, there may be a fair amount who instead are once again begrudging their cars as vacuums of household income."
uclabruin had some praise for Energy Secretary Chu: New Biofuel Alternative to Gas: "It's nice to have an administration that fills important roles in government not just with cronies but with those who have a passion for the field and a desire to make the world a better place. I am utterly confident in Sec. Chu, ever since his troubleshooting the BP oil spill, and this announcement is an exciting step in the right direction for energy independence. 'Energy Secretary Steven Chu has just announced that a research team headed up by the Department’s BioEnergy Science Center has developed a cost effective method for converting woody plants straight into isobutanol, which can be used in conventional car engines just as gasoline.' There is much skepticism, rightly so, regarding biofuels and their impact on our farmlands. This development seems to be rather promising however, not only because of its purportedly less expensive production that can harness plant waste, but also because of the potential for the 'green jobs' that Obama always couples with green energy research."
jimstaro found a corporation's stance to his liking in : "[Duke Energy has] actually not been a big corporate machine that has been sitting on there bottom line these past couple of years. They've been moving rapidly into solar and wind. Either by themselves or partnering with others or buying up existing solar and wind developments others had already built. Not fast enough, especially here in NC, to make a big dent in all the unemployed trades, architects and engineers, but have put many back to work."
Oceans & Wetlands
fake consultant wrote about On Being A Titan, Part One, Or, See It, Say It, Sue It: "So here’s the deal, as it sits today: for a number of years now Titan Cement has been looking to build this great big cement plant near the environmentally sensitive North Carolina coast (part of the site includes 600 acres of 'pristine wetlands'), and part of running a cement plant is running cement kilns. Ya gotta cook limestone, sand, and clay, along with some other ingredients, at very high temperatures (above 2700 degrees F), which sort of fuses everything together; that makes 'clinker,' which eventually becomes cement, and that’s why you need giant kilns and, often, pre-heater towers."
NNadir went to the library again and came back with The Manso Dam And the Pantanal, the World's Largest Wetland.: "Bye, bye, Pantanal. One of the things associated with the form of so called "renewable energy" represented by hydroelectricity is, um, evaporation. Indeed, in the book referenced at the beginning of this diary (cf page 149) the authors of case studies write: 'The effect of climate change on hydropower potential is twofold [Arnell 1996): changes in magnitude and seasonality of inflows will first affect either the shape of the reference flow duration curve for run of river schemes or the storage for systems based on reservoirs. Additionally, possible increases in evaporation may significantly reduce storage volume in tropical areas.' Tropical areas? Say, um, isn't that where, um, Brazil is?"
Air, Water and Soil Pollution
Muskegon Critic took note of Toxic Green Oozing Glop from Beyond Threatening Lakes and Human Health: "After about twenty years of progress fighting phosphorous levels and other pollutants on the Great Lakes, phosphorous levels are again on the rise. Why is that a problem? Because algae LOVES phosphorous. Okay. So what? Because TOXIC blue-green algae loves phosphorous...and it's TOXIC. To people. And other animals. It also creates oxygen depleted dead zones."
Via Heather TaylorMiesle NRDC Action Fund Matt Howes diaried about The Realities of the Clean Air Act: "Even as environmental safeguards come under attack like never before, a recent EPA study shows that the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments brings $26 of benefits for every $ 1 in costs. That's more than $2 trillion in direct benefits by 2020. For example, in 2010 alone the reductions in fine particle and ozone pollution from the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments prevented more than: • 160,000 cases of premature death • 130,000 heart attacks • 13 million lost work days • 1.7 million asthma attacks1"
Green Policy, Green Philosophy & Green Activism
In the Village Green series, Kaid at NRDC declared Green Living Isn't Very Green In the Wrong Place: "A new, peer-reviewed analysis performed by the staff of Jonathan Rose Companies, with assistance from the federal EPA, shows the power of a superior location in substantially reducing a household’s environmental footprint. In fact, it shows this is so whether the housing type is a single-family home, townhome, or multi-family building. In particular, a comparison based on national averages indicates that the energy consumption (and, thus, global warming emissions) of a typical household in a transit-oriented location is likely to be less than that of a household in a conventional suburban location (i.e., 'sprawl'), even if the household in a conventional suburban location employs energy-efficient building technology and drives fuel-efficient vehicles."America is Laughing at the New GOP Energy Plan: " You see, the GOP needs to understand that their voters in Southern Mississippi love to pay 75% more to light their homes because the utility companies could use that money because um--- it's about freedom brother."
