|Every week Daily Kos diarists write dozens of environmentally related posts. Many don't get the readership they deserve. Helping improve the odds is the motivation behind the Green Diary Rescue. In the past seven years, there have been 250 of these spotlighting more than 15,228 eco-diaries. Below are categorized links and excerpts to 66 more that appeared in the past seven days. That makes for lots of good reading during the spare moments of your weekend. [Disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary in the rescue does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.]|
Ikea produces enough clean energy to match a third of its global energy use—by VL Baker: "Ikea is now producing enough sustainable energy to supply a third of its global energy use and they will continue to produce more until they reach their impressive commitment of being carbon neutral by 2020. Swedish retailer IKEA announced the purchase of a 46-megawatt wind farm in Alberta, Canada. The 20-turbine farm is expected to generate 161 gigawatt-hours of power each year, or more than double the total energy consumption of IKEA Canada. The output is equivalent to the consumption of 32 IKEA stores or the average power consumption of 13,500 Canadian homes, the company said. Globally, IKEA has committed to 157 wind turbines and has installed around 550,000 solar panels on its buildings, and in fiscal year 2013, IKEA produced enough renewable energy to match 37 percent of its consumption. All is not perfect with Ikea as it has been connected with questionable deforestation practices in the past, though it does seems to retract when necessary (bad for business)."
••• •• •••
Killing Coal - A Very Convenient Truth—by Wisper: "I hate apocalyptic environmentalists. We have a grave crisis on our hands but we do NOT need to be brow-beaten over and over about how we’re all going to die and there is nothing we can do. The fact is that on this one particular front, with this one key contributor to global warming and environmental pollution, we are WINNING. In January of 2008 coal was trading at close to $140 per ton (or “short ton” which is the term the industry uses to differentiate from the British 2240lb “long ton”). Right now it’s at $53.54/short ton. That hurts. A lot."
Continue below the fold where you'll find more rescued green diaries.
Warsaw Walkout: "COP Polluters Talk, We Walk"—by boatsie: "As business proceeds as usual inside the Plenaries and meeting rooms during the first ever Cities Dayat COP19, NGOs and civil society are staging a walkout. From the Presser: 'We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth… [that] The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing'. [...] "Climate is definitely back on the agenda," writes Natan Doron of the Fabian Society in A warning from Warsaw. 'This is precisely the message being given by NGOs such as Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, 350.org, Friends of the Earth and ActionAid together with the international trade union movement as they stage a walk-out protest at the international climate negotiations in Warsaw today. This will be the first time that there has been a mass withdrawal from a COP.'"
Solutions Sheila Sisulu stresses the need
for farmers in Africa and India to shift to
climate smart agriculture.
Warsaw: En Plein Air—by boatsie: "Warsaw, Poland. November 18, 2013:
From their elevated positions on the podiums at both official and offsite COP19 talks, presenters seem to love mentioning how many UN Climate Talks (COPs) they have attended, how much hope accompanied them at their first one, how the sense of urgency is, at this point in time, nearly unbearable. Without doubt, there is a genuine craving for cooperation, a sense, for example, that if the delegates would only truly listen to the business community, if they would just sit down long enough to internalize the science, if the voices of women and the young and the indigenous were sufficiently broadcasted, something could be accomplished. The problem as I see it is that to gain access to the discussions means you have to astutely operate within the framework which created them, a framework which, over the past twenty years, has taken on a life of its own. A language of its own which is exclusive and excluding. Rarified and hieroglyphic. Unfathomable and boring."
Warsaw: Global Landscape Forum Launches Alongside COP19—by boatsie: "As climate talks continued at COP19 and climate activists took to the streets of Warsaw to demand an end to business as usual, the first Global Landscapes Forum debuted at the University of Warsaw Saturday, launching a two day conference to promote a novel holistic approach to addressing climate change while meeting the need to sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050. Fast on the heels of Rio+20 and the publishing of the twelve Sustainable Development Goals, the GLF attracted hundreds of participants (world leaders, policymakers, scientists, donors, the private sector, indigenous and community groups, and climate negotiators) to participate in discussions on how agriculture and forestry—which contribute up to one third of GHGs—can collaborate to design and implement solutions which surpass traditional sector-specific approaches."
Fossil fuel companies take over UN climate talks in Warsaw; talks in shambles—by VL Baker: "The Guardian is reporting that fossil fuel companies have taken over the COP19 UN climate talks in Warsaw causing a disastrious mass walk out by major green groups. The groups including 350.org, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth, the International Trade Union confederation and ActionAid have all said they will leave the talks and not return. 'It has become quite flagrantly obvious that progress to reach any legally binding climate treaty is being obstructed by the lobbying forces of the fossil fuel industry. As we can see from this COP, they've had a very strong presence before and during.'"
