Spotlight on green news & views: Regenerative agriculture; missing sharks; starving orcas

CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

Lots of critters, not only homo sapiens.

guavaboy writes—While the Amazon burns, Nepal prepares to bulldoze 20,000 acres of habitat used by wild elephants: “I have spent a lot of time in Nepal, especially in the region known as ‘the Terai’ — the flat hot humid plain on the border with India. And there, the government is in the process of committing an environmental travesty of it’s very own.I am talking about the plan to build an airport in Nijgahd, Nepal. At the time this was proposed thirty years ago, it would have been the second international airport in the country, but since then two others ( in Pokhara and Bhairawaha) have been started and the one in Bhairawaha (also in Terai) is due to open next year. […] Now the area around Nijgadh does have small villages of locals living in it. So far, they co-exist with the forest to a large degree. The forest is part of what used to be an unbroken belt of habitat stretching all the way through Nepal, into northeastern India, and from there to Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand). The government of Nepal did have the foresight decades ago to create National PArk in the Chitwan Region to the west of Nijgadh. There are three sub-populations of wild elephants in Nepal, and it is thought that if the group now in the Nijgahd area is deprived of habitat, it will be a critical loss to survival in the wild. The Njgadh project has been described as ‘catastrophic’.”

matching mole writes—Dawn Chorus: Birds in Peru (or the Neotropics generally). Part 2: “Hi All!  What seems like a really long time ago now I wrote a bit about my recent bird experiences in Peru.  I’ll talk a bit more about the kinds of birds you can see there with some accompanying videos as I don’t have much in the way of photos. Last time I mentioned Tinamous, Parrots, and Trogons.  Let’s move on and discuss a few other classic neotropical birds (the neotropics refers to the region from southern Mexico and the Caribbean down to the southern tip of South America. Guans, Trumpeters and the Infamous Hoatzin. These are fairly large and, in areas without hunting at least, fairly easy to see birds.  Birds whose memory keeps you from giving up in despair as you stare deeply into a bamboo thicket.  Trumpeters are relatives of Cranes and Rails.  They are highly social ground living birds the size of a goose.  They are easily tamed if captured as chicks and they can be most easily living near the villages of Indigenous people.”

6412093 writes—Daily Bucket–Beware the Vamp Squirrels: “During this Kattywampus year, my latest garden oddity is the tasty, and a two-week-early Bartlett Pear harvest. The trick is to harvest them immediately before, or just after they fall.  Refrigerate them for a few days, and they will finish ripening nicely. I’m especially happy because the pear tree had a blight, and spraying treated it quite well, to our relief. The little birds, bees, and hummers have been enjoying the pear blossoms all Spring.  I thought now it’s our turn to enjoy the pears. But the first week, 40% of the fallen pears were already partly eaten. Our harvest suffered. I decided to call on our local jack of all trades, and master of none; ‘Red’ Woodman.”

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: More Delights: “Greetings from the east side of the Florida Panhandle. Friggin’ miserable outside but I did my time, sweated, got a few several skeeter bites, and took photos. Nothing in queue so y’all get photos from my yard which I would post in comments anyways — but more of them.” 

201908-ChapTop.JPG Chapman’s Fringed Orchid

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: Yellow Fringed Orchids and other Wild Delights: “Howdy — I’ll put the eye candy right up front starting with the cover shot looking down over a wild native Orchid. Here’s the same plant sideview — Chapman’s Fringed Orchid. It was a cloudy day in Baker County just west of Jacksonville, Fl. Rain had been stuck over Gainesville to the south for a few days and expected to move toward us. We were visiting a huge expanse of… not restoration, not monoculture pine plantation like it was 20 years before, typical Slash pines giving way to Longleaf. Timber, hunting, growing stuff everywhere and enjoying it all — multiple uses to pay the bills as the owners said, but really to share what they learned. Lovely day.”

201908_1931.JPG Black Swallowtail visits Elephant’s Foot.

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: Palamedes Swallowtails and Other Delights: “Just a bunch of photos from my woodsy yard. Major score on the Palamedes as I do not see them often and dark Swallowtails can be very confusing.I assumed it was a male Black Swallowtail as I have seen so many of those caterpillars eating parsley. The stripes on the head instead of dots is a difference. This website has been quite helpful in identifying these Swallowtails and other butterflies. I was blown-away by the fresh colors and glad I had the Nikon where I could give the butterfly space and not have to sneak in with iPhone.”””

giddy thing writes—Dawn Chorus: Weird and Wonderful Nightjars: “Members of the nightjar family (Caprimulgidae) are spectacularly odd and curious birds, represented by about 90 species worldwide. Closely related to owls, nightjars are denizens of twilight and moonlit nights, often observed in erratic yet graceful flight while pursuing insect prey. North America hosts 10 species of nightjars, all of which range into the United States. Today we’ll explore the nightjar family, with brief profiles of these species. Nightjars are among my favorite birds. Each summer, Common Nighthawks grace our property with their nasal peents and acrobatic flights. So beloved are they, we named our street in their honor. In August of 2013, my husband and I camped in the remote Steens Mountains, a sky island mountain range in southeast Oregon. That week we witnessed an incredible phenomenon: the migration of several thousand Common Nighthawks heading toward wintering grounds in South America. I feel a strong earthly and spiritual bond to these enigmatic birds and wanted to share that with you today.” 

chestnut-backed chicikadees Chestnut backed chickadees.

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – August fountain birds: “August 2019. Pacific Northwest. The new fountain I built this summer has been drawing in lots of birds who seem to be attracted to burbling. It’s in the shade to reduce algae growth, so pics aren’t very bright, but a nice side effect has been birds hanging out in the fig tree above, staging for fountain visits. There’s an overlap with birds who have always visited my still birdbaths but new ones too. […] The fledglings, especially the wonderfully lively and vocal nuthatches and chickadees, bounce around the yard, with the fountain being one stop. They don’t know this is the first year for the fountain.” 

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – nests over water: “My last Bucket took us up onto a headland over the town of Anacortes. This one takes place later that same day at the ferry dock where I got a look at the birds who make use of human structures over the water to nest and raise their babies. My first stop was down the beach at the derelict pilings that once supported a salmon cannery in the last century, back when there were wild salmon to catch commercially in the Salish Sea. Those days are long gone but the pilings remain. The local Audubon society has built, installed and are maintaining about 30 Purple Martin boxes there which are used enthusiastically by a renewed population. These swallows arrive in spring, raise babies over the summer and migrate south again in fall. I knew I might have missed them now at the end of August and was excited to hear their voices as I walked down the beach. As it turns out, the babies had fledged, leaving empty boxes, and were now in the wetland behind the beach learning how to hunt for themselves. I couldn’t get photos of them there unfortunately, too much foliage. But I could hear them, a particularly sweet melodious call.” 

5BC702F2-BD55-4ABF-9F06-8205B6E842C2.gif Cap Sante is the park curling around the northern edge of town (below the “s” in “Anacortes”)

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – late summer on Cap Sante: “August 27, 2019. Pacific Northwest . Quick stop up on Cap Sante yesterday on our way home after a day of errands on the mainland. For the errands in Anacortes we’d already dropped off Mr O’s box of engine parts needing machining — the one thing he doesn’t have the tools to do in our garage for his current project, rebuilding the MGA —  at the shop in town. So with some downtime while the local (nonchain) pizza place was cooking our pizza to-go before getting in line at the ferry we went up to this little park high above the town. It’s a knob of sandstone, 300’ high, surrounded by cliffs on three sides, bedrock tipped sideways due to tectonic action here along the edge of the North American plate. Not much grows here besides grass and madrona trees (Arbutus menziesii). There are nice wildflowers in spring but they are long gone now in late summer when any pockets of soil are bone dry.”

Pakalolo writes—Cape Town’s Great White Sharks have vanished: “Nobody knows where or why these apex predators have vanished to, but they have disappeared from their feeding grounds at Seal Island in False Bay, South Africa. Their disappearance has never been recorded before, the city of Cape Town noted. Clearly, something is wrong in this particular ecosystem that is full of Cape fur seals, and it may be due to biosphere collapse. Great white sharks, which support South Africa’s shark-diving industry and have been responsible for a number of fatal attacks off Cape Town, haven’t been seen in the region for 18 months. Between 2010 and 2016 staff at the Shark Spotting Programme, established to warn swimmers when the three-ton predators approached beaches, reported an average of 205 sightings of the fish off the beaches of False Bay. In 2018 that fell to 50 and this year not one has been seen. None have been seen at Seal Island, a one-time feeding ground off the coast.

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–The Frog Goddess: “Dozens of tadpoles are morphing into tiny frogs in my backyard ponds.  This year, they are morphing busily in late August.  In prior years, they usually morphed from tadpoles into frogs around Bastille Day, July 14. I often remember the warm summer nights near the Papio Creek in Nebraska,  sixty years ago,  the frogs and toads morphed by the thousands and the ground seemed to come alive.  This year in my back yard, I at least can see more than a dozen frogs during my round-trip through the Frog Mitigation Area. Seeing these tiny frogs leaping about, will cheer people up.  I’ve pulled neighbors off the street to look at the frogs. I’ve also dragged the kid who does some weeding, his mom, the landscapers, the appliance repair workers, the house cleaners, and others to look at the tiny frogs. ‘Oh, how cute!  Muy linda, bueno.’  are the universal responses. For a few minutes the adult onlookers are transported back to their childhood, perhaps to a creek side day when they watched the wee creatures. After a while, they look up, smiling, a little surprised at the evocative moment. Some say they’ll bring by their grandson.” 

6412093 writes—The Daily Bucket–The Tadpoles of August: “In August, many tadpoles in my hand-dug backyard ponds change into small chorus frogs. For several years now, the frogs have returned to my backyard in March, bred in the ponds, and produced eggs that produced tadpoles that morphed into frogs from Bastille Day (July 14)  into August. I walk around what I call the Frog Mitigation Area, bent over, looking for the newly morphed frogs. Over 1000 eggs may have hatched into tadpoles, but it’s difficult to determine how many tadpoles make it into frogs. Tadpoles are the Cheetos of the small critters’ world; everything snacks on them; fish, water bugs, birds, and larger frogs. I can keep fish out of the ponds, but the frogs are stealthy and its hard to get a good survival count.” 

Walter Einenkel writes—Alaska’s water temperatures have been so hot this summer that salmon are dying off in large numbers: “Salmon are showing up dead in record numbers across Western Alaska this summer, and scientists believe it is due to an unprecedented heat wave. Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, a scientist and director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, led a group of fellow scientists to investigate along the Koyokuk River and counted “850 dead unspawned salmon on that expedition, although they estimated the total was likely four to 10 times larger.” The scientists saw no signs of disease or infections. These salmon, they believe, are dying off in record numbers due to the heat. According to KTUU, many of the salmon found dead were carrying healthy eggs. Scientists know that rising water temperatures can enervate salmon too much to go through with spawning. It also makes moving oxygen through their bodies more difficult. Other researchers told NPR that salmon are known for being very ‘resilient”’creatures. Their known resilience is what’s most disturbing about these die-offs.

David Neiwert writes—The politics of starving orcas: Why human folly is killing off an endangered population: “Most of all, as the apex predator in these waters, the orcas are also the ultimate indicator species. Their ill health is a powerful indicator that the overall health of Puget Sound and its adjacent waters is in a precarious state. There have been lots of issues linked to the decline in the population, including toxins in the waters of the region, and the presence of vessels and their noise and its negative effects on orcas’ abilities to seek prey. But scientists readily acknowledge that all of these issues would become functionally irrelevant if they were to solve the gorilla in the room, the major and ultimately primary cause of the killer whales’ plight: a lack of salmon. First listed in 2005 under the Endangered Species Act, the Southern Residents have been struggling with the loss of their primary prey—namely, Chinook salmon, which comprises about 80% of their diet—for decades now. What frustrates observers—as well as both whale and salmon advocates—is that the listing produced a lot of studies and handwringing, but precious little action. […] Total salmon runs in the Columbia River system, even after recent federally touted “recoveries,” remain at only about 1% of their historical levels.”

Dan Bacher writes—Salmon Fishermen Blast Trump Administration Suppression of Scientists, Call for Action by California: “The Trump administration continues to suppress scientists who disagree with  the anti-science dogma promoted by Big Ag, Big Oil and other corporate interests. In the latest foray in the war on science, federal salmon biologists’ warnings about dangers to Chinook salmon and steelhead poised by planned increased water diversions by the Central Valley Water Project have been suppressed by the Trump administration, the Los Angeles Times reported today. The salmon warnings come as the federal government finalizes plans to export more northern California water to corporate agribusiness interests to irrigate the arid and drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.” 

CLIMATE CHAOS

macknacat58 writes—Wonder why not much press re Permafrost? Its huge, its cold [but getting warmer] …science is hard: “Yes — turns out that the shoe many have been worried about has begun to indeed fall.  There is an excellent write up in Nat Geo www.nationalgeographic.com/…    that describes why , unlike the ocean, we still have precious little hard data about conditions in the far north lands- the ocean yields plenty of temperature and ice melt observations via satellite— permafrost  study thus far requires small plot studies and usually field work in locations that are challenging to say the least. The IPCC has finally begun to take permafrost emissions into account but there is mounting evidence that , similar to the disconnect between arctic ice retreat observation and computer modeling,scripps.ucsd.edu/… we may be on the way to an unnoticed abrupt thawing of permafrost—the emissions implications of that sudden event have yet to be included in any IPCC report. To give them their due, the modeling is hella complex — the biggest drivers appear to be the formation of ponds and lakes.  Those can be as “simple” as the result of underground ice melting and collapsing to allow lakes to form or they can be as complex as the climate driven expansion of willow brush and trees then enticing the expansion of the range of beavers -those critters are on a 5 mile a year expansion north and their handiwork IS trackable from space.”