Jed Lewison blasted GOP senators push for more drilling as they seek cuts in renewables research: "The truth is, the GOP doesn't have a serious energy policy. It only has a pro-oil policy. We saw that last month when they unanimously voted against ending subsidies for big oil. And we saw it when they voted to cut research funding for renewable energy. They haven't just bet the farm on fossil fuels—they've bet the entire nation. And to the extend they are successful, it's not just America that pays the price, it's the whole world."
A Siegel went Searching for the Silver Lining to Anti-Science Syndrome dominance of the House: "As someone who is enmeshed in the study and discussion of energy issues, I was somewhat embarrassingly surprised to find out that domestic oil production has notably increased during the first two years of the Obama Administration. Combined with the reduction in U.S. liquid fuel demand (primarily due to the recessionary impacts on fuel demand but also due to the beginning impacts of a number of fuel efficiency measures), the roughly ten percent increase in U.S. oil production has actually put the United States in a (slightly) less vulnerable position to this round of oil price peaking (which will likely occur over and over again as Peak Oil hits the world supply). Rather than engaging the issue of Peak Oil, overall world demand pressure, and how the supply/demand curves make the global economy increasingly vulnerable to supply disruptions (actual, like Libya, and threatened/potential, such as concerns over the potential for unrest in Saudi Arabia), the Republican political message on gas prices is quite clear: 'It's Obama's and the Democratic Party's fault.'"
JonRynn looked at some controversial claims from the Breakthrough Institute in Is environmentalism still dead? part 1: "The environmental movement was born insisting on regulation – clean up the air and water, prevent companies from polluting, block the rape of the earth. This regulatory strategy was actually very successful. It would have been a much better way to prevent global warming than the carbon pricing strategy, because we could have just legislated something to the effect that we have to get our electricity and transportation from progressively cleaner and cleaner sources, without the spaghetti logic of carbon pricing. But there are also limits to regulation. "
Here is Part 2.
Travertine waxed poetic in his headline, Solar, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways …, and then got serious: "In recent history, almost all development has taken the form of increasingly concentrated infrastructure, which in turn is concentrated power. Big concrete, justified in the name of increased efficiency, rules the day. In the 20th century, big concrete was sold as beneficial, and perhaps on the context of the times, it was, at least for the prosperous people in the more prosperous countries. Hoover Dam killed numerous ecosystems and buried several dozen workers in its big concrete, but has delivered clean electric power in the decades since. No more. Show me a big concrete project, and I’ll show you another tragedy in the making. Distributed energy, on the other hand, has stunning transformative value."hester asked If this whole environment gets demolished, what good is a boat?: "Although people from the gulf, especially fisherman have long had a good relationship with the oil industry, since the Macondo well blew up last April that relationship has begun to shred. People are angry with BP and the government for the lousy clean up operation and the inadequate compensation."
ALifeLessFrightening discussed setting up a regular day for the seriesLiving Simply..
palaverer reread John Bellamy Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: "I considered myself a good, old-fashioned revisionist, anti-Soviet Marxist, and felt that the environmentalist theme running through his--Foster's--work was the sort of forced connection academics often make in order to be able to present the same paper at two different conferences."
beach babe in fl talked about frogs in hot water: "We are Waiting for Godot when in reality This is us. This is on us. No one will rescue us. Our personal addiction to oil in our daily lives, our personal consumption of fossil fuels on every level from the oil we eat to our information technology to our societal mobility are all dependent on oil. We bemoan our participation in wars when in reality it is our personal choice of the resources we use which motivate our government to move to protect our interests so that we can continue to abuse the use of this finite resource."
