Finland just began operating a brand new nuclear reactor

https://www.businessinsider.com/finland-electricity-prices-flip-negative-after-glut-of-hydroelectric-power-2023-5

Electricity prices in Finland flipped negative – a huge oversupply of clean, hydroelectric power meant suppliers were almost giving it away

By Marianne Guenot

May 25, 2023

The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant in Eurajoki, Finland

The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant in Eurajoki, Finland.

Finland’s renewable power strategy is paying off as its energy has fallen into negative prices.

A new nuclear reactor, as well as unexpected floods, are leading to a glut of clean energy.

It is a striking reversal from last year, when Finns slashed their usage after cutting ties with Russia.

Finland was dealing with an unusual problem on Wednesday: clean electricity that was so abundant it sent energy prices into the negative.

While much of Europe was facing an energy crisis, the Nordic country reported that its spot energy prices dropped below zero before noon.

This meant that the average energy price for the day was “slightly” below zero, Jukka Ruusunen, the CEO of Finland’s grid operator, Fingrid, told the Finnish public broadcaster Yle.

In practice, it doesn’t appear any ordinary Finns are being paid to consume electricity. People pay a markup on the electricity, and often pay agreed rates for power instead of the raw market price.

The price drop was driven by an unexpected glut of renewable energy and Finns cutting back on energy use because of the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Now there is enough electricity, and it is almost emission-free,” Ruusunen told Yle, adding that Finns could “feel good about using electricity.”

Finland went from energy poverty to glut in just a few months

The news is a remarkable turnaround for a country that only a few months ago told its people to watch their energy consumption.

“Last winter, the only thing people could talk about was where to get more electricity. Now we are thinking hard about how to limit production. We have gone from one extreme to another,” Ruusunen told Yle.

The country faced an energy crisis after it banned energy imports from its neighbor Russia as part of the global backlash after it invaded Ukraine.

But a new nuclear reactor was brought online in April this year and provided a significant new stream of power for Finland’s population, around 5.5 million people.

Olkiluoto 3, the first new nuclear reactor to be opened in Europe in more than 15 years, brought the price of electricity in Finland down by 75%, from 245.98 euros per megawatt-hour in December to 60.55 euros per megawatt-hour in April, according to The National.

The country aims to become carbon neutral by 2035 and has been pushing to introduce renewable energy solutions. Ruusunen told the National that Finland wanted wind to become its primary power source by 2027.

This is also contributing to the drop in energy prices. Excessive meltwater — which has caused flood warnings in several northern European countries — is pushing Finland’s hydroelectric plants into overdrive and giving plentiful electricity.

“During spring floods, there is often this kind of forced production because production cannot be slowed down. Due to the huge amount of water, hydropower often has a poor capacity to regulate in spring,” Ruusunen said.

Finland is now dealing with energy prices being too low

Finland is now dealing with the opposite problem of poor energy supply: energy operators may no longer be able to operate normally if the electricity is worth less than the cost of producing it.

“Production that is not profitable at these prices is usually removed from the market,” Ruusunen said.

Because hydropower cannot be slowed down or turned off, other producers like nuclear are looking to dial back their production to avoid losing money on energy production.

Ruusunen said this meant Finns could happily use all the energy they wanted.

May 28, 2023. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power. Leave a comment.

The increased coal pollution from Germany shutting down its nuclear power plants may have already killed more people than the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters combined

In May 2023, the Washington Post wrote:

“Had Germany kept its nuclear plants running from 2010, it could have slashed its use of coal for electricity to 13 percent by now. Today’s figure is 31 percent… Already more lives might have been lost just in Germany because of air pollution from coal power than from all of the world’s nuclear accidents to date, Fukushima and Chernobyl included.”

Wow.

The idiocy of these so-called “environmentalists” never ceases to amaze me.

May 20, 2023. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power. Leave a comment.

New York has been closing some of its nuclear reactors, and replacing them with fossil fuel

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/2022/07/22/new-york-fossil-fuels-increase-after-indian-point-nuclear-plant-shutdown/65379172007/

NY’s fossil fuel use soared after Indian Point plant closure. Officials sound the alarm.

By Thomas C. Zambito

July 22, 2022

The 2021 shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear power plant led to near-total dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity in New York’s energy-hungry downstate region, and surging amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air.

A report issued last month by the New York Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s electric grid, shows that in 2021, 89% of downstate energy came from natural gas and oil, up from 77% the previous year when both of Indian Point’s two reactors were still running.

The newly released figures demonstrate in stark detail just how much work the state will need to do in the coming years if it’s to achieve its ambitious climate-related goals − reducing carbon-producing emissions to zero while clearing the way for renewables like wind and solar power to make a larger contribution to the electric grid.

And they have pro-nuclear advocates urging the state to clear a path to allow nuclear power play a larger role in the state’s energy future.

“If we’re serious about dealing with climate change, then we’re going to need all the tools in the toolbox, which includes nuclear, not just now but in the future,” said Keith Schue, an electrical engineer and a leader of Nuclear New York, a pro-nuclear group allied with James Hansen, a leading climate scientist. “We do believe that closing Indian Point was a mistake. But are we going to continue making mistakes or can we learn from them?”

The shift to greater fossil fuel reliance comes as little surprise.

A 2017 NYISO study predicted the 2,000 megawatts of power lost when Indian Point closed would be picked up by three new natural gas plants – in Dover Plains, Wawayanda and Bayonne, N.J. One megawatt powers between 800 and 1,000 homes.

And Indian Point’s former owner, Louisiana-based Entergy, noted that the year after its Vermont Yankee plant shut down in 2014, natural gas-fired generation jumped 12 percent, just as it has since the Buchanan plant closed. The first of Indian Point’s two working reactors shut down in April 2020, followed by the second in April 2021.

With Indian Point eliminated from the energy mix, it has become even harder to wean a downstate region that includes New York City off fossil fuels.

Why did the plant close?

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration brokered the 2017 deal with Entergy that led to Indian Point’s shutdown, with Cuomo citing fears of a nuclear mishap at a power plant located some 35 miles from New York City. He chose to keep open three upstate nuclear plants – two on Lake Ontario and another near Rochester − by arranging for some $7.6 billion in subsidies over 12 years.

But the agreement that shuttered Indian Point came when natural gas was cheap. Entergy cited competition from natural gas in the energy market as the prime mover behind its decision to close a plant that had generated electricity for Westchester County and New York City for six decades.

Today, with natural gas prices surging, electricity is not so cheap.

“We got used to having historically cheap natural gas in the United States,” said Madison Hilly, the founder and executive director of the Campaign for a Green Nuclear Deal in Chicago. “So places that shut down their nuclear plants, even if they were replaced with gas, consumers really didn’t feel that in their pocketbooks. Now the era of nonprofit natural gas − as I call it − seems to be over. It’s really expensive.”

In 2021, the average wholesale price of electricity in New York was $47.59 per megawatt hour last year, nearly double what it was the previous year. NYISO’s independent monitor credited the increase in wholesale electric prices to the Indian Point shutdown, the NYISO report said.

California, which is pursuing a slate of clean energy goals like New York’s, appears to be rethinking its decision to do away with nuclear power.

In May, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would support keeping the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open beyond its planned 2025 closure to ensure the reliability of the state’s electric grid. Researchers from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have concluded keeping the plant open for another ten years could limit carbon emissions and save the state $2.6 billion in power costs.

Hilly has teamed with Nuclear New York, a coalition of scientists, engineers and labor and management from the nuclear industry, to urge the state to give nuclear power a larger role in the state’s energy mix. In April, Hansen, a former NASA scientist who was among the first to identify the consequences from climate change, appeared at an Albany press conference to urge the state to include nuclear in a plan being drafted for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“We’re trying to prevent the situation from getting that bad – that reality that forces politicians to eat crow,” Hilly said. “Eventually, if we keep going down this path, ratepayers and voters are not going to tolerate it and politicians will quickly have to get on board or get out.”

A spokesman for Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state is forging ahead with its twin goals of having 70% of the state’s electric demand met by renewables by 2030 and 100% zero emissions by 2040.

“These goals, which are being met through solar, wind, and hydroelectricity along with the continued use of the state’s three existing upstate nuclear plants, were developed to reduce emissions from fossil fuels, combat the dangerous impacts of climate change and benefit New Yorkers by reducing volatility in electricity pricing,” spokesman Leo Rosales said. “Planning for these goals took into account the necessary closure of Indian Point following dozens of safety and operational hazards and in no way jeopardizes New York’s clean energy goals or the reliability of the state’s electric grid.”

Transmission:Power lines will bring wind and solar energy from upstate but will it be enough to help NY achieve green energy goals?

NY’s electric grid under siege

Increased energy costs are only part of the problem.

NYISO’s June “Power Trends” report offers a sobering assessment of grid reliability in the years ahead.

The amount of energy resources the state can access each day is decreasing, and that trend is expected to worsen in the years to come as the demand for electricity surges. Electricity needed to charge cars and heat buildings will shift peak usage to the winter instead of summer, which typically sees the highest energy usage as air conditioners run around the clock.

Adding to the problem are environmental regulations that will impact the output of the state’s peaker plants, fossil-fuel generated plants that take their name from delivering energy at times of peak demand. Roughly half of the 3,300 megawatts these plants generate in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City will be unavailable during the summer of 2025, NYISO notes.

“The margins that we see on our system are shrinking,” NYISO president and chief executive officer Rich Dewey told reporters at a media briefing last month.

The grid is in perhaps the most transformative moment in its history.

Older generating plants are being shut down while the state introduces a slate of renewable energy projects – offshore wind on Long Island, wind power upstate, batteries to store solar energy.

A network of transmission lines stretching from western New York to New York City is currently under construction, part of an effort to remove a bottleneck that kept clean energy stuck north of Albany. Upstate’s energy mix is decidedly cleaner than downstate’s. Upstate, three nuclear power plants and hydropower from the Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station contribute to a 91% carbon-free energy grid.

There are also plans to deliver hydropower to New York City from Canada by way of 340 miles of underground cable that will run in the Hudson River. Another 174-mile transmission line will bring upstate wind down to Queens along upstate rights-of-way.

But it will be years before these projects are up and running.

The NYISO report anticipates a 10% gap in the amount of renewable power that will be available on an as-needed basis in the winter of 2040.

“We’ve identified there is a need for dispatchable, emissions-free resources,” Dewey said. “That technology does not yet exist and there’s a gap that needs to be closed. We’re only going to get so far with wind, solar and storage, due to the intermittent nature of those resources.”

And by next year, a heatwave with an average temperate of 95 degrees may result in thin margins and “significant deficiencies,” NYISO says.

A 98-degree heatwave would test the system’s limits today and exceed grid capabilities next year, the report adds.

“We’re taking on a little bit more risk in our ability to manage unplanned, unforeseen events on the power system, or potentially severe weather events,” Dewey added.

NYISO isn’t alone in its concerns about grid reliability. The state’s utilities have been raising their concerns.

A group representing most of the state’s major utilities recently studied energy production for the month of January, an especially cold month and the first winter when Indian Point wasn’t producing power. The plant’s Unit 2 shut down in 2020 and Unit 3 the following year.

Wind and other renewables contributed 5% of total generation. There was less wind and less solar generation due to shorter daylight hours and heavy cloud cover.

