Deniers don’t surrender; bailing out Big Oil

 Deniers don’t surrender; bailing out Big Oil

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CRITTERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS

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funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket: Cycling into Spring: “First off:  I’m making no attempt to identify the flowers and other blossoms pictured here because a) they’re common for these parts and are not necessarily native, b) I’m lazy and feel no need to do the research work, c) readers herein can probably identify them for themselves, and d) their beauty alone speaks for itself. Yesterday was a wondrously splendid sunny day in Quincy, California. I decided to get out on my bicycle and pedal around to snap some photos of the emerging local flower and tree blossom color.  This past winter has been a trying time for me; along with being stuck in the house during the more inclement weather, I’ve also been dealing with a couple of personal issues (all resolved). So now that spring has sprung I’m trying to get outside daily and enjoy it. It’s rejuvenating.” 

funningforrest writes—The Daily Bucket: Q Trail and Forest:Almost sixty years ago my father made the wisest decision of his life.  A California Highway Patrol officer, Dad had put in for a transfer from the bustling, noisome city of Pomona (where I was born) to the rustic, slow-moving, quiet and clean-aired small town of Quincy, in the heart of the northern Sierra Nevada mountains.  I was but five years old at the time.  On September 17, 1960, with U-Haul truck and family station wagon loaded to their roofs, we arrived.  Although I can only imagine how different my life would have been had I grown up a city boy, it is safe to say growing up in the mountains certainly changed the course of my life. […] I count myself very fortunate to be able to live here.  Throughout my life I have resided in many places; the worst I consider to be the twenty-five years spent living near Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley.  But as the saying goes, you can take the man out of the mountains but you can never take the mountain out of the man.  Of course, that goes for women too.  It is splendid to be a mountain man back in the mountains.” 

CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – What did I miss? Not the snake: “A comment by Appy, on my last diary, made me smile.  “I’m just a newbie (and a camera) with a lot of willing targets.” He was referring to the photographs presented in past daily buckets. I promise, all of us will throw away hundreds of bad shots to keep one or two.

OceanDiver writes—Dawn Chorus: Winter Duck Dance Moves: “Most of our ducks in the Pacific Northwest are heading north and inland now, ready to start nesting in spring, like most birds. Every day my local bays get emptier 😔 Spring is great in many ways, but I’m a big fan of winter for the thousands of ducks livening up the season. I know soon enough there will be ducklings galore, but not where I can see them. However there’s a remarkable aspect of breeding behavior true for ducks that we in their winter range are able to see. Unlike songbirds, they start their courtship displays and choose their mates in winter, much earlier than the spring flurry that is just starting amongst passerines. Like most aquatic birds, ducks rely far more on visual communication  than do passerines, who attract their mates by singing distinctive audio patterns. When you’re in trees and thickets it’s hard to see others of your kind, so auditory messaging is more effective. Water birds are out in the open, and do their messaging by dancing — visible all around. Moreover, it benefits ducks to establish their mating pairs before they migrate. Once at their winter ponds, rivers and wetlands up north, there isn’t much scope of area for large numbers of birds to get all that sorted out, as migrating songbirds can do in three dimensions. It’s far more effective to arrive at breeding grounds ready to stake out territories and start nesting.”

OceanDiver writes—The Daily Bucket – one-eyed otter is back: “Last summer one of the River Otters who live around here came up onto the beach for a good roll in the sand, and I noticed his right eye wasn’t functional (The Daily Bucket – sandbathing otter). It didn’t seem to slow him down at all. He was sleek and hefty, and his teeth were in good shape as best I could tell. Obviously he’d run into some trouble, but was managing. I saw him intermittently through the fall—his eye never got better— and then didn’t cross paths with him for months. I feared the worst. Happily, there he was yesterday afternoon, fishing steadily in the shallow water just off the beach. He saw me clearly where I was standing 30 feet away and kept an eye on me throughout.”

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Seems to be doing okay with just one eye.