I discussed why Green public investment should be a key part of America's industrial policy: "The reality is that fully revving up green manufacturing will require many years of public and private investment. And as much as it galls deficit hawks, it will require a great deal more than $90 billion from Washington. The Chinese government is putting $738 billion into green energy alone over the next decade. That's in addition to the vast amounts it's putting into new and rebuilt infrastructure, including modern public transportation."
boatsie discussed the topics at a conference in 2 1/2 planets or 6 billion ways: "Clicktivism and climate change mobilization was a key topic in London yesterday at the third annual 6 Billion Ways - Making another world possible conference, where Bolivia's UN Ambassador Pablo Solon stressed the need for massive social participation within the climate debate. 6 Billion Ways focuses on educating and engaging citizen journalists in colossal civic engagement campaigns, merging motivational cognitive reprogramming with blogs, tweets and film to engage in discourse and exert pressure to effect social change on local and global issues. Yesterday's speakers included Lidy Nacpil, Hilary Wainwright, Samir Amin, Rob Newman, Patrick Bond, Caroline Lucas MP, Omar Barghouti, and Tariq Ramada. The 6BW motto? 'The culture of campaigning has got too comfy. We need to be building movements!'"
Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse tested the waters for a new project, DK4 Groups: Video Response Team: "What if we created a Video Response Team that would be part of our existing DK4 Group of DK Poli. This video response team would debunk a key GOP talking point or meme on any issue. This DK Video Response team would need video editors; editors to write the text for video; people to research data points from credible news stories, studies or science; and people to find copyright ok pictures for the video or to create our own pictures. I think we could do an excellent job. Anyone interested?"
Agriculture, Gardening & Food
blue jersey mom took the substitute's spot for Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 7.3: "I am now starting to plan for the spring and summer. Although I have been gardening since I was in high school, I am still an amateur. I have probably made every mistake in the book. The one thing that I have learned over the years is that planning really helps. I have already put down deer repellent, since the deer around here will eat anything and everything."
In another installment of Macca's Meatless Monday, beach babe in fl went walking to New Orleans: "In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, global food crisis, frugal living, public health and the immense connection between meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion."
NourishingthePlanet gave us the skinny on Healing Hunger: "In this week’s episode, communications association Supriya Kumar discusses GardenAfrica’s program in southern Africa that is helping people living with HIV to combat hunger. In partnership with SA HIV, GardenAfrica has created a hospital community garden where patients learn sustainable farming practices that provide nutritional and medicinal benefits."
And also wrote about Directed Funding to Alleviate Poverty: "For 65 percent of Indians, rice is a staple food. Unfortunately, India’s rice production is declining, partly as a result of climate. Global warming has likely increased the frequency of storms and large rice-production areas are now prone to floods. Although rice thrives in wet conditions, it is unable to survive if the whole plant is completely submerged in water. In response to this problem, the International Research Rice Institute (IRRI), which receives core funding from DFID, has developed scuba rice. This flood resistant rice escapes drowning by extending its leaves and stems beyond the water’s surface. Mini kits that contain five kilogram packets of seed have been distributed to more than 100,000 Indian farmers and the hope is that it will be fully adopted in India within five years."