International Coal Summit Putting Faith in the Carbon Capture Techno-Dream—by KGrandia: "A new study released today at the UN climate conference underway in Warsaw, Poland finds that new coal plants cannot be built if we are to keep global warming below the 2° Celsius threshold. That is, unless the coal industry can deploy commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS). The report, titled: New unabated coal is not compatible with keeping global warming below 2°C, finds that of all the fossil fuels, coal is the easiest to substitute with renewable technologies and that: 'The current global trend of coal use is consistent with an emissions pathway above the IEA's [International Energy Agency] 6°C scenario. That risks an outcome that can only be described as catastrophic, beyond anything that mankind has experienced during its entire existence on earth.' In other words, CCS better work and work fast."
Climate Change as a Business Model—by Todd Gitlin via TomDispatch: "Apocalyptic climate change is upon us. For shorthand, let’s call it a slow-motion apocalypse to distinguish it from an intergalactic attack out of the blue or a suddenly surging Genesis-style flood. Slow-motion, however, is not no-motion. In fits and starts, speeding up and slowing down, turning risks into clumps of extreme fact, one catastrophe after another—even if there can be no 100% certitude about the origin of each one—the planetary future careens toward the unlivable. That future is, it seems, arriving ahead of schedule, though erratically enough that most people—in the lucky, prosperous countries at any rate—can still imagine the planet conducting something close to business as usual. [...] Fossilized corporations do their thing while frozen governments produce (or opt out of) hapless and toothless international agreements. By default, initiative must arise elsewhere—in places where reason and passion have some purchase as well as a tradition, places where new power may be created and deployed. This counterpower is, in fact, developing."
The Road Ahead (and Some Bumps Along the Way)—by Michael Brune: "Between the devastation in the Philippines, deadly floods in Sardinia and Vietnam, and the COP 19 UN climate change summit in Poland, the last ten days or so have delivered more than the usual collection of global stories on climate and energy issues. But a lot was going on here at home, too, and those stories speak both to why we need a 100 percent clean energy future and the road that will get us there."
Haiyan is an example of climate change making things worse—by gregladen: "It is often said that it is impossible to link a given weather event with climate change. This is no longer true, if it ever was. The typical climate for a region or a season tells us what weather is “normal.” Climate change is pushing us into a new normal; the climate has warmed, there is more energy in the atmosphere, the jet streams have changed their configuration and are thus more likely to stall weather patterns as happened this year in Calgary and Colorado. This is the new climate, and thus, there is a new normal for the weather in any given region or season. It appears that the new normal is now, and will increasingly be in the future, one with a significantly greater threat of damage, injury, and death from major tropical storms and other severe weather events. There are many approaches to addressing this problem, but most of them start with one initial step: stop denying the importance and reality of the accepted science of climate change."
Tornadoes in November! Is Winter Coming?—by Willinois: "I just sat through the most bizarre November storm I've ever seen in Illinois. After tornadoes with hail blowing sideways, it's now 70 degrees, sunny and beautiful. For those who don't know, tornado season is supposed to be in spring and summer. Not November!There isn't much research on whether climate change contributes to more tornadoes. More focus is given to how it will impact coastal cities. As Sarah Palin would say, thanks for nothing northeastern intellectual elites! But, scientists have told us climate change would lead to more frequent severe storms, more precipitation, and more unseasonable variation in temperatures, which all describe the conditions leading to the freak storm we saw in Illinois today. In November!"
ALERT: HIGH RISK severe weather outbreak on Sunday across Midwest; violent tornadoes possible—by Weatherdude: "A rare "HIGH RISK" severe thunderstorm outbreak is expected across the Midwestern United States during the day on Sunday, bringing with it the possibility of several violent, long-lived tornadoes, widespread damaging winds, and hail up to the size of golf balls. The following shows the Storm Prediction Center's severe weather forecast as of Midnight CST. The risk zones are likely going to change with subsequent forecasts, so always check with the Storm Prediction Center's website for the latest information.cOnly a couple of high risk severe weather outbreaks occur each year. This is the second high risk issued this year, and the first high risk issued in the month of November since 2005."
Food, Agriculture & Gardening
Farm to Fork to First Amendment—Fighting Ag-Gag Laws—by Wisper: "In 2003, in response to a growing number of whistle-blower reports and videos surfacing about the treatment of animals, sanitation conditions and overall practices of industrial livestock farming, ALEC created a “model bill” called the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act that would seek to criminalize the production of these videos. The bills that would soon proliferate into State Houses around the country became known as 'Ag-Gag Bills' since their clear intent was to silence any reporter that tried to communicate what they found to the public. The tactics used in this effort are a simple two-pronged approach."
