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 could be placed in more than one category.
OUTSTANDING DIARY OF THE WEEK
High carbon dioxide levels in our cars might be harming us by Examined. Carbon dioxide levels in cars, buildings, and other enclosed situations can rise quite rapidly. Higher CO2 levels are associated with problems like drowsiness, reduced cognitive abilities, dizziness, and even shortness of breath. Along a continuum of high to low, additional effects of increasing CO2 range between headaches, dizziness, restlessness, a tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and at extremely high levels coma, asphyxia, and convulsions. Distracted driving and fatigue are among the top causes of car accidents. The invisibly high concentration of carbon dioxide in cars is undoubtedly contributing. We all know about dangerous drivers not getting enough sleep, drinking alcohol, texting, or having poor quality sleep from conditions like obstructive sleep apnea. But I propose that another major yet fixable problem is the poor ventilation in our cars. Realizing this, and then cracking a window or turning off the air recirculation option, might save lives and limbs and prevent accidents.
Guterres calls for ceasing "firehose of fossil fuels" @COP28 by boatsie. Food emissions will now be included in nations' Nationally Determined Contributions, plans which detail targets for reducing GHGs. In remarks to the conference Secretary of State Anthony Blinken talked about Transforming Food Systems in the Face of Climate Change. “Around the world, 700 million people are chronically undernourished. About half of these people face acute food insecurity: meaning quite simply they don’t know where their next meal is coming from – or whether it will come at all,” he said. ”A growing population means the global demand for food is likely to increase by an estimated 50 percent by the year 2050. An escalating climate crisis means that crop yields could drop by as much as 30 percent over that same period. So do the math: We’ll be feeding more and more people on a planet where growing food will become harder and harder.”
CO2 leaps. Will COP28 finally get it together or will it just be one more round of Carry On Pumping? by Meteor Blades. With this and a bunch more grim recent studies and record-breaking news in hand, COP28—more formally, the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference—will begin on Thursday in Dubai. That’s the shiny desert dystopia that serves as the international hub of the seven federated nations that make up the United Arab Emirates and the federation’s most populous city. It is part of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is also the name of the UAE capital, which its second largest city. Abu Dhabi (the emirate) produces 96% of the oil extracted in the UAE, the planet’s 7th largest oil-producing nation. It exported the better part of 4.3 billion barrels of the stuff in 2022. That’s around 20% as much oil as the United States produced in the same period. The emirates plan to be pumping 5 billion barrels a year by 2030. Now, you might be saying to yourself, isn’t having a climate conference in a monarchical petrostate kind of like having a middle school on Jeffrey Epstein’s island? You wouldn’t be wrong. But let’s be clear, the biggest petrostate on the planet right now is the U.S. of A.
Ahead of COP28, report says deficient emissions pledges are taking us to nightmarish 2.9°C (5.2°F) by Meteor Blades. There’s a scrap of good U.S. news on the emissions front. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates these will fall 3% this year. And some scientists think they may fall another 3% in 2024. Over the past two years, emission had been flat or increasing. But energy-related emissions, which make up 80% of total emissions, were down 2.5% in the first three-quarters of the year, according to Carbon Monitor. If that trajectory holds for the last quarter, it would return us to the steady pre-pandemic reduction in U.S. emissions, which had been falling an averate of 1% a year since 2012 until they fell by 10% under the disruption of the coronavirus in 2020. Although this predicted back-to-back 3% decrease would be welcome, according to the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States needs to cut emissions by about 6% a year to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. That, means cutting emissions 50-52% of 2005 levels by the end of 2030.
COP28: It's all about the money honey by LaFeminista. Cop28 host UAE has world’s biggest climate-busting oil plans, data indicates [The Guardian]: The data shows that almost all companies are ignoring warnings from climate scientists that new oil and gas fields cannot be developed if global temperature rise is to be kept to the internationally agreed 1.5C limit. It also shows that: $170bn has been spent by the industry on exploration for new oil and gas reserves since 2021; 96% of the 700 companies that explore or develop new oil and gas fields are continuing to do so; more than 1,000 companies are planning new gas pipelines, gas-fired power plants or liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals.
Kitchen Table Kibitzing: COP28 Begins with Formalizing "Loss and Damage" Fund by boatsie. As the UNFCCC COP28 began today in Dubai, delegates formally agreed to the loss and damage fund, with several countries pledging millions while the US contributed significantly less than the EU and the UAE pledges. Formalizing the fund, which provides compensation to poorer nations already seriously impacted by the effects of climate change, comes after years of negotiations and paves the way for the talks to focus on other key issues. The most significant topic this year is agreement on the the rate of replacement of fossil fuels with alternative clean energy sources including wind and solar. Additionally, this COP will feature a “global stocktake” in which nations will report on how they are complying with pledges to cut emissions which were agreed to in the Paris Agreement in 2015. The next round of climate pledges will occur in 2025.
