The spotlight is a weekly, categorized compilation of links and excerpts from environmentally related posts at Daily Kos. Any posts included in the collection do not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of them. Because of the interconnectedness of the subject matter, some of these posts can be placed in more than one category.
OUTSTANDING DIARY OF THE WEEK
The Daily Bucket: More Fun with Fungi at our annual mushroom show extravaganza by RonK.The Northwest Mushroomers’ Association held their 31st annual Fall mushroom show In late October, the prime collecting time of the year in the Pacific Northwest. This show, hosted at Western Washington University was wonderfully arranged with the mushrooms mostly displayed in their natural substrate - on trees, branches, moss, grasses, forest floor duff and the like. Although no one took a count here, this display appeared quite similar to a previous one which contained about 310 separate species with multiple examples of most. What is remarkable is that all of the specimens were collected in our general locale and most were found in just the few days leading up the show. Among the many hundreds of mushrooms at the show, I have selected a few species to illustrate and to comment on their unique and often interesting forms and characteristics. I will present them in very broad categories of those with gills, and those with pores. In a second bucket I will present a variety of other types of fungi that have rather different appearances. [...] This Bucket is concerned with what are called the fruiting bodies or mushrooms of the mycelium web. These bodies (mushrooms) come in a myriad of forms, shapes, sizes and colors. When the time is right, (temperature, moisture, nutrition), for a given species they will pop up from their mycelial substrate and form the mushroom characteristic of their species as dictated by its DNA. The term mushroom however, seems to defy precise or an agreed upon definition. All mushrooms are fungi but not all fungi are mushrooms.
CLIMATE CRISIS (& COP28)
Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Is This Working? by greenandblue. GDP is correlated with energy consumption, which has been tied to greenhouse gas emissions. We know the sources of the greenhouse gasses. That knowledge has yet to yield overall reductions in emissions, but increasing investment in renewables might be impactful in coming years. Even if it does, we still have to deal with other waste, such as plastic, along with degradation of ecosystems and limitations in terrestrial and marine production. In short even if we can decouple economic growth from CO2 emissions, our environment remains at risk. We likely cannot have eternal growth. Is saying we need degrowth not acceptable to some? It may well happen whether we like the labels or not. It will be much better if we accept, plan and prepare rather than continuing as we are towards more nationalism, immigrant bashing and autocracy. Focusing on agriculture, leading researchers have concluded that we will need 70% more production to feed the world. This is due not only to growing populations, but also communities seeking more protein as they develop. Those experts could advocate for less meat and more vegetable protein for all, including in G7 countries, but instead they assume that we won't change and that others will adopt our diets. The question is whether we will be forced to change our diets by nature.
Progress, Promises and Propaganda at COP 28 by greenandblue. To keep progressing, we must talk. At this time, representatives from across the globe are gathered for the latest discussions at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28). Where else can you see a parade of state heads issuing relatively anodyne statements followed up by a vegetarian activist loving their veggies and railing on the evils of meat consumption to international press?There are too many meetings for one part time blogger to sort through. And, much of the content is weighted with spin, nebulous promises and other national leveraging. Nevertheless, there are valuable meetings occurring. Here is an overview of a few. Big news is establishment of a loss and damage fund to compensate developing countries that suffer much of the consequences of climate change following a long history of being exploited by developed nations and multinational corporations.
Study Says Earth At Risk Of Hitting Irreversible Tipping Points by TheShortSwede. From The Associated Press 12.7.23: The world is in danger of hitting the point of no return for five of Earth’s natural systems because of human-caused climate change, a team of 200 scientists said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the United Nations’ climate summit. The report on so-called “tipping points” — moments when the Earth has warmed so much that certain side effects become irreversible — looks at 26 different systems and points to five of them — the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, the dying off of warm-water coral reefs, the thawing of permafrost and impacts to a North Atlantic ocean current — as close to triggering.
Overnight News Digest: Earth on the brink of five catastrophic climate tipping points by Magnifico. From The Guardian: Many of the gravest threats to humanity are drawing closer, as carbon pollution heats the planet to ever more dangerous levels, scientists have warned. Five important natural thresholds already risk being crossed, according to the Global Tipping Points report, and three more may be reached in the 2030s if the world heats 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial temperatures. Triggering these planetary shifts will not cause temperatures to spiral out of control in the coming centuries but will unleash dangerous and sweeping damage to people and nature that cannot be undone.
A Picture Paints 1,000 Words by BilllaurelMD. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a climate diary. We’ve heard plenty of news stories addressing warming-related flooding, heat waves, and drought, and the impacts and future implications of these events, so for the holiday season I thought I’d provide an overview of the current state of the climate. I see global sea ice as a good way to examine I hadn’t checked the daily mean global surface temperature graphic on University of Maine’s Climate Reanalyzer web page for awhile, and when I did on this past Monday morning, the banner graphic is what I found. The accompanying caption explains the statistical information for the 44-year record.