“Today’s renewable resources are emissions-free, but their output is weather-dependent,” the Utility Consultation Group analysis says. “This intermittency and the need for electric supply to meet customer energy demand every hour of the day may result in reliability issues if not proactively addressed.”

The group represents Central Hudson, ConEdison, Rochester, Niagara Mohawk, NYSEG and Orange and Rockland utilities.

‘Closing Indian Point was a mistake’

Critics of the deal that led to Indian Point’s closure question why the plant couldn’t remain open while the state pursued a renewable buildout.

“Maybe someday renewables could be a big factor in the energy market,” said Theresa Knickerbocker, the mayor of the lower Hudson Valley village of Buchanan, home to Indian Point. “But, right now, two gas plants were opened up to compensate for the loss of Indian Point, which has zero carbon emissions. It’s kind of hypocritical, right?”

Buchanan faces the loss of some $3.5 million in property taxes that Entergy paid the village while the reactors were still operating.

Business groups fear the thinner energy surplus could impact a factory’s ability to deliver goods on time, while driving away companies that are considering relocating.

“The renewable buildout is a multi-decade process,” said Ken Pokalsky, the vice president of the Business Council of New York. “It’s probably going slower than we would like. Every one of these project is complicated…It would be safe to say it’s moving forward. But fast enough is a subjective evaluation.”

Nuclear New York wants the state to work with the federal government to encourage and develop new nuclear reactors, which don’t produce the nuclear waste that older generation reactors do.

This week, Entergy announced it was partnering with Holtec, the New Jersey company that is tearing down Indian Point, in a deal to build small nuclear reactors. Their plan envisions building one of the first reactors at Oyster Creek, a shutdown nuclear power plant in New Jersey.

And the nuclear group wants New York to continue the subsidies that have allowed the three upstate nuclear power plants to continue beyond 2029.

Schue said other nations have been adopting the next generation of nuclear energy generation into the mix. “We’d like to change that,” Schue said. “We’d like to see New York step up to the plate. We’ve got the skills. We’ve got the spirit of innovation, we have the manpower.”

May 20, 2023. Tags: , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power. Leave a comment.

A wind energy company has pleaded guilty after killing at least 150 eagles

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/06/1091250692/esi-energy-bald-eagles

A wind energy company has pleaded guilty after killing at least 150 eagles

April 6, 2022

BILLINGS, Mont. — A wind energy company was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay more than $8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed over the past decade at its wind farms in eight states, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

NextEra Energy subsidiary ESI Energy pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act during a Tuesday court appearance in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It was charged in the deaths of eagles at three of its wind farms in Wyoming and New Mexico.

In addition to those deaths, golden and bald eagles were killed at wind farms affiliated with ESI and NextEra since 2012 in eight states, prosecutors said: Wyoming, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Illinois. The birds are killed when they fly into the blades of wind turbines. Some ESI turbines killed multiple eagles, prosecutors said.

It’s illegal to kill or harm eagles under federal law.

The bald eagle — the U.S. national symbol — was removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2007, following a dramatic recovery from its widespread decimation due to harmful pesticides and other problems. Golden eagles have not fared as well, with populations considered stable but under pressure including from wind farms, collisions with vehicles, illegal shootings and poisoning from lead ammunition.

The case comes amid a push by President Joe Biden for more renewable energy from wind, solar and other sources to help reduce climate changing emissions. It also follows a renewed commitment by federal wildlife officials under Biden to enforce protections for eagles and other birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, after criminal prosecutions were halted under former President Donald Trump.

Companies historically have been able to avoid prosecution if they take steps to avoid bird deaths and seek permits for those that occur. ESI did not seek such a permit, authorities said.

The company was warned prior to building the wind farms in New Mexico and Wyoming that they would kill birds, but it proceeded anyway and at times ignored advice from federal wildlife officials about how to minimize the deaths, according to court documents.

“For more than a decade, ESI has violated (wildlife) laws, taking eagles without obtaining or even seeking the necessary permit,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division in a statement.

ESI agreed under a plea agreement to spend up to $27 million during its five-year probationary period on measures to prevent future eagle deaths. That includes shutting down turbines at times when eagles are more likely to be present.

Despite those measures, wildlife officials anticipate that some eagles still could die. When that happens, the company will pay $29,623 per dead eagle, under the agreement.

NextEra President Rebecca Kujawa said collisions of birds with wind turbines are unavoidable accidents that should not be criminalized. She said the company is committed to reducing damage to wildlife from its projects.

“We disagree with the government’s underlying enforcement activity,” Kujawa said in a statement. “Building any structure, driving any vehicle, or flying any airplane carries with it a possibility that accidental eagle and other bird collisions may occur.”

May 19, 2023. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Anyone who works in the U.S. Capitol Building, but is afraid of radiation from nuclear power, is very ignorant of science and math

PBS wrote the following:

The US Capitol Building in Washington DC:

This building is so radioactive, due to the high uranium content in its granite walls, it could never be licensed as a nuclear power reactor site.

Original: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interact/facts.html

Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20000609114742/https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interact/facts.html

Therefore, anyone who works in the U.S. Capitol Building, but is afraid of radiation from nuclear power, is very ignorant of science and math.

May 19, 2023. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power. Leave a comment.

Extinction Rebellion leader Gail Bradbrook exposed as eco-hypocrite who has diesel car and buys imported food in non-recyclable packaging

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/22109854/extinction-rebellion-leader-gail-bradbrook-exposed-eco-hypocrite/

Extinction Rebellion leader exposed as eco-hypocrite who has diesel car & buys imported food in non-recyclable packaging

By Nick Parker

April 20, 2023

A leader of climate protesters Extinction Rebellion was last night exposed as a diesel-driving eco­-hypocrite who buys imported food.

Gail Bradbrook was shopped by a member of the public who saw her stocking up on Waitrose goods that had travelled thousands of air miles.

Gail Bradbrook was exposed as a diesel-driving eco­-hypocrite who buys imported food.

The hypocrite was spotted by a member of the public who saw her stocking up on Waitrose goods that had travelled thousands of air miles.

The shopper who spotted her told The Sun: ‘She was doing everything Extinction Rebellion tells us not to do.’

Gail Bradbrook 1Gail Bradbrook 2Gail Bradbrook 3

April 23, 2023. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Guardian: “The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20230120031935/https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/18/revealed-forest-carbon-offsets-biggest-provider-worthless-verra-aoe

Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows

Investigation into Verra carbon standard finds most are ‘phantom credits’ and may worsen global heating

Patrick Greenfield

January 18, 2023

The forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider and used by Disney, Shell, Gucci and other big corporations are largely worthless and could make global heating worse, according to a new investigation.

The research into Verra, the world’s leading carbon standard for the rapidly growing $2bn (£1.6bn) voluntary offsets market, has found that, based on analysis of a significant percentage of the projects, more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits – among the most commonly used by companies – are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions.

The analysis raises questions over the credits bought by a number of internationally renowned companies – some of them have labelled their products “carbon neutral”, or have told their consumers they can fly, buy new clothes or eat certain foods without making the climate crisis worse.

But doubts have been raised repeatedly over whether they are really effective.

The nine-month investigation has been undertaken by the Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, a non-profit investigative journalism organisation. It is based on new analysis of scientific studies of Verra’s rainforest schemes.

It has also drawn on dozens of interviews and on-the-ground reporting with scientists, industry insiders and Indigenous communities. The findings – which have been strongly disputed by Verra – are likely to pose serious questions for companies that are depending on offsets as part of their net zero strategies.

Verra, which is based in Washington DC, operates a number of leading environmental standards for climate action and sustainable development, including its verified carbon standard (VCS) that has issued more than 1bn carbon credits. It approves three-quarters of all voluntary offsets. Its rainforest protection programme makes up 40% of the credits it approves and was launched before the Paris agreement with the aim of generating revenue for protecting ecosystems.

Verra argues that the conclusions reached by the studies are incorrect, and questions their methodology. And they point out that their work since 2009 has allowed billions of dollars to be channelled to the vital work of preserving forests.

The investigation found that:

Only a handful of Verra’s rainforest projects showed evidence of deforestation reductions, according to two studies, with further analysis indicating that 94% of the credits had no benefit to the climate.
The threat to forests had been overstated by about 400% on average for Verra projects, according to analysis of a 2022 University of Cambridge study.

Gucci, Salesforce, BHP, Shell, easyJet, Leon and the band Pearl Jam were among dozens of companies and organisations that have bought rainforest offsets approved by Verra for environmental claims.

Human rights issues are a serious concern in at least one of the offsetting projects. The Guardian visited a flagship project in Peru, and was shown videos that residents said showed their homes being cut down with chainsaws and ropes by park guards and police. They spoke of forced evictions and tensions with park authorities.

The analysis: “It’s disappointing and scary”

To assess the credits, a team of journalists analysed the findings of three scientific studies that used satellite images to check the results of a number of forest offsetting projects, known as Redd+ schemes. Although a number of studies have looked at offsets, these are the only three known to have attempted to apply rigorous scientific methods to measuring avoided deforestation.

The organisations that set up and run these projects produce their own forecasts of how much deforestation they will stop, using Verra’s rules. The predictions are assessed by a Verra-approved third party, and if accepted are then used to generate the credits that companies can buy and use to offset their own carbon emissions.

For example, if an organisation estimates its project will stop 100 hectares (247 acres) of deforestation, it can use a Verra-approved formula to convert that into 40,000 CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) of saved carbon emissions in a dense tropical forest if no deforestation takes place, although the formula varies according to habitat and other factors. Those saved emissions can then be bought by a company and applied to its own carbon reduction targets.

Two different groups of scientists – one internationally based, the other from Cambridge in the UK – looked at a total of about two-thirds of 87 Verra-approved active projects. A number were left out by the researchers when they felt there was not enough information available to fairly assess them.

The two studies from the international group of researchers found just eight out of 29 Verra-approved projects where further analysis was possible showed evidence of meaningful deforestation reductions.

The journalists were able to do further analysis on those projects, comparing the estimates made by the offsetting projects with the results obtained by the scientists. The analysis indicated about 94% of the credits the projects produced should not have been approved.

Credits from 21 projects had no climate benefit, seven had between 98% and 52% fewer than claimed using Verra’s system, and one had 80% more impact, the investigation found.

Separately, the study by the University of Cambridge team of 40 Verra projects found that while a number had stopped some deforestation, the areas were extremely small. Just four projects were responsible for three-quarters of the total forest that was protected.

The journalists again analysed these results more closely and found that, in 32 projects where it was possible to compare Verra’s claims with the study finding, baseline scenarios of forest loss appeared to be overstated by about 400%. Three projects in Madagascar have achieved excellent results and have a significant impact on the figures. If those projects are not included, the average inflation is about 950%.

The studies used different methods and time periods, looked at different ranges of projects, and the researchers said no modelling approach is ever perfect, acknowledging limitations in each study. However, the data showed broad agreement on the lack of effectiveness of the projects compared with the Verra-approved predictions.

Two of the studies have passed the peer review process and another has been released as a preprint.

However, Verra strongly disputed the studies’ conclusions about its rainforest projects and said the methods the scientists used cannot capture the true impact on the ground, which explains the difference between the credits it approves and the emission reductions estimated by scientists.