Macca's Meatless Monday: There should be a revolution at the COP19 climate talks—by VL Baker: "Given the extreme state of the climate on our planet; there should be a revolution at the COP19 climate talks currently being held in Warsaw but there won't be. People should be storming the gates to try to influence the decision makers assembled at the meeting but that's not the way things are done. The urgency which has been depicted in recent extreme storms, droughts and floods does not seem to register there. Instead there is a methodical adherence to protocol and I suppose there is logic to that but the situation outside the gates demands so much more. What will it take for the gates to be stormed?In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, frugal living, public health, global food crisis, water and land depletion and the immense contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change."
Hours Left to Protect Small Farmers! (with poll)—by Illegitimi non carborundum: "The FDA comment period for the Food Safety & Modernization Act ends tonight at 11:59 pm EST. If you're not a farmer, why should you care? Well, if you're a consumer of local produce and products like maple syrup, pies or organically raised meat, you may see fewer producers and less variety from those producers if these regulations take effect as written. If you believe in fresh, local, sustainable food, and support the family farms and small organic farmers in your county and state, please read on and take action tonight."
Saturday Morning Garden Blogging Vol. 9.40—by Frankenoid: "We're now in the dark-dark of the year, the 3 months from late November to late February and, right on time, Denver's first real winter storm arrived. On Monday, November 18, the high was 64°; on Thursday, November 21, the high was 25° and the low was 12° — and it snowed. Not a lot of snow, but snow. I made the first pot of chicken noodle soup of the season."
Global Green Solutions: Tribal Renewable Energy in America—by mole333: "Native Americans are one of the most ignored communities in the US. And, as is covered in some of the Native American diaries on dKos, one of the many things Indian Country has to endure is not being able to afford adequate heating during cold winters. Let's be clear on this. People, particularly children and elderly, die because of inadequate heating right here in the United States. Trees, Water, People is working on a long term solution to this problem, purchasing solar heating for homes in Indian Country, primarily in South Dakota, to provide (once installed!) very cheap, long-term heating."
Campaign Against Net Metering: ALEC and Utility Interests’ Next Attack on Clean Energy Surfaces—by elsner: "On Thursday, the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC), the state entity responsible for regulating utilities, voted to charge ratepayers a monthly fee of 70 cents per kilowatt of solar energy installed on their roof. Arizona Public Service (APS) had proposed charging customers who install rooftop solar panels an additional $50-100 on their monthly bills. APS is an investor-owned utility that serves over 1 million customers and generates the majority of its electricity from coal, nuclear, gas and oil. Ultimately, the ACC’s accepted a compromise struck between the solar industry and the Residential Utility Consumers Office (RUCO) to charge solar system owners a much smaller fee per month. According to solar companies operating in the state, APS was attempting to 'tax the sun,' and APS’s proposed changes would have 'erase[d] the financial incentive for using solar.' The ACC decision was a blow to APS, and while the fee will slightly impact the Arizona solar industry, it will not be the deathblow APS had proposed. The newly adopted fee would translate into approximately $5 for the average homeowner with a solar power installation."
"Drill, Baby, Drill!" Cries House, Passing Two Energy Bills and Killing All Democratic Amendments—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Today, the House voted on—and passed—two horrible energy bills. Both are DOA in the Senate, thankfully. First up was a bill that would force regulators to speed up oil and gas drilling permits and offer more federal lands for energy development. The legislation would automatically approve onshore drilling permits if Interior failed to act on them in 60 days. As you may have here at the Daily Kos earlier today, the bill would require individuals to pay a $5,000 fee in order to to file an official protest against a proposed drilling project. [...] The second bill (H.R. 2728), the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act, blocks the Department of Interior from regulating fracking in states that already have their own regulations in place. The regulations currently pending at Interior would require full disclosure of all chemicals used during fracking and will likely to contain language on well integrity and the management of flowback water."
BP hires trolls to harass critics—by gjohnsit: "Accusing someone of being a paid shill of a mega-corporations or the government is usually the domain of the konspiracy theorist. However, the practice of being a paid shill is more common than many believe. Take for example British Petroleum. The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history. The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened."
The Risky Fuel-rod Removal begins—so far so good—by jamess: "The first stage will see 22 of the 4.5 metre long tubes removed [from the Fukushima reactor] over two days and placed in a common pool with a cooling system. [There are more than 1,500 such assemblies in the pool.] The casks must remain watertight during the operation and have no contact with air. An American expert taken on by the operator, Lake Barrett, said he was confident Tepco would do a good job. But several other engineers, both Japanese and foreign, have warned that any errors during the process could have grave consequences, such as sudden leaks of radioactive material."
