Spotlight on green news & views: Window on Koch crapola; monarchs in the back yard

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Black Ducks

Lenny Flank writes—Photo Diary: Fore River Wildlife Sanctuary: “This is a very nice wildlife park in Portland, Maine. It runs through several different habitat areas. Some photos from a day in the park. For those who don’t know, I am traveling the country in a campervan and posting diaries of places I visit.”  🙂 

Besame writes—Daily Bucket: Lassen Pack’s new family home video and gray wolf update from CDFW: “Around April 15th this year at least three new pups were added to the Lassen Pack, the sole remaining gray wolf pack in California. California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that a trail camera in Lassen or Plumas county had filmed them in a remote location, playing and practicing their wolf song (begins around 1:00 in the video below). Camera data indicated that a minimum of five adult and yearling wolves were traveling together during the winter. The Lassen pack breeding female, LAS01F, whelped around April 15, and a minimum of three pups have been detected. At this time, it is estimated that the Lassen pack consists of a minimum of two to three adults/yearlings and three pups. CDFW and USDA WildlifeServices spent nine days in late June trapping to radio collar wolves in the Lassen Pack. Efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

IMG_62742.JPG iew of Twin Sisters peaks on the western edge of the Mt. Baker Wilderness Area. Midground is the Skookum Creek canyon and drainage with fireweed in the foreground.

RonK writes—The Daily Bucket: A Skookum Hike to Skookum Creek: “I took a hike the other day to visit one of the new properties in the North Cascade Mountains purchased  for preservation by the Whatcom Land Trust. After driving several miles along an old logging road I, along with other Land Stewards and staff members, got to the top of a not too old logging site that provided a wonderful vista of the drainage from the Twin Sisters’ peaks and the watershed for Skookum Creek which they had just bought. With this purchase, along with adjacent properties that are pending, we will secure a total of 2,400 acres of watershed to the South Fork of the Nooksack River. Looking across the valley with the creek in its bottom you can see much of this area has been logged at least once, although there is a section, not visible in the photo that remains ancient forest (old growth Douglas  fir and Western Red Cedar). We have now ensured that the current second growth trees will become old growth over the next 100s to even thousands of years. That is, it is now being preserved for visiting, mild human powered recreation, and for sustaining wildlife and natural flora.”

paperwasp.jpg Mellow paper wasp pollinator?  Or Evil Yellow Jacket stinger and biter?

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–The 2nd Yellow Jacket Handling Cult Meeting has been cancelled: “Last year, a large wasp nest appeared under the rafters of my house, near the front door.  Black and yellow striped wasps flew in and out, dozens per hour. I’d had Yellow Jacket wasps sting the living daylights out of me before, so I was nervous.  But these wasps despite their threatening colors,  were nesting under the roof, while the awful yellow jackets nest in underground circles of Hell.  So I figured they were the less aggressive paper wasps in the roof nest. Still, they were near the front door and I didn’t want any visitors to get stung.  At night, I soaked the paper wasp nest with a foamy insecticide and blasted it out of the eaves with a power hose.

YJ.jpg Can you tell the difference from 10 feet? At night? When it’s buzzing right at you?

 I probably killed hundreds of the paper wasps and felt guilty ever since. This year, I ignored the fist-sized paper wasp nests that appeared under the eaves.  But with every week of nice weather, the numbers of yellow and black banded wasps increased.  Dozens of them took up residence in the shallow creek of the Frog Mitigation Area.”

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket—Photobombed!! “I have 5 hummingbird feeders, and my neighbors have feeders also. I have at least 3 hummingbirds patronizing my yard. However they appear to simply chase each other from feeder to feeder all day. It’s too much fun to sit outside and watch them all day.  But I’m getting nothing done.  Might as well take a 100 pictures or more.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – abundance of nuthatches: “August 9, 2019. Pacific Northwest. Baby bird season is winding down hereabouts, which is why the activity of the Red-breasted nuthatches stands out right now. We’ve been seeing many more than usual visiting the feeder, and hearing nuthatch beeps from the trees more often. Looking at phenology information (that and other data from Birds of North America birdsna.org/…, a site that has copious links to research studies) this is either late or what we’re seeing is a plethora of youngsters now independent who are remaining in the nesting area beginning winter behavior. Nuthatches are nonmigratory in Washington. The Red-breasted (Sitta canadensis) is the only nuthatch west of the Cascade mountain range; two other species are found to the east (White-breasted and Pygmy nuthatches). Their feeding behavior shifts completely after the breeding season. During nesting, which includes 2 weeks of incubation, 3 weeks feeding nestlings and for at least part of the 2 weeks post-fledgling parental care, nuthatches feed on insects. Quantitatively, mainly beetles, caterpillars, spiders and ants, with lesser amounts of other insects.” 

matching mole writes—Dawn Chorus – Bitterns! (and their kin): “I currently live in northern Florida.  One of the iconic groups of Florida birds are the long-legged waders which are so abundant in our wetlands.  Everglades National Park was created to protect these birds during the fad for egret feathers on women’s hats in the early years of the last century.  Not only are these birds beautiful, many of them are also very easy to see.  A few weeks ago I saw a group of white ibis foraging in a ditch between a parking lot and a four lane highway outside our local CVS pharmacy. Today I want to focus on the most diverse group of waders in North America, the family Ardeidae.  These are the herons, egrets, and bitterns.  They can be easily distinguished from their relatives such as storks, ibis, and spoonbills by having straight, pointed bills.  Every Ardeid species that regularly occurs in North America is found in Florida (see the end of this diary for an annotated list).  Note: I am excluding the Little Egret from this list which is a vagrant from Europe that sometimes shows up on the east coast, but apparently not as far south as Florida.  I have seen 12 species locally, most of them many times.”