The carbon standard said its projects faced unique local threats that a standardised approach cannot measure, and it works with leading experts to continuously update its methodologies and make sure they reflect scientific consensus. It has shortened the time period in which projects must update the threats they face to better capture unforeseen drivers, such as the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil. Verra said it already used some of the methods deployed by the researchers in its own standards, but does not believe they are appropriate for this project type.

Verra was specifically concerned with the use of “synthetic controls”, where the international group picked comparable areas and used them as a basis for deforestation measurements. Verra felt this was problematic because the controls might not reflect pre-project conditions, and also would compare the project with a hypothetical scenario rather than a “real area, as Verra does”. But the study authors argue that this mischaracterises their work: the comparison areas used in both cases are real areas, with deforestation levels based on rates that are local to the projects. The Cambridge group does not use synthetic controls.

“I have worked as an auditor on these projects in the Brazilian Amazon and when I started this analysis, I wanted to know if we could trust their predictions about deforestation. The evidence from the analysis – not just the synthetic controls – suggests we cannot. I want this system to work to protect rainforests. For that to happen, we need to acknowledge the scale of problems with the current system,” said Thales West, a lead author on the studies by the international group.

Erin Sills, a co-author in the international group and a professor at North Carolina State University, said the findings were “disappointing and scary”. She was one of several researchers who said urgent changes were needed to finance rainforest conservation.

“I’d like to find that conserving forests, which conserves biodiversity, and conserves local ecosystem services, also has a real effective impact on reducing climate change. If it doesn’t, it’s scary, because it’s a little bit less hope for reducing climate change.”

‪David Coomes‬, a professor of forest ecology at the University of Cambridge who was a senior author on a study looking at avoided deforestation in the first five years of 40 Verra schemes, was part of the Cambridge group of researchers. He reviewed the Guardian’s findings and said there was a big gap between the amount of deforestation his team estimated the projects were avoiding and what the carbon standard was approving.

“It’s safe to say there are strong discrepancies between what we’re calculating and what exists in their databases, and that is a matter for concern and further investigation. I think in the longer term, what we want is a consensus set of methods which are applied across all sites,” he said.

Julia Jones, a co-author and professor at Bangor University, said the world was at a crossroads when it came to protecting tropical forests and must urgently correct the system for measuring emission reductions if carbon markets are to be scaled up.

“It’s really not rocket science,” she said. “We are at an absolutely critical place for the future of tropical forests. If we don’t learn from the failures of the last decade or so, then there’s a very large risk that investors, private individuals and others will move away from any kind of willingness to pay to avoid tropical deforestation and that would be a disaster.

“As someone who sits outside of the kind of cut and thrust of the wild west that is the carbon markets, I need to believe it can be made to work because money is needed to fund the emissions reductions from forest conservation.”

Yadvinder Singh Malhi, a professor of ecosystem science at the University of Oxford and a Jackson senior research fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, who was not involved in the study, said two of his PhD students had gone through the analysis without spotting any errors.

“This work highlights the main challenge with realising climate change mitigation benefits from Redd+. The challenge isn’t around measuring carbon stocks; it’s about reliably forecasting the future, what would have happened in the absence of the Redd+ activity. And peering into the future is a dark and messy art in a world of complex societies, politics and economics. The report shows that these future forecasts have been overly pessimistic in terms of baseline deforestation rates, and hence have vastly overstated their Redd+ climate benefits. Many of these projects may have brought lots of benefits in terms of biodiversity conservation capacity and local communities, but the impacts on climate change on which they are premised are regrettably much weaker than hoped. I wish it were otherwise, but this report is pretty compelling.”

Shell told the Guardian that using credits was “in line with our philosophy of avoid, reduce and only then mitigate emissions”. Gucci, Pearl Jam, BHP and Salesforce did not comment, while Lavazza said it bought credits that were certified by Verra, “a world’s leading certification organisation”, as part of the coffee products company’s “serious, concrete and diligent commitment to reduce” its carbon footprint. It plans to look more closely into the project.

The fast food chain Leon no longer buys carbon offsets from one of the projects in the studies, as part of its mission to maximise its positive impact. EasyJet has moved away from carbon offsetting to focus its net zero work on projects such as “funding for the development of new zero-carbon emission aircraft technology”.

Barbara Haya, the director of the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project, has been researching carbon credits for 20 years, hoping to find a way to make the system function. She said: “The implications of this analysis are huge. Companies are using credits to make claims of reducing emissions when most of these credits don’t represent emissions reductions at all.

“Rainforest protection credits are the most common type on the market at the moment. And it’s exploding, so these findings really matter. But these problems are not just limited to this credit type. These problems exist with nearly every kind of credit.

“One strategy to improve the market is to show what the problems are and really force the registries to tighten up their rules so that the market could be trusted. But I’m starting to give up on that. I started studying carbon offsets 20 years ago studying problems with protocols and programs. Here I am, 20 years later having the same conversation. We need an alternative process. The offset market is broken.”

March 31, 2023. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

The global warming of today is far preferable to the upcoming ice age that was being predicted by every mainstream news source in the 1970s

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 13, 2023

When I was a child in the 1970s, we were constantly being scared by mainstream news sources about the upcoming ice age that was being predicted.

It was absolutely terrifying.

Fortunately, the predicted ice age never came.

The global warming that we are experiencing today is far preferable to the upcoming ice age that was being predicted by every mainstream news source in the 1970s.

I am so, so very glad that those predictions did not come true.

Here are some examples of those predictions:

New York Times, February 23, 1969: “Worrying About a New Ice Age”

https://web.archive.org/web/20190925033108/https://www.nytimes.com/1969/02/23/archives/science-worrying-about-a-new-ice-age.html

Washington Post, January 11, 1970: “Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age: Scientists See Ice Age In the Future”

https://web.archive.org/web/20150221224323/http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost_historical/doc/147902052.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=&type=historic&date=washingtonpost+%2C+&author=Washington+Post+Staff+Writer%3B+By+David+R.+Boldt&pub=The+Washington+Post%2C+Times+Herald+%281959-1973%29&desc=Colder+Winters+Held+Dawn+of+New+Ice+Age&pqatl=top_retrieves

Boston Globe, April 16, 1970: “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century”

https://web.archive.org/web/20191005160403/https://cei.org/sites/default/files/3_2.png

Washington Post, July 9, 1971: “U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming”

https://web.archive.org/web/20191012132108/https://cei.org/sites/default/files/5_0.png

New York Times  Jan. 27, 1972: “Climate Experts Assay Ice Age Clues”

https://web.archive.org/web/20180108054340/https://www.nytimes.com/1972/01/27/archives/climate-experts-assay-ice-age-clues.html

The Guardian, January 29, 1974: “Space satellites show new ice age coming fast”

https://web.archive.org/web/20191005160403/https://cei.org/sites/default/files/8.png

Time, June 24, 1974: “Another Ice Age”

https://web.archive.org/web/20130917122641/http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

Newsweek, April 28, 1975: “The Cooling World”

https://web.archive.org/web/20170222074546/https://html1-f.scribdassets.com/yal7w1ekg3t0s2a/images/1-9c290725b9.jpg

New York Times, January 5, 1978: “International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30‐Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere”

https://web.archive.org/web/20161228140705/https://www.nytimes.com/1978/01/05/archives/international-team-of-specialists-finds-no-end-in-sight-to-30year.html

In Search of… The Coming Ice Age (originally broadcast in 1978):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/XRdppyW94gOx/

March 13, 2023. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

I don’t blame Greta Thunberg for the fact that her prediction from 5 years ago turned out to be wrong. What I do blame her for is that she has not displayed enough intellectual curiosity to try to find out why her prediction was wrong.

It’s OK to be wrong about something. It’s OK to make predictions that turn out to be false.

But a good scientist will try to learn why they made the mistake. A good scientist will try to learn why their prediction was wrong.

This is a dead link to a tweet that Greta Thunberg made 5 years ago. The reason the link is dead is because she deleted it:

https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1009757391515156480

Fortunately, the Internet Archive has an archive of the tweet at this link:

https://web.archive.org/web/20190827160619/https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1009757391515156480

Her tweet from 5 years ago says:

“A top climate scientist is warning that climate change will wipe out all of humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels over the next five years.”

This is a screenshot of how the archived version of her tweet appears on my computer screen:

Greta Thunberg tweet from 5 years ago

Like I said, it’s OK to be wrong about something, and it’s OK to make predictions that turn out to be false.

However, by deleting her tweet, instead of trying to learn why her prediction was wrong, she is showing a complete lack of scientific curiosity.

And that is wrong.

Science is all about learning from past mistakes.

March 13, 2023. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism, Science. Leave a comment.

Sri Lanka recently chose to ban fertilizers made from fossil fuel. Anyone who’s not an idiot could have predicted the results.

Pretty much every country that participates in the modern, global economy is far better off today than in the recent past. More people have been lifted out of third world poverty in the past 70 years than in the all of the thousands of previous years combined. The only countries that remain in third world poverty are the luddites who choose to reject the modern world. I support using modern technology to give a first world standard of living to every person on earth. Nuclear power, desalination, modern agriculture, thermal depolymerization for recycling all of our trash.

Sri Lanka recently chose to ban fertilizers made from fossil fuel. Anyone who’s not an idiot could have predicted the results.

People make choices. Choices have consequences.

Third wold poverty is a choice. Here’s one real world example:

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/fertiliser-ban-decimates-sri-lankan-crops-government-popularity-ebbs-2022-03-03/

Fertiliser ban decimates Sri Lankan crops as government popularity ebbs

March 3, 2022

“Last year, we got 60 bags from these two acres. But this time it was just 10,” he added.

The dramatic fall in yields follows a decision last April by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ban all chemical fertilisers in Sri Lanka

July 22, 2022. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

After shutting down its nuclear power plants, Germany is rationing its electricity and hot water

In recent years, Germany has been shutting down its nuclear power plants, and is planning to close its last ones by the end of this year. You can read about it in this piece from the Washington Post.

And now, as reported in this new piece from Fortune, Germany is setting limits on people’s use of electricity and hot water. Fortune writes:

‘The situation is more than dramatic’: Germany is rationing hot water and turning off the lights to reduce natural gas consumption

For months, Germany has feared having to ration energy amid Russia’s increasing willingness to turn off the tap. Now those fears are becoming a reality as Germany prepares for a return to 1970s-style energy rationing, when the OPEC oil embargo forced governments to mandate measures like dimmer lights and car-free Sundays.

Only, the energy crisis of 2022 isn’t limited to oil.

Last year, Germany relied on Russia for 55% of its natural gas imports. Germany has since been able to reduce that number to 35%, but with Russia seemingly prepared to further cut gas shipments to Europe, German officials are having to make some difficult choices.

This week, a city official in Hamburg—Germany’s second-largest city—warned that “warm water could only be made available at certain times of the day in an emergency,” forecasting the possibility of a severe natural gas shortage. And on Friday, residents in the eastern German state of Saxony were told by their housing association that they could take hot showers only between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. each day, the Financial Times reported.

“The situation is more than dramatic,” Axel Gedaschko, a German politician and president of GdW, the federal association of German housing, told the FT.

It isn’t just hot water that’s being rationed. In addition to shorter shower times, officials are asking city councils nationwide to turn off traffic lights at night, stop illuminating historic buildings, and go easy on using air conditioners in a bid to conserve electricity, according to the FT.

July 9, 2022. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power. Leave a comment.

