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Yosemite, with half dome in the background
Yosemite, with half dome in the background
Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views  (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Wednesday Spotlight can be seen here. So far, more than 18,900 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.
Documents: Cheniere Fuels ALEC’s New Push for Fracked Gas Exports—by Steve Horn: "Today, legislative and lobbyist members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) voted on model legislation promoting both exports of gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Dubbed a 'corporate bill mill' by its critics, ALEC is heavily engaged in a state-level effort to attack renewable energy and grease the skids for exports of U.S. oil and gas. Today's bills up for a vote — as conveyed in an ALEC mailer sent out on June 25 by ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force — are titled “Resolution In Support of Expanded Liquefied Natural Gas Exports' and 'Weights and Measures and Standards for Dispensing CNG and LNG Motor Fuels.' An exclusive investigation conducted by DeSmogBlog reveals that Cheniere — the first U.S. company to receive a final liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permit by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — has acted as the lead corporate backer of the LNG exports model resolution."
green dots
California 100% Green energy by 2050 1,000 of jobs, billions saved in healthcare costs—by Things Come Undone: "Stanford University has a new study showing that while a wind, water and sunlight conversion may result in initial capital cost increases, such as the cost of building renewable energy power plants, these costs would be more than made up for over time by the elimination of fuel costs. The overall switch would reduce California’s end-use power demand by about 44 percent and stabilize energy prices, since fuel costs would be zero, according to the study. It would also create a net gain, after fossil-fuel and nuclear energy job losses are accounted for, of about 220,000 manufacturing, installation and technology construction and operation jobs. On top of that, the state would reap net earnings from these jobs of about $12 billion annually."
green dots
USDA releases Final Rule on Poultry Inspection—by Pakalolo: "Yesterday, the USDA released the final rule on a new inspection system for poultry products. The system will transfer a majority of poultry inspections from government inspectors to self-policing by the companies themselves. While Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new system 'places our trained inspectors where they can better ensure food is being processed safely,' Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter counters that 'the one USDA inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every second–an impossible task that leaves consumers at risk.' In 2013 the Government Accountability Office released a scathing analysis, questioning whether USDA had sufficient data to make such radical changes."

You can find more rescued green diaries below the sustainable squiggle.

Eco-Related DC & State Politics

Endorsement: Ruben Gallego, a Climate Hawk in Arizona—by RL Miller: "It's a rare chance to elect a climate hawk in the House of Representatives this year in Phoenix, Arizona. Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse Ruben Gallego in Arizona's 7th Congressional District, in a Democratic primary August 26. Here's the setup. Retiring Rep. Ed Pastor has represented the deep blue district, but he's apparently taken a vow of climate silence—he's scored a grand total of 3 points, out of 100, on our climate leadership scorecard covering Congressional Democrats by cosponsoring a handful of solar bills and otherwise ducking the issue. The front-runners are Iraq war veteran Ruben Gallego and county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, facing each other (and assorted others) in less than five weeks. Gallego's announcement focused on climate change and wage disparity: 'There really needs to be an argument on these issues, also from a Hispanic perspective,' he said. 'I think we need Hispanic congressmen and congresswomen to start stepping up and talking about climate change, start talking about a living wage or at least a higher minimum wage, because that directly impacts Latinos here in this country'" He opposes both the Keystone pipeline and the Rosemont copper mine, and he wants to bring more solar energy (and jobs!) to the sunny state. Rep. Raul Grijalva, MoveOn, Dolores Huerta, and DailyKos are among his endorsers. And a week after Climate Hawks Vote made its endorsement, League of Conservation Voters joined in."

MI-Gov: Schauer (D) Economic Plan Includes Bigger Clean Energy Mandate—by poopdogcomedy: "So Mark Schauer (D. MI) revealed his 10-point jobs plan: He calls it 'Blueprint, A Plan that Works for Everyone.' It calls for more funding for education, roads and alternative energy to create jobs in those fields. It also calls for undoing the shifts in the tax burden imposed by the current republican majority. The plan also calls for some incentive and loan programs to attract new employers to the state and to help entrepreneurs with start-ups of their own. Schauer says Michigan remains mired with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, because of Governor Snyder's policies."