Monarch butterfly caterpillar eating a leaf - and leaving poop behind. This monarch caterpillar is about an inch long, and as you can see by the pellets it’s left behind, it has a healthy appetite. The horns at both ends are thought to be a rudimentary defense against predators even though they aren’t dangerous.

xaxnar writes—Monarchs In My Back Yard: “I have a lot of vegetation around my house — including gardens that do not get weeded nearly enough. One result is I have a few milkweed plants growing around the house — and milkweed plants are what Monarch butterflies need for their caterpillar stage. These plants are local ‘volunteers’ so they are appropriate for the landscape — and the local monarchs. I spotted the one above back in July, but there have been others from time to time. They definitely target milkweed. It’s one way to up your chances of having monarchs showing up around your yard. The monarch has quite a lifestyle.  […] f all goes well within 2 weeks or so the caterpillars will pick a spot to attach, and contract into a pod called a chrysalis. (Moths do cocoons.) I haven’t spotted any yet, but here’s a video of it happening. You can see it pulling the striped skin up and dropping it off, leaving a much less conspicuous pupal form behind. […] Monarchs are in trouble — their population is down by 90% in the last 20 years. The winter habit they need in Mexico is threatened by logging and climate change. Their 3,000 mile migration is threatened by the loss of milkweed due to the use of herbicides like Roundup on crops, and insecticides that kill the monarchs. Climate change may also be making milkweed change in ways that affect monarch health.

Pakalolo writes—A dolphin adopted the orphan of a different species years ago and, still cares for it: “National Geographic has a fascinating story where a bottlenose dolphin adopted a baby of a different species, a melon-head whale, back in 2014 and is still caring for it today. The whale species are found throughout the tropics and are a close relative to pygmy whales and pilot whales according to Wiki. The baby whale lives with a pod of 30 dolphins that frequent French-Polynesian waters. and has been taught to surf. How cool is that? Not everything is nirvana, however.

Dan Bacher writes—CA Fish and Game Commission Delays Vote on Revisions to Delta Fisheries and Striped Bass Policy: “After listening to several dozen speakers from the California Striped Bass Association, NCGASA Delta Anglers Coalition and other organizations, the California Fish and Game Commission at its meeting in Sacramento on August 7 directed staff to continue working with CDFW and stakeholders to revise a draft Delta fisheries management policy, including potential revisions to the existing striped bass policy. The policy will be again discussed at the Commission meeting on December 12, 2019, at the Natural Resources Building Auditorium, First Floor, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento CA 958124.”

CLIMATE CHAOS

Hunter writesAnother government scientist resigns, saying Trump team is stifling climate research: “Another longtime government scientist is leaving after a dispute over the alleged censorship of his work. This time it’s Lewis Ziska, an oft-cited USDA researcher who says his study suggesting rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are resulting in less nutritious rice crops was buried by political appointees looking to downplay the effects of climate change. In an interview with Politico, Ziska is blistering in his critiques of the agency. “This is not a place for you to be exploring things that don’t agree with someone’s political views” and “if the science agreed with the politics, then the policymakers would consider it to be ‘good science,’ and if it didn’t agree with the politics, then it was something that was flawed,” he charged. To have government officials intentionally ignore and dismiss scientific warnings of the danger, he says, “feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie.”” 

Greg Dworkin writes—How I spent my summer vacation: Denali and Kenai, and seeing global warming first hand: “The awesome beauty of Alaska along with its vastness is hard to convey. There are few roads once you get out of Fairbanks and Anchorage, which is why there are so many pilots. We covered only a small area […] From the National Park ServiceDenali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak, 20 ,310′ Denali. Wild animals large and small roam unfenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await. What do they mean by wild animals? They mean grizzly bear, moose, caribou, Dall sheep (bighorn relative) and wolves, along with fox, lynx, pica, ground squirrels and snowshoe hare. We saw them all except wolves, a rare sighting in summer, and lynx (who make it their business not to be seen). It takes a while to get to Denali from the east coast, and it’s not like other parks in that it’s set up for preservation (but as our indigenous lecturer noted, preserved for whom, protected from what? To a large extent, protected from us.)”

Mama Grizzly and cub Blonde grizzly, left, and black cub, right. (Photo taken by talented friend next to me.)