Maine voters vote against transmission line that would have provided enough green electricity for one million homes

https://apnews.com/article/election-2021-maine-hydropower-line-54dea1a948e9fc57a667280707cddeb7

Mainers vote to halt $1B electric transmission line

By David Sharp

November 3, 2021

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Mainers voiced their disapproval Tuesday for a 145-mile (233-kilometer) conduit for Canadian hydropower that was billed as either a bold step in battling climate change or unnecessary destruction of woodlands.

Utilities have poured more than $90 million into the battle over the $1 billion project ahead of the referendum on Tuesday, making it the most expensive referendum in Maine history.

However, the statewide vote won’t be the final word. Litigation over the project will continue long after the votes are counted.

Sandi Howard, director of the of No CMP Corridor, called on Central Maine Power to respect the people’s will and to halt the project.

“The vote sends a message to CMP that Mainers want to reject this corridor. They want to preserve the integrity of western Maine,” she said. “Mainers clearly don’t trust CMP to develop a project of this magnitude.”

Clean Energy Matters, which supports the project, vowed to continue the effort to move forward with the project.

“We believe this referendum, funded by fossil fuel interests, is unconstitutional. With over 400 Maine jobs and our ability to meet our climate goals on the line, this fight will continue,” Jon Breed, executive director, said in a statement.

Funded by Massachusetts ratepayers, the New England Clean Energy Connect would supply up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid. That’s enough electricity for 1 million homes.

Supporters said the project would remove carbon from the atmosphere and stabilize electricity rates across the entire region while helping Massachusetts reach its clean energy goals.

Critics contended the environmental benefits are overstated, and that it would forever change the forestland.

Some Mainers were frustrated that the referendum took place at all, saying it was bad public policy to retroactively vote down a project that already was approved by multiple state and federal agencies.

Three-quarters of trees already have been removed for the project, which calls for a transmission line that mostly follows existing utility corridors. But a new section needed to be cut through 53 miles (85 kilometers) of woods to reach the Canadian border.

The project divided the environmental community and made for strange political bedfellows, with some owners of fossil fuel-powered plants aligning themselves with environmental opponents.

The parties were also divided, with some Republicans and Democrats opposing it, while current Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage both supported the project.

November 3, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Germany’s phaseout of nuclear power is causing an increase in the use of fossil fuels, which is causing more than 1,100 additional deaths each year

This is a quote from a scientific paper on Germany’s phaseout of nuclear power:

“Put another way, the phase-out resulted in more than 1,100 additional deaths per year from increased concentrations of SO2, NOx, and PM. The increase in production from hard coal plants is again the key driver here, making up roughly 80% of the increase in mortality impacts.”

Source: Page 25 at this link https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w26598/w26598.pdf

Either the people who support this phaseout are extremely illiterate when it comes to science, or they are deliberately killing these people. I wonder which one it is.

September 29, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Nuclear power, Science, Technology. Leave a comment.

Scooters Are Replacing Biking, Walking and Taking the Bus [scooters cause a net INCREASE in pollution]

https://obrag.org/2019/11/scooters-are-replacing-biking-walking-and-taking-the-bus/

Scooters Are Replacing Biking, Walking and Taking the Bus

By Frank Gormlie

November 12, 2019

Joshua Emerson Smith, at the San Diego Union-Tribune, earlier this month asked the question, “how green are e-scooters?” He proceeded, of course, to attempt to answer his own query. Here below is a summary of sorts of his findings.

In general, he says – as reflected in the sub-head – studies do find that dockless e-scooters are more eco-friendly than driving – but buses, biking and walking remain the greenest travel modes.

According to studies, many people are currently cruising around on e-scooters as an alternative to cleaner forms of transportation, such as biking, walking and taking the bus.”

The scooter craze may not be as green as advertised; Smith summarizes that a growing body of research contradicts what scooter companies have been touting the last couple of years – that their devices are “not only convenient but a win for the environment.” Also, some local elected leaders have been promoting scooters as environmentally friendly. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer called the devices “game changers” that can help the city realize its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals; Assemblyman Todd Gloria thought he was helping the environment by getting legislation passed that removed the helmet requirement for the scooters.

Why, just recently at a public hearing in San Diego, Lime’s director of government relations claimed to members of the City Council that scooters are what was getting people out of their cars.

Research and studies show that actually scooter rides are replacing biking and walking as travel options. Scooters are getting people off their bikes. Data from recent municipal surveys in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon show About 40 percent of scooter rides have replaced biking or walking trips. A Paris survey was worse – it found 85 percent of scooter rides replaced either walking, biking or public transit trips.

The scooter companies take user polls, and these have “found that on average about a third of scooter trips are replacing car trips, including a sizable 41 percent of the time in San Francisco. Lime said that figure is 35 percent in San Diego.”

The carbon footprint of scooters is very low, but not a net gain for the environment – given how people are now using them, according to a scientific study published in August from North Carolina State University. The first of its kind study, “measured the greenhouse-gas emissions per mile for a dockless shared e-scooter and then compared that against the the average car, bus and bicycle.”

Smith quotes Jeremiah Johnson, a researcher and co-author of the report:

It looks like an increase in environmental impacts … because about half of the scooter rides are displacing walking and riding bikes. If you are one of the riders who is displacing a car ride, you are almost certainly reducing your environmental emissions.”

Everything was taken into account for the lifecycle analysis for scooters; the emissions created

from manufacturing

from shipping

to disposal and

to the gas burned while workers drive around searching for scooters to charge and repair.

The study found, “more than 90 percent of emissions were from building the devices and shuttling them around by car.”

Making scooters last longer would go a long way toward shrinking their carbon footprint; the co-author of the study, Johnson, stated, “These are changes that are quite feasible. Extending the scooter lifetime, improving the efficiency of the collection and distribution system, those are achievable things. They don’t require new technology. They don’t require enormous changes in the system.”

Some scooter companies have been re-working their original models and have been regularly rolling out new ones. Scooter companies Bird and Lime claim their newest models on average last more than a year. The North Carolina study, however, used a lifespan of 15 months. For comparison, research shows the earlier scooters averaged “between a month to six months.”

Smith continues:

Some transportation researchers have questioned whether such tweaks to the scooter industry will lead to any significant environmental gains. While shrinking the carbon footprint of a device may improve a company’s image, that doesn’t guarantee it will lead to large cuts in greenhouse gas.

“Even if it can have lasting effects on daily travel, unless they connect to transit, the actual vehicle miles that are substituted are just miniscule,” said Dillon Fitch, a researcher who studies travel patterns and commuter behavior at UC Davis. “It’s just a drop in the bucket.”

More suggested improvements that could bring the technology to an overall bridge to greenland?

Increase personal ownership of such devices;

Get rid of the free-for-all collection systems “that employ gig-economy workers to compete with each other at the end of the day to scoop up as many devices as possible.” It creates a lot of needless driving around in vehicles. Some companies have begun “employing workers to round up scooters that need charging and maintenance. This costs more but allows companies to more efficiently deploy their collection fleets.”

invest in devices that log more miles before being scrapped for parts;

Establish charging stations – as they have in places such as Chicago, Tampa and Washington, D.C. “We believe charging stations can make our operations more eco-friendly, in that they’ll limit the number of trips our drivers need to make to pick up and charge scooters,” said company spokeswoman Maria Buczkowski. “Eventually these stations will be retrofitted with solar panels.”

Still, there is a promise the technology can improve enough to potentially overturn our reliance on vehicles with emissions and change the urban mode of travel.

September 21, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

In Search of… The Coming Ice Age (originally broadcast in 1978)

In Search of… The Coming Ice Age (originally broadcast in 1978):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/XRdppyW94gOx/

Also be sure to read: New York Times, January 5, 1978: International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30‐Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere:

https://web.archive.org/web/20161228140705/https://www.nytimes.com/1978/01/05/archives/international-team-of-specialists-finds-no-end-in-sight-to-30year.html

 

September 5, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism. 1 comment.

California is so crazy that its environmentalists are actually PREVENTING bike lanes from being built

https://web.archive.org/web/20160410070501/https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-enviro-bike-lanes-20160407-story.html

Want a bike lane in your neighborhood? It’s not so simple in California

By Liam Dillon

April 7, 2016

For many years, Berkeley bike advocates have pushed for their own lane on a two-block stretch of Fulton Street. The conditions seem ripe for one. It would connect two existing bike lanes in a bustling area between UC Berkeley and downtown. Bike racks already line the sidewalk.

But when asked, the city delivered an answer the advocates say they have heard time and again: The bike lane couldn’t go in because of the state’s premier environmental law.

The California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA, has stymied bike lanes up and down the state for more than a decade. Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco have faced lawsuits, years of delay and abandoned projects because the environmental law’s restrictions often require costly traffic studies, lengthy public hearings and major road reconfigurations before bike lanes are installed.

All told, bicycle advocates say the law has blocked hundreds of miles of potential bike lanes across the state.

“The environmental law is hugely frustrating,” said Dave Campbell, advocacy director for Bike East Bay, which has pushed for the Fulton Street bike lane. “It’s a law that allows you to say no. It’s not a law that lets you say yes.”

The bike lane issue is just one frustration state leaders have faced in trying to overhaul CEQA. Gov. Jerry Brown has called efforts to reform the law “the Lord’s work.” Major efforts in recent years to make it easier to build urban residential development and reduce businesses’ costs under CEQA have failed.

But as lawmakers face difficulty in changing the landmark law, a solution appears to be on its way for bike lanes. Thanks to a provision tucked into a bill that allowed the Sacramento Kings arena to be built more than two years ago, bike lanes might finally get a green light.

The issue has festered for a long time. A decade ago, a lawsuit against San Francisco’s citywide bike plan stalled the city’s plans to add more than 30 miles of bike lanes for several years. After that lawsuit, Los Angeles decided to conduct a full environmental review of its master bike plan to ward off potential legal challenges. And two years ago, a neighborhood activist in San Diego sued under CEQA after the city painted a bike lane on a main road.

Even without the threat of litigation, the environmental law can stop bike lanes in their tracks. When city of Oakland officials wanted to narrow a wide road near a major transit station and add two bike lanes, they realized it would be difficult to comply with the environmental law’s rules and didn’t proceed, said Jason Patton, Oakland’s bike program manager. About a decade later, the road remains a six-lane highway.

“CEQA is an incredible burden to doing work in urban areas,” Patton said. “And I say that as a committed environmentalist.”

The environmental law requires proponents of new projects — including bike lanes — to measure the effect the project would have on car congestion. When a traffic lane is taken out in favor of a bike lane, more congestion could result along that road. That result can put proposed bike lanes in peril. And traffic studies to show whether installing a bike lane would lead to greater congestion can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Oftentimes, cities won’t bother with the effort.

Twice in recent years, state legislators have passed laws aimed at making it easier for bike lanes to dodge the environmental law’s restrictions. Bike advocates say these efforts have helped, but because they have not eliminated requirements to produce traffic studies and hold public hearings, they haven’t fixed the problem.

Dave Snyder, executive director of the California Bicycle Association, said his organization was preparing to lobby legislators to propose another bill on the matter when SB 743 emerged in late 2013.

That bill’s main purpose was to exempt the new Sacramento Kings basketball arena from lengthy review under the environmental law. But tucked into the measure was a provision that changed the way projects would gauge their effects on traffic under CEQA. Once SB 743 passed, Snyder dropped his own proposal.

“It solves our problem completely,” he said.

