|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 257 of these spotlighting more than 15,642 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 77 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.
Daily Bucket: Florida's Invaders -- Starling—by Lenny Flank: "The Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a common bird in Europe. About the size of a robin, it is a strikingly handsome bird--dark blue or black with white feather tips that give it the appearance of a starry sky, hence its name. Starlings travel and feed in large raucous flocks. They are accomplished mimics and captives have been taught to talk--which is why it appears in Shakespeare's play. The birds need trees with cavities for nesting and grassy open areas to forage for insects and seeds, and therefore suburban lawns and city parks suit them perfectly. Within a few decades, the Starlings released in Central Park had spread outwards, and soon covered the entire country."
The Daily Bucket: waiting for low tide—by OceanDiver: "In the Pacific Northwest tides move huge volumes of water every day. Along the shore, that translates into different water levels, many feet up and down. Combine that ebb and flow with incoming waves, various currents, and local weather events like wind...the seashore is a formidably dynamic place! Any beach hikers along our coast know tides must be taken into account since many headlands are impassable cliffs at high tide; some of us have learned that the hard way. I almost died of hypothermia once in my youth because I foolishly didn't pay attention to this basic fact of nature, and got trapped behind a headland for hours in the rain. But Backyard Science is about nature and wildlife, who don't have tide tables and grocery stores. For them, survival depends on managing a tidal-dependent lifestyle. I saw a little of that on a recent trip out to the coast."
Daily Bucket--Meet Ryan—by 6412093: "Ryan is my 18-year-old nephew. He made me real nice Christmas presents that I could put into use right on Christmas Day."
2013 Backyard Science Yardbird Race Results & the Start of the 2014 Backyard Science Yardbird Race!—by bwren: "Big thanks to everyone who participated in the 2013 Daily Kos Backyard Science Yardbird Race, even for a little while. The race doubled in size last year, with 42 participants submitting at least one tally list, and 21 of those finishing. Once again, there were common birds and rare ones, a bit of friendly joshing back and forth, and a good deal of encouragement and support. Personal records were broken, new records were made, and I hope that a fine time was had by all. [...] Once again, Polly Syllabic has taken the Grand Bragging Rights Award, breaking her 2012 record by two for a total of 102 species. Congratulations Polly! We'll all be over for a weekend birding campout at your place this year!"
Recommended Nature Documentary—by AdWizard: "As a person who watches some kind of documentary every night on YouTube as a sleep-inducing panacea, this film kept me awake for the duration. Most astonishing was the scientist who pumped concrete through an abandoned ant colony and then excavated once dry. Even more odd was that humans are the only primates that actually build shelters for themselves, while the simplest creatures can build elaborate homes."
The Daily Bucket - Protection Island—by Milly Watt: "If one extends the idea of 'backyard' as far as can be seen from my house, it would include Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge. Protection Island is an incredibly valuable place. According to its Wikipedia page: Approximately 70 percent of the nesting seabird population of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca nest on the island, which includes one of the largest nesting colonies of Rhinoceros auklets in the world and the largest nesting colony of Glaucous-winged gulls in Washington. The island contains one of the last 2 nesting colonies of Tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. On New Year's Eve, we took a boat tour around the island to view the wildlife it supports in wintertime. Join me over the tangle of kelp for some great winter birds.[...] Protection Island came to the attention of Captain George Vancouver in 1792 who wrote that it was 'as enchantingly beautiful as the most elegantly furnished pleasure grounds in Europe.' The botanist on that expedition, Archibald Menzies, described 'vast flights of water fowl.' Through the untiring efforts of two women, Zella Schultz and Eleanor Stopps, the island was finally made into a National Wildlife Refuge in 1982 (the only such legislation signed into law during the Reagan administration) and plans for its development were avoided (but not until construction bulldozers had begun destroying the Rhinoceros auklet nesting burrows)."
WV Water Emergency: No clue when crisis will end, Tomblin press conference just wrapped up—by JR: "For those just joining us: a chemical spill in the Elk River has tainted the water supply for all or part of nine counties around Charleston, WV, affecting around 250,000-300,000 people and thousands of businesses. Schools are closed, and officials are warning that the water is only safe for 'flushing toilets and putting out fires.' Governor Tomblin's press conference, originally scheduled for 1:30, has just begun. I'll post updates as I get them. Meanwhile, there's no clear indication when the emergency will end: Water company officials still do not know how long it's going to take remove an unknown amount of a hazardous chemical that contaminated water for potentially 300,000 people. West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre said the company is still learning about the chemical and how to remove it from the 1,500 miles of pipeline that could be affected."
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink—by Arianna Editrix: "West Virginia is currently experiencing, on a wide scale, what people near hydraulic fracking sites have had to put up with for years. As the State and Federal government scramble to provide minimal clean water to hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps it's time to rethink our love affair with carbon based fuels before it is too late for the water, land, flora, fauna and humans over even larger areas than are already impacted. Just in the last year, Arkansas had a bitumen (liquid asphalt) pipeline break in a subdivision. Do you think the people that bought homes there knew about the pipeline? If you said yes, you'd be wrong. The first they knew was when sludge started oozing from the ground. Oklahoma city is currently experiencing silica sand pollution in its' city water supply. Where did the sand come from? It's used in the fracking process and seems to have leaked from the concrete drilling sleeves, which have a 50% failure rate on first use, around the many fracking wells that have popped up in and around the city. [...] The list, unfortunately, goes on and on and probably will go on and on until there is no more clean water."