RonK writes—The Daily Bucket: Earth Day Beach Clean Up: “Lest Earth day 2020 get overlooked by the political and viral pandemics, I ventured out to one of our local beaches in drenching rain, bucket in hand to do my little bit of clean up. As is appropriate in this age of plague, I was alone, really alone as no one else was anywhere to be seen out in this weather. And of course they were supposed to be staying home. The beach I went to is one that I’ve highlighted before for plastic clean up for Earth Day 2018 and it is the one that I monitor for the Sea Star wasting studies. We can always find some detritus on this beach from small pieces of plastic, segments of polyurethane rope, chunks of fiberglass from boats, and even large sailboats (see the link above). The most common single item found here is beer cans. This time I also found 1 and a half pairs of sunglasses.”

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Here is my “Earth Day Daily Bucket” at the beach with more beach junk shown behind. This bucket and another sack that I partially filled later contain beach detritus, largely plastic that continues to wash up on the shore of our local, (and other) beaches. This is my small contribution to Earth Day action.
Four house finches, two male and two female, scouting a couple of mops that look like good materials for nest building. 2009, Berkeley, CA
Convention at the mop. Looks like good material for nest-building! 

pixxer writes—Helping birds build their nests (w/ videos): “I was looking through some old issues of a magazine called Birds & Blooms, a subscription gift from Mr pixxer’s Dad that we really didn’t read much. A sweet publication, and with some good information, but not on the level of Mr pixxer’s birding interest by that point. I was looking through to see if there was anything of interest before turning the magazines over to a local elementary school, so the beautiful photos might be turned into happy collages instead of recycled paper pulp. In one issue, I found a suggestion that reminded me of the ambitious house finch in the photo. That was, to provide nest-building materials to birds by placing them in an open-mesh container, where the birds could pull them out. This is not at all a new idea, and I have since seen it many times online (using suet frames to hold the materials), but it was new to me then. After collecting random stuff for months whenever I noticed it, I finally put up a birds nest-feeder last spring.” 

BrownsBay writes—The Daily Bucket: Eastern Puget Uplands: “About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to wander around some forestland in southeastern King County. As a Level IV Ecoregion, the area is classified as Eastern Puget Uplands, part of the Level III Puget Lowland Ecoregion. The Eastern Puget Uplands are a transition zone from the Puget lowlands to the higher working forests on the western slope of the Cascade Range. The country is gently rolling having been smoothed, packed, and carved by over 2,000 feet of glacial ice and resulting meltwater. The walking was easy along the primitive roads and trails that I followed through the forest. The forest here is second growth but is well advanced in age, maybe more than 80 years old, judging by the girth of the trees.  Scattered about the forest floor were giant decaying cedar stumps with springboard notches still visible. The trees were a mix of western red cedar, western hemlock, and Douglas fir with an understory of western sword fern, salmonberry, and salal. Missing were other conifers of the Puget Trough; grand fir, western white pine, and Sitka spruce.” 

Milly Watt writes—The Daily Bucket – Eagle Drama: “We have an active Bald Eagle nest on one corner of our property. Usually the nesting eagles warn off any other eagles that get too close. This spring though we’ve seen very different behavior – both here and in a local park. We’ve had convocations of up to seven eagles roosting on the property or flying overhead together. […] An hour and a half later we were treated to a colorful sunset with the silhouettes of multiple eagles circling lazily over the house and the bluff above the beach. Just after sunset we heard some unusual cries from the woods. The dog started barking and wanting to go outside. He’s just a few days out from major surgery so that was particularly weird behavior. When I took him out a bit later eagles flew from both that same fir and from a tree on the other side of the house. That’s not what had him worked up though. Once we got around to the water side of the house he oriented on the source of the new sound. It was coming from a stand of undergrowth in the wetland below the house. I saw flashes of white on the ground there in my flashlight beam and so my first thought was ‘injured eagle.’ We’ve seen them chase each other at high speed through the trees (how can a bird so large do that?) and it seemed like that was going to happen some day.” 

Ojibwa writes—A Nature Trail in Glacier Park: “Welcome to the Street Prophets Coffee Hour cleverly hidden at the intersection of religion and politics. This is an open thread where we can share our thoughts and comments about the day. One of my favorite short hikes in Glacier National Park is the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail in the Many Glacier area.

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CaptBLI writes—The Daily Bucket – What did I miss? Not the snake: “A comment by Appy, on my last diary, made me smile.  “I’m just a newbie (and a camera) with a lot of willing targets.” He was referring to the photographs presented in past daily buckets. I promise, all of us will throw away hundreds of bad shots to keep one or two.

