You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable orange squiggle.
New Video on Antarctic Melt—by greenman3610: News will be dominated today by the administrations new proposed carbon regs. This video underscores why it is so important. One of my most critical vids.
EPA's McCarthy gives aggressive speech on emissions rule. Critics see rule as too much or not enough—by Meteor Blades: "The long-awaited draft rule designed to limit carbon dioxide at existing electricity-generating plants was rolled out with a barn-burner speech from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy Monday morning. The expected myopic no-can-do barrage from the right, as well as two coal-state Democratic Senate candidates, began immediately. [...] On cue, there was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the rule 'is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class, and to representative democracy itself.' With less hyperbole, his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has strongly criticized Obama's coal policies, said in a statement that the proposed rule is 'more proof that Washington isn't working for Kentucky.'"
Abbreviated pundit roundup: Climate change edition—by Georgia Logothetis: "Brian Beutler: For obvious reasons, Republicans want reporters to believe that the Obama administration's new proposal to regulate existing coal plants will be as politically damaging to Democrats as the Affordable Care Act was four years ago. They also, just as obviously, want Democrats to believe that. And to the extent that some coal state Democrats will oppose the EPA's plan, and may even vote to pre-empt it in Congress, they can marshal evidence that the issue divides Democrats and unites Republicans. But anyone who buys into the assumption that these proposed rules will 'rival the battle over health care' is making a big, obvious error, and another smaller one."
Not so fast on uncritical support for EPA's carbon reduction proposal. It needs improvement.—by nirsnet: "You surely know by now that the Environmental Protection Agency's long-awaited proposed rules to attain carbon emission reductions from existing power plants were released yesterday. Many environmental groups already have sent out mass e-mails urging their members to support the proposal. Not so fast. Very few government rule proposals deserve unqualified support and this proposal is no exception. Indeed, it needs substantial improvement, in both its nuclear power and renewables approaches (and, for that matter, we'd like to see more carbon reductions as well; using 2005 as its baseline makes the proposal much weaker than it could and should be). The 645-page proposal includes some--oddly worded and wholly unnecessary--support for nuclear power. This support is not only unnecessary, it would be counterproductive."
What we know about Obama's Climate Action Plan—by RLMiller: "Tomorrow President Obama and Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, will announce new regulations on existing power plants to curb greenhouse gases. Details are beginning to leak in different news stories. Here's a handy run-down of what we know so far. 1. The regulations will be two-tiered: the plan will give states flexibility, will propose relatively modest reductions in the next 4 to 5 years, and will aim for a total of 25% reduction in greenhouse gases in the next 15 years. Each state will have its own target and a menu of options to implement it—cap and trade, carbon tax, etc. 2. Talk of percentage reductions is meaningless without context - 25% reduction compared to 1990 (the UN benchmark year), 2005 (a peak year, thus favored by coal industry), 2012 (which environmentalists want), or 1850 (dream on)? [...]"
Public says they won't vote for a climate change-denying president—by Hunter: "What the Republican base wants will screw the Republican Party, climate change edition: A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that the carbon emission reduction standards announced by President Obama yesterday are popular with voters across the country, and that voters have little tolerance for a presidential candidate in 2016 who doesn’t believe that climate change is caused by human activity. Given that the Republican candidate in 2016 will be required to deny exactly that, this does tend to simplify things."
Washington Post Fact Checker gives Chamber of Commerce's dire warnings Four Pinocchios—by jamess: "Glenn Kessler, fact checker [...] Note that the EPA rule said that the agency would seek a reduction of 30 percent. But on page 15 of the Chamber report, the Chamber says it assumed the rule would impose a 42 percent reduction: “The 42% emissions reduction figure was chosen because, to date, it remains the only publicly announced Administration GHG [Greenhouse Gas protocol] reduction goal for 2030. The Administration has not said whether or how this goal might be modified.” Oops. [...] The Pinocchio Test. Given the significant difference between the emission targets in the proposed rule and the assumptions in the Chamber report, Republicans should have avoided using the Chamber’s numbers in the first place. We understand that they believe the negative impact will outweigh any positive impact but even by the Chamber’s admission, these numbers do not apply at all to the EPA rule as written. [...] These early warnings tipped the GOP citation of the Chamber study into the Four-Pinocchio range."
