Spotlight on green news & views: Climate change eats coastal communities; coal billionaire at UN

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Blue dasher dragonfly viewed head-on.

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: For blue dasher dragonflies, every picture tells a story, and stories become science: “What do biologists do in winter when all their study organisms are inactive and invisible? A grad student at Case Western Reserve pondered something he’d heard about the blue dasher dragonfly and figured out how to use iNaturalist submitted data* to turn that anecdote into researchMichael [Moore] heard that males in the eastern part of the continent had darker wings than those on the western side. ‘I kind of filed that anecdote away in the back of my brain while I used the species for research in other topics,’ he recalls. ‘But in the winter of 2016-2017, while I waited for the snow to clear so I could get back out there and do some research, I realized that the reason this dragonfly species has different wing color patterns in different parts of North America might be really interesting and worth investigating. […] Moore and his colleagues examined the photos for range and wing coloration and then obtained male specimens to test in the lab to learn how wing color affects the dragonfly’s body temperature. Does a higher temp lead to better flying ability? How do wing color and temp influence the ability for males to defend territory? He also examined the iNat data to see if wing coloration is reduced in the warmer portions of the animal’s range. They found that greater wing color results in higher body temps and this does improve flight performance in cool areas, but decreases performance under warmer conditions.” 

Flatwoods Plum (Prunus umbellata Flatwoods Plum

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: Wildflowers: “February 2019: An assortment of wildflower photos taken in the month of February. Most of these have been posted in comments but sometimes later in the evening and often missed. Some of these plants are endemic and/or state-listed as threatened or endangered. Photographing them is a bonus for the hours spent wandering in the woods, removing invasive plants, assisting with plant research, and over the last 4 months, lots of hurricane recovery. That means bucking fallen trees, dragging limbs off trails, and uncovering rare plants like the Florida Torreya tree.

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – an afternoon of skies, with bonus sunset: “February 24, 2019. Pacific Northwest. Homeward bound on Sunday afternoon we crossed the Skagit Flats as usual once out of the urban/exurban I-5 corridor of western Washington. From there we moseyed our way to the ferry dock via various birding stops and from thence, back across the water to our home. There were nice birds to see as always at this time of year, but what struck me as most impressive this time was the sky. Through the afternoon, the sky in every direction evolved as the rainy weather system broke up before a blast of northerly wind. By the next day it was clear and cloudless, but the transition created magnificent swirls and layerings, streakiness and poofies, which culminated in a beauteous sunset over the water.” 

backyard.jpg As of February 12, 2019: Looking south from backdoor, geraniums and daffodils are blooming.

enhydra lutris writes—The Daily Bucket – February 2019 Yard Report: “ This is part of my ongoing project to document the changes in our yard from month to month. January 2019. December 2018 is here. It will list all of the rest of 2018 + December 2017, etc. This month I am going somewhat by exception, only things that re blooming, significantly changed or otherwise of interest.” 

CLIMATE CHAOS

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Study Finds 99.9999% Chance Humans Are Causing Climate Change. Deniers Bet on 0.0001: “A new comment paper published in Nature this week celebrates the 40th anniversary of three key pieces of climate science by crunching the numbers to determine that there is a 99.9999% chance that climate change is human caused. In other words, there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the warming we’ve observed is natural. The study looked at three satellite datasets, all of which showed human fingerprints on temperatures. Researchers included a dataset from by the University of Alabama-Huntsville that’s run by deniers John Christy and Roy Spencer, which has long been something of an outlier for its lower temperatures. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Spencer pushed back on the paper on his blog, writing that he’s ‘dismayed that this published result could feed a new “one in a million” meme that rivals the “97% of scientists agree” meme, which has been a very successful talking point for politicians, journalists, and liberal arts majors.’ Weird, you might say, that a scientist would be so concerned with the political implications of a paper. But Spencer doesn’t see himself as an impartial scientist merely following the evidence. In fact, he wrote in his 2011 book that he sees his ‘job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government’.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Morano’s New ‘Climate Science Is Unfalsifiable’ Video Oversimplifies To Absurdity ClimateDenierRoundup: “Climate Depot’s Marc Morano has a new video out (with transcript) for the Clear Energy Alliance, invoking Karl Popper’s rule of thumb that real science needs to be falsifiable. While details are scant on who funds the Clear Energy Alliance, the fact that it’s set up specifically to attack climate activists and defend the fossil fuel industry is all you need to know. Bonus: it’s run by Mark Mathis, a longtime denier-for-hire who has also dabbled in defending creationism by, in the words of the Anti-Defamation League, ‘using the Holocaust in order to tarnish those who promote the theory of evolution.’ In the video, Morano argues that climate science is impossible to disprove, and therefore not science. He oversimplifies findings to portray complementary theories as being in conflict. Morano claims that because climate activists say that warming can bring more snow and less snow, ‘a sort of ‘climate astrology’ has taken over.’ Unfortunately for Morano, it’s not at all contradictory to say that overall warming means less snow, but at the same time, there may be more periods of very intense snowfall. As temperatures rise, the atmosphere is capable of holding more moisture.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—The Denial Playbook Has Killed Millions, And Could Kill Millions More If We Let It: “Next, Alexandra Precup’s harrowing testimony of surviving Hurricane Maria made clear the human cost of climate denial: lives upturned, homes destroyed, and widespread suffering. Her struggle is a lesson to us all, because despite whatever life throws your way, if nothing else, your voice like Ms. Precup’s, ‘can be used to raise awareness and hope of a better future to those who are still trying to get back on their feet.’ Rounding out the witnesses was Dr. David Michaels, author of  ‘Doubt is Their Product,’ a pivotal book on industrial denial. (If you’d like something about denial that’s little cuter though, check out this illustration!) Dr. Michaels’s testimony pulled no punches in connecting how various corporate interests have relied on the tobacco industry’s playbook to continue profiting off of dangerous products. After all, he noted, ‘debating the science is much easier and more effective than debating the policy changes necessary to protect people’.

