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Offline agelbert

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The Still-Raging Thomas Fire Torches Its Way into California Wildfire History
« Reply #8325 on: December 11, 2017, 03:46:04 PM »



The Still-Raging Thomas Fire Torches Its Way into California Wildfire History

Bob Henson  ·  December 11, 2017, 3:40 PM EST


Above: The Multi Spectral Imager of the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite captured this false-color image of the burn scar and active burn areas of the Thomas Fire in Southern California on Tuesday, December 5, during its first phase of rapid growth. The fire has since burned much further beyond the left and top of the image. Active fires appear orange; the burn scar is brown. Unburned vegetation is green; developed areas are gray. The Sentinel-2 image is based on observations of visible, shortwave infrared, and near infrared light. The city of Ventura is at far lower right. https://go.nasa.gov/2B6Drov

Partial Article:

ore than 6000 firefighters were engaged in a furious effort on Monday to contain the Thomas Fire, the largest of the multiple wildfires that have pummeled Southern California over the past week. The Thomas Fire made an enormous westward surge on Sunday, consuming tens of thousands of acres in Santa Barbara County and reducing the fire’s total containment level from 15% to 10%. Incredibly, the 57,000 acres burned between Sunday and Monday morning far exceeded the entire coverage of October’s catastrophic Tubbs Fire in the Santa Rosa area (36,807 acres).­

As of Monday morning, Cal Fire reported that the Thomas Fire had officially consumed 230,000 acres and at least 790 structures, making it the fifth largest and tenth most destructive wildfire in state history. Two of the top 20 most damaging fires occurred in November, but none of the previous top 20 fires in terms of acreage occurred any later than October—much less in December, well beyond the typical tail end of wildfire season. It’s entirely possible this fire will burn till Christmas and beyond, and not out of the question it will roll past the Cedar Fire of 2003 (273,246 acres) to become California’s largest fire on record.

On Monday morning, evacuation zones extended to the northern and eastern outskirts of the city of Santa Barbara and included coastal communities from Summerland to Carpinteria (see Figure 1). The University of California, Santa Barbara, postponed its final exams till early January.


Figure 1. Evacuation zones in Santa Barbara County as of 8 am PST Monday, December 11, 2017. Mandatory evacuations (red) cover a huge swath of higher terrain. Voluntary evacuations (orange) extend even further west, while also including more than 10 miles of land along the coast from the eastern end of the city of Santa Barbara to east of Carpinteria. If you are in the region of the Thomas Fire, please consult local authorities for the latest evacuation guidance. Image credit: County of Santa Barbara, via Google My Maps.


Figure 2. Christmas decorations illuminated a house in Carpinteria, Calif., on Sunday, December 10, 2017, as the growing Thomas Fire advanced toward seaside communities in Santa Barbara County. Image credit: David McNew/Getty Images.

Stubborn offshore flow, dry air will continue to hamper firefighting

Crews have gotten the upper hand on the other major fires that broke out last week. All of them were at least 75% contained as of late Sunday. However, the Thomas Fire is a beast unto itself. Control efforts have been complicated by the fire’s sheer scope, the ruggedness of the terrain, and the ample fuel present in the form of thick brush. Although major fires have occurred in the rugged land of Santa Barbara County every few decades, some tracts of land in this area reportedly haven’t seen a major fire for more than a century.

If nothing else, fire weather across coastal Southern California will be less extreme this week than last week. The highly amplified upper-level ridge has weakened and shifted north, and the pressure contrasts pushing air from the Great Basin toward and over the coastal ranges will be less intense overall. On the down side, however, surface winds will continue to blow in a downslope/offshore direction, allowing the air to warm as it descends. As a result, temperatures will remain well above average, especially during the daytime, and relative humidity will continue to dip into the 5-15% range. Weaker winds in general will be a major help in firefighting, though any periods of intensified wind could help the Thomas Fire take advantage of the very dry atmosphere.

In its Monday morning outlook, the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center put coastal southern California in “elevated” fire risk for both Monday and Tuesday. The center noted the possibility of an upgrade to “critical” (the second highest level) if winds increase somewhat on Tuesday, as models suggest.

In the longer range, forecast models continue to suggest a dry pattern across Southern California and the Southwest U.S. prevailing for at least the next 1-2 weeks.   