GoBlueOutWest writes—Global Warming and Man-Made Climate change from a Geologic Perspective: “What would you say to a conspiracy theorist on man-made climate change being a hoax? Do facts matter? CO2, SO2, NO2, and Methane are all chemicals that are considered greenhouse gases. They absorb heat meant to be naturally dispersed through our atmosphere and into outer space. This dissipation is what allows our planet to maintain it’s natural state of heat.
The Permian Extinction is a perfect analogy for what is currently happening on our planet. Over the course of a millenia (the actual die-off occurred in a much shorter time, but the building of the greenhouse gas levels started long before), 95% of our planets species died due to Volcanism. Volcanoes, amongst other things (like lava and what becomes Volcaniclastic deposits), disperse HUGE amounts of CO2, SO2 NO2, and Methane. Ice cores obtained in Antarctica and the arctic, when sampled, have pockets of gas in them that show us what was in our atmosphere during their deposition. Pockets of Gas from the Permian Extinction show massive levels of the four greenhouse gases. This caused a greenhouse effect. However, because plant and tree species did survive, our planet eventually cooled and allowed life to prosper once again. Right now we should be moving into an ice age.” 

newusername writes—Just drop what you think for a few moments? Here’s your last chance climate moon-shot: “Here is the best news I’ve seen in the political climate in those three decades. There is a contender for political power with a plan and an intention that is big enough to make a difference. (As an aside, Al Gore was a contender all those years ago, and had the right intentions, but did not really express much of a workable plan. I do want to add, he did write one of the 3 or 4 best books ever done on environment and climate change, Earth In The Balance, 1992. Still recommendable!) The important point is, there is a contender, right now today, that has a plan and an intention that is the equivalent of that moon-shot effort some of us have been calling for for three decades. Senator Sanders has demonstrated that he understands that this issue, of all things, calls for an immediate all-out effort on every front possible. Can you put aside your preference for someone else, and/or your aversion to Sanders if you have that, just for a moment? Please. I am asking you to only think about the climate and the future for that moment. Other current contenders have plans too — lesser plans by any measure. In addition, it seems to me that Sanders, by his very nature, is far more likely to get far more of it actually accomplished if he is elected.” 

KPMauros13 writes—Climate Anxiety is real, and can make us terrible activists: “My weekly digest of news is always harrowing. Just this week, I received the news that hundreds of acres of ecologically important Amazon Rainforest are burning, The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is on its last legs, and our Executive Branch is planning on giving away more public land to energy exploration and extraction. As I read this tough to swallow news, it all gets registered with my eyes, is attempted to be rationalized by my brain, with anything I cannot fathom finding its way into my stomach to be improperly digested. It keeps me up at night, makes me feel hopeless, and yes can even lead me to panic or not get sleep. It’s a growing phenomenon affecting many of us, many of whom are young people bearing the brunt of future devastating climate and environmental outcomes. It’s name is climate anxiety, and it’s getting so prevalent that organizations like the Good Grief Program have been established to help people cope with its effects . My first instinct in all cases of handling news is to read the headline, see the picture showing bleached coral, rhinos running from fires, or devastated indigenous villages, and simply not click on the link. I know that what I am going to see is apocalyptic, dire, and depressing. I know I should be keeping my eye on the news, but it hurts me to the core how impotent I feel reading such articles.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Tim Ball Pleads For Mercy As An Irrelevant Sick Old Man, Gets It, Declares Victory: “If you’ve been cruising the denial highway over the past week or so, you may have come to believe that Dr. Michael Mann has lost his defamation lawsuit–the British Columbia court ruled in favor of Canadian Tim Ball and forced Mann to pay Ball’s court costs. Deniers are also claiming that the hockey stick graph, which Mann supposedly refused to release the data for, has now been broken and ruled a fraud. A particularly robust and…creative description of the case can be found at Principia Scientifica, a place for deniers who don’t even think carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. There, John O’Sullivan gives his unique take on the situation, to which he may feel entitled given his involvement.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Roy Spencer And Ryan Maue: Two Peas in a Climate Denial Pod: “On Sunday, Spencer published a lengthy blog post complaining that he’s ‘widely considered a climate denier,’ despite ostensibly agreeing with the consensus that burning fossil fuels causes warming. He claims this label is bestowed upon him because he is ‘not willing to exaggerate and make claims that cannot be supported by data.’ But this piece alone is enough to show exactly where Roy Spencer stands. First, he (incorrectly) describes the UN consensus as there being some warming since the 1950s, and ‘most of that warming is probably due to increasing atmospheric CO2 from fossil fuel use (but we really don’t know for sure).’ (Yes, we do.) Then, like Maue, Spencer jumps on the fake news bandwagon, lamenting how in climate coverage, ‘predicted effects are almost universally biased toward Armageddon-like outcomes.’ Stupid media, why won’t they report that ‘everything’s fine, there’s nothing to see here’? He then moves to energy, where apparently a similar bias exists in favor of renewables and against fossil fuels. Here, Spencer repeats classic fossil fuel industry talking points and points to the work of ‘philosopher’ Alex Epstein (more accurately described as a fossil fuel PR man) and his ‘Moral case for fossil fuels’ book, writing that ‘if you believe humans have a right to thrive, then you should be supportive of fossil fuels’.”  

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Even When Disproven, Deniers Admit They’ll Always Be Deniers: “On Thursday, Politico became the latest outlet to fall for the GOP’s fake movement on climate change. Apparently, Politico reports, ‘behind closed doors,’ there are lots of Republicans who are ‘candid in acknowledging that action is needed.’ The story even quoted Dan Byers, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute, who said he would ‘go out on a limb and maybe predict that you could see a nice package of climate energy innovation-focused legislation be signed by the president later this year.’ Then, the very next day, Politico reported that said Global Energy Institute hired a new head: Marty Durbin, formerly of the American Petroleum Institute, America’s Natural Gas Alliance, and the American Chemistry Council. So if you’re a reporter wondering if the Chamber is honest in its change of heart, and believe that it’s really going to work on ‘a nice package of climate energy innovation-focused legislation,’ stop for a moment and ask yourself what the odds are that a former Big Oil executive is going to support public policy to eliminate Big Oil. In the meantime, we can rest assured that deniers will never, ever admit they were in any way wrong.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—“What’s The Worst That Could Happen?” Judith Curry Asks, As the Amazon Burns: “On Monday, Naomi Oreskes, Michael Oppenheimer and Dale Jamieson published a piece in Scientific American about a new book they’ve written (with additional co-authors) that explores how scientists make judgements about risks and realities, and what that means for policy-makers. The basic takeaway is that while climate assessments are largely accurate, scientists have had a tendency ‘to underestimate the severity of threats [from climate change] and the rapidity with which they might unfold.’ Due to a number of factors, not the least of which is a reaction to deniers crying ‘alarmist’ at every turn, ‘scientists working in assessments are more likely to underestimate than to overestimate threats.’ So if you’re interested in learning more,  you can turn to their 300 page book published by the University of Chicago Press. But what if you’re only sort of interested in the issue, and actually just want to feel better about things? Well, then you can turn to Judith Curry, who published a blog post and paper of her own on this topic yesterday.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Judge’s Reply-All Attack On Climate Science Appears To Cost Him Seat On Climate-Related Case: “We all live in constant fear of the button. The one button that, if accidentally hit, can trigger a chain reaction of unending pain, unleashing impossible-to-contain horrors with the power to end life as we know it. We’re talking, of course, about the ‘Reply All’ button. (What, were you thinking of a different button?) While plenty has been written about reply-all horror stories,and the ways to avoid them, it seems they are doomed to continue happening. Last Friday offered a particularly enjoyable example of this Kafka-meets-Seinfeld type situation–this one involving US federal judges!

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Climate Deniers Rely On Bizarre Cult-y Epoch Times For Coverage: “If you live on this earth, then the odds are pretty good you’ve seen a poster, pamphlet, or flyer for Shen Yun, a live show of traditional Chinese dance and music whose omnipresent advertisements became (and remain) one of 2019’s first big memes. If you’ve attended a performance you may have been entertained but also perhaps confused by some parts, like the ‘tsunami with the face of Karl Marx. So what do these bizarre performances have to do with climate change? We’re getting there, be patient!   As an incredible new investigative report from NBC’s Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins details, Shen Yun is actually part of a concerted propaganda campaign carried out by Falon Gong, an anti-communist, anti-Chinese, anti-feminist, anti-gay, anti-medicine, and anti-pop-music cult. Its leader, Li Hongzhi, lives in a compound in upstate New York with the Shen Yun troupe members, where ‘internet access is restricted, the use of medicines is discouraged, and arranged relationships are common.’ (Disclaimer: Falun Gong maintains that it is not, in fact, a cult.)

RoyMorrison writes—Global Climate Movement: Darkest Before the Dawn: “A global climate change movement is emerging as we face the real threats to life and  to global civilization posed by  accelerating climate change. This is a matter of  survival, not  a blinkered environmentalism to benefit the rich. The sudden appearance of millions of people in the streets of Hong Kong in defense of democracy is a glimpse of the billions that will fill the streets in the coming years to demand and achieve effective and swift climate change action and climate justice for all. The emergence, for example, of a Green New Deal advanced by AOC is followed by  aggressive climate plans by Jay Inslee and Bernie Sanders, and by forthcoming candidate climate debates. This is reality. But accomplishing real action must be pushed relentlessly by a determined non-violent grassroots movement that will not countenance business and carbon pollution as usual. […] In retrospect,  we will say it was darkest before the dawn of a climate movement with unprecedented numbers and Gandhian persistence in demanding and accomplishing  healing change.”

stancam writes—The Ice Age Cometh: “The Ice Age Cometh. Well, not so fast. A coming ice age is a central denier argument. It’s based on natural phenomena and if not for the massive quantities of greenhouse gases humanity has pumped into the atmosphere, we would be entering a cooling phase. However an actual ice age would require thousands of years to take effect. Meanwhile what’s happening now is that it’s now been 415 consecutive months that the global temperature has been above the 20th century average and the last 5 years, including 2019 which is certain to be near the top, have been the hottest on record. If you take a look at this chart which tracks temperature and CO2 over the last 350,000 years, three things stand out. The first is that the two move in tandem, in lockstep, they are inextricably tied together. When you point that out to a denier, they want to argue about which came first. While it would be interesting to understand the underlying physics, for our purposes that really doesn’t matter. It’s only pertinent that they move together.”

Pakalolo writes—Scorpions migrating from climate change and deforestation, invade urban Brazil: “Sao Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere. It has a population of 11 million and over 20,000,000 when including the people of Sao Paulo’s outskirts. The city is a concrete jungle, no green space, few birds, and little to no animals. What Sao Paulo does have is an abundance of is cockroaches. In the wild, the cockroaches live inside a dark, humid cave, the interior of trees that is rotten and been hollowed out and in rock crevices. In urban areas, some species have adapted to life in the city for an abundance of food, humidity, and their water sensing abilities are extraordinary. No matter how clean your home or apartment may be, the cockroach can infest your home if it chooses and most do because of an endless supply of a variety of substances that they can consume. The cockroach has drawn detection by scorpions that have had their natural habitat disturbed. The scorpions find the urban cockroach delicious, threatening humans from rural and urban areas with painful and deadly stings. Hamilton Coimbra Carvalho writes in The Conversation in 2017 that has recently resurfaced due to the breakdown of Brazil’s environment from multiple human pressures. But Brazil’s cities also provide excellent habitat for scorpions, experts say. They offer shelter in sewage networks, plenty of water and food in the garbage that goes uncollected, and no natural predators.