Climate ChangeFishOutofWater gave us the latest bad news from the Arctic in eSci: Polar Ice Melt Speeds Up, Record Greenland melt in 2010, 1ft sea level rise by 2050: "Ice sheet melting in Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, increasing much faster than predicted by the IPCC, according to NASA scientists. They calculate sea level will rise 1 foot by 2050. Ice sheet melting will be the largest contributor to global sea level rise in this century. One foot may not seem like much but combined with storms, king tides, seasonal effects on sea level, and multidecadal weather pattern oscillations, it could prove very destructive to barrier islands and port facilities in many parts of the world including the United States."
jamess asked Who is this Claude R. Lambe?: "It probably comes as no surprise to you to find out that the Koch Brothers have a vested-interest in opposing meaningful Climate Change legislation -- But did you know that the energy-barron Koch Industries has some big-time help in their mis-information efforts, from a little known guy, by the name of: Claude R. Lambe ... say, Who? $24,000,000 Big! ... according to Greenpeace: Claude R. Lambe Foundation. The Claude R. Lambe Foundation is the dominant financier of organizations taking a more visible, active role in day-to-day efforts to oppose clean energy and climate policy. The Foundation contributed $11.7 million to climate opposition groups since 2005."
Steven D asked people, If you had cancer would you ignore it?: "On Thursday, the House is set to vote on a bill to cut the EPA's budget by 30% (including investments in green technology research and development) and strip the agency of the right to issue regulations to control greenhouse gas emissions from factories, utilities and automobiles. Today, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee held hearings requested by the Democratic minority to once again examine the science behind climate change and why stripping the EPA of the power to regulate carbon emissions is tantamount to ignoring a potentially fatal disease, or as Henry Waxman, put it: 'If my doctor told me I had cancer, I wouldn't scour the country to find someone to tell me that I don't need to worry about it,' Henry Waxman, told the hearing of the energy and commerce committee.' Most of us don't substitute our own judgment for that of experts when it comes to medicine, nuclear engineering, building bridges or designing computer security.'"
wade norris offered an out-on-the-edge theory in Earthquakes and Climate Change: "The latest scientific discipline to enter the fray over global warming is geology. And the forecasts from some quarters are dramatic—not only will the earth shake, it will spit fire. A number of geologists say glacial melting due to climate change will unleash pent-up pressures in the Earth's crust, causing extreme geological events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. A cubic metre of ice weighs nearly a tonne and some glaciers are more than a kilometre thick. When the weight is removed through melting, the suppressed strains and stresses of the underlying rock come to life."
Gallatin complained about Obama admin attacks national forests, wildlife: "At least Reagan/Bush/Huckabee stab me from the front."
Save Ohio Now took on a local Congressman in Guys, How About a Global Warming Three Way?: "Below follows a jumble of would-be conversational excerpts from a March 5th New York Times Editorial, On Climate, Who Needs the Facts?, an actual email from Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and my response to said email. That Portman will never see, much less contemplate, the havoc his environmental degradation wreaks is tragic. But hey, a girl can fantasize."
This President is Dangerous was the view of hamm: "The reviled Bill Clinton did so very much for the environment during his presidency. He gave Al Gore powers that, at the time, were unprecedented. Obama, on the other hand, is giving us one environmental horror after another."
SDstuck saw some potential skullduggery and pondered What Is Really Behind The Wisconsin No bid Power Plant Sell Off?: "What has not been common knowledge is why Walker would want to sell off these state assets, even though speculation has been high that this was a give away to Koch Industries. Walker's predecessor Jim Doyle had approved the conversion of state owned power plants from coal to a combination of natural gas and biomass. There were existing problems with these plants. Their coal emissions were an issue that the Sierra Club and the EPA had both been addressing. Doyle and a U of W program were set to convert these plants. It was seen as a hallmark for the move to green energy and would have paved the way for more states to do the same and as proof to the private sector that these green changes are viable long term options. Excess power would also be sold off into the commercial power grid."
msblucow took on a congressional candidate in CA-36 What You Need To Know About Debra Bowen's Opponent, Janice Hahn, and Big Oil: "On March 8th, Los Angeles voters will have the opportunity to vote on a variety of ballot initiatives, everything from a proposal to tax medical marijuana dispensaries to making adjustments in how public libraries are funded. One of the most popular initiatives - Measure O, a proposal to impose an oil severance tax for oil extracted within the city limits of Los Angeles - was introduced by LA Councilwoman (and current candidate in the CA36 Congressional race) Janice Hahn. The measure is projected to bring in about $4 million in revenues annually. Neighboring cities of Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Long Beach, and Seal Beach already impose a similar tax. Measure O is endorsed by the California Courage Campaign, the LA Conservation Corps, the Sierra Club, and other environmental organizations. Yet a year after Hahn first proposed the idea, she now stands as the only LA City council member in
opposition to the measure."