Full article:

https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/still-raging-thomas-fire-torches-its-way-california-wildfire-history






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Offline agelbert

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Offshore wind farms deliver power on 363 days a year
« Reply #8326 on: December 11, 2017, 08:57:04 PM »


dpa / Foundation Offshore Wind Energy / Fraunhofer IWES

Offshore wind farms deliver power on 363 days a year

Offshore wind farms produce electricity more reliably than previously thought, a study by research institute Fraunhofer IWES has shown. Wind turbines in the German North- and Baltic Sea produce power on 363 days a year, while older data from 2013 had seen generation on 340 days. Germany has a capacity of five gigawatts of offshore wind power installed. Industry organisation Foundation Offshore Wind Energy says that the new figures show how offshore wind power can provide electricity in a more constant and predictable way, compared to onshore wind and solar power.

Read the article in German here.

[url=https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/vw-diesel-surprise-offshore-power-year-round/offshore-wind-farms-deliver-power-363-days-year]https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/vw-diesel-surprise-offshore-power-year-round/offshore-wind-farms-deliver-power-363-days-year
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Offline agelbert

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GE Cutting 12,000 Jobs as Renewables and Energy Storage Upend Fossil Fuels
« Reply #8327 on: December 12, 2017, 11:36:42 AM »
GE Cutting 12,000 Jobs as Renewables and Energy Storage Upend Fossil Fuels

Motley Fool   
Travis Hoium, The Motley Fool
Motley FoolDecember 12, 2017

When an electric energy pioneer like General Electric (NYSE: GE) reconfigures its entire energy business, investors should take note. That's exactly what happened last week when GE Power announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 18% of the division's workforce, reducing the company's exposure to traditional power plants.

What wasn't affected was GE's staffing or investments in renewable energy and energy storage. In fact, these emerging energy assets are what's disrupting fossil fuels more broadly. GE has made the first step to reducing exposure to fossil fuels -- now the question may be "What's next?"

Coal power plant with smoke coming from smoke stacks. (picture at link)
Coal power plants like this one are being shut down by the hundreds, forcing GE to cut back on its power plant business. Image source: Getty Images.

What GE's layoffs tell us

As part of a plan to cut $1 billion in structural costs at GE Power, there will be about 12,000 positions eliminated up and down the business. Weak fundamentals in the power plant business overall were the drivers of the move, with the press release saying:

Traditional power markets including gas and coal have softened. Volumes are down significantly in products and services driven by overcapacity, lower utilization, fewer outages, an increase in steam plant retirements, and overall growth in renewables. GE Power is right-sizing the business for these realities and is focused on improving operational excellence and reducing its footprint and structure, which will help drive significant improvements in cash flows and margins.

Notice that growth in renewables was given as a reason for the reduction in GE's power business. As wind and solar energy have come down in cost, they've replaced traditional coal and natural gas power plants as the fuel of choice for new power plants around the world. And there's no reason that's going to change. What's unclear is if GE is going to transition from the dying fossil fuel business to the growing renewable energy business.

Is GE taking renewables seriously?

If GE is hoping to play a meaningful role in renewable energy in the future it's going to have to take the industry more seriously. GE sold its thin-film solar business to First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) in 2013, largely exiting the solar market. In wind, GE is a market leader in turbines, but pricing pressure has compressed margins for the industry as a whole. Energy storage is the third leg of renewable energy disruption, and GE hasn't made a meaningful play in the industry so far, ceding market share to AES (NYSE: AES), Siemens, and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

The only segment where GE seems to have taken renewable energy seriously is financing. The company has financed $5 billion of projects over the last three years. But that level of investment isn't going to drive earnings for a $153 billion company.

To take renewable energy seriously, I think GE needs to start putting its balance sheet to work, scooping up assets and developing projects around the world. Buying First Solar or SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) would make sense, although SunPower is majority owned by Total (NYSE: TOT) today. With SunPower, in particular, it could invest in the manufacturing scale necessary to become profitable and increase market share to become a top-3 manufacturer.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ge-cutting-12-000-jobs-153100975.html

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10 Reasons The Republican Attacks On Clean Energy & Electric Vehicles Are So Sma
« Reply #8328 on: December 12, 2017, 12:00:48 PM »
10 Reasons The Republican Attacks On Clean Energy & Electric Vehicles Are So Smart  

December 11th, 2017 by Zachary Shahan

Republicans are interesting creatures. There are the voters, and then there are the politicians. The voters like things like clean air, jobs, Social Security, and ice cream. The politicians, on the other hand, like to let corporations pollute as much as they want, have been known to crash a global economy from time to time1, seem to always be looking for a way to “legitimately” cut holes in the social safety net (note: they’re working on a super clever attempt to do this right now), and like to melt ice cream via flamethrowers when the ice cream eater isn’t looking.