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Denier David Middleton’s WUWT Weaponization of ‘Scientist’ Exposes His Own Ignorance: “Last week, UK chemist Nessa Carson wrote a column at ChemistryWorld grappling with the question of who really is, or isn’t, a scientist. Carson touches on a few issues, including citizen-science efforts and the ever-pervasive imposter syndrome, and ends with a reminder that since ‘people expect scientists to always be old, white men with wild hair, perhaps more of us who don’t fit that profile should proudly identify as scientists wherever we can!’ In response to this welcoming message that reaffirms science should be an inclusive endeavor that makes the most of everyone’s talents, regardless of age, race or gender….one of the old white men at WUWT took it upon himself to answer Carson’s rhetorical question literally. In his reaction, guest poster David Middleton narrowly defines what a scientist is, and in doing so accidentally rebukes a significant plank of climate denial: that the opinion of non-climate-scientists should be given the same weight as actual climate scientists when judging the veracity of climate science.” 

xaxnar writes—A Death in Iceland – Climate Edition: “Via the BBC. Mourners are gathering in Iceland to commemorate the loss of Okjokull, which has died at the age of about 700. The glacier was officially declared dead in 2014 when it was no longer thick enough to move. What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano. Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson are due to attend the ceremony. After opening remarks by Ms Jakobsdottir, mourners will walk up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.” 

xaxnar writes—Kevin Drum Says Nobody is Taking Climate Change Seriously. Not the Candidates, Us, or the World: “Before everyone immediately goes nuclear on Kevin Drum, it’s hard to argue with when he talks about Why Climate Change Is So Hard. Drum has been looking at the numbers and has been studying this for some time. This isn’t something he just decided to write about. Drum is responding here to a Washington Post commentary by Jamil Zaki, who notes that while a majority of Americans believe climate change is real and a serious problem, he can’t understand why they are willing to spend so little compared to the effort that will be needed to address it effectively. He blames it on a lack of empathy for future generations. Kevin Drum thinks it’s more immediate and that it’s a bigger problem than thatthe key difference is that halting climate change requires us to dramatically alter our way of life. All of us. For a very long time. Human beings aren’t wired to do this. You aren’t doing it. I’m not doing it. Europeans aren’t doing it. No one is doing it. We’re willing to make modest changes here and there, but dramatic changes? The kind that seriously bite into our incomes and our way of life? Nope.

xaxnar writes—Kevin Drum Says Nobody is Taking Climate Change Seriously – Part 2 Followup: “Yesterday I posted a diary collecting and summarizing posts from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones which looked at climate plans from top tier Democratic candidates, ranked them, and discussed Drum’s larger point that the plans mean nothing as long as people are unwilling to do what needs to be done to realize them. And so far, they aren’t. Drum is arguing that people will not  change their behavior if they feel the price of doing so is too high. He’s calling for research as a necessary part of any climate proposal to find ways to make that price low enough to get past that inherent human resistance. He also points out any serious climate proposal is going to have to find ways to encompass the world; America cleaning up its act is not enough to save the world all by itself. Needless to say, this generated some interesting discussion (go see the comments on the original post) and a fair amount of pushback. Several people pointed out that there is no shortage of ways to bring down carbon emissions, that the sacrifices Drum says people will not make are not an issue because we can already minimize them. The word isn’t getting out (lack of awareness, push-back, and outright disinformation was cited as reasons for some of that.)”

Lib Dem FoP writes—To Save Our Species, The Journey of A Thousand Miles Starts With A Single Step – Take It Today: “World leaders are about to gather in New York for a climate change conference and many will call for action to “save the planet”. Frankly that is arrogant nonsense. Our planet will survive long after homo sapiens is a distant memory. There have been mass extinctions of species before. There is no reason to believe that our species will survive in any great numbers the mass extinction event we are currently going through, the planet will. The cause is not some threatening asteroid, it is homo sapiens. […] Today, we are the “ecological engineers” and perhaps also the Ediacaria. We delude ourselves with science fiction that tells us technology will solve all our problems and we will all be living on Mars or in distant solar systems so we don’t have to bother about doing anything for our own planet. But to survive in any great numbers we must evolve into homo sapientior. This will not mean developing tiny hands or something, We will have to evolve what’s going on in the big lump of fatty tissue behind our eyes.”

Angmar writes—Climate change: Six sentences of hope:Defining a unifying vision in the face of the climate crisis: “Richard FlanaganA sense of futility haunts us all, so I sought to distill in as few words as possible what could be done by us as a people. Writing them, I felt my despair lift. The question of the age is how. In the face of a human-induced change that threatens the future of our species how to act? How to live? How to be? In seeking the answer we find ourselves alone in the universe without illusions. There are no leaders, no parties, no nation, no gods that will save us. We discover at this terrible moment a shocking truth: we only have ourselves. And each of us finds within ourselves only failure, cowardice, timidity, in short, a despair at our general weakness.This sense of futility haunts us all. And yet within that failure is hope. Having only ourselves we finally discover bedrock: ourselves.”

Extreme Weather & Natural Phenomena

Pakalolo writes—Once the hurricane passes, a ‘deadly hidden weather hazard has the potential to affect millions’:  “Occurrence of back-to-back heatwaves likely to accelerate with climate changeCompound heat waves would be especially dangerous to people who are already vulnerable to heat waves, particularly the elderly and residents of low-income areas. Government warning systems and health care outreach do not currently calculate the escalating risk these populations face from several heat waves in a row, the researchers reported. Instead, risk and response are determined by the severity of each individual episode of extreme temperatures.Averaged over time, heat waves are the most deadly type of natural disaster in the United States, in addition to causing many emergency room visits, lost working hours and lower agricultural yields,” Baldwin said. Heatwaves and the droughts that can accompany them are responsible for approximately 20 % of the mortalities associated with natural hazards in the continental United States.

AKALib writes—Hurricane Dorian Forecasts, Updates and Science: “Dorian is headed towards Florida. As it is travels across the Bahamas today, it is expected to strengthen into a Cat 4 hurricane before making landfall late Monday. It could be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida’s east coast since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Here are some images and projections of Dorian’s path, timing and intensity. Stay tuned as the forecasts evolve. Updates are at the bottom of the diary and in the comments section, contributed by many who care. Friday morning forecasts show a slightly southern shift of the storm track and a slower moving hurricane, both bad news for Florida. It could become a prolonged weather event over much of Florida early next week.” 

terrypinder writes—DKos WxCenter: Hurricane Dorian: While it is likely that sometime over the weekend, Dorian will turn sharply to the west, it is not so certain where that turn will occur. Where that turn occurs will determine who in Florida gets the worst. However modeling for much of today seems to indicate that at day 5, the hurricane will slow down. This is because the ridge of high pressure that will cause Dorian’s hard turn toward Florida may break down, according to some modeling. FishOutOfWater explained this earlier today and explained it very well. This would cause the hurricane to slowdown, and possibly turn to the northwest and north again, perhaps sideswiping Florida or missing it entirely if it has not made that westward turn yet. There’s also beyond Florida. Further north as an East Coast runner? Or into the Gulf? Because of this I’m very hesitant to forecast any landfall location, or even a landfall date, until further information is available. That won’t be until a large and coordinated release of weather balloons occurs across the Southeast.”

FishOutofWater writes—Hurricane Dorian: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly: “The good news is that Hurricane Dorian passed well west of Puerto Rico as it moved from the Caribbean to the Atlantic. Puerto Rico was unaffected by Dorian. The bad news is that Dorian unexpectedly passed directly over St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands as a minimal category 1 hurricane causing disruption to daily life and moderate damage to island infrastructure. One elderly woman who was in bad health died as the storm passed over the Virgin Islands. viconsortium.com/… […] The ugly news is for Florida. Dorian’s northwards motion will be stopped by a large high pressure area and subtropical ridge that is developing off of the Carolina coast. This is good news for people like me in the hard hit areas of the Carolinas that are not ready for another major storm, but it is very bad news for Florida. […] Update 3pm EDT: The latest European model run slows Dorian’s forward progress down over the Bahamas as it takes a dip south. Then it takes a track up the coast of Florida. This is not the final word and the NHC will carefully consider the implications of this new model run. What it means is that the cone of uncertainty is real and we don’t have a precise track forecast.” 

Mark Sumner writes—Hurricane Dorian’s latest track projection take a radical change, shows a storm that skims the coast: “Despite many warnings that the path of major Hurricane Dorian would be difficult to predict and subject to change, the latest adjustments in its projected course are still shockingly large. In the early hours of Saturday morning, models looking at the future course of the storm took a large swing. Where most previous models had shown the storm making landfall somewhere near the center of the Florida peninsula then turning north, that northward turn is now expected to begin as the storm slowly crosses the narrow stretch of Atlantic between the Bahamas and the Florida coast. As a result, the latest projections show Dorian may not come ashore at all. Or at least, not come ashore in Florida. However, this doesn’t mean that the storm is going to be less dangerous or cause less damage. Every model of the storm, including the U.S. model shown above, continue to be taken with a huge note of caution as at this point the models projecting Dorian’s path continue to be widely divergent. The European model, which has in many past events proven more reliable shows Dorian hooking even more sharply to the east and north, moving back out to sea rather than making a landfall in the Carolinas as the U.S. model now projects.”

The Octopus writes—Hurricane Preparedness Tips and Advice as the Storm Approaches: “Many of us are focused on the approach of Hurricane Dorian. While the forecast track of the storm as it nears the US coastline is presently unpredictable and uncertain, there’s a good chance that if you live in any of the states of the old Confederacy, this storm might affect you. I wanted to put this diary up to help raise awareness for those who might be new(er) to the arrival of a significant tropical system and to help instill calm and confidence through providing useful, actionable information and advice as well as a forum to discuss these topics. First, the most critical thing is to have good, accurate information. Decisions based on bad information lead to bad results and, when dealing with tropical systems, that might mean increasing the threats to your life, safety, or property.” 

mookieb writes—Hurricane Dorian: “I’ll keep this short for now. But please, if you’re in the SE start watching this storm and start preparing. 24 hours ago the projections had a tropical storm curving back west. More recent runs show a likely possibilty of a major hurricane in the Cat 3 range. The atmospheric conditions are so favorable that several models are forecasting an absolute monster. Also a possibility it crosses into the Gulf where it could regain strength and track towards MS, LA, even TX. I watch the hurricane season closely, as it directly impacts my work. And I find it fascinating. I’ve been silent because most models yesterday represented a relatively minor tropical storm. That is not the case anymore.” 

PHScott writes—The Daily Bucket: Waiting on Hurricane Dorian: “As of 9 AM EST this morning forecasters at the National Hurricane Center are not sure what Dorian does after it slams into the Florida Atlantic coast somewhere in the middle around Melbourne or Daytona. Orlando will likely get some of it but then who knows? Does it carry into the Gulf of Mexico and swing north to eastern Panhandle (me) or track across the Gulf gaining strength and heading for New Orleans or even Houston. We may know in a few days. Meanwhile it’s also likely The Florida State University will be cancelling the Saturday night football game in Jacksonville against Boise State. The Broncos are due to fly out today so no doubt there will be a decision by then. The kids may be excited about coming to Florida, seeing the ocean, even being near a hurricane, but… It’s not that folks are worried about playing in the rain, maybe a day before Dorian landfall, but that any evacuation involving a million people will make a mess of I-95 (coastal) and I-75 (inland 60 miles) or even I-10 going west.”

foresterbob writes—The Daily Bucket – Oregon Storms 2, A Photo Diary: “The first diary in this series focused on storms that happened on the afternoon of August 10. The storms were coming from the south, and one cell got stuck over the Wallowa Mountains and did not push all of the way through. Around sunset another cell, the strongest of the day, began to spill over the mountains. Sensing another photo opportunity, I again made my way to the hilltop vantage point near the Enterprise airport. None of the images in this diary have been enhanced in any way, other than a bit of cropping. This is the storm as my camera saw it.

POPULATION, SUSTAINABILITY & EXTINCTION

UnaSpenser writes—Gaslighting Into Extinction: “Look at the comments on this linked Facebook post: How Did The End Of The World Become Old News? (the article referred to in the post is here.) It’s a very serious post about the human species walking inexorably into a torturous extinction. When someone asks “what can we do when we feel powerless?” The thread becomes about praying and whether you are vegan. I thought it was sarcastic, at first, but they’re serious. If everyone would pray we’d ‘manifest rain to put out the fires’. Kijjiketchme Southern-Fox: ‘Is the problem really that we don’t notice, don’t care, and don’t speak up? My feed is full of the news about the Amazon. I think it’s more accurate to say, the problem is that we have no way to stop it. We have no control over our political institutions and no way to actually re-structure capitalism. Seriously, what can an ordinary person do??” 

ECO-ACTION & ECO JUSTICE

A Siegel writes—Greta arrives on US soil: “Who would have thought, a year ago, that a teen-age girl’s travel across the Atlantic Ocean would legitimately merit front page coverage globally?  I certainly didn’t then … but do now.  In word and deed, Greta Thunberg has become one of the (if not the) strongest and coherent public voices and faces on the climate crisis and the necessity for serious action — now — to avert utter calamity. Thus, in her sanity and clarity, she has a bulls-eye target on her for every fossil-foolish minion to aim at.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—From Greta to AOC to Miss NY Earth, Misogyny Runs Deep In Climate Denial Land: “We’ve tried to be explicit in the past couple years about how climate denial is often accompanied by misogyny, with deniers sometimes playing footsie with overt misogynists, or even embracing it themselves along with other hate, while acknowledging that the alarmist side has some work to do. And others are starting to pick up on this unfortunate thread as well. While the BBC’s Joshua Nevett covered how young climate activists are on the receiving end of a hate machine, Martin Gelin used men’s reactions to Greta Thunberg’s US visit to get more specific on ‘the misogyny of climate deniers for The New Republic. And Greta is absolutely getting not only plenty of abuse, as we’ve discussed, but is also facing specifically misogynistic attacks. The most offensive comes from James Delingpole (naturally), who wrote in response to Thunberg’s GQ cover that “Sure, girls have a place in this universe: as decoration and objects of lust.” He then continued by saying that ‘spooky Greta with her pigtails and thousand-yard stare of disapproval is not only far too young to qualify for that status, but far too earnest and grim’.

Marissa Higgins writes—Oil lobbyist brags about criminalizing gas and oil pipeline protests in leaked audio recording: “Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs for oil lobby group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFRM), bragged about how successful the industry has been in pushing anti-protest legislation, as heard in leaked audio obtained by The Intercept. What kind of protests are we talking about? In this case, pipeline protests. And as more states are passing laws to criminalize these protests, this boasting is nothing to brush off. Oh, and lest you think the AFRM is no big deal, think again. AFRM is a corporate giant that represents many heavy-hitters in the fossil fuel world, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Koch Industries. As first reported by Lee Fang for The Intercept, you can hear Morgan boasting about the industry’s effectiveness in pushing this legislation while at a conference in D.C. this June.” 

