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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.

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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:

Trillium Portrait
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."

Eclectablog alerted us to the Hiding of bucolic animal slaughterhouses: "Americans have come to learn in recent years that factory farming, particularly of livestock and poultry, is a gruesome, animal-torturing enterprise. When the cubic footage of a chicken's cage is scientifically calculated to maximize egg production, you can damn well be certain that the chicken's level of agony is not going to factor into that particular equation. "

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."
pasta Pictures, Images and Photos 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."

Energy

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. "

On the trail of John Muir, Scott in NAZ took us into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: "In 1993, I drove the scenic roads through Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in the Sierra Nevada of California.  The mountains were just gorgeous.  I hugged a sequoia, the largest tree in the world, and enjoyed a beautiful night of camping.   For a kid from Dallas, it was exciting stuff, and I left thinking I'd seen everything.  Boy, was I wrong. Only 10% of national park visitors venture more than a mile from their cars.  In some parks, you can see a lot from the road.  But other parks, like Sequoia and Kings Canyon, take more effort to fully experience."

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. "
Climate Change

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."

Green Regulation

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."

Animals

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!"
rwbl_6082

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:

One is a Cooper's Hawk, the other a Sharp-Shinned. … A friend of mine often says to think of the sharp-shinned as a track-star and the coopers as a football player: one's sleeker than the other, and the "shoulders"tend to be less broad.  This is accurate in flight, but not as useful when the birds are stationary.  Furthermore, in the wintertime, birds often fluff themselves up (they can use their feathers to make pockets of heat) to keep warm, making comparisons of this nature complicated, though they do tend to work in flight."

Transportation

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:

Round-ups, Wrap-ups, Live Blogs & Summaries

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? "

GreyHawk: The World of Tomorrow - Today! Technological Innovations In Green Design.

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."

And Daily Kos Day Hike Day!

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."

Et Cetera

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.

Fukushima Nukes

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

mahakali overdrive: Japan Nuclear Disaster Mothership #13: Japan Criticizes TEPCO, Calls for Transparency.

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…'"

dollparty: Potassium iodide pills 4 radiation exposure: MD advice..

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.

Roger Fox: New electric cable connected to control room of Fukushima reactor #2.

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. "

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by oo, J Town, DK GreenRoots, and Japan Nuclear Incident Liveblogs.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I also wrote on the impact of climate change (11+ / 0-)

    Join/follow Climate Hawks and Public Lands; @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:08:15 PM PDT

  •  Great roundup Meteor Blades (13+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    Lets hope this happens:

    Oilsands to be black-listed by the EU?

    European Union governments may begin talks in the coming months on a proposal to promote greener fuels, potentially black-listing fuels whose production is more polluting, according to Europe’s climate chief.

    EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said default emission values for fuel derived from tar sands and oil shale — widespread in Canada and Estonia — will be peer reviewed and included in the proposal.


    The European Commission initially proposed last year that tar sands be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per megajoule of fuel — making clear to buyers that it had far greater environmental impact than average crude oil at 87.1 grams.

    But the European Union later appeared to back down on the issue, putting commerce ahead of a strategy to curb greenhouse gases from transport fuels by 6 percent this decade.

    The inclusion of default values for shale oil — whose use EU member state Estonia has been promoting — may help to head off any complaint by Canada to the World Trade Organization that the green fuel norms discriminate against it.

    Boy do I  hate the W.T.O.

    "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children"

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:10:51 PM PDT

    •  While we're at taking the money from nuclear; (7+ / 0-)

      let's end the tax subsidies for the oil companies.  Both industries can stand on their own.

      •  Yes they can. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, peraspera, Lefty Coaster

        And, they should.

        Exactly correct, Phil.

        •  Did President Obama say that the oil (0+ / 0-)

          industry subsidies were around $30 to $35 billion?

          And, this new proposed subsidy for the nuclear industry is $36 billion?