Overnight News Digest: COP28 — on track for nearly 3°C of warming, Big Oil puts pedal to metal by Magnifico. How did humans get to the brink of crashing climate? (AP News): For hundreds of years, people have shaped the world around them for their benefit: They drained lakes to protect infrastructure, wealth and people. They dug up billions of tons of coal, and then oil and gas, to fuel empires and economies. The allure of exploiting nature and burning fossil fuels as a path to prosperity hopped from nation to nation, each eager to secure their own energy. People who claimed the power to control nature and the energy resources around them saw the environment as a tool to be used for progress, historians say. Over hundreds of years, that impulse has remade the planet’s climate, too — and brought its inhabitants to the brink of catastrophe.
Keeping Up with COP28 by gmoke. As someone who scans the Internet to find energy/environment/climate events (mostly academic) around the world to publish Energy (and Other) Events Monthly, I found these online events, which are intended to keep people informed about what is going to go on in Dubai during the Conference of Parties or COP28. If you can’t make it to the United Arab Emirates to participate, these events should provide you with the information you just might want or need. RMI [Rocky Mountain Institute] at COP28. Multiple events from December 1-12 More information at here and here. COP28 Climate Hub Daily live broadcasts from COP28 in Dubai. December 1–11, 2023. COP28 and the green transition, with Christiana Figueres and others. Tuesday, December 5, 3 p.m. EST online. RSVP here. Cost: £10.88. Additional links in the diary.
UAE Carbon Removal Company Run By Italian Scammer Snatches Up Land From Developing World by ClimateDenierRoundup. If you’re still in doubt that carbon offsetting is a scam, just take a look at the latest hotshot carbon offset company, Blue Carbon, which is literally taking advice from a convicted fraudster who ran an Italian telecomms company into the ground. Blue Carbon, a UAE-based carbon removal startup chaired by a senior member of Dubai’s ruling family, has recently acquired tens of millions of hectares of land in countries across the world, which it plans to conserve and use to sell carbon credits that other companies can buy to (supposedly) offset their CO2 emissions. The startup already has agreements with Zimbabwe, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Liberia, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea. So what’s the problem with carbon offsetting? To start, relying on offsets without addressing the source of the climate crisis (burning fossil fuels) is a harmful distraction that delays climate action.
UN Climate Negotiations Start Tomorrow, So Deniers Threw Their Followers Some Red Meat by ClimateDenierRoundup. It started over the weekend, when Bloomberg covered the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forthcoming report detailing how countries that consume lots of meat should eat less of it (because food systems overall are responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions) and nations that need to eat more because people need the protein, should pursue more eco-friendly livestock practices. So it's specifically not calling to end meat consumption by any stretch of the imagination. Predictably, Climate Depot (a climate disinformation site run by Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) ran a spun rehash of Bloomberg’s article, which includes the fanciful addition that COP28 will "officially target meat eating." Luckily, that disinfo didn't seem to get much attention. Not to worry though, as both Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon found ways to spice it up!
A question Cop28 won’t address: why are billionaires blocking action to save the planet? (Guardian) by TheShortSwede. If current growth in renewable energy continues, and if countries take action on cutting greenhouse gases such as methane, then next year could be the year in which greenhouse gas emissions at last reach their peak. These are big ifs. The finding, from a respected group of scientists, is heavily hedged. Renewable energy rates could falter, fossil fuel companies will continue to seek to expand, and countries may fail to take the action needed.
Ask Solarman: COP28 Lightning Round! by solarman55. In honor of COP28 this week… oop… ack… gag… on oil fumes… TAKE YOUR OWN ACTIONS. We can not, must not, await those oil countries and the fossil feul lobbyists to wise up and care about, y’know, humanity. Make this both a Christmas gift to yourself, your family, future generations and every animal on our planet. Make following through on your checklist your 2024 Resolution. If you don’t take action yourself it invalidates any advocacy you’ve done or are doing. Advocacy is important but...We are now in the stage where implementation is mandatory. And you can be an example for others. So here’s your checklist, to reduce pollution and radically reduce your own carbon emissions. Feel free to add to it, and please report to the DKos community what you’ve already done, will do next, and any obstacles you encounter so we can help you overcome them.