ENERGY

Green New Deal & 100% Clean Energy

mikeymikey writes—Green New Deal / Home Edition: “I am heartened and elated to see the growing attention given to the environment and the Green New Deal on this site, as I believe it to be of absolute necessity to aggressively confront this issue if we want to survive. However, I am concerned to see very little mention of the things individuals can begin doing immediately to help to slow down and reverse the damage to our planet. In the US ever since WWII we have been set on a trajectory that has resulted in a decades long orgy of consumerism which is a primary cause of pollution, resource depletion and destruction of the biosphere. Our lifestyles are inextricably linked to waste & pollution, as well as, harmful/destructive energy and resource consumption. Our obsessive compulsive shopping addiction, our unhealthy, wasteful and excessive food consumption, as well as the many other various forms of material consumption are fueled by emotional underpinnings few recognize or control. In the process, vast amounts of waste and loss are generated. That, coupled with our “out of sight, out of mind” mental auto set, makes for a lethal cocktail. I realize that many users at this site are more or less already working to keep their ‘carbon foot print’ low, but my ongoing interaction with the public at large, including many environmentally concerned individuals, reveals a disturbing disconnect between personal desires and our stewardship responsibilities.” 

Fossil Fuels

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Ohio Nuke and Coal Bailout Bill Supported By Supposed Free Market Fans: “At the start of August, we explained how the Ohio bill bailing out coal and nuclear plants with consumer cash was a boon to Trump pal Bob Murray. Murray’s company supplied the FirstEnergy coal plants with their climate-killing fuel, so what’s good for FirstEnergy, like this bill, is also good for Murray. Now that we’re at the end of August, there have been some interesting developments in the situation: consumers have banded together to try and overturn the law through a ballot initiative. In response, a new group supporting the bailout has put out a crazy TV ad that uses anti-Chinese fearmongering to discourage anyone from signing any petitions on the subject. Featuring stock footage of Chinese leadership and people, the spot warns that the Chinese, having already stolen Ohio jobs, are now coming for the state’s power grid. Why? Because supposedly one of the groups collecting signatures to overturn the bill is backed by natural gas companies, which in turn are invested in by Chinese banks. When a spokesperson for the referendum group was asked if China is funding the group, he said “that’s a ridiculous question” and committed to following disclosure requirements.

Emissions Controls & Carbon Pricing

Meteor Blades writes—Here we go again. Trump’s EPA plans to end Obama era rule on methane leaks: “Ignoring the climatological impacts of increasing levels of atmospheric methane and abandoning its mission of protecting against destructive environmental and health hazards, the Environmental Protection Agency will today announce that it is rolling back yet one more Obama era rule. This time, it’s a mandate that the oil and gas industry install new equipment to gauge methane leaks and repair them. The rule will enter a 60-day public comment period and presumably be finalized sometime early in 2020. Methane is the second-most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. But over the short run it is 84-86 times more powerful than CO2 in its contribution to global warming. A couple of weeks ago, Robert W. Howarth, a biogeochemist and ecosystem scientist at Cornell University, published a paper at Biogeosciences examining whether shale-derived natural gas has been a recent driver of a significant increase of methane in the atmosphere: … we conclude that shale-gas production in North America over the past decade may have contributed more than half of all of the increased emissions from fossil fuels globally and approximately one-third of the total increased emissions from all sources globally over the past decade.

Krotor writes—No more “Pardon me!” from cows: scientists now know how to eliminate cows’ methane emissions: “Bossie can now chew her cud without worrying about those embarrassing escapes of methane gas from either end. Researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Australia have discovered that a small and simple change in their diet will render cows methane-free. A pinkish seaweed, Asparagopsis, is the magic element that will turn Bossie from being a contributor to global warming into an environmentally conscientious bovine. Substituting just 2% of a cow’s feed with Asparagopsis is enough to eliminate the microbes in her digestive system that produce methane, a potent villain in the climate change battle. Best of all, it’s not something new and different that will be hard for ranchers to get their cows to eat: the ruminants already seek it and happily munch it, if they’re lucky enough to live near coastal areas. If it can be grown and/or harvested commercially, Bossie and her friends are likely to chow down on it with gusto.”
 

K S LaVida writes—We need a 98% solution for greenhouse gases (not 100%): “Global warming is already well out of hand and getting worse, while “populist” and right-wing leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro actively try to make it worse. We need to have cogent plans to fix it. The Green New Deal is a  great start. But I’m concerned that some of our proposals run afoul of a common problem in political circles — purity. They lack a feature needed in any practical solution — a bit of slack. There’s a saying, especially well known in project management circles and among software developers, that the last 20% of the work takes 80% of the effort. And if you’re developing a product, or building a bridge, you need to get to 100% before getting its benefit. Fixing global warming, though, isn’t like that. Every ton of carbon you don’t put into the atmosphere is just as helpful as the next one. So you get the best results from focusing on the big and easy parts, and leaving some slack for the small, but difficult, problems. It may well be that the ultimate solution does require burning a little carbon, or letting a little CO2 into the atmosphere from other sources. That little bit of oil can lubricate a sticky situation and make it slide into place faster. And the planet can deal with a little carbon, just nowhere near what we’re dumping now. Let me give some examples.”

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: How the President Could REALLY Get at China: “Forget tariffs. Tariff wars are a mug’s game. Go for the coal-fired power plants in poor countries. Muscle in on China’s debt-trap loan-sharking diplomacy. That would get their attention, and they wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it. China is not only building 300 coal-fired power plants in those countries but financing them. They act as lender of last resort for countries that cannot get financing for renewable energy projects. Then they stand ready to accept shares in other infrastructure projects if the countries can’t repay their loans on time. Of course, he would have to lift his idiotic tariff on solar panels in order to do so, and some of the others besides. Now, we know that our President is the Platonic Ideal of a mug who couldn’t make a profit running a casino. He is the very epitome of the poker proverb If you don’t know who the mug at the table is, it’s you. So the chance that he will take my advice is somewhere between 0 and fuggedaboudit. But he isn’t the only billionaire that we can pitch this too.”

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Bernie’s NEW Green New Deal: “A much more detailed outline of the plan is up on Bernie’s campaign Web site. (The outline of the outline is quoted below.) Passing over the paywalled NYT and WaPO (Boo! Hiss!) we have Gizmodo: Bernie Sanders’ $16 Trillion Climate Plan Is Nothing Short of a Revolution. You can hear his voice in everything as it spits hot fire about prosecuting the fossil fuel industry, uplifting workers, and creating a whole swath of new public works programs and infrastructure. It also calls for 100 percent renewable energy for transportation and electricity sectors by 2030 while eschewing nuclear power and demilitarizing the world, setting a goal that’s somewhere between wildly ambitious and out of reach. […] A tiny piece of Bernie’s plans, mentioned last night in an interview with Chris Hayes, is replacing all diesel school buses in the US with electrics that save hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes. This is where you can come in, because there are about 480,000 school buses in thousands of cities, towns and counties, and about 95% of them run on diesel. Talk to your local authorities and candidates about electric school buses. Let us know here what they tell you.” 

Mark Sumner writes—Paradise is finally dying … and that’s a very good thing: “Throughout my youth, my mother got up at 5AM and drove off to work on a single huge project—the construction of TV’s Paradise Steam Plant. It was at the time the largest plant in Kentucky, and the largest coal-fired plant in the world. “Largest” was the word that described everything about the genuinely massive ‘Unit 3.’ Largest boiler anywhere, the largest generators, largest cooling towers, and the largest capacity of over 1,100 megawatts. The plant was, and is, truly gigantic. To a slack-jawed kid visiting a construction site littered with bolts the size of cars and wire-coils the size of houses, everything there seemed to have been lifted from some updated version of Gulliver’s Travels. Now it’s closing. While coal plants have been going down at a rapid clip over the last few years, many of them have been the smaller, older, less efficient units. Now the economic factors that are driving coal out of the energy marketplace are coming for the giants. Paradise is just one of the large plants that are on the list to close over the next year, as the percentage of electricity made from coal—and the market for steam coal—continues to shrink. Another of those going down in the next few months is the Navajo Generating Station at Page, Arizona. It’s closure will mean the end of one of the largest single sources of carbon in American history. It’s of the same generation of plants as Paradise, with the first unit coming on line in 1974.”

Walter Einenkel writes—Trump administration sabotages the largest U.S. offshore wind farm project: “Last May, Massachusetts announced that Vineyard Wind—a project to build 800 megawatts worth of wind turbines off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, had won a bid to begin production. The project promises to be the largest “offshore wind complex,” in the United States. The Massachusetts project was announced along side Rhode Island’s decision to allow Deepwater Wind to begin production on a 400 megawatt offshore facility. This is great news and in line with Bay State’s 2016 decision to build 1.6 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2027.” Now, Inside Climate News reports that the Trump administration, best known for expediting fossil fuel production in tandem with deregulating the industry, is slowing down the start of production—set for this year—on the Massachusetts’ project. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), under Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13807, wants to really dig down deep on their new expanded review of the Vineyard Wind project.

Austin Bailey writes—Building A Case That Solar Energy Causes Air Pollution – The Right Wing Noise Machine At Work: “Sixteen paragraphs in and the article has driven home its key point that solar energy is creating more air pollution, but the author does toss in a brief suggestion that “not everyone agrees.”  His source is a six year old computer simulation which he then undermines.That study relied on computer simulations and hypothetical scenarios, while Duke’s numbers are based on recorded data from full-scale operations. The rest of the article works to make the situation appear to be a danger to public health and to suggest that some sort of conspiracy was in place to keep the information from the public. The article was published on August 14 and within days it was being reprinted or used as source material at numerous right wing websites.”

Pipelines & Other Oil  and Gas Transport

 Assaf writes—#RbPi 16 (8/2019): The Elusive 200-mile, $35k Electric Car: “Following upon last month’s overview of the used EV market (#15: best options and #15b: Cheapies; also #15c: a very short list of pricier options somewhat cheaper than getting a new one), I turn back to the scene of new midmarket EVs. In particular, what has become the Holy Grail of EV marketing: a BEV (‘pure-electric’) with 200+ miles average range, for $35k. I last visited that scene in November 2018. What has changed? Why 200 miles? Why $35k? And what are our real-life options for getting one, including how much it would cost to lease rather than buy outright?” 

ImpeccableLiberalCredentials writes—Water Protectors Shut Down Enbridge Offices in Bemidji, MN: “Water Protectors shut down Enbridge office in Bemidji, MN today. These Water Protectors are part of multiple affinity groups including Northfield Against Line 3 and individuals who traveled from as far away as Brooklyn, NY and Chicago, IL as well as many from across Minnesota and from local Northwoods First Nations to be a part of today’s action. Find more information about the fight to protect water from Enbridge tar sands pipeline expansion here: StopLine3.org. Here’s a quick video from the scene this morning.

Sophia Mirto writes—Central Texas Fights The Permian Highway Pipeline: “An $80 billion company is about to run a natural gas pipeline between Austin and San Antonio. Called the Permian Highway Pipeline, it will carry natural gas mined in the Permian Basin over 400 miles, through the Hill Country, affecting Kimble, Gillespie, Blanco, and Hays Counties. It’s construction threatens the drinking water of 2 million Texans, and the company, Kinder Morgan, is using eminent domain to build it. The companies use intimidating tactics,’ David Baker, the executive director of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, told the Audubon in June. ‘Landowners who have never been through the process of condemnation are receiving letters full of legalese that threaten lawsuits and injunctions.’ Here in Texas, oil and gas companies are allowed to use eminent domain to build their pipelines. The state legislature’s justification is essentially that pipelines are publicly available infrastructure, a utility, that provides direct benefits to communities (natural gas powering your stove at home, for instance). This doesn’t seem to be a good excuse for the Permian Highway Pipeline, however. ‘The Permian Highway Pipeline, a very large percentage of that gas — if not all of it — will be for export’.” 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Rei writes—Remember the emissions-cheating diesel scandal at VW? Turns out that the fix is itself a cheat: “Let’s start off by pointing out that not everything Volkswagen does is bad. […]  But the news recently is very much a bad thing. To sum up: Numerous automakers had previously been caught using a cheat device to detect when its vehicles were being tested for emissions. This would engage a “clean” mode for the tests, which it would otherwise disable so that the engines had more power and longevity.  This is the core of #Dieselgate. After being caught (and heavily fined), automakers were required to come up for fixes to their software to make the cars actually be cleaner… at the cost of worse-performing cars. A case in Düsseldorf district court has recently returned a verdict concerning the fix, as present in the VW Tiguan diesel with the engine EA 189. They discovered that the “fix” VW provided for this vehicle — and presumably, many others as well (including at Audi, Seat and Skoda) — is only operational between 10-32°C (50-90°F). Half the days in Germany are outside this temperature range. As a consequence, the fix is shut off half the time.