The new law says that traffic congestion is no longer the preferred metric to be used. In its place, cities will measure how much a project impacts the number of miles cars will travel along nearby roads. Since replacing a traffic lane with a bike lane won’t increase the number of cars on the road, the new standard should allow cities to install bike lanes without environmental conflict.

Now the standards must be put into place. SB 743 called on the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research — a state agency that handles guidelines related to the environmental law — to write the new traffic rules. More than two years have passed, and the agency is still writing them.

Based on state regulators’ current schedule, the Kings will have built and started playing in their new arena before the traffic guidelines will have gone into effect in early 2017.

By changing the way all projects measure automobile traffic, environmentalists and urbanists hope the new regulations will lead to fewer car-centered developments and help the state meet its climate change goals. Others fear the new rules will derail projects already in the pipeline. The Southern California Association of Governments, a regional planning organization with jurisdiction over 18 million people in and around Los Angeles, is warning that the new traffic rules could endanger major plans for highway widening.

Darrell Steinberg, the former Democratic leader of the state Senate who authored SB 743, said it was difficult to understand the consequences of changing the environmental law. Dealing with CEQA, Steinberg said, was the hardest thing he did as a legislator.

“You take any substantive provision of CEQA and an advocate can credibly cite an example where that provision was used to save an environmental treasure,” Steinberg said. “You take the same provision and someone from the other side can cite an example where it was misused in some way.”

In February, a car hit and dragged a Berkeley research scientist on Fulton Street as she was cycling home after work, causing major injuries. After that accident, there were renewed calls for a bike lane, but Berkeley city officials again cited the state environmental law as the reason one couldn’t go in immediately.

Campbell and other bike advocates continued pushing until Berkeley’s mayor finally said the city would do whatever necessary to install a lane by May due to the safety concerns. If the city hadn’t, Campbell said, his group had an alternative in mind.

“We said if you don’t do it, we’re doing it,” Campbell said. “We have paint.”

July 22, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

White environmentalists pat each other on the back for hurting low income black people. Environmental racism is real, and it’s caused by white liberals.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

July 13, 2021

This is absolutely disgusting. Western European countries claim to be “green” because so much of their energy comes from biomass. But this CNN article explains that this “green” biomass actually wreaks major havoc and destruction on the environment in areas of the southeastern U.S. which are home to low income black people.

The fact that white environmentalists are patting each other on the back for doing this is totally reprehensible.

From now on, whenever I hear American liberals praise western Europe for its “green” use of biomass, I’m going to show them this CNN article.

https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2021/07/us/american-south-biomass-energy-invs/

How marginalized communities in the South are paying the price for ‘green energy’ in Europe

By Majlie de Puy Kamp

July 9, 2021

Andrea Macklin never turns off his TV. It’s the only way to drown out the noise from the wood mill bordering his backyard, the jackhammer sound of the plant piercing his walls and windows. The 18-wheelers carrying logs rumble by less than 100 feet from his house, all day and night, shaking it as if an earthquake has taken over this tranquil corner of North Carolina. He’s been wearing masks since long before the coronavirus pandemic, just to keep the dust out of his lungs.

Some nights, he only sleeps for two or three hours. Breathing is a chore.

“I haven’t had proper rest since they’ve been here,” he said.

That was eight years ago, when the world’s largest biomass producer, Enviva, opened its second North Carolina facility just west of Macklin’s property in Garysburg. The operation takes mostly hardwood trees and spits out biomass, or wood pellets, a highly processed and compressed wood product burned to generate energy. Enviva is one of nearly a dozen similar companies benefiting from a sustainability commitment made 4,000 miles away, more than a decade ago.

In 2009, the European Union (EU) pledged to curb greenhouse gas emissions, urging its member states to shift from fossil fuels to renewables. In its Renewable Energy Directive (RED), the EU classified biomass as a renewable energy source — on par with wind and solar power. As a result, the directive prompted state governments to incentivize energy providers to burn biomass instead of coal — and drove up demand for wood.

So much so that the American South emerged as Europe’s primary source of biomass imports.

Earlier this year, the EU was celebrated in headlines across the world when renewable energy surpassed the use of fossil fuels on the continent for the first time in history.

But scientists and experts say it’s too early to celebrate, arguing that relying on biomass for energy has a punishing impact not only on the environment, but also on marginalized communities — perpetuating decades of environmental racism in predominantly Black communities like Northampton County, where Macklin and his family have lived for generations.

Macklin’s elderly aunt lives right behind him, a tall Magnolia tree provides shade to both their homes. His mother’s house is just down the street. They used to have large family cookouts in his garden while the kids played on the lawn, but they haven’t done that in years. Between the noise and the sawdust from the plant, his home is no longer a safe place to gather.

But it’s the pollution that worries him most.

“You don’t know what’s coming out of the smokestack,” said Macklin. “That’s my main concern.”

To say cutting down trees and burning them for power is a renewable energy source feels counterintuitive and, in reality, it is.

Burning wood is less efficient than burning coal and releases far more carbon into the atmosphere, according to almost 800 scientists who wrote a 2018 letter to the European parliament, pushing members to amend the current directive “to avoid expansive harm to the world’s forests and the acceleration of climate change.” President Joe Biden and other world leaders received a similar letter from hundreds of climate scientists earlier this year.

The EU directive that encouraged the pivot to biomass also left a loophole — it did not prevent the leveling of rooted trees for wood pellet production.

“I can’t think of anything that harms nature more than cutting down trees and burning them,” said William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at Tufts University.

Yet by burning wood, European power plants can reduce their carbon footprint — at least on paper.

The American Southeast is the largest wood-producing region in the world.

In 1996, scientists at the United Nations devised a method to measure global carbon emissions. To simplify the process and avoid double counting, they suggested emissions from burning biomass should be calculated where the trees are cut down, not where the wood pellets are burned.

The EU adopted this methodology in its Renewable Energy Directive, allowing energy companies to burn biomass produced in the US without having to report the emissions.

The accounting method — which was never intended to assign national responsibility for carbon emissions, according to climate experts — has created a lot of discussion and disagreement among advocates, scientists and policymakers.

But ultimately it is not the accounting of carbon that is the problem, it’s the emissions.

“It doesn’t change the physical reality,” said Tim Searchinger, senior research scholar at Princeton University. “A law designed to reduce emissions that in reality encourages an increase in emissions … has to be flawed,” he said, referring to Europe’s directive.

Logs are strapped onto a truck at a clear-cut site in Northampton County, North Carolina.
The blade of a felling saw used to cut down trees.

Ultimately, Europe is not reducing emissions by burning American trees — it’s just outsourcing them to the United States.

“The idea was to curb our addiction to fossil fuels,” said Bas Eickhout, Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament. Biomass was an attractive option for EU countries at the time, he explained, because it was much cheaper than solar or wind power and could be “mixed in” when burning coal.

However, European decision-makers didn’t fully consider the repercussions of importing biomass, Eickhout said, adding they “were too naïve.”

“The production of biomass has become an industrial process which means something has gone fundamentally wrong,” he said. “The professionalization of the biomass industry is a problem that needs attention.”

‘The math doesn’t add up’

The directive led to troubling consequences across the Atlantic. By failing to restrict biomass to the byproduct from manufacturing paper, furniture or lumber, Europe created a strong incentive to cut down whole trees and turn them into wood pellets.

Encouraged by government subsidies, European power plants began importing biomass from the largest wood producing region in the world: the American Southeast.

North Carolina has been “ground zero” for the wood pellet industry, said Danna Smith, co-founder and executive director of the environmental advocacy group Dogwood Alliance. One hundred and sixty-four acres of the state’s forests are cut down by the biomass industry every day, according to an analysis by Key-Log Economics.

Enviva owns four wood pellet plants in North Carolina, including this one in Northampton County.

US-based Enviva, which owns four wood pellet plants in North Carolina, says their product is fighting climate change.

“When sourced responsibly wood-based biomass is recognized by the leading international organizations and scientists as climate friendly, renewable and carbon-neutral energy source,” Enviva wrote in a statement, adding that they require the forests they source from ”will regenerate, either naturally or through planting.”

Yet, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the UN body that came up with the carbon accounting methodology — states its guidelines “do not automatically consider or assume biomass used for energy as ‘carbon neutral,’ even in cases where the biomass is thought to be produced sustainably.”

Trees are harvested at a logging operation in Northampton County.

And, North Carolina’s Clean Energy Plan notes that biomass “does not advance (the state’s) clean energy economy.” The plan goes on to acknowledge that most of the wood pellets produced in the state are exported to Europe, and even that “the science regarding carbon neutrality and accounting methods are contentious issues.”

Biomass is renewable only in the sense that trees can grow back, said Grant Domke, who leads a team researching and reporting on carbon stocks and changes on forest land at the US Forest Service. “But that is different than it being carbon-neutral.” When it comes to Europe reducing carbon emissions by burning American biomass, “the math doesn’t add up.”

Still, the biomass industry is not showing any signs of slowing down. Drax, a British company that operates the largest UK power plant, has acquired several wood pellet plants in the American South and is developing others. Enviva, too, is building new facilities and is expanding existing ones — including the plant in Northampton County, North Carolina, where Macklin and his family live.

‘We’ve been disrespected all our lives’

It’s here where once grand country homes stand dilapidated, overrun with weeds and abandoned in a jigsaw puzzle of cotton, grain and sprawling pine plantations. Strip malls, restaurant chains and expansive parking lots comprise the commercial landscape. Gas stations line the roads but grocery stores are few and far between. The temperature was already scorching in May — residents kept their curtains drawn and many stayed inside, the hum of air conditioning providing the only sign of life.

For the last decade, the population in Northampton County has been declining and, despite a clear need for health care, there was only one primary care physician serving the entire county, with a population of just under 20,000, in 2018.

That same year, a health assessment by the county health department asked residents if they had ever been diagnosed with certain ailments. The report showed more than 60% of the participants said they had high blood pressure, more than half said they were overweight and over 20% said they suffered from depression or diabetes. Nearly 11% of residents said they had heart disease.

The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that more than one in 10 adults in Northampton had asthma in 2018. Asthma hospitalizations in the county, however, are lower than in the state as a whole, according to the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

Macklin, a father of two and lifelong Northampton resident, is living these statistics. Two years ago, the 44-year-old’s heart condition worsened, requiring him to quit his job at a meat packaging plant and leaving him with a disability, like more than 16% of county residents under 65.

Andrea Macklin wipes dust off of his car. He says he has to wash his car frequently because of the dust coming from the Enviva plant behind his house.

Macklin’s wife and 21-year-old son both suffer from asthma, a condition that Macklin said is exacerbated by the pollution and dust coming from Enviva’s plant behind his house. Since the plant started operating, he said, his wife and son can’t spend more than five minutes outside without coughing.

Before Enviva opened its Northampton mill, the 551 square miles that make up the county were already home to three major air pollution sources — facilities required to a request a permit under Title V of the Clean Air Act for emitting large amounts of air pollutants. Another three such facilities are located within two miles of the Northampton border in neighboring Halifax County.

In 2013, Enviva became the fourth Title V permit holder in Northampton County, emitting tons of dangerous fine particles, or PM2.5, carbon monoxide and a number of what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “Hazardous Air Pollutants” — including formaldehyde and methanol

“All of our plants operate in compliance with their permits and federal and state prescribed emission legal standards under the permits, presenting no risk or issue to public health or environment,” Enviva said in a statement, adding that a state air quality monitor five miles from its facility found that PM2.5 levels did not “present a health risk” to county residents.