Biden blasts Boebert in her home district as he touts economic agenda at expanding wind tower plant by Charles Jay. Biden visited the Pueblo, Colorado, factory of CS Wind, which describes itself as the world’s largest wind turbine tower manufacturing plant. In April, the South Korean firm announced plans to expand its Pueblo plant and hire at least 850 new workers by 2026. CS Wind directly attributed its new $200 million investment in the plant to the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which includes tax incentives for clean energy projects, according to a White House statement. The Pueblo stop was part of an Investing in America Tour that the Biden-Harris administration kicked off last month to show how “investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and manufacturing are creating jobs and opportunities in communities across the country.” In his 23-minute speech on Wednesday, Biden called out Rep. Lauren Boebert (who represents Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District that encompasses Pueblo) and other MAGA lawmakers for opposing the Inflation Reduction Act. She and numerous other Republicans—all of whom voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and all but a dozen of whom voted against the bipartisan infrastructure—are now taking credit for these projects that wouldn’t have happened without the legislation they attacked.
NYTimes: “How to find joy in climate action” & how NYT still finds ways to avoid reporting it by MikeyMikey. David Gelles (at the Times) quotes marine biologist and climate expert Elizabeth Johnson from a Ted Talk she gave last year, in which she discusses a method she conceived of as an aid for people looking to become more proactive by helping them to sort out their priorities and find their best path forward, removing that obstacle to making a meaningful personal contribution to saving the planet. Titled “How to Find Joy in Climate Action,” her talk encouraged people who are looking for a way to contribute to create a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles: “What are you good at?” “What work needs doing?” And “What brings you joy?” Where those three things overlap is the opportunity for action. For Johnson—who grew up in Brooklyn wanting to protect coastal cities and loved changing laws — that meant co-founding X4, a think tank working on policy change to protect populations threatened by sea level rise.
Ron Johnson calls climate change policy 'a fantasy' by Laura Clawson. Johnson: “Again, elections matter, radical leftism only destroys, it does nothing to build things. But unfortunately, too many Americans listen to the mainstream media who are supportive of President Biden’s policies and we’re in a very dangerous moment in this country’s history.” Radical leftism only destroys, it does nothing to build things? President Joe Biden is in no way a leftist, radical or otherwise, but that’s what Johnson wants to suggest he is—and Biden is the one who got a major infrastructure law passed to literally build things. That law is popular enough that Republicans keep trying to claim credit for its investments.
The Problems with Climate Problems by longwalker. The Homeland is and has been a major contributor to our unfolding climate catastrophe. Yet we are unable to mount any substantively effective responses. The reasons for this failure are hidden in plain sight. Example 1: Personal and commercial internal combustion engines (ICE) are significant contributors to the the problem. A system of alternate driving days is never considered even though the initial effect would be immediate and easily predictable knock on effects profound. Citizens would rather kill future generations to avoid any hint of personal inconvenience. Example 2: Ubiquitous use of plastics is a global problem not only in terms of waste but the fact micro plastics are found from the seas to the rain to the land and everywhere in between. The entire water cycle is polluted by industrial waste the long term consequences of which are just being identified. Citizens are subjected to this petro pollution merely because it is profitable in a market system in which we effectively have no say as the profit of a fee overrides the health of most.
Google Still Breaking Its Climate Disinfo Policy And More Revealed In 'Deny, Deceive, Delay Vol 3. by ClimateDenierRoundup. Remember how Google promised to stop selling ads on climate denial? Welp, it turns out that's still a lie! Check My Ads found Toyota ads, served by Google, on Brietbart articles calling climate change a "hoax," as well as an Adobe ad, again placed by Google, on a Daily Wire article claiming that academia is "suppressing anti-climate change narrative[s]." In all, a variety of supposedly reputable ad tech companies were servicing 15 key climate disinfo outlets (so if you haven't yet, consider installing an ad blocker). The CAAD report also found that since the mysterious July '22 #ClimateScam spike on Twitter, the hashtag has been boosted to the extent that it now out-performs #ClimateCrisis and #ClimateEmergency. Those used to be far more popular before the scam started popping up in the search bar. The report revealed that "the engagement spikes surrounding #ClimateScam appear to be driven by a small group of accounts that regularly use the hashtag and garner thousands of likes and retweets for such content." So, the topic isn’t broadly being talked about, but it’s instead being pushed concertedly by users like "Wide Awake Media."
Climate Change from a Geologist's Perspective by Oil and Gas Geophysicist. Man has thrived in a period of stable climate. In our short-sighted view, we believe that the climate should stay the same as we have experienced the last 10,00 years but the history of the earth shows that climate has always changed and it will continue to change. The question for man, if we hope to have a long successful run on this planet, is how do we best deal with this inevitable change? Unfortunately, we have created a couple of problems for ourselves. One is that we have been so successful as a species that there is not enough open land to just migrate when climate change happens. This is what we did during the previous ice ages. As hunter gatherer societies we naturally followed the food sources as the climate changed. Secondly, our population has become so large, dense and dependent on technology that the earth cannot support the current population on the naturally occurring energy budget. Over the last 150 years we have relied on fossil fuels fill this energy gap which has caused the current CO2 related climate change.
