Chances for climate change legislation for the next couple of years are next to nil. Chances for a decent energy bill for the next couple of years are slim to none. But Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who won't seek a sixth term next year, is determined, Elizabeth MacGowan reports, "not to exit Washington empty-handed":
In his usual diplomatic and straightforward fashion, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee joined with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the top Republican on the panel, this week to solicit ideas from one and all about how to fashion a clean energy standard.
"The purpose of this document is to lay out some of the key questions and potential design elements of a CES,"Bingaman and Murkowski wrote, "and to ascertain whether or not consensus can be achieved."
Contributors have until April 11 to submit proposals via forms available on the committee's website.
While purists who don't want Bingaman to stray from his roots of supporting solely a renewable energy standard (RES) are perhaps disappointed, centrists are elated at the opportunity for forward movement this year before the next election season paralyzes policymaking in both the House and the Senate.
The issues involved with a CES are large. If clean coal and natural gas are part of the mix, it will be a tough sell among many environmental advocates. Nuclear may be easier to swallow, because some well-known environmentalists (although no major environmental organizations) have decided it's crucial in any effort to get control over greenhouse gas emissions. Whether environmental advocates consider a CES to be a step in the right direction, even if not a big one, may well depend on whether it would supersede the renewable energy standards already being implemented in 27 states and the District of Columbia. If the final proposal does, we'll likely see an eco-alliance in opposition.
As MacGowan has pointed out in the past, getting united support from environmental organizations would also require that it not be paired with legislation chopping the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases, that the level of renewables in the CES be such that it would generate substantial amounts of growth and jobs, and that it bring rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities on board.
Green Diary Rescue appears every Saturday afternoon. Inclusion of a particular diary does not indicate my agreement with it. The rescue begins below and continues in the jump:
In an on-going series, Phoenix Rising wrote Things to Know Before You Come to Olympic National Park: "The forests and mountains of Olympic National Park in Washington State have been protected in some manner by the Federal government since Grover Cleveland declared much of the region a National Forest Reserve in 1897. Teddy Roosevelt declared a smaller portion of the Reserve as the Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909, and FDR signed the act of Congress declaring Olympic a National Park in 1938. A long 72-mile portion of the Pacific coastline was added to the park in 1953, completing the current boundaries of this remarkably diverse set of ecosystems now recognized as both an International Biosphere Preserve and World Heritage Site. In recognition of the value of the land, in 1988 Congress designated more than 95% of the entire park as protected Wilderness."
HoundDog reported that Markey Calls For Removal Of $36 Billion For Nuclear Industry From Obama's Budget: "Representative Ed Markey, D-MA, called on Congress to reject President Obama's request for $36 billion in loan guarentees for the US nuclear industry in an oversight hearing last week. Markey also said Congress should reject the $36 billion in loan guarantees for more nuclear construction President Obama has asked for in this year's budget, calling them just as 'toxic' as the billions in bailouts the government provided banks amid the economic crisis. If a catastrophic event took place in the U.S. like Japan is experiencing, Markey said, 'industry would be okay, but the taxpayer would end up picking up the tab.'"
Agriculture, Gardening & Food
Food and Water Watch asked Is Washington Gambling on Food and Water Safety?: "…it seems that some overzealous budget hackers on Capitol Hill are trying to cut funds that support critical food and water safety protections, which could seriously threaten public health."
NourishingthePlanet had a pair of diaries: Ethiopian Mustard: Expanding Awareness and Genetic Diversity of a Sweet, Green Veggie: "Ethiopian mustard (also known as Abyssinian mustard) lacks the bitterness of its better known cousin, kale. It’s rich in vitamins C and K, and beta carotene and calcium, as well as cancer-fighting anti-oxidants."
And Preserving Biodiversity, Promoting Local Foods: An Interview with Slow Food USA’s Gordon Jenkins: "Gordon Jenkins is the Network Engagement Manager with Slow Food USA. Gordon joined Slow Food in 2009 to help organize the Time for Lunch campaign. He grew up in Berkeley, CA, eating McDonald’s Happy Meals and boneless skinless chicken breasts. In college, he worked as a student farmer at the Yale Farm, where he began to see food activism as a very local, personal solution to the world’s many crises. He has worked in Alice Waters’Office at Chez Panisse and as Content Coordinator for Slow Food Nation, which took place over Labor Day 2008 in San Francisco."
Lefty Coaster showed us his Spring Garden: My kinetic wind sculpture.
In the latest installment of Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 7.5, Frankenoid wrote: "Denver's had typical March weather this week — minus the snow. We've been fluctuating between sunny warmth, sunny wind, cloudy cool, and cloudy cool wind. And more wind. But no snow. We've had about a half inch of snow this month — average March snowfall for Denver is a foot."