But hey, in the spirit of Monday, below are 10 reasons the latest Republican attacks on clean energy and electric vehicles might actually be a good thing.

1. The oil, coal, and natural gas industries simply haven’t had a fair enough head start via government subsidies. The trillions in subsidies they’ve received from the US government in the past several decades are not enough to put them on equal footing with renewable energy and electric vehicles today. Thus, it only makes sense to cut cleantech subsidies and give fossil fuels more subsidies for the time being.

2. While many people — the vast majority of them — don’t like pollution, some people prefer to breathe in potentially cancer-causing pollutants. It’s not fair that those people normally don’t get a say. It’s unfair that people who like pollution are always on the losing end of the conversation. They have a right to freedom of speech as well! Since the pollution lovers don’t get enough airtime, we should just cut any governmental support for clean technologies. That should balance things out.

3. Taking away subsidies prematurely hurts investor confidence in the government and crushes medium- and long-term investment plans. This is good since it’s the government’s role to indiscriminately attack and destabilize the investment community. Well, it’s good when it comes to renewable energy and electric vehicles. It’s not good when it comes to oil, gas, coal, and nuclear, all of which should continue to get subsidies.

4. Putting government money into young and quickly developing industries increases the chance or extent to which our society will benefit from 21st century technological and economic leadership. If the US supports such industries, that is not really fair to the Chinese. The Chinese are working hard and trying to be practical in order to become a bigger and bigger economic player, so why should we interfere? China deserves a massive economic win in the remainder of the century due to its foresight — and just because it’s China’s turn. Yeah?

5. Air pollution disproportionately hurts lower-income communities. The goal of any good government should be to hurt the lower-income and middle-income masses while giving more money to the super rich. That’s just good governance.

6. A livable climate is super overrated. We’re all going to be living on Mars soon anyway. Why waste time and money on trying to protect Earth and its human inhabitants.

7. Supporting clean energy and electric vehicles would improve our national security and our resilience in the face of various global fuel challenges. That’s just not much fun. It’s much more exciting to put lives at risk via more wars and dependence on foreign imports. (Also, those wars are great for our national debt. Just ask George W. Bush.)

8. Healthy citizens live longer, which means more services and support for those people over time. It’s cheaper and simpler if large numbers of American citizens die prematurely from high levels of pollution and more extreme natural disasters. Duh.


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9. Billionaires and big corporations in the oil, gas, and coal industries put millions of dollars into buying Republican politicians funding Republican campaigns. It would be a horrible message for the world and a breakdown in our democracy if it turned out billionaires and big corporations couldn’t shape the law of the land in a way that benefited them over others.




10. Come on — the whole world needs to come crashing down in order to instill a little humility. How will we put our collective ego into check if we don’t tank the economy, tank our health, and destroy our climate?

https://cleantechnica.com/2017/12/11/10-reasons-republican-attacks-clean-energy-electric-vehicles-smart/
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Offline agelbert

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Five Ways Moore and the GOP Could Steal the Alabama Election
« Reply #8329 on: December 12, 2017, 03:38:13 PM »


Five Ways Moore and the GOP Could Steal the Alabama Election

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

By Greg Palast, Truthout | Report

EXCELLENT must read article:

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42883-five-ways-moore-and-the-gop-could-steal-the-alabama-election

Short Video explaining one of the low down dirty ways the GOP steals elections (Caging):

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/B2OauXwDXcM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/B2OauXwDXcM</a>

Please Pass this on!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 03:41:36 PM by agelbert »
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Hat Tip to Knarf
« Reply #8330 on: December 12, 2017, 03:53:03 PM »
Dying Ecosystems



Earth’s ecosystems support all life, though collapsed ecosystems would be like stepping outside of the international space station not wearing a space suit. Pop! Bam! Gone!

A recent academic study about signals of ecosystem collapse throughout history fits the space suit analogy. Terrifying truth is exposed: The all-important biosphere is sending out warning signals of impending crises… worldwide. It does not seem possible that ecosystems collapse and life dies off. That’s too hard to believe… but, what if it does collapse?

“The Earth’s biodiversity is under attack. We would need to travel back over 65 million years to find rates of species loss as high as we are witnessing today.” (James Dyke, The Ecosystem Canaries, Which Act as Warning Signs of Collapse, The Guardian, Aug. 19, 2016).