committed writes—trump/gop to launch effort to deny climate change: “The White House plans to create an ad hoc group of select federal scientists to reassess the government’s analysis of climate science and counter conclusions that the continued burning of fossil fuels is harming the planet, according to three administration officials. The National Security Council initiative would include scientists who question the severity of climate impacts and the extent to which humans contribute to the problem, according to these individuals, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The group would not be subject to the same level of public disclosure as a formal advisory committee.”

Hunter writes—Team Trump planning to create ‘working group’ focused on dismissing federal climate change reports: “There is no substantive debate on whether the world’s climate is changing, and on mankind’s role as prime cause of that change. We have taken the measurements, and can track those changes from the outset of industrialization. It is not subtle. What scientific uncertainty still exists is in predictions of just how dire the situation will get, and how quickly; because atmospheric and oceanic systems are so complex, scientists are still not completely confident that some as-of-yet unknown factor could cause a more rapid and catastrophic chain-reaction than our best models are estimating. Sea levels are rising—right now. World temperatures are nudging upwards with each passing year—and can be measured. Long-predicted changes in prevailing wind and currents can be tracked, and are bearing out those past predictions. In the meantime, Donald Trump’s team of conservative c-listers is still obsessed with the notion of convening a select panel of cranks to dismiss each of the many government and military reports on the impacts and needed solutions to climate change, because of course they are. The current planned incarnation will be an ‘ad hoc’ ‘working group’ of climate skeptics tasked with reviewing the government’s prior conclusions, as published in the National Climate Assessment, and blowing whatever smoke is necessary to delay further action.”

Hunter writes—New research suggests a dangerous climate tipping point—and we’re nearly there already: “America woke up on Monday to new, and dire, climate news: A new scientific study suggests that we have been vastly underestimating the climate feedback loop caused by reduced cloud cover in a warming world. Clouds, being reflective, reflect sunlight that would otherwise warm the planet; as temperatures and carbon dioxide increase, cloud cover decreases. What is significant about the new research findings is that they suggest a ‘tipping point’ beyond which things become very dire, and very fast—and that we are very close to that tipping point right now. The simulation revealed a tipping point: a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break up altogether. The disappearance occurs when the concentration of CO2 in the simulated atmosphere reaches 1,200 parts per million — a level that fossil fuel burning could push us past in about a century, under ‘business-as-usual’ emissions scenarios. In the simulation, when the tipping point is breached, Earth’s temperature soars 8 degrees Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the CO2 directly.

eeff writes—Greta Thunberg’s latest speech before the European Economic and Social Committee

r.r._pics_6068.JPG Mono Lake water is three time saltier than the ocean.

sandbear75 writes—The Daily Bucket- And You Think You Have Bad Water?Here in Arizona, we are brought up thinking about water. To us, it’s a precious commodity. We are raised to conserve it and worship it. Life doesn’t exist without it. But good water is one of the pressing issues that faces humanity. All over the globe we either have too much of it, or not enough. And we need to use it better. On a trip to California, I stopped by Mono Lake. If you haven’t been here, it is a stark reminder of how special water is. This lake is nothing but poison to most life, though Brine Shrimp thrive there. These allow migratory birds to feed on them when stopping over. Outside of that, the pictures speak for themselves. […] Located at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the lake has been historically fed by streams that have been diverted for Los Angeles. When that happened, the water level dropped, exposing Tufa Towers. These are calcium deposits that form from highly mineralized springs in low temperatures under the lake surface.

andrewkimbrell writes—Time to Say Goodbye to Climate Change:So how did we actually arrive at the anemic term Climate Change? Well, it turns out it was a public relations coup, but not one on behalf of concerned environmentalists. Rather it was the work of a renowned Republican public opinion guru, Frank Luntz. During the early years of the George W. Bush Administration, he wanted to quell public alarm about global warming because it was hurting his party’s electoral chances. Luntz was a polling expert, and he knew that the term ‘global warming’—the most commonly used term at that time—resonated powerfully with the public triggering personal fears of a looming catastrophe and images of polar ice melting and extreme weather disasters. By contrast, he noted that when poll questions mentioned Climate Change many Americans began to disengage.