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lyleoross writes—Daily Bucket: Monk Parakeets: “I am fortunate that there is a train track running down the side of my neighborhood. That might sound bad, but right next to the tracks is a major power line. Worse you say? No, there is about a two-mile-long section that is rented out to a horse rancher who runs local events.  He has carefully protected the species that live on and around the property, chasing off kids with BB guns and keeping all poisons away from the property. So, I have my own little slice of nature in the middle of Houston. Hopefully, I can publish several buckets on what is there. This bucket is about Monk Parakeets.  Houston has a large colony that is non-endemic and probably resulted from released pets. They can be seen foraging along the train tracks and around the power lines. This year, I discovered their nest sites and have been watching them prepare for breeding. Their nests look like large bundles of twigs. There are currently six of them in the power towers where I hang out.” 

CLIMATE CHAOS

xaxnar writes—Three Takeaways for the Climate Crisis thanks to Covid 19“The Covid 19 global pandemic has had two BIG consequences for climate deniers and one for the ‘economy’. It is an ongoing experiment in real time that proves two of the BIG LIES climate change deniers tout are not so, and that there are other changes we need to examine. Big Lie Number One: The earth is too big for anything man does to seriously affect it. The global shutdown of manufacturing, travel, and other human activities is providing dramatic proof of how our normal daily activities are bad for the planet and us. Air quality in Paris improved significantly. Northern India has regained views of the Himalayas a hundred miles away. Los Angeles is seeing a dramatic reduction in smog. While dolphins have sported in the canals of Venice, Italy as initially claimed, the big reduction in boat traffic and cruise ships has made a visible difference for both humans and animals. Variations on the story are happening around the world as wildlife takes advantage of human absence. Two thirds of the world’s passenger aircraft are sitting on the ground. Even without the reduction in emissions that has produced, the reduction in noise pollution has to be making a difference as well. (Margaret Renki has a commentary on what we are seeing now that we’ve gotten a little breathing space.) Removing humans from the picture does make a difference to the planet.” 

Emissions in Eastern China: Jan, 2020 - Feb, 2020

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Carbon Dioxide Is Small Therefore It’s Unimportant, Global Warming Deniers Argue During Pandemic: “A recurring argument among deniers, particularly those more intent on appealing to the masses with oversimplifications than actually dealing with science, is that carbon dioxide is just too small a percentage of the atmosphere to matter. The latest example of this comes courtesy of a CFACT blog post by George W. Bush’s Yale roommate, Collister Johnson Jr., which was reposted last week by Climate Depot. Johnson laments that ‘this tiny, trace gas’ that’s ‘essential for the proper operation of not only the lungs of humans, but also the breathing apparatus of nearly every living thing on Earth’ has ‘been demonized into a harmful evil “pollutant”—a toxic “emission”.’ The idea that something small is therefore benign is always logically stupid, but especially so during a time when a microscopic organism that represents only a tiny proportion of the human body is responsible for killing tens of thousands of people around the world.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—It’s Not Enough To Just Believe Science, You Also Have To Expose Those Covering It Up: “Yesterday we came across something pretty scary: a headline from someone good saying what we do is bad. So we braced ourselves, and read Kate Aronoff’s piece in The New Republic: ‘Believe Science’ Is a Bad response to Denialism. If your reaction to the headline is to disagree, you should go read it too. Fortunately, it turns out the point Aronoff is making isn’t that we should stop defending science, but that ‘coronavirus denialism and climate denialism aren’t the product of skeptical masses but disingenuous elites.’ It’s not that people need to listen and trust scientists, it’s that people with power are actively misinforming the public and need to be exposed as lying charlatans.” 

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—Are Climate Blog Comment Sections Places Of Learning, Or Just “Chanting to the Choir?Yesterday, we came across a long, ranty blog post at CliScep that took great offense to recent blog post and study by Jennifer Metcalfe that examined comments at SkepticalScience and JoNova to see how commenters behaved, and if they were living up to the ideals of the sort of interactive learning experience that brings the public into science communications. Steeped in the academic language of the ‘dialogic tools of social media,’ and asking whether discussion is ‘expansive’ or ‘contractive,’ we’re not quite sure why either the tweeters that Metcalfe’s blog post responds to or the denial bloggers at CliScep are so upset about the paper. What Metcalfe’s case study on three extreme weather events covered by the two blogs shows is basically what anyone who frequents climate blogs, or really any sort of online community, rather quickly comes to realize: a few users are doing most of the talking and moderation matters. Both sites’ comment sections are dominated by a small handful of users. According to Metcalfe’s analysis of the two blogs’ commenters, about 60% of the comments on both blogs came from about a quarter of the total commenters.