Yet federal standards for fine particulate matter are too high and do not protect public health, according to twenty scientists who served on an EPA panel on particulate matter in 2018 and urged the administration to impose tougher pollution standards.

The EPA did not take action at the time but announced last month it is taking another look at the federal standards for PM2.5 saying “scientific evidence and technical information indicate that the current standards may not be adequate to protect public health and welfare, as required by the Clean Air Act.”

Exposure to year-round PM2.5 pollution — particles at least 20 times thinner than a strand of human hair — has been linked to asthma and slowed lung function in children and increased risk of cancer, heart attacks, strokes and death from cardiovascular disease, according to the EPA. The health problems in Macklin’s community have not been directly linked to the Title V facilities in the county.

The population of Northampton — which, according to CNN’s analysis, has one of the highest numbers of major air polluters per capita in the state — is predominantly Black, underscoring long-standing concerns over environmental racism.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the agency tasked with granting air quality permits in the state, declined to comment for this story.

“We’ve been disrespected all our lives,” said resident Belinda Joyner, 68, who has been fighting environmental racism in her community for decades, “and we’re still being disrespected.”

PM2.5 polluters in the United States “disproportionately and systemically affect people of color,” according to a recent study that noted this type of exposure is responsible for up to 200,000 excess deaths in the United States every year.
When there is “degradation of the air and the land, we simultaneously see degradation of the community,” said Smith, of the Dogwood Alliance.

‘They can’t sleep at night’

All but one of Enviva’s nine operating plants in the country are located in communities that have higher percentage of Black residents than their states as a whole, according to a CNN analysis of census tract data from the American Community Survey. The only exception was the company’s plant in southeast Georgia.

In addition, all of Enviva’s plants are in census tracts that have lower median household incomes than their states, and eight of the nine — all except the one in southern Virginia — are in tracts with higher poverty rates than their states as a whole.

To some, like Macklin, Enviva’s presence has hardly benefitted the community.

“They just feel like they come in and do what they want to do,” said Macklin, adding later, “All the noise and the dust and stuff, it was never like that, it’s always been quiet around here … that plant is on 24 hours a day. It don’t stop. Seven days a week.”

Kathy Claiborne, 59, who lives on the other side of the Enviva plant in Northampton, anticipates the sleepless nights by trying to take a nap when she gets home from work. The noise is worst around 2 a.m., she said.

“I never really thought about noise as being a health hazard until I talked to the communities that live next to the Enviva facilities and they say they can’t sleep at night,” said Smith. “Not being able to sleep is depriving people of one of the most important foundations of human health.”

Enviva’s Northampton plant glows against the night sky. Nearby residents say noise from the plant is the worst overnight.

In its response to CNN, Enviva said the company takes “environmental justice concerns raised with respect to our operations very seriously. And, we work closely in our communities and community leaders to ensure our operations bring both positive economic and environmental impact.” The company also said it had not received noise complaints other than “generic complaints” at a recent hearing raised by “the same activists we’ve heard from before.”

Enviva pointed to an environmental justice analysis for its operations in Northampton done by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, claiming the report ensures “there is no negative impact on disadvantaged or minority communities from out plants or operations.”

However, the 2019 Environmental Justice Impact Statement merely describes the demographics around the plant — noting high disability and poverty rates in a majority Black population — it does not give recommendations or reach conclusions about the impact the industry would have on the community.

Still, in June, the county Chamber of Commerce awarded Enviva with the “Corporate Business of the Year” award — noting the company “continuously supported, donated, and invested their time and talents into local organizations and causes.”

Earl and Kathy Claiborne live next to the Enviva plant in Northampton County.

Kathy says the noise from the plant is the worst around 2 a.m.

Though the relationship between local officials and Enviva is “good now,” inviting them in had drawbacks, said Franklin Williams, the county’s economic development director. The company wants to be “good partners,” he said, applauding its outreach efforts and noting that Enviva has provided school supplies to local schools and helped sponsor food banks in the community during the pandemic.

Joyner and the Claibornes recalled a Christmas when Enviva sent some residents hams — but the outreach felt almost insulting.

“The next thing you know that plant is up and running and we’re getting a ham,” said Claiborne’s husband, Earl. “It was a good gesture but you know you’re getting pulled into something.”

To Joyner, school supplies and holiday meals do little to counter the impacts Enviva’s operation has had on the people of Northampton. This is where her mother bought the land that her house sits on — it’s where she raised her two daughters.

“All I want to do is take care of it,” she said. “I don’t have the privilege to get up and move. Where am I going? This is home.”

‘We aren’t renewing thousand-year-old ecosystems’

Just across the border in Virginia — less than an hour from Joyner’s house — sits a rare, protected ancient wetland forest.

“We’re looking at trees around us that are over a thousand years old,” said Smith, as she maneuvered her kayak through the Cypress trees, pointing out different species and identifying birds whose habitats are threatened by industrial logging. It’s an “incredible jewel of an ecosystem,” she said.

It’s a humbling place, in stark contrast with the hot and dusty clear-cuts — land where trees have been leveled and not replaced — and rows of newly planted pine trees that make up Macklin and Joyner’s neighborhood.

Cypress trees, some with trunks wider than a sedan, stand tall between lily pads and beaver dams. In the winter, the water rises and hides those massive, cracked and often hollow tree trunks that are visible in the warmer months. Noise from the nearby highway is drowned out by an orchestra of birds. Fish jump out of the water as if in an animated film.

It’s peaceful, green and surprisingly cool on an otherwise sweltering summer day.

The 535-acre forest — surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of pine plantations and clear-cuts — is a precious needle in a haystack.

Danna Smith is the co-founder and executive director of environmental advocacy group Dogwood Alliance.

“The forestry industry and the wood pellet industry says that trees are renewable,” said Smith, but “we aren’t renewing thousand-year-old ecosystems. They’re renewing forests for commercial production. So you’ll see trees on the landscape that are maybe, you know, 30 years old. That’s not an ecosystem — that’s a fiber farm.”

As long as trees are replanted, Enviva and supporters of the biomass industry argue, burning them can be considered renewable energy. But the reality is not so simple.

When trees are cut down and burned, all the carbon they stored is immediately emitted into the air, Moomaw, the professor at Tufts University, explained. For a new tree to grow and re-absorb the same amount of carbon takes decades — making the worldwide attempts at going carbon neutral on deadline, like the EU wants to by 2050, a daunting goal.

At best, planting a seedling for every downed tree keeps carbon emissions neutral over time — it’s not removing any more carbon out of the atmosphere, Moomaw stressed.

“It’s preventing us from getting worse, but it’s not making it better,” he said.

A Cypress tree rises out of the water in a wetland forest in Courtland, Virginia.

Or, as Smith put it ominously, “we’re losing decades of time every time forests are clear cut — time we don’t have.”

Traveling back to Northampton from the protected Cypress wetlands, Smith points out clear cuts along the way. A 50-acre plot of decades-old trees cleared in the fall still bore the smell of pine — serving a jarring image less than an hour from the lush wetland forest to the east.

Enviva received 15% of those once living, standing trees — deemed “lower-value wood” by the biomass industry because it doesn’t meet the specifications for lumber.

“This is our nation’s sacrifice zone for unsustainable consumption of wood products and products we don’t need,” Smith said. “These wood pellets aren’t even producing electricity here … this is completely unnecessary.”

‘We bring positive economic impact to rural communities’

Thomas Garner has been logging — cutting down trees and loading them onto trucks — since he was 16 years old. He remembers pulling logs onto his back and loading the trucks by hand. Big machines — aptly called log loaders — have made his work much easier, but even at 83 he drives fully stocked 18-wheelers to wood and paper mills all over Northampton County and beyond.

Enviva has been good for his business as an independent contractor, he said, a sentiment echoed by others who spoke to CNN.

But the jobs come at a hefty price for Northampton County.

Local officials eager to pull Northampton out of its Tier One status — a designation by the state for its 40 lowest ranking counties in terms of economic well-being — lured companies, including Enviva, to the area with financial incentives. But these incentives actually set Northampton back, said Williams, the current Director of Economic Development in the county.

Thomas Garner has been logging since he was 16 years old and says Enviva has been good for his business.

In Enviva’s case, among the conditions the company agreed to was the creation of 62 full-time jobs, Williams said, adding that in return, Northampton County would pay the company $360,556.70 each year, in addition to 120 acres of land and upwards half a million dollars toward water, sewer and gas lines among other support.

But instead of boosting the economy out of the lowest tier, the five-year agreement was among the drivers of higher property taxes in the community.

“I think they over-incentivized their efforts to get these businesses here and it caused the tax rate to go up in order to meet the budget,” said Williams.

Between 2011 and 2019, the property tax rate in Northampton County increased nearly 6%. The county has had the third highest property tax rate in the state for the past five years.

It’s a burden many residents can’t shoulder.

Cut logs sit on a truck in Northampton County.

Northampton has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state — which almost doubled during the Covid-19 pandemic — and nearly 22% of its residents are living in poverty.

“If the wood products industry and biomass were a way of growing strong rural economies in the southeastern region, these rural communities should be some of the wealthiest on the planet,” said Smith. “We are in the world’s largest wood producing region. But you don’t see any evidence in these rural communities of thriving rural economies. The opposite is actually true.”

Enviva currently employs 98 people at their Northampton facility and pay roughly 37% more than the average wage in the county, the company told CNN in a statement, adding that they strive to hire locally if workers have the right qualifications.

The salary is one of the reasons that even Macklin applied for jobs at Enviva, most recently about two years ago. He said he worked in wood mills before and had hoped for a job close to home, but he never heard back from the company. Macklin, who recently had major heart surgery, said he won’t apply again out of concern for his health.

“I wouldn’t want to be around all that dust,” Macklin said. “I don’t want to be inhaling it.”

‘We don’t recognize the costs of this destruction’

On a hot Wednesday morning at the end of May, Joyner and fellow community activist Richie Harding, drove an hour and a half to Raleigh to protest against the wood pellet industry and deliver a petition to the governor’s office, asking him to keep future biomass operations out of North Carolina.

At a news conference, Joyner stressed that her community was a “dumping ground” for industries that nobody else wants to live near.

Harding, another lifelong Northampton County resident, called out what he perceives to be environmental racism targeting his hometown: “If Black lives matter, why is my community the desired location for a facility that would not only shorten my life, but the lives of my children?”

Despite wide-ranging arguments against biomass, Enviva has received more than $7 million in subsidies since 2013 from federal, state and local agencies to produce wood pellets for export to Europe.

Throughout the South, the biomass industry continues to grow. Twelve new plants across six states, including two proposed Enviva facilities in Alabama and Mississippi, have requested permits, according to data from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Existing plants, like the Enviva operation in Northampton, are expanding.

A log loader moves freshly cut trees in Northampton County.

The EU, which aims to be climate-neutral by 2050, is set to revise its Renewable Energy Directive this summer and is expected to update sustainability criteria for biomass. Critics hope they will restrict biomass imports from overseas, exclude whole, living trees as “waste product” and properly account for carbon emissions from cutting and burning wood.

But a draft document that surfaced this past spring does not suggest substantial changes are coming for Europe’s directive.