Dubai holiday bazaar offers oil, meat and more by Philip S Wenz. Maybe petroleum’s not your thing, or quite right for your special giftee. That’s OK. There are plenty of other carbon-emitter lobbies to shop. To start with, there’s the meat and dairy industry. President Al Jaber managed to get animal agriculture, which is responsible for more emissions than aviation, added to this year’s COP agenda — some believe to take the heat off oil. So the North American Meat Institute, whose website still questions whether climate change is caused by humans, teamed up with assorted global producers and rented an entire pavilion at the conference to push “full force” their message that beef is sustainable because cattle graze — although most eat in feedlots. Also, the Global Cement and Concrete Association is there pushing its message that concrete emission are…nothing to worry about. But there is something to worry about. COP28 will wrap up in a few days, so if you want to haggle for that gift, you’d better hop in your jet right now and blast across the planet.
Tensions High @COP28 in Battle Over Fossil Fuel Phase-Out by boatsie. With over 100 nations supporting the inclusion of the phase-out of fossil fuels in the final COP28 global stocktake (GST), major polluters and producers Saudi Arabia, China, and India remain opposed going into the final three days of the negotiations. Canada has been chosen to write the final wording in the most significant sentence in the text, which needs near-unanimous agreement for finalization. Tension at the Dubai conference remains high as OPEC flexs its muscle with letters sent to its member states, urging them not to support a phase-out. The Guardian reports that Alok Sharma, who presided over the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, warned “we are running out of time” and urged negotiators to ensure the phase-out is the clear COP28 outcome. “If you’re going to keep 1.5C alive, you’re going to have to have language on a phase-out of fossil fuels,” he told the Observer in an interview. “And you’re going to need to accompany that with a credible implementation plan.”
Kerry @ COP28 Halfway Point: "It's crunch time!" by boatsie. US Climate Envoy John Kerry says he is aware of a sense of urgency in Dubai as delegates from nearly 200 nations convene for COP28. “People will measure who steps up and who doesn’t,” he said. “We will get to a global low-carbon, no carbon economy, we will get there. The only question is will we get there in time to avoid the worst consequences of this crisis as we were warned by the 2018 IPCC report.” Kerry also pointed out the US accomplishments to date at the climate talks, including a focus on curbing the pollution from methane,the tripling of renewables, and ceasing construction of coal plants. Differences with China remain regarding its continuing consumption of coal, Kerry said. He did not mention the fact that in 2023, the United States set records in its production of gas and oil, but opined that the country’s transition to green energy was robust enough to sustain even if Donald Trump were elected president in 2024
Global Stocktake @ COP28 Portends Horrific 2.5C to 2.9C. Temp Rise by boatsie. With 2,456 fossil fuel lobbyists attending COP28, the 24-page negotiating text circulating Tuesday represents the first time in almost 30 years of meetings that the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming is mentioned. Way too late in the ballgame, as the Global Stocktake (GST) reveals we are currently on a path to 2.5 to 2.9 degrees increase in global temperatures. The call to phase-out fossil fuels is included in the negotiating text, which will be finalized early next week, but near unanimous consensus is required for it to be the primary outcome highlighted in the COP’s final document. And Saudi Arabia isn’t on board. At Tuesday’s talks, a group of top climate scientists issued a joint statement strongly supporting the need for a dramatically accelerated phase-out to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
"Fossil Fuel Wars:" Is COP President A Climate Denier? by boatsie. At last year’s COP27, at over 80 countries called for a phase-out in the final document. That movement is expected to gain momentum over the next two weeks in Dubai. A call to phase-out would signify, after almost 30 years of negotiations, a formal recognition that fossil fuels are the largest driver of climate change. The final document is expected to be completed at the COP's conclusion on December 12. Calling for a phase-out commitment would mean shifting from fossil fuels until they are eliminated, whereas a phase-down would not completely end their use. The culmination of nearly 30 years of governments coming together in as yet unsuccessful attempts to address global warming, COP28 runs through the 12th in Dubai, as frustrations with the process are escalating. Global temperatures have already warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius this year, with reports saying temperatures are expected to be more than double by 2030 unless a phase-out is instituted.