Pakalolo writes—Greenland melt updates:

Pakalolo writes—Loss of reflective Sea Ice will advance global warming to a catastrophic 2C within 25 years: “Robert Monroe writes fo the Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice and its ability to reflect incoming solar energy back to space would be equivalent to adding one trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, on top of the 2.4 trillion tons emitted since the Industrial Age, according to current and former researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. At current rates, this roughly equates to 25 years of global CO2 emissions. It would consequently speed up the arrival of a global threshold of warming of 2ºC beyond temperatures the world experienced before the Industrial Revolution.  Scientists and analysts, including the authors of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report released in October 2018, have stated that the planet runs the risk of catastrophic damage ranging from more intense heat waves and coastal flooding to extinction of terrestrial species and threats to food supply if that threshold is passed.

Paul Frea writes—A Climate Change Poem: Strange Weather.

Magnifico writes—Overnight News Digest: Climate Crisis Already a Major Impact on Our Food, Water, and Land — IPCC: “As the planet warms, parts of the world face new risks of food and water shortages, expanding deserts, and land degradation, warns a major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those effects are already underway, and some of them could soon become irreversible. The changing climate has already likely contributed to drier climates in South and East Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, reducing the food and water supply. In 2015, about 500 million people lived in dry areas that experienced desertification in recent decades as a result of human activities. Those problems are only going to get worse as climate change continues to take its toll. ‘Global warming has led to shifts of climate zones in many world regions, including expansion of arid climate zones and contraction of polar climate zones,’ the IPCC says in the report, released Thursday. With high confidence, it adds, ‘Climate change has already affected food security due to warming, changing precipitation patterns, and greater frequency of some extreme events’.”

wolfenite writes—Why climate change will likely happen faster than we think and why there is nothing we can do now: “Of the many weaknesses of human thought capacity is this one: the almost complete inability to grasp and think in terms of complex systems. Our climate is a complex system consisting of many complex subsystems. The inability to address climate change is, often, pure stupidity or driven by an ideological blindness. But, sometimes, it is just the limits of human intelligence. Our climate, as a complex system, consists of many complex subsystems. The five major subsystems of the earth’s climate are: 1) the ocean system(s), 2) the atmospheric system, 3) the land system,  4) the life system, and 5) the behavior of the sun (the last one being completely out of our hands). Each of these has in itself complex subsystems. These all interact with each other to create the climate we live in.”

Observer of the Absurd writes—Global warming came sooner than expected in France: “Back in 2014, Evelyne Dheliat, a “high profile weather forecaster,” predicted what the weather could be like by 2050 (top picture) if we don’t do something about global warming.  The bottom picture is the forecast from the end of June 2019, forty-five years early.  France recorded the highest temperature ever in the country at 45.1°C (113.2°F) while Holland broke a 75 year old record at 39.3°C (103°F) and Belguim set a new all-time record at 40.7°C (105°F).” 

gw.jpg

POPULATION, SUSTAINABILITY & EXTINCTION

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Deniers Leak Already-Semi-Public Extinction Rebellion Documents To Prove Money Exists: “Over the weekend, deniers got very excited about a potential Climategate repeat, only instead of private emails from climate scientists being hacked, it was a leak (of sorts) of Extinction Rebellion’s internal documents. Blogger Paul Homewood was the first to get his hands on them, and his crack(pot) analysis was quickly picked up by James Delingpole (as is his lazy lying wont.) That pair of posts was then picked up and highlighted at WUWT, where you can read the most explosively scandalous excerpts. The thrust of their story is that, gasp, people have given the group money! Surely this is the next Climategate, Watt’s intro implies. The story goes like this. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is not like most organizations, in that it’s not exactly organized. Instead it’s decentralized, allowing anyone who cares enough to protest to do so in its name, and is open to any and all who want to join. Apparently someone signed up and received access to XR’s internal documents, which include guidelines on how to carry out direct action and otherwise begin preparing for the coming climate collapse. But of course, that’s not what this nefarious figure was interested in.

ECO-ACTION & ECO JUSTICE

Angmar writes—NY Times op-ed criticizing Climate activist Greta Thunberg validated months of R-wing attacks: “The New York Times ran an op-ed decrying the climate activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg which featured basic climate denial and personal attacks against her.www.mediamatters.org/… The article’s points echo those that have been made in right-wing media ever since Thunberg rose to prominence for her school strikes and climate activism. It’s extremely dangerous for attacks like these to creep over from right-wing media to mainstream media; although the Times’ climate reporting is some of the best around, the paper must do a better job of policing this particular brand of bad faith attacks against young climate protesters. ‘Christopher Caldwell, author of the August 2 op-ed and a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, states in the article that ‘with questions of global warming, the problems of credibility are already large, even without fresh incitements to politicization.’ Promoting uncertainty of climate science is a classic denier trope that has been used for decades, even though there is nearly unanimous scientific consensus on the existence of man-made climate change.” 

Angmar writes—ACTION: We’re asking our Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Climate Emergency Declaration:We demand governments adopt an emergency response to climate change and the broader ecological crisis. Declaring Climate Emergency is the critical first step to launching the comprehensive mobilization solution required to rescue and rebuild civilization. We are working to compel governments in the United States and throughout the world to declare Climate Emergency. theclimatemobilization.org/… Register for the This is Not a Drill training.” 