Industry has poisoned the water for 300,000- deregulate, blame the EPA—by csainvestor: "three hundred thousand west Virginians have been warned not to drink, touch, or smell the water coming out of their pipes. And the company that gave these citizens this special liberty water is aptly named “freedom industries” oh the irony. That's right, if you are a citizen of west Virginia, hopefully you didn't drink that freedom H20 before the warnings came out. Who the fuck is gonna clean up this mess? Who is going to pay for this monumental fuckup? Is it going to be the invisible hand of the free market?"
If anyone here cares about the WV water crisis, there's a press conference scheduled...—by jan4insight : "This isn't really my fight to take on, but I have just been APPALLED at the lack of interest on this site regarding this event which has poisoned the drinking water for 16% percent of West Virginia's population. Is everyone still that enthralled with Bridgegate? Sheesh, ya know it's cool to dig into that and all, but there are other things going on in the world.
Restore the Delta calls for more time to respond to BDCP—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta, opponents of Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels, today asked the Brown administration for a 120-day extension of the public comment period for the massive Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). 'The Brown Administration is providing citizens insufficient time to respond to its nearly 40,000-page project proposal,' said Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla. 'It is impossible to fully review the massive EIR/EIS documents in just 85 working days. That would require reviewing and analyzing more than 473 pages per workday, every week.' 'This is not achievable for public interest organizations. With the tax burden and water resources at stake, it is imperative to take the time to get this project right. We call for an additional 120 days for public review and comment,' she said."
Delta fish survey reveals an ecosystem in collapse—by Dan Bacher: "A Delta fish survey released by the California Department of Wildlife this month confirms the continuing collapse of the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas. The survey's release takes place at a crucial time for the survival of salmon, steelhead, Delta smelt and other fish populations in California and the West. 2013 was the driest year on record in California and no relief from the drought is in sight. Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown is promoting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels as the 'solution' to the co-equal goals of 'water supply reliability' and 'ecosystem restoration.'"
ESPN mainstreams climate change denial—by Laurence Lewis: "The ESPN announcers' ignorant irresponsibility may seem like a small matter, but it is not. Pop culture has a disproportionate impact on public opinion. And whether or not there is sufficient scientific evidence to link the current extreme weather to the fact of anthropogenic global warming, the fact of anthropogenic global warming remains a fact. This is not about politics, it is about science. And it is dangerous when people who have no idea what they're talking about are allowed to use the platforms of popular culture to promote disinformation. And it is particularly dangerous when that disinformation is about an issue of unprecedented importance."
Yes, It's Cold and Snowing. That Doesn't Mean Climate Change Isn't Real—by Puddytat: "The nutjobs are out in force because it's cold and snowing in January. Yup, imagine that. It gets cold in winter. Shocker. They're using winter weather, as usual, to continue to promote their fossil fuel industry bought and paid for meme that Climate Change is some kind of hoax perpetuated on the people of planet Earth. They're whooping it up because brutally cold weather is about to descend on a large portion of the US and, in their twisted strategy, that is enough to convince the dull-brained masses that climate change is again 'proven' wrong. They're virtually dancing on their desks while covering stories about ships getting stuck in the ice in Antarctica. And, of course, expressing delight that many of those stuck in the ice are scientists in the Antarctic to study climate change. 'Take that, climate scientists—your climate change hoax has just bitten you in the butt' is the typical meme."
Why Cold Weather Does Not Disprove Global Warming—by alexforgue: "One of the things that I hate most about snow storms and ice-cold weather besides shoveling snow or scraping ice off my windshield is that conservatives use it as a talking-point to disprove climate change. Most people who watch Fox News will think that cold weather disproves global warming because they think 'oh hey, it’s not warm outside so therefore the globe can’t be getting warmer.' This logic however is flawed. Now, I can’t blame people because most people don’t have any background or education in any type of atmospheric science, and they get tricked into thinking that their flawed logic is correct. Now, the atmosphere and global climate systems are very complex subjects to learn and understand, but as a college student majoring in physics with a minor in meteorology (atmospheric physics), let me explain some science that will hopefully change the way people view cold weather and global warming."
Simplify the message of climate disruption—by GreyHawk: "Chaos is, in my mind, the underlying fundamental descriptive science of climate: "climate disruption" is what occurs when the stable(-ish) periodicity of the established climatic patterns absorb increasing levels of energy that force the system to become unstable, until it can fully react and account for the increased energy and achieve a new stable(-ish) period. Note: I am not a math or physics guru, nor properly versed in Chaos theory - my attempt to explain it in those terms in the preceding paragraph are simply my best efforts to grasp at something I only partially understand but know to be relevant. Anyone who can properly and succinctly explain that Chaotic concept in layman's terms is invited to do so, with an extra 100 pts for then explaining if it is or isn't a reasonable attempt to explain climate - and hopefully why. But, all that aside - the important takeaway is this: we should at least reinforce some aspect of our messaging around climate disruption so that it becomes more difficult for the malicious malefactors, denialists, dimwits and whatnots to disrupt the conversation."
UK:Conservative PM Blames Climate Change for Floods—by Lib Dem FoP: "You may know that the UK has been suffering from extreme weather conditions for the past couple of weeks. The relative warmth of the north Atlantic means that the weather systems that have caused the cold and snow in the USA have translated as a series of very heavy rain storms. Over most of the country the ground is completely saturated, with floods in many places. More rain is expected as the low pressure area currently hitting the Eastern seaboard is pushed across 'the pond.' The British Conservative party has its share of right wing climate change deniers—usually the old fogeys from the Thatcher years who have shuffled upstairs to the House of Lords. One 'equivocater' is the current Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, Owen Paterson, who has questioned the link with human activity and has obviously swallowed a lot of the change denialists in the USA's arguments."