“Biodiversity increases resilience: more species means each individual species is better able to withstand impacts. Think of decreasing biodiversity as popping out rivets from an aircraft. A few missing rivets here or there will not cause too much harm. But continuing to remove them threatens a collapse in ecosystem functioning. Forests give way to desert. Coral reefs bleach and then die,” Ibid.

It’s already happening! Imagine flying in an aircraft while watching the rivets pop, one by one. At some point in time screaming overrides thinking. But, thank heavens; we’re not quite there yet.
Scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland studied 2,378 archeological sites and discovered that every society for thousands of years gave early clues to its own demise. Of course, demise happened precisely because those early warnings were ignored, while thinking: “it’s impossible, can’t happen.”

The determinate signal of upcoming demise is referred to as “flickering,” which is a change in society’s responses to perturbations resulting in a society caught in a socio-ecological trap that reinforces negative behavior that started the issue in the first instance, thus, preventing adaption. (Source: Sean S. Downey, et al, European Neolithic Societies Showed Early Warning Signals of Population Collapse, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113, no. 35, March 2016.)

The formula: Every time a society flickers, losing rivets, it loses recovery time, thereby moving closer to collapse. In every case study, with nearly 100% accuracy, researchers found flickers precedent to eventual collapse All but 2 of 27 test cases showed statistically significant results. Every case experienced massive population growth as a result of the emergence of agriculture followed by technological advancements. Sound familiar?

Societal decline is empirically signaled by any number of drivers such as (1) changing climate, (2) declining environmental productivity, (3) disease, (4) warfare, or (5) combinations thereof. Today, we’ve got’em all.

Rivets are popping all across the globe, e.g., the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure in the world, is signaling its demise like there’s no tomorrow. “Many scientists are now saying it is almost too late to save it. Strong and immediate action is required to alleviate water pollution and stop the underlying cause: climate change.” (Source: Michael Slezak, The Great Barrier Reef: A Catastrophe Laid Bare, The Guardian, June 6, 2016.)

According to David Attenborough, the world’s most famous naturalist: “The Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger… The twin perils brought by climate change – an increase in the temperature of the ocean and in its acidity – threaten its very existence,” Ibid. In point of fact, Attenborough’s remarkable new film Blue Planet 2 details the damage wreaked in the seas by climate change, plastic pollution, and overfishing. This final episode of his series lays bare shocking damage.

Compared with what was happening before the 20th century, three-times as much sediment, twice as much fertilizer and 17,000 extra kilograms of herbicide wash over the reef each year. When the coral dies, the entire ecosystem gets hit. Fish that feed on the coral, use it as shelter, or nibble on the algae die or move away. The bigger fish that feed on those fish disappear. But the cascading effects don’t stop there. Birds that eat fish lose their energy source, and island plants that thrive on bird droppings are depleted. And, of course, people who rely on reefs for food, income or shelter from waves lose their vital resource, as the final rivets pop followed by high-pitched screaming.
The signal or flicker of the Great Coral Reef is not nature’s way. It is an anomaly. It is easy to read about it and dismiss it and go on with life, but, in large measure, that’s the problem haunting and overriding ecosystem disintegration. It’s easy to read but punishingly painful to fix. Unwavering commitment is simply not there but for a select few like David Attenborough or Sylvia Earle, the world famous marine biologist.

Alas, groundswell of public opinion is not extant for collapsing ecosystems. It’s just not there at all. Yet, one hundred million people will be glued to TVs watching Super Bowl LII on Sunday, February 4th 2018, whilst the fate of the world’s largest and most important ecosystem rest in the hands of Attenborough, Earle and a handful of dedicated naturalists/marine biologists. Singularly, as well as unfortunately, ecosystem collapse is warranted based upon mathematical calculations alone: One hundred million (100,000,000) watch football while a handful of scientists work at fixing the world’s seas. Football’s more immediate.

Ad interim, massive environmental degradation flickers around the world, including climate change-derived crop losses for which the Federal Crop Insurance Program pays out $17.3B.

Meanwhile, heavily sprayed agrichemical pesticides and fertilizers bring about the absolutely shocking discovery that parts of the ecosystem are dropping dead right before society’s eyes, seventy-five percent (75%) insect loss detected in a major 27-yr. German study. How in the world is it possible for a 75% insect die-off, if not for chemically infested environmental degradation?