Krugman says climate action is remarkably cheap, new EPA rules would give "U.S. economy a boost—by HoundDog: "Joe Romm of Think Progress writes Krugman: Climate Action Is ‘Remarkably Cheap,’ New EPA Rules Would Give ‘U.S. Economy A Boost. Before getting to Krugman's column which I have already reviewed below, Think Progress cites an additional encouraging study on the long-term cost of a major effort to keep global temperature from warming more than 4°F. In May, the world’s leading energy experts said we are headed towards catastrophic 11°F warming but that if we wanted to keep warming to a far safer level, under 4°F warming, it would require investment in clean energy of only about 1 percent of global GDP per year through 2050. And that investment would be astoundingly cost-effective: 'The $44 trillion additional investment needed to decarbonise the energy system … is more than offset by over $115 trillion in fuel savings—resulting in net savings of $71 trillion.'"
There’s really no more succinct way to describe it: John Boehner is full of it—by Barbara Morrill: "Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner said: Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change. And today—barely an hour after a science-heavy, 645-page EPA report was released that outlined new CO2 emission rules—Boehner proved it: The president’s plan is nuts, there’s really no more succinct way to describe it. Come on, John, at least allow enough time so you can pretend you bothered to read the report rather than just confirming that you're not qualified."
EPA Carbon Standards Give Our Kids a Fighting Chance—by Mary Anne Hitt: "As dire warnings from climate scientists continue to escalate and what were once rare extreme weather events become increasingly common, we at Sierra Club applaud today's announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency outlining its proposed protections from dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. These standards won't just take a big bite out of climate disruption, they’ll also help us tackle other serious power plant pollution that threatens our health, air and water - pollutants including soot, smog, and mercury. I've been thinking about this news all weekend, and I keep coming back to one thing - this new standard gives my daughter, and all today's kids, a fighting chance at a safe and promising future. We are the last generation of people who have the chance to turn the corner on climate disruption. I want my daughter and all kids to be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water, to enjoy snow days and fishing trips. I don't want them to face more massive wildfires, droughts, superstorms, food insecurity, breakdowns in infrastructure, and all the other unthinkable outcomes that our climate crisis could bring. As parents, we all want a better life for our children, and we now have to stand together to deliver that for them."
Republicans give the finger to proposed EPA CO2 emissions rule—by Meteor Blades: "Although mostly of the view that the Environmental Protection Agency's draft rule on limiting carbon dioxide is a move in the right direction, some critics on the environmental left don't think it goes far enough fast enough and has other problems. But for the moment, let's stick with the right-wing critics: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said: 'Today’s announcement is a dagger in the heart of the American middle class, and to representative Democracy itself,' McConnell said. 'Already reeling from the painful effects of Obamacare, the American people are now being told they have to shoulder the burdens of the President’s latest "solution" in the form of higher costs, fewer jobs, and a less reliable energy grid.'"
Oopsy. Republicans pick talking points against emissions rule from flawed Chamber of Commerce report—by Meteor Blades: "It's not unusual for elected Republicans to base public statements on 'studies' from the Heritage Foundation, or Heartland Institute or Chamber of Commerce. So, when Gina McCarthy announced the Environmental Protection Agency's emissions limiting rule for existing power plants Monday, it was no surprise to see Republicans spouting and tweeting numbers from the chamber's 66-page study on how the rule would wreck the economy. Just one problem: The chamber study wasn't based on a number that appears in the EPA's rule. As a consequence, those Republicans cluck-clucking on the supposedly horrific impact of the rule were wrong. Since anybody in a position of authority following the subject should have known better, Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post's Fact Checker, awarded these Republicans four Pinocchios. That's the Fact Checker's 'Whopper' category."
Norfolk, VA. Going, Going, Gone Underwater.—by Dartagnan: "The streets of Norfolk, Virginia, regularly flood now at high tide, often trapping people in their homes and preventing them from getting to work. The City's $24 million Chrysler Museum of Art was forced to empty its basement and move its HVAC system to the top floor of the building. Churches in Norfolk now post tide charts on their web sites so people can determine whether they can even get to church. Some churches are being sold because they can't pay their skyrocketing flood insurance premiums. Climate change is not 'debated' in Norfolk, Virginia. Due to an unfortunate confluence of global warming, the Gulf Stream, and the physical placement of the city, the sea around Norfolk Virginia, home of the largest naval base on the planet, is rising faster than anywhere else on the East Coast. Norfolk ranks behind only New Orleans in terms of American cities whose populations are threatened by rising seas."