Sorry to harsh the holiday vibe. Violence, climate change, consumption, and racism are accelerating by Pakalolo. Meet the Shadowy Global Network Vilifying Climate Protesters. With access to powerful people came funding from powerful sources. A review of Atlas’s publicly available financials, data from the Conservative Transparency database, and 990 tax forms filed by various foundations reveals that Atlas has received millions of dollars in funding from a number of Koch-funded foundations, the ExxonMobil Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation, which has a long history of funding climate denial since its founding. As with the Fraser Institute in Canada, the various Koch-backed think tanks in the U.S., and the Centre for Independent Studies in Australia, many of the individual member think tanks that form the Atlas Network are separately funded by foundations affiliated with extractive industries—and, in some cases, directly supported by donations from industry—as well. Fisher focused in the early years of the Atlas Network on expanding internationally—particularly in Latin America, where oil executives were concerned about leftist movements. One of the first investments Atlas made was in Venezuela, where it funded the launch of the Center for the Dissemination of Economic Information, or CEDICE, in 1984. Decades later, CEDICE was instrumental in ousting Hugo Chávez.
CRITTERS & THE GREAT OUTDOORS
The Daily Bucket: Silicon Valley Shenanigans - Part III by BrownsBay. Alviso Marina County Park is situated where the Guadalupe River transitions to Alviso Slough, about where the tidal influences become stronger along this watercourse. The Guadalupe River drains a substantial area of Santa Clara County, flowing through highly urbanized areas, including downtown San Jose. The Guadalupe River is the southernmost major U.S. river with a Chinook salmon run. It’s been proven through DNA analysis that the salmon were historically native to the Guadalupe River watershed. Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Willets were working the banks of the river and the slough. I wandered a ways out on the Alviso Slough Trail that follows a dike separating a former salt pond from the slough. It also marks the boundary with Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR that includes the former salt pond shore and the former salt pond. This area is marked closed by numerous signs on top of the dike. Yet people ignored the signs and were walking freely along the shoreline that is part of the NWR. What is wrong with people?
The Daily Bucket. Six Red-tailed Hawks, an American Kestrel, a Ferruginous Hawk, and a lizard by funningforrest. A bicycle ride about an hour’s worth, on Quincy Junction Road, about five miles round trip. 12:48 p.m. Red-tailed Hawk #1. I haven’t even pedaled hardly a half mile from the house; just around past the high school on Quincy Junction Road, heading down what I have nicknamed “Hawk Alley.” This photo is slightly cropped from original, so you can see what I saw. I spotted the little white speck (the hawk’s breast feathers) up in this tree top, but that’s because I was very deliberately watching out for a hawk perching way up high like this.
Daily Bucket: Friday Sequence; A Red-tailed Hawk's Hunt by Jeff Graham. If you haven’t witnessed a hawk hunting its prey, you can get a vicarious experience here. The patience, acute vision and knowing where to look all played a part in this successful Red-tailed Hawk’s hunt. You have already seen the patient and spotting of the prey part. Next comes the action.
The Daily Bucket: The Cape Verde Islands by Mentha. Sal: The island is 29.7 km long and 11.8 km wide. Its area is 219.84 km2 (84.88 sq mi). It is one of the three sandy eastern islands (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) of the archipelago, with white sandy beaches. The island is fairly flat; its highest point is Monte Grande, at 406 m elevation. The uninhabited islet Ilhéu Rabo de Junco lies near the west coast of Sal. Saline marshes can be found in the Pedra de Lume crater and north of Santa Maria. Sal is being developed for tourism, aimed at Europeans. It’s hot and sunny. We had the option of visiting the tourist town, Santa Maria; or the historic Salinas (salt works). We choose the salt works, a Cape Verdean National Heritage Site. The crater—where the salt pans are situated—has a radius of no less than 900 meters. It is an extinct volcano. The highest point of the crater (the edge) is 39 meters above sea level, while the lowest point is far below sea level. The base of the crater is therefore the lowest point of the Cape Verde islands. The salt lake has formed naturally in the crater by infiltration of water from the nearby ocean. The salt lake is divided into salt pans (basins), so that the sun can easily evaporate the water. Eventually the natural product salt remains. Because of the natural conditions the water is 27 times (!) saltier than seawater. If you are going to swim, you will automatically stay afloat. I can attest to that; it was almost impossible to stay standing up. I can’t remember if that means I’m a witch or not.
Photo Diary: Crescent Lake, St Pete FL by Lenny Flank. A photo diary.