Climate Chaos

Highest recorded combined global temp for a June; Record increase in exceptional drought for CA—by Laurence Lewis: "From the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for June 2014 was the highest on record for the month, at 0.72°C (1.30°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F). The global land surface temperature was 0.95°C (1.71°F) above the 20th century average of 13.3°C (55.9°F), the seventh highest for June on record. For the ocean, the June global sea surface temperature was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), the highest for June on record and the highest departure from average for any month. The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–June period (year-to-date) was 0.67°C (1.21°F) above the 20th century average of 13.5°C (56.3°F), tying with 2002 as the third warmest such period on record."

3rd Crater Found In Siberia. Earth's "Dragon Breath" Is Coming To Life.—by pollwatcher: "The one thing we can predict with certainty about Global Warming is, we are in for many surprises as our climate convulses from it's relative stability of the recent past, to who knows what lies ahead in the future. Yet another explosive hole has been found in Siberia.  The 3rd crater was found hundreds of miles to the east of the first 2 craters. It seems this crater has a similar structure to the others. As scientists continue to study this phenomenon, some are leaning toward a theory. Large spikes of methane being released into the atmosphere above Siberia may be tied to the mysterious craters which have appeared in the landscape, according to a US scientist. ... The geologist's blog links the craters to climate change, as the melting Siberian permafrost is allowing the greenhouse gas to escape and create the enormous holes. There is not a consensus yet as to what is really happening in Siberia, but new data are being collected and the dots are starting to connect."

Top scientists urge Obama White House to aggressively reduce Methane to stop climate tipping points—by VL Baker: "The results of our over-consumption of fossil fueled energy have hit the fan in a big way and we are rapidly entering a period of irreversible climate extremes. Top climate scientists are trying to bring attention to solutions that could help in stopping or at the least slowing our rapid progression to an unlivable planet.
Top climate scientists have sent a letter to the White House requesting a rapid reduction of Methane and other short lived climate pollutants. [...] Excerpted from letter: As evidence continues to mount that serious climate change impacts are already upon us,  research indicates that mitigation of short-lived pollutants such as methane can play a significant role in slowing the rate of climate change, while producing many co-benefits for human health and food security. To support the accurate evaluation of the benefits of methane mitigation, the Administration and agencies should develop a two-track strategy directed at limiting both long-term warming and the near-term rate of warming. Doing this requires using the GWP for methane (and other short-lived warming agents) that accurately reflects the latest science and provides decision-makers the best possible understanding of and options for addressing both near- and long-term climate change and disruption: specifically, a 20-year GWP of 86 and a 100-year GWP of 34. The challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2ºC is much more difficult than is apparent using only GWP-100 in the analyses, and only development of both near- and long-term strategies has the potential for success that the Administration is striving for."

CNN Bill Weir's Climate Change Tweet - "Mostly True"—by JDWolverton: "Sometimes it's a case of screw it. Bill Weir of CNN succumbed to his inner id and tweeted what he really thought instead of the steady "both sides" false equivalency so embraced by by the main stream media. I didn't know CNN allowed their reporters to state facts."

Weather is not climate, you willfully ignorant fucksticks. MT @foxnation: Climate Doesn’t Cooperate With Al Gore
Triggers to Global Warming—by yunohu: "Here are some of the possible triggers of global warming.  At what point they might occur, scientists are not sure. 1) Melting of the Greenland icecap: causing rising sea, more free water (dark, so it absorbs heat), less ice (white, so it reflects heat), in the Arctic Ocean, thereby accelerating heating: this is in process & accelerating; 5) Thawing of permafrost, which is beginning in some places, and can have catastrophic results because it contains so much carbon, including methane; 8) An ocean that becomes so saturated with carbon dioxide, which it seems to be nearing, that it no longer can be a carbon sink whereby atmospheric carbon dioxide can be absorbed, thus no longer providing a modifying effect on carbon accumulation in the atmosphere, thus increasing the rate at which carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide increase is accompanied by oxygen decrease, and low-oxygen or 'dead zones' in oceans have greatly expanded in recent years. [...] A certain amount of global warming is tolerable but beyond a certain point, particularly if any of these triggers are set off, we’re in deep trouble. Maybe we could tolerate one or two of the milder ones, but beyond that I don’t think we can. Temperatures are likely to go far beyond the 2 degrees scientists have said we can take. And the time frame for us rising several degrees could be just a few years.  It may already be too late now to avoid these tipping points, because we’ve been too slow to act, but if there’s any chance of stopping it, we should do all that we can now to avoid it."