EPA to Seek 30% Cut in Carbon Emissions - Strongest Action Ever Taken by US Govt. on Global Warming—by ericlewis0: "Breaking from The New York Times: The Environmental Protection Agency will unveil a draft proposal on Monday to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plan. The proposed rule amounts to the strongest action ever taken by the United States government to fight climate change."
My climate change letter botched and butchered by our conservative newspaper in Chattanooga—by Sandy on Signal: "A couple of weeks ago, I sent the Chattanooga Times Free Press a letter regarding climate change. It is right at 200 words, which is all they allow. They edited and redacted out the facts and dumbed it down to just the last sentence.Let’s save the planet. Whether or not some people believe it, we need to decrease CO2 emissions to save our planet. The most significant man-caused source of CO2 gases is coal-fired electrical generation. Let’s move to other energy sources such as nuclear, solar and wind to address our needs. The time to act is now. I am furious about this, so much so that I can barely type this post. My letter was based on facts and science. How dare they dumb it down like they did. We will be canceling our subscription a.s.a.p."
PAHO reports a quintupling of dengue fever in Latin America over last 10 years."—by HoundDog: "Joanna M. Foster of Think Progress writes Dengue Surges In Latin America, based on a report by the Pan American Health Organization, PAHA, showing that "cases of dengue fever have nearly quintupled in Latin American, over the last 10 years. [...] Part of the global warming trend mean that Florida, Texas are developing cases Florida experience the first outbreak in the continental U.S. in 2009-2010. In 2009-2010, Florida experienced the first dengue outbreak in the continental U.S. since the end of World War II. Last summer, there were 21 cases of denque in Florida. While California has not reported cases yet, mosquitoes carrying the virus have been found there. [...] Please notice this is one of the hidden 'external costs' of burning coal that is not included in the cost and price. So if you ever hear anyone say 'oal is the least expensive way of generating electricity, please remind them that unless the comparison includes estimates of external costs, like the health impact of ash pits, and the consequences if global warming as we see hear, they are only talking about the short-term out-of-pocket costs the utility pays."
Cosmos Episode 12 -- Ancient Greenhouse Worlds—by jamess: "Is Venus the Ultimate Poster Child for Global Warming? Venus was created at about the same time as Earth, in about the same place, and it's roughly the same size - it would therefore have started with the same materials as us, drawn together from the same region of the planet forming dust left over from the sun. But Venus now has only 0.001% of our water content, and a couple of flybys by the dynamically named Venus Express may have revealed the reason. [...] Climate scientists believe that the planet experienced a runaway greenhouse effect as the Sun gradually heated up. Astronomers believe that the young Sun was dimmer than the present-day Sun by 30 percent. Over the last 4 thousand million years, it has gradually brightened. During this increase, Venus’s surface water evaporated and entered the atmosphere. 'Water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and it caused the planet to heat-up even more. This is turn caused more water to evaporate and led to a powerful positive feedback response known as the runaway greenhouse effect,' says Grinspoon."
The Great Outdoors
Month 79: Ruth Mountain—by James Wells: "I'm lucky to have a favorite mountain. I wish everybody could. Her name is Ruth. I didn't really need the 4:45 alarm. On a mountain day, I'm always up. The important thing is to remember to shut off the alarm before I leave the room, so it doesn't wake up the rest of the family. Make tea, have breakfast, recheck a thing or two, wonder where the rest of the crew is. They arrive and off we go. We weren't quite sure whether the road would be free of snow all the way to the trailhead. Paul had been there a few weeks before and had walked more than a mile of road through some pretty deep drifts. But it's been warm, and the melt has come very early this year. Soon enough we pulled in, chatted with a few other skiers, and set off walking with our gear on our backs. The start of the trip to Ruth is the long, long walk through the valley. Luckily it's spectacular, pretty much every step of the way."
The Daily Bucket-Purple Haze On Top My Pond—by 6412093: "My water irises looked ratty this year, with yellowed leaves and no blooms. I had replanted them into their own shallow bin, barely underwater, and fertilized them with old nitrogen as part of a pond revamping. I felt sad they appeared to reject my attention. Suddenly this week, All dozen of them bloomed deep purple at once. Oh, glory! Usually I get one or two blooms all year. So here's a purpley Bucket."