Pakalolo writes—A nighttime phenomenon of thousands of tiny icequakes shakes Antarctic Ice Shelves: “A University of Chicago press release reports on the discovery of an unknown phenomenon that occurs on the marine extensions of land glaciers in Antarctica, they are known as ice shelves and they experience thousands of tiny quakes when meltwater refreezes at night. The discovery might allow scientists to remotely study and predict ice shelf collapse.

Alfred McCoy via Tomgram: Climate Change as the End Game for U.S. Global Power: “[…]an ever-escalating tempo of climate change over the coming decades is likely to produce massive damage to the infrastructure that sustains human life. Seven hundred years later, humanity could be facing another catastrophe on the scale of the Black Death, one that might, once again, set the world in motion. The geopolitical impact of climate change may be felt most immediately in the Mediterranean basin, home to 466 million people, where temperatures in 2016 had already reached 1.3 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  (The current global average was still around 0.85 degrees.)  This means that the threat of devastating drought is going to be brought to a historically dry region bordered by sprawling deserts in North Africa and the Middle East. In a telling example of how climate catastrophe can erase an entire world order, around 1200 BC the eastern Mediterranean suffered a protracted drought that “caused crop failures, dearth, and famine,” sweeping away Late Bronze Age civilizations like the Greek Mycenaean cities, the Hittite empire, and the New Kingdom in Egypt.”

GREEN NEW DEAL

Jkaustinen writes—So what is the Green New Deal, anyway? “So there has been a lot of talk about a thing called a ‘Green New Deal’ lately. What is it, what does it do, can it be done, should it be done?The answers to these questions hinge on the intent of its creators, and that’s something addressed recently by The MIT Technology Review. Editor James Temple states the following: The group’s letter cites the UN climate panel’s latest report in calling for rapid and aggressive action to prevent 1.5˚C of warming, but then it ignores the body’s finding on how that can be done. The report, released in October, says most models that keep the world below that threshold depend on significant increases in nuclear power, hydroelectric, and fossil-fuel plants that capture emissions. And all of the analyses now require removing vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere this century, using biomass and carbon capture technologies. […] It was conspicuous to some that several of the largest environmental groups didn’t sign on to the letter, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club. The New Republic reported that at least a few were specifically concerned about the restrictive language.”

SolarMom writes—Nuts and Bolts Carbon Policy: Some Initial Steps Under a Green New Deal: “Way back in his 1992 magnum opus, Earth in the Balance, Al Gore actually proposed a “Global Marshall Plan” to green the planet (because of course he did). His ideas included research and development into cleaner technologies which then could be widely shared, and also revising the tax code to penalize fossil fuels. But even though the UN opened its first international climate treaty for signature that year, the math wasn’t yet terrifying enough for us, and widespread clean energy was still pie in the sky. More recently the idea for a Green New Deal seems to have sprung up around 2008 after the financial crash, when both a group of British analysts and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) each put out reports pushing for greening the world economy.  UNEP proposed six points: clean energy and cleaner technologies including recycling, sustainable agriculture, maintaining ecosystem infrastructure, reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, and sustainable cities including planning, transport, and buildings. The British analysts made similar points and also included a restructuring and reform of the financial system along the lines of the original New Deal, plus massive investment in clean energy and energy efficiency. Fast forward ten years, and more proposals are now floating around. The Green Party put out a proposal that uses the Jacobson plan for converting to 100% renewable energy as a base. The Jacobson Plan shows how 100% renewable energy might work in the US.”

citisven writes—16 yr old GND activist: “I shouldn’t have to think about survival, I should be making 10 yr plans”: “After attending the rally on Friday that preceded the now-viral exchange about the Green New Deal resolution between the local youth group Youth Vs. Apocalypse and CA Senator Diane Feinstein, I once again went to the Senator’s San Francisco office this morning for a follow up press conference. Since the debate about the substance of the exchange quickly became overshadowed by a fight over whether the video was doctored edited (full version here) or the kids were being used as props (they weren’t), Y vs A along with another local youth group, Bay Area Earth Guardians, thought it constructive to use their sudden notoriety to steer the conversation back to where it needs to be: which plan best addresses the existential threat of a rapidly warming planet with all its environmental and social ramifications. 16-year young Isha Clarke, a junior at MetWest High School in Oakland, was just one of many passionate speakers, eloquently explaining why the Senator’s own climate change resolution (published after the encounter on Friday) does not adequately address the scale and time frame of the problem. […] While too many of us adults have been busy bickering over whether the Senator was too condescending or the kids too disrespectful, Isha showed how to get a debate back on track. Senator Feinstein, I could care less about your tone, I care about your vote.

subir writes—Why is Sen. Feinstein offering a competing Climate Change proposal when GND polls at 81%? “Senate Resolution 59 is the Green New Deal. It currently has 12 Senate co-sponsors(that’s over 25% of the Democratic Senate Caucus). The co-sponsors include Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamal Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Every single senator running for President is co-sponsoring this resolution. More importantly, the measure is overwhelmingly popular among voters. […] Which leads to the question, why is Sen. Diane Feinstein proposing legislation that is virtually guaranteed to divide Democrats when S.Res. 59 comes up for a vote? Also, why is she offering a proposal universally considered weaker than the GND, when the GND has enormous public support?