Food, Agriculture & Gardening

Monsanto's Minions—by mem from somerville: "Well, the newest minion into the hall of fame is none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson! That's right, despite having no relationship with Big Ag, Monsanto, or a job associated with them in any way--Neil is being called an ignorant shill all over the place. [...] But wait, there's more! The notorious FoodBabe thinks this: Is he hiding under a rock and playing dumb? Or just placating to the big food and chemical companies? Yes, Neil is playing dumb. Of course. It couldn't be that he's looked at the evidence and the claims. A number of scientists have offered to help her understand--well, a lot of things—but she's not really interested in their help. [...] As a new Monsanto Minion, though, he's in good company. You know who else has been called that? Elizabeth Warren. That's right--the Organic Consumers' Association awarded her the title. Activists subsequently pulled a stunt at the Congressional Offices to present these awards. Part of me thinks it's amusing that Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elizabeth Warren get the same treatment I do around the web. But seriously--cut this shit out. This Monsanto mania is really becoming pathological. This unhinged lashing-out at people who have evaluated the science and come to the conclusion that GMOs are not the spawn of Satan is really nuts. Let's make a few things clear. You'd think this would be obvious to the reality-based community, but apparently it's not."

apple tree
The Daily Bucket: These apples be cursed—by Elizaveta: "My lands came with a castle tower, guarded by two tall, strong sentries. In the years since I took possession of this domain, the tower has crumbled to the ground, and only one sentry remains alive. Follow me below the winding orange path to hear my tale and heed my warnings. The original lord of this domain built his young daughter a castle tower for no other reason than she requested he do so, and because he so loved her, he could not refuse. Constructed of wood, it stood tall and strong and included a rampart where one could keep watch. The next lord brought in two sentries to guard the entrance to the tower, but asked a passing wizard to disguise them as Stark Spire apple trees that provided little fruit or shade, so left many wondering what use they were at all. Then I took possession of the lands. The young knights and ladies (who behaved more like knights than young ladies) spent much time in the tower, entering properly through the door and climbing the ladder to reach the rampart or savagely scaling the outer walls. The tower was constantly under some sort of siege.  Little attention was paid to the sentries unless the apples were ready to use for sustenance or to repel approaching enemies. Weather and time gradually wore the tower, and it had to come down lest it collapse under the weight of a growing knight. One sentry eventually died for reasons undetermined. The remaining lone sentry stands in the field guarded by a circle of fencing that affords it some protection from the grazing beasts."

You can now eat your Wheaties: Huge food corporation goes green—by VL Baker: "Oxfam International spoke and General Mills listened. Now General Mills, one of the largest global food corporations, makers of Taco Bell, Pillsbury, Cheerios and yes, Wheaties, has made a huge commitment to the greening of all its operations including the sourcing of its mega appetite for global food products. General Mills is the first and largest food corporation to commit to greening its products based on the scientific evidence of global warming.  James West writing at Grist bring us us the good news. Policy statement from General Mills: As a global food company, General Mills recognizes the risks that climate change presents to humanity, our environment and our livelihoods. Changes in climate not only affect global food security but also impact General Mills’ raw material supply which, in turn, affects our ability to deliver quality, finished product to our consumers and ultimately, value to our shareholders. So yes, its about their bottom line but this is the type of decision that will turn our climate crisis around and bring other mega corporations on board."

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 10.23—by Frankenoid: "We've had more weirdly cold weather in Denver this past week, along with a healthy and extended dump of rain. One July 30 we set a record low-high, with the temperature topping out at 62°—a whopping 5° higher than the overnight low. Along with the cold came thunderstorms.  We had tornado warnings, and at one point the entire state, except the farthest northeast corner, were under flood watches and warnings. My area of Denver received about 3.5 inches of rain during the storm and now the weeds are growing like, well, weeds."

The Daily Bucket--To Every Time—by 6412093: "To every time, there is a season, the Book of Ecclesiastes tells us.  And at this time it is the season for grapes and cattails to burst with energy."The grape pictures are from June 21 and July 24.