GMOs REVISITED—by rgantibully: "According to the USDA the production of genetically engineered (GE) crops such as cotton, soy beans, and corn has increased dramatically in this country since 1996. In 2013, 76-85% of corn, 75-82% of cotton, and 93% of soybeans grown in the country were GMOs. The Obama Administration has approved the unrestricted growing of genetically engineered alfalfa. Herbicide-tolerant crops are those that are genetically engineered to survive the effects of herbicides that kill weeds and which are strong enough to kill the crop as well except for the genetic modification. The corn, cotton, and soybean GE crops referred to above include herbicide tolerant varieties. The corn and cotton GE crops also include insect-resistant varieties. These crops contain a gene from soil bacteria which produces a protein that is toxic to specific insect pests."
CA Coastal Commission Report: Fukushima Contamination—by Joieau: "While the levels are considered to be 'unlikely to accumulate dangerous quantities of radioactivity,' the Commission states that ongoing monitoring is 'clearly warranted.' Unfortunately, neither the federal government nor the state of California are currently testing for Fukushima radiation off the California coast. Instead, volunteers among the general public and a consortium of academic institutions are doing some occasional monitoring. The devil's in the details, as usual. The Commission relied upon early estimates of total waterborne releases that themselves relied upon TEPCO's reported figures, long found to be consistently and suspiciously low (if and when reported at all). Worse, they further relied upon a model source and source term for those releases that suffers from a conspicuous lack of knowledge of the actual physical engineering of the reactor plants that melted, exploded and burned at Daiichi."
Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases—by Steve Horn: "On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil. The U.S. Department of Interior‘s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proclaimed in a May 30 press release that the ExxonMobil offshore oil lease is part of 'President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production.'"
New silent wind turbine could generate half of a homes electric needs, says company The Archimedes—by HoundDog: "Megan Treacy of Treehugger reports Silent rooftop wind turbines could generate half of a household's energy needs A Dutch company cased The Archimedes has developed a small, highly efficient, and silent rooftop wind energy generator called the Liam1, which it claims could generate half the power a typical house would need, and which they say would be ideal for combining with solar rooftop PV panels. The company states that the Liam F1 turbine could generate 1,500 kWh of energy at wind speeds of 5m/s, enough to cover half of an average household's energy use. ... When used in combination with rooftop solar panels, a house could run off grid. "When there is wind you use the energy produced by the wind turbine; when the sun is shining you use the solar cells to produce the energy," The Archimedes CEO Richard Ruijtenbeek said."
Reduced emissions from wind energy in 2013 was equivalent to taking 20 million cars off the road—by HoundDog: "Katie Valentine of Think Progress writes Wind Energy In 2013 Was Equivalent To Taking 20 Million Cars Off The Road, and reducing emissions from power generation by 5% last year, according to a new report by the American Wind Energy Association, AWEA. The report, published by the American Wind Energy Association, found that wind energy production in 2013 resulted in carbon emissions reductions of 126.8 million tons. Some states achieved larger reductions than the national average, with 11 states reducing carbon emissions by 10 percent compared to 2011 levels through wind energy. Texas—a state which broke its record for highest wind generation ever in March—had the highest volume of carbon reductions, followed by Illinois, California, and Colorado. AWEA’s report noted that reducing carbon also carries co-benefits: sulfur dioxide emissions drop by almost 347 million pounds per year as a result of wind energy production, and nitrous oxide emissions are reduced by 214 million pounds per year."
U.S. solar energy represents 74% of all new electricity generation in 1st quarter of 2014—by HoundDog: "Kiley Kroh of Think Progress writes U.S. Residential Solar Just Beat Commercial Installations For The First Time, with solar energy accounting for 74% of all new electricity generation in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014. The first quarter of 2014 was another big one for the U.S. solar industry, with 74 percent of all new electricity generation across the country coming from solar power. The 1,330 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed last quarter bring the total in the U.S. up to 14.8 gigawatts of installed capacity—enough to power three million homes, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In addition to being the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power, a method of large-scale solar generation that uses a unique ‘salt battery’ to allow the solar plant to keep producing power even when the sun goes down, it was also the first time in the history of SEIA’s reports that residential solar installations surpassed commercial in the same time period. 232 MW of residential PV were installed in the first quarter, compared to 225 MW of commercial solar."