RiaD urged us to Get Growing: Broccoli & Cauliflower: "If you want vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and nutrients as well as delicious flavors and beautiful, eye-catching colors, look no further than the numerous varieties of Broccoli and Cauliflower! These really are 'super-veggies,' packing a healthy punch in every scrumptious bite, offering heavy yields so you'll have plenty of fresh produce for every meal, and proving hardy and versatile enough to satisfy everyone! All Broccoli and Cauliflower are packed with vitamins and nutrients, so when choosing what varieties to grow, you'll base your decision mostly on size and color."
In Macca's Meatless Monday, beach babe in fl graced us with recipes for Ever Present Pasta: "Pasta is one of the most popular foods on the planet. It's easy to see why as it's a delicious foil for the mundane to the exotic flavors available worldwide. It's been around since at least 2000 B.C. when it was just a combination of the most elemental ingredients available; flour and water, and has been essential as a nutritious staple in many cultures."
Just how expensive that pasta (and everything else on the menu may be) was the subject of billlaurelMD's diary, Food Prices May Be Adversely Affected by Climate Anomalies: "Those who know better than we do have been telling us that inflation is under control. Yeah, unless you spend most of your money on food, like the poor in this country do, and the vast majority of people in the Third World do. In the poorer countries of the world, the spikes in food prices (and the economic crisis) have been attributed to increased instability and unrest, including in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, Libya, and many other places we hear much less about in the U.S."
jamess had some good news in Solar Jobs Outlook Looks Strong: "A recent report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 2010 was a banner year for solar in the United States. The total size of the U.S. solar market - which includes rooftop installations, hot water heating and utility scale projects - grew from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion, a 67 percent increase. 'Solar is growing quickly across the U.S. at the residential, commercial, and utility scale levels. It is powering and heating buildings in all 50 states, and using a variety of technologies to do so,' states the executive summary of the report, which is scheduled to be released Thursday. 'The rapid growth and unique diversity has made the U.S. market a focus of global industry attention for the first time in many years.' "
Christian Dem in NC took note that a Stuck pipe in blowout preventer helped cause Oilmageddon: "Earlier today, the official probe into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill issued one of its first extensive reports. According to Det Norske Veritas, the classification society retained by the government, the rig's blowout preventer had serious design flaws that made it possible for a piece of drill pipe to keep it from working properly--and was at the very least a contributing cause to the Oilmageddon disaster."
echo still urged everyone to save money through awareness - home energy use: "I want you to be more aware of your electric devices. It can help you save money. It can help protect you when they install a new smart meter on your home. If they haven't yet then I'm sure they will."
David in Burbank gave us the skinny on an innovation that might let us Power our Homes with the Roads we Drive on: "'The technology, called “piezoelectric generation,"can produce as much as 44 megawatts of electricity per year from one single-lane, one-kilometer stretch of roadway — enough to power 30,800 homes for a year.'"
timmyc for Maryland Kos presented us with FAQ Sheet on Proposed MD Offshore Wind Act: "From the O'Malley's web site on the proposed Offshore Wind bill. I wasn't aware that unlike Europe there are NO working off shore wind farms in the US yet. Lots of good data here, if any of you have other resources do post them in the comments."
Mary Anne Hitt trumpeted Three Major Clean Energy Victories This Month: "While there is much more work to be done to transition from coal to clean energy, this good news bolsters us along the way - as do articles like this one, about green job growth taking hold in my home state of Tennessee."
Lefty Coaster explained that 25 Mayors have spoken out against Keystone Tar Sands Oil Pipeline: "Last week the State Department delayed making a decision of the permit needed to go ahead with the Keystone Pipeline for oil extracted from the Canadian Tar Sands in northern Alberta, to allow more time to do an additional environmental review of the project in a partial victory for pipeline opponents. Yesterday 25 US mayors released a letter calling on Secratary Clinton not to grant the permit because of the excessive amounts of Green House Gasses extracting Tar Sands Oil produces."
RLMiller lamented Obama's massive expansion of coal production: "Buried among all the news regarding nuclear power (Japan) and oil (Libya) Tuesday was an announcement by the Interior Department regarding coal (America): Salazar announces coal lease sales in Wyoming. … First, how big an expansion is this? The four tracts put up for bid represent 7,441 acres containing an estimated 758 million tons of coal. In addition, over the next few months the BLM will auction off another 13,966 acres containing another 1.6 billion tons of coal. Currently, the region has about 12 mines supplying 400 million tons of coal per year."