Illinois College Students Vote Six to One in Favor of Divestment—by Mary Anne Hitt: "On Friday night, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC or UofI) became the latest school (of the 300+ campuses working on fossil fuel divestment) to pass a student-wide divestment referendum. With all votes tallied, they had won with 6-to-1 in favor of divestment. Bottom line: 86 percent of the voting student body demonstrated their support of coal divestment at UIUC! To secure a referendum on the student ballot, the UIUC Beyond Coal group had to collect petition signatures from seven percent of the student body: 3,038 signatures in total. And right when the UIUC Beyond Coal campaign students were hundreds of miles away from campus, in the middle of Power Shift, they got the go-ahead to start collecting petition signatures –with less than three weeks to deliver all 3,000. In the span of two weeks, Beyond Coal gathered over 4,000 signatures to get the resolution on the ballot. On Friday Nov 15, the divestment referendum passed 6-1, with 1,730 YES votes."
Burma's 2013 Oil Boom: This is What Unregulated Oil Extraction Looks Like—by War on Error: "Thousands seize chance to profit from abandoned wells in spirit of enterprise denied under former military regime. At the end of the last dirt road in Thayet, Maung Ko Oo, 25, is standing thigh-deep in a pit of crude oil, his longyi tied up high around his waist, a sweaty vein of black tar streaked across his forehead. His boss—a round-faced man sporting a baseball cap and ruby ring—is standing over him, shouting out orders to the half-dressed men relaying oil-filled buckets to the huge barrels lining their station. As the early afternoon sun arcs high over these dusty hills in central Burma, the men climb atop the barrels and pour in the oil bucket by bucket, then roll the filled barrels up a ridge and into the back of a truck. All around them, thousands of workers are doing the same— digging for oil, drilling for oil, collecting the oil, and selling it off to local refineries—in unregulated, artisanal pits which they claim can fetch up to 300 barrels of crude oil a day, worth $3,000 (£2,000) at local market prices. I imagine Oil and Gas Magnates here in the job-killing, regulated, freedom sucking United States must salivate at the FREE MARKET Oil Industry in recently freed from Miliary Rule Burma."
Renewables, Efficiency & Conservation
Net Zero and Beyond—by gmoke: "Cambridge, MA has been debating a net zero energy and/or emissions standard (http://www.netzerocambridge.org) for new buildings over 25,000 square feet since the Spring of 2013, partially because of an ecodistrict plan with MIT and others on a large parcel in East Cambridge (a plan MIT refused to make net zero even though they are rumored to be building a net zero project with some of the same partners in Basel, Switzerland)."
My son, The Last Airbender, and Renewable Energy—by Brainwrap: "My 7-year old is a big fan of the Nickolodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender from a few years back (he's watching them now on DVD). [...] In any event, my son and I were just talking about solar panels and renewable energy in general, about the difference between solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and geothermal energy, when he suddenly said something that gave me a momentary 'holy shit! he's right!' moment: 'Those are the four nations from Avatar!' Yup, he's right—the 4 major renewable energy sources just happen to be: Solar Panels (Fire Nation); Wind Turbines (Air Nation); Hydroelectric (Water Nation)
Geothermal (Earth Nation)."
LADWP backpedalling slams solar customers with delays—by BaileyA: "Hundreds of Angelenos that have chosen to generate their own power using rooftop solar are being punished with a terrible consumer experience. After approving hundreds of solar agreements for its customers, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is trying to require customers to re-sign these contracts. This process has been extremely painstaking for the solar industry and confusing to customers. LADWP wants to have hundreds of solar customers re-sign standard agreements after adding an amendment, even though the agreements had already been approved by LADWP. Without the re-signed contracts, LADWP is restricting these customers from moving forward in the process and interconnecting their systems to the grid. This unfair practice has been occurring for months."
Big oil lobbyist/marine guardian praises draft fracking regulations—by Dan Bacher: "A powerful oil industry lobbyist praised draft fracking regulations released by the Brown administration on November 15 for creating an 'environmental platform' for the expansion of hydraulic fracking operations in California, while environmentalists condemned the regulations for falling short of protecting California lands and waters from fracking. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged 'marine protected areas' in Southern California, said she was pleased that the Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources have been able to 'promptly release' draft hydraulic fracturing regulations. 'Governor Brown signed SB 4 less than two months ago, and the state has worked expeditiously to implement this new comprehensive law,' said Reheis-Boyd. 'These regulations are extensive but strike the right balance that will result in an environmental platform which will ensure that the potential energy resources contained in the Monterey Shale formation can be responsibly developed.'"
CO-Gov: Celebrities Call On John Hickenlooper (D) To Ban Fracking—by poopdogcomedy: "It’s the question several B and C-list celebrities offer up in a new web advertisement targeting Gov. John Hickenlooper for his support of the controversial oil and gas drilling practice known as fracking. The celebrities, who span from Lance Bass to Hayden Panettiere and Wilmer Valderrama, urge Hickenlooper to 'ban fracking.' But Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is not alone. Sponsored by Americans Against Fracking, the 30-second spots also target other Democrats, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama."