PA-Gov: Tom Wolf (D) & John Hanger (D) Unite To Stop Corbett (R) From Fracking State Parks & Forests—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from former gubernatorial candidate, John Hanger (D. PA), on behalf of himself and Tom Wolf's (D. PA) gubernatorial campaign: When I was secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, I wrote with Secretary Quigley the moratorium on gas drilling in public lands because scientific study concluded that further drilling would irreparably harm our state forests and parks. By lifting this moratorium, Governor Corbett has proven yet again that he's willing to give away our state's natural resources to big oil and gas companies at the expense of the environment, our state constitution, and the people of Pennsylvania. If you're as upset by this as I am, then you have to join me in signing Tom Wolf's petition to keep new gas drilling out of Pennsylvania public lands."
North Carolina still on track to make disclosure of fracking chemicals illegal—by Hunter: "It seems like this ought to have been a settled issue since the days after Love Canal: No, companies should not be allowed to put whatever chemicals they like in whatever proportions they like into our groundwater while invoking the sacred corporate doctrine of sucks to be you. How is this even up for discussion? And it's not even just up for discussion, the elected governments of various states have been going to the mat for the right not only to put whatever chemicals they like into the groundwater, but to make it illegal for anyone else to mention what those chemicals might be. North Carolina lawmakers have softened a controversial bill that would have made it a felony to disclose the chemicals used in fracking. Under the version of the law that passed the state legislature on Thursday, the offense has been knocked down [from a felony] to a misdemeanor. Oh, good, only a misdemeanor."
NC-Sen: CREDO Action Labels Thom Tillis (R) "Most Pro-Fracking Senate Candidate"—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from CREDO Action regarding U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis (R. NC): North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis just lifted North Carolina’s moratorium on fracking by pushing through the worst pro-fracking bill ever passed by a state legislature. Tillis is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, hoping to bring this extreme pro-fracking agenda to Washington, and take one of the 6 seats from Democrats that Republicans need to seize control of the Senate. The fracking bill, which is expected to be signed by North Carolina’s governor and become law, is astounding. It lifts the state's moratorium on fracking, blocks local governments from protecting themselves against fracking, and makes it a crime to disclose the toxic chemicals used in fracking."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
(Video) Senator Elizabeth Warren on EPA's New Clean Power Plan—by Seattle Socialist.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Global Warming and Embraced Coal—by Merlin1963: "I don't know about you all, but this political campaign for the U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky has some warped priorities. We have two people running for higher office at a time of critical change in our global environment who are embracing an energy strategy from the 19th and early 20th Century. What's worse is that energy policy will not bring economic growth to Kentucky. Eventually, it leads to an economic dead end for Kentucky workers. So we have no real proposals for economic development in Kentucky. No discussion about global climate change, except that it is a myth for one of the candidates. And as for an important issue for Kentuckians, healthcare for hundreds of thousands in the state, we have one character that wants to take it away, and the other can't be bothered to talk about it. I will need more than a Rolaids when this race is done."
Unions, Climate Change and Keystone—by laborlou: "Critics of the EPA’s proposed rules to curb carbon emissions are quick to cite opposition by some key unions. While pushback by Mine Workers, IBEW, Boilermakers and others will be used by coal industry advocates to fight Obama’s climate change agenda, union influence on the policy won’t amount to much. [...] One consequence of the political fight, I suspect, will be to bring out Obama’s tendency to balance the scale. Don’t be surprised, therefore, during the EPA’s carbon emission brawl, if the administration releases its decision to greenlight the keystone pipeline, assuring environmentalists that its impact on climate change is marginal."
HI-Sen: Brian Schatz's (D) New Ad Highlights His Work Fighting For Clean Energy & The Environment—by poopdogcomedy: "Received this e-mail today from Senator Brian Schatz's (D. HI) campaign: There's a good chance you already know that Senator Schatz has emerged as a national leader in building a clean energy economy and fighting climate change. Former Vice President Al Gore even called him a 'breath of fresh air' on clean energy leadership and 'a true champion for the future.' But if you’ve ever wondered where his commitment to promote clean energy comes from, you should check out our newest ad. It’s simple: Senator Schatz believes all our kids deserve a cleaner and more sustainable future, powered by clean, renewable energy rather than the dirty energy sources of the past."