Climate Change Thought Experiment—by fiddlecraig: "The motivation for the ludicrous assertions that academic scientists and research scientists employed by non-profit organizations are somehow motivated by access to personal gain through grants and government funding, rife among conservative media and internet pundits, becomes clear. If the world is in fact in a situation that requires concerted national and international efforts to avert impending environmental disaster, the fundamental assumptions of conservative and libertarian ideology are demonstrably inadequate to the task. The increasing rigidity of 'conservative' thought in the last forty years renders it incapable of grappling with complexity when the market is simplistically seen as the default solution to any complex problem. Hence, conspiracy theory and irrationality form the response, since the alternative is recognizing the limitations of the ideology."
Climate Change in New England—by JRElliott: "When it comes to Climate Change, it sure is tiring to listen to people who don't know what they are talking about. Come to think of it, that's true of any subject. Probably explains why people tire of listening to FOX news. Here's someone who really does know what he is talking about. Yale just posted this on YouTube, so I'm going to embed it here."
Republican geochemistry professor: 'Rush Limbaugh doesn't know anything about science'—by Laurence Lewis: "Barry Bickmore is a scientist. And a Republican. It happens: Barry Bickmore is a geochemistry professor at Brigham Young University, an active Mormon, and an active Republican. From 2008-2010 he was a County Delegate for the Republican Party. And he has a quick word for Rush Limbaugh, who claims liberals just invented the term 'polar vortex' for political purposes: Meteorologists have actually been using the term 'polar vortex' for some time–far beyond the past week, as Rush might gather by looking up 'Polar Vortex' on Wikipedia and checking some of the references… such as this NASA press release from 2001, which is entitled, 'Stratospheric Polar Vortex Influences Winter Cold, Researchers Say.' A little Googling might uncover this 1971 article in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences that mentions the “polar vortex'."
Bombshell Nature study: 10 degree F warming by 2100—by VL Baker: "A major new study in Nature/climate finds that 'our climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.' [...] 'When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C. This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide.'"
Chris Hayes & Michael Mann BLAST the Craven Right for its "Willful Stupidity On Climate Change"—by Lefty Coaster: "Chris Hayes starts off by playing some clips of Climate Charlatans like Donald Trump and Stuart Varney ridiculing the recent rescue of a group of scientists on a ship trapped in sea ice off of the coast of Antarctica. Chris Hayes: The Right's Willful Stupidity On Climate Change. The right wing had a field day, pointing and laughing at the global warming believers who, just to be clear, are only a group of scientists risking their lives for no monetary gain and little glory in order to help save the planet. It truly was a new year's gift of faux irony for the denialists. And that it coincides perfectly with their annual tradition of snow-trolling makes it all the better. Get it? It's cold! Where's your Al Gore now? Of course, no one ever said that climate change meant it wouldn't ever be cold."
Climate Science Libel Suit against NRO and AEI Moves Glacially—by LeftofYou: "Rich Lowry, the National Review Online and the American Enterprise Institute maliciously libeled hero climate scientist, Dr. Michael Mann, among other ways, by trying to tie Dr. Mann's climate science to the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal and cover-up at Penn State. In September, 2012, Dr. Mann fought back against these prominent climate science deniers, suing NRO and CEI for defamation in Washington, D.C. Superior Court. Lowry gloated online that his team of noble climate change deniers, you might call them hoaxers, would use the power of court ordered discovery to get to the bottom of their pipe dreamed scam of the hockey stick graph, etc. I've reported previously on progress in the case, here, here and here. Now, there has been another development in the case and it's funny. That is, if it is possible for a matter of civil procedure to be funny, which it is, for me. Follow me out into the tall grass to talk about what's been going on in Dr. Mann's courageous court battle to publicly clear the reputation of climate science.
Stephen Colbert mocks Fox News climate change denialism—by Bruinkid: "Last night, it was Stephen Colbert's turn to mock Fox News for bashing the idea of climate change. [...] Of course folks, science tells us that if it ever gets cold, global warming isn't real. And that's not just me, folks. That's also noted climatologist Donald Trump, who today tweeted "This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop.""
Climate Scientists Lawyering Up—by LeftofYou: "The problem in the climate change debate is the war on climate scientists being waged by fossil fuel oligarchs like Charles Koch and his lackeys like The American Enterprise institute. The Pacific Legal Institute is one of their legal weapons. Another used to be called The American Tradition Institute. It is harassment of climate scientists by ATI, its ilk and its successor that is behind the establishment and growth of The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF). About a year after getting up and running, the CSLDF is starting to reach scientists who need its help with advice and access to legal services. If you have a buck or two you could leave behind something at the link for the very deserving CSLDF."
Go Home, Arctic. You're Drunk—by ApostleOfCarlin: "Greg Laden of ScienceBlogs now has a good article, and image macro meme that you can use on your Limbaughtomized Facebook frienemies and in-laws when they repeat that usual derp talking point 'It's snowing, therefore global warming is a hoax!' In short, because the Arctic has warmed (warmed is a relative term - we're talking about going from -40 to -35), the forces that keep the Arctic air in the Arctic aren't nearly as strong. The jet stream, which is a river of air that's the boundary between the warmer air of temperate-to-tropic climes, and the colder air of temperate-to-arctic regions, thus meanders a lot more, or as the analogy goes, staggers around drunkenly. And when the jet stream staggers south, cold Arctic air comes with it. No, the Arctic cold air masses are not expanding. They're moving around more, and visiting us more."