Joan McCarter noted that Rep. Joe Barton says Exxon couldn't survive without government subsidies: "Government subsidies are necessary to keep Exxon from going out of business. Those government subsidies to keep Exxon in business are more important than funding healthcare, funding education, keeping the lights of government on. Good to know. Repealing these tax credits could save the government—could save the American taxpayer—$46 billion in the next decade. But Joe Barton wants Exxon to be able to screw Americans twice, first at the pump, and then on April 15."
Public Land, Forests & The Great Outdoors
craigkg had two entries in the Park Avenue Daily Kos group series. Things to Know Before You Come to Yosemite National Park: "This is the first in a series of diaries from the Park Avenue Daily Kos group about planning a visit to a National Park. Each week we will be opening up a diary on a specific park chosen the previous week in our Photo Friday open thread. After a short introduction of the park and a few diarist contributed tips, people are invited to contribute their own tips about the park or to ask specific questions about the park they'd like to see answered. Hopefully, with the collective knowledge of DKos community, we can harness the power of crowd sourcing to generate a lasting resource for community members wanting to visit the parks. … The subject of this week's column is Yosemite National Park in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California."
And Park Avenue: Photo Friday & Open Thread "We've just completed the third in our series of user contributed features on the parks. So far, the group has published features on Jackson Hole National Monument, Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine and Capitol Reef National Park. Next week, we'll learn about the Petrified Forest National Park, to be followed the week after by a feature on Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These features are released each Thursday at 11:30 am ET (8:30 am PT)."
Michael Brune announced that Rainforest, USA: "Last week, conservationists won a big victory when a federal judge overturned the Forest Service's exclusion of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska from the Roadless Rule. That means that millions of acres of old-growth trees won't be cut and some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness in America will, for now, stay that way."
Salo discussed the arts and environment in "James Carter" Gallerykit/Solar Powered: "I've been thinking carefully about what the future holds for the luxury economy and the sustainability of the art world. Art is a luxury on one level but also a need and a good. I tend to think that the human species needs to experience 'beauty', and in ideal circumstances also contemplate philosophical, ethical and material questions. In short humans need art. It's a complicated multifaceted experience that is vexing at times, often hypocritical and occasionally--a revelation. So in collaboration with a curator called Dana I designed and built a sustainable Gallerykit that has virtually no overhead to fund and requires virtually no space to stage for the public. It's an experimental model. But so far it has actually worked as planned and has delivered a few surprises that surpassed any expectations."
A Siegel wrote a kind of review, Energy FILMGOER: Bag It! and the DC Environmental Film Festival: "Before turning to a discussion of this (great) film, a short note on the festival. This is the "19th Annual Environmental Film Festival in the nation's capital" and it will bring to the screen some 150 documentaries, animated, archival, children's, etc films between 15 and 27 March. From astoundingly beautiful vistas (how about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (America's Wildest Refuge) to the devastatingly destressing (such as a 40-square mile Superfund site in Oklahoma (Tar Creek)), the DC Environmental Filmfest provides a rich montage across the beauty and pain of 21st century environmentalism."
asterkitty went musical in Indigo Kalliope: Poems from The Left - Gulf Songs: "This week’s theme is dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico, its shoreline and anything attached. The only thing is, everything is attached. Nothing is completely disconnected. The two middle poems were recently put together from notes I wrote months ago. I often refer to my poetry as lyric-poems; lyric poetry according to the basic definition of lyric poetry, as well as poetry that could be construed as song lyrics. Some are structured, and some are not. All have some kind of music to them, but that music is still deep inside my head."