As did Michael Brune in Big Coal Giveaway: "The new coal will spew nearly 4 billion tons of carbon pollution into our air -- the equivalent of building 300 new coal-fired power plants, or twice the amount of new coal plants proposed by the Bush-Cheney Energy Plan back in 2001. It's not just the global warming pollution that's worrisome. Burning coal produces all kinds of other toxic chemicals linked to serious health problems. In fact, coal pollution contributes to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States, and is responsible for an estimated 300,000 preventable birth defects each year."
Laurence Lewis said It's time to leave nuclear power behind: "Thee real stupidity would be in trusting anything the nuclear industry says or does. With Japan still in crisis, the nuclear industry has been quick to assert that it can't happen here, and that the Japanese plants were old and poorly designed. And never mind that the industry has been extending the lives of and relicensing similar plants here. The industry always tells us their designs are safe. They told us that about the plants now in at least partial meltdown. They tell us that about the similar plants that are being relicensed. They tell us that about new plant designs. Of course, the design of the Japanese reactors had been criticized as potentially dangerous as long ago as 1972. But back then they assured everyone that it was all okay. Now the same industry that assured us that these reactors were all okay wants us to believe that the new reactor designs are all okay. We can trust them, this time."
workingforprogress declared Nuclear is over. The argument is finished.: "Nuclear is too great a risk. The first action is: We must drive supporters of nuclear fuel from every office, including from inside our party, in our legislatures and in every energy organization in the world." And followed up with Not a Moratorium but a Memorial. Nuclear Power, the Failed God, Passes Away.: "We have had a moratorium on building nuclear reactors for twenty five years. We have been very smart refusing the enticements of 'probably safe, under some conditions' for a generation, most readers cannot remember a time when the headlines proclaimed some politician, ignorant of the public's disfavor, announcing the construction of a nuclear reactor in their city or state. Now we have a crisis that once again teaches us the fallacy of this failed religion."
Aranfell had some blame to hand out in The problem with nuclear power... is Fred: "SF-fantasy author Terry Pratchett sometimes mentions in his bios that he's done things that people would find stranger than anything he writes about. Referring to his time doing PR for a nuclear power station, he has said that he would "write a book about his experiences, if he thought anyone would believe it". I was privileged to hear him talk about some of those experiences. The problem with nuclear power, he said, was Fred. Fred was apparently a handyman they had working at one of the nuclear power stations. Suppose, Terry asked us, you were asked to connect three wires for three independent control systems for a nuclear power plant. Would you route them all through the same hole in a parking structure wall, with a sharp metal edge above them in the hole? Fred would. Fred did. And one auto accident caused... well, Terry left that to our imaginations."
On an issue that has long been one of A Siegel's big pushes, he wrote aboutTCO, energy, climate, and the military: framing: "Recognizing our energy and climate challenges helps provide visibility to energy efficiency as a path to address both in a holistic manner. Energy efficiency investments in the built infrastructure can create jobs, reduce homeowner expenses, make homes and offices more comfortable to live in and fosters greater productivity (in schools, offices, manufacturing facilities, etc ...) (e.g., 'improves capability'), while mitigating our (over) reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change. It is, simply, important to step back and not stove-pipe our issues. And, as part of that, we must be careful in how we frame our discussions."
Chip Ward, via TomDispatch, discussed how The Nuclear Myth Melts Down: "When nuclear reactors blow, the first thing that melts down is the truth. Just as in the Chernobyl catastrophe almost 25 years ago when Soviet authorities denied the extent of radiation and downplayed the dire situation that was spiraling out of control, Japanese authorities spent the first week of the Fukushima crisis issuing conflicting and confusing reports. We were told that radiation levels were up, then down, then up, but nobody aside from those Japanese bureaucrats could verify the levels and few trusted their accuracy. The situation is under control, they told us, but workers are being evacuated. There is no danger of contamination, but stay inside and seal your doors. "
Is Natural Gas Better Than Nuclear? Um, Not Really answered Something the Dog Said: "Which leaves us with the last bad solution in the traditional power generation tool box, natural gas. This form of fossil fuel was already getting a bit of a face lift in that it does burn cleaner than coal, though not completely clean in carbon terms, and there are a lot of new reserves of it right here in the United States. So, the next thing you are likely to hear is that natural gas is the next big thing! Like Orwellianly named 'Clean Coal' and supposedly accident proof oil drilling and nuclear power, this is still a bad choice that is likely to be pushed instead of working on renewable alternative energy. "
In Going Green, LaFeminista wondered rhetorically What harm can it do?: "The right are now hailing a 'fossil fuel renaissance' as something positive, so: 1] Lets create a wasteland by strip mining for tar sands and shales. 2] Lets rip whole mountains apart for coal. 3] Lets pollute our fresh water supplies with hydraulic fracking. 4] Lets drill anywhere we can place a rig and the risks can go hang. 5] Lets throw trillions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air and see what happens. 6] Lets keep dumping our waste into the seas, rivers and land and see what nature can absorb. Or: Find another way of doing business and stop this short-sighted madness"
JeffLieber reduxed his hilarious Massive Windspill Reported In Southern California: "m-- I'm so sorry if this is disjointed (WHOOOSH) or confusing (WHOOSH), but-- I find myself the middle of a disaster of unprecedented proportions (WHOOOSH) and -- oh the humanity -- I'm having a hard time understanding how we progressives (WHOOOSH) (WHOOOSH) could ever let this happen!? You see, I live in Southern California... just north of the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm... and this morning a gang of lipstick lesbians lost control of their motorcycles and CRASHED into one of the turbines and now... THERE IS (WHOOOSH) FUCKING WIND (WHOOOSH) EVERYWHERE!!!!"