None of the options offered will address the two main problems with biomass: burning wood for energy is worse than burning coal, and cutting down trees “profoundly damages ecosystems and biodiversity,” Mary Booth, scientist and director at the Partnership for Policy Integrity, wrote in a critique of the draft document.

The European Commission declined to comment on the draft, but confirmed the revised directive will be published on July 14.

In the US, federal policymakers have not yet determined the fate of wood pellets.

Timber scraps cover the ground of a clear-cut site in Northampton County.

“Biomass is categorically incompatible with our climate, justice and health goals,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who successfully opposed the permitting of a biomass energy plant in his state, said in a statement to CNN. Neither the planet nor the United States, he said, can “afford to make the same … mistake that allowed the European Union to put biomass on the exact same level as truly renewable energy sources like wind and solar.”

Under former President Donald Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency planned to follow in Europe’s footsteps and classify biomass as a carbon-neutral energy source, but that never happened. Despite the Biden administration’s commitment to fight global warming, activists worry they won’t acknowledge the threat of biomass and industrial logging.

“It’s almost like in the US, all we see of value in a forest is a dollar bill,” Smith said. “We don’t recognize the costs of this destruction.”

Back in Northampton, Macklin feels just as defeated.

“Us being in a poor area… I mean, what can we do?” he said. “A company like that with money… we don’t got money to fight against it and it seems like we don’t got no one fighting for us. Not the state, no one.”

July 13, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Racism, Social justice warriors. Leave a comment.

New York Times, January 5, 1978: International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30‐Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere

https://web.archive.org/web/20161228140705/https://www.nytimes.com/1978/01/05/archives/international-team-of-specialists-finds-no-end-in-sight-to-30year.html

International Team of Specialists Finds No End in Sight to 30‐Year Cooling Trend in Northern Hemisphere

By Walter Sullivan

January 5, 1978

An international team of specialists has concluded from eight indexes of climate that there is no end in sight to the cooling trend of the last 30 years, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.

In some, but not all cases, the data extend through last winter. They include sea surface temperatures in the northcentral Pacific and north Atlantic, air temperatures at the surface and at various elevations as well as the extent of snow and ice cover at different seasons.

In almost all cases it has been found that the year‐to‐year variations in climate are far more marked than the long‐term trend. The long‐term trend often becomes evident only when data from a number of years are displayed.

The report, prepared by German, Japanese and American specialists, appears in the Dec. 15 issue of Nature, the British journal. The findings indicate that from 1950 to 1975 the cooling, per decade, of most climate indexes in the Northern Hemisphere was from 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius, roughly 0.2 to 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Data from the Southern Hemisphere, particularly south of latitude 30 south, are so meager that reliable conclusions are not possible, the report says. The 30th parallel of south latitude passes through South Africa, Chile and southern Australia. The cooling trend seems to‐extend at least part way into the Southern Hemisphere but there have been indications of warming at high southern latitudes.

The various indexes were reported as follows:

¶Average surface air temperatures recorded at 358 stations north of latitude 20 degrees south from 1951 to 1975 have been analyzed by Drs. R. Yamamoto and T. Iwashima of Kyoto University in Japan on regional and season bases. A general cooling is evident with “an intensive cooling episode” from 1961 to 1964.

¶Generally similar trends are evident in temperatures of the lower 18,000 feet of the atmosphere as charted by Dr. Horst Dronia of the Weather Office in Hannover, West Germany. For the period from 1949 to 1976, he has calculated, for 220 points in the Northern Hemisphere, the average temperature of the atmosphere from the separation between the pressure levels near the surface (at 1,000 millibars) and one high up (at 500 millibars). An increase in separation indicated expansion and hence warming. A decrease, for example, of 20 meters (66 feet) was taken to mean atmospheric shrinking, indicating a cooling in that case of I degree Celsius (almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit).

¶Observations extending higher into the atmosphere confirmed the trend. The authors were Drs. J. K. Angell and. 1. Korshover of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Laboratories. in Silver Spring, Md.

¶North Pacific water temperatures compiled by the same agency’s Marine Fisheries Service have been analyzed by Dr. Jerome Namias of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla, Calif. The original source was temperature readings of cooling water intake made by ships at a rate of more than 20,000 a month. The data, plotted for 153 locations, show a gradual cooling broken by a sharp warming in 1967‐68.

¶A similar study based on data from weather ships in the North Atlantic has been done by Dr. Martin Rodewald, former head of the Oceanic Division of the German Weather Service. Since the seven American weather ships were withdrawn in 1973 only two have remained, but observations of a cooling trend have continued.

¶A gradual increase in area of the northern circumpolar vortex, the massive flow of frigid air around the Arctic, has been recorded by Drs. Angell and Korshover. In 1976 its southern’ extent was the greatest in 10 years and last winter it was 1 percent larger than in any previous winter observed.

¶Snow and ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere have varied greatly but there has been a net increase according to a satellite photograph analysis by Dr George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont‐Doherty Geological Observatory. This has been most marked in the spring when so highly reflective a cover returns much solar energy into space at a time of intense solar radiation.

¶Antarctic sea ice coverage, after increasing to 1972, has been shrinking.

The observations come, at a time when a warming trend could have been expected from the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to extensive fuel burning. The gas inhibits the escape of solar heat from the earth. Dr. Kukla, in a telephone interview this week, said that the cause of the apparent cooling remained unknown and that no scientific attempt to predict whether the trend would continue was possible. Monitoring of the various indexes is continuing, he added.

April 23, 2021. Tags: , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Biden kills pipelines at home but promotes them for the Taliban

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/biden-kills-pipelines-at-home-but-promotes-them-for-the-taliban

Biden kills pipelines at home but promotes them for the Taliban

By Michael Rubin

February 8, 2021

On his first day in office, President Biden canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel activists should not have applauded his move.

After all, Canada will not stop extracting oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta. Instead, it will simply export oil over existing pipelines or to the Pacific Ocean, where the damage from a potential spill would be harder to address. Biden’s cancellation cost jobs and pushes Canada toward greater economic cooperation with China. It also shakes confidence in U.S. business. Who would invest in the country if any future administration can simply renege on deals with the stroke of a pen? Especially, that is, when the investments involved here reach into the billions of dollars?

Biden’s move was both political theater and an indulgence of his liberal base. But his hypocrisy was stunning even for a politician who has spent a half-century in Washington. Consider that while the Biden administration is killing a pipeline from which the public could benefit, Biden is promoting a pipeline to enrich both one of the world’s worst dictatorships and a group responsible for thousands of U.S. deaths.

The government has apparently brokered a meeting between the Turkmenistan government and the Taliban for a trans-Afghanistan pipeline to bring Turkmen gas across Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. If this scheme sounds familiar, it should: It was the same deal that now-Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad sought to make with the Taliban in the years before the Sept. 11 terror attacks when he was a consultant for the Unocal Corporation.

Khalilzad’s scheme was bad policy two decades ago, and it is even worse now.

Put aside environmental arguments and consider profit. Freedom House’s latest Freedom in the World report ranks Turkmenistan as among the world’s worst offenders, below even North Korea in terms of freedom and civil liberties. To promote the export of Turkmen gas is to entrench its regime even further. Part of the deal is then paying the Taliban protection money or transit fees for the pipeline transiting Afghan territory. Not only would this undermine the elected Afghanistan government even further, but it would also reward the Taliban for insurgency to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each month. Who needs Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers when the State Department has crafted a scheme to reward the Taliban beyond their wildest dreams?

One issue here is Khalilzad’s penchant for using diplomacy as a stepping stone to cut side deals. But the other issue is U.S. strategic interests. Perhaps a misunderstanding of the Taliban agenda was an excuse 20 years ago. It should not be one now. If the Biden administration says no to pipeline jobs in the Midwest, it should not then turn around and help enrich the Taliban to ship Turkmen gas to the Indian Ocean. It is time for Secretary of State Antony Blinken to call his envoy, end this hypocrisy, and to stop coddling some of the world’s most anti-American movements.

February 15, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Islamic terrorism, Joe Biden. Leave a comment.

Icy weather chills Texas wind energy as deep freeze grips much of U.S.

https://news.yahoo.com/icy-weather-chills-texas-wind-030156166.html

Icy weather chills Texas wind energy as deep freeze grips much of U.S.

By Steve Gorman

February 14, 2021

(Reuters) – Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas on Sunday as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers while driving electricity demand to record levels, the state’s grid operator reported.

Responding to a request from Governor Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties in the state on Sunday, authorizing U.S. agencies to coordinate disaster relief from severe weather in Texas.

The winter energy woes in Texas came as bone-chilling cold, combined with snow, sleet and freezing rain, gripped much of the United States from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Plains and into the mid-Atlantic states over the weekend.

An Arctic air mass causing the chill extended southward well beyond areas accustomed to icy weather, with winter storm warnings posted for much of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri, the National Weather Service said.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, issued an alert asking consumers and businesses to conserve power, citing record-breaking energy demands due to extreme cold gripping the state.

“We are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units,” the agency said.

Wind farms in West Texas, stricken by weekend ice storms, were particularly hard hit.

Of the 25,000-plus megawatts of wind-power capacity normally available in Texas, some 12,000 megawatts was out of service as of Sunday morning “due to the winter weather event we’re experiencing in Texas,” ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko said.

Wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies last year, behind natural gas, which represented 45%, according to ERCOT figures.

Forecasts call for heavy snow and freezing rain to spread across a larger swath of central and eastern sections of the country through Monday, with a storm front in the West likely to dump 1 to 2 feet of snow in the Cascades and northern Rockies through Tuesday, according to the weather service.

February 15, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Achtung Baby! (It’s Cold Outside) – Germany’s ‘Green’ Energy Fail Rescued by Coal and Gas

https://21stcenturywire.com/2021/02/09/achtung-baby-its-cold-outside-germanys-green-energy-fail-rescued-by-coal-and-gas/

Achtung Baby! (It’s Cold Outside) – Germany’s ‘Green’ Energy Fail Rescued by Coal and Gas

February 9, 2021

Barely a week after Davos luminaries met with world leaders and Silicon Valley oligarchs to plot their latest phase of the Great Reset, the underlying provenance of their entire ‘climate emergency’ thesis is still struggling to correspond with reality.

Their much-celebrated “Zero Carbon” agenda which virtue-signaling leaders like Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden are currently advocating for – is proving to be a lot more difficult to achieve in reality than it is on their elaborate UN Agenda 2030 Powerpoint slides, computer modeled projections and Zoom calls.

No one is being hit with this sobering reality more than the Europe’s premier green trailblazer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is currently in the grips of Europe’s record-breaking freeze this winter.

Stop These Things reports…

Germany’s held up as the world’s wind and solar capital. But, at the moment, the ‘green’ stuff can’t be purchased, at any price.

Its millions of solar panels are blanketed in snow and ice and breathless, freezing weather is encouraging its 30,000 wind turbines to do absolutely nothing, at all. [Note: don’t forget about the constant supply of electricity from the grid that these things chew up heating their internal workings so they don’t freeze up solid!]

So much for the ‘transition’ to an all wind and sun powered future – aka the ‘Energiewende’.

Despite being the object of consternation and much vilification over the last 20 years, Germany’s coal-fired plants are now being appreciated for what they are: truly meaningful power generation sources, available on demand, whatever the weather. With a Nationwide blackout a heartbeat away, the German obsession with unreliable wind and solar is like a time bomb set to explode.