As it happens, the list of collapsing/flickering ecosystems is a very long list indeed. Here’s only a smattering:

Oceans have lost 40% of plankton production over past 50 years, threatening loss of one of the major sources of oxygen for the planet. (Boris Worm, Dalhousie Univ.)

If the same amount of global heat that went into top 2000m of ocean from 1955-2010 went instead into atmosphere, temps would warm by 36 C and destroy all life (Grantham Institute).

“Ocean seasons are changing as a result of too much heat and CO2… The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend.” (D. Laffoley, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme).

The ocean’s acidification rate of growth is unprecedented in Earth’s known history. (Jane Lubchenco, NOAA).

Ocean acidification occurring at least 1oxs faster than 55 million years ago based upon paleoclimate record. (C.L. Dybas, Oxford)

Nearly all marine life that builds calcium carbonate show deterioration due to increasing levels of CO2 and acidification. (Richard Feely, NOAA).

A foreboding flicker haunts the Arctic Circle, as permafrost melts away as a result of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, awakening forgotten pathogens from the depths. A Russian team analyzed material from 125 feet below surface in permafrost. They found extremely abnormal viruses, e.g., Pithovirus Sibericum, which survived 30,000 years frozen in ice. All of which brings to mind John Carpenter’s spectacular film The Thing (1982), and likelihood that zombie pathogens are buried in super-charged-melting-like-crazy permafrost.

Seven thousand (7,000) pingos discovered in Siberia… new development in permafrost science, never reported before, there could be 100,000 explosive methane pingos extant. (Vladimir Romanovsky, geophysicist Univ. of Alaska)

The East Siberian Arctic Shelf has reached “thaw point,” the turning point from linear to exponential release of CH4 leading to runaway global warming. (Natalia Shakhova, Int’l Arctic Research Centre)

Methane emissions in East Siberian Ice Shelves are 100xs higher than normal. (Igor Semiletov, Int’l Arctic Research Centre)

Tibetan Plateau headwater glaciers for Lancang River (Danube of the East) down by 70%- similarly for Yellow River and Yangtze River- that flow into Mekong Delta, which feeds the entire SE Asia basin of countries. (Yang Yong- Senior Chinese Geologist)

According to YaleEnvironment360: “As Oceans Warm, the World’s Kelp Forests Begin to Disappear,” Nov. 20,2017: “Kelp forests – luxuriant coastal ecosystems that are home to a wide variety of marine biodiversity – are being wiped out from Tasmania to California, replaced by sea urchin barrens that are nearly devoid of life.” Tasmania’s kelp forests hit by a devastating loss of 95%. In northern California, magnificent bull kelp forests along hundreds of miles of coastline have collapsed into an ecological wasteland, ocean desert.

Venice, Italy risks going on the UN’s endangered heritage site list unless it bans humongous cruise ships from the city’s lagoon, which is rapidly deteriorating into a state of utter disrepair.

Greenland’s entire surface experienced melt for the first time in scientific history. (Jason Box – Geologic Survey of Denmark & Greenland)

Greenland 2012 melt of the entire island not expected by scientific models for decades ahead, but it hit in 2012. (Michael Mann)

The all-important Atlantic ocean conveyor belt circulation pattern, aka: Thermohaline, has already started to slow down way ahead of schedule as predicted by scientific models – a result of global warming. This has strong negative ramifications for Europe. Models claimed it wouldn’t start slowing until 22nd century. It’s already started slowing down and could be sudden, maybe within decades! (Michael Mann)

In 2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, where oxygen is so weak that fish die, is the largest ever at 8,800 square miles. (NOAA)

Positive Climate Feedbacks just starting to influence the warming process, meaning the planet itself is now emitting one molecule of CO2 via positive feedback for every two molecules of CO2 emitted by human activity. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

The scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has reported that the Earth is already in the stages of the sixth mass extinction, which will see the world’s wildlife and plants die out. The research found that species, including those, which are not endangered, had reduced in number due to habitation shrinkage, hunting, pollution and climate change.

The deadly trio, or fingerprints, of mass extinctions, including global warming, ocean acidification, and anoxia or lack of ocean oxygen at current rate of change are unprecedented in Earth’s known history. (Alex Rogers, Oxford, scientific director State of the Ocean)

According to YaleEnvironment360, d/d April 2017, a survey of 12,000 adults and children shows that people have lost a closeness or connection with nature. “It is increasingly normal to spend little time outside.”