And that sparked Troubadour to point out another disaster in SoCal Windspill Sparks Huge Solar Radiation Leaks: "Intrepid Kossack Jeff Lieber has been reporting live on the scene of a massive windspill in Southern California, where failed wind turbines are causing widespread panic. Now, reports are coming in that the windspill has sparked a potentially catastrophic leak of solar radiation from solar power fields in the Mojave desert, leaving the shelves of local convenience stores barren of sunblock and floppy hats. I take you live to the devastation."
Riffing off Jeff Lieber and Troubadour, RumsfeldResignAfter Wind & Solar disasters Millions learn new energy source: "After recent wind spills and major solar energy leaks million all over the world have discovered a new energy source.Their feet. This new source of energy may lead to a new form of transportation called 'walking.'"
gmoke reviewed Seesaw Coverage of Nuclear Power: "Today was the last seminar in a series on clean energy and the media at Harvard's Kennedy School. The subject, scheduled months ago, was 'The Seesaw Coverage of Nuclear Power' with Matt Wald, NYTimes, Ned Potter, ABC News, and Matt Bunn, Harvard. My rough notes follow."
In a condensed history lesson bsovacool wrote A commentary on nuclear power accidents: "I’m happy to provide that data here, as well as a few important clarifications. First is that by 'accidents' I’m talking only about the onsite impacts of a particular energy system. Thus all of the things that occur outside of the facility, such as acid rain or climate change, aren’t included. Second is that the table of nuclear accidents below excludes the recent events in Japan, and it also counts an 'accident' differently than the nuclear industry."
Ysabet looked at Nuclear For the Novice.
Public Land, Forests & The Great Outdoors
Having some good things to say about the Obama administration, Michael Brune started back more than a century with another presidency in Rebooting America's Outdoors: "It's a famous photo: President Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir are posed together on the overlook at Glacier Point in 1903. Roosevelt stares directly at the camera, looking like he wants to bust a bronco and play a polo match at the same time. Muir, dressed like a well-heeled hobo, gazes off toward the mountains. It was during this three-night camping trip in Yosemite that Muir persuaded Roosevelt that his beloved Yosemite should be a national park -- protected and managed by the federal government for all Americans. It's too bad we don't still lobby presidents that way because the results were stupendous. By the time Roosevelt left office six years later, he'd helped create 150 national forests, five national parks, and 18 national monuments -- an unparalleled legacy of lands protection for an American president. And for the next hundred years, that legacy served us well. Now, though, it's time for an update, and that's exactly what the Obama administration has been working on for most of the past year. The interagency initiative is called 'America's Great Outdoors,' and the first published report on their work is subtitled: 'A Promise to Future Generations.'"
On a biking weekend, Vorkosigan regaled us with his trip in the Magical Mountains of Pingtung, Part 1: "Last week I get an email from someone representing the county government of Pingtung in Taiwan, where I am a fairly well known blogger. Would I like to participate in a blogger activity — travel in Pingtung County, stay there as a guest of the local government for 15 days, and blog on my experiences? For bucks? I couldn't say yes fast enough. Sounded like heaven. Read on for my first few days of adventuring in Pingtung county. "
Green Policy, Green Philosophy & Green Activism
DemFromCT looked at why so many people don't trust the nuclear industry in Japan, nuclear industry and risk communication: unfinished business: "I don't intend to overplay the event (no need for that, the facts speak for themselves) and I don't intend to write about the technical issues involved with Japan's nuclear crisis, but I can't help but think that the combination of the potential seriousness of the Fukushima Daiichi reactor problem coupled with Japan's past history along with a lack of transparency in the nuclear industry worldwide has lead to a great deal of public skepticism, and not just in the US."