Garden Pests - Including Squash Beetles and Vine Borers—by SemperEducandis: "Stink bugs, vine borer beetles, caterpillars, Oh My!  All of those nasties can make your gardening life less than pleasant; they are really terrible to have get into your crops. I use four main approaches and several other minor ones.  The first two are simple, insecticidal soap and light-weight horticultural oil (also known as orchard oil) sprayed on the vines. The soap will kill the caterpillars —and any bug eggs!— which it gets on. The ones already inside the vine are not going to get hit with that (being already protected inside), so I follow up the soap spray with a goodly dousing of horticultural oil spray. The oil spray will fill up the hole they bored into, to begin with, and cover any other entry spots, cutting off oxygen to the insect inside the vine. The caterpillar will either die of asphyxiation inside the vine, or else bore its way out to get some air, where they become susceptible to being eaten by a bird or other insect, or getting the soap spray or more oil on them (killing them as well), or being exposed to one or more of the other two bullets in the anti-critter-pillar gun."

Energy & Conservation

Nuclear Industry Deceptions: Child Sacrifice—by Joieau: "In the grandiose and not so noble tradition of Big Tobacco and Big Fossil Fuels' climate change denial theater, the world nuclear industry and its pet governments keep resisting the implications of epidemiological studies that have repeatedly and overwhelmingly demonstrated an increased incidence of childhood leukemias in populations living near operating nuclear power plants. The "debate" has been going on since the 1980s, and has generated more scientific studies and articles than any other area of public health toxicology (i.e., asbestos, lead, tobacco smoke). More than 70% of the studies over those 30+ years demonstrate increases in leukemia incidence along with clear associations with nearby nukes. Per Korblein and Fairlie, 2012 [Int J Cancer 131: 2970-2971], that amounted to a "statistically significant" 37% increase in childhood leukemias within 5 km of almost all nuclear power plants in the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland."


Be Green and save money with solar electric
—by mperkel: "Generally being green is more expensive and inconvenient. For example, I'd love to have a Tesla, but I don't have $100,000 and the charging is just too long. But my new solar system not only is green and saves money—but costs nothing down. Solar City just comes out and installs it and I save money. I've been thinking about going solar for years and waiting for the right time. Never quit had the $15,000 cash to lay out and would have to wait some 8 years for payback assuming electric rates keep going up. But then with Solar City's deal I don't have to put any money down and wait a decade to break even. The way it works is they come out and put it in and then they become my electricity provider. I still get a small PG&E bill for the meter and gas I use, but the rest is billed from Solar City. Yes±technically I could have saved even more if I built my own or bought one outright. And probably could have done that. But SolarCity is one of Elon Musk’s companies (as in Tesla motors and SpaceX) and I like what he’s doing to improve the world so I decided not just to do what’s easy but I feel good about giving them my business."


Fracking F&*%ing Balance Sheets—by patbahn: "I have been extremely skeptical of fracking for years. When people raved about how it's wrecking the environment  (It is). I said it will end. When people raved about how it's the miracle energy (It isn't). I said it will end. When people worried about if it was causing earthquakes (it does) I said it will end. When people said it was leaking greenhouse gasses, I said it would end. Well, looks like the EIA has finally caught on to the scam."

Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry—by Renewable Rider: "Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL's northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights on ending all tar sands exploitation. The Obama administration's latest election year delay on Keystone North is not a victory, but the dominoes continue to fall. Earlier this year, a citizen lawsuit denied TransCanada a route through Nebraska. Last month, it lost its permit through South Dakota. Now it faces a gauntlet of "Cowboys & Indians" vowing to stop it in its tracks. We cannot let up until Keystone North is vanquished, but all signs point to President Obama nixing TransCanada's cross-border permit after the November elections. Don't just take my word for it."

The Great Outdoors

The Daily Bucket - high summer in a willow woodland—by OceanDiver: "July 2014. San Juan Islands, PNW. Across this field is an island of scrubby, mostly deciduous trees. The bare branches of winter are now bursting with shades of green in high summer. It's an unusual forest ecosystem for the Pacific Northwest which tends to be coniferous. By all accounts it's been there like that for as long as the county has been settled, while most of such scraggly brush was cleared for rangeland and hay fields and homes. The diversity of plants and animals in this remnant is surprising, especially considering the challenging physical conditions there. I took a walk through these woods a few days ago, and can show you some of what's going on there. Even in a few minutes stroll, it was evident how much more diversity there is here in comparison to the fields surrounding it. This small woodland is an oasis of native species. [...] Shade-loving Baldhip Roses (Rosa gymnocarpa) are also in fruit."