Dfh1 writes—Dianne Feinstein’s Draft Climate Change Resolution Aligns with Recommendation of IPCC: “For those who have not yet looked, here is the link to the draft resolution Dianne Feinstein will be proposing.  Copies of this proposal were given to the students she met with yesterday during their controversial meeting. www.feinstein.senate.gov/… I am not interested relitigating the content and tone of that interaction, there are at least two other diaries addressing that part of the controversy. What I am interested in doing is pushing back against the conclusion being drawn in those comments that Dianne Feinstein is not an ally in the fight against climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a scientifically based report that showed the desperate situation we are in and the need to act now to mitigate the worst impacts of Climate Change. In terms of what was needed to address this, the IPCC concluded: Staying at or below 1.5°C requires slashing global greenhouse gas emissions 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. Dianne Feinstein’s draft proposal says the following: The United States shall reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero as soon as possible and by no later than 2050.

Bernie2021 writes—NO. Feinstein’s climate plan does NOT comply with IPCC recommendations: “Feinstein’s climate plan is absolutely NOT in line with the recommendations of the scientists at the IPCC. The IPCC report on 1.5C informs policy makers that a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions is required by 2030 in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. This 2030 goal is a huge deliverable en route to their recommendation of net zero emissions. Feinstein’s plan is completely silent on any any emission reductions prior to 2050 and completely ignores the massive global effort required to hit the 2030 milestone. She basically promised those teenagers that the IPCC goal would NOT be met when she told them that ‘it won’t get turned around in 10 years.’ The scientists (not the politicians) are the arbiters of what is required to avoid catastrophe. Feinstein’s plan doesn’t meet those requirements. It’s not even close.”

billofrights writes—For Inspiration: Some thoughts on the First New Deal, and the Coming Green One: “A few things to keep in mind in the contemporary debate about the Green New Deal, given the attack lines from the Republican Right and Democratic Center.  First, FDR did not have a specific plan to bring before the American people during the 1932 election, and indeed, was torn between the old 19th century ideal of a balanced federal budget and what he clearly knew was the collapse of the economic system and rise of vast, unmet human need. And nature soon would be calling as well in the form of a dust storm which made a deposit on DC in March of 1935. The Dust Bowl was here as well.  He knew we were at a watershed, which he conveyed in his campaign speech to the Commonwealth Club in SF,  but only promised action, and experiment.  He didn’t ask for emergency powers, but a befuddled and passive Congress gave him the closest thing a Congress has ever done to writing a blank check for programs, the famous “100 days” starting in March of 1933.

NewsPhotosFeatures writes—America Needs a Green New Deal, Though Not Necessarily AOC’s: “The Green New Deal captures the essence of what is properly characterized as the existential threat of climate change – that this is a matter of social, economic and political justice, as much as environmental justice. Rich people don’t worry about rising sea levels because they can use their helicopter to escape to their  mountain homes; don’t care if temperatures rise to 120 degrees because they have all the air conditioning and personal generators to create electricity they need, all the food and medicines they require. But the poor and vulnerable are the ones who succumb, who can’t afford a bus ticket to escape Hurricane Katrina, who die of heat stroke, who can’t afford to leave neighborhoods blighted by fouled water and air, like Flint. The Green New Deal seeks to emulate FDR’s New Deal to address the existential climate crisis, which indeed, goes beyond how we power our society, but to who turns control over that power and profit to control political power. But it is as much about social, economic and political justice, as environmental justice. That’s why they have attached such ‘radical’ measures as calling for minimum wage, universal health care, a guaranteed job or a guaranteed income.”

Marissa Higgins writes—Ivanka Trump disses AOC’s Green New Deal, says most Americans ‘want to work for what they get’: “In an interview that demonstrates an astounding lack of introspection and self-awareness, first daughter Ivanka Trump spoke out against the Green New Deal on the basis that it provides a “guaranteed minimum’ income, but most Americans ‘want to work for what they get.’ Before we get into the details of the Green New Deal, the new economic proposal spearheaded by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, and their fellow progressive Democrats, it’s worth it to review a bit about Trump herself. Although she has not been elected to any position and has no background in politics, Trump has been granted a senior advisory role in the White House—thanks, of course, to her father and nepotism. Given that Trump was born into incredible wealth, her opportunities were enormous even before her father reached the White House. For example, she began working for the Trump Organization right after graduating from college in 2005. To entertain the idea that she hasn’t had privileges and opportunities that most people (even those within the business) can only dream of is to be naive.”