Dawn Chorus -- Kensington Metropark, late fall 2023 by clickadee. Kensington Metropark, which straddles Oakland and Livingston Counties in southeast Michigan, is a birding wonderland. It’s not a red eBird hotspot, but the two major hotspots list a respectable 216 and 239 species. For me, Kensington has two major draws. First, the park allows hand feeding of songbirds, so I’ve found it best to go with a buddy to tag team feeding and taking photos. But even solo, I’ve worked out how to answer the irresistible begging calls and still take photos. Second, my personal highlight of any visit, especially in nonbreeding season, is the opportunity to see Sandhill Cranes. In breeding season, the few Sandhill pairs that stick around are understandably more cautious and stay hidden in the cattails and phragmites. In fall and winter, they share the trails. Colts are always a thrill to see, and I was delighted to see two families with colts last week.
[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.]
Martians! -- Strike for the Planet week 147 by birches. It’s time to be Mark Watney He’s the guy below, the first multicellular Martian (though fictional), the astronaut who was accidentally left behind on Mars and survived for 564 Earth days/549 Martian days.Why are we talking about a fictional Martian? Watney may be fictional, but the science in The Martian is not. It was crowd-sourced and fact-checked by scientists specializing in the areas explored in the story. What The Martian has to say about survival on a planet hostile to life is pretty accurate, and this is important as we are rapidly turning our once hospitable planet into another Venus. Our survival is not a given. So what does The Martian say about survival? Mark had a few things to worry about that we don’t. He relied on machinery for both oxygen and sufficient pressure, and needed shielding so he wouldn’t sizzle in cosmic rays and the high energy light the sun pours out (x-rays, gamma rays, and the ionizing radiation Earth’s atmosphere protects us from). But those had been dealt with by NASA efficiently enough so they weren’t a problem for him. What was a problem for him, what he had to keep dealing with and figuring out over and over and over again were water and energy. Without those, he could not survive.
Don't Build in the Flood Zone, Darlin' -- Strike for the Planet week 146 by birches. This week’s topic: Don’t Sleep In The Subway, Darlin’. San Francisco is going to flood, it’s already guaranteed. CO2 emissions put us on track for bad to worse-case climate change scenarios, which means flooding in SF will be worse than the SLR (sea level rise) predictions the city is working with. Large swathes of SF will be underwater and more will be prone to flooding. So what are SF’s plans for dealing with too much water? SF, a peninsula and a few islands, is investing in ineffective and harmful hard (gray) flood infrastructure, with a dab of ecosystem restoration. Gray infrastructure projects increase carbon production, cause flanking and protected area erosion, and result in catastrophic impacts when they fail. Gray projects are expensive and provide little benefit for the cost. They take a long time to build and require a lot of non-local resources, resources we may be able to afford but may not be able to get delivered. Not only are current and planned protections not going to protect the city, but SF is actively making the situation much, much worse. Building in flood zones is a fool’s errand2, yet that’s where SF’s mega housing projects are happening. Yes, we need housing, but not underwater. So what do we do?
Let's Do The Numbers! -- Strike for the Planet week 145 by birches. This week’s topic: Let’s Do The Numbers! So what numbers are important then? Unemployment? Inflation? GDP? Interest rates? Nah, let’s look at some real numbers.
- amount warming since pre-industrial era: 2°F
- temperature above pre-industrial era at which all coral reefs will suffer severe bleaching: 2.7°F
- estimated percent of marine life dependent on coral reefs: 25
- other species in danger of extinction: ¼ of mammals, 1-in-6 bird species, 40% of amphibians
- percent Amazon rainforest lost in the last century: 20
- year when the Amazon rainforest changed from net carbon absorber to net carbon emitter: 2010
- amount of carbon being released by melting permafrost: 330 million to 660 million tons annually
- amount carbon being released from U.S. gas appliances: equal to 500,000 cars / year
The list goes on.
Because It's Been Rough On The Frontline Lately -- Strike for the Planet week 144 by birches. This week’s topic: Because It’s been rough On the frontline lately, this week we’re going to review. You need it. You haven’t been doing your homework and are failing to attain benchmarks, even with remedial differentiation. You are not enacting best practices, you are grossly misapplying accommodations, and you are flunking your project-based learning. Your capstone project was built on extrinsic financial motivation, and you define accountability by low expectations. You are failing at inclusive practices, you have haphazard methodology, and you show no mastery of performance assessments. You have clearly never engaged in backward design, or likely in any kind of rigor at all. Or, translated from edu-speak: You’ve got a LOT of catching up to do.