Alan Singer writes—As World Heats Up, United Nations Plans Climate Action Summit in NYC this September: “In response to an increasing climate emergency, the United Nations will hold ‘Climate Action Summit 2019’ in New York City starting on September 23. The call for the summit calls climate change the ‘defining issue of our time’ and declares ‘now is the defining moment to do something about it.’ One announced [person] who participate will be Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist. Greta, who eschews plane travel because of its high carbon footprint, has been offered a ride from Europe on a racing yacht. The trip will take two weeks. Greta also plans to attend a December United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Santiago, Chile. Climate change is a global phenomenon, but will have even greater negative impact on especially vulnerable regions in the tropical climate band. A new report from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia predicts climate-related growth stunting, malnutrition and lower IQ in children within the next few decades. A World Health Organization study argues there will be an additional 250,000 deaths a year from 2030 and 2050 because of global heating.” 

leftcoast ron writes—The Climate Emergency: Does Anything Else Really Matter?It’s really happening.  We’re cooking the world to maintain our convenient and comfortable lifestyles. Every gallon of gasoline we burn is eight more pounds of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The first big crop failure from climate change is happening right now with corn and soybeans in the American Midwest. The permafrost in the Arctic is melting, accelerating the release of heat-trapping gasses. Accelerating: that means all the bad changes we’re already seeing will happen faster and larger than the changes we haven’t really adjusted to, so far, in this frustrating fantastic journey that our ‘modern economy’ is taking us on. We all love being in rich, relatively free societies removed from the drudgery and pain of pre-industrial agricultural economies—yet my work as an amateur historian leaves me convinced that every major industry has ‘developed’ by using the ability to dump their wastes cost-free into the global environments that support us, and every living thing.  The dumping of fossil fuel waste into our atmosphere unfortunately has the consequence of heating the planet so we can’t live comfortably on it anymore.”

ENERGY

Green New Deal & 100% Clean Energy

Aviva Chomsky via TomDispatch writes—How the Green New Deal Is Changing America: “You know, the resolution introduced this February in the House of Representatives by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Edward Markey (D-MA). Unsurprisingly, the proposal has been roundly attacked by the right. But it’s stirred up some controversy on the left as well. You might imagine that labor unions and environmental organizations would be wholeheartedly for a massive federal investment in good jobs and a just transition away from fossil fuels. But does organized labor actually support or oppose the Green New Deal? What about environmental organizations? If you’re not even sure how to answer such questions, you’re not alone. That 14-page resolution calls for “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era.’ Its purpose: to reduce U.S. carbon emissions to net zero within a decade, while guaranteeing significant numbers of new jobs and social welfare to American workers. Read it and you’ll find that it actually attempts to overcome historical divisions between the American labor and environmental movements by linking a call for good jobs and worker protection to obvious and much-needed environmental goals.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Latest Koch Attack on Green New Deal Inherently Misleading, Relies On ‘Bogus’ Numbers: “Kent Lassman of the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute recently partnered with former Koch lackey Daniel Turner of Power the Future on what the Washington Times’ Valerie Richardson generously describes as a ‘study’ claiming that the Green New Deal will cost American households some $70,000 in its first year. While most people would consider a study to be research based on real facts and peer reviewed to verify claims and published in an academic journal, these claims meet none of those qualifications. Instead, this can at best be described as an analysis, but more honestly, it’s two Koch goons doing some back-of-the-envelope math, copying the work of fellow Koch goon Benjamin Zycher and the former Nixon CREEP at American Action Forum who popularized a $93 trillion price tag for the GND that Politico aptly described as “bogus.”  Essentially what Lassman and Turner do is average the costs cooked up by Zycher and AAF with those from the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie, who estimated a $4.7 trillion cost for moving off of fossil fuels. They then divided those costs by the number of households in five key states, and came up with some big scary numbers.” 

billofrights writes—Compass in the Storm: From the New Deal (1933-1941) to the Green New Deal (2019…?) “If I have a shorthand for my thoughts and feelings, it comes from what I wrote more than a decade ago, after reading Robert D. Leighninger Jr.’s book about the ‘Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal,’ what it built and who it served, prompted by the author’s own powerful reminder: ‘The New Deal, in a very short period of time, contributed a tremendous amount to the nation’s public life in the form of physical and cultural infrastructure. That investment paid dividends for many decades thereafter and in many cases is still paying back. That should be remembered in times when commitment to public life ebbs and belief rises that we simply cannot afford to invest. There was a time in our history when people found ways to combat despair by building for the future. The evidence is all around us.” Perhaps that time is here again.  (My emphases.) My present day efforts turned into a long essay, so I have broken it into two parts.  Here’s the first half. ”

Fossil Fuels

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Ohio Nuke Bailout Finds Way to Benefit Murray Energy: “Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine officially signed into law HB6, which will funnel customer-paid subsidies to keep two otherwise uncompetitive nuclear power plants in the state from closing, while also bailing out two struggling coal plants. FirstEnergy has spent the last several years begging for federal or state intervention to save their plants, and it looks like that lobbying has paid off. Along with the bailout for the nuclear and coal plants, which will cost customers $2.35 more a month, the bill also slashes renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in the state. Now proponents argue these changes will save customers the $4.50 a month surcharge for these energy mandates. But this ignores the near-term cost-savings they will receive from energy efficiency updates and cheaper renewable energy sources, making HB6 a great example of legislative malpractice. FirstEnergy doesn’t care about that, though, because customers saving money byreceiving cheaper energy, and then using less of it, is not a win for FirstEnergy’s profit margin.