More Record-Breaking Temps; Queensland on Fire—by thenekkidtruth: "The shrimp is on the barbie in Sydney, and the barbie doesn't need charcoal. Massive expanses of Eastern Australia set new heat records - many of which have eclipsed the prior high temperatures records set only one year ago in 2013. Twelve separate Australian locations recorded temperatures that topped 45.8 degrees C (118 degrees F). What sets this heat event apart from similar recent hotspell occurrences in the region is the expansiveness of the affected area. Between January 1st and 4th (2014), 8.8 percent of Australia experienced record-breaking temperatures. If you know a smartass wingnut who is snidely demanding to be shown where all the Global Warming is, you can point to Sydney, where it's been so hot that walking around without your shoes might well produce blisters."
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world—by Mark Sumner: "Please pause for a moment and turn your thermometer over. Blistering heat that formed over the Nullarbor at the end of December and continues over parts of inland Australia smashed temperature records and was a "highly significant" event, the Bureau of Meteorology said. [...] "]'At Narrabri [in New South Wales], the 47.8 (118 degrees Fahrenheit) degrees observed on 3 January surpassed the previous record by 3.6 degrees, the largest such margin at any Australian location with 40 or more years of data." So, for the second year in a row, Australia is sweltering in record-breaking heat, with 34 cities besting all time highs. But hey, it's cold today. Where you live. So clearly, the glaciers are rolling."
Record cold! Only.... No—by Mark Sumner: "This weekend, the weatherman is calling for St.Louis to see snow followed by a decided chill. Sunday night the temperature may drop to -7, making it the coldest in almost 15 years. This has naturally encouraged more than a little chatter along the lines of "how can there be global warming when it's this cold?" One local radio host has already said that it's clear that there is no warming. After all, it's getting colder! Only... eh, not so much. [...] here are 140 years of records on hand. With 365 days in the year, and 10% of the years in this century, you might expect at least a few coldest days to fall in a year starting with '2.' If things were actually distributed randomly, you'd actually have better than 30 such chillers. But things aren't distributed randomly. Looking at the month of January, there's not a single record low in this century. February also lacks any record lows from the 21st century. So does March. Not one low in winter comes in the last fifteen years. There are a few chilly spring days, though. Add it all up, and there are seven low temperature records since 2000—about a fifth what might be expected."
Polar Vortex, your Welcome to the ANTHROPOCENE—by LOrion: "It’s simple really… the Polar Vortex is the name given to the current disruption of the Northern Hemisphere winter Jet Stream pattern. Disruption caused by ‘global warming’ YES! The Arctic is heating faster than the rest of the world, hurried along by the disappearance of polar sea ice. Bright white ice reflects energy back into space; dark blue water absorbs it. Arctic temperatures are about 2 degrees Celsius warmer there than they were in the mid-1960s. (The average temperature increase for the Earth’s atmosphere overall is about 0.7 degree C, since 1900.) In other words, the temperature difference between the Arctic and North America is shrinking."
Polar Vortex, Jet Streams, Stratospheric Warming events, Rossby Waves, and Arctic Blasts—by jamess: "If the planet is warming -- how can it be so damn cold out there, in the winter? Well the connections are complex, but they are not unfathomable (to science and physics literates.) Winter is normally cold, but starting Sunday tundra-like temperatures are poised to deliver a rare and potentially dangerous sledgehammer blow to much of the Midwest, driving temperatures so far below zero that records will shatter. One reason? A 'polar vortex,' as one meteorologist calls it, which will send cold air piled up at the North Pole down to the U.S., funneling it as far south as the Gulf Coast."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.47 - It's a Rainbow—by kishik: "With many of us who suffered through this recent spell of frigid weather, I thought we could all use this time to revisit with colour, sun and something warming..."
If Gm crops are not as productive—by EliseMattu: "If Gm crops end up being MORE expensive and more work intensive as they now require the use of adding nutrients into the soil to make up for the fungal material and mold that is promoted in the soil devastated by the use of RoundUp, and if Gm crops require more pesticides, just why is it considered scientifically sound to support Gm crops?"
Good GM on its Way—by Eurotopia: "Scientists of have transposed algal genes into a member of the cabbage allowing it to produce the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish oil. This promises in the long run not only to allow the production of plant based supplements which are as effective as fish oil supplements (currently not the case, omega-3 vegetable oils contain ALA which is converted only rather sparingly to essential DHA and EPA)."
Attempting Nuance on GMO foods—by Chico David RN: "Remember that r[ecombinant]DNA is a method—a set of techniques—to insert genetic material into an organism. Now an organism's DNA controls virtually everything about how that organism grows and develops and behaves in the world. So the DNA is critically important. But does how the DNA got there matter? So far, no one has shown me, nor can I imagine, a plausible mechanism by which the mere fact of rDNA technology being used can make an organism dangerous either to the environment or to those using the organism. What the DNA is matters, of course. But how it got there? I'm open to being convinced, but it will take some heavy convincing to make me believe that creates inherent danger. Does that mean we can rest easy? Well, no, it doesn't. Some uses of rDNA are obviously benign and useful. Some are questionable. Others are very troubling. To me, the most troubling - and probably the largest scale use—is in the production of herbicide resistant ('round-up ready') corn and soybeans. Just as bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics, weeds can become resistant to herbicides. This requires the application of larger and larger doses of the herbicide."