In the face of people mindlessly staring at very small and/or super large screens, the planet’s ecosystems are flashing signals all the way from Patagonia to Burrow, Alaska with bells clanging, alarms blaring, sirens screeching, but not a word on Good Morning America. Ergo, people really do not know what’s going on, which in a strange, twisted macabre fashion may be a blessing in disguise, until the final rivets pop. Then, loud screaming will register all across the land: Off with their heads! But whose?

Postscript: For each of the past 5 mass extinctions the one common factor has been massive increase in CO2, but none of the mass extinctions in the past compare to the spike in CO2 today. (Jen Veron, Australian Institute of Marine Science)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/11/dying-ecosystems/

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Offline agelbert

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Uniti electric city car debuts (for Sweden only)
« Reply #8331 on: December 12, 2017, 04:13:07 PM »

Uniti electric city car

Uniti electric city car debuts, with free charging in Sweden 

Mark Stevenson

Dec 12, 2017

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1114270_uniti-electric-city-car-debuts-with-free-charging-in-sweden
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Zinke, Perry and Pruitt’s Pretend Populism Profits Polluters
« Reply #8332 on: December 12, 2017, 04:59:41 PM »

 



Zinke, Perry and Pruitt’s Pretend Populism Profits Polluters

We started the week with a look at Pruitt’s industry-friendly contradictions--but we hardly scratched the surface yesterday.
 
For example, the New York Times reported on Sunday how Pruitt’s EPA has taken a step back from actually enforcing air and water pollution laws. Despite Pruitt’s professed dedication to enforcing the laws, his EPA has started a third fewer cases than Obama’s EPA by nine months in, and only a quarter as many as George W. Bush’s EPA in the same timeframe. This math makes it clear that Pruitt is giving polluters a pass, despite his claim that he doesn’t “hang with polluters; I prosecute them.” Take even the most cursory look under his whole down-home country lawyer shtick, and his true colors are revealed.
 
But Pruitt is far from the only Trump advisor palling around with polluters instead of regulating them. Last week, In These Times ran photos of a meeting between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and coal man Bob Murray in advance of Perry’s coal-friendly FERC proposal, after Murray vehemently denied he had influence over the plan. The Washington Post’s Steve Mufson expands on this reporting with his own piece last Friday about the plan that comes “straight from coal country.” Nora Brownell, Former FERC committee member appointed by George W. Bush, tells the Post that the plan is “cash for cronies.”
 
And then there’s Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior. In an op-ed for CNN last week, Zinke wrote that the decision to dramatically shrink national monuments was a result of “prioritizing the voice of the people over that of the special interest groups.” Unfortunately for Zinke, the three million public comments filed--99% in support of the monuments and against shrinking them--undercut this claim. Who is in support of Zinke’s move to minimize? Well we can’t say for sure, but here’s a Washington Post headline with a clue: “Areas cut out of Utah monuments are rich in oil, coal, uranium.”
 
And hey, another clue in another Post headline: “Uranium firm urged Trump officials to shrink Bears Ears National Monument.” As Juliet Eilperin reported this weekend, a anium company lobbied and met with Zinke about the decision to downsize. Though Zinke told reporters there’s no mine within the monument, the new shrunk size of Bears Ears means significant uranium deposits are now no longer off-limits to industry.
 
Zinke hasn’t just been busy penning op-eds: he and the House Natural Resource Committee took some time to hit back at Patagonia’s criticism of the monument downsizing. But criticizing an American company for expressing its first amendment right to free speech is, in the words of former White House ethics officer Walter Shaub, “wildly inappropriate.”

Sure, this administration may be lawless and constantly capitulating to polluters and profiteers. But at least they’re down-home populists, in touch with nature and the common man, right? All of Zinke’s horseback-riding and cowboy-hat-wearing seems to suggest that he’s just a simple country boy.
 
That facade may be a little too thin for Zinke’s liking. In an interview with Outside Magazine published last week, Zinke presents himself as a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist and seasoned fisher, talking with reporter Elliot Woods while standing in a river, rod in hand. Unfortunately for Zinke, he’s no Teddy, and on top of that Woods seems to be a much better fisherman than the Secretary of the Interior, noting at the end of the piece that Zinke was having some trouble casting because he rigged his reel backwards.
 
And last May, when Zinke spent thousands in public money to helicopter out to a horse-riding session with Mike Pence, Zinke wore his cowboy hat backwards. This is apparently a frequent mistake: the Sierra Club pointed out that in the shot of Zinke exiting Air Force One for last week’s announcement, his hat was again on backwards.
 