Pakalolo writes—We have upset the natural cycles. Oceans are the warmest on record; whole ecosystem collapse by 2030: “Parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans all hit the record books for warmth last month, according to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information. The high temperatures, particularly in the tropics, will help in forecasting the fierceness of the Atlantic hurricane season, and ‘the eruption of wildfires from the Amazon region to Australia, and whether the record heat and severe thunderstorms raking the southern U.S. will continue.’ The entirety of the tropical ocean is overheated noted Michelle L’Heureux of the US Climate Prediction Center. Watch out. Brian K, Sullivan writes in Greenberg Green: Overall, the five warmest years in the world’s seas, as measured by modern instruments, have occurred over just the last half-dozen or so years. It’s ‘definitely climate-change related,’ said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. ‘Oceans are absorbing about 90% of the heat trapped by extra greenhouse gases.’ Worldwide, sea temperatures were 1.49 degrees Fahrenheit above average in March. That’s the second-highest level recorded since 1880 for the month of March, according to U.S. data. In 2016, temperatures were 1.55 degrees above average. The searing global temperatures this year can also be traced back to intense climate systems around the Arctic that bottled up much of that region’s cold, preventing it from spilling south into temperate regions. Combined with global warming, this was a one-two punch for sea temperatures that’s brought them to historic highs.

AGRICULTURE​, FOOD & GARDENING

SemperEducandis writes—What’s in the garden? “We have been growing a good portion of our own food for many years now.  I have had a garden of some sort, even when living in the barracks in West Berlin, almost my entire life. I don’t generally plant any seed or plant that is not an “heirloom” variety, capable (with care) of producing next year’s seed.  There are techniques to keep pollination more of a sure thing rather than a genetic crap-shoot, and I have used them quite successfully for a long time.  (My camel-hair pollenation brush is almost forty years old now….) So, in response to a, “What’s For Dinner” diary entry about gardening, here’s my current list of seeds and plants in pots, beds, or germinating in potting soil and compost on the back deck: Currently several lettuce varieties, romaines and buttercrunch and oak-leaf, maybe a couple of others, in tubs.  We’ve had a lot of salads out of that tub all winter, including some for tonight’s supper.”

pixxer writes—What’s For Dinner? v14.42 – Return of the Victory Garden! “In the Time of Corona, is there anyone out there still who does not know the concept of the Victory Garden? Wikipedia reminds us: Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in  the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germanyduring World War I and World War II. In the war time governments encouraged people to plant victory gardens not only to supplement their rations but also to boost morale. George Washington Carver wrote an agricultural tract and promoted the idea of what he called a ‘Victory Garden.’ They were used along with Rationing Stamps and Cards to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil ‘morale booster’ in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front. The enemy is unseen right now, but the gardens are popping up. How can I tell, since I can’t actually go visit anybody? The plant nurseries (fortunately considered “essential” here in Berkeley and our county, Alameda), have lines of people waiting to get in, and everybody, but everybody — including the hardware stores — is out of vegetable seeds.”

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Gather the ingredients

beaky writes—Saturday Morning Garden Blog V.16.18: Making Dandelion Wine, Part:For years I have wondered what dandelion wine tastes like. I watch a lot of British TV and it’s surprising how often dandelion wine comes up in the conversation. So this year I decided to do it. I found a recipe that says will make a deliciously dry wine.[…]  It’s okay if a little of the green goes in, but too much will result in a bitter wine. Discard the calyxes and stems. Put the trimmed petals in a non-reactive vessel (no aluminum, copper, or iron). This was tedious and took forever. I found that twisting the calyx off worked really well but boy did it make my hands cramp.