The real price of gas—by thefarleftside:
Marquee Investor Backs Away from Coal Exports in the Northwest—by Mary Anne Hitt: "The decision by Goldman Sachs to walk away from the Cherry Point coal export terminal is one more strike against this polluting, climate-disrupting, highly controversial project. From Montana where the coal would be mined, all the way to Cherry Point, community members have opposed this project every step of the way. Our groundswell of public opposition has shown that no one wants dirty coal exports in their community. From polluting communities with toxic coal dust to threatening our climate, thousands of Northwest residents have made it clear that coal exports pose too much harm for our communities. While another investor (a businessman from Mexico named Fernando Chico Pardo) bought Goldman Sach's stake, this decision is one more big dark cloud on the coal industry's economic horizon. Goldman Sachs signaled their concern with coal investments in a report last July entitled 'The window for thermal coal investment is closing.'"
The Vampire Squid has left the building—by James Wells: "'The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.' Matt Taibbi's memorable description from his 2009 Rolling Stone article has stuck with the giant investment firm Goldman Sachs, but it hasn't stopped them from seeking the latest opportunity to make another bucket of money. One such opportunity for them has been the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal in Cherry Point, WA. The terminal, if permitted, will export 48 million metric tons of Wyoming coal to China. Goldman Sachs, as the 49% investor in the Carrix Corporation, was one of two large investors in the planned terminal. The proposal has been fiercely opposed throughout the region for reasons ranging from local impacts to serious concerns about climate impacts. As Inspector Clouseau would say: 'Not any more.' Yesterday it was announced that Goldman Sachs will be looking for new places to put their blood funnel—they have sold their entire investment in the coal terminal."
Update on Fukushima Radionuclides in the North Pacific and Off the West Coast of North America—by MarineChemist: "The purpose of this diary is to provide new information reported by a Canadian led effort to determine the timing of the arrival and the concentrations of Fukushima sourced radionuclides in ocean waters off North America. Since 2011 measurements of Cesium(Cs)-137 (half-life ~30.1 yr) and Cs-134 (half-life ~2 yr) have been made in the north Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Most recent measurements show that Fukushima derived Cs has reached the west coast as of June 2013 by ocean transport but that concentrations of Cs continue to be well below levels thought to pose environmental or public health threats."
Misinformation on Fukushima: Energy News Misleads its Readers—by MarineChemist: "Over the past number of months I have been writing short diaries to combat what I see as a continuous stream of misinformation present online concerning the likely impacts of Fukushima radionuclides on the west coast. I have endeavored to present information that is peer-reviewed in open-access journals and to summarize new data coming out of a Canadian lead monitoring program in the northeast Pacific. In a piece published today on the website Energy News (link) the anonymous author accuses me of being inaccurate in my diary of Jan. 4, 2014 [...] Rather than refer to my primary source of information which can be found here they disingenuously point readers to their own incomplete and misinterpreted summary of the presentation given by Dr. John Smith and others on October 15, 2013 at the 2013 Annual PICES Meeting held in Nanaimo BC Canada. They did not contact me before posting this story and I have asked them to retract it without any response to this point. I respond specifically to their inaccurate points below the fold."
The News About Fukushima Always Gets Worse—by LeftOfYou: "The radioactive wound that used to be Fukushima Reactor No. 3 sits within a completely inoperative wreckage. Imagine action-adventure disaster movie aftermath. Reactor core No. 3 melted down because the people whose job was to control the fission reaction didn't do it. Flash. Bang. Sizzle. Wow! The aforementioned people whose job was TEPCO, which, not withstanding some personnel shakeups, remains in charge of the disaster scene and responsible for its containment. From the very beginning, every reassurance TEPCO has given about conditions and its control of them has proven, sooner or later, to have been wrong. The news always gets worse."
What Is Happening On Top of Fukushima Reactor 3?—by Drewid: "The disaster is serious enough at Fukushima without alarmist reporting. From what I can tell about the Guardian's Liberty Voice (formerly Guardian Express) link above they source the story of the recently appearing steam to a Tepco official and NOT the Turner Radio Network article. [...] As [others have] been pointing out the appearance of steam may mean nothing more than it is now visible due to weather conditions."
Obama/EPA Latest Proposal for New Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Proposed Rules—by LakeSuperior: "Today's Federal Register and last Friday's FR contain important Obama Administration rule-making decisions necessary to put greenhouse gas emission limitations and rules into effect for new electric generating plants using coal, petroleum coke or natural gas. Here are the latest proposed New Source Performance Standards for power plants: Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. EPA is also withdrawing portions of a previous proposal which conflict with the latest proposal. Public comments are due March 10, 2014, but comments will be more effective if submitted in time for OMB review due by February 7, 2014, according to the FR notice."
“60 Minutes” Airs Its Second Debacle in Under Two Months - FAIL (UPDATED)—by lowkell: "This evening, "60 Minutes" is scheduled to run a segmenton the cleantech and renewable energy industries that appears, from the preview, to present extremely outdated, misleading, even blatantly false information. In advance of this possible hit piece on clean energy, the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) Energy Fact Check program has put together a prebuttal fact sheet on the true state of these industries, demonstrating their strength and the speed at which they're growing. [...] Broadly speaking, there's voluminous evidence that the marketplace has embraced cleantech and renewables, and that government investment has been overwhelmingly successful. For example, one can point to Tesla's 9-year-early loan repayment, the latest industry figures, the highly successful 2013 clean tech investing landscape, and stories from the DOE Loan Programs Office website itself."