Mahtin writes—Why the Green New Deal Must Be a Green New Deal: “Should climate activists tailor climate legislation narrowly? From the Washington Post’s editorial board to Dianne Feinstein, critics purporting to care about climate change have pushed back not so much on the climate portions of the Green New Deal, but instead on some of its more radical economic propositions.  These skeptics argue that (1) large-scale changes to the American economic system are not related to climate change, and (2) the socio-economic changes included in the Green New Deal are unpopular and/or controversial, which means that they threaten its political viability.  In other words, they imply that climate activists should stay in their lane.  This is wrong. Serious efforts to address climate change may require significant changes to our way of life, and these changes may in turn impose significant hardships onto a wide swath of Americans.  Asking ordinary Americans to shoulder a huge burden to help address a problem they may not understand and may feel no responsibility for helping create is a recipe for political calamity.  Indeed, a transition to a sustainable-emission economy is much more likely to be politically untenable without including an overhaul of the socio-economic system, than with one.  Thus, Green New Deal proponents have it exactly right.  The best way to address climate change is as one piece of a large-scale effort to make the American economy more fair and just.”   

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—CREEPs Imagine $93 Trillion Price of GND By Ignoring Benefits and Inflating Costs: “There’s a new report out claiming that the Green New Deal will have a $93 trillion price tag. This attempt to put a dollar figure on a resolution calling for policies is ridiculous, since we don’t know what exactly all the various GND policies will be. But we shouldn’t be surprised, given the report comes from the American Action Forum, a group we discussed back in 2016 when it put a big price tag on an Obama climate policy. AAF is a well-connected Republican group chaired by Fred Malek, who served as “the hatchet” for Richard Nixon. Malek also managed the Committee to Re-Elect the President, CREEP, which was pretty much responsible for the Watergate scandal. So what’s this CREEPy alum up to now? More dirty tricks, it would seem.

billofrights writes—A Green New Deal for Maryland, Especially the Rural Regions…: “Dear Citizens and Elected Officials: I wanted to share with you and the Daily Kos community, Maryland Kossacks too, a background letter I just sent out to a gathering Green New Deal movement for Western Maryland.  I hope it does make the important interaction between national directions and local unmet needs clear, even if the list of projects is in the early draft stages. Hi Everyone: We’re not organized yet enough to have an ‘agenda,’ and so I’ll leave it at ‘here’s what’s been on my mind.’ It looks like the national dynamics and the “in your office” (if not your face) tactics of the Sunrise movement have backed Senator McConnell off his bad faith efforts to fast track a vote on the Green New Deal resolution, until the summer, if then.  Democratic Senators felt that they had to respond to him however, and put together a ‘weak tea’ nine-line draft resolution which they all endorsed, including the six or so who have also supported the 14 page formal Green New Deal one that we want. I don’t think this had much meaning except to demonstrate that to hold the party together at this point, between centrists and the GNDealers, they came up with pretty much meaningless policy pablum. Next to it, the ‘real’ resolution looks very serious and detailed—as to directions and goal at least.

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Magnifico writes—Overnight News Digest: Warming Oceans Are Losing Oxygen: “Scientific American. The Ocean Is Running Out of Breath, Scientists Warn: Escaping predators, digestion and other animal activities—including those of humans—require oxygen. But that essential ingredient is no longer so easy for marine life to obtain, several new studies reveal. In the past decade ocean oxygen levels have taken a dive—an alarming trend that is linked to climate change, says Andreas Oschlies, an oceanographer at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany, whose team tracks ocean oxygen levels worldwide. ‘We were surprised by the intensity of the changes we saw, how rapidly oxygen is going down in the ocean and how large the effects on marine ecosystems are,’ he says. It is no surprise to scientists that warming oceans are losing oxygen, but the scale of the dip calls for urgent attention, Oschlies says. Oxygen levels in some tropical regions have dropped by a startling 40 percent in the last 50 years, some recent studies reveal. Levels have dropped more subtly elsewhere, with an average loss of 2 percent globally.”

Dan Bacher writes—Delta Chambers, PCFFA comment on Newsom’s decision to end twin tunnels, back one tunnel: “Bill Wells, the Executive Director of the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau, has issued a statement regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s call to end the twin tunnels project and support a one tunnel plan instead. He said his organization continues to oppose diverting Sacramento River water around the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, regardless of the method of diversion. ‘The California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau opposes diverting the Sacramento River around the Delta. We have never made a distinction over the method of diversion, whether it be canals, tunnels, or any other conveyance. Diverting the river will destroy what is left of the Delta. The water barons in the south will want as much water as they can get out of the system and they will not finance it unless they are assured of this. We do not trust them! ‘Over the last 12+ years we have asked officials to give us a few examples of where a project like this has not destroyed the parent waterway, so far they have produced—none’.”