          Aren't the Republicans demanding $80 billion dollars of cuts from the budget this year,  all from much needed social programs, Medicare, and Social Security?

          BTW my understanding is that the Social Security Trust Fund is completely independent from the Federal Budget we should be talking about now, and is fully funded through the mid 2030s.  

          But, how about we do a little bargaining?  OK, GOP let's chop out this $70 billion from oil and nuclear subsidies, and leave Social Security, Medicare, and our much needed social programs alone this year!

          Oh, here's another $10 billion from shutting down as many bases in Europe as we need.

          Let's declare WWII over.  Bringing home 95% of our NATO troops and equipment, is about $100 to $150 billion I believe.

          I also learned we are keeping 15,000 troops in Japan, and the local residents around these bases are protesting and don't want them there.  Let's bring them home.  

          Does anyone really believe the Japanese are going to attack China, and southeast asia?  This is an insult to the Japanese and German people 3 generations later.

          BTW, someone pointed out that the amount of lost revenue from the tax cuts for the richest 2% equal about $80 billion this year -- about the same the GOP is asking us to reduce social programs.

          Coincidence?  I think not.   This has been their strategy since Ronald Reagon.

          Eliminate the tax cut, for the rich, close loopholes that allow our corporation to actually pay the lowest rates in the industrialized world, all the while their propoganda is the our rates are the highest.  But, with loopholes not corp pays these rate.

          Take $200 billion a year, out of the Pentagon.  We can choose do we want to spend $200 billion a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, or keep NATO?  But we're bringing Defense Spending down, to Clinton era percentages of GDP or lower.   We spend more on defense then the next 42 nations combined.

          Then let's spend $200 billion a year on a massive energy-economy-jobs revitalization of our electrical grids, energy production, and other infrastructure, until we get the job done.

          Hey, I wouldn''t mind if you all changed every single detail here, my main point is that until a great many of us start talking about the big picture, whole system, complete life-cycle level of analysis with greater than this facility and accuracy, we haven't got a chance.

          Republicans are running us around in circles, cutting taxes one year to create a crisis then insisting we make it up in Social Security the next.

          We could shut every library, bus service for the disabled, and every other compassionate and wise part of our discretionary budget and we will not equal a fraction of the amounts imbalanced by Bush's defense expansion and tax cuts.

          Instead of OK Democrats would you rather take $80 billion a year from Social Security, or the state Medicate financing we need to accomplish our health care law?  We should say, take it out of defense, and restore sensibhle and fair tax levels that we proved can work in the Clinton era.

          Are there any traditional Democrats here who want to fight for the working and middle classes?   A comprohensive 50 year plan to convert our energy production to the Scientific American goal they have by 2030 would add an enormous number of high quality green jobs that would give our children some hope of a future not working part time at MacDonalds, and living with 5 our their friends or parents to get by.  

          We need a vision like this that is sceintifically sound, and then just keep repeating it over and over, every time the oil and nuclear lobbyists say we must give them $80 billion a year subsidies on top of everything else they've already got from the Federal goverment.  

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:13:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you're half right (0+ / 0-)

          They both should stand on their own.

          But they can't. Without their insurance waivers and subsidies, they would be utterly incapable of surviving in the market.

  •  These roundups are greatly appreciated. Even with (13+ / 0-)

    tags and groups it is so easy during the week to miss great diaries.

    Thanks, MB.

    It's your victories that give you your confidence but it's your setbacks that give you your character. -Van Jones

    by Oke on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:14:08 PM PDT

  •  Hmm. Solar jobs growing, a (D) rec'ing (9+ / 0-)

    the 36 billion the WH wants for nuke be rejected...

    Barry Commoner campaigned decades ago on "As President I would order solar put on every Federal building." That would, a) bring the cost per unit/return on investment time down to the reach of the average homeowner, b) stimulate jobs and industry, c) establish ubiquity and everyone would see it really can be done, and d) encourage innovation.

    True then, just as true now.