Baby Steps pt. 3, Divestment -- Strike for the Planet week 143 by birches. This week’s topic: Baby Steps pt. 3, Divestment. Hooray! You’ve finally just started on electrification, blackwater recycling, and divestment from organizations actively destroying the planet—yay! But you’re far behind where we need to be if these efforts are going to do any good. This week, let’s finish off this series and look at how SF is doing on divestment. The gangrene of fossil fuel money has filaments threaded throughout SF, poisoning the body politic and undermining the city’s ability to act against fossil fuels, even though doing so is in our own best interests. Like gangrene, fossil fuel money is killing us. Treat fossil fuel entanglement like gangrene — with debridement followed by a sharp focus on fixing the underlying causes. We need to get rid of fossil fuels now, then fix our mistaken ideas that the planet’s resources are infinite and belong to those with enough capital to lay claim to them. Because this is what’s killing us. Everything is different now. Act like it.
Tiny Forests -- Strike for the Planet week 142 by birches. This week’s topic: Tiny Forests . What problems are we talking about? Water, carbon sequestration, the urban heat island effect, social justice and equity, habitat loss, and air, light, and noise pollution. In one action? One? So it’s expensive, right? Nope. It’s dirt cheap. It’s tiny forests. What are they?They are not bonsai. They are not monocrop tree plantations. They are not difficult or expensive and require far less effort and time than building a road. Tiny forests, developed by Akira Miyawaki and being spread all over the planet by Shubhendu Sharma, are tennis-court sized, native, quick growing forest habitats. How quick? In 10 years, you can grow a forest that has 600 trees in a self-sustaining ecosystem, evolved for the region, and with the benefits of a 100-year old forest.
ENERGY, TRANSPORTIONS & EMISSIONS
Emissions for the world's SUV fleet belch out equivalent combined emissions of the UK and Germany by Pakalolo. SUV sales have exploded over the years, poisoning the atmosphere more than regular passenger cars alone. That is unsurprising, as SUVs are heavier and burn more gasoline per mile. Only electricity generation causes more climate destruction than SUVs. Despite common beliefs that an SUV is safer than a passenger car, the data does not support that assertion. Euronews Green reports that the SUV may become a victim in Paris as the city will attempt to drive them out of business. The UK has gone after the Toyota Hilux cars because many people use them to drive off-road. Adfree Cities launched a successful campaign to ban the promotion of the Hilux across the UK due to its negative impact on nature. All the things we could have done but never did.
Renewable Tuesday 11/28: Peak Carbon Now! by Mokurai. The funny thing about tipping points, I always say, is that nothing seems to happen until you reach one, and then everything seems to happen all at once. This is an illusion, of course. The world has been working on Global Warming for decades, including technologists, policy makers, the public, and of course paid denialists. The world does not realize that we have reached the critical tipping point, but 2024 is on track for that to happen, and therefore for everything to seem to happen at once: renewables, storage, EVs, trees, agriculture, heat pumps, manufacturing… Analysis: Global CO2 emissions could peak as soon as 2023, IEA data reveals. The outlook reiterates the IEA’s ideas for five “pillars” to keep the path to 1.5C open at COP28, including targets to triple renewable capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use and industry could peak as soon as this year, according to Carbon Brief analysis of figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Energy (and Other) Events Monthly - December 2023 by gmoke. These kinds of events below are happening all over the world every day and most of them, now, are webcast and archived, sometimes even with accurate transcripts. Would be good to have a place that helped people access them. This is a more global version of the local listings I did for about a decade (what I did and why I did it at http://hubeventsnotes.blogspot.com/2013/11/what-i-do-and-why-i-do-it.html) until September 2020 and earlier for a few years in the 1990s (https://theworld.com/~gmoke/AList.index.html). A more comprehensive global listing service could be developed if there were enough people interested in doing it, if it hasn’t already been done. If anyone knows of such a global listing of open energy, climate, and other events is available, please put me in contact.
Western States Petroleum Association Astroturf Group Seeks to Discredit Price Gouging Penalty by Dan Bacher. Consumer Watchdog released a new video today to counter a disinformation campaign by the state’s oil refiners lobby, led by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), as it seeks to discredit the price gouging penalty being developed by the California Energy Commission. As a leading researcher on deep regulatory capture by Big Oil in California, I have spent since 2009 exposing how the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the oil companies exercise their influence and power through a very sophisticated public relations machine in California and the U.S. that includes their latest campaigns to use Astroturf groups to spread disinformation and sponsor dinners and awards ceremonies for journalists. Also today, Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court participated on a roundtable panel at the Energy Commission today dealing with methodologies to establish the penalty.