OPEC Letters Pressure COP28 Petrostates; Oppose Potential Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels by boatsie. Leaked letters from an alarmed OPEC reveal the pressure being exerted on member states against the possibility of COP28 agreeing to a phase-out of fossil fuels. According to The Guardian, 13 Opec members, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria, received the letters. The 13 member countries control 80% of global oil reserves, producing around 40% of global oil supply over the last ten years. The United Arab Emirates, another OPEC member, also received a letter. The letters were reported on today by Bloomberg and Reuters, who said multiple sources had confirmed their authenticity. “These letters show that fossil fuel interests are starting to realise that the writing is on the wall for dirty energy,” said Mohamed Adow, of the NGO and thinktank Power Shift Africa. “Climate change is killing poor people around the globe and these petrostates don’t want Cop28 to phase out fossil fuels because it will hurt their short-term profits. It’s shameful.
Heading into Week 2 @COP28: US Taking Scalpel to Negotiating Text by boatsie. As COP28 enters its second and final week, the hard work of determining what the participating nations are going to do about fossil fuels begins. The comments of COP President Sultan Al Jaber questioning the science correlating fossil fuels to global warming along with the presence of more than 2400 fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting continue to create a fractious environment. “The whole COP has been a conflict of interest,” said Isabel Rutkowski from Germany, part of the European Youth Forum. “It’s frustrating because the science is pretty clear, and you have a president for COP who is not following science. It’s crazy.” There are several options on how to handle the fossil fuel issue in the latest draft of the negotiating document, including a phase-out of fossil fuels, a phase-down, or leaving fossil fuels out of the final language altogether.
Cop Out at COP28 by TheShortSwede. From Reuters 12.3.23. Al Gore slams COP28 climate summit host UAE, says its emissions soared. "They are abusing the public's trust by naming the CEO of one of the largest and least responsible oil companies in the world as head of the COP," Gore said. At a presentation at the COP's main plenary hall before the interview, Gore unveiled data showing that the UAE's greenhouse gas emissions rose by 7.5% in 2022 from the previous year, compared to a 1.5% percent rise in the entire world. That data came from a coalition he co-founded called Climate TRACE, which uses artificial intelligence and satellite data to track carbon emissions of specific companies, Gore said.
COP 28: Conference of the Polluters by mdash. COP 28 is revealing its true colors and purpose. There are 2,456 climate lobbyists at COP 28 (red bar). That’s more than the total of the 64 smallest delegations (gray bar). It’s three times as big the delegation from Big Oil’s wholly owned subsidiary, the U.S. government.Now we know what COP stands for. It’s the conference of the polluters
Climate Denial Is Harmful Bullshit, Peer-Reviewed Paper Explains by ClimateDenierRoundup. "Climate denialism bullshit is harmful" is the title of a paper published in the Asian Journal of Philosophy last spring. It is a delightful, if dense, read, moving quickly from the very approachable language aptly describing denial as bullshit, to the more sophisticated issue of epistemic trust. It's worth the read, but the short version is that beyond the obvious harms of climate denial (preventing climate policy), denialism also harms the public by, among other things, making it harder for people to ever know if anything is true. There being so much bullshit out there to wade through makes it harder for people to be good citizens, care about issues, and otherwise engage with the world around them in a meaningful and honest manner. So never forget that even academia has recognized climate denial for what it truly is: bullshit!
There is no permafrost cap under glaciers; methane feedback activates once retreat exposes surface by Pakalolo. Glaciers in Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the Arctic Circle, are warming twice as fast as the Arctic, which is warming four times faster than the planet. A new study has found that this exceptional warming is in a vicious feedback loop where albedo is lost, warming the ice, melting the glaciers of these islands, and generating a new source of carbon emissions. As a result, a new methane feedback loop that feeds on and accelerates itself has been revealed. The methane-laced meltwater formed during the glaciers' retreat becomes groundwater below the ice stream. The newly formed groundwater springs previously hidden from science are rich in methane capped by the glacier from being released into the atmosphere. The permafrost in the tundra is capped by frozen soil that keeps methane and CO2 underground.
Seismic data confirms ocean waves shake the earth as storms become more ferocious due to warming by Pakalolo. Seismic data confirms ocean waves from storms have become more widespread and ferocious due to climate change, according to a study from Colorado State University that the National Science Foundation funded. Some, if not most, of my joy in life, was spent using my body as a surfboard at some of the world’s best beaches. But respect for the ocean is critical for the survival of anyone entering its water. Because waves can be very dangerous for swimmers, slamming you into the sandy bottom at the shore break or, even more dangerous, slicing your flesh off on a coral reef. EOS, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, found that more severe impacts of wave height will impact the Southern Ocean. The most worrying thing in my mind is the impact of the battering of more powerful waves, the massive ice cap of Antarctica that has experienced significant sea ice decline where waves can more easily batter the ice shelves of glaciers and glacier tongues such as Thwaites and Pine Island.