Dan Bacher writes—Frazier’s AB 1194 would increase local representation on Delta Stewardship Council:Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill, AB 1194, that would would add four voting members, appointed by representatives of the Delta region, to the Delta Stewardship Council. The four additions would increase the Council’s voting membership from seven to 11 — and address a great injustice in the absence of Delta residents from the could. Legislation signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger 10 years ago created the Delta Stewardship Council to develop the Delta Plan and manage the plan after its implementation. However, residents  of the Delta region are barely represented on the Stewardship Council, even though it makes decisions that affect the economy and environmental health of the Delta region and the everyday lives of the people who live here, according to Fraser. ‘My goal is to ensure appropriate representation for Delta communities in matters that come before the Stewardship Council for decisions,’ said Frazier, who is a co-chair of the Legislative Delta Caucus. ‘Currently only one member, the chair of the Delta Protection Commission, lives in the Delta region’.

Dan Bacher writes—Breaking: DWR, Reclamation request 60 day stay on CA WaterFix hearings at State Water Board: “The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation today sent a letter to Hearing Officer Tam Doduc requesting  the State Water Resources Control Board to temporarily place the petition for a change in point of diversion for the California WaterFix (WaterFix CPOD) in abeyance and issue a temporary sixty (60) day stay on all proceedings for the WaterFix CPOD. ‘This request is in light of Governor Gavin Newsom’s State of the State address on February 12, 2019, where he presented a conceptual proposal supporting a single tunnel configuration for WaterFix that builds on the permit and planning work that has already been completed. The Petitioners are submitting this request to allow DWR sufficient time to assess the effects on WaterFix and the nature and extent the effects would have on existing and any new permit and planning work, and specifically how this may affect the WaterFix CPOD process,’ according to the Letter.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS​

Lefty Coaster writes—Jay Inslee launches a Race for the Presidency with responding to Climate Change as the centerpiece: “Tomorrow our Governor here in Washington, Jay Inslee is launching a race for President. Unlike any of the other Democratic candidates, Jay is making responding to Climate Change the centerpiece of his campaign. This comes from a brand new article at the New Yorker. […] Inslee has been in politics for a quarter century but has never become a national figure. As one of his aides, reached on the West Coast, put it, ‘he’s not a show horse,”’and it took a moment to conceive of the unpretentious governor as a Presidential candidate. On the other hand, there are credible public-opinion polls in which Democratic voters in the early-primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina say that they care more about climate change and health care than any other issues. Inslee’s approach to climate policy, he told me, is ‘can-do, optimistic—it’s in my nature.”’But in Washington, D.C., that approach, reminiscent of Gore, has, for the moment at least, been displaced by the millennial left’s, which is bleaker in tone and more transformative in program. For many years environmentalism has been shaped by technocratic liberalism’s trust in scientific expertise, and faith in the possibility of a global consensus. Now there is an unexpected situation. The climate is in crisis and liberalism is under pressure, at the same time.

Lefty Coaster writes—Watch Jay Inslee’s Speech:”We are the last generation that can do anything about it”(Climate Change)

aurabass writes—CLIMATE CANDIDATE INSLEE IN IT: “Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state announced his candidacy as the CLIMATE CHANGE candidate at a solar energy business. His White House bid centers on combating climate change. A move that will help focus attention on the most critical crisis facing the planet. In a video that opens with shots of storm clouds gathering over the Seattle skyline, Inslee, 68, vowed to transition the nation to 100 percent renewable electricity and generate ‘millions of good paying jobs’ in ‘every community across America.’ ‘We’re the first generation to feel the sting of climate change,’ Inslee said over images of the charred rubble California’s unprecedented wildfires left behind last year. ‘And we’re the last that can do something about it.’ The website for the Inslee campaignfeatures his policies centered on the economic benefits of renewable energy. His record in the State of Washington is filled with efforts to face this crisis while improving the economy and the environment.”

Walter Einenkel writes—Trump’s pick for U.N. ambassador is coal billionaire that believes ‘both sides’ of climate change: “The NASA Earth Observatory shared a set of images last week comparing satellite photos taken in January 1986 and January of this year of the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica. According to NASA, the crack forming through the middle of the shelf has begun moving again, after lying dormant for the last 35 years (Chasm 1 in images below). If that crack cuts across the ‘Halloween crack’ discovered in 2016, it will separate an ‘area of ice … from the shelf [that] will likely be at least 1700 square kilometers (660 square miles).’ And the changes to the shelf have been coming fast and furious. […] If this section separates from the Brunt Shelf, it would create an iceberg around twice the size of New York City. According to the Earth Observatory, while this would not be one of the largest icebergs ‘by Antarctic standards,’ it would be the largest one to break off of the Brunt Shelf since 1915, when the area was first surveyed by Ernest Shackleton.