Now we don’t expect Trump or his fan base to get all that upset about all these handouts to polluters at the public’s expense. But a faux-pas like this, with a man incapable of properly wearing his hat?
 
The red-MAGA-cap crowd’s anger is surely brimming over.   
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 05:03:08 PM by agelbert »
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Offline agelbert

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ANOTHER Hat Tip to Knarf! (for Guardian permafrost story)
« Reply #8333 on: December 12, 2017, 05:17:29 PM »
Arctic permafrost thawing faster than ever, US climate study finds


December 12, 2017

Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years.

The annual report released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed slightly less warming in many measurements than a record hot 2016. But scientists remain concerned because the far northern region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe and has reached a level of warming that’s unprecedented in modern times.

“2017 continued to show us we are on this deepening trend where the Arctic is a very different place than it was even a decade ago,” said Jeremy Mathis, head of NOAA’s Arctic research program and co-author of the 93-page report.

Findings were discussed at the American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

“What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic; it affects the rest of the planet,” said acting NOAA chief Timothy Gallaudet. “The Arctic has huge influence on the world at large.”

Permafrost records show the frozen ground that many buildings, roads and pipelines are built on reached record warm temperatures last year nearing and sometimes exceeding the thawing point. That could make them vulnerable when the ground melts and shifts, the report said. Unlike other readings, permafrost data tend to lag a year.

Preliminary reports from the US and Canada in 2017 showed permafrost temperatures are “again the warmest for all sites” measured in North America, said study co-author Vladimir Romanovsky, a professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

Arctic sea ice usually shrinks in September and this year it was only the eighth lowest on record for the melting season. But scientists said they were most concerned about what happens in the winter – especially March – when sea ice is supposed to be building to its highest levels.

Arctic winter sea ice maximum levels in 2017 were the smallest they’ve ever been for the season when ice normally grows. It was the third straight year of record low winter sea ice recovery. Records go back to 1979.

About 79% of the Arctic sea ice is thin and only a year old. In 1985, 45% of the sea ice in the Arctic was thick, older ice, said NOAA Arctic scientist Emily Osborne.

New research looking into the Arctic’s past using ice cores, fossils, corals and shells as stand-ins for temperature measurements show that Arctic ocean temperatures are rising and sea ice levels are falling at rates not seen in the 1,500 years. And those dramatic changes coincide with the large increase in carbon dioxide levels in the air, the report said.

This isn’t just a concern for the few people who live north of the Arctic circle. Changes in the Arctic can alter fish supply. And more ice-free Arctic summers can lead to countries competing to exploit new areas for resources. Research also shows changes in Arctic sea ice and temperature can alter the jet stream, which is a major factor in US weather.

This is probably partly responsible for the current unusual weather in the United States that brought destructive wildfires to California and a sharp cold snap to the south and east, according to NOAA scientist James Overland and private meteorologist expert Judah Cohen.

“The Arctic has traditionally been the refrigerator to the planet, but the door of the refrigerator has been left open,” Mathis said.

Outside scientists praised the report card.

“Overall, the new data fit with the long-term trends, showing the clear evidence of warming causing major changes,” in the Arctic, said Pennsylvania State University ice scientist Richard Alley.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/12/arctic-permafrost-sea-ice-thaw-climate-change-report


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Offline agelbert

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Racism & Trumpism in Alabama
« Reply #8334 on: December 12, 2017, 05:47:45 PM »
 

December 12, 2017

Racism and Trumpism in Alabama

As Alabama votes ​in the special Senate election, historian Gerald Horne and TRNN senior editor Paul Jay discuss why an alleged sexual predator and slavery apologist is even in the running.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/hl49QAOpcTk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/hl49QAOpcTk</a>

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=20688' style='color:#000;



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Offline agelbert

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Al Gore won the popular vote, so did Hillary Clinton, and still Republicans are
« Reply #8335 on: December 12, 2017, 07:03:57 PM »
THIS from Thom Hartmann

Al Gore won the popular vote, so did Hillary Clinton, and still Republicans are winning left and right... well at least right....

Thom Hartmann Dec. 11, 2017 4:00 pm

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/s-WNVZOnKQo" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/s-WNVZOnKQo</a>

Please Pass this on!
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Offline agelbert

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BREAKING NEWS: Democrat Doug Jones just defeated Roy Moore in Alabama!
« Reply #8336 on: December 12, 2017, 08:22:42 PM »
BREAKING NEWS: Democrat Doug Jones just defeated Roy Moore in Alabama!