Random Backyard Hummingbirds—by not4morewars:

Will Obama administration inaction lead to a major fish kill on the Klamath?—by Dan Bacher: "An estimated 68,000 fish perished in the largest kill of adult salmon in U.S. history, spurred by low, warm water conditions resulting from Vice-President Dick Cheney’s intervention in the development of a 10-year water plan for the Klamath. ( Twelve years later, the potential for another fish kill looms over the Klamath River- this time under the Obama administration. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Wednesday, July 30 rejected pleas by Indian Tribes, scientists and river communities in the Klamath Basin to release water to protect migrating adult salmon from a potential major fish kill in the low, warm conditions caused by a historic drought. Bureau of Reclamation officials said they would release extra water into the Trinity and Klamath rivers only once salmon start dying from disease, but not before."

The Oceans, Water & Drought

How to Beat Drought: Clayton County, GA 2007 Flashback—by gmoke: "Thinking about the drought news, I remembered this diary from the 2007 drought in Georgia and the Southeast USA about Clayton County which designed a wastewater recharge system that saved them from the worst aspects of that drought.  Thought it might be useful to remind people, especially Californians, of this story now. Clayton County officials say their area is the only one in Metro Atlanta not struggling with severe drought. 'It's raining every day in Clayton County,' said Michael Thomas, general manager of the Clayton County Water Authority. 'We're putting 10 million gallons of water a day back in.' Drought fears struck Clayton more than 20 years ago, and county officials started to think ahead. The result: an elaborate series of 21 man-made wetlands and reservoirs that allows the county to collect 10 million gallons of wastewater a day and eventually convert it to drinking water."

Alert! Do not drink the water in Toledo Ohio and Surrounding Areas inc. parts of Michigan.—by OllieGarkey: "And don't give it to your pets. Local news is reporting that a Harmful Algae Bloom has contaminated the water in Lake Erie. This algae has released certain chemicals including Microcystin, a deadly cyanotoxin too small to be filtered using normal water treatment techniques. DO NOT BOIL WATER. BOILING WATER WILL ONLY INCREASE THE CONCENTRATION OF MICROCYSTIN IN YOUR WATER, as the toxin is completely unaffected by heat, and as the water will boil away, the toxin will remain. DO NOT COOK with this water, it will only make the water more toxic. The toxin attacks the liver, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and numbness. Skin contact with contaminated water can cause a rash. In some people, it can create a sensation similar to being drunk. The good news: Current detected levels of the toxin are so low that the local government is saying that healthy adults can wash their hands, and shower, but children should be supervised to guarantee that they do not consume any of the water."

Tunnel Opponents Rally Against Brown Water Plan—by Dan Bacher: "Restore the Delta (RTD) held a news conference and big rally at the State Capitol on Tuesday, July 29, to submit tens of thousands of public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s peripheral tunnels and to call for a new Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). Hundreds of people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, environmentalists, Delta farmers and environmental justice advocates, showed up to to protest Jerry Brown’s tunnel plans. The opponents charged that the EIR/EIS process has been fatally flawed due to its lack of public outreach to non-English speakers, failure to present a funding plan, exclusion of any non-tunnels alternative, and scientists’ identification of numerous 'red flags.'"

Transportation and Infrastructure

California HSR gets a needed boost—by Zwenkau: "The Los Angeles Times had a news item about this, but don't waste your time reading their article, as the reporter they regularly assign these stories has shown himself time and time again to have an axe to grind against HSR.  Instead, read Robert Cruickshank's piece, at his 'California High Speed Rail Blog'; he's an expert at making the case for this addition to our infrastructure.  The current blog piece is here. And for those of you who prefer the 'executive summary,' here's the opening statement—which really does give you what you need to know…. 'The summer of 2014 is the summer that high speed rail in California made its great comeback. First came the Legislature’s approval of spending cap-and-trade funds on the HSR project, ensuring billions of new dollars would flow to it and thus giving it a critical financial boost. Now comes the long awaited ruling in the state’s appeal of last year’s decision that threatened to destroy the project entirely, the ruling that said the California High Speed Rail Authority had violated Proposition 1A by approving a funding plan that didn’t secure all the money it needed. Today the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the lower court ruling and handed a huge legal victory to the CHSRA.'"

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Aug 02, 2014 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Change SOS.

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