A solar energy system is installed in U.S. every four minutes—by VL Baker: "We can do this. The positive news about solar energy is coming fast and furious. Stephen Lacey writing at Green Tech/solar gives us the uplifting stats on new solar installations in U.S. A lot happens in America every four minutes. During that short time period, 30 babies are born, 4,080 McDonald's Big Macs are consumed, and 48,000 tons of CO2 are emitted. And as it turns out, the U.S. is now installing one solar photovoltaic (PV) system every four minutes as well. If market growth continues at its current pace, the American solar industry could be installing a system every minute and twenty seconds by 2016."
Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Fracking Skirmishes In the Anti-Corporatist WarAnti-Capitalist Meetup: Fracking Skirmishes In the Anti-Corporatist War—by northsylvania: "Fracking, like cigarette production, is one of the moral indicators of Capitalism-as-practiced. A lot of money is spent by the companies involved proving that it causes no harm and is in fact a common good. It also provides a good case study in how the fight against corporate/ governmental hegemony can be a long drawn out process punctuated by the occasional surprising success. If the city of Dallas, the home of Big Oil, effectively bans fracking, that says a lot. [...] Fracking is also bound up in our ideas of individual versus collective rights, class warfare, corporate/ governmental collusion, and climate change, something we on the Left are passionate about, and rightly so."
Fracking threatens imperiled Delta fish and Central Valley salmon—by Dan Bacher: "So many people showed up to attend the first public comment hearing held by the Department of Conservation on draft fracking regulations in Sacramento on January 6 that state officials had to move to a larger room in the EPA building to accomodate the huge crowd. Over 80 percent of the people that attended, including representatives of the Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations, supported a moratorium or ban on the controversial oil extraction process. Representatives of the Western States Petroleum Association and other oil industry organizations praised the regulations for being the 'strongest' and 'strictest' fracking regulations in the nation. Below is an updated version of my testimony before Department of Conservation officials."
Shilling For Shale: Is the Illinois State Geological Survey serving a Fracking Master?—by BrentRitzel: "When reviewing the Illinois Draft Fracking Regulations put together by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), whose public comment period ended Friday, January 3, 2014, I was absolutely perplexed to discover that the regulations were drafted without the benefit of the input from a single scientific study. This disturbing fact is readily acknowledged on page four of the IDNR draft regulations in the following manner: 'Published studies or reports, and sources of underlying data, used to compose this rulemaking: None'"
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
Great Lakes Crude Oil/Tar Sands Marine Shipping Dock Gets Temporary Setback—by LakeSuperior: "A plan to begin shipping tar sands oil across Lake Superior—and potentially open the door to shipping large volumes of this relatively new form of thick crude across the Great Lakes—has been dealt a setback for now. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in December dismissed an application for a loading dock rehabilitation viewed as the first step toward a $25 million crude oil complex meant to facilitate shipments of tar sands crude across Lake Superior starting as soon as next year. As the first permit to pave the way for tar sands shipping on the Great Lakes, the proposal had broad implications for the region. Before the project can proceed, the DNR has instead ordered a comprehensive Environmental Assessment of the entire dock project, something many called for during a public informational hearing in November attended by about 50 residents from both Wisconsin and Minnesota."
Another Train Derailment—by eeff: "A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil and propane derailed and caught fire after the emergency brakes were activated, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada said on Wednesday. TSB spokesman John Cottreau said the derailment late on Tuesday included propane tankers, crude tankers, a locomotive and hopper cars, but said it was not clear whether the cars were full at the time of the crash. The derailment occurred in northwest New Brunswick, Canada, the latest in a string of train accidents that have put the surging crude-by-rail business under scrutiny."
Exclusive: Missouri Permit Shows Exploding ND Oil Train Contained High Levels of Volatile Chemicals—by Steve Horn: "On January 2, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a major safety alert, declaring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the Bakken Shale may be more chemically explosive than the agency or industry previously admitted publicly. This alert came three days after the massive Casselton, ND explosion of a freight rail train owned by Warren Buffett‘s Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and was the first time the U.S. Department of Transportation agency ever made such a statement about Bakken crude. In July 2013, another freight train carrying Bakken crude exploded in Lac-Mégantic, vaporizing and killing 47 people. Yet, an exclusive DeSmogBlog investigation reveals the company receiving that oil downstream from BNSF — Marquis Missouri Terminal LLC, incorporated in April 2012 by Marquis Energy — already admitted as much in a September 2012 permit application to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)."
Days Before Casselton Oil Train Explosion, Obama Signed Bill Hastening Fracking Permits on ND Public—by Steve Horn: "On December 20, both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed a little-noticed bill to expedite permitting for hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') on public lands in the Bakken Shale basin, located predominantly in North Dakota. And on December 26, President Obama signed the bill into law. Days later, on December 30, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) freight train owned by Warren Buffett carrying Bakken fracked oil exploded in Casselton, North Dakota. Locals breathed a smoky sigh of relief that the disaster happened outside the town center. In July 2013, a “bomb train” carrying Bakken oil exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. Dubbed the 'Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Streamlining Act,' the bill passed unanimously in the Senate as S.244 and 415-1 in the House as H.R. 767, with Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) serving as the sole 'nay' vote and 16 representatives abstaining. Among the abstentions were representatives Peter Defazio (D-OR), Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Campbell (R-CA)."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
Henry Waxman report: House Republicans voted 109 times against environmental protection in 2013—by Meteor Blades: "The 112th Congress was labeled two years ago the most anti-environment in the history of the House of Representatives by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of California and then-Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts. But a new report from Waxman's office has found that the 113th Congress may turn out to be worse if its second half matches its first. In 2013, the Republican-led House voted for the anti-environment position 109 times. House Republicans voted to block actions to improve air quality and cut carbon pollution; to expedite oil and gas drilling off America’s coasts and on onshore federal lands; to slash funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs; to block federal efforts to improve water quality; and to allow more logging and mining on federal lands with limited environmental review. Unfortunately, on at least one issue on that list, oil and gas drilling, the White House has—to state it generously—been far from exemplary. But unlike the Obama administration, House Republicans have zero to boast about on the eco-protection side of their ledger. Their attack on the environment has been broad-based."