Trade & Foreign Policy
China Pledges to Cap Carbon Emissions: Obama's Bilateral Talks Succeeded—by FishOutofWater: "The day after President Obama announced his plan to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants 30% from 2005 levels, China's climate chairman has announced that, for the first time, China will place an absolute cap on carbon emissions. In tandem, these announcements are critical to stopping runaway climate warming because China and the U.S. are the top two global greenhouse gas emitters. With this leadership from the top two emitters the next phase of U.N. climate talks have a much greater chance at success. Republican critics of Obama's plan to cut emissions by 30% have lost their most powerful talking point - that China's businesses would profit at our expense. This bilateral progress means that China will make a greater commitment to wind and solar technology. The real threat to America's business is Republican opposition to state and federal programs to encourage research and development of renewable energy technologies because that's where the future of the energy business is. Republican intransigence on clean energy will aid Chinese businesses and hurt America."
U.S. Commerce Department imposes steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels made with certain components—by HoundDog: "This move is controversial in the U.S. solar industry. While manufacturers of solar panels are delighted, 'developers, installers, and consumers have been helped' by the tremendous drop in prices of solar panels. Also, China has imposed a counter-tariff on American polysilicon, the primary ingredient of traditional solar photovoltaic panels. Another interesting fact we learn from this informative and detailed article by Diane Cardwell is that the recent U.S. Justice Department indictments of five Chinese military leaders for espionage against American companies included SolarWorld as one of the major targets of the Chinese, who allegedly hacked into their computers after SolarWorld filed its trade complaint against Chinese manufacturers."
Wolf Advocacy Groups Support Montana Wolf Conservation Stamp—by ban nock: "Wolves of the Rockies, Living with Wolves, Endangered Species Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Montana Wildlife Federation all spoke up in favor of a Wolf Stamp at a public meeting of the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) the week before last, said Zak Strong wildlife advocate with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC). In a rare instance of unanimity every person who spoke at the meeting praised the establishment of a stamp and the FWP commission voted unanimously for the proposal. [Revenue from the stamp would go: 1) to help livestock ranchers pay for non-lethal ways to control predators; 2) for wolf studies, educating the public about wolves and land purchases for wolf habitat, and 3) to hire wildlife police to assist in stopping poaching and other criminal behavior relating to wolves and other species."
Bear gets Cozy in Florida Neighborhood—by jamess: "One might think this was a 'domesticated' bear ... No, it's only very curious, and very very tired, it seems. In Florida, one could coin a new term for black bears: Pets. Or maybe: Pests.
Some have gotten into the habit, it seems, of visiting neighborhoods there, and on Thursday, one was caught literally hanging around—in a Daytona Beach man's hammock."
The Promised Land of the Robobee, Monsanto and DARPA—by Reverend Billy: "Let’s consider for a moment the Honey Bee and its anticipated replacement, The RoboBee. Let’s pay a visit to the frankenbee’s parents, Monsanto and DARPA. The RoboBee is a mechanical bee in the design stage at the Micro-Robotics Lab, housed in a well-appointed building at Harvard University. The RoboBee project’s Intelligence Office declares that the robotic inventors are inspired by the bee. The RoboBee project’s website and press releases use the imagery of the golden bees that we remember from our love of the cuddly buzzy honey-maker. But something is wrong with this enterprise. While the RoboBee’s press is nearly all positive, and open-faced students have posted euphoric UTube reports of their robotic work, the whole thing looks quite different to the people of the beekeeping community, who can’t help but point out that the real life Honey Bees and Bumble Bees are plummeting toward extinction."
The Daily Bucket--When You Look into the Animal, the Animal Looks into You—by 6412093: "Many of us know the risks of projecting human traits onto the animals we love. In a well-known instance, bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell thought he had gained the trust of Grizzly Bears in Alaska, until the bears ate him. German director Werner Herzog documented that tragedy in a 2005 documentary, Grizzly Man. My own studies focus on a creature far more modest that the grizzly; the American coot. [...] I work part time at a golf course, carved out of farmland in northwest Oregon, with 4 multi-acre ponds. Lots of coots are always in these ponds. They are kind of goofy looking, and run awkwardly on both land and water rather than fly. Once a young coot picked up my golf ball and dropped it closer to the hole, prompting my companions to accuse me of training the coot. The young coot probably thought it was a very hard egg. Nonetheless, the coot's assistance warmed my heart, and I began observing the coots very closely over the last year."