ECO-ACTION & ECO JUSTICE

Michael Brune writes—Still Fighting for People and Planet: “These are extraordinarily challenging times. Many of us are grieving losses large and small, and are filled with anxiety about the future. But the Sierra Club continues to work for a future that includes everything we need to flourish — a stable climate, clean air and water, clean energy, and thriving wildlife and public lands — and we’re achieving important victories. As always, they couldn’t have been achieved without the visionary leadership of our partners. I’m proud to share them with you — and glad I can bring a little good news to a dark time. […] We went to court to defend clean water — and won. […] Banks are getting the message: Fossil fuels are bad business. […] Even during a pandemic, we’re still moving beyond coal. […] Energy-efficiency upgrades and payment plans are replacing utility shutoffs in Detroit. […] The Keystone XL pipeline lost a key permit — and that has implications for pipelines across the country.”

CANDIDATES, STATE AND DC ECO-RELATED POLITICS

poopdogcomedy writes—RI-Sen: Sen. Jack Reed (D) Hits Trump For Using COVID-19 Pandemic To Rollback Clean Air Protections: “Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Jack Reed’s (D. RI) re-election campaign: First and foremost, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. The spirit of community and the hard work of so many on the frontlines are a powerful reminder of our country’s greatness. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all of us, and, in the midst of this crisis, the Trump administration has decided to roll back environmental rules on air pollution at a time when experts say that our current air quality standards are not strong enough. In the middle of a respiratory pandemic, this is unconscionable. A recent study shows that higher levels of air pollution are linked to worse outcomes for COVID-19. Yet the Trump administration is effectively working to make our air dirtier — first, by gutting Obama-era limits on car emissions, and now, by refusing to strengthen air quality standards.” 

ENERGY

Fossil Fuels & Emissions Controls

Dan Bacher writes—Trump Administration Grants Big Oil Lobby Association’s Bailout Wish: “Yesterday, Trump’s Federal Reserve opened the floodgates to big oil in a decision that will allow financially unsustainable oil and gas corporations to pay down their upside-down balance sheets with taxpayer-backed loan monies intended for small and mid-sized businesses. This decision adds to new data from Trump’s Treasury Department and Small Business Administrations that revealed over one-third of all extractive resource corporations and related industries have been awarded some $3.9 billion bailout funds through the Payroll Protection Program. The decision, which also doubles the revenue eligibility cap on Federal Reserve loans to $5 billion in annual revenue and expands employee caps to 15,000, mirrors the request the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) sent to the Trump administration two weeks ago. Several oil state senators followed the lobby association’s lead with a similar request. IPAA is a former client of mega-lobbyist turned-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and has been exposed bragging and joking about their direct access to the administration.” 

Renewables, Efficiency, Energy Storage & Conservation

A Siegel writes—Despite Moore’s Planet of the Humans’ mockumentary, Solar price plunges pretty spectacular: “Tired of dealing with dissections of errors and misdirection in the Jeff Gibbs written/directed & Michael Moore produced mockumentary (mockery of a documentary) Planet of the Humans, this post is taking a moment to bask in the bright note of just how the stunning price declines are continuing. Just yesterday, Dubai announced a solar project that will deliver electricity at $13.50 per megawatt hour (or 1.35 cents per kilowatt hour).[,,,]  Stunningly impressive reductions in solar, wind, and battery prices happen on a regular basis — not surprisingly with technologies and energy systems that have seen price declines and increased total deployment every single year for several decades. With these sorts of near 1 cent per kilowatt hour electricity prices, there are a world of possibilities being opened that could drive significant shifts in the global economy: Shifting power-hungry manufacturing (aluminum …) to solar rich areas. Moving off natural gas to electricity cracking water to make ammonia fertilizer.Hydrogen production from spare solar electricity for transportation, industry, and storage. Cheaper desalinization to provide water supplies for solar rich areas (including, at least, indoor agriculture). Accelerating moves to electrify everything as, with each plunge in solar prices, fossil fuels find it harder to compete on price (and can’t, in many domains, compete on quality already).”

Mokurai writes—Renewable Monday: America’s Biggest Methane Plume: “You might think that profit-driven oil and gas drillers would want to capture all of the methane they produce, either to sell immediately or to pump back down into oil wells to increase production. You would think wrong. You might think that they would build enough pipeline capacity to transport all of that methane. You would think wrong again, even though they continue to rave on about Clean Coal and pipelines for transporting CO2 to pump down oil wells. No as you can see, they burn a lot of it, and as satellite imagery has revealed, they just leak it, and to Hell with you and the World Entire.