    Today's tech is even better, for solar and all renewables, than it was then. Still sounds like a good plan to me. Take some of the budget for the Department of Senseless Provocations, or Dept. of Homeland Naked Pictures, for real national security purposes, if need be.


    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:15:56 PM PDT

    •  Can't understand why every newly constructed (5+ / 0-)

      local, state, and federal building can't have solar?   Just stupid not to do it.

      •  Currently, it's not 100% (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        Actually, it's extremely expensive to install solar...and, it's not yet 100% viable in all areas because of cloud cover.

        It's progressing...just not quite there yet.

        •  But, if we put in even a fraction of subsidies (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera, jamess, Jim P

          for solar we've put into nuclear, we'd be much further along.

          Also, please remember the price you see in the market, and on the cute Exxon, cost comparisions for electrical generation usually contain a serious methodological flow.

          They represent the profitability or cost for a nuclear plant operator, to produce energy, not the true cost to society.

          The cost of manageing waste, the cost/risk of terrorism, of an accident, etc, are not adequately represented.

          The Price Anderson Act, has limited indusry liability in the case of an accident.  

          The 1997 Brookhaven National Labs, report for the NRC estimated the cost of a worst case accident at one of the 103 US nuclear plants, or, associated spent fuel cooling ponds which are not in the containment domes.

          I've heard three reputable US energy experts quote significantly different numbers for the financial cost of such an accident, but they range up to $700 billion dollars, in current dollars according to Arjin Mmakhijani, of the Institute for Energy and Evironmental Studies.  

          And could cause up to 10,000 excess deaths, and leave a significant area uninhabitable.  

          Robert Avarez says this report assert 200 square miles, which is consistent with the Chenonbyl accident, and Greghawk's excellent diary, which is up right now about the Hanford Washington waste (which is primarily due to weapons tech, I think.)

          Regardless of the numbers the cost to the society will be significantly larger than to the industry.

          So we need to take this into account when saying solar is not competitive.

          Solar's costs curves are coming down, and nuclear's are going up, but already heavily subsidized.

           

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:44:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Correction, my second paragraph should (0+ / 0-)

            say "methodological flaw."  

            Although, I like the idea of a "methodological flow."   Maybe I just invented something important here.  I better call my patent attorney right away.

            If I were Dean of a University, this is what I'd say, anytime I'd see the tenured faculty standing around talking, "Ok, folks, stop slacking off,  let's get these methodologies flowing!"  

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:51:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I hear that... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog

            and I'm like most folks...LOVE to see solar..wind...bio all be viable, even if costs are a little high right now.  But, alas, they're not able to provide us with what we need currently.  It'll come, I'm convinced of it.  It's just a matter of time.  And....in the meantime, however long that is, we need oil and gas and coal and hydro.  Just a fact of life right now.

            I'm not giving up on the alternatives...probably sound like that, but not so.

            •  Check this out. :-) (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.scientificamerican.com/...

              Also, Jamess had an encouraging diary on a new kind of solar plant last week, and Jerome Paris has published much encouraging work on the costs curves of emerging alternatives such as wind, coming down, as recently as a week to week and half ago.

              I may have misunderstood, but my impression is that the new solar energy plants that concentrate collected solar with mirrors onto a boiler, get so hot it continues to produce electricity at night.  But he sent me a comment suggesting I have some confusing about this. I have to go check.

              One additional interesting developed I beleive is also in this same diary by jamess is a description of the High Voltage Direct Current transmission lines which are apparenlty, up to six times more efficient than our existing electrical grid.

              This partially solves the problem of daily wind variation.  Because, if you can average wind collection over a much larger areas variation in local wind patterns cancels out.

              Last, night, we heard a new report on underwater tidal kits, which are approved for prototype development off the cost of England.  

               

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 06:32:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  It'll come faster if we get the government (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog, Calamity Jean

              to subsidize it and keep the manufacturing here.