Coastside Fishing Club Will Acclimate 360,000 King Salmon This Year—by Dan Bacher: "The Coastside Fishing Club will receive 360,000 young king salmon from the state-run Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville this spring and release them into the ocean after feeding them and allowing them to become accustomed to ocean waters. 'This year's effort aims to increase the number of adult salmon in the ocean fishery, primarily in 2016, by allowing these young fish to bypass dangers such as deadly water project pumps and aquatic predators lurking in the degraded Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,' according to Marc Gorenik of the Half Moon Bay-based non-profit organization. 'State and federal water projects, now aggravated by drought, have decimated populations of young salmon seeking their way to the Pacific Ocean.' Using donations and volunteer labor from its membership, Coastside Fishing Club purchased, assembled and floated a specially designed floating net pen that is anchored in Pillar Point Harbor."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: A "Bipartisan" Transport Bill You Can Support—by BruceMcF: "For me, when I hear the word "bipartisan", my first reaction is to brace myself to confront a piece of corporate mischief making being peddled under the excuse that there is some other piece of corporate mischief making that is even worse and this bad policy will stop ... or sometimes just delay ... that even worse policy from being implemented. However, since the appeal came from Transportation for America, I was willing to keep reading and see what was in it: Most taxpayers would agree that the level of government closest to the people should have more control over how transportation dollars get spent in their local communities. Yet local cities, towns and counties control less than 15 percent of all federal transportation dollars. If you think that needs to change, then stop what you’re doing and ask your representatives to cosponsor this critical, bipartisan bill. It would give local communities more access to federal transportation funds that they can invest in homegrown transportation plans and projects that they control."
Eco-Philosophy & Eco-Essays
The Fuel-Less Future—by LewS: "If there are any historians around in a thousand years’ time I am sure they will divide the story of the human race into three periods; pre and post the fossil-fuel age and the fossil-fuel age itself, which only lasted a few hundred years. It would be seen as an age of extraordinary development, mass education, mass consumption and mass destruction, how it ended is up to us and our immediate descendants."
Getting Serious on the REAL Climate Change Problem: June 2, 2014 is C-Day—by xaxnar: "The real Climate Change problem is simple: people. People with money, power, political ideology, etc. who oppose any action on Climate Change for a variety of reasons, none of them good. Protecting personal wealth based on the status quo, knee-jerk opposition to the President and the Democratic party, a world view that is based on blind faith delusions like 'free' markets or disbelief in the power of government for the public good - for these and other reasons they are actively denying Climate Change or our ability/responsibility to do anything about it. They have done their best to spread confusion and doubt, and resorted to blatant obstructionism. They've done their best to stir up opposition among the people. And make no mistake. There are good people out there who have doubts about Climate Change. The kindest thing that can be said about them is that they are mistaken, confused, uninformed, or misled; we've never been up against a problem like this before so it's not surprising some are having trouble keeping up."
Running Nature's Numbers—by arlenegoldbard: "In contrast to the widely held view that biodiversity is an intrinsic good (rendering imperative the preservation of species), one of [Mark] Tercek’s main scientists, Peter Kareiva, has repeatedly and publicly questioned both the negative impact of human interventions on biodiversity and indeed, the value of biodiversity itself. Max roots Kareiva’s views in a couple of epiphanies: the evident lack of negative impact when exotic ladybugs moved onto Mount St. Helens after the eruption; and Kareiva’s sympathy for the plight of Washington State timber workers opposing protection of forestlands to save the spotted owl. These scraps of experience tumble down a mountain of theories and numbers, acquiring heft until they wind up as bedrock principle: 'The new science of conservation would be data-based, corporate-friendly, and anti-elitist.'"
Growth Rates and their Ultimate Limits—by jamess: "What happens to a well-stocked fish tank, that no one bothers to keep on sprinkling the 'fish food'? Eventually you end up with one very FAT fish. And eventually even that over-bloated fish dies. In 1972 a group of systems dynamics professors wrote a book called The Limits to Growth. The book explored future scenarios through a computer model dubbed World3, which crunched real world data (resource consumption, fertility rates, etc.) in an attempt to predict the path of human civilization. When finished, what World3 spit out was not very encouraging: it predicted complete system collapse roughly halfway through this century. Think of this collapse as the Mad Max scenario: due to dramatic declines in food and resources, the human population plummets as it suffers from starvation, pollution and war. The culprit? Economic growth and human consumption. Every year our economy grows, our population grows, and our standard of living increases. We consume more and more resources at a faster and faster rate, outstripping the earth’s ability to sustain us. What happens to a well-stocked planet, that runs out of resources, before it runs out of resource retailers? Eventually you end up with one very RICH Resource-extractor class. And eventually even that over-indulged 'fish' flounders."