Climate response to increases in carbon dioxide turns CO2 itself into a more potent greenhouse gas by Pakalolo. Scientists led by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science and funded by NOAA with Nadir Jeevanjee from NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory as co-author have found that “climate responds to increases in carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide itself becomes a more potent greenhouse gas,” said Brian Loden, lead author of the study published in the journal Science. Climate change is more complicated than previously thought. We are flying blind into catatstrophe. “Future increases in CO2 will provide a more potent warming effect on climate than an equivalent increase in the past,” said the study’s lead author Haozhe He, who completed the work as part of his Ph.D. studies at the Rosenstiel School. “This new understanding has significant implications for interpreting both past and future climate changes and implies that high CO2 climates may be intrinsically more sensitive than low CO2 climates.”
Add Climate Change to the War on Drugs Casualty List by cadebryant. DoubleBlind, an online magazine promoting the responsible use of psychedelics and selling kits for growing medicinal mushrooms, published a though-provoking article a little while back titled How the War on Drugs Fuels Environmental Destruction. Even if tryptamine tripping isn’t your thing, the article is a must-read for the spotlight it shines on the ecological havoc wreaked by the US and other nations’ relentless and misguided battle against mind-altering substances. Reporter Ben Adlin, who has also written for Leafly, Marijuana Moment, and even more mainstream outlets like The Boston Globe, pens a succinct summary of a 63-page report by Health Poverty Action explaining how the two seemingly unrelated topics — drug policy and environmental concerns — are in fact intimately intertwined.
FOOD, AGRICULTURE & GARDENING
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 19.49 - Rebuild or Replace? by Rexxmama. Welcome, Fellow Gardeners! December is here, so is snow in some parts of the country. And after the Holidays, many gardeners spend the next few months of bleak weather curled up with garden porn, poring over plant offerings (what lovely leaves!…to touch such silken stems!...ooh, those exquisite blooms!) for ideas of beauty to plant the following Spring. Here in NW PA, I may have a garden nightmare to look forward to next year. You may recall my mention a few months ago of the water line hookup replacement project being undertaken by our municipal water company (with a few million in infrastructure funds from the Feds — thanks, President Biden!) Phase 2 is replacing the old cast iron pipes going into one’s house from the new PVC hookups created in phase 1. Participation would be entirely up to the homeowner and at no cost to them — because again, those infrastructure funds — or one could decide to keep their old pipes (and thereby save their lawns and houses from the disruption of water line replacement), with the caveat that if/when the cast iron pipes ultimately fail later, replacing them and repairing damage to lawns and houses would be all at the homeowner’s own expense.
Overnight News Digest - Saturday Science: Betelgeuse, Alzheimer’s cause, Vegan vs Meat by Rise above the swamp. From The Conversation: Living near farmland can significantly increase people’s exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the widely used herbicide Roundup, new research shows. This chemical has been connected to health concerns, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma and a higher risk of preterm birth.We are environmental health scientists who study pesticide exposures in human populations, including exposures to herbicides. In our newly published research, we tracked glyphosate levels in pregnant women for 10 months. We found that those who were living within about a third of a mile (500 meters) of an agricultural field had significantly higher levels of glyphosate in their urine than those who lived farther away. Importantly, we only saw those differences during the time of year when farmers spray glyphosate on their fields, further suggesting agricultural spray as the source of this exposure.
CRITTERS & THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The Daily Bucket: to and from the marina - fall days on the Salish Sea by OceanDiver. Every couple of years we have to take our boat Elansa up to the marina to get her bottom cleaned and repainted. That means leaving her moorage on the south end of the island near the Strait of Juan de Fuca and cruising north through San Juan Channel, a 10-mile journey. We time it so we have the flood tide with us, otherwise we might not make it through Cattle Pass with our weedy barnacle-covered hull. We were actually scheduled to be hauled out on November 11 but the wind forecast looked bad so we went the day before. Friday, November 10. The weather was fairly windy even so, with surface chop, but our doughty Swedish-built Albin 25 can handle that. The local harbor seals on the neighboring dock watched us go with interest. There’s very little human activity in this bay during winter, except for us. [...] At Whale Rocks, there was the usual winter population of 100 or so Steller sealions, along with lots of cormorants. The migrating eagles had not arrived yet.
Daily Bucket - Mississippi Bird Bath @ mud spa by CaptBLI. Seasonal rains begin around the end of the year here. The water is appreciated by all of us that have had a dry Summer. Today is an expansion of yesterday’s diary on my Mississippi visitors. This is how birds react to water at my house. Dark-eyed Junco are joined by a Chipping Sparrow and Pine Warblers in a Mississippi mud puddle spa day.
Daily Bucket - Different small visitors by CaptBLI. A photo diary.
