penetrating ideas


The Carbon Tax is long overdue nationally, though California’s seems to be chugging right along. But think how far we have come – worse yet, think how far down the tubes we must be that the Chicago Tribune, as an entity, is advocating for it. Read it and weep, either for joy or sadness.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-carbon-tax-epa-climate-20180702-story.html

Editorial:

A carbon tax that could put money in your pocket

Editorial Board  Editorials reflect the opinion of the Editorial Board, as determined by the members of the board, the editorial page editor and the publisher.

The indications of a warming world are numerous and hard to miss. Last year was the third-warmest year on record for both the planet and the United States — exceeded only by 2015 and 2016. In June, scientists reported that Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tons of ice since 1992 — yielding “enough water to cover Texas to a depth of nearly 13 feet,” the Associated Press reported.

The indications of inaction on the subject are also abundant and visible. Last year, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency has moved to ease regulations on power plants and motor vehicles that were integral to the Obama administration’s efforts to slow climate change.

Bipartisan action – once a normal response to environmental harms – is not on the agenda for Congress or the White House. But a growing group of farsighted pragmatists are nonetheless trying to find a middle ground between the entrenched adversaries.

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Go there and read. Google much more. More next week

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But will it ever work out? I have no idea but there are still interesting things happening. I know this is kind of the back water from the Russian and the European efforts. Yes – God knows what China is doing. They have their own tokamak but they do not publish much about it. Still I thought this was interesting. How can you argue with Popular Mechanics.  They will probably one day get one to work. Plus it has a real cool animation. I am a sucker for those things.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a21945982/german-nuclear-fusion-experiment-sets-records-for-stellarator-reactor/

 

German Nuclear Fusion Experiment Sets Records

The stellarator was largely replaced by the tokamak in the 1960s, but Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X could be bringing the reactor back from the dead.

This Pope may be the best Pope I have ever lived through. I am not Catholic so I probably shouldn’t even be commenting on this or posting this BUT DAMN he is good. On sex abuse; On being gay; On capitalism and the poor; On so many issues he is right on. Now this. I am amazed.

https://thewest.com.au/business/energy/pope-francis-tells-big-oil-executives-clean-energy-is-an-epochal-challenge-ng-b88862527z

Pope Francis tells big oil executives clean energy is an ‘epochal’ challenge

AP

Pope Francis warned that climate change risked destroying humanity on Saturday (June, 9) and called on energy leaders to help the world to convert to clean fuels to avert catastrophe. Anna Bevan reports

Pope Francis has told world oil executives that the transition to less-polluting energy sources “is a challenge of epochal proportions”, and warned that satisfying the globe’s energy needs “must not destroy civilisation”.

The Vatican says the two-day conference with oil executives was meant as a follow-up to the Pope’s encyclical three years ago calling on people to save the planet from the ravages of climate change and other environmental ills.

Participants included the chief executives of Italian oil giant ENI, BP, ExxonMobil and Norway’s Statoil as well as scientists and managers of major investment funds. Their remarks on the first day of the closed-door conference were not released by the Vatican.

While Pope Francis lauded the oil executives for embedding an assessment of climate change risks into their planning strategies, he also put them on notice for their “continued search for fossil fuel reserves,” two years after the Paris climate accord “clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”.

 

 

 

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Don’t get me wrong. I think this is really good and really good work as well. But housing as seems obvious is the solution to homelessness. So why not house all the homeless in small houses. Hell for that matter house all the poor people that want them in small houses.

http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article197241499.html

Thirteen homeless veterans got a look Monday at the furnished tiny houses they will call home for the next six to 12 months. The Veterans Community Project also got a chance to show the public the first phase of the “Veterans Village” taking shape. – Shelly Yang, The Kansas City Star
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‘Housing with dignity’: First 13 homeless veterans to move into tiny houses in KC

January 29, 2018 02:12 PM

Updated January 29, 2018 03:12 PM

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I haven’t written or posted about environmentally sound cars, but this article caught my eye. Having robust Secondary and Tertiary markets means that EVs are here to stay and will eventually conquer the market.

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1116722_nissan-begins-offering-rebuilt-leaf-battery-packs

Nissan begins offering rebuilt Leaf battery packs

Starting this month, Nissan has begun offering rebuilt battery packs for the older Leafs, filling a gap for drivers of older cars whose packs have begun to run down.

The company built a new facility in Japan to rebuild the packs, and will sell them for about $2,850 (based on the price in Japan), according to Inside EVs. A Nissan spokesman told Green Car Reports that the company is investigating offering the program in the United States, but has not yet made a decision.