Last month, Pierre Gosselin from No Tricks Zone explained how tradition energy sources like coal, nuclear and gas have bailed out Germany’s failing solar and wind green boondoggle…

Berlin On The Brink! Winter Blackouts Loom As Coal Plants Run At 100% Capacity, Struggle To Keep Lights On In

Wintertime wind and solar energy “between 0 and 2 or 3 percent – that is de facto zero,” says German power distribution professor. 

Berlin’s power supply severely strained:

Germany now finds itself in the dead of winter. Much of the country has seen considerable snowfall, meaning solar panels are often covered by snow and thus rendered useless. Even without snow cover, the weeks-long overcast sky prevents any noteworthy solar power generation.

Moreover, this winter there have been many long windless periods, and so Germany’s approx. 30,000 wind turbines have been largely out of operation. In a world 100% reliant on green energies, this would mean near 100% darkness at home.

Luckily Germany’s still existing coal and nuclear power infrastructure is (still) there to step in and keep the power on and the country running. This has been the case for Berlin this winter an RBB German television report reveals:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgYubOxsjmI

German RBB (Berlin-Brandenburg) public broadcasting recently aired a report (above) on the region’s winter energy woes titled: “Germany’s green energies strained by winter.”

Coal to the rescue

The report acknowledges that all the power is “currently coming mainly from coal, and the power plants in Lausitz” are now “running at full capacity”.

Strangely the RBB report has been taken down from the archives, yet is fortunately available on YouTube thanks to wind energy protest group Vernunftkraft.de.

In the report Daniel Bartig, a mechanic at the LEAG Lausitz plant, tells RBB he is skeptical that green energy can do the job, and says “the greatest share of power is currently coming from coal.”

Green energies will not keep pace with demand

Next in the report, RBB interviews Harald Schwarz, professor of power distribution at the University of Cottbus, who tells RBB he’s very skeptical of wind and solar energy doing the job. As Germany moves to shut down its reliable nuclear and coal power plants, the gap between supply and demand will grow dangerously wide.

Physical reality “totally neglected” by policymakers

According to Prof. Schwarz:

With this supply of wind and photovoltaic energy, it’s between 0 and 2 or 3 percent – that is de facto zero. You can see it in many diagrams that we have days, weeks, in the year where we have neither wind nor PV. Especially this time for example – there is no wind and PV, and there are often times when the wind is very miniscule.  These are things, I must say, that have been physically established and known for centuries, and we’ve simply totally neglected this during the green energies discussion.”
Will have to rely on foreign energy in the future

RBB then warns of the increased odds of blackouts for the region, like the blackout in Berlin in 2019.

So what will happen in the future?

The reporter says the plan is that Germany will have to rely more on natural gas (from Russia), coal power from Poland and nuclear power from France.

Green energy dumbness and obstinance on full public display.

February 11, 2021. Tags: , , , , , , . Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

Canceling the Keystone pipeline has everything to do with virtue signalling, and nothing to do with actually reducing carbon emissions, because the cancellation will actually cause emissions to go up, not down 

A new report shows that canceling the Keystone pipeline will cause carbon dioxide emissions to go up by the equivalent of putting 490,000 more cars on the road. This is because without the pipeline, the oil will be transported by train, which burns fossil fuels.

In other words, canceling the Keystone pipeline has everything to do with virtue signalling, and nothing to do with actually reducing carbon emissions.

February 8, 2021. Tags: , , , , . Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Democrat John Kerry’s Family Owns Private Jet Despite His Role Combating Fossil Fuels In Biden Admin

https://www.dailywire.com/news/democrat-john-kerrys-family-owns-private-jet-despite-his-role-combating-fossil-fuels-in-biden-admin-report

Democrat John Kerry’s Family Owns Private Jet Despite His Role Combating Fossil Fuels In Biden Admin

By Ryan Saavedra

January 28, 2021 

The family of U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, a Democrat, owns a private jet, even though Kerry has been tasked with overseeing aspects of the Biden administration’s climate agenda.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “registry shows a Gulfstream Aerospace jet owned by Flying Squirrel LLC, the name previously reported for Teresa Heinz-Kerry’s private charter jet company. The company’s listed address matches that of the Heinz Family Foundation,” Fox News reported. “According to FAA records, the jet’s registration certificate was issued in July of 2005 and expires in October of 2023.”

Honeywell Aerospace noted in a 2019 report that private jets “burn 40 times as much carbon per passenger as regular commercial flights,” The Guardian reported.

“During his 2004 presidential run, Kerry’s campaign made 60 payments to his wife’s charter jet company, totaling $273,171,” Fox News reporter Peter Hasson added. “As late as 2013, his executive branch personnel financial disclosure showed Kerry owning ‘over $1,000,001’ in assets for ‘Flying Squirrel LLC’ through his wife.”

The mere appearance of hypocrisy by the climate-concerned Kerry is similar to a 2017 report that accused former Vice President Al Gore, also a Democrat, of using significantly more electricity at his mansion per year than the average American.

The National Center for Public Policy Research said Gore’s electric bills from his Nashville home were “at least” 21 times higher than the average American household “because they only looked at the energy consumption at Gore’s Nashville home, not his other two houses,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“In one peak month, September last year, Gore’s power consumption at the Nashville home reached 34 times that of a typical American home,” THR added. “The study indicates that Gore’s 20-room, 10,070 square-foot mansion used nearly 231,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the last 12 months compared with less than 11,000 for an average American house. One of his findings, Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter, is that the amount of electricity Gore uses to heat his pool each year could power the average U.S. home for six years.”

Kerry has faced criticism for remarks he made this week about green energy jobs and how those who work in the fossil fuel industry can get new jobs making solar panels.

“What an arrogant, out-of-touch statement for a centimillionaire to say,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in response to Kerry’s remarks. “You know, ‘You little people, you know, I don’t like the choices you’re making,  and so your jobs go away,’ as John Kerry said right there. Quelle surprise that the Democratic elites have decided that blue-collar workers, that union members, that men and women with calluses on their hands, they’ve made the wrong choices, in John Kerry’s words.”

“I’ve asked multiple Biden nominees what they would say to the union workers who just lost their jobs because Joe Biden decided they didn’t deserve a job,” Cruz added. “And essentially nominee after nominee after nominee has said, ‘Well, tough luck.’”

January 28, 2021. Tags: , , , , , . Environmentalism, Joe Biden. Leave a comment.

Since we started burning fossil fuels on a widespread, global scale, the number of people killed by natural disasters has gotten smaller, not bigger

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

September 28, 2020

Since we started burning fossil fuels on a widespread, global scale, the number of people killed by natural disasters has gotten smaller, not bigger.

Does this mean that we have fewer natural disasters now than in the past?

No.

Instead, what it means is that the huge amount of wealth that we have created by burning fossil fuels has made us better able to withstand natural disasters.

This chart shows the number of people killed (per 100,000 population) by natural disasters by decade.

You can see a bigger version of the chart by clicking this link: https://www.businessinsider.com/natural-disasters-used-to-be-so-much-worse-2015-2

 

September 28, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. 1 comment.

California’s Bay Area may require telecommuting, even after the pandemic wanes

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/california-s-bay-area-likes-telecommuting-so-much-it-might-n1240898

California’s Bay Area may require telecommuting, even after the pandemic wanes

A proposal would have employees at large companies working remotely three days a week, even after the pandemic, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By David Ingram

September 23, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO — Many office workers are doing their jobs from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the trend has given some authorities in California an idea: Make it mandatory.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a regional government agency in the San Francisco Bay Area, voted Wednesday to move forward with a proposal to require people at large, office-based companies to work from home three days a week as a way to slash greenhouse gas emissions from car commutes.

It’s a radical suggestion that likely would have been a non-starter before Covid-19 shuttered many offices in March, but now that corporate employees have gotten a taste of not commuting, transportation planners think the idea has wider appeal.

“There is an opportunity to do things that could not have been done in the past,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a member of the transportation commission who supports the proposal. She said she felt “very strongly” that a telecommuting mandate ought to be a part of the region’s future.

The proposal was wrapped into a much bigger 36-page package of policies about what the Bay Area should look like in the year 2050, and what steps the area could take to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The commission voted to approve the overall plan 11-1, with some absences.

Although the proposal is in its early stages, it appears to be the most extreme example yet of pandemic life seeming to become permanent.

Some of the nation’s largest companies are headquartered in the Bay Area, including not only tech giants Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel and Netflix, but Chevron, Levi Strauss and Wells Fargo.

Some corporations, such as Facebook, have embraced remote work as a longterm strategy. But many, including Apple, have built flashy and car-centric campuses in anticipation of having employees generally on-site in non-pandemic times.

The idea of a mandate was a surprise to residents, many of whom first learned of the idea this week from social media and then flooded an online meeting of the transportation agency Wednesday to try, unsuccessfully, to talk commissioners out of the idea.

“We do not want to continue this as a lifestyle,” Steven Buss, a Google software engineer who lives in San Francisco, told the commission.

“We are all sacrificing now to reduce the spread of the virus, but no one is enjoying working from home,” he said. “It’s probably fine if you own a big house out in the suburbs and you’re nearing retirement, but for young workers like me who live in crowded conditions, working from home is terrible.”

Many callers pointed out that the situation exacerbates inequality because only some types of work can be done from home. Others worried about the ripple effects on lunch spots, transit agencies and other businesses and organizations that rely on revenue from office workers.

Still other residents said that if car emissions are the problem, the commission should focus on cars, not all commutes.

“Yes, yes, yes, we want to reduce greenhouse gases, but why aren’t you considering transit? Walking? Biking?” said one caller, Stacey Randecker.

Dustin Moskovitz, a cofounder of Facebook who usually keeps a low public profile, mocked the idea as an indictment of the Bay Area’s general failure to plan for growth.

“We tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas,” Moskovitz, now CEO of software company Asana, tweeted Tuesday.

The mandate would apply to “large, office-based employers” and require them to have at least 60 percent of their employees telecommute on any given workday. They could meet the requirement through flexible schedules, compressed work weeks or other alternatives.

Though a broader project planning for 2050 has been in the works for months, the work-from-home mandate was a late addition and came before commissioners only two weeks ago, said Nick Josefowitz, a member of the commission who expressed concern about it.

Josefowitz tried Wednesday to amend the mandate to allow for walking to work or taking transit, but opponents said any delay to the plan could cause the commission to miss a key funding deadline or fall short of targets for reducing emissions.

“If we start amending this plan at this late hour, do you have any rabbits in your hat that’s going to get us to the finish line?” asked Jim Spering, a commission member from Solano County, north of the bay. Commission staff said they had no such rabbit, meaning another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much.

A member of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s planning staff, Dave Vautin, said the idea seemed to be popular in surveys, with about three-quarters of Bay Area residents supporting the concept.

“We were really being responsive to the public feedback,” he said.

Therese McMillan, the commission’s executive director, said there would be time to flesh out the details and account for green types of commutes like walking. The plan will come back before the commission again before the end of the year, and then there would be an implementation period — which may overlap with the pandemic anyway.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a member of the commission, said he wants to see significant changes, in part because of the disproportionate impact on low-income residents.

“We’re going to find that the impacts — socially and psychologically — of this isolation will be with us for a generation, and working from home is certainly not the ideal solution,” he said.

September 27, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . COVID-19, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

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