              We've got millions and millions and millions who need work. We've got all the basic elements of nature: wind, sun, water, earth. We've got a Federal Reserve printing out billions every month.

              Okay, this is America. We can't put these three things we have together to benefit not only the economy, but practically every aspect affecting the viability of living on earth, and just basic quality of life?

              No can do? We've got the short-sigthedness and corruption by the rich and powerful. Outside that, there's no reason we couldn't have a radically cheaper, and sane, energy situation in a few years than any of the killer-fuels can possibly provide.


              Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

              by Jim P on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:13:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Quit bullshitting us (0+ / 0-)

              "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children"

              by Lefty Coaster on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 09:03:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Now, when people say "solar" it's often (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, Meteor Blades

          synonymous with the various renewable, great elements of nature, energies.

          You do wind here, geothermal there, solar, whatever... You bring down costs for all of them, create jobs in all of them...


          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:02:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hah! I live in a solar heated home in Pacific NW (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, Meteor Blades

          famous for its cloud cover, and my solar wall has paid for itself several times over in the 17 years I've lived here.

          "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children"

          by Lefty Coaster on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 08:59:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          Whether measured in cost per kilowatt hour or by carbon footprint, hydro, wind and nuclear are all clustered at the bottom, with solar just a little above them. Solar has been dropping rapidly, in both measurements, since new production methods use either less silicon or no silicon at all.

          As for cloud cover, we need a way to store electrical energy as it is being generated so we can then use it later, at night or rainy days, when the solar isn't generating.

          We call those storage things "batteries".

  •  I missed a lot of these diaries. (5+ / 0-)

    I love the choice of having an agriculture, gardening, and food section. Spring puts me in the mood for that stuff, and I hadn't seen most of the diaries on the list.

    Thanks again for bringing up this roundup.

    Please donate to HEAL Africa, and support HR4128.

    by rb137 on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:24:43 PM PDT

  •  WOW..what a diary. Who doesn't want clean energy (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, peraspera
    Hidden by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Now, let's be honest...who here doesn't want "clean energy"???

    Problem right now is that windmills are a wonderful idea and they do put a smidgen amount of electricity back into the grid at least so far....and solar is just super fantabulous so long as there is plenty of space to put the panels in and so long as there is plenty of sunlight...at least so far.  Biofuels are coming along nicely except that some of that technology is taking away from our food supply...just something we need to overcome.  Otherwise...well...actually, it's all a really nice thought right now, but progress on "clean energy" is coming along slowly.  We're still very reliant on fossil fuels like petroleum and, of course we're needing coal (but hey, Obama campaigned on advancing 'clean coal technology' hahahaha).  

    I love to hear about alternative energy sources.  I love to read diaries like this about clean energy sources.  It's kinda like watching a "Fantastic Four" movie.  Makes ya feel good...but, kinda way out there.

    •  My impression is that the contribution for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Regina in a Sears Kit House

      alternatives can be much more significant.  But, I will accept this as a challenge we must meet.  And, have not met to your satisfaction.

      But, for the next few months, I am going to make proving this to your satisfaction, and everyone elses, one of my top goals.

      As Ceasor declared, "let the games, begin!"

      :-)

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:47:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some hard numbers for you (4+ / 0-)

      Wind power in the United States
      From Wikipedia

      As of 31 December 2010 (2010 -12-31)[update], the top five states with the most wind capacity installed are:[10]

          * Texas (10,085 MW)
          * Iowa (3,675 MW)
          * California (3,177 MW)
          * Minnesota (2,192 MW)
          * Washington (2,104 MW)

      The top five states according to percentage of generation by wind in 2010 are:[11]

          * Iowa (15.4%)
          * North Dakota (12.0%)
          * Minnesota (9.7%)
          * South Dakota (8.3%)
          * Kansas (7.2%)

      [...]

      At the end of 2010, the installed capacity of wind power in the United States was just over 40,000 megawatts (MW),[2][3] making it second in the world behind China. Wind power accounts for about 3% of the electricity generated in the United States.[4]


      There's Gold in them thar skies!