A Siegel writes—BREAKING!! (Update) Electrifying Momentum for Electric School Buses: “Shortly after this was posted, Dominion announced a major electric school bus program. Information below.Last week, Mothers Out Front Fairfax County (MOF-Fairfax) held the kick-off of their campaign for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) to move off polluting, expensive diesel buses and set the path forward toward an electric bus fleet. With a packed room, the speakers were MOF-Fairfax leaders Julie Kimmeland Bobby Kyle Monacella; Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) School Board member Pat Hynes; Providence District School Board candidate; and passionate advocates Karl Frisch (Democratic-endorsed candidate for School Board from the Providence District) and Delegate Mark Keam (HD-35) . Up front, electric school buses have become the right choice for school system capital investment programs now, because they provide: Improved performance (better acceleration, quieter, smoother) that contributes to Improved student (and driver and community) health due to Significantly reduced pollution (at street, regional, and global levels) with Much lower ownership costs.”

nirbama writes—Electric Cars are Coming, Gas Engines are Going: “A great website for all transport news electric is Electrek.co.  They’ve just posted a thought provoking report on a big change coming at Volkswagen, which is restructuring a gas engine producing factory at Zwickau entirely into an electric car producing factory.  The new factory will have an electric vehicle production capacity of over 300,000 cars per year.  The first electric vehicle to be produced will be the ID3, an all-electric hatchback, set to launch by 2020.  This VW will start at less than €30,000 and have over 330 km of range (about 205 miles).  Some versions may have over 500 km of range (more than 310 miles of range). Electrek.co’s take on this development is what is thought-provoking. Electrik says: ‘This is great. We are talking about converting a massive plant to electric car production over just over two years. That’s quick. We think this more aggressive approach by Volkswagen, which has arguably been forced onto them after the Dieselgate fiasco, will prove successful and could influence other automakers to do the same.” 

Mark Sumner writes—Trump thought he ‘won’ by rolling back auto standards … until CA and the automakers struck back: “Trump is furious. The emissions rollback is one of his biggest thumb-in-the-eye issues to both Obama and climate change. But it may be too late this time … too late for Trump. In signing on to the California agreement, automakers have already agreed to produce vehicles to the higher standards set under the 2012 Obama agreement. If other manufacturers don’t meet that standard, then consumers will face a market that’s not divided by region, but by make. To compete, automakers not matching the new standards would likely have to reduce their prices, destroying any advantage they might get by making a less efficient vehicle. Which is likely to be more harmful than just making vehicles that meet the tougher standards. And it’s not just California that companies would have to worry about. The original rules under the Clean Air Act give other states the option of signing on to California’s standards, so long as those standards are tougher than the federal standards. At this point, 13 states are also on board with California.”

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Pakalolo writes—For the first time in recorded history, Anchorage enters “extreme drought”: “Alaska’s temperate rainforest is in a historic drought. The climate crisis is known to alter the Globe’s rainfall patterns. The city of Anchorage was carved out of the rainforest known as Chugach. The Chugach rainforest forms a great arc around Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska. Warming temperatures caused by human carbon emissions can take a toll on a forest such as the Chugach, by drought, bark beetle infestation, and raging wildfires.Drought causes trees to absorb less of the carbon that we spew out in record amounts every single second. NASA warned in 2017 ‘…as global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century.’ A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

4CasandChlo writes—How Western Water Law Established a System to Ruin the West, at the Fastest Rate: “It is stunning to believe, actually. I am not sure which part is more head-spinning, the fact that water law in the west is designed to maximize the risk of desertification, or the fact that the system used traces its roots back to the time of shovels, sleuths, boom or bust near 200 years ago. Fitting, now that I actually think about it. You are aiming to understand water law in the West? Alright, take a walk with me right into our virtual time machine. We are going to San Francisco, circa 1849, but only to get our supplies and head off, to the hills. There’s gold in them there hills, and we aim to strike it rich. We better, we need the money, we’re not water lawyers after all, we have to invent water law first.”

Lefty Coaster writes—Alaska Governor issues an Emergency declaration for three large wildfires near Anchorage: “The Anchorage Alaska area which has been experiencing the first extreme drought in it’s history, is now struggling with the impacts of three large wildfires burning out of control. […] Gov. Dunleavy issues disaster declaration for Mat-Su and Kenai Peninsula wildfires Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday issued a disaster declaration for the Matanuska-Susitna and Kenai Peninsula boroughs to provide aid to those who have been affected by wildfires there. Five major wildfires burning across the two boroughs — most ignited over the past week — have consumed thousands of acres of land, closed arterial highways and prompted evacuation orders for nearby communities.

Marissa Higgins writes—Nestlé wants to take 1.1M gallons of water per day from Florida, then sell it back to the public: “Nestlé Waters is trying to take an astounding 1.1 million gallons of water per day from Ginnie Springs and the Santa Fe River in Florida, as first reported by The Guardian. Local conservationists are afraid that the corporate giant will disrupt the natural habitat of turtles that live in the bank. They’re also afraid that the river is simply too frail to survive all of this, as it’s already been designated as ‘in recovery’ from being over-pumped in the past. Perhaps the biggest, most glaring issue? That a corporate giant wants to take publicly owned water and … sell it back to the public. Yikes. How does this work? Basically, the Florida Water Resources Act says that all of the water in the springs (as well as the rivers and lakes) is state property. However, it never established a price for the water. So while taxpayers pay into resources that, for example, restore the spring from over-pumping, companies like Nestlé are able to take state water without paying for it. Of course, in a statement on its website, Nestlé sings a different tune.” 

Laura Clawson writes—Powerful Republican senator puts his lake house over flood prevention for a nearby town: “Sen. James Inhofe is taking strong action to defend the quality of boating and swimming at the lake where he has a vacation home, even at the cost of flooding in a nearby community. The Oklahoma Republican has introduced an amendment to block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from exercising full oversight over the flooding potential of a dam on Grand Lake in the northeastern part of the state. Local Native American tribes and officials in the upstream, high-poverty town of Miami say that high water levels on the lake have contributed—along with climate change—to repeated floods as water backs up upstream from the dam. As in, two dozen floods in less than 30 years, with 150 homes torn down and more abandoned as a result. This spring’s floods forced the Eastern Shawnee tribe to evacuate, its ceremonial grounds covered in three feet of water. Inhofe and others who support the wealthy lake community’s rights to high-quality swimming deny that water levels there are related to upstream flooding. Just as Inhofe denies climate science. Inhofe wants higher water levels at Grand Lake, where a company in his wife’s name holds $1 million in property, to ‘make the lake a better place for recreation and commerce.’ The local yacht club owner agrees, but of course it’s Inhofe who has the ability to legislate to protect the wealthy people around the lake where he swims, flies airplanes, and denies climate change. (Inhofe denies climate change everywhere he goes.)” 

Walter Einenkel writes—Flint’s water gets worse, after 2 million gallons of sewage dumped into river: ‘In April, Flint, Michigan officials warned that proposed budget cuts to infrastructure improvements on the city’s wastewater management were a bad idea. ‘We’re going to get to a point where we can’t treat our wastewater and sewage anymore,’ Director of Public Works Rob Bincsik told MLive. City officials have been stuck between a rock and a hard place as there is only so much money allowed in their budget for everything that needs fixing in Flint. Officials were looking into a $34 million loan that would allow them to fund the needed fixes. On Tuesday, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy filed a report that said a ‘flash flood event,’ had led to untreated wastewater to overflow and find its way into storm drains that lead into the Flint River. On Thursday, MLive reports that the size of this run over of untreated wastewater was 2 million gallons.

Dan Bacher writes—Additional Public Meetings for State Water Project Contract Amendment for Delta Tunnel Announced: “Kearns & West, the same consultants that oversaw the ‘public process’ for the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called ‘marine protected areas’ in California, on August 29 announced the extension of public meetings for the State Water Project Amendment for the Delta Tunnel. ‘The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Project (SWP) Contractors will extend negotiations for the proposed amendments to the SWP water supply contracts further into September 2019,’ wrote Kearns and West for DWR. ‘The public negotiation process is expected to result in an Agreement in Principle (AIP) among DWR and the SWP Contractors that describes a methodology for cost allocation and the related matters that would be the basis of a contract amendment if a project is approved and after all necessary environmental review. Environmental analysis of the proposed amendments and of the underlying Delta conveyance facility itself, in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, as well as the development of actual contract amendment language would follow development of the AIP’.”

Dan Bacher writes—Extension of Public Meetings for State Water Project Contract Amendment for Delta Tunnel Announced: “Kearns and West, the same controversial organization that “facilitated” the meetings for the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” on the California Coast, on Monday announced that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Project (SWP) Contractors will extend negotiations for the proposed amendments to the SWP water supply contracts into September 2019.

Dan Bacher writes—Coalition Launches Petition to Stop Bay Area Dredging by Army Corps of Engineers: “In a state where Big Oil has captured the regulators from top to bottom, the recently launched Protect the Bay coalition is asking local community members to sign a petition aimed at stopping a US Army Corps of Engineers project to dredge San Francisco Bay. The coalition is criticizing the proposal as ‘a move by President Donald Trump and Big Oil to expand the fossil fuel industry in California’ — including increasing imports of Canadian tar sands crude oil and increasing exports of U.S. coal — and is calling on elected leaders to oppose the project. The proposal, called the San Francisco to Stockton Navigation Improvement Project, would involve dredging a deeper channel through 13 miles of the San Francisco Bay and the Carquinez Strait, the coalition said. ‘At a time when we should be steadily ramping down fossil fuel production, this dredging proposal encourages just the opposite,’ said Andres Soto, Richmond Community Organizer, Communities for a Better Environment.” 

Dan Bacher writes—California Regulators continue to allow oil field wastewater injection into aquifers: “The Desert Sun reports that California regulators continue to allow oil field wastewater injection into potential drinking water sources in Kern County, the center of oil production in California. This is no surprise since Big Oil has captured the regulators from top to bottom in California, as I have revealed in article after article for over 10 years. I reported on this issue in February 2017 when the Trump Administration exempted three major oil fields in Kern County from water project rules at Jerry Brown’s Request: https://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/2/15/1634283/-Trump-administration-exempts-three-CA-oil-fields-from-water-protection-rule Andrew Grinberg of Clean Water Action issued a statement on the latest report on this huge environmental scandal: It’s unacceptable that oil companies are still injecting toxic wastewater into potential drinking water sources, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Despite significant progress by state agencies in recent years to improve California’s Underground Injection Control program, the oil and gas industry still has far too much influence. State regulators need to stand up to fossil fuel interests and take more aggressive action to protect our water.

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS​

Dan Bacher writes—Governor Newsom Withdraws Appointment of former ExxonMobil Staffer to South Coast Air Quality Board: “Under pressure from environmental justice groups, California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the withdrawal of last month’s appointment of Negar ‘Nikki’ Noushkam, 44, of Los Angeles, to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board.Environmental justice groups opposed the appointment because Noushkam had served as an environmental project manager and process engineer at ExxonMobil Oil Corporation from 1997 to 2001. She also held several positions at Northrop Grumman, a global weapons contractor and aerospace corporation, including senior principle engineer, project manager and lead systems and photovoltaic design engineer, from 2004 to 2015. ‘While the Governor was impressed by the technical and engineering expertise of the nominee, the Governor is withdrawing his previous nomination to the South Coast Air Quality Management District,’ said Vicky Waters, Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs at the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. “Given the air quality challenges faced by families in Southern California, the Governor believes his appointee should have both a strong understanding of public health and the trust of local communities.”” 

arabian writes—Julián Castro: Protecting Our Planet and Our Pets: “Castro is taking a unique approach to helping our environment and looking out for not only the wildlife and fauna that helps protect and save the environment, but our furry loved ones that keep us safe and warm our hearts in our own environments. Let’s take a look at the first point about climate change, wildlife and the environment. Grist talks about why this matters. A new study out on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications shows the climate is changing more speedily than animals can adapt to it. By studying 10,000 climate change papers, a team of more than 60 international scientists found that normal functions like hibernation, reproduction, and migration are under threat due to shifting seasons and warming temperatures. “The climate crisis is accelerating an unprecedented decline in biodiversity, threatening not only the future of animals but human life,” Castro writes in a Medium post detailing his new proposal. ‘Public policy must also confront the consequences of the climate crisis, including the threat of animal extinctions’.

Doctor Jazz writes—DNC Rejects Climate Focused Debate Resolution 17-8 in SF Summer Meeting: “In a 17-to-8 vote, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) resolutions committee defeated a resolution calling specifically for a climate-focused debate. It was a raucous meeting with members of the Sunrise Coalition, and representatives of the CDP Environmental and Progressive Caucuses in attendance. The DNC summer meeting coincided with the California Democratic Party’s E-board meeting in the Bay Area, and many of its participants are splitting their time between the two events. I received this notice in a Progressive Caucus report today: In case you missed it, our Progressive Caucus joined together with Our Revolution, Roots Action and Progressive Democrats of America to strategize how to make the DNC hold a Climate Change Debate. Instead of reiterating how important this is, progressive activists created step-by-step plans. The next morning, lead by Sunrise Movement, they charged into the Resolutions Meeting (with some fireworks) urging the passing of Resolutions 5 and 7. Although they knew it would not pass, they are now taking their efforts to the General Session, hoping for a floor vote, Tomorrow at 10:30am. In an interview on CBSN, Sunrise Movement spokesperson, Sofie Karasek, expressed disappointment but also noted a partial victory,  when the ‘DNC passed a resolution out of committee [in seeming defiance of Party Chair, Tom Perez] that would allow candidates to be on the same stage at the same time discussing the climate crisis’.”