Daily Bucket, Friday Sequence - Mississippi Delta fliers by CaptBLI. I responded to a “twitch” that didn’t pan out. I read that 10 Sandhill Cranes were seen at 9 am on Thanksgiving day. I wasn’t able to get out to the area (forty miles west of my home in the Mississippi Delta) until Friday. The Cranes had long since departed but I was greeted by the Shrike in the title photo and was able to get this video.
Back Yard Bird Race & Daily Bucket - November listings by CaptBLI. Good morning, afternoon or evening (as applies to you.) Welcome to the monthly segment of our birders personal challenge. All of my November Lifers (first ever observation) were gathered at the Waterfowl Wildlife Refuge at Sardis Lake, Mississippi. My list for 2023 has: 202 species, 40 lifers and 162 first of season birds.My life list has 243 species. Home — 61 species for 2023. Patches (Sardis Lake, Enid Lake, Grenada Lake, Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, Ship Island on the Gulf of Mexico and Friar’s Point on the Mississippi River) — 141 species for 2023.
Dawn Chorus: Better things to do by lineatus. In Northern California, we are blessed with an abundance of great birding day trips. It’s something that I do not take for granted, and it seems very appropriate that we head to some of those places at the time of year that we give thanks. Just south of Hollister, we headed down John Smith Road, leaving the ever-expanding developments behind and heading down the road past the dump. Just a couple of miles down the road, we saw our first Ferruginous Hawk of the day, always a sign of good things to come. John Smith ends at Santa Ana Valley Road; the intersection has always been a great spot for seeing raptors, at least in the winter. There’s a large field that goes to the base of the hills; it’s freshly turned this time of year, so the zillions of ground squirrels can’t hide so easily. The raptors know good hunting when they see it.
Climate action: Collective action becomes mass movement becomes revolution by Gardening Toad. If you feel individual action is useless, here are links to a few collective actions you can join. Some of these are worldwide movements, others are smaller in scale: Permaculture. A worldwide movement that presents a complete plan for human settlement modeled on natural ecosystems. People often say we need to come up with a plan for how humans can live on Earth without destroying it. This plan already exists and millions of people worldwide are following it. One can start small and take little steps, or one can completely transform one’s life. The links below have been the most helpful to me, but there’s an almost endless amount of information available for free: www.permaculturenews.org; Discover permaculture; Learn permaculture; www.tagaripublications.com/; The Designers Manual, a complete plan for human settlements.
Right-wing Reframe Of 'Eco-Terrorists' Enables And Encourages Violence Against Peaceful Protesters by ClimateDenierRoundup. The latest bulletin from the Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) coalition came out yesterday, documenting how the years-long campaign to reframe climate activism as radical eco-terrorism is fostering violence — and how Big Tech platforms are allowing the glorification of that violence. Here are some excerpts: “On X (formerly Twitter), over 220,000 posts were found to include loaded language such as ‘climate cult’ (>65k posts alone) and over 90,000 posts and replies contained securitised language such as ‘eco terrorist’ (>34k posts alone) between 1 January 2022 and 30 November 2023.” Meanwhile: “On Facebook and Instagram, over 68k posts were found to contain denigrating language such as ‘climate lunatic’, ‘eco extremist’, ‘green zealot’ or ‘Net Zero terrorist’ in the same period, from more than 35k unique accounts. This content was shared a cumulative 1.86 million times across the two platforms.” And: “On TikTok, the platform’s comparatively strict content moderation has created a culture of coded violence that uses dog whistles and irony to evade detection. Even when original TikTok content was ‘neutral’ towards climate activists, violent rhetoric often emerged in the comments.”
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[Note: The climate strike action began at San Francisco City Hall in 2019. The following entries are excerpts from “letters” that were issued each week of the action. Although the strike was focused on San Francisco, many of the same issues affect countless U.S. cities.]
Finance For Climate Change 101 -- Strike for the Planet week 153 by birches. This week’s topic: Finance for Climate Change 101. There are multiple ways to finance the work that must be done. Examples: • TAX BREAKS: Get rid of all city and county tax breaks for all businesses that spew carbon. Reserve tax breaks for businesses that work in SF to take carbon out of the atmosphere or otherwise mitigate local impacts of climate change. • INCREASE TAXES: Tax the causes of climate change per impact. Uber? They need to be paying lots and lots of tax. Dolby Laboratories? A lot less. BNP Paribas? Pretty low for an international financial firm. Salesforce? The Cloud requires massive server farms to function so likely sky high. When the bad actors move out of SF because of this tax, we’ll be better off in every way; meanwhile, make them pay to stay. • FINANCE NON-GLAMOROUS REDUCTION STRATEGIES: Cheaper and no- to low-tech solutions, like conservation, give massive returns on investment. Support them with immediate, upfront money, and continue to support them by putting expectations and financial support into municipal code and tax policies.