Satellite observations of the Permian methane anomaly.TROPOMI satellite data derived elevation-corrected column methane mixing ratio for (A) the conterminous United States and (B) the Permian Basin containing the Delaware and Midland sub-basins. White shading represents missing data. Purple boundary in (A) indicates the study domain encompassing the Permian Basin. Methane averages are computed from monthly means of TROPOMI measurements during May 2018 and March 2019.
A US, including hot spots in CA, the Bakken Shale, and elsewhere; B Permian Basin

Mokurai writes—Renewable Tuesday: Should Activists Buy Oil at Record Low Prices? “Can we buy oil now, and keep it in the ground? Will that have a significant effect? Bloomberg NEF wants to have that discussion.Their take: No. My take: ‘Buy’ when prices are negative, as now, and buy depleted oil wells to pump it into. At a profit overall. Or nationalize all fossil fuel resources, and dissolve the industry as fast as we can build out renewables to replace it. Turn the remaining asset value back to shareholders and be done with it. To make an activist buyout work, we have to be able to predict that oil futures prices will sometimes go negative, which they have never done before. But we have never before seen such cuts to demand. And we know that cuts to demand will get ever more severe once the driving public understands that EVs are cheaper than gas guzzlers, as they are now on leases, and soon will be for purchases, too. Oil plunges 321% into negative territory for the first time ever as demand evaporates.”

Mokurai writes—Renewable Wednesday: Conservatives for Renewable Energy, Funded by Progressives: “Oh, really? Yes, the Conservative Energy Network is supporting renewable energy from the opposite ideology, arguing that it reduces government expense and so on. It claims to be a grassroots conservative organization, but its funders are all Progressive. Conservative Energy Network. Formed in 2016, the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) is a coalition of state-based conservative clean energy and energy efficiency organizations across the country. CEN works closely with members and allies in about 20 states to depoliticize energy issues and offer Conservative clean energy solutions that create jobs, spark innovation, conserve our resources, and protect our energy grid and national security. A clean energy thought leader, CEN supports and promotes our state teams to educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of a clean energy economy. In addition to providing infrastructure and resources to current states, CEN also leads the formation of other state-based conservative energy organizations.

Mokurai writes—Renewable Thursday: Exponential Solar Surge Continues: “The IEA is still way behind the curve, though not as much as it used to be. But even behind the curve of reality, it is giving us serious Good News. Cue wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth. (Come to think of it, I’d like to see that.) THE BIG PICTURE: Solar’s Explosive GrowthAccording to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) World Energy Outlook 2019, solar photovoltaic (PV) is set to become the largest source of installed electrical capacity in about 2035, if countries pursue policies as planned. By 2040, solar could make up 24% of global installed capacity—up from 7% in 2018—but its share of generation could hover around 11%, up from 2% in 2018. In regions like China, solar could overtake coal in the power mix by the mid-2020s. The IEA’s projections for solar’s explosive growth are one of the largest differences between the current report and its 2018 edition. Sources: International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency. You see? And these are not new ideas.” 

Mokurai writes—Renewable Friday: Hydrogen for Mass Energy Storage, Diesel Truck Conversions: “Hydrogen has been used for local, off-grid energy storage, but now that renewable energy for cracking water is getting much cheaper, electrolysis co-located with renewable energy facilities is being proposed as a major component of grid storage. During periods of surplus generation from variable sources, the cost of electricity can go negative. The technical terms in the world of finance are hedging and arbitrage. Using them for speculation can be disastrous, but using them as tools to flatten supply and demand fluctuations gives us much greater certainty about costs, and thus makes the economy work much better. The solar highway to Australia’s renewable hydrogen economyThe Australian Renewable Energy Agency [ARENA] says that on-site solar electrolysis is not just the most cost-effective way of developing a domestic and export hydrogen economy, but perhaps the only way. The new Renewable Hydrogen Market Report, produced by ANT Energy Solutions and backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), features a number of key findings in the race to develop an Australian renewable hydrogen economy. The main conclusion is that on-site solar is the only way to go.