Merlin1963 writes—Mikaela Curry of Pike County KY Has an Important Op-Ed on Mitch McConnell and Coal Miners:Here is an important piece from a community organizer in Pike County, Kentucky — a woman by the name of Mikaela Curry — on the coal miners’ ‘friend’ Senator Mitch McConnell.  This is from someone who lives in Trumplandia, and I think her views are far more important than any of the usual blather I write: McConnell has repeatedly failed to do right by our coal workers and communities. In 2017, McConnell co-authored a high-profile op-ed claiming to support projects that would ‘provide financial, environmental and economic support to hard-hit coal regions.’ However, in a stark contrast to this claim, last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) he failed to win, or even fight for, federal funding for the RECLAIM Act, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, and miners’ pension fund. All three of these measures are urgently needed to support a Just Transition for workers and communities in Kentucky. The RECLAIM Act alone would have brought $1 billion back to coal mining regions in Central Appalachia. But, despite strong outcry from his constituents — including 16 local governments that passed local resolutions urging his support — McConnell did not push for a vote for these programs that would directly benefit his constituents.Despite his enormous influence in Congress, he did nothing. Much like the miners suffering from black lung, he allowed these measures to die without a voice.”

ENERGY

Fossil Fuels

Pakalolo writes—Influential tech companies team up with Big Oil to enhance exploration, extraction, and production: “I want to share what we are up against within GOP circles and the fossil fuel industries, and their blatant attempt to kill the biosphere for greed. Also, there appear to be new barriers to keeping the earth habitable for children today.  They will have to live with the climate crisis for the rest of their days. Those of us who will not witness should offer respect and concrete proposals of action worthy of the scale of the disaster. How Google, Microsoft, and Big Tech Are Automating the Climate Crisis. Brian Mechant writes: In a deal that made few ripples outside the energy industry, two very large but relatively obscure companies, Rockwell Automation and Schlumberger Limited, announced a joint venture called Sensia. The new company will “sell equipment and services to advance digital technology and automation in the oilfield,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Yet the partnership has ramifications far beyond Houston’s energy corridor: It’s part of a growing trend that sees major tech companies teaming with oil giants to use automation, AI, and big data services to enhance oil exploration, extraction, and production.

REGULATIONS & PROTECTIONS

Carolyn Fiddler writes—Daily Kos calls on U.S. Senate to reject Wheeler’s appointment to the EPA: “Today, Daily Kos Communications Director Carolyn Fiddler announced the delivery of over 250,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Senate calling on lawmakers to reject the appointment of coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Climate Hawks Vote, CREDO Action, Sierra Club, the California League of Conservation Voters, Corporate Accountability, Rootstrikers, and 350.org joined forces to amass support for the petition. Wheeler’s confirmation vote is likely to occur this week. ‘Putting Wheeler in charge of the EPA is the equivalent of giving the fox a bib as you invite him into the henhouse,’ said Fiddler. ‘Wheeler has a demonstrated history of fighting against common-sense rules that protect Americans from toxins in the air and deadly chemicals in the workplace. The Trump-Wheeler environmental deregulation agenda not only robs us of safe air and water, but it also steals hope for a future free of climate change’s deadly effects from our children’.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Emails Reveal Lobbyist Appointed At EPA Is Still Working On Behalf Of Former Clients: “Top EPA air policy official Bill Wehrum has come under fire recently after documents released to the Sierra Club under the Freedom of Information Act brought to light his continued relationship with former clients. Is he officially violating ethics rules? Probably not. But does it look like Wehrum is still at his former clients’ beck and call? Hell yes. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. While serving in the EPA under George W. Bush, Wehrum repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) went to bat for polluters. As Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) pointed out at Wehrum’s Senate confirmation hearing, the last time Wehrum was in charge at the EPA, courts ruled against him 27 different times. It was after this stint under President Bush that Wehrum went to work as a partner at the law firm Hunton & Williams (now Hunton Andrews Kurth) where he represented many industry groups. After all, who doesn’t like to sit around and get real paid?

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

SkepticalRaptor writes—Glyphosate and cancer – is it linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma? “A new study has been published that claims that the herbicide glyphosate is linked to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma,  a cancer of the lymph tissue. Of course, once a study like this hits the interwebs, everyone becomes panicked that glyphosate causes cancer. I want to take a look at this paper because I am generally distrustful of any claims that “XYZ causes cancer!!!!!!!!!!!!” Cancer myths are pervasive, and a lot of fear of cancer is based on those myths. So let’s take a critical eye and examine the peer-reviewed paper that claims that there is a link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. There is a lot there, but there is also a lot of overreaction.”