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Offline agelbert

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Climate Nexus: Denier Roundup: Pruitt Vs Pruitt
« Reply #8337 on: December 12, 2017, 08:40:54 PM »
 



In the Battle of Pruitt Vs Pruitt, Industry Wins Every Time

Scott Pruitt’s long-awaited first appearance before the House committee that oversees the EPA was, somehow, both incredibly boring and richly informative. While Pruitt delivered his well-honed lawyer act like the seasoned professional he is, dodging and pivoting like a champ, there were a few notable fumbles in his performance.

For example, when Florida Representative Kathy Castor questioned Pruitt about his refusal to recuse himself from decisions involving both his donors and his previous co-litigants, Pruitt refused to answer. He instead deferred to the EPA’s ethics office, who apparently allow him to work on suits he was part of before becoming administrator. Implied conflicts of interest, Pruitt seemed to infer, aren’t a valid reason for recusal if the EPA ethics office doesn’t mandate it.

However, when pressed about his reforms to the EPA science boards, Pruitt’s response was that the removal of EPA grant recipients was to prevent “a perception or appearance of a lack of independence.” Who was making those complaints? Why, the tobacco and fossil fuel industries of course! And whose favorite researchers have gotten added to the board? Those same industries, whose products are regulated by the EPA.

So Pruitt claims replacing independent advisors with industry-funded advisors is necessary to prevent the EPA from appearing biased. But when it comes to Pruitt and his appointees working on cases and decisions they were once involved in, apparently the appearance of a lack of independence doesn’t matter. Even ignoring the fact industry scientists are the opposite of independent, Pruitt’s own standard for avoiding the appearance of impropriety is conveniently inconsistent.

As E&E’s Scott Waldman described in his roundup of the hearing, Pruitt also contradicted the very arguments the people he’s brought onto those advisory boards make about the dangers of particulate matter. Responding to California Rep. Raul Ruiz, Pruitt acknowledged the health benefits to reducing particulate matter pollution. But the Clean Power Plan repeal’s economic justification hinges on zeroing out those benefits to skew the cost-benefit analysis.

Pruitt also said a little more about the Endangerment finding than he has before, making the lawyerly process argument that by referring to the IPCC reports, the EPA committed a “breach of process.” But as Chelsea Harvey at E&E reports, that exact argument was used in a 2012 case, Coalition for Responsible Regulation Inc. v. EPA.

It lost. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision ruled it “little more than a semantic trick,” saying the "EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question."   

Although Pruitt claims a deference to the “rule of law,” (even running a group with that in its name before moving to the EPA) apparently the rule of law doesn’t count when industry lost.

Although Pruitt claims particulate matter pollution is a health threat, his own CPP repeal math doesn’t include it.

Although Pruitt claims the appearance of a conflict of interest warrants removing advisors to the EPA, that same concern doesn’t extend to his own conflicts, or of those he’s bringing into the EPA.

At this point, if Pruitt claimed he wasn’t a robot controlled by polluting industries, we’d want to check that secret superfluous $25,000 phone booth for charging cables and a remote control interface.  ;D
 
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Offline RE

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Re: BREAKING NEWS: Democrat Doug Jones just defeated Roy Moore in Alabama!
« Reply #8338 on: December 12, 2017, 08:45:05 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/W9q7mvc6bsY" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/W9q7mvc6bsY</a>
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline agelbert

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Can your brain handle this Intriguing optical illusion?
« Reply #8339 on: December 13, 2017, 11:31:01 AM »
 

Intriguing optical illusion proves most humans have ‘curvature blindness’ Intriguing optical illusion proves most humans have ‘curvature blindness’

LAST UPDATED ON DECEMBER 13TH, 2017 BY TIBI PUIU

SNIPPET:

Credit: Kohske Takahashi/i-Perception

Look at the picture above. What kind of lines do you see in the middle, grayed-out part: wavy, straight, or both? The truth is all the lines represented in the image are curvy, but if you’re like most people, you should see alternating rows of straight-angled and wavy lines.

Japanese psychologists found that this optical illusion underlies a newly identified cognitive bias in humans. It’s called the “curvature blindness illusion”. Though it’s somewhat unclear how it works, scientists think it’s caused by the brain using different mechanisms to identify curved and angular shapes. These mechanisms may interfere or compete with each other, producing this strange effect.

Interesting Article, except for the obligatory bow to the (imaginary) evolutionary cause and effect hypothesis  ::):

https://www.zmescience.com/science/optical-llusion-curvature-blindness-432/
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