      Imagine where'd we be if Reagan hadn't nixed the early incentive programs --

      meanwhile continuing incentives and subsidies for oil and nuclear, unabated the whole time.


      Got Time?
      Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

      by jamess on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 06:21:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're all... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Red Bean

      ..."problem is" and "at least so far" and "so long as" and "except that" and "otherwise...well...actually" and...

      And you never back up a word of it with any corroboration whatsoever.

      I've been back through far more of your comment history than I care to admit to, and you have ever offered any factual basis (i.e. links to sources) for anything you say.

      And Interestingly, you don't ever seem to answer direct questions that would require a factual (as opposed to a snappy anecdotal) reply based upon something other than your personal opinion, again, referencing an outside source that you present as a direct part of supporting your argument.

      You do seem to occasionally demand factual support for other people's statements, but that only applies to others, not to you.

      And you do put out tons and tons of sarcasm and snarky comments and snarky replies, typically after someone has called your game and you don't have any substantive reply.

      Finally, one of your favorite ploys seems to run along the lines of "Hey, I'm not really a [insert some contrarian philosophical position] but..."

      Yeah, but.

      So I call bullshit.

      In the used car trade, you're a pipe smoker.

      A time waster.

      You're long on talk and clearly have nothing to back it up.

      You're good at stirring the pot, and then you kick back and watch.

      You seem to be focused entirely on wasting other people's time.

      As I've said elsewhere, about someone else who conducts themselves to an astonishing degree just like you do (hey! wait just a minute?) you're a good example of why DKos 4 needs a *plonk* button.

      - bp

      "I don't care who your goddam emperor is: his clothes still suck"

      by b00g13p0p on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:07:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blog police.... (0+ / 0-)

        How much do ya get for being part of the "Daily Kos Blog Police"?

        Give us a break.

        Just because folks don't say what you want to hear doesn't give you reason to call "bullshit" on them.  If you don't agree with what I say, post counter posts.  That's what political blogs are all about, my man.  

        Thanks.

    •  the technology already exists (0+ / 0-)

      We just don't want to pay for it.

  •  My neighbor is upset that His (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    Grandson had to move from the U.P. of Michigan to Arizona due to restrictions on copper mining. The mine owners wanted to use methethle bad shit to get what copper is left.

    The fact that the ground water would be poisoned never seems to be important to some people. Just like Fraking.

  •  Thanks for doing this exellent work Meteor Blades (4+ / 0-)

    This represents a gargantuan amount of work, that is much appreciated.  

    I've have been discouraged to find our clean, renewable and sustainable energy champions being so much on the defensive these last few months.

    All of us who want to help our children, and future generations live in the cleanest, healthiest, and most sustainable economies and energy production systems have much work ahead of us, to improve our communications, and foundation in solid research.

    Just after I wrote the diary, MB mentions, about Ed Markey trying to rally progressives and Democrats to challenge the Obama proproposal to put the $36 billion dollar subsidy to the nuclear industry, in the form of federal loan guarentees, and instead put this money into research, and programs to to develop clean, sustainable alternative energy production, I was listening to NPR radia, while driving home.

    On the program, this articulate, well informed, spokesperson was speaking on behalf of clean, green, renewable alternative energy, and I was so happy, and encouraged.   "I thought, now we're talking.  Finally, one of my diaries is having an impact on society."

    Then he said how critical nuclear power was to our future, and it turned out this was the same Flynn, or Flint fellow that had just been on TV holding a secret, behind closed door briefing for congressional staffs on why it was so important to stay focused and positive about nuclear powers vital role in our future, and not let the terrible tragedy in Japan, distract us.  He is Exelon's top pro-industry lobbyist, and is he slick.  

    In the middle of a busy week, about 150 of the congressional staff, and Congresspeople took the afternoon off,  to attend his impromptu capital hill briefing, to make sure they were up to date on the lastest nuclear perspective from Exelon, the nuclear industry advocay group.   Talk about access.