The Family Afterward: West Virginia Four Months After The Freedom Industries Chemical Spill—by Virally Suppressed: "[T]he fact of the matter is that Kami—the little girl I described above—is not a little girl. She is a 22-year-old woman. She knows how to bait a hook; how to cast a fishing rod. She's done those things thousands of times before, but can't now. Her body simply won't let her since she suffered a series of small strokes last summer and developed a hemiparesis that has drained the muscles on the left side of her body of their vitality and dexterity. Kami isn't learning how to fish. She's re-learning how to fish while only using half of her body. Read the vignette again and everything that was cute is now cruel, the awkward stumblings of a young fawn replaced with the lame faltering of that fawn's mother after being crippled by buckshot. Why it is her body won't let her and why she had those strokes is a medical mystery that puzzles the world-class physicians at The Cleveland Clinic, but I can assure you that at least part of the explanation lies in the fact that Kami lives in Charleston, West Virginia."
The Earth Is Our Lifeboat, and We Are Ruining It—by Hammerhand: "Tiny little thing, isn't she. She's all we have in this universe, our only home, and our only shelter. She's everything to us, and gripping her tightly we bob along together. She's our little lifeboat. She carries a finite amount of nearly all essential resources, and the protected environment she provides is a closed system; any upset can have ubiquitously devastating consequences throughout the system. If it's disrupted beyond a certain point that's IT for us."
Fit for a Satire: A Climate Denial Op-Ed in WSJ—by ForecastRyan: "Last holiday weekend, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed denying that 97% of scientists agree climate change is due to human activities and dangerous. Joseph Bast and Dr. Roy Spencer, both affiliated with climate denial experts at the Heartland Institute, penned it and dipped into the usual denier misdirection playbook—using partial facts and a flimsy scientific support for their positions. Bast and Spencer lament that the surveys backing up the 97% figure only cover whether climate change is happening and man-made but not dangerous. What's interesting here is that Bast and Spencer don't dispute that 97% of scientists agree climate change is caused by human activity—just that the independent survey didn't also include whether they agree it's 'dangerous.' Perhaps more interesting is that Bast and Spencer contend the scientific consensus the 97% figure represents 'doesn't reveal much of interest.' This is coming from the group that in 2012 paid for a billboard in metro Chicago comparing people who accept climate science to the Unabomber."
Global Warming & Oligarchs Go Way Back—by Reinvented Daddy: "Since we in the reality based community have accepted that global warming is happening I have heard wishful thinking that this will eventually force the 1% Luddites to get in line, possibly even forcing an economic realignment. Doubtful. History shows us that great economic or environmental disaster most often benefit the oligarchs. Look at the Great Recession which has facilitated the greatest transfer of wealth from the masses to the masters since, at least, the 19th century AND seen conservative governments entrenched in much of the 1st world. Restricting the supply of resources for a growing population is a breeding ground for sociopathic oligarchs. Keeping the Earth clean and cool is not just a quality of life issue, it is undeniably necessary to keep a safe and democratic culture thriving."
Central California: That Place Where Farming Might Make Nearby Mountain Ranges Grow—by terrypinder: "A new paper was published in Nature that is very interesting. Using long-term GPS readings a research group has determined that in central California, the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada rise and fall out of phase with the seasons, and the cause is likely due to long-term groundwater depletion for agriculture. Anyone who has been to California’s Central Valley or lives there knows it’s sinking. The reason why is the same reason it’s the nation’s Garden Spot: agriculture. The need for water in a semi-arid climate has caused the valley floor to drop some nine meters (29 feet) in places. This subsidence is damaging in itself. It cracks roads, pipelines, the California aqueduct, and other infrastructure. Some areas have subsided below sea level, forcing the need for levee systems that are poorly maintained. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Subsidence can be bad enough as it is. Subsidence coupled with sea-level rise, as Norfolk, VA is discovering, is a slow-motion disaster just waiting for that cascading failure to make it a total catastrophe."