Conservation, design of buildings, and eco-cities were on citisven's mind in "Nuclear? What nuclear?"Richard Register on why we don't need all that power in the first place: "The whole fight about which energy source is the meanest, leanest and cleanest is like we're all standing around that bucket with our big hoses, shooting more water at the rapidly draining vortex, and the more freaked out we get because nothing seems to stop the leak, the more we point those hoses at each other, out of frustration. Meanwhile, the floor is soaking wet, the whole building is getting moldy, and we're all catching pneumonia. The question thus arises: What if we started putting just a bit more of our passion, ideas and ingenuity into fixing the bucket? That is exactly what Richard Register, ecocity pioneer, visionary artist, and founder and President of Ecocity Builders, has been doing for nearly 40 years. Rather than using that big homo sapiens noggin to figure out new ways to extract more energy out of our ailing planet to fuel endless urban sprawl and unsustainable city design, he's been drawing up and testing out plans for reshaping our city landscapes in sync with the natural rhythms of nature."
He also wrote Leading German climate scientist on Fukushima: "a new basis of our coexistence is needed": "In a just published interview under the title 'We Are Looting the Past and Future to Feed the Present' with German news magazine Der Spiegel, leading German climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber puts the kibosh on the false choice between nuclear power and fossil fuels. Discussing the German government's plans to temporarily shut down seven nuclear power plants, he uses the opportunity to address the underlying fallacy in most of our energy discussions: 'The entire affluence-based economic model of the postwar era, be it in Japan or here in Germany, is based on the idea that cheap energy and rising material consumption are supposed to make us happier and happier. This is why nuclear power plants are now being built in areas that are highly active geologically, and why we consume as much oil in one year as was created in 5.3 million years. We are looting both the past and the future to feed the excess of the present. It's the dictatorship of the here and now.'"
Paul Deaton looked at some of the details of what Leaving Nuclear Power Behind might be like: "We use about 20 kilowatt hours of electricity each day in our home and there must be a way to reduce the amount of electricity purchased from the grid, and generate some or all of our own. This may be the better pursuit than public discourse over whether or not to build new nuclear reactors in the United States. It is a pursuit corporations and electric utilities are sure to hate. "
A Siegel whetted the energy geek's appetite with some capsule reviews in Energy BOOKSHELF: "Crossing the Energy Divide"from inanity to sanity: "With Crossing the Energy Divide, Moving from Fossil Fuel Dependence to a Clean-Energy Future, Robert Ayres and Edward Ayres provide a structural approach toward bridging the divide between inane and sane. Key to their bridging strategy that enables us to thrive (or, well, at least survive) amid Peak Oil challenges as alternative (cleaner) options ramp up in scale: attacking the inefficiencies in the U.S. energy system. The Ayres assess, with a good deal of validity, that it would be possible to raise energy efficiency in the economy from 13 to 20 percent (a 50 percent improvement) over the coming decade."
Magnifico wrote "I got involved with this environmental stuff": "Corporations downplay or lie about the environmental risks and consequences of their plans and products. They spend big money on buying the media narrative and politicians to warp the public's perspective on environmental impacts of their business plans. Legislation or regulations that try to curb or limit pollution are actively campaigned against and thwarted by corporate lobbyists, or sabotaged by corporate-controlled members of Congress."
Benjaminwise wrote a follow-up to his previous diary, Republicans Still Targeting CEQA?.
Verbalpaintball did some good splattering in I Know You're Scared, Conservatives, But Radiation Isn't Really Good For You: "To the republicans and conservatives who listen to exchanges like the one between O'Reilly and Coulter: This is how you get duped. This is the moment they create a "gray area"so you can consider the possibility that everything you know may be false. I know. You're scared. "
Steven D discussed another anomaly in Climate Change and Record Winter Wildfires: "Winter is not normally thought of as wildfire season. We normally think of wildfires occurring in summer or early fall after hot temperatures and lack of rain make many parts of the the western US a tinderbox. Yet, inexplicably, wildfires are raging outside Golden Colorado, the headquarters of Coors Beer, and a city about five miles from where I grew up in a western suburb of Denver. Wildfires. In March. "
In a diary on National Security and Climate Change jamess wondered When were they going to Tell Us?: "It's heart-warming to know Military Planners are busily drawing up their Contingency Plans, to deal the all the 'fallout' expected, from Climate Change, as it continues its 'relentless march,' into the next few decades. It would have been nice, if those Planners had let the rest of us, in on this growing National Security threat – after all, perhaps the Nation could have borrowed their 'sense of Urgency' — to kick our butts to finally form a Renewable National Energy Policy."
jimcbq alerted us to the NC Lawmaker Who Wants a Kindler, Gentler Environmental Agency: "The Senate is considering two bills that would move divisions of DENR - forestry and soil and water conservation - to the state Department of Agriculture. That agency is controlled by Republican Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler."
lineatus was out in the early morning lifght for another Dawn Chorus: Dreaming of Better Days: "Spring is time to sing, and the nice green vegetation provides fabulous contrast for bright red epaulets. Show off that breeding finery!"
gulfgal98 had A Remarkable Florida Wildlife Sighting: "I was about halfway between Haines City and Dundee, when suddenly a large cat, a very long, low cat, ran across six lanes of traffic from east to west right in front of my car and several other cars. When I say large, I am talking about five feet long with a tail equally as long as its body. It was a beautiful buff color with short ears and a very long tail. I thought that the only thing it could be was a Florida panther. The animal I saw did not have a radio tracking collar on it."