Dan Bacher writes—Porter Ranch Community Urges Permanent Shut Down of Aliso Canyon Gas Facility at Legislative Hearing: “North San Fernando Valley neighbors on August 6 urged California lawmakers and regulators to shut down SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility, where the largest natural gas blowout in California and U.S. history took place in October of 2015. They made their statements at a hearing sponsored by State Senator Henry Stern and Assembly Member Christy Smith, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management, according to a statement from Food and Water Watch. ‘Among the officials at the hearing was Governor Newsom’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot. When asked about shutting down the facility, the site of the worst gas blowout in U.S. history, Crowfoot said the governor was waiting for a recommendation from the California Public Utilities Commission. However, advocates say that following a recent report that found SoCalGas’s failure to investigate and fix ongoing leaks caused the blowout, there is no need to wait to shut down the facility,’ Food and Water Watch said.” 

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Peak Humanity: “We have to stop generating more of ourselves. We use more of some resources than the Earth and Sun generate. We use more fossil fuels than life on Earth can sustain. We are working on getting to Peak Humanity, and then backing down some, but not yet quickly enough. And we still have to work on renewables, carbon capture in soils and otherwise, conservation, efficiency, design for recycling, and all the rest that we all know about. The global average fertility rate was 5 children per woman until the end of the 1960s and has halved since then, to a bit below 2.5. We need to reduce it by 0.5 births per fertile woman in order to peak below 9 billion people by 2050. We know how: • Renewable energy even in the poorest and most remote villages • Cell phones and broadband Internet for all • Education, especially for girls, enabled by the above • Availability of family planning services and birth control, likewise • Economic growth, rule of law, and human rights in the poorest countries (Birth rates in developed countries and many others are well below replacement, and still declining.) That’s a decline of a bit over 2.5 in about 60 years, so at that rate it would take 12 years to reach global replacement. It will of course be slower. We got from 3.0 to 2.5 in 20 years. So we don’t have to throw up our hands in despair. We can discuss means, funding, and political will.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—WSJ Opinion Page Publishes Another Unmarked Big Oil Ad Attacking Renewables: “Yesterday, readers of the Wall Street Journal opened the opinion page, only to find an extended advertisement where an op-ed usually lives. Of course, it looked just like an op-ed, and in fact is a normal op-ed, but in reality the piece functions as little more than a Big Oil-commissioned hit piece against renewables. The op-ed, which points out that wind and solar require physical inputs like steel and other minerals, is designed to make readers believe renewables are dirty and fossil fuels a more resource-friendly option. Running the economy on clean energy would trigger the ‘biggest expansion in mining the world has seen and would produce huge quantities of waste,’ according to the piece’s first paragraph. It continues by pointing out that fossil fuels require less land than renewables, and that a battery’s inputs weigh more than the gas it replaces, therefore ‘hydrocarbons remain a far better alternative’ than renewable energy. Now, who would make such a stupid argument, comparing the land used by a power plant to a solar field, while ignoring any and all impacts of carbon pollution, as well as the thousands of miles of leaking oil pipelines crisscrossing the globe? An argument that pretends that it’s legitimate to compare an electric car battery’s entire manufacturing process to the weight of gas that goes through a car, and not the entire manufacturing process required for fossil fuels?

Pipelines & Other Oil  and Gas Transport

Lakota Peoples Law Project writes—Lakota Leaders Urge a Public Hearing on DAPL Expansion: “Currently, the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) pumps nearly 600,000 barrels of oil a day under Lake Oahe — the sole source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. A proposed expansion aims to double the pipeline’s capacity. If that happens, the pipeline would transport as much as 1.1 million barrels of crude oil daily. Lakota leaders from Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Rosebud, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe are coming together to oppose this expansion, citing concerns over safety, transparency, and a lack of adequate consultation. ‘What we can do,’ said Doug Crow Ghost of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Water Resources Department, ‘is get all of our relatives and all of the public to ask the Public Service Commission of North Dakota to hold a hearing’.