Mark Sumner writes—Bernie Sanders’ plan for handling the climate crisis is a genuine revolution: “Earlier this week, Governor Jay Inslee announced that he was ending his presidential campaign. Inslee’s presence in the race was welcomed because of how he centered his campaign around the climate crisis, but at this point a climate plan has become an essential ingredient for every serious Democratic contender. Both Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden have released lengthy plans. So has Beto O’Rourke. Both Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders have been strongly supportive of the Green New Deal, but on Thursday Sanders went further, releasing his own extensive plan for dealing with this critical issue. As The Washington Post reports, Sanders’ plan is enormously ambitious, enough so that it even outdoes Inslee’s when it comes to the scope and timeline of the actions. Sanders is not the first candidate to compare the effort to fight climate change to that of mobilizing for World War II, but he may be the first who is recommended a scale and intensity of effort that would achieve massive goals in a single decade. With an average expenditure of $1.6 trillion dollars a year, the plan would actually exceed the entire annual budget of the U.S. to replace the entire electrical grid with a 100% clean base by 2030.”

Mark Sumner writes—Trump’s legacy will be best defined by his contributions to making the climate crisis much worse: “More storms, lingering storms, storms that carry more rain, storms that ultimately generate more flooding, more long-term damage, more human lives lost—those are all part of the prediction for a world suffering a climate crisis. Which is this world. Donald Trump is determined to do something about it—with “something” here being to drive the world deeper into the crisis, simply because it gratifies his need to demonstrate power over others. The New York Times has gathered a list of major climate-related regulations that Trump either has already reversed, or is working on reversing. And there are very good reasons to believe that these actions will cause more damage, do more lasting harm, and cost more lives than everything else Trump has done. Trump is worried about his legacy. This is his legacy: He met the greatest known threat of our age and threw in his lot on the side of that threat.”

Laura Clawson writes—Eight Democrats to take climate crisis questions in CNN town hall: “In the wake of the hottest month ever recorded on Earth, CNN announced the line-up for next month’s Democratic primary climate crisis forum—and the candidate who pushed the hardest to make it happen probably won’t be there. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee hasn’t qualified for the climate change town hall by reaching 2% in four Democratic National Committee-approved polls. The window for qualifying polls doesn’t end until Wednesday, but Inslee appears unlikely to break through. Eight candidates will appear to discuss the climate crisis: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and Andrew Yang. Sen. Kamala Harris qualified but won’t be there due to a scheduling conflict.

Angmar writes—Single-issue debate on climate change was the elephant in the room for Dems (Mammoth problem in 2020): Mounting friction over the need for a single-issue debate on climate change was the elephant in the room Friday as the Democratic National Committee convened for the second day of its annual summer meeting. Friday’s event in downtown San Francisco, which was largely dedicated to short speeches from 13 of the candidates, came a day after the DNC’s resolutions committee voted 17-8 against such a debate. Activists fed up with the party’s opposition to a debate on climate ― which got only 12 minutes of airtime during last month’s Democratic debates ― flooded the room in outrage Thursday. Tensions from that standoff lingered Friday as delegates assembled to hear directly from the 2020 candidates. […] But even Tina Podlodowski, the DNC member planning to present the resolution again Saturday has admitted that it’s a long shot, according to Vice News. Party leaders haven’t indicated much willingness to budge on the issue despite nearly every presidential contender supporting such a debate.” 

cbastian writes—An argument in support of DNC’s opposition to a Climate Change debate: “Since this is back in the news, let me offer an argument as to why I’ve never thought this was a good idea: 1. It’s not the most important issue. It’s what SOME people think is the most important issue. Polling indicates that other issues have greater resonance with voters; some (myself included) think health care is most important; others think immigration. DNC shouldn’t be calling out a single issue as deserving of special coverage. […] 2. Saturation will dilute the debate audience. […] 2. Saturation will dilute the debate audience.

Russell Hall writes—Why Sanders Has The Best Plan To Address Climate Change: “Kate AronoffIF YOU TRIED to design a program with the aim of offending the top brass of the world’s most powerful corporations and the politicians whose careers they bankroll, you’d get something like what Bernie Sanders unveiled today in his $16.3 trillion Green New Deal platform. That’s part of the point. ‘We need a president who has the courage, the vision, and the record to face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in the way of climate action,’ the plan’s opening salvo states, going on to echo a famous line from Franklin Delano Roosevelt. ‘We need a president who welcomes their hatred.’ Sanders outlines an expansive system, building on the resolution introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey in April, that would generate publicly owned clean energy and 20 million new jobs, end fossil fuels imports and exports, revivify the social safety net, redress historical injustices like environmental racism, and make prolific investments toward decarbonization at home and abroad — among many, many other things.” 

SteveG177 writes—The Young Turks Float Climate Debate. In 3 Hours, They Raise $37,000, And Counting: “During their coverage of the DNC’s rejection of a Climate Change debate, the Young Turks internet show announced tonight that they would fundraise in order to host their own.  They felt that they needed $100,000 in order to secure a hall and other accommodations.  They gave the immediate caveat that they had no control over whether candidates would show up, and said that if the debate didn’t happen because of this, they’d use the money toward other events or town halls, related to this election cycle.  Ostensibly to prevent claims of bias, they announced that they were in contact with debate moderators that they felt were experts in the area of climate change (which, one would guess, would mean that the participation of the hosts themselves would be minimal).” 

vadem165 writes—Jay Inslee announces to Rachel Maddow that he’s out! “I currently have TRMS on right now. She is interviewing WA Governor Jay Inslee, who told her he is withdrawing from the presidential race effective tonight. He was actually near the top of my list, not just because he emphasized climate, but the way he tied climate to other issues and presented it as a challenge we can rise to meet rather than preaching all gloom and doom. He will continue to push a climate agenda and still hopes the DNC will focus a debate on climate. He declined to endorse a rival and said he will support the Dem nominee. Maybe he can be EPA Admin or Secretary of the Interior in the next administration.

Angmar writes—“Climate Candidate Inslee: Likely to Miss Climate Event He Fought For”(Gov.Inslee is 1%): “In June, the DNC not only rejected Inslee’s calls for a separate climate debate, but also reportedly told the candidate that if he participated in one, he would not be invited to future DNC-sanctioned debates‘Climate Candidate’ Inslee Likely to Miss Climate Event He Fought For Washington Governor Jay Inslee has helped catalyze Democratic discussion on climate change, but he’s struggling in the polls. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the 2020 Democratic candidate who has tied his entire platform to the issue of climate change, may not make the stage for a CNN town hall on the climate crisis scheduled for next month. His likely absence is notable because aside from his wide-reaching climate platform, Inslee has led candidates in pressuring the Democratic National Committee to host a presidential debate focused on climate change. The party has so far been resistant to the effort www.greentechmedia.com/…” 

Chris Reeves writes—Protest erupts as DNC Resolution committee rebuffs climate debate: “As the DNC Resolutions committee voted down a proposal to hold a climate based debate 17-8, members of the Sunrise Movement and other environmental organizations stood in protest at the Hilton Union Square hotel in California, chanting ‘Which Side are you On?’ and calling for further consideration. Speaking to the crowd, some members of the committee noted there would be another attempt at a climate debate in Resolution 30, a resolution which could offer another chance to build a climate oriented debate in the future. […]  Symone Sanders spoke against proposals for “unlimited” debates, saying it could result in fatigue, low ratings and lack of interest, ‘it would be the party surrendering all controls.’ At one point arguing that the party enters into a contract with networks, and it is the network, not the party, that truly decides what the format should look like. Finally ‘We cannot exert power over a network to make them..’ hold a climate debate.”

A Siegel writes—YJ: Why Jay Inslee for President? (An ode to a former candidate …): “YJ:  Why Jay Inslee for President? • Focused on climate • Legislative experience State & Local; executive experience as Governor • Fundamentally ‘right’ on essentially every issue of concern • Showed his ethics/morality by voting right way on gun control at risk of his legislative seat — which he lost due to NRA attacks/funding • Substantive on issues — knowledgeable but able to recognize gaps and listen to/learn from others • Really a decent man — don’t know a person who has worked for/with him who doesn’t speak well of the man • And, come on, he writes a cartoon book for his grandchildren … every single year! Okay — that man won’t be our next President. He, however, merits serious credit/thanks for elevating climate in the national discussion/campaign.

occupystephanie writes—Inslee Still Leads Updated GND Candidate Report by Data for Progress: “UPDATE of the diary that I published on July 15, 2019 in which I presented information from the Data for Progress analysis of the Green New Deal and how the published climate plans of presidential candidates addressed or acknowledged essential components of the GND plan. The new rubric was updated as of August 7, 2019 on which today’s diary is based. Links to individual candidate reports are included. Data for Progress devised a rubric  to score each candidates’ published plans (rather than legislative history or public statements). Those debate-eligible candidates whose climate plans are as yet unpublished (and will be evaluated after they are) include:  Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Bill de Blasio,  Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Bernie Sanders.” 

TomP writes—Praise for Bernie’s Climate Change Plan: “Bernie released a major plan today to address climate change. Early responses are very positive. Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth like it. […] Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders released his highly anticipated plan for how he would tackle the climate crisis as president, proposing a $16.3 trillion investment on his version of the Green New Deal. ‘The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately,’ the Sanders proposal says. In the sweeping trillion-dollar plan, Sanders calls for reaching 100% renewable energy for the electricity and transportation sectors by 2030 at the latest and complete decarbonization of the US economy by no later than 2050. His specific plans to do this include expanding infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, offering incentives to encourage people to swap their fossil fuel–run cars for electric ones, and building out high-speed rail.”

poopdogcomedy writes—TX-Sen: Climate Change Denying Moron Busted At Koch Brothers Event Trashing The Green New Deal: “Of course he would: U.S. Senator John Cornyn positioned himself at the forefront of the resistance to the Green New Deal on Wednesday in Houston, touting a conservative think tank’s new study that claims the legislation would raise the average Texas family’s annual electricity bill by more than $12,000 over the next decade. The Green New Deal – decried by Republicans as socialism run amok – aims to meet 100% of the power demand for the U.S. with clean wind and solar energy by 2030. Though it has little chance of becoming law, the proposal has put the energy industry on the defensive and it is fighting back with some alarming statistics.” 

poopdogcomedy writes—TX-Sen: John Cornyn (R) Gets OWNED On Twitter Over “Dumbest” Climate Change Explainer: “He’s so fucking stupidIn recent years, the Democrats have become the party of combating climate change, while some Republicans willingly deny the effect. This includes Donald Trump. When the Midwest experienced a 60 degree day in January, the President tweeted, ‘What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!’ Democrats have continued to raise the alarm on climate change on Twitter and during the debates. John Cornyn recently mocked a call to climate action from New York Senator Chuck Schumer. The Texas senator was then blasted on Twitter for his blase attitude on the issue. Schumer’s tweet read, ‘July 2019 was the hottest month ever, of any month, on record. Climate change is the greatest threat facing our planet. It’s about our kids. It’s about our health. It’s about the future. We must act.’ Cornyn simply responded, ‘It’s summer, Chuck’.” 

Glen The Plumber writes—Sen. Kamala Harris skips CNN’s Climate Crisis Town Hall for big money fundraisers: “After pressure from activists and some Democratic Presidential candidates concerned about the quickly approaching Climate Change disaster, CNN has agreed to host a Climate Crisis town hall on the topic. Many wanted the Democratic candidates to face-off on the topic in a debate setting but the DNC would not sign-off on a Climate Change focused debate. Currently 9 candidates have qualified to appear at the CNN town hall. All but one have accepted CNN’s invitation. California Senator Kamala Harris has declined claiming a ‘scheduling conflict.’ Zohreen Adamjee of ABC news is reporting that on the date of the forum Harris is scheduled to attend fundraisers hosted by big-money bundlers in Los Angeles. RL Miller of Climate Hawks Vote is calling on Harris to reconsider missing the Climate Crisis town hall to attend big-money fundraisers.”

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—GOP on Climate: It May Be Real, But Our Solutions Sure Aren’t: “Last week, we patted ourselves on the back for being right about the GOP’s new two-faced climate policy of pretending to care while remaining in denial about the need to reduce fossil fuel use.  This week, the GOP’s bad-faith approach has come further into focus. Back in May, Texas senator John Cornyn told reporters that ‘the days of ignoring this issue are over.’ But on Thursday, when Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted about July being the hottest month ever recorded, Cornyn proved he’s not done ignoring the issue by tweeting in response that ‘It’s summer, Chuck.’ Predictably, Twitter proceeded to drag him. Then, on Friday, Scott Waldman reported at E&E about an unusual occurrence. Polluter-lobbyist-turned-EPA-administrator Andrew Wheeler met with a group that actually cares about protecting the environment: the American Conservation Coalition (ACC). The catch? It’s a conservative group, specifically for young Republicans who care about the environment. Apparently the White House has, over the past few months, become increasingly receptive to the group’s entreaties, but not so much as to indicate that Team Trump is actually committed to acting on climate.” 

Thoth777 writes—85% Of Republicans Do Not Understand Why Glaciers Matter: “Only 15% of Republicans see a pressing need to deal with climate change. (NBC News Poll, 12/31/2018). To the 85% of Republicans who think climate change is not impacted by humans, you need to understand glacier change. Glaciers matter because the amount of ice on land determines the level of water in the seas. We know water levels on Earth have varied dramatically in the past with information obtained by advancements in our ability to analyze rocks and fossils.”