AntiCapitalist MeetUp - Coal has never been 'clean' in the global market for carbon emissions by annieli. A proportional national responsibility for carbon production cannot be cancelled by certain dimensional initiatives of “degrowth”. It remains questioning what actual national industrial production policies are in place in comparison to international trade and to compare the “othering” of externality production of social costs with the reality that it is not about one person, one footprint but the necessity to confront the coming failure of remedial Climate Crisis efforts in advance of COP28. It may be that moratoria on leasing property rights in a wide range of mineral industries may need to be enforced to redirect investment and to decide on global regulatory targets for both use and exchange from a much longer list of strategic minerals available for extraction. @POTUS has introduced environmental protections for the Arctic. @Interior will cancel oil & gas leases from a 2021 lease sale that auctioned off lands in AK’s Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain. This is a big victory for all who’ve worked tirelessly to defend the Arctic Refuge. But doesn’t address the Manchin effects of other lease guarantees elsewhere.
Musings for Friday - EV's Biggest Hurdle. The US's Dealership Model by TexDem. Believe it or not, the profit margin a dealership makes on the sale of a vehicle isn’t as big as many think it is. That’s what the unions were pointing out in their negotiations(that labor, even with their requested increases, would be in the neighborhood of 5%.) The manufacturers are making most of the money. That’s why dealerships have no desire to sell EVs. Servicing EVs won’t have the same level of post warranty maintenance needs. After owning an EV for 5 years, I can speak from experience. Are there maintenance requirements? Of course there are. Just not to the same level as an ICE automobile. And as automobile manufacturers perfect the design, building and assembly of ICE autos, many of those maintenance items will diminish.
Airliners Now Proven to Run on Plant-based Fuels! by LarryCurlyMoe. You might know that one of the biggest fossil fuels users all over the planet are large commercial jet aircraft. If you were limiting your annual carbon budget (by driving less, using a bike or public transportation, electric or hybrid car, etc.) you could easily exceed your annual carbon output with just ONE trip in an airliner. Each flight takes many thousands of gallons of (essentially) kerosene. There are many smart people working to solve this and other greenhouse gas problems. On November 28, Virgin Atlantic completed the first ever transatlantic flight of a large commercial airliner powered with 100 percent Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) . The demonstration flight, Flight 100, was conducted in an effort to demonstrate the capability of SAF as a safe drop-in replacement for fossil derived jet fuel, compatible with today’s engines, airframes and fuel infrastructure.
WATER & INFRASTRUCTURE
California Supreme Court Denies Appeal by Westlands Water District! by Dan Bacher. With four words, the California Supreme Court thwarted agribusiness giant Westlands Water District’s years-long scheme with the federal Bureau of Reclamation to rubber-stamp a permanent water contract, according to a press statement from the Hoopa Valley Tribe.“ ‘Petition for review denied.’ That is the Supreme Court’s entire decision, and it is the right decision,” said Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Joe Davis. The contract would have discounted Westlands’ massive debt to the U.S. taxpayers and evaded Westlands’ and Reclamation’s responsibilities to restore California fisheries decimated by the sprawling Central Valley Project, the tribe said. “From the Fresno County trial court’s first decision in 2020 to the Supreme Court’s final decision this week, every judge who reviewed the record saw what the Court of Appeals called ‘strained arguments,’ ‘materially incomplete’ documents, references to documents that `did not exist,’ and a contract `not sufficiently definite to be binding and enforceable’,” said Council Member Daniel Jordan.
FOOD, AGRICULTURE & GARDENING
Growing Zone Hardiness Map in Alaska by coolspring. When I moved to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula twenty years ago the growing zone was 3B. Now the growing zone map has Kenai Alaska at 5A. Compared to the 1990 version, zone boundaries in the 2012 edition of the map had already shifted in many areas. The 2012 map is generally one 5°F half-zone warmer than the previous map throughout much of the United States. Here is a link to the 2012 map...garden.org/… In 2023 the winter “minus” weather — when the temperature is below zero — has not gotten colder than -25 giving us a 5A growing zone. Here is a link to the 2023 USDA Growing zone map...planthardiness.ars.usda.gov. This means in twenty years we have lost twenty degrees of the “minus” weather and gained about twenty to thirty days more of growing season. The warmer summers are still a little spotty. Two years ago we were at 70-75 degrees in late July early August. Last summer the temperatures struggled to reach 70 degrees.
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging - Vol.19.48 - Building A Raised Bed Garden by strawbale. I have been working over several years to create a raised bed garden accessible from my kitchen door. The herbs went in first, just in little short enclosures, mostly just tilled compost into the existing soil and mounded it up a little. But the main vegetable space is slowly growing these 16-inch beds. It’s nearly complete now. (And perennial stuff on the fence lines all around.) Tip for selecting your spacing: you should be able to get your favorite wheel barrow or other conveyance into the pathway between each set of beds. The wood is just common 2x8 timber, of whichever length works. The beds are 4 feet wide. On the west side, the beds are 16 feet long. [...] This time of year I can hope to get lots of leaves from friends and customers for topping up the beds, and the crop and weed waste (minus seeds) goes in, with more manure and a bit more native soil. Kitchen scraps too. Even bones after they have been cooked into bone broth, which makes them more crumbly.