Oregon Expat writes—Spying on anti-LNG pipeline activists: “Back in 2004, an energy company proposed building a liquified natural gas plant at Jordan Cove on the shores of Coos Bay, OR, across from my old home town North Bend OR. Originally it was proposed as an import facility. When that fell apart, and the company got sold a time or two, it morphed into an export proposal. […] It’s just been reported that various LE agencies have been spying on anti-pipeline activists. And keep in mind this covers a lot of people –land owners who don’t want a pipeline on their land and fear being subjected to eminent domain, environmental activists, Rogue Riverkeeper, people living in the Coos Bay region fearing the climate impact and/or specter of disaster, tribal people, Jackson County commissioners, among many others. Veresen, the company behind Jordan Cove has been paying the Coos County sheriff’s office to maintain an office out there. The county pays nothing for this. Well, of course, they are grateful to and beholden to Veresen.  They have been spyingon peaceful protestors. Now this isn’t a total surprise, there is a long history of various law enforcement orgs spying on people who want to buck the status quo one way or another — be it people working on worker’s rights, voting rights, civil rights, women’s rights, indigenous rights, or pretty much any cause one can think of that might possibly inconvenience the status-fucking-quo. Just another day ending in -y. BUT…what stood out to me in the Guardian article is the mention that one man, Mark Pfeifle, has been included in the loop of these emails monitoring all the scawwy scawwy activists who don’t want their homes destroyed.” 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Lawrence writes—Germany is in Serious Danger of Losing its Automobile Industry: “China’s 2017 decision to introduce a California-style quota for electric vehicles left German Automakers in a bind, as they currently just plain do not have the capacity to produce the 10% quota of electric vehicles required by Chinese law. These factors have combined to create a perfect storm, where the CEOs of the German automakers have ineptly maneuvered their companies into a position that not only endangers their future as independent companies, but also endangers the economic future of Germany, whose economy is highly dependent on their success. When vehicle electrification exploded onto the scene with the rise of Tesla, German automakers were ill-prepared. Electric vehicles had been seen by them as more of a novelty item, as something that one would produce as compliance cars for states and countries that demanded it, but something that one did not have to produce in serious numbers. There were some half-hearted efforts to produce EVs, but EV research and production was generally relegated to small departments that carried little importance within the companies. From a short-term economic perspective, this made sense:” 

Magnifico writes—Overnight News Digest: Airships For Reduced Emissions Air Travel: “Reintroducing airships into the world’s transportation-mix could contribute to lowering the transport sector’s carbon emissions and can play a role in establishing a sustainable hydrogen based economy. According to the authors of an IIASA-led study, these lighter-than-air aircraft could ultimately increase the feasibility of a 100% sustainable world. Airships were introduced in the first half of the 20th century before conventional aircraft were used for the long-range transport of cargo and passengers. Their use in cargo and passenger transport was however quickly discontinued for a number of reasons, including the risk of a hydrogen explosion—for which the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 served as a stark case in point; their lower speed compared to that of airplanes; and the lack of reliable weather forecasts. Since then, considerable advances in material sciences, our ability to forecast the weather, and the urgent need to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, have steadily been bringing airships back into political, business, and scientific conversations as a possible transportation alternative.”

JoNoMo writes—Tesla’s dirty little problem: “Just to say it up front, the windows roll down all by themselves.  I have been to the forums and Tesla refuses to address the problem.  I just jumped into the Model 3 Performance to run to Taco Bell and noticed the papers on the front seat were wet.  And just like that I realized the front window had rolled itself down again; the second time it’s happened in a downpour this month.  How am I supposed to leave the car in an airport parking lot to take a vacation? Tesla will advise that the owners keep a log of when it happens, so that when you take it to the service center (125 miles away) they will look at an internal log and tell you something, something.  The bottom line is that Tesla will not fix the problem and they are not looking for the solution.  So after going through the forums and finding no solutions on the horizon I’m taking the problem to the most public audience I know …. here. My advice is that if you are in the market for a Tesla that you put off the purchase until they state they have solved the problem.”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Caleen.JPG Chief Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, asks negotiators for the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Contractors about when Tribal Water Rights will be discussed.

Dan Bacher writes—Winnemem Chief Asks Delta Tunnel Amendment Negotiators: When Will Tribal Water Rights Be Discussed?Before the first meeting on July 24, the public water agencies made a first offer including the setting the Delta tunnel capacity and alignment. Ann West, of KearnsWest, the same corporation that facilitated the controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create “marine protected areas” in California, served as the meeting facilitator. Tom McCarthy for Mojave Water Agency, with Steve Arakawa of the Metropolitan Water District at his side, did most of the speaking for the contractors, while DWR attorney Tripp Mizell did most of the speaking for DWR. During the public comment period, Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, posed a number of questions and comments to DWR officials and the negotiators, including a question on when tribal water rights, which have not been discussed by the state and federal governments in previous or current Delta Tunnel planning, will be finally discussed.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS​

Angmar writes—“Jay Inslee is writing the climate plan the next president should adopt”: “Jay Inslee is writing the climate plan the next president should adopt www.vox.com/… Part of Vox’s guide to where 2020 Democrats stand on policy.  “Washington governor and presidential candidate Jay Inslee is out with his second package of climate policy proposals. It is dense, ambitious, and long. At 38 pages, it is longer, I would venture to guess, than the complete climate agenda of any other candidate, for any elected position in the US, maybe ever. And it’s only Part 2! The campaign says at least three or four more rounds are coming. (I wrote about the first round here.)” 