Missys Brother writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog Vol. 15.09: Zimbabwe and Zambia: “Good morning and welcome to Saturday Morning Garden Blogging where we’re known to wander off the garden paths by also including our animals, homes, travels and other interesting topics. P and I returned home this past January from a month in the countries of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. I took almost 4,000 photographs so I believe the best way to approach this is try a diary for each country, except today’s will cover two. The diaries will have photographs of plants and animals, of course, but will also include other interests to provide a real feel of the locations.   The trip from our house, outside of Hartford, CT to Johannesburg, South Africa took over forty hours. (Uber, train, subway, monorail, NYC flight to Frankfurt, ten hour layover, then on to Johannesburg). The first part of our journey after arriving in Africa was to have been a flight on to Zimbabwe but we decided that it was best to spend one night in Johannesburg to recuperate before continuing. We stayed adjacent to the airport in a remodeled extremely industrial styled hotel. The reception desks were cargo boxes. Very hip, very cool with even one of the swimming pools turned into a sitting area.”

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

bluewill writes—Analysis: Electric cars and the Permian: Saudi Arabia in Lee County by Dr. Daniel Fine: “So far there is nothing on the road that eliminates carbon. The Green Deal is loaded: it offers ‘Green Energy’ with diversionary political baggage. Is it around the corner? It is. In six years, Audi-Porsche-VW will have an electric car on I-25 that will be zero-emissions, cost $27,000 (today’s dollar) with a range that beats Tesla. It will begin the phase-out the Combustion Engine. The Governor would be in her second term along with the Secretary of Energy and Minerals when this bit of history is made. Too soon to shake heads negatively. The surprise is a mass electric car with a German engineering in a Ford. Indeed, Ford will no doubt bid for the license is this writer’s forecast. The revolutionary change is green energy and colorless technology.”

Rei writes—And That’s That: The $35k Tesla Model 3 Goes On Sale: “Well, it’s finally happened: Tesla has released the $35k Model 3. While the whole Model 3 programme had been previously moved forward two years, the failure to meet the accelerated timeline has been a regular source of criticism for Tesla over the past year. The new unveiling introduced a whole slew of variants, including: (price, range, top speed, 0-60, premium). SR: $35k, 220mi, 130mph, 5,6s, non-PUP. SR+: $37k, 240mi, 140mph, 5,3s, partial-PUP. MR: $40k, 264mi, 140mph, 5,2s, PUP. LR: $43k, 325mi, 140mph, 5,0s, PUP. AWD: $48k, 310mi, 145mph, 4,5s, PUP. P: $59k, 310mi, 162mph, 3,2s, PUP (Prices are without tax credits and fuel/maintenance savings). Pricing, ranges, and features have by and large significantly surpassed initial promises. For example, the Long Range (LR) variant was supposed to be a $9K premium over SR, with the Premium Upgrades Package another $5k, but now PUP is included in LR and the price difference is only $8k.”

MISCELLANY

Pakalolo writes—Researchers confirm humans are the proverbial frog in the “boiling pot” parable: ““From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.The changing global climate is producing increasingly unusual weather relative to preindustrial conditions. In an absolute sense, these changing conditions constitute direct evidence of anthropogenic climate change. However, human evaluation of weather as either normal or abnormal will also be influenced by a range of factors including expectations, memory limitations, and cognitive biases. Here we show that experience of weather in recent years—rather than longer historical periods—determines the climatic baseline against which current weather is evaluated, potentially obscuring public recognition of anthropogenic climate change. We employ variation in decadal trends in temperature at weekly and county resolution over the continental United States, combined with discussion of the weather drawn from over 2 billion social media posts. These data indicate that the remarkability of particular temperatures changes rapidly with repeated exposure. Using sentiment analysis tools, we provide evidence for a ‘boiling frog’ effect: The declining noteworthiness of historically extreme temperatures is not accompanied by a decline in the negative sentiment that they induce, indicating that social normalization of extreme conditions rather than adaptation is driving these results. Using climate model projections we show that, despite large increases in absolute temperature, anomalies relative to our empirically estimated shifting baseline are small and not clearly distinguishable from zero throughout the 21st century.””

Rashaverak writes—Trump Golf Course Cuts Trees Without Permit, Uses the Potomac River As A Dump: “The Washington Post reports that about a dozen mature riverbank trees were cut down at the Trump National Golf Course in Loudoun County, Virginia, upriver from Washington, D.C.  The trunks, limbs, and branches of the trees were then dumped into the Potomac River. A kayaker, Steven Mckone, noticed the travesty while he was on the river.  The diameters of the trunks of the trees varied from 14 to 24 inches.  The affected area was just off the fairways in what had been a small copse. Loudoun County officials say that the removal of the trees could violate local ordinances. Trees in a waterway can create dangerous conditions, where currents can pull watercraft into the branches, then trap boaters underwater in what is known as a strainer effect. In addition, trees along river banks are among the best ways to protect water quality and aquatic life, and prevent erosion, environmentalists say. The general manager of the Trump property referred all questions to the organization’s corporate office, which did not respond to requests for an explanation or comment.

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