The State Of The World -- Strike for the Planet week 152 by birches. This week’s topic: The State of the World. All the recent “State of” speeches missed the point. The states of the Union, State, and City all depend on the state of the World. By leaving the planet we inhabit out of the speechifying, these speechmakers were proposing solutions built on nothing, like a house of cards.
How To Ensure SF Has Energy -- Strike for the Planet week 151 by birches. This week’s topic: How To Ensure SF Has Energy. We’re at the survival or non-survival point right now. Specifically, San Francisco’s survival depends on securing local, green, and renewable sources of both water and energy, yet SF has secured neither to date. Maybe you don’t know who to contact or what works? Below are contacts and information to take steps for green, local energy for SF (much easier to do than water, by the way; see last week’s strike letter for details on that.) The time for fighting for our survival is almost up. Maybe you should get started. Unlike with water, San Francisco has a plethora of options with regards to energy. So let’s dive in.
How To Ensure SF Has Water -- Strike for the Planet week 150 by birches. This week’s topic: How To Ensure SF Has Water. Act now. San Francisco’s base level survival (equivalent to life in a refugee camp) requires local sources of water and energy. SF has not secured either. Below are contacts and information you need to take the steps to secure water for SF. Energy resources will be next week. Time for accomplishing this is almost out. Water for SF. Blackwater recycling, water conservation, composting toilets, increased permeable surface areas, bioswales, and planting a true native urban forest to assist precipitation (as well as cool the city) all help get us closer to a sustainable, clean, local water supply and likely survival. Below are information sources for each of these.
The Course Is Clear -- Strike for the Planet week 149 by birches. This week’s topic: The Course Is Clear. There are things you can and must do to save SF. WATER — SF must secure a sustainable, clean, and biosphere-enhancing water supply. From past megadrought information, we know our water source cannot be distant and that water cannot be wasted. Blackwater recycling, water conservation, composting toilets, increased permeable surface areas, and planting a true native urban forest to assist precipitation (as well as cool the city) all help get us to a sustainable, clean water supply. These are all relatively cheap and quickly implemented actions. ENERGY — SF must have a clean, local, renewable power supply and a locally controlled grid. We have multiple sources of local clean energy that we are not tapping: wind, solar, geothermal, temperature differential, and tidal to start with. We are ideally situated to generate all the power we need in SF; you just have to make sure it gets done. And you need to get our grid back from PG&E. Those two are vital and must happen first. Without both of those, SF will collapse, just like a host of other civilizations have collapsed in the face of changing climate and megadrought.
Lessons of the Recall -- Strike for the Planet week 148 by birches. This week’s topic: Lessons of the recall. This isn’t rocket science. I’ve worked at SFUSD since 1994. I’ve survived 8 superintendents, done 2 years at a school the principal was trying to destroy (on orders from a superintendent), and put 21 years in at a favorite target of board members trying to make their political bones. My longterm ground level view of the district has let me experience, from conception to execution and often to abandonment, which initiatives and methods work, which don’t, and why. And, you know what? So many of the choices I’ve seen SFUSD make look exactly like the strategies SF is using to fight climate change. As the successful recalls should indicate, that’s not good.
ENERGY, TRANSPORTION & EMISSIONS
Big Train News This Week by Nine Shift. The Federal Rail Administration (FRA) announced numerous planning and development grants this week. It set ablaze long-time patient passenger train advocates’ energy and excitement. Local press stories have sprouted up nationwide in the past two days. The funding comes from Biden’s Infrastructure Law. This could be a game changer for America. While Biden is a big train supporter, it’s not just a Presidential pet project. And it is not just about shoring up the northeast Amtrak corridor. It has national implications, including reducing carbon fossil fuel emissions, reducing auto deaths, cutting the cost of transportation for the average American, saving wildlife, and much more. The biggest economic advantage is that—unlike car driving—you can work, study, play or sleep on a train, dramatically increasing worker productivity for millions. This particular initiative has also created a mad scramble at the local and state level to get in on the action. That’s another aspect of the game change. Instead of resisting or ignoring passenger train opportunities, local leaders are beginning to realize that having one’s city on a transportation route is a guarantee of future economic success.