House Brings in the New Year with a Vote against Environmental Protection—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, the House passed the creatively and misleadingly named Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act of 2013 (H.R. 2279), a bill aimed at meddling with the EPA and curtailing environmental protections. [...] Business and polluter interests see H.R. 2279 as a way to curtail the practice they label 'sue and settle,' in which environmental groups sue the EPA for non-performance of its duties resulting from missed deadlines and the EPA enters the settlement process. The linked editorial offers an amusing view of how 'free market' think tanks write about environmentalists."
Another Year, Another Climate Task Force—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Yesterday, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) announced the creation of a Climate Action Task Force in the Senate for 'going on the offensive' on the issue and building momentum for action. The Climate Action Task Force, which consists of 12 Democrats so far per Boxer, will launch officially next Tuesday. The Task Force's activities will include public events, floor speeches, and increased engagement with outside partners like religious organizations and businesses. Boxer said that the Task Force will focus more on general advocacy than on specific legislation but that it could help build momentum on bills on fuel economy, alternative fuels, and fuel efficiency. [...] The creation of 'task forces' in the Senate on this issue is not new. On January 24th of last year, Rep. Henry Waxman and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse announced the creation of a Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change."
California legislators call for fracking moratorium—by Dan Bacher: "Nine California Legislators on January 7 sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that he issue an executive order to prohibit the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) within the Department of Conservation from allowing fracking in the state until health and environmental concerns are addressed."
Stop Governor Brown's Plan to Frack California—by Dan Bacher: "We have less than two weeks to submit public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown's dangerous fracking regulations that pose a serious risk to human health, fish, wildlife, rivers and the ocean by encouraging a massive expansion of this toxic, environmentally destructive practice in California. It is essential that you submit a public comment now telling Governor Brown to ban fracking. The regulations result from the Governor's signing of Senator Fran Pavley's "green light to fracking" bill, Senate Bill 4, on September 20. The already weak legislation was eviscerated with amendments introduced by the Western States Petroleum Association and other oil industry lobbyists just before the bill passed through the Legislature."
The Great Outdoors
Eco-Activism & Eco-Justice
Disney Continues Its Long Tradition of Marketing Fossil Fuels to Kids—by lowkell: "Radio Disney has withdrawn from a pro-hydraulic fracturing school tour backed by the oil and gas industry. Al Jazeera America reports that the program, called Rocking in Ohio, visited 26 elementary schools and science centers across the state last month. [...] It's good to hear that Disney's backing out (albeit only under pressure to do so), but what's most ridiculous is that this was even allowed to happen in the first place. On the other hand, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised about this, given that Disney's Epcot Center has a pavilion called "Universe of Energy," which was sponsored from 1982 through 2004 by ExxonMobil, and which included pro-fossil-fuel propaganda like this comic book aimed at kids. In other words, Disney has a long tradition of marketing the wonders of fossil fuels to kids."
CA-Gov: CREDO Action Puts The Pressure On Jerry Brown (D) To Oppose Fracking—by poopdogcomedy: "CREDO Action is stepping up their efforts calling on Governor Jerry Brown (D. CA) to reject fracking in the state of California:
attribution: 2013 was California's driest year in recorded history. But the devastating drought isn't stopping Governor Brown from signing off on a massive expansion of water-intensive fracking, which not only permanently contaminates vast quantities of water but also fuels climate-change-driven extreme drought. Governor Brown's administration recently proposed regulations that, far from protecting California from toxic fracking, give it an official stamp of approval. The state is accepting public comments on the regulations for just under another week, which gives us a crucial opportunity to demonstrate the depth and intensity of public opposition to fracking by flooding the state with tens of thousands of public comments condemning this dangerous proposal—and, hopefully, pressure Governor Brown to change course."
The Best Thing That Fox News Did for the Climate Yesterday—by RandW: "You know that you have hit a denialist nerve when Fox News picks up a story. The 350 Bay Area climate group has had a small dedicated campaign called 'Dump The Pump' to put warning labels on gas pump. The purpose, of course, is to remind folks as theyare pumping gas that their carbon pollution is a problem (and also to point the to their city's Climate Action Plan for alternatives). The campaign has been doing preparatory work, legal research and has not been in the public eye. Not any longer."
Integrity on the Front Porch and the Polar Ice Caps—by wjhamilton29464: "I’ve had dialogue with leaders in the environmental and progressive advocacy communities which indicate its leadership feels the quality of life in the communities they promote and holding developers responsible for delivering on their promises doesn’t have to be their concern. If the community plan limits storm water runoff and the lots are small, they choose not to get involved in the messy and divisive issue of is the community really working for the people who live there, including particularly its children. If the fish, birds and polar ice caps are OK, it doesn’t matter if the men and women who have poured a decade of work into making their ideas real end up chilly and damp under a tent while someone gets rich renting out what was supposed to their community center when the holiday festival gets rained out. Extended to what really matters, these leaders aren’t concerned about the type of citizens children who grow up in such places will become. Then the leaders of the local environmental protection groups and progressive civic organizations wonder why public hearings are empty of young voices. They scratch their heads about why they are short of volunteers or donations. They fret over plummeting newspaper readership and voter participation."