Maxwells22 writes—Inslee’s Run is not a Chimera; it’s a Canary: “[H]ere and beyond our borders, global warming and climate change already impact millions, with billions more to feel its effects within this generation.One 2014 estimate, known to be overly conservative, suggests 250,000 extra deaths per year within the 2030 to 2050 time frame, while forcing an extra 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030. www.livescience.com/… A more recent study suggests that leaving CO2 emissions static at 37 gigatons per year would retard annual global GDP by 3.7%, causing ~1.5 million additional deaths a year by 2100.”

poopdogcomedy writes—ME-Sen: Sara Gideon (D) Goes After Trump’s Attacks On Clean Air Protections: “Received this e-mail today from Sara Gideon’s (D. ME) U.S. Senate campaign: Fossil-fueled power plants are a major source of the greenhouse gases that are altering our climate. And yet, the Trump Administration recently announced their plans to roll back clean air protections, allowing power plants to continue polluting our air and warming our Earth. There’s good news, though: Maine – along with 21 other states – is suing the Trump Administration over their decision to roll back these clean air protections!”

HemlokHex writes—Trump at G7: “I’m an environmentalist. People don’t understand that”: “After not attending the G7 environmental session, rolling back as many pollution controls and regulations as possible, populating the EPA with fossil fuel dinosaurs, defunding and discrediting climate science, doing a dodgy in Scotland to build a golf course on sensitive terrain, pulling out of the Paris Accord, and wanting to bomb hurricanes into last century, Trumpkin now claims to be a misunderstood environmentalist. Wow. He also told reporters in Biarritz, France, ‘I feel the US has tremendous wealth … I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills – which, frankly, aren’t working too well,’ Trumpenstein said. He added, “I think I know more about the environment than most’.” 

Aldous J Pennyfarthing writes—Trump: ‘I think I know more about the environment than most people’: “Hey, don’t worry about anything — particularly not the environment. Donald Trump is on it. Trump is an environmentalist — an environmentalist, I tells ya: From his logorrheic assault on logic and consensus reality at the G7: ‘I think I know more about the environment than most people. I want clean air. I want clean water. I want a wealthy country. I want a spectacular country with jobs, with pensions and so many things and that’s what we’re getting.’ ‘I think I know more about the environment than most people.’ From the guy who wants to nuke hurricanes. And thinks ‘clean coal’ is a thing.”

Screenshot_20190826-014042_Chrome.jpg

xil writes—Trump’s EPA Is The Worst Environmental Catastrophe That Our Earth Has Ever Experienced: “Trump has done immense and irreversible damage to the planet, and it will take years, if not decades, to regrow the EPA he has left dessicated and enfeebled. Will it be too late? Is the world now irrevocably careening toward Climate Apartheid and an apocalyptic frequency and intensity of Deadly Freak Weather Phenomena Even if it is too late, it can still get worse than it will, if he isn’t stopped. It is absolutely imperative to the survival of humanity that Trump’s Genocidal and Macabre work brought to an end. This is why I must implore everyone, despite our many and significant disagreements: Whoever the Democratic Candidate is, please, The planet, children, wildlife, and future, need us all support them with our whole hearts.”

WILDERNESS, NATIONAL FORESTS AND PARKS & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

jamess writes—Who needs Laws and Due Process? Trump continues his Lawless, Land-grabbing ways: “Long as Trump is in the Law-breaking, Land-grabbing mood, why stop at just building an illegal fool-hardy, take-the-land Wall? […]  The Trump administration is moving to lift logging restrictions on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the country’s largest national forest, The Washington Post reports. The president reportedly directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to lift the restrictions put in place under the Clinton administration’s 2001 ‘Roadless Rule’ earlier this month, three sources familiar with the matter told the Post. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the rule establishes prohibitions on “road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting on 58.5 million acres of inventoried roadless areas on National Forest System lands’.”

Winter Rabbit writes—Bolsonaro, “Captain Chainsaw,” is “Setting the Amazon Aflame” – 18 Months to Save Mother Earth: “When the lungs of the Earth Mother are burned, how will we breathI used to be called Captain Chainsaw. Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame,’ Bolsonaro told reporters. He recently fired the INPE’s director after criticizing their findings of the increase in deforestation.”

guavaboy writes—Nepal is about to bulldoze 21,000 acres of pristine jungle to build an airport, casino and racetrack: “Right now, the Government of Nepal is taking active steps to cut down an entire ecosystem of about 21,000 acres of forest/jungle, over the protests of many Nepalis. To learn why and how, step over the fold into one of the last pieces of intact jungle in Asia. The project in question is called ‘Nijgadh International Airport,’ which will take ten years to come to fruition  but which starts with a two-year period of simply clearcutting the 21,000 acres ( okay it’s actually 8,620 hectares but nobody in USA measures land using metric).” 

Mark Sumner writes—Brazil turns down offer of G-7 assistance to fight fires in the Amazon, because burning is the goal: “For weeks, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been bemoaning his inability to do anything about the fires in the Amazon. After all, it’s a big area, he has limited funds, and … large shrug. But with the forest that’s been called ‘the lungs of the world’ burning at thousands of sites, the leaders of the G-7 summit offered up $20 million to Bolsonaro expressly to address fighting those fires. And naturally, Bolsonaro is turning them down. Instead, Bolsonaro’s chief of staff suggested, Europe could use that money to plant trees on its own territory and stop ‘interfering’ with Brazil. Because the fires in Brazil are no accident. They’re not the result of a particularly dry summer. They were not caused by a mad run of thunderstorms. They were set by ranchers and farmers out to turn the world’s most diverse environment into miserable farmland that will last only a season or two before turning into eroded scrub, and by loggers clear-cutting their way to some of the most valuable trees on earth. And it’s all happening with not just Bolsonaro’s indifference, but his approval.”

Mark Sumner writes—Amazonia is burning—because that’s exactly what ‘Brazil’s Trump’ promised: “The very first rule of understanding an autocracy is to Believe the Autocrat. When someone promises that they will destroy whole peoples and intentionally wreck the environment—believe them. When Jair Bolsonaro was running for president of Brazil, he told people to call him ‘Captain Chainsaw,’ saying openly that he would promote the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Now he’s destroying the Amazon rain forest.  Which is why every news article that makes it seem that the man known as ‘Brazil’s Trump” is trying to ‘handle’ the fires that are utterly erasing the largest, most diverse, and most essential forest on the planet is simply bullshit.  Bolsonaro made it clear that not only would he refuse to enforce laws against both clear cutting the forest and against slash and burn agriculture that permanently destroys soil productivity, he positively encouraged such action. He promised to ignore treaties with indigenous peoples. He promised to ignore the ownership of land by conservation groups. He promised that the forest would burn. All of that has happened. As his role-model would say, ‘Promises made, promises kept’.

Meteor Blades writes—Open thread for night owls. Klein: ‘The Amazon is on fire—indigenous rights can help put it out’: “In an op-ed at The Boston Globe, Naomi Klein writes—The Amazon is on fire — indigenous rights can help put it out: It was an epic case of projection. Lashing out at the attacks on his Amazon-incinerating policies, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused French President Emmanuel Macron of having a ‘colonial mindset.’ The not even vaguely funny joke is that it is Bolsonaro who has unleashed a wave of unmasked colonial violence inside his country. This is a politician who came to power railing against indigenous people, casting their land rights as an unacceptable barrier to development in the Amazon, where cultures intrinsically linked to the rainforest have consistently resisted mega projects and the expanding frontier of agribusiness. “If I become president there will not be a centimeter more of indigenous land,” he said, while ominously declaring that ‘we’re going to give a rifle and a carry permit to every farmer.’ […]The Amazon is on fire — indigenous rights can help put it out.” 

terrified writes—The Amazon Continues To Burn: “Bosonaro has been previously criticized for his negligence of the rain forest, and for also calling for an increase in deforestation/logging of the forest. In fact, just earlier this month, both Norway and Germany suspended their funding to ‘Brazil’s Amazon Fund,’ managed by the Brazilian Development Bank, due to those increases in deforestation, and the decimation of the ‘steering and technical’ committees of the fund. Norway has contributed $1.2 billion in the past decade, and Germany, another $68 million. The G7 group came up with $22 million to contribute. The UK added $12.2 million. Canada added $11 million. The ‘Earth Alliance,’ launched by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and others, came up with another $5 million for critical aid to the Brazilian natives. That comes to $40.2 million. Oddly, both Trump and Bosonaro have spoken of ‘talking’ to one another, and Trump offering his ‘full and complete support.’ What support? It seems that Bosonaro really does want the fires to continue, still refusing any aid to fight the fires.”      

Seashells writes—Our Planet’s Lungs Are On Fire. Brazilian Amazon Forest Fires Increase By 80%: “Our planet’s lungs are on fire as a record number of fires have burned in the Amazon rainforest this year. The largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon’s vegetation is responsible for about 20% of the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen. In Brazil, President Bolsonaro is a far-right, business friendly strongman who has slashed conservationist funding and reversed conservationist efforts. He has dismissed data pointing out the increase in Brazilian Amazonian forest fires & even tried blaming NGO conservation groups for starting fires in revenge for his slashing their funding. The smoke from current fires is so bad that San Paulo in Brazil has had the sun blotted out during daylight hours.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Indigenous leaders denounce Amazon fires as ‘a terrifying plague’: “Indigenous leaders across Brazil’s Amazon region have denounced the devastating fires raging across the region as a “plague” and a ‘terror’ that ‘makes our children sick and kills the animals,’ according to a statement from Survival International. Renowned indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara said on August 27: ‘We’re putting our bodies and our lives on the line to try to save our territories… We’ve been warning for decades about the violations we have suffered across Brazil.’ The predatory behaviour of loggers, miners and ranchers, who have a powerful lobby in the National Congress with more than 200 deputies under their influence … has been getting much worse under the anti-indigenous government of Jair Bolsonaro, who normalizes, incites and empowers violence against the environment and against us. The Amazon region where the fires are raging now has a deep connection to California, often portrayed as the nation’s ‘green leader’ by the state’s politicians and many mainstream and  ‘alternative’ media outlets.” 

macknacat58 writes—Demons loosed upon the world- Bolsonaro burns up the Amazon because heh…capitalism? “ The daytime skies of Sao Paulo have turned Mordor-ish black as deliberately set forest fires create a smoke column that resembles the British Columbia fires of last year — or the Siberian mega fires this year.  earther.gizmodo.com/… The vibe is reminiscent of last year, when smoke from wildfires did the exact same thing in British Columbia. But in some ways, the Brazilian situation is more ominous. After all, the fires in British Columbia weren’t inspired by a fascist president looking to open the forest up for business. Brazil’s blazes are a whole other story. Bolsonaro ran on a campaign platform that was pro-big business, anti-LGBTQ, and straight up racist. He promised to open the Amazon to mining, fossil fuel exploitation, timber, and agriculture while kicking indigenous groups off their land. From the moment he took office in January, he has done just that. Farmers took him at his word and literally celebrated the creation of a “day of fire” as they set the forests on fire to clear land for agriculture. ”

kailaHI writes—The Only Good Forest is a Dead Forest – Trump: “By David Cay Johnston. The evil genius of the people Donald Trump brought into our government so America could become a polluter’s paradise is really something to behold. The latest Team Trump move would turn our national forests into polluter playgrounds. Companies that want to mow down old-growth trees so they can get at pockets of oil, coal or uranium are about to get pretty much everything they’ve always dreamed about. And roadless areas are marked for new roads extending miles into wilderness areas. The way it’s being done is, in a perverse sort of way, admirably clever.

Dan Bacher writes—Climate Justice Alliance Action Alert: ‘No Tropical Forests Offsets – Join Us In Sacramento 9/19/19‘: “Climate Justice Alliance: Last September Jerry Brown convened a Global Climate Action Summit to promote a world scale a cap and trade agenda. Unfortunately for him, hundreds of environmental protectors took to the streets. This action put a damper on his ability to achieve the ‘splash’ he hoped for. Instead, our messages to reject cap and trade and offsets were featured including our demands to keep dirty fuels in theground, focus on renewable energy, stopping pollution at the source and promoting frontline solutions. Now, one year later, at the upcoming California Air Resources Board meeting, Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board will urge Board members to endorse an offsets measure called the CA Tropical Forest Standard. It is not a coincidence that this timing coincides with the upcoming COP 25 meetings to be held in Chile. California wants to be able to tout this measure and be ‘recognized’ as a leader on climate.”

BYPRODUCTS, TRASH, TOXIC & RADIOACTIVE WASTE

kailaHI writes—Amazon removes hundreds of toxic and unsafe products after news report: “Amazon has removed hundreds of toxic and unsafe products from its site after a Wall Street Journal report found thousands of listings from third-party sellers don’t comply with federal safety standards. Thousands of problematic products remain. More than 4,000 items for sale on Amazon have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, including 2,000 listings for children’s toys and medications. The Journal also identified 157 items Amazon had already banned still listed on the site, and one product it tested had lead levels that exceed federal limits. In light of the report, Amazon has reworded or taken down 57% of the 4,152 problematic listings. But the investigation underscores concerns regarding the company’s failure to police dangerous products from third-party sellers on the site.” 