    Yikes, what a discouraging moment.  

    I've been trying to find a copy of their 11 page briefing document of talking points.

    But, we are now hearing them regularly.  One is that "solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, efficiency, conservation, etc. can not do the job, because their are too insignicant, or vary too much.

    Ed Markey's reponse to this was they said the same thing about manual typewriters a few decades ago.   Few expected word processers on computers to replace them.

    Heck, no one expected you could have a computer on your desk, as mainframes required entire buildings.   But, we made this transition.

    One of Jamess' diaries last week described a new CPU form of solar that continues producing electricity at night, I think.  

    Last night, I read about this new underwate kite tecnology that harness continuous tidal energy 24 hours a day.  England has just granted money for a prototype.  Advocates claim this tecnology could be supplying all the electricity for a city the size of Bristol in by 2020.

    But, we need to collect together a scientifically solid, and credible set of refutations, and conversion scenarios and plans, our we will continue to have our forward momentum and morale smashed.

    I put forward links to the Scientific American article that asserts that by 2030 or shortly thereafter, we could supply all the worlds electrical with green, renewable clean alternatives.   I will retreive the link from my comments shortly.

    But, one critic claims a counter argument was that plan required 1.2% of the land mass of the world for the collectors.   I honestly do not know if this is true.  But, this is the level we need to educate ourselves to, if we hope to be as effective as the nuclear lobby in getting our message out.

    One thing Republicans, and the nuclear lobby has learned is that if you continue to assert certain facts, over and over again, often enough, they become convention wisdom.  (See my diary Oppose Repulican Lies, Before they Become "Truths" from  a few days ago.)

    Anyhow.  sorry for such a long comment, but thank again for doing this important and valuable work, MB.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 05:31:16 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, MB. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm in awe of the amount of work that goes into your rescue diaries. dKos does itself proud with the number and quality of environmental diaries. It's quite impressive to see them as a collection.

  •  Wow, this is quite a service. Thank you. (5+ / 0-)

    And thanks to everyone contributing to this wonderful list of reading.

  •  Olympic National Park (3+ / 0-)

    Alas, it seems likely that a large disproportion of the trans-Pacific fallout from the nuclear power disaster in Japan will strike the seaward face of this magnificent heritage site as radioisotope laden plumes come ashore in Northwestern North America.  As described by the National Park Service:

    About twelve feet of rain falls each year on the west-facing valleys, sustaining the temperate rain forest. The east side of the mountains lie in a "rain shadow", with only 25 inches of annual rainfall
    Fallout that can carry trans-Pacific distances tends mostly to come down in rainfall. But, if emissions from the disaster site continue to increase, as reports suggest, significant consequences for the entire Pacific Northwest seem unavoidable.  

    "If you are going to tell people the truth, be funny or they will kill you." Billy Wilder 1906 - 2002

    by LeftOfYou on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 06:19:40 PM PDT

    •  OMG! (0+ / 0-)

      Mutant geoducks!

      Just a horrible thought.

    •  I very very very much doubt it (0+ / 0-)

      This sounds like all the scare stories I heard in Tampa during the BP spill---some people here were hysterically hollering that we'd be ankle-deep in oil forever.  I patiently tried to explain that oil decays, that we are really far away, and that it would all break down in sunlight or be eaten by bacteria long before it got this far, so we'd not get any oil washing up at Clearwater Beach (except maybe the same stray tarballs that we get once in a while anyway).

      The radiation from Japan would have to travel over 5000 miles to reach the US coast.  By that time, it will be so diluted and dispersed that it will be barely measurable.  Just like the fallout from Chernobyl. The Pacific Ocean is enormously huge, there is a gargantuan mass of air over it, and we are simply too far away. All those people hoarding iodide tablets in California are just wasting their money.

      Far more likely that it will get here in the food chain through imported agricultural goods.