Ellinorianne wondered why the "Investigation Of Dolphin Deaths In Gulf Kept Confidential By U.S. Government: "But what is killing the dolphins? That's all people want to know and right now, the US Government doesn't want that information released because it may compromise their case against BP."
DWG told the story of Endangered penguins being threatened by oil spill: "Another story filled with stupid human tricks. A freighter has run aground and broken apart on Nightengale Island in the South Atlantic, spilling 16,000 tons of fuel oil in the waters. The oil slick has surrounded the island, threatening the population of endangered Northern Rockhopper penguins. An estimated 20,000 appear to have been 'oiled' and more are at risk as oil continues to spill from the freighter."
Laughing Planet also wrote about the spill in Safety First? Endangered Penguins Last.: "The real rats are the people who continue to profit from destroying our planet, and the sick, twisted politicians who pander to them."
And he noted that one dead polar bear is sad but wondered about the rest in Knut "The Cute" has died. How long for his brethren?: "The polar bear is facing near-certain extinction this century without swift and dramatic action to curb and reverse climate change. And yet, they are not even listed as endangered. Under Dubya, the EPA finally listed them under the Endangered Species Act, but most agree the move is too little, too late."
Julie Waters explained how to Know your hawks: sharp-shinned vs. coopers: "This is a side by side picture of two very common hawks that can be seen, at various times, throughout the entire United States:
BruceMcF looked behind the scenes in Sunday Train: NYT taking Koch Bros. dictation on Florida High Speed Rail: "Suppose that you wanted to inject a framing into a purely political strategy which also happened to involve sabotaging the future of the nation's economy? 'We sabotaged the future economy' would be a bad talking point there. 'The project we sabotaged was not justifiable on its merits, and was only pursued for purely political reasons.' Aha, much better: the benefit of this framing is when someone points out that the cancellation was purely political, now you have charges of pure politics going in both directions, making it sound 'controversial,' which in itself makes it sound risky to support spending billions on a useful piece of infrastructure. And where better to inject this framing than the pages of the New York Time or the Washington Post? Well, this time it was the Times taking dictation and not bothering to report the whole story. NYT new slogan, it seems, should be 'All the news that can fit the Village Frame'."
Oceans, Wetlands, Water
NourishingthePlanet showed us a video of how people are Using Tradition to Address Water Scarcity:
Gulf Watchers #490 by peraspera: Recent Gulf Spill Culprit Found - BP Catastrophe.
Gulf Watchers #491 by Lorinda Pike: Skewed Pipe Faulted in Spill - BP Catastrophe: "Blowout preventer thought to be 'fail-safe' wasn't. Bob Cavnar says redesign of blowout preventer is a necessity. Chevron to drill wildcat well in Gulf. Deal between BP and Rosneft is blocked. Money changes hands between oil producers and Libya? "
In the Daily Bucket series Mark Sumner offered several entries, including Take a Hike!: "I mean it. How about a hike? I'm proposing this coming Saturday (March 26) as the date for the first Daily Kos Day Hike. Your journey doesn't have to be long. For myself I'm planning a trip to Mastodon State Historical Site where I'll wander up the Limestone Hill Trail, a distance of only about 3.1 miles. To the embarrasment of my family, I'll likely wear a full 50+ pound pack on my back while doing this little day hike, because there's no time like the present to get your shoulders, feet, and gear ready for longer hikes in the next few weeks."
And So I Was Wrong Edition: "So, remember a few days ago when I bid an unfond farewell to the messy end of winter? Boy, was I an idiot."
And Houston, we have crocussed: "Sneaky flowers. I watch them day after day after day, and nothing. Then I have to be away for a couple of days, and come home to find they've bloomed while I wasn't looking. I'm sure they did it for no other reason than to confound my attempts to accurately record their activity, but in any case I'm putting down 20 Mar 2011 as "first bloom"for both my daffodils and crocuses."
enhydra lutris joined in as well with this: "My title implies that it is pounding rain here, but where the hell is here? The what is a bit useless without the where. In this case, the entire greater San Francisco Bay Area, or more specifically, the Hayward/Castro Valley area. It has been pounding for a while now, since yesterday, with temps in the forties (46 right now)."