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

Katherine Paul writes—Dear Mr. Impossible Foods CEO: Please Visit This Regenerative Ranch: “It may be true that you can take the boy out of the country, but it’s apparently not so easy to get the CEO out of Silicon Valley. In mid-June, Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures, publicly invited Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, to visit Harris’ ranch in Bluffton, Georgia. The invitation was prompted by a statement Harris got wind of, in the latest Impossible Foods Impact Report, which facetiously referred to regenerativegrazing as the “clean coal” of meat. The company has also claimed that grassfed beef ‘generates more GHGs than feedlot beef’ — a claim that didn’t sit well with Harris, whose ranch in Bluffton, Georgia, stores ‘more carbon in the soil than our cows emit in a lifetime,’ according to this blog post on his website. (For more on regenerative beef production at White Oak Pastures, watch this video produced by CNN).” 

An overview of a front yard shrub border

Mimer writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blogging. Vol 15.35: Sedums and Stonecrops as Ground Cover Plants: “Way back in December, in my first diary here, I showed a rooftop view of my front yard shrub border, with various varieties of sedum as ground cover. With the disaster that is the back yard garden right now (over-grown to the point of jungle-ness), it seemed like a good time to revisit the front yard and talk a little about these great groups of plants: the sedums and stonecrops. I guess most people think of the great upright ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum when they think of sedums, and I do have many of them in my garden, thanks to the easy propagation of this fabulous plant. In the photo below, a large “Autumn Joy” (Hylotelephium ‘Herbstfreude’, zones 3-9) is seen in the lower right of the photo, not yet showing its fall colors, thank goodness. (Yes please, a little more summer.)” 

leftinhamlet writes—My New Project: Make Sustainability a Priority When Buying Food: “After hearing that Sugar Cane was one of the crops that causes Brazil to burn down the Amazon Rain Forest,  I decided to look at my organic sugar from Costco. Guess what I discovered: it’s a product of Brazil! I have sent “feedback” to Costco asking them to find another source for their organic cane sugar and I told them I was willing to pay more for organic sugar from another source.This revelation has caused me to realize it’s just not about purchasing organic (Though I do try to stay away from known ‘agribusiness’ organics when I can.) I do try to think about things like “where is the rice coming from?” etc. But after hearing about the Amazon Rain forest, I am going to plug in more research and filters into my future food purchase decisions.” 

MISCELLANY

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Last Straw, BAU vs GND, I Feel Your Pain, Deploy and Science, Science and Deploy: “A Reality Check on Ambitious Climate TargetsSays that scientist think we need more science to fix this thing, but that we also have some good technology in place.An interesting commentary published in Nature this week explores what it would take to achieve California’s ambitious plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It is worth exploring here because it holds lessons that apply far beyond that state.The piece, ‘Piecemeal cuts won’t add up to radical reductions,’ is by Jane C. S. Long, a principal associate director at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the co-leader of a team of energy analysts who spent two years writing ‘California’s Energy Future – The View to 2050,’ an analysis of what mix of efforts could possibly achieve the required changes in energy and transportation systems. She writes that a no-holds-barred deployment of known technologies and programs to push energy efficiency to the limit could take the state more than halfway to its goal, but going further would require fundamental leaps in technology. Long’s bottom line? California can’t just spend or deploy its way to an 80-percent reduction or beyond — and neither can anywhere else.

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Gassed Up, Fireplace Pollution, No More Cars, Just Don’t Drive Them, One Man’s Garbage..:The Trump Cosa Nostra is going to make it easier and cheaper for the fracking industry to force more natural gas out of the ground.  What’s curious is that there is so much natural gas being harvested that people don’t know what to do with it all.  The US market is saturated so large volumes of gas are being liquified and sold as LNG (liquified natural gas) overseas, but those markets are also saturated.  And, Trump’s trade war has turned off the China market for US produced LNG. These are crazy times, when we know that fossil fuels are cooking the planet but hey, there is money to be made. There are few things crazier right now than the natural gas industry, where American producers are fracking so much gas that they can’t sell enough of it in North America. So now they are building Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and trying to export it. Except nobody wants to buy it… It’s crazy. Here we have drilling companies producing gas nobody needs or wants locally, causing massive releases of methane in the process, so they then try and sell it internationally, and nobody wants or needs it there either. Energy is wasted liquifying it and shipping it. The worry now is that natural gas prices will go even lower because the drillers planned for the LNG consumption. But they will just keep drilling and flaring and giving, just to keep busy.

Austin Bailey writes—Things: River Runs Through It, Climate PTSD, Chocolate Crisis, Get Crabby, Buffaloed: “In public, Musk doesn’t talk much about Tesla’s factory in Buffalo—a place he once, in better times, dubbed Gigafactory 2. Gigafactory 1, of course, is Tesla’s much-hyped futuristic electric car plant outside Reno. Gigafactory 2, which is shrouded in silence and secrets, was a controversial side venture: a high-stakes move to dominate America’s growing market for solar energy. Tesla bought the factory’s main tenant, SolarCity, for almost $5 billion in 2016. The plan, in true Muskian hyperbole, was to turn the plant in Buffalo into what was billed as the largest manufacturing facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. SolarCity would build 10,000 solar panels per day and install them on homes and businesses across the country. In the process, it would create 5,000 jobs in an area that very much needed them. “This is one of the poorest cities in the country,’ Scott says. ‘You get a big company here, and it’s a big deal.’ But three years after Tesla bought SolarCity, there are serious doubts as to whether the plant will ever fulfill its promises. The website CleanTechnica, which is mostly supportive of Musk, calls SolarCity ‘a disaster waiting to happen.”’A potentially costly lawsuit alleges that Tesla acquired SolarCity at the expense of its own shareholders. And former employees want to know what happened to the massive subsidy Tesla received. ‘New York State taxpayers deserved more from a $750 million investment,’ a laid-off employee named Dale Witherell wrote to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. ‘Tesla has done a tremendous job providing smoke and mirrors and empty promises to the area’.” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Suppressing Science, YouTube Denial, Ignorance = Fox, Spider Lightning, Retire for Fish: “Ignorance is Contagious. Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth, who recently got married at one of Trump’s golf properties, lamented the state of education in the US. On Fox & Friends, Hegseth expressed, to the shows approximately 1.5 million viewer, his amazement that US schools teach climate change, but ignore teaching Islamic extremism. Trump routinely watches this show. Is it any wonder that he is getting dumber by the day? T’he left says it all the time, it is their religion,’ Hegseth said Tuesday morning on Fox News morning show Fox & Friends after a clip of Sanders classifying climate change as the ‘major national security issue’ for the U.S. was played.’They want to fight the weather. The rest of us want to deal with real threats that want to take away our freedoms.’ Whether it’s hot or cold, the enemy is here as far as liberals are concerned,’ he continued. ‘And it’s all about control for them. That’s why climate change is the perfect enemy,’ Hegseth said, lamenting the fact that climate change is currently taught at American institutions of higher education.”    

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Global Outrage, E-Rickshaws, Humility Before Nature, Invasive Pests, Jurassic Plants: “E-Rickshaws. The electric vehicle revolution has hit India. Drivers are still crazy and many of the e-rickshaws are illegal, but whenever they replace a fossil fuel powered vehicle it’s a small victory. More than half of the shared three-wheeled taxis are technically illegal, and the drivers typically don’t have licenses. Accidents are common. Nearly all of the rickshaws are powered by lead-acid batteries underneath the passenger seats. And the electricity used to recharge them is often stolen. ‘It isn’t safe at all,’ said Suman Deep Kaur, who works at a credit agency and rides an e-rickshaw twice a day between the station and her home. ‘But this is the only conveyance that will get me home.’ Welcome to the front line of India’s electric vehicle revolution. It’s messy, improvised and driven by the people. The government and vehicle makers are now trying to gain some control over it.” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Warming Believers, Alaska Burning, Wind Mills the Horror, Coral Romance, TESCO: ”Since 1990 the number of homes built in what is called the wildland-urban interface increased by over 40%.  It is estimated that in California nearly 10 million people live wildfire prone areas.  And, some of the most conservative people in the nation are beginning to think the climate change may be a real problem.  No, not Republican politicians – insurance actuaries. Insurance companies dropped more than 340,000 homeowners from wildfire areas in just four years. Between 2015 and 2018, the 10 California counties with the most homes in flammable forests saw a 177 percent increase in homeowners turning to an expensive state-backed insurance program because they could not find private insurance.In some ways, this news is not surprising. According to a recent survey of insurance actuaries (the people who calculate insurance risks and premiums based on available data), the industry ranked climate change as the top risk for 2019, beating out concerns over cyber damages, financial instability, and terrorism. 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Chemical Bowl, Supersize, Recycle or Reuse, Plastic Bans, Bans on Bans: “A Bowl of Chemicals and Tortilla Chips. Chipolte has a bit of a history with food poisoning, but the newest controversy isn’t with their food handling practices.  Chipolte and many other fast-casual restaurants are using molded fiber bowls that contain some less than healthy components.  These bowls are advertised as compostable, but they contain chemicals that may never break down.

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Dugong Death, Dolphin Huggers, Sand Theft, Sand Graffiti, Broken Promises in BC: “Maybe We Should Just Leave Them Alone. Human interaction with dolphins in marine parks has been under constant attack, but what about the impact of human interaction with marine mammals in their natural environment. It’s not very beneficial either. Off the coast of Bunbury in Western Australia, tourists wade waist-deep to get close to wild Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, which show up day after day, lured by fish given out by volunteers. The dolphins in Bunbury are under threat by boat traffic and an expanding port. Over the next 20 years, their population of about 200 individuals is expected to dwindle by 50 percent. While it would be easy to think a handout will save these imperiled dolphins, new research by Valeria Senigaglia, a doctoral student at Murdoch University in Australia, suggests this tourism-focused feeding program is doing more harm than good.

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: Pets for Castro, Bolsonaro’s an Ass, Rhino Poaching, Wolves Killed, Oh, Canada WTF: “Julián Castro may be a political genius. His just released animal welfare plan is the first of its kind in a national political campaign. It’s also about time that as a country we take a national approach to animal welfare. Two things to keep in mind: 1. Sixty-eight percent of US households own a pet. 2. You know which US household does not own a pet? The current resident of the White House. His plan centers around making the U.S. a “no kill” nation and calls for ending euthanasia of all domestic dogs and cats in shelters.  It also calls for improving federal housing policy for people with pets, a subject that this former Housing and Urban development secretary is well familiar with. Also, very importantly, he wants to prohibit the testing of cosmetic products on animals, and will make animal cruelty a federal crime and establish minimum spaces for farm animals.” 

Austin Bailey writes—5 Things: From Skeptic to Murderer, Premeditation, Accessories, Rooftops, Vertical Farms:  “When you knowingly sell a product that is dangerous and that will result in the loss of life.  Even if you don’t pull the trigger does that make you an accessory to murder?  Japanese companies are facilitating the sale of coal fired power plants in some of the poorest countries in the world.  That in itself should be a crime, but to sell them without the most advanced emission control technologies makes the crime even greater.Over three million people from South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, will be exposed to air pollution and face health hazards as the Japanese public finance agencies are funding 17 coal-fired power plants in the region, says a Greenpeace report. It is estimated that the Japanese investment would cause a total of 148,000 to 410,000 avoidable premature deaths over the typical 30-year operation period of those plants, said the joint Greenpeace Southeast Asia and Greenpeace Japan report released yesterday in Singapore.

MandSWallGarden.jpg

ShamballaJones writes—Green walls, carbon capture and social politeness… “While wandering around the streets of Norwich, a city in the UK, we came across this. That really is live and growing vegetation. Mostly low-growing shrubs and grasses. It appears to rely mainly on water captured and stored on the roof of the building. As I understand it, It’s part of an experiment with novel forms of carbon capture. The thinking is that cladding buildings in this kind of thing on a national scale could make an enormous carbon capture surface available. In addition, done at scale, the extra layer should help insulate the building interior from summer heat and improve the urban environment outside by covering heat-radiating brick and concrete with relatively cool transpiring vegetation. By way of a contrast, the building edging into the shot on the left takes a different approach to passive cooling. It’s a thousand-year-old church that relies on the thousand tons or so of dressed  stone and flint from which it’s built to act as an enormous heat sink. It works too; It’s cool inside even on the hottest days.”

occupystephanie writes—KosAbility & CCAG: Loving a Child During Climate Crisis: “When a child comes to you, you want to give them the world. When little, you take them to beautiful outdoor places, hoping they will build memories of the beauty of the natural world. Nurturing children during these uncertain times of shifting climate will require imagination and work on the parents’ part if they are to prepare the children under their care, to empower them to be resilient, but also to keep them safe. Climate Change Will Harm Children, Says Ohio Environmental CouncilThe Ohio Environmental Council and Policy Matters Ohio released a report concluding that children face unique challenges due to ‘extreme heat and precipitation, impacts on air quality, and changing patterns of infectious disease’.” 

R Holloway writes—Young climate communicator and activist, threatened with rape and murder, needs our help: “Renee Karunungan is a university student and researcher, as well as a climate-change communicator and activist. She keeps the blog ‘Stories of Survival, Stories of Us,’ in which she writes—well and movingly–about both the scientific and public-policy aspects of climate change. Her subject matter includes all aspects of climate change: climate-change science, climate-change mitigation, climate-change adaptation, and climate justice (as a Filipina, she is especially cognizant of how climate change has a disproportionate impact on women, children, and the poor). […] She is also not afraid to stick up for herself, or to speak truth to power.  And just as young female critics of Trump, such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, routinely receive rape and death threats, so too does Ms. Karunungan. And while even in the United States such threats must be taken seriously, especially with Trump occupying the Oval Office, it is even more true in the Philippines, with extra-judicial killings being officially sanctioned by the Duterte government.”

Continue reading...