  •  The primary argument (3+ / 0-)

    against renewable technologies is the fact that for some like solar there is a cost premium partially because of the current state of the technology and partially because of the storage issue.  The intermittent but rather predictable nature of the resources.  

    But the current state of affairs is misleading.  Because there are costs involved in the generation of the old fuels that are hidden.  That we don't see when we fill up the tank or turn on the lights.  We still pay these costs.  But these legacy technologies have been successful in off-loading these costs onto society as a whole.  Everyone pays these costs whether they use the products or not.

    We've seen little illustrations of these costs in pretty dramatic ways over the past year or so.

    The Big Branch Mine disaster.  Which illustrated the human toll that mining takes.  It also ripped the lid off of the rotten corrupting influence of the mining industry on the political system particularly at the state and local level where they can become virtually a law unto themselves.

    The Gulf Oil Spill where once again, we saw regulatory capture in action as we saw that the oil industry had essentially been trusted to write their own disaster plan for the this sort of accident.  A plan that in retrospect was ridiculous.  The revolutions sweeping the Middle East point to the folly of relying on that part of the world for a vital resource.

    And finally the Japanese nuclear disaster highlights the absurdity of committing the human race to babysitting toxic wastes that will outlive the civilizations that generated it, when we are incapable of supporting public schools over a sustained period.  

    If the external costs that were required to actually deliver these legacy fuels were included in their costs to the end user, renewable technologies would not only be competitive today, they would be far cheaper.  But we all know that this isn't going to happen.

    So, because renewables represent such a small fraction of the current energy mix, the logical thing to do to create a level playing field, if we wish to encourage their use, is to subsidize their implementation.  This however should not be viewed as charity.  Since in reality, what should be done is a true cost accounting that would raise the cost of fossil fuels rather than subsidizing the cost of renewables.  However, in this culture  and perhaps in this economy, that seems to be a non-starter.  

    I know that in my state the utility company used the spectre of the allowed pass through of rate hikes to campaign against the renewable energy standard.  In my view, that paradigm is a flaw in the construct.  It is guaranteed to alienate people who are agnostic about the technology.  For them, all that it represents is an action by the government that costs them money.  Where as the subsidies for the legacy technologies are hidden and obscure.  That is bad politics.

    There should be direct subsidies for renewables that are the equal to the subsidies that are given to the legacy technologies.  And they need to be delivered in such a manner that the end use consumer sees no difference in price.  Why?  Because we need the energy and we don't need the emissions.  And we are capable of doing the economic calculations.  This would also have the benefit of creating entire new industries.  And all of that installed infrastructure will be there producing energy for decades.  

    •  the costs per kilowatt hour stack up like this: (0+ / 0-)

      Wind, hydro and nukes are clustered together at the bottom. Solar is a little bit above them, but has been dropping rapidly over the past few years because of new technologies that use either less silicon or no silicon at all.

      In terms of carbon footprint, the rankings are the same--hydro, wind and nukes are clustered at the bottom, with solar a little above them and falling quickly (most of the carbon footprint from solar results from processing the silicon).

      Coal and gas are, of course, lower in cost per kilowatt hour but enormous in carbon footprint.

  •  Thanks for the rescue MB! This is a fantastic (2+ / 0-)

    round-up and so necessary.  I missed so many great diaries this week.  I appreciate the opportunity to catch up.

  •  Wow - both my recent pieces made the list. (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you - I wasn't sure the first would qualify, and thought the second was too recent.  Thank you!

    Great list of pieces - good work, all!

  •  Isn't it just amazing how many (4+ / 0-)

    great diaries there are? I hope, for all the work it is for you, MB, to collect them all and provide us with this great collection regularly, you also get some joy and satisfaction out of them.

    I am dreaming of making an archival website for them, categorized "my way". I like already your main categories.

  •  I've been thinking about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Regina in a Sears Kit House

    a clean energy standard since you posted, and I think it's a dubious approach. Clean energy is good -- but it would be easy to enforce bad policy that way. Certainly, Big Energy will try to enforce bad policy through this attempt, and will derail it if possible.