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Mokurai writes—EV Tuesday: Get Paid to Charge Your EV, Make Hydrogen: “Denialists complain bitterly about the variable output of wind and solar energy systems. But for consumers, that means that the cost of electricity is necessarily negative sometimes. You get to arbitrage your recharging, if your government does not interfere. Others get to use negatively-priced energy to make hydrogen from water, as a form of energy storage. Bloomberg GreenClear skies over Germany meant that intraday wholesale power prices were negative earlier this week. In the U.K. on April 19, electric vehicle charging platform Ohme said that its customers were paid 69 pence to add 130 miles of charge to their vehicles. Negative prices are a feature of a properly functioning energy market, and perhaps you noticed on Monday that the key U.S. oil benchmark closed trading at -$37.63 a barrel. The negative prices that indicate a profoundly dislocated oil market also indicate a world of new applications for solar. This is bigger than the market havoc of the pandemic.” 

OCEANS, WATER, DROUGHT

Dan Bacher writes—State Water Contractors sue California over revised incidental take permit for endangered fish: “The California water wars amped up on April 29 when the State Water Contractors (SWC) filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) over the March 31 Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the long-term operation of the State Water Project (SWP). The lawsuit filed by the State Water Water Contractors follows the lawsuit filed the day before by the Central Valley Project (federal) contractors over the permit: Central Valley Project contractors file lawsuit against the state – Maven’s 4/28/20. The Incidental Take Permit allows the state to take endangered fish species, including Delta and long fin smelt, Central Valley steelhead, winter run Chinook salmon, spring run Chinook salmon and other species, under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) during the long term operation of the State Water Project.” 

Dan Bacher writes—Groups sue California over failure to analyze water project’s impact on salmon, other fish: “Just after the state and federal water contractors sued DWR and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife over their incidental take permit for endangered species, four environmental groups on Wednesday, April 29, sued DWR in the San Francisco Superior Court over its approval of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the long-term operation of the State Water Project (SWP). The SWP is the massive system of dams, pumps and aqueducts responsible for diverting water from Northern California to Southern California and Central Valley agribusiness. The lawsuit challenges what the groups say is the ‘agency’s implausible conclusion that the project, which starves the San Francisco Bay-Delta of freshwater flows and has devastated most of the Delta’s native fish populations, will have no environmental consequences’.” 

TOXIC POLLUTION

Angmar​​​​​​​ writes—“Scientists find bug that feasts on toxic plastic”: “A bacterium that feeds on toxic plastic has been discovered by scientists. The bug not only breaks the plastic down but uses it as food to power the process. The bacterium, which was found at a waste site where plastic had been dumped, is the first that is known to attack polyurethane. Millions of tonnes of the plastic is produced every year to use in items such as sports shoes, nappies, kitchen sponges and as foam insulation, but it is mostly sent to landfill because it it too tough to recycle. When broken down it can release toxic and carcinogenic chemicals which would kill most bacteria, but the newly discovered strain is able to survive. While the research has identified the bug and some of its key characteristics, much work remains to be done before it can be used to treat large amounts of waste plastic.” 

MISCELLANY

ClimateDenierRoundup writes—As the Eco-Right Gains Traction, the Far-Right Ramps Up Attacks On Free Market Environmentalism: “Although we’re generally pretty skeptical of conservative politicians pretending they’re taking climate change seriously, there are undoubtedly good conservative groups pushing for climate action and there are signs they’re making progress. Young conservatives, in particular, are bucking their party line and taking the issue more seriously than their older counterparts. Which is exactly why the rightwing-fossi fuel poltical industrial complex has been pushing back. Take Media Research Center’s Hayden Ludwig, who has recently published a string of pieces on the “Eco-Right,” with a piece at Legal Insurrection, an appearance on a recent podcast, and in a post promising more information on all the organizations cataloged in Influence Watch, the rightwing bizarro-world version of the Center for Media and Democracy’s Sourcewatch database of industry front groups. Ludwig is basically accusing groups like the Evangelical Environmental Network, Niskanen Center, RepublicEN and Young Conservatives for Carbon Dividends of selling out to the billionaires behind the climate change community’s ‘cult or gang of thieves’ that harbor a ‘superstitious hatred of human life and flourishing’.



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