Indigenous Sacred Sites or Sacrifice Zones? The Defining House Race on Extraction vs Preservation by Roadrunner65. Roadrunner here and I’m a bit hangry this weekend because it's too cold for lizards to bask, which means I didn’t get a good lunch today or yesterday. So rather than mope about the lack of fence lizards on my fence, I thought I’d instead highlight the importance of supporting the right US House candidate to represent this varied and diverse Northern and Central Arizona landscape, including the hamlet of Holbrook where I moonlight as a sports mascot when I’m not “meep meeping” down Route 66. Enough about me...on to the important stuff. While there are many defining races and issues on the Electoral landscape, few are more revealing of where we want to be as a nation than how we respond to the question of preserving pristine landscapes and honoring indigenous cultures, versus continuing to bulldoze sacred spaces of native peoples and poisoning ground, air, and water in the name of profit, progress, and power, let the consequences be damned. Arizona’s 2nd congressional district is ground zero as a battleground to determine the soul of our nation, and whether our generation will turn a new page or continue the politics of settler colonialism and conquest. That battle is being fought on many fronts.
Renewable Tuesday: COP28 by Mokurai. We have, as always, good and bad carbon news from the latest Conference of the Parties, COP28. There is getting to be more good news, and the bad news is now getting serious pushback. We have been at this for more than 50 years now against furious and massively funded opposition, and now it’s all happening. As I have often said, the funny thing about tipping points is that nothing seems to happen until you reach one, and then everything seems to happen at once. Good News Thursday: The Fifty-Year Rule in Politics. Global Warming was predicted in the 19th century, and verified in both measurements and insurance claims in the early 1970s. The Fossil Fool industry hired the tobacco denialists to mount a furious campaign of lies, gaslighting, and political lobbying. They got a majority of the population back then to buy their disinformation, and convinced Ronald Reagan to take down Jimmy Carter’s solar water heaters from the White House roof. Well, their fifty years are up
Earth Matters: With 100% clean energy mandate, Michigan Democrats show elections have consequences by Meteor Blades. Two years ago, wagering that Michigan would enact a clean energy package like the one Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Tuesday would be a good way to lose your rent money. The state House of Representatives had been in Republican hands for a dozen years, and Democrats hadn’t held a majority in the state Senate since 1984. But the 2022 election was a stunning disaster for the state GOP. With abortion literally on the ballot, Democrats got control of the legislature and won every statewide office as voters enshrined reproductive rights in the state constitution. And this week, in another prime example of elections have consequences, the state joined 11 others mandating a rapid switch to 100% clean energy. This got done despite relentless hammering from Republican opponents spouting the usual objections to such mandates, including utter nonsense that would get a high schooler kicked off the debate team.
Nuclear Power Pushing at the UN's COP28 Climate Change Conference by KarlHGrossman. “U.S. leads coalition to triple nuclear power by 2050 in effort to address climate change,” was the headline of a December 4th CNBC article on activity at the UN conference called COP28 being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on the climate crisis. Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, called the declaration the “stupidest policy proposal I’ve ever seen.” Jacobson’s most recent books are No Miracles Needed: How Today’s Technology Can Save Our Climate and Clean Our Air and before that 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything. He says: “The world needs to switch away from using fossil fuels to using clean, renewable sources of energy as soon as possible.” In his books he details the use of existing technologies to produce, store and transmit energy from wind, water and solar sources. As to nuclear power, it is “not needed” to deal with climate change
Climate Brief:'US coal use drops to levels last seen in 1903'(but we have to keep pushing) by Angmar. It's been another record-breaking year for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels, European researchers reported in a new study released early Tuesday in Dubai. While fossil emissions have decreased in the U.S. and in Europe during 2023, they have risen overall worldwide – and scientists say global action to cut these fuels is not happening fast enough to prevent dangerous climate change. www.usatoday.com/… In addition, researchers said that at the current emissions level, there's a 50% chance that global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) consistently in about seven years. “It now looks inevitable we will overshoot the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, and leaders meeting at COP28 will have to agree rapid cuts in fossil fuel emissions even to keep the 2°C target alive,” Friedlingstein added.
Big Media create ads helping greenwash the fossil fuel industry and hurting reporter credibility by Meteor Blades. If you’re unaware of Drilled, an award-winning website dedicated to focusing on climate accountability, you would do well to add it to your collection of substacks to read and support. It was founded six years ago by veteran climate reporter Amy Westervelt, who The New York Times should have hired instead of Bret Stephens. That’s the longtime climate science denier who claims to have had an epiphany after he visited Greenland last year. Scientists citing rigorous evidence showing Greenland’s ice sheet is melting just wasn’t as convincing to him as propagandists who rejected the very physics of the greenhouse effect. As co-reported by Matthew Green and Joey Grostern at the 18-year-old DeSmog, a politics-of-the-climate-crisis website that also deserves to be on your list of must-reads—and co-published by The Nation and The Intercept—Drilled on Tuesday laid out their investigation into major, trusted news outlets regarding the in-house backshops producing “misleading promotional content for fossil fuel companies [...] Known as advertorials or native advertising, the sponsored material is created to look like a publication’s authentic editorial work, lending a veneer of journalistic credibility to the fossil fuel industry’s key climate talking points.”