Illinois Proposes $50 Fines for Fracking and Kills a Cougar—by Willinois: "Some fracking violations will cost companies only $50 under rules proposed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Also, they killed a mountain lion. These are two unrelated actions by separate divisions of the agency. But, does it reflect misplaced priorities toward nature and resources?"
Fracking Lobby’s Tax Forms: Big Bucks to Media, “Other ALECs,” Democratic PR Firms—by Steve Horn: "America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA)- the public relations arm of the oil and gas fracking industry—has released its2012 Internal Revenue Services (IRS) 990 form, and it’s rich with eye-opening revelations, some of which we report here for the first time. Incorporated as American Natural Gas Alliance, Inc., ANGA received $76.7 million from its dues-paying members for fiscal year 2012. Not strictly a lobbying force alone at the state-level and federal-level, ANGA has pumped millions of dollars into public relations and advertising efforts around the country and hundreds of thousands more into other influence-peddling avenues. The Nation Magazine‘s Lee Fang revealed in a recent piece that ANGA gave $1 million in funding to 'Truthland,' a pro-fracking film released to fend off Josh Fox’s 'Gasland: Part II.'"
Fracking is causing serious air pollution, new rules in Colorado proposed—by JesseC: "The response from fracking groups to the new rules has been tepid. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a group which claims fracking can be done safely, helped create the proposed legislation. Fracking has grown increasingly controversial as people in shale areas feel the environmental and health impacts of the hundreds of thousands of wells drilled each year. In the debate over fracking, EDF has played the role of the pro-industry 'environmental' group. They have partnered with the oil industry to produce a series of studies on the dangers of methane pollution from fracking. Their first study, which was published in September of 2013, found surprisingly low methane pollution from specific parts of the fracking process. However, the sampling of fracking wells used in the study was controlled by the gas corporations who owned them, and many of those involved in the study were later found to have significant ties to the gas industry."
California Congresswoman calls for offshore fracking moratorium—by Dan Bacher: "On November 19, Representative Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for a moratorium on offshore fracking activities in federal waters off the coast of California until a comprehensive study is conducted to determine the impacts of fracking activities on the marine environment and public health. Requests under the Freedom of Information Act, along with Associated Press and truthout.org reports and an analysis from the Environmental Defense Center, have to date revealed that California’s coastal waters have been fracked at least 203 times in the last 20 years. Capps said she has been pushing federal regulators for information on this issue for months and 'continues to monitor onshore and offshore fracking activities closely.'"
Keystone and Other Fossil Fuel Transportation
House GOP Tries to Meddle with Pipeline Permitting Process, 26 Democrats Join Them—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Today, the House voted on the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, a bill that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve applications for natural gas pipelines within 12 months. The bill would also require other related agencies to approve related permits within 90 days, with the approval becoming automatic if the deadline is missed. The legislation is DOA in the Senate, particularly because the administration opposes it: 'The bill's requirements could force agencies to make decisions based on incomplete information or information that may not be available within the stringent deadlines, and to deny applications that otherwise would have been approved, but for lack of sufficient review time,' the administration said this week. 'For these reasons, the bill may actually delay projects or lead to more project denials, undermining the intent of the legislation.'"
US Court Denies Halt on Pipeline Set to Replace Keystone XL Northern Half—by Steve Horn: "A story covered only by McClatchy News' Michael Doyle, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson shot down Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) request for an immediate injunction in constructing Enbridge's Flanagan South tar sands pipeline in a 60-page ruling. That 600-mile long, 600,000 barrels per day proposed line runs from Flanagan, Illinois - located in the north central part of the state - down to Cushing, Oklahoma, dubbed the 'pipeline crossroads of the world.' The proposed 694-mile, 700,000 barrels per day proposed Transcanada Keystone XL northern half also runs to Cushing from Alberta, Canada and requires U.S. State Department approval, along with President Barack Obama's approval. Because Flanagan South is not a border-crossing line, it doesn't require the State Department or Obama's approval. If Keystone XL's northern half's permit is denied, Flanagan South - along with Enbridge's proposal to expand its Alberta Clipper pipeline, approved by Obama's State Department during Congress' recess in August 2009 - would make up that half of the pipeline's capacity and then some."
Eco-Related DC & State Politics
House Bill Written for Oil & Gas Companies Would Impose $5,000 Fee for Protesting Drilling Projects—by David Harris Gershon: "The House is set to vote this week on the Federal Lands Jobs and Security Act, a sweeping piece of legislation intended to make it easier for oil and gas companies to drill on public lands. The bill, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), is broad legislation designed to make it much easier for oil and gas companies to obtain permission to drill on public lands. If signed into law, the legislation would automatically approve onshore drilling permits if the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) failed to act on them in 60 days. If an individual does not like a proposed drilling project and wanted to oppose it, he or she would have to pay a $5,000 fee to file an official protest."