And this: "Here in Castro Valley, it is all of 55 degrees, but it isn't raining, though they say it will re-start soon and continue all week."
rktect looked at a broad range of problems in Women and Children first, Stay Calm, Don't Panic, God bless America: "Beyond the headlines of the moment there are some seriously disturbing trends that I like to just go back and check on every once in a while. The synergy of running off the cliff of peak oil, climate change, global warming, resource wars, crumbling urban infrastructure, and no real progress on jobs, healthcare, human and civil rights, government transparency, is giving me a serious case of outrage fatigue."
RH Reality Check denounced a process that really is a "process" in A Chemical Blowout: Frizz, Formaldehyde and Infertility: "I’m talking about the Brazilian Blowout (also known as Keratin Treatment), a salon procedure that claims to 'improve the health and condition of the hair,' 'eliminate frizz,' and 'smooth the cuticle.' These are tantalizing promises to a curly-haired woman like me. Between my Irish ringlets and Puerto Rican kink (thanks, Mom and Dad!) my hair can be a handful—and the swampy, sticky DC summers don’t help. Neither do the countless women’s magazines, ugly duckling movies, and makeover TV shows that portray hair like mine as a problem, a 'before' picture in desperate need of a stick-straight 'after.' So, when I see photos of Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, and Nicole Richie rocking smooth, shiny locks, I hear the siren call of hassle-free hair and think, 'Why not?' "
Hlinko had some harsh words for the execrable Ann Coulter in "Go Fukushima Yourself": "In the middle of a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant in Japan, one with potentially catastrophic consequences, one where unbelievably brave workers are trying to prevent an even greater disaster...she is chirping happily about the sunny side of radiation exposure. "
TomDispatch was not soothed by evaluating The Worst That Could Happen: "In one of my most personal pieces, I begin my latest TomDispatch by invoking the post-apocalyptic fiction of my childhood, those “irradiated zones"filled with mutants that were such a part of my growing up years (in the 1950s and 1960s) -- and the nuclear apocalyptic imagination that went with them. I focus on that strange universe of pulp fiction and cheesy films about mutant monsters, as well as the actual “duck and cover"world I experienced as a way of exploring what’s missing from the coverage of the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima. "
Hanging Up My Tusks discussed Spinning Radiation Exposure 101: "Yesterday a far-right friend (yeah, I know it's oxymoronic) sent me a link to an article in Scientific American regarding unwarranted fear of radiation exposure. I was very interested in the author's viewpoint because I am a thyroid cancer survivor. "
GreyHawk wrote about Another, Older Mess: Hanford Nuclear Reservation: "Fifty-two buildings at Hanford are contaminated, and 240 square miles are uninhabitable due to the radioactivity that has seeped into the soil and ground water: uranium, cesium, strontium, plutonium and other deadly radionuclides. Altogether, more than 204,000 cubic meters of highly radioactive waste remain on site -- two-thirds of the total for the entire US.
In one area, discharges of more than 216 million liters of radioactive, liquid waste and cooling water have flowed out of leaky tanks. More than 100,000 spent fuel rods -- 2,300 tons of them -- still sit in leaky basins close to the Columbia River.
peraspera for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: Mothership #8: japan nuclear disaster (all workers evacuated).
boatsie for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: Mothership 9: Japan Nuclear Disaster: #1 reactor temp rises.
boatsie for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: MotherShip 10: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
boatsie for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: BREAKING NEWS: Japan Nuclear Disaster NOW LEVEL 6: MotherShip #11.
rb137 for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: Japan Nuclear Disaster Mothership #12.a
Drewid for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 19: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
peraspera for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 20: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
Drewid for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 21: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
boatsie for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 22: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
middleagedhousewife for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 23: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
Drewid for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 24: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
Drewid for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs : ROV 25: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
Drewid for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: ROV 26: Japan Nuclear Disaster.
middleagedhousewife for Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs: Daiichi Database: "This diary has been set up as a repository for easily accessible temperature, pressure etc readings and information over time at the Daiichi nuclear power plant. If you have such data, please feel free to store it here for all to be able to access and reference."
kbman: Fukushima Status Update Tuesday PM - MAJOR UPDATE 2AM: "Late reports from Monday have confirmed that the new off-site power line has been successfully connected to all of the 6 reactors at the site. And in what must be a morale boost for workers there, the lights were finally back on in the control room of unit 3. The task now is confirm the physical status of various pieces of equipment at each plant."
kbman: Fukushima Status Update Summary 3/24 UPDATED, (Fuel Pool 4 temp 100 C?): "The report of power being connected to all six units was accurate but comes with a caveat. According to the IAEA site, the connection to unit 3 was only run to the control room initially. No power was connected to the various control systems of the plant. I've seen no update on this status. I've also not seen the reason for this delay reported as of yet."