WILDERNESS, NATIONAL FORESTS AND PARKS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

AmericaAdapts writes—Resilient New York: Urban Forestry, Shared Stewardship and Climate Adaptation: “In episode 94 of America Adapts, host Doug Parsons visits New York City! This is THE episode on urban forestry and climate adaptation. Doug travels across the city, visiting parks and interviewing experts on such topics as:  How forests add to the overall resilience of New York City; Cool Neighborhoods program and public health; urban forestry and climate adaptation; extreme heat in urban areas; public health and urban forests, social and ecological resilience; tree equity and social resilience and much, much more! This episode was generously sponsored by American Forests

Escaped writes—Leave No Tree Standing! Our National Forests – Conservation not Exploitation Act Now!The Trump administration is stealthily trying to decimate our natural heritage, our National Forests. The Forest Service proposed a rule on June 13, 2019 which will bypass the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and allow up to 4,200 acres of clear-cutting without any public involvement. This is over 6 square miles!!! Public comment on this proposal closes this coming Monday, August 12, 2019. I urge everyone who cares that our forests are protected comment here: https://actnow.io/SDHxzruHistory has conveniently been rewritten about our National Forests, which were originally supposed to be about forest reserves for all Americans and grew from concern about forest decimation. Somehow (I suspect by greedy timber companies, road-builders, miners and frackers, etc.), through the years, the Forest Service mission has changed to manage our forests for ‘multiple uses.’ A major fallacy that has developed is that our National Forests exist for timber production. This is WRONG. There is much private land where the landowners’ motto seems to be ‘Leave No Tree Standing.

REGULATIONS & PROTECTIONS

Zygoat​​​​​​​ writes—EPA Ruling Bad News for Bristol Bay AK Salmon: “Numerous media sources, including this article by the LA Times, have recently detailed the EPA’s withdrawal of it’s option to protect the Bristol Bay fisheries from the proposed massive copper and gold mine in the watersheds of Bristol Bay. Critics fear the Pebble Mine could devastate fisheries in the area, home to many strong salmon runs and other wildlife. Native communities dot the area, along with fishing lodges and commercial fisheries. Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, also said the EPA was abandoning its own scientific findings. ‘This outrageous move is the Trump administration’s gift to a foreign mining corporation…’” 

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

Lincoln green writes—Do you eat pork? Read NYT piece on pork agribusiness thwarting food safety, and think again: “Matt Richtel’s article “Tainted Pork, Ill Consumers and an Investigation Thwarted” in today’s New York Times is a must-read for anybody who eats pork. It starts: It was 7 a.m. on Independence Day when a doctor told Rose and Roger Porter Jr. that their daughter could die within hours. … and it won’t let you go after that. Richtel describes an intensive hunt by the Washington Dept. of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others for the cause of the tainted pork that nearly killed 10-year-old Mikayla Porter, and the thwarting of this detective hunt by the corporate owners of industrial pig farms in Montana who refuse to give access to food safety investigators. When you combine this with James Hamblin’s recent “The Fundamental Link Between Body Weight and the Immune System” in the Atlantic, you might want to think twice before eating that next piece of cheap meat or sausage that comes from a factory farm in Montana or whatever.” 

elenacarlena writes—Regenerative Culture: Help The Planet! Go Vegetarian Part-Time: We Have Decadent Recipes! “OK, so you don’t want to go full vegan. And can only tolerate so much of life without meat. We get it. But you can go vegetarian once or twice a week, right? Will that really do anything to help our problems with carbon? Glad you asked. Yes, this cuts your ‘carbon foodprint.’ Eat one less burger per week, it’s like driving 6 miles less. Over the course of a year, that’s 320 miles less. If your whole family of 4 goes meatless once a week, that’s 1280 miles less. If everyone in the United States went meatless once a week, that’s the same as about 90 billion miles or 7.5 billion cars off the roads! Twice a week, it’s like 15 billion cars less. Pretty significant impact, huh? Of course, the more you eat vegetarian, the more power you save and the less methane there is in the world. So I figured I’d present my most decadent veggie recipes to help you decide. Let’s dig in! So every dinner needs a starter course, right? How about: SPINACH STRAWBERRY ORANGE SALAD WITH STRAWBERRY DRESSING.”

RudbeckiaandlilyJuly2019.JPG

Merry Light writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging – Vol. 15.32: “Last year my gardens got away from me — they’re still running but I’ve managed to play catch up and get a handle on some things.  With the broken bones and then the surgery, 2018 was a total bust in the garden. However, I used part of my year-end bonus to buy a month’s worth of personal training to get some strength and balance and worked on that in January and February to prepare. Then,  in April, May and most of June, I watched it snow and rain and rain and rain… and the garden started to grow wild again. Finally, in late June, I was able to get out there with some regularity and work on wading through the grass and weeds and get an idea of what was growing and what was not. Many of you remember the old trees I inherited when we bought the house. We cut them down several years ago and they have been quietly doing what stumps do, so this is also the year to deal with at least one of them. I’ve got a hodgepodge of stuff around and in it.  When we cut down the trees, I spent a few years throwing a bunch of old soil and some plants in the hollow stump, but now it’s rotten and is starting to sink into the ground.” 