Who Represents the Illinois Town Just Razed by a November Tornado?—by : "Tornadoes don't normally occur in the Midwest in November. Peak-tornado season there occurs in June and July. And, as we know, climate change increases the frequency and severity of such storms. When I saw the tragic destruction of Washington and the ties to the broader issue of climate action, I wondered, 'Who represents those towns in Congress?' Republican Aaron Schock: What do we know about Schock's record on climate issues? He voted to bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases."
Is Mary Landrieu (D-Oil and Gas) Next in Line for Energy Chair?—by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees: "Ron Wyden currently is currently chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The #2 in the Committee, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, will be retiring. The next in line for Energy would be Mary Landrieu. For anyone concerned with the current and future health of the planet and of its people, that should be a horrifying prospect. Mary Landrieu, the Democratic senator from Louisiana, holds the honor of being the only Democratic senator with a lifetime League of Conservation Voters (LCV) score below 50%. She may even be the only Democrat in either House to have a lifetime LCV score below 50%; anti-environment Democrats like John Barrow (GA-12), Mike McIntyre (NC-07), and Jim Matheson (UT-04) all manage to pass 50%. Mary Landrieu has consistently been one of the top recipients of oil and gas money in the Senate."
MI-06: Meet Paul Clements -Rep. Fred Upton's Democratic Challenger- November 21st in Kalamazoo, MI—by pipsorcle: "According to Paul Clements, there are a number of reasons why he's entered the race against Rep. Upton in Michigan's 6th Congressional District but his main reason is because of climate change. He also points out that Upton has been an obstructionist in progress on the issue, noting that it's probably the most important issue mankind faces today. Here the video features Clements and guest Bill McKibben, one of the most prominent environmental scholars and creators of www.350.org, discussing climate change:"
The Great Outdoors
Oil company fined $60,000 for illegally discharging fracking fluid—by Dan Bacher: "In the most recent example of the threat to the environment and human health that fracking poses, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board on November 15 ordered an oil company, Vintage Production California LLC, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Company, to pay a $60,000 penalty for discharging hydraulic fracturing fluid into an unlined sump in violation of the California Water Code. The penalty is the result of a settlement agreement between Vintage and the Water Board's prosecution team, and is the maximum penalty allowable under the state Water Code."
Your chance to speak out on a plan that will cause Gigaton-level CO2 emissions—by James Wells: "Yes Gigatons—that's no typo. At the stroke of midnight on Monday the 18th, the public comment period will close on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Millenium coal export terminal in Longview WA. If built, this terminal will export 44 million metric tons of Montana coal per year to Asia. Since the coal, from the Powder River Basin, emits about 2 tons of CO2 per ton of coal, that means 88 million tons of CO2 emissions to warm our globe. Put another way, that's a gigaton for just over 11 years of operation. You can make your voice heard. Submit a comment about what you think should be in the EIS. Right now, it's the best way to communicate any concerns that you have about this project."
Nov.20 Kern County Environmental Action Alert:California Energy Comm.Public Hearing on HECA Project—by mettle fatigue: "The decision to allow or forbid Hydrogen Energy California (HECA), a Chemical/Energy Plant, will be made by the California Energy Commission (CEC). Two CEC Commission members will attend the November 20, 2013, HECA hearing in Buttonwillow. The Public is invited to offer their comments beginning at 5 pm (3 minutes per person), so let us have many attendees to tell the Commissioners why HECA is not right for Kern County."
Heads up!- 11/26 Public Hearing, Superior, WI Affecting Great Lakes Crude Oil/Tar Syncrude Shipping—by LakeSuperior: "November 26 Public Hearing on Docking Facilities on Lake Superior at Superior, WI for Great Lakes marine shipping of both tar sands synthetic crude and conventional crude oil. This permit focuses on docking facilities. Other permits may be in play."
As usual Mark Bittman at The New York Times doesn't spare anyone in his assessment of the Smithfield deal. The fact is that China is going to be a net importer of food more or less forever: it’s got a fifth of the world’s population (and eats a fifth of the world’s food), but only nine percent of its agricultural land and scarce water resources. (The average pig takes nearly 600 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat.) So even more than a technology grab, the Smithfield deal is a land and water grab."
Daily Pensive Bucket—by 6412093: "I carried binoculars to the golf course yesterday, where it was briefly 45 degrees at 2 pm. I was able to see those are flickers whose white tail feathers flash from the trees. Dang, the red tail hawk couple look huge when magnified. If I were a vole, looking up at two hawks scanning the ground from a branch, the hawks would seem big as trees themselves, bristling with claw and beak. Where's my burrow? I came up on the buffleheads from behind the cattails, and got within 20 yards, before they spooked and flew 200 yards away, to the distant corner of the lake."