    Maybe it's a step in the right direction. But if "clean energy standard" means "problem solved" to congress, I think we probably won't accomplish a whole lot.

    Clean energy has to be addressed on several fronts -- and some of them aren't environmental. Some of them are tied up in banking reform. Some are tied up in educational reform. Some are tied up in scientific funding reform. This is an enormous task, and we have to take a comprehensive approach.

    It seems to me that our progress toward clean energy is a fair metric of our progress as a modern nation, though.

    Please donate to HEAL Africa, and support HR4128.

    by rb137 on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:13:51 PM PDT

  •  In the Presence of All These Fabulous Diarists (4+ / 0-)

    who write important diaries about the only place we have to live in the Universe, I feel inadequate.

    You have increased my EQ, entertained me with your humor, impressed me with your photographs, stunned me with your grasp of the subject matter, and turned me green with envy at your talent for writing and for living so conscientiously.

    Thanks to you all and to MB for this compendium.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:15:48 PM PDT

  •  It's encouraging to see all this great work! (3+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the round-up rescue mission, MB.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 07:46:34 PM PDT

  •  thanks so much,MB. this CES situation (3+ / 0-)

    reminds me of the change in lingo from Global Warming to Climate Change after GW become anathema post the flogging of Al Gore...

    and as in jamess diary about Climate Change and national security ... i wrote a while back about an event i attended where a goverment person who worked with DHS on Climate Change was a panelist. I asked him how the government during the Bush admin could publically deny the reality of Climate Change while funding DHS to investiate and report out on it.... A lot of hemming and hawing ... he also stood firm to the belief that the future of power in the US is in natural gas (I asked about fracking ... exagerrated, he said, and I asked about LCA, Peak Oil ... he said there is no shortage of oil,peak oil is a myth.

    just an example of the mind set of the people on this panel. Wish I could remember his name...

  •  I wonder how many of these diarists (4+ / 0-)

    are in the DK GreenRoots group? It would be fabulous if everyone could republish their work to that group as well....

  •  Thank you Meteor Blades (3+ / 0-)

    another stellar round up, worth of a bunch of belated recs.

  •  MB a magnificent piece of work. I really look (0+ / 0-)

    for these and still I miss so many.  You provide a handy and lovely organization plus your commentaries. You must stay up 24/7.

    Who ever said it above is right about using tags "energy" and "environment".

    What I love too is seeing that lovely green widget for eKos.  Maybe we could have something like it for the other two tags then we wouldn't need the eKos tag anymore.  I do love that table.

    With all this in mind I would like to add eKos to your tags.  Then I'm going to curl up on a cold rainy day and read these lovely diaries you have rescued.  

    ps. I am glad you have time to do this writing and capturing instead of running around keeping DKos an adult space. We need this work done for our time and future.

  •  Why nuclear should be part of a CES/RES deal. (0+ / 0-)

    If we can get any kind of CES/RES deal at all through Congress, it will certainly have to include a significant role for nuclear power.

    Here's why that's OK.

    The death rate per unit of power produced is 4,000 times higher for coal than for nuclear. (Click the link and there's a fantastic chart.) No, that's not because there's a lot more coal; that's per unit of power produced.

    Even if you count all the deaths plausibly related to Chernobyl—9,000 to 33,000 over a 70-year period—that number is dwarfed by the death rate from burning fossil fuels. The OECD's 2008 Environmental Outlook calculates that fine-particle outdoor air pollution caused nearly 1 million premature deaths in the year 2000, and 30 percent of this was energy-related. You'd need 500 Chernobyls to match that level of annual carnage.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/...

    The priorities have to be cutting greenhouse emissions and protecting human health. Coal is the #1 enemy of both. If politically we have to accept some nuclear to get rid of coal, that's a price well worth paying.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:27:10 PM PDT

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