kbman: Fukushima Status Update 3/25: "It is now clear that water from the unit 3 reactor vessel is escaping from the system. The water which caused radiation burns to the feet of three workers at the plant yesterday contains very short-lived isotopes which are produced in the reactor. This rules out the leaking fuel pool as the source, or at least sole source, of this water. "
rb137: Breaking: Officials fear radiation leaking from core.: "Officials are preparing for the dire possibilty that the reactor core infrastructure was damaged. In any case, the numbers look really bad. These are blisteringly hot isotopes at very high levels. This isn't optimistic news."
skywriter: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists III.
Deep Harm: Nuclear power shows its ugly face: "Here in the U.S., the government officials have increasingly hidden emergency preparedness activities, including evaluations of nuclear power plant exercises, behind a veil of secrecy. We are told this is necessary to protect the public from terrorists. But, in Japan, despite a system even more opaque than ours, the terrorists slipped through, anyway. We are becoming familiar with their names: iodine-131, cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239."
FishOutofWater: Nuke Workers Rush to Gain Control as Winds Shift Towards Tokyo: "Persistent offshore winds have aided the heroic efforts of nuclear workers to protect Japan from radiation exposure. For the past week, except for a very brief period when Tokyo measured elevated radiation levels, winds have been blowing radioactive particles out to sea. Because of the favorable winds, most of Japan, except for the area in the immediate vicinity of the stricken power plants, has observed radiation levels close to background levels. However, the winds are quickly changing now. Radiation will soon blow towards Tokyo."
Into The Woods: Fukushima Fuel Storage - How Much Was There? How Much Should Have Been?: "At some point, failure to provide accurate, detailed, current and definitive information about this issue will start people to wondering whether there is some reason that those details are being withheld or obscured. Until we get those numbers, we'll just have to keep muddling through on our own."
akmk: Tokyo Water "Unsafe for Children": "A water treatment center in central Tokyo that supplies much of the city's tap water found that some water contained 210 becquerels per liter of iodine 131. A city official said: 'Under government guidelines, water containing a radioactive substance of more than 100 becquerels per kilogramme should not be used for milk for babies…'"
nathguy: Fukushima Status Update: "Everything that is happening is kind of like the Bozo the Clown Show now. Only every time a plate falls, some more radiation is spilled."
HoundDog: Evidence of Lack of Complete Candor From Japan Emerges: "Here I want to highlight our attention on the importance of immediate, and complete disclosure of all known data about crises of this sort to maintain the credibility of the government, international organizations, and especially Tepco, the owner and operating utility. TEPCO has an absolutely dreadful reputation, for withholding important information, not only from the people, but also the government of Japan."
Shaviv: Radiation: "I don't think that word means what you think it means.": "The problem is, when the word "radiation"is used like this (as it is, colloquially and in news reporting) it interferes with understanding of what is going on inside the power station. So radiation is being released - but that doesn't tell us the danger, that doesn't tell us what's causing the problem, that doesn't tell us how far away people should be before they feel safe."
Rei: Why Japan Cannot Use The US's Fukushima Evacuation Zone: "Basically, Japan essentially can't afford to evacuate people within the 50-mile exclusion recommended by US nuclear scientists. It doesn't matter that the furthest of those major cities (Fukushima-shi) was, as of yesterday, at nearly 100 times their normal background radiation. And that unlike most background radiation, the source of this radiation is inhaleable/ingestable particulate matter (internal exposure is orders of magnitude worse than external exposure in terms of health consequences)."
freshrant: A MOX On All Your Houses: On Blowing Smoke, A Breach and Admission Creep at Fukushima's Reactor #3: "While “unidentified"smoke continued to spew from reactor #3 for days after its massive March 14 explosion, up until now the media have failed to report on reactor #3 and it's ultra toxic nature. The unit 3 reactor is the only one at Fukushima fueled by a plutonium-enriched composition called MOX, 2 million times more toxic than the uranium rods that fuel the plant's other reactors.Today the silence will be broken if the reported breach of the reactor's containment vessel is correct."
jamess: Reactor Three -- Nobody could have foreseen ... the Dangers: "Well since the one in six chance appears to HAVE happened, What exactly is this mixture of uranium and plutonium anyways?"
nathguy: Fukushima Status in Pictures.
Ryepower12: A Picture Speaks: Nuclear Disaster in Boston?: "The U.S. happens to have many aging nuclear plants within short ranges of major metro areas and major fault lines -- and a few that fall within both. One of them just so happens to be firmly planted within range of making the entire metro Boston region, and my backyard, potentially uninhabitable: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. "