Sarah Palin's Wolf Man Chimes In From The Hereafter—by ban nock: "Habler seemed to think wolves communicate and pass on learned techniques of hunting to future generations and lived not just in packs but what he called "societies" a term usually reserved for things like large nation states of humans. I'm quite sure wolves don't have a literary tradition or art scene. Haber didn't cross the line into unprofessional attachment he arrived over the line before he'd begun. Haber spent a lot of time watching and trying to figure out what wolves were thinking, which is not so radical an idea these days. Many believe wildlife think. One of the more noted scientists to figure out thoughts and behaviour of wildlife, Valerius Geist, wrote or was the source of much of the Wiki entry on why, how, and under what conditions wolves prey on humans. wolf attacks on humans wiki Geist also wrote a lot of books and enjoyed widespread recognition from scientists worldwide, focusing on ungulates. You have to wonder if with a little guidance Haber could have been remembered as a great scientist."
Dawn Chorus: Vulturama—by matching mole: "This summer I was fortunate enough to see a California Condor on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. This was the fifth species of New World Vulture that I've seen, leaving two still to add to my list. You don't hear much about the beauty and majesty of vultures which I think is a bit of a shame. They are spectacular soarers, really wonderful to watch as they ride thermals and move over the landscape without a single wingbeat. Here in North America we have three of the seven species, I'll introduce the entire cast below. I'll also discuss the Old World Vultures and their relationships to each other and the vultures we are used to seeing here in North America. The vulture familiar to almost everyone is the turkey vulture. In a diary four years ago, lineatus did an excellent job of introducing this bird. I'll just mention that it is among the widest ranging birds in the new world occurring from southern Canada to Tierra del Fuego. It is, as far as I know, the only vulture that is migratory although it is only migratory in colder areas. It is also famous for its excellent sense of smell, a somewhat unusual trait amongst birds. The large nostrils are clearly apparent if you see the bird close up."
Shark tries to eat Moose, fails—by MsLibrarian.
New Yorkers Abusing Wildlife for Amusement—by ban nock: "Last night I read an article in the NYT that confirmed for me just how heartless urban New York citizens are when it comes to amusing themselves by abusing helpless innocent animals. In a scene reenacted over many years a group of brutish New Yorkers encouraged their canine companions to tear helpless small mammals limb from limb. The 'sport' this most reminds me of is bear baiting of centuries past, or fox hunting with hounds now outlawed in most of the civilized world. What was the crime of one of the few wild species to exist in the desert of stone and concrete? Eating the food others choose to throw away. The name of the noble species so wrongly prosecuted? The common rat. Rats are closely related to the prairie dog and the squirrel."
The Daily Bucket - A Yosemite Ramble—by enhydra lutris: "We pretty much ignored the scenery until we got into the foothills east of Merced on HWY 140. Some fall color, mostly yellows with some reds as we got past Cathey's Valley. There was a lot of pyracantha with ripe berries in this as area too. We eventually got to the part of the trip where we began to follow the Merced River, it was down, way down, and moving but not too rapidly. This is a whitewater river, people raft this puppy, but not currently. We hit Yosemite roughly this time of year most years, and this is the first trip in a loooong time when there was no rafting and no rafters. Some slide repairs and highway construction may have been a factor, but I really don't think the river would support rafting today. Tioga pass is open. Really, Tioga pass is open. Not too far past the park entrance, one gets a look at Bridal Veil falls, and it was running, but not really strongly or fiercely. Of course, we were distracted by all of the signs saying that Tioga pass was open. Tioga pass is never open in mid November. Tioga, the pass to Lee Vining, Mono Lake and the rest of the high high desert, usually closes in early to mid October. It is usually the second week in October, but sometimes earlier, depending upon the snow. It is open—there ain't no snow. This is serious, as I will explain later, and I don't ski, so it isn't that."
State Water Project initial allocation is 5% - after summer of reservoir draining—by Dan Bacher: "The DWR memo failed to mention that the state and federal governments, in their zeal to pump Delta water for use by agribusiness interests, developers and oil companies, pumped massive quantities of water down the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers this summer, resulting in dramatically low water conditions in Shasta, Oroville, Folsom and other reservoirs. The export of water down the Sacramento this summer also resulted in the moving of the compliance point for water temperature control standards to protect endangered winter run Chinook salmon—and in the State Water Resources Control Board's decision to "relax" (break) Delta water quality standards."
Peripheral tunnels will do nothing to address subsidence threat to California's Central Valley—by Dan Bacher: "A U.S. Geological Survey report released on Thursday revealed that land subsidence caused by over drafting of ground water supplies in the San Joaquin Valley has resulted in a threat to water delivery systems, including the Delta Mendota-Canal and the California Aqueduct. Proponents of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels used the report's release as yet another opportunity to promote the $54.1 billion project as the 'solution' to California's water problems, while tunnel opponents said the tunnels will do nothing to address the land subsidence threat."