MISCELLANY

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: All recycling (or not) today: “Recycling has never been a highly profitable business.  Recyclers have been caught in a vise between higher operating costs and the lack of market for even the potentially useful material they pick out of our garbage. Now the largest recycling operation in California has closed. The state’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers has closed all 284 of its centers, leaving 750 employees without jobs and many who rely on income from redeeming bottles and cans without options. RePlanet, which runs recycling redemption and processing centers all over California, ceased its operations and will undergo a process to have its assets liquidated and creditors paid, according to a statement from company president and CFO David Lawrence.” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Hyenas, Rich Ignore Climate Change, Forget Your Disaster, SFO Says No, Study This: “Hyenas are not charismatic predators like lions or cheetahs.  They are scavengers who often compete with other scavengers over the remains of prey animals other predators have killed.  Still, they are also effective pack hunters, who have a highly stable social structure. And, like all predators in Africa, they are facing a difficult road. Brown hyenas are endemic to southern Africa, and occur in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Angola. Their presence in both Mozambique and Eswatini is currently unconfirmed. It is believed that the largest population exists in Botswana at an estimation of around 4,600 individuals. The most recent figures from the IUCN Red List estimate a population size of less than 10,000 individuals worldwide, making it the rarest member of the hyena family. The species is currently classed as ‘Near Threatened’ (a status which means the species may be considered threatened with extinction in the near future), with the population of mature animals experiencing a continuing decline.” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Corporate Censorship, Government Censorship, Giant Parrots, Straw Cockup, Renewables: “Besides burying their own research regarding the danger of their chemicals, Monsanto had a “war room” operation specifically to attack anyone who questioned the impact of their chemical poisons on humans and the environment. Monsanto operated a “fusion center” to monitor and discredit journalists and activists, and targeted a reporter who wrote a critical book on the company, documents reveal. The agrochemical corporation also investigated the singer Neil Young and wrote an internal memo on his social media activity and music. Monsanto planned a series of ‘actions’ to attack a book authored by [Carey] Gillam prior to its release, including writing ‘talking points’ for ‘third parties’ to criticize the book and directing ‘industry and farmer customers”’ on how to post negative reviews.

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Water Shortages, Duluth Desirable, Phony Guacamole, Worse than DDT, No Trophy Hunters: “The Raincoast Conservation Foundation owns the permit to escort foreign hunters on trophy hunts in a small part of the British Colombia rainforest. However, their hunts don’t include any actual hunting, unless you include hunting for the best photo opportunity. Brian Falconer is more than happy to admit that he and his colleagues at Raincoast Conservation Foundation have dismal records as guide outfitters. In fact, in the 33,500 square kilometres of B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest where Raincoast holds the commercial hunting licence — which gives the organization the right to escort foreign hunters into the area to shoot black bears, cougars, mountain goats and wolverines — the success rate has been zero. Unless, that is, you count the wildlife photos.“The only ones that can take anyone in for trophy hunting is Raincoast and we take a different type of hunter,” said Ross Dixon, Raincoast communications director.

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Capitalism, Free Stuff, Nukes or Cyanide, Battle for Aisle 7, Atlantis Pre-flood: “The cost of renewables is almost all up front. Once you’ve built solar or wind generation plants the fuel is free and your only costs are maintenance of the facilities. An electric vehicle cost so little to fuel that oil prices would need to drop $45 per barrel to compete at the pump. Those commies and treehuggers at the Financial Times and BNP Paribas Asset Management are at it again, suggesting that investing in oil and gas is a bad idea, and that renewables are where the smart money is going. As electric vehicles proliferate, the fact that they cost so much less to fuel up with cheap off-peak electricity means that oil will have to drop to about $10 per barrel to be competitive. Lewis predicts that electric vehicles will cost the same as ICE-powered cars by 2022, and their operating and maintenance cost advantages will cause demand to increase dramatically. ‘The oil industry today enjoys massive scale advantages over wind and solar. But this advantage is now one only of incumbency and time limited.’ And people in Alberta wonder why nobody wants to invest in their expensive oil sands projects and blame Justin Trudeau for their problems. Mark Lewis writes in the report: ‘We conclude that the economics of oil for gasoline and diesel vehicles versus wind- and solar-powered EVs are now in relentless and irreversible decline, with far-reaching implications for both policymakers and the oil majors’. The simple math is that their oil is very expensive, and it’s hard to compete with free.” 

Katherine Paul writes—When Will We Start Applying the Precautionary Principle to the Chemicals Killing Our Kids? “After decades marred by child deaths in car accidents, and what were determined to be preventable deaths if only baby equipment manufacturers had thought to make this crib safer, or that stroller less dangerous, the federal government stepped in. Taxpayer-funded government agencies, like the Consumer Product Safety Commission, founded in 1972, told corporations they had to make products safer. They had to take responsibility for the products they profited from, and for keeping kids safe. Meanwhile, over this same time period, chemical companies brought more and more chemicals to market, including pesticides and herbicides. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), in place since 1906, was already supposed to be keeping our food safe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which didn’t come along until 1970, was supposed to keep our air and water safe. Yet of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. today, most haven’t been adequately tested for their impact on human health, much less on the health of children.” 

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