New report reveals fossil fuel's media influence as Big Oil sponsors dinners, awards for journalists by Dan Bacher. For years, I have covered the capture of media outlets, journalists, politicians, regulators and environmental NGOs by the fossil fuel industry in California and the West. It’s good to see that somebody else is finally stepping up to the plate on a national and global level on exposing the increasing collaboration between Big Oil and media corporations. Drilled and DeSmog, in collaboration with The Intercept and The Nation, just released a startling new report: Readers for Sale: The Media's Role in Climate Delay. "As the business model for media has faltered, the fossil fuel industry has increasingly weaponized weaknesses to its benefit," the report begins. The report, coming out as the ongoing COP28 climate summit continues to generate controversy, goes into detail on how much money some of the biggest media companies in the world are taking in from fossil fuel, and where exactly the money is being spent.
Wind Energy: Not Just Hot Air by TheShortSwede. From Reuters: U.S. electricity generation from wind power is on course to surpass coal-fired electricity generation, potentially by 2026, as wind supply growth expands at a record pace just as coal-fired generation is cut across the country. Coal-fired power remains the second largest source of U.S. electricity behind natural gas, and over the first 10 months of 2023 coal-fired output was roughly 60% greater than total generation from wind sources, data from think tank Ember shows. But with wind power generation rapidly rising in most regions while utilities steadily cut coal capacity, wind output is on track to eventually overtake coal output within the U.S. electricity generation mix, which will mark a significant milestone in U.S. energy transition efforts.
WATER & INFRASTRUCTURE
Environmental groups slam final Delta Tunnel EIR as California fish populations collapse by Dan Bacher. As California’s salmon and other fish populations struggle to survive in the worst ecological crisis in the state’s history, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released a final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed Delta Conveyance Project (Delta Tunnel). DWR also conducted a rushed virtual media briefing this morning by Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth and Carrie Buckman, the project’s environmental program manager, on the EIR’s release. The Delta Conveyance is a 45 mile-long tunnel that would divert water from the Sacramento River near Hood underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, denying critical freshwater flows to the Delta and San Francisco Bay, in order to supply corporate agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California water agencies. The Delta Conveyance project would divert up to 6,000 cubic feet of water per second. The project is estimated to cost between $16-40 billion and won’t be completed until at least 2040.
Humans head toward self-destruction by MKGregory. Is there anything that more perfectly illustrates why humans are heading toward self-destruction? See the article below, about a coal-fired power plant being continued in order to support the production of a phantom “product” that does nothing but provide a vehicle for speculation-driven human greed. Is there any hope for us? From the Indianapolis Star December 5, 2023: A crypto mine comes to town and a coal plant gets new life. Hoosiers caught in crossfires. A pollution-spewing power plant in western Indiana that was set to close this year is getting a reprieve after being purchased by a coal company and landing a new energy-guzzling neighbor hoping to cash in on the international cryptocurrency boom.
What Little Transparency Google Provides Shows It's 'Open Season For Greenwashing' by ClimateDenierRoundup. Did you know you can search up what companies are advertising on Google via its Ads Transparency Center? Were you also aware that this tool is basically useless?That's, sadly, one of the main findings of the latest Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) bulletin. CAAD "checked the Ad Transparency Center between 30th November and 4th December 2023 to see whether some of the largest oil and gas companies ran live campaigns" and found a "concerning amount of greenwashing claims, executional greenwashing (nature-rinsing) and woke-washing." Just about the only quantitative data Google provides is a ballpark figure of the number of ads the company has run. For Saudi Aramco, it was 2,100. Total ran 1,090, ExxonMobil ran 940, Chevron ran 288, and Shell ran 250.
Parked Plane Freezes, So Ryan Maue Spreads Fake News And Pretends It Was Going To COP28 by ClimateDenierRoundup. Over the weekend it was snowy in Munich, and at the airport, an unfueled, parked aircraft froze over. Someone posted the footage of it online. Because of the weight of the snow in the tail, the plane tipped upwards, and as a result, it appeared as though the plane was flash-frozen on the runway just as its front end was taking off. Enter Ryan Maue, a weather map expert whose dishonesty was so brazen that even the notoriously fact-adverse Trump White House kicked him out. He quote-tweeted the video of the frozen jet with some extra context. Following the lead of other Twitter trolls, Maue decided to add his own evidence-free caption to the clip: "Private jets in Munich on the way to Dubai global warming conference are literally frozen on the runway, which has turned into a glacier."