National Parks, Forests & Other Public Lands
Expanding the National Park System #6- Colorado—by MorrellWI1983: "Colorado has 4 national parks 7 monuments, 11 National Forests and 8 Wildlife Refuges. Colorado has 36.6 percent of its land owned by the feds, which is 10th among the 50 states for federal ownership of property. Colorado takes protecting the environment very seriously, as recent votes banning fracking show."
Transportation & Infrastructure
Sunday Train: Is Dirty Ethanol Here to Stay?—by BruceMcF: "We have, after all, a massively destructive system for raising food, and so it stands to reason that relying on food crops for fuel will also be massively destructive. However, this is not just a matter of lax environmental enforcement, so this is not a problem that can be solved by overcoming obstacles to constraining environmentally destructive practices in US Agriculture. The problem with Corn Ethanol is baked into the core process, in which we take a product that represents a small fraction of the total solar energy power captured by the plant, and then use substantial additional energy to convert it from a cereal grain into a liquid fuel."
Eco-Philosophy & Essays
A Climate Change-Fueled Revolution?—by Michael Klare via Tom Engelhardt: "There’s a crossroads moment in our recent history that comes back to me whenever I think of our warming planet. (2013 is shaping up to be the seventh warmest year since records began to be kept in 1850. The 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1998.) In the six months from July 1979 to January 1980, as Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency was winding down, he urged two approaches to global energy on Americans. One was dismissed out of hand, the other taken up with alacrity—and our world is incommensurately the worse for it. [...] Could there have been a sadder choice in recent history? If, in 1979, the U.S. had invested in a big way in solar, wind, tidal power, and who knows what else, imagine where we might be today. Imagine a world not facing a future in which storms like Super-Typhoon Haiyan, which recently leveled part of the Philippines, its winds devastating, its storm surge killing staggering numbers, threaten to become the norm for our children and grandchildren. So oil wars, yes!—which meant transforming the Greater Middle East into a region of chaos, instability, and death. An oil-ravaged planet, yes indeed!—which meant potentially transforming a future version of Earth into a planet of chaos, instability, and death! A green energy revolution, not on your life!"
Should the Media Deny the Denier?—by Marcia G Yerman: "Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor for the New York Times defines the term as, 'False balance is the journalistic practice of giving equal weight to both sides of a story, regardless of an established truth on one side.' Through the use of pie charts, Media Matters demonstrated that among climate scientists, only 3 percent doubted that humans play a major role in causing global warming. However, in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, 18 percent of quotes were attributed to doubters, 10 percent to those with “neutral” opinions, and 72 percent to those who accepted the science. In The Wall Street Journal, 50 percent of those quoted about the report were doubters. On the broadcast front, CBS was found to have given doubters 20 percent of the attributed quotes. Unsurprisingly, Fox News had a whopping 69 percent of their guests promoting climate denial, with 73 percent of those talking heads having “no background in climate science.” Rather, Media Matters noted that they were pundits—many who had financial connections to the fossil fuel industry."
The Progressive Advantage on Gun Control and Disadvantage on Climate Change: It’s in the Language—by Nathan Jaco: "While assuming that causes precede their effects is probably one of the safest logical assumptions that we could make, assuming that causality works like a grammatical hypothetical does not hold over all phenomena. This is really a problem when explaining climate change."
Republicans....unintended environmentalists?—by Shawke: "The last five years of the downturn has produced obvious suffering for millions of poor and middle class workers around the world. There can be no question that austerity policies in Europe and North America have caused widespread unemployment and underemployment, as well as the gutting of the social safety net. [...] So what is the unintended positive in all this? For the first time in a century, emissions fell in Europe and the U.S. during the last 5 years overall. Some of this can be attributed to raised emission standards and a switch from coal to natural gas. But the bulk of it can only be attributed to reduced economic output. It is of course arguable that more progressive governments over the last 5 years would have enacted even more strict environmental policies that would have lowered emissions more than we have seen. They might have done more to invest in green energy. But is it realistic to believe that a move that far to the left would have been even a remote possibility. Is that even a possibility now?"
My Pain Threshold For Green Living—by The Gay Blade: "There are limits to what I'll pay to save an animal from the ongoing trauma of factory farming. I don't ride my scooter or my bike in the rain, I take the car. Maybe one of these days I'll be taking the electric car, but not until we can afford one with a range better than 200 miles. I would gladly suffer the inconvenience of taking a high speed train coast to coast, but we don't have high speed trains so I fly and don't feel particularly guilty about it. When it comes to being green I'm only as faithful as my options. Perhaps that tarnishes my progressive aura but I believe that one component of sustainability has to be competitive pricing. Sure, I'll pay more, but there are limits."