Making the Right Choices as Consumers: Have You Escalated the War on the Environment? by Alex Morales. Choices: unless we can live sustainably outside of the market, we all interact with the global marketplace when purchasing goods and services. For the most part, our clothes, food and furniture are common items that we must purchase. We try to choose wisely: eating healthy, supporting good companies and retailers, etc. Consumer goods, such as health care products, cellular phones and even electric bicycles, lawnmowers or automobiles, offer us the option to make informed selections or opt-out completely. What we choose for our personal lifestyles is now a global issue (and has been since the end of the Second World War). We all know that conservatives in the USA and abroad do not care about the future of this planet. That is a given. I can attack them all day, every day through the next decade, with data, evidence and even moral and ethical concerns, yet nothing will change. But this article, instead, is an indictment of some liberals, fellow travelers and those who proclaim to care about the world we live in. I challenge everyone to assess their choices in this crisis. These days, our choices have severe global consequences.
Lead pipes are poisoning America's kids. Biden's EPA is getting ready to do something about it by Laura Clawson. A new proposed rule would require lead pipes to be replaced around the country over the next decade. Under the proposal, local utilities would have to dig up and replace the pipes, doing 10% of the pipes in their service areas each year. This is a huge job, and it will require funding over the years, though the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $15 billion for lead pipe removal. That’s a good start, but this is a job that will take $45 billion to $60 billion, according to estimates. It’s work that needs to be done.In Chicago, about 75% of the city’s water pipes are lead—and Illinois law is allowing 50 years to finish replacing them. Kids can’t wait that long.
Biden Gets the Lead Out, and Other Examples of 'What Govt Should be Doing': 'BradCast' 11/30/2023 by TheBradBlog. We've got an unusually large amount of somewhat encouraging environmental-related news on today's BradCast. We apologize in advance. Don't worry. It's not all good. The Biden EPA also announced some very big news on Thursday. The Administration has proposed new restrictions on lead levels in drinking water that will result in all 9 million of the nation's lead water pipes -- which can cause brain damage and behavior disorders, particularly in children -- being replaced over the next 10 years! "To finally have a rule that mandates the removal of lead pipes is exactly what the government should be doing,” declared the Michigan pediatrician whose research first discovered the 2014 Flint, Michigan, lead poisoning water crisis. This is very very good news and, yes, exactly the sort of thing that the federal government should be doing -- and should have done long ago!
Charles Koch's Americans for Prosperity endorses Nikki Haley in effort to stop Trump by Meteor Blades. In case you don’t remember or never knew, together with his now-deceased brother, David, Charles Koch has a long record of climate lies and paying others to lie, all to feed the greed of Koch Industries—a refining, petrochemical and pipeline company nicknamed by Greenpeace a “kingpin of climate denial”—and the rest of the fossil fuel industry. Besides Americans for Prosperity, he founded and bankrolled the Cato Institute, the libertarian outfit that for years spread lies about climate change. Between 1997 and 2018, Koch Industries spent close to $150 million financing climate denial groups. As for Haley, who has plenty else in her record that requires keeping her out of the White House, she at least gets credit for publicly acknowledging that climate change is real. But her efforts in office nonetheless amplified the denials. For instance, in 2017, when she was U.N. ambassador, Haley helped Donald Trump engineer the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate. In a 2020 video released by her advocacy group Stand for America, Haley said that “man-made climate change is real, but liberal ideas would cost trillions and destroy our economy.” At least she didn’t, like her boss at the time, call it a “hoax” invented by the Chinese. And, of course, Haley trashed the Green New Deal, calling its proposals trillions of dollars of waste. She’s had nothing to say about the $7 trillion the oil and gas industry gets in government subsidies worldwide. Like other puppets of the industry, she supports the false promise of uneconomic industrial carbon capture.
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.
Charlotte Dennett, a spy’s daughter, connects dots. Is oil a component in Ukraine & Israel wars? by Egberto Willes. Dennett talks about there being an oil component in the Ukraine and Israel wars. Dennett discusses the significant oil and natural gas reserves in Ukraine, which are second only to Russia in Europe, and their role in the conflict there. Similarly, she mentions large natural gas reserves off the coast of Gaza, discovered by British Gas and contracted by the Palestinian Authority, highlighting the political and economic implications of these resources.