Irresistible Forces, Immovable Objects: Sustainability, Growth, and Craving—by Tom Lum Forest: "It is intrinsically and perennially human to crave what we do not have, whether a better past or a hoped-for future. Modernity has turned that craving into an elaborate social and political matrix that in the West and the Pacific Rim is, in political science terms, social democracy coupled with oligarchic plutocracy. I am not confident that our democratic or plutocratic institutions could handle a truly sustainable world. We are a violent species, and even the world’s unquestionably strongest and richest nation, a self-styled paragon of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, is so insecure that it bullies its enemies as well as its friends. I fear that as positive-sum materialist growth turns to zero-sum or negative-sum, we will turn on each other and within decades devolve to a tiny fraction of our current population as hunter/gatherers and rudimentary agriculturalists. I have seen advocacy for Zero Population Growth - but none for Zero Economic Growth, except For (Brown and Yellow) Others."
Pollution, Hazardous Wastes & Trash
Chemical Leak in Charleston WV water supply, "Only safe use is to flush or put out fire"—by JR: "THE DO NOT USE WARNING HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO ADDITIONAL COUNTIES: The warning now applies to all WV American Water customers in Kanawha, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane and Jackson counties. [...] If you live in any of those five counties, officials are warning that the water is only safe for flushing the toilet and putting out fires (their words)."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
Commandment #8 - A Closer Look—by John Crapper: "8. Thou shalt conserve shit. [...] When it comes to our shit we still don’t know how to deal with it. Yet it is something we all produce, up to several times a day. It is high time we get our shit together when it comes to our own excrement. When we look at the predominant sanitation system used in the world today in an ass-forward way we can truly see just how ass-backward it is. Each of us pays good money to have purified water pour into our toilets. We then do our business and flush it into the sewer system. We also pay hard-earned money to carry our excrement away to a sewage treatment plant. Along the way it is mixed in with all kinds of foreign substances including chemicals, solvents and medical waste. At our sewage treatment plants varying energy intensive expensive processes are utilized to separate out the contamination from the water to return it to its pure state to be recycled. [...] Followers of the Church of the Holy Shitters believe there is a better way. It is called Ecological sanitation or Ecosan for short. Ecological sanitation offers a new philosophy of dealing with what is presently regarded as waste and wastewater."
Why Do Climate Science Deniers STILL Hate Al Gore So Much?—by TheGreenMiles: "It made some sense when An Inconvenient Truthcame out, but that was seven years ago. Gore stepped back from a leadership role in the climate action movement around the time of his divorce in 2010 and now rarely makes public appearances. But far-right conservatives apparently still hate Gore with the fury of a thousand global warming-fueled wildfires. What's weird is they simultaneously try to portray Gore as this big fat pathetic loser AND as this wealthy jet-setting holier-than-thou asshole."
The Daily Bucket: Office Rhinoceros—by matching mole: "This rhinoceros is a disembodied head that is mounted on the wall. To be more precise it is the right half of the head and neck and it is carved out of wood. It is a realistic enough carving that I can ID it as an Africa Black Rhinoceros although not to subspecies. My mother had this on the wall as long as I can remember, in every place she lived. When she died in 2008 I claimed it and brought it to my brand new office. My memory is hazy about the origins of the rhinoceros. I believe it may have been a gift from her father who had travelled at times during his career as a civil engineer. The back of the rhinoceros has a word branded in the back which is small and illegible—it might say 'Vimho'. There is also a red stamp that is completely unreadable. It appears to be carved from a dark tropical hardwood.Anyway this is the Daily Bucket, not Antiques Roadshow."
Products & Miscellany
Seeing the Light UPDATED - 3 Stories of Energy Efficient Lighting Making a Difference—by Xaxnar: " The incandescent light bulb has seen its day; guzzler of electricity, producer of waste heat, short of life, it is slowly but surely being supplanted by CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) and LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). If you've got one of these, then an incandescent bulb is still the way to go - but the tide is turning. (Note there are now LED models among the classics.) Follow me past the Orange Omnilepticon for a quick look at three recent stories about switching to more efficient lighting, and how it is making a difference. [...] Utilities, some local governments, environmentalists, and others have been on the efficiency bandwagon for some time, but how is it working out so far? GIGAOM has a nifty map. Home Depot is the largest retailer of light bulbs in the world, so it’s got a birds eye view on who’s buying next-generation light bulbs — both LEDs and compact fluorescents — in which cities throughout the U.S. The company took sales data for over 2013 and census data and created this heat map-style data visualization showing off the top 10 and top 50 cities that bought energy-efficient light bulbs per capita. It's not a comprehensive survey by any means, but it still provides some interesting data within the markets served by Home Depot. Who would have thought Atlanta, GA would lead the TOP 10 list, or New York wouldn't make it into the top 50?"
Toilets, Stoves, and Solar—by gmoke: "I'd like to participate in an ongoing on and off line brainstorm using Buckminster Fuller's World Game design criteria, 'How can we make the world work for 100 percent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone?" and one of Bill McDonough's Ecological Design Principles, "Use only available solar income.' Here are some free resources that are edging, gingerly, towards that possibility. 'Age of Sustainable Development (https://www.coursera.org/.... ) gives students an understanding of the key challenges and pathways to sustainable development - that is, economic development that is also socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable.'"