Electric car repair trainer Craig Van Batenburg, of the Automotive Career Development Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, said the refurbished battery packs are new among electric carmakers. Previously, older battery packs had to be replaced with new ones, which cost more than $6,500 (minus a $1,000 trade-in, or core charge, on the old battery pack.)

The cost covers the 24-kwh battery pack in the original Leaf, which was rated at only 73 miles of range when new.

Owners of early Leafs had problems with the cars losing range after only a year or two in hot climates such as Phoenix, Arizona.

READ THIS: Nissan Buys Back Leaf Electric Cars Under Arizona Lemon Law [2012]

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have been at a loss for words for the last month. Things are going so well. I know Dotard is still President and many things are seriously messed up. But on the alternative energy front things just keep getting better and better. Don Blankenship actually made a fool out of himself and lost a primary vote for the Senate in West Virginia. Next week I may even get to report that Yucca Mountain is open for business. But for now, California hits one out of the park.

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-solar-panels-20180509-story.html

 

California regulators approve mandate for solar panels on new houses

California regulators on Wednesday mandated that all newly built single family houses have solar panels, part of the state’s aggressive push to combat climate change.

The California Energy Commission voted 5-0 to approve the measure, which also applies to multifamily buildings of three stories or fewer. The mandate is set to take effect in 2020 and does not need the approval of the Legislature.

The requirement is expected to save consumers money in the long run through reduced utility bills, but also make a new house more expensive to purchase at a time many families already struggle to afford a mortgage.

In addition to the solar mandate, the commission approved new insulation and air filter requirements for newly built homes. In all, the new residential requirements are expected to make a single-family house $9,500 more expensive to build on average, but save $19,000 in reduced utility bills over a 30-year period, according to the Energy Commission.

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Go there and do a happy dance – I mean read. More next week

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I really have nothing to add here. It is gonna get really hot. Them it is gonna get dangerous. Who knows what fun we can have after that?

https://earther.com/pakistan-may-have-just-set-a-world-heat-record-1825690035

Pakistan May Have Just Set a World Heat Record

High temperatures are forecast to reach the mid-80s this week in New York, and I’m dreading it. But I have a plan to stay cool: just thinking of how much hotter it is in Pakistan, which is in the middle of a blistering heat wave.

Temperatures reported to have cracked 50.2 degrees Celsius (122.3 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday in Nawabshah, located about 127 miles northeast of Karachi. If confirmed, that could make the measurement not just the hottest ever recorded for April in Pakistan, but the hottest ever reliably recorded for April anywhere on Earth.

 “There was a 51.0°C reading reported from Santa Rosa, Mexico in April 2011 but this figure is considered of dubious reliability, so yes, the 50.2° reading is likely the hottest April temperature yet reliably observed on Earth in modern records,” Chris Burt, a weather historian, told Earther in an email.

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Go there and read. Man 122 degrees. Are you kidding me? More next week.

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Solar and Wind Power are on a huge tear. This is both in price, where coal is dead and natural gas is getting iffy. But in terms of availability and cutting edge technology. I see a future where generating electricity through renewables may be a same day thing and cheap as dirt. I know I am a dreamer but I am not the only one.

By the way, some people say that size doesn’t matter. I ain’t one of those.

SOLAR BLANKET

What Saudi Arabia’s 200 GW solar power plant would look like—if placed in your neighborhood

Obsession

Energy Shocks

April 01, 2018

Saudi Arabia has a plan to wean its economy off oil. In the biggest sign of what the future of the Gulf state would look like, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese multinational Softbank to build 200 GW of solar power by 2030 at a cost of $200 billion.

These are eye-popping numbers. If built, that solar-power plant will be about 200 times the size of the biggest solar plant operating today. It would more than triple Saudi Arabia’s capacity to produce electricity, from about 77 GW today.

With current technology, solar panels capable of generating 200 GW would likely cover 5,000 sq km—an area larger than the the world’s largest cities.

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No it is not an April’s Joke. Go there and read. More next week.

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In Florida no less. I could hype this piece up, but why? They do such a good job. The place even has its own website.

Home

So here is one version of the story.

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2018/01/96772-residents-move-americas-first-solar-powered-town

Residents Move Into America’s First Solar Powered Town

Residents will live in solar powered homes and ride around the community in self-driving, solar-powered shuttles. Babcock Ranch outside of Fort Myers, Florida, has been in the making since 2005. A city of 50,000 is forecast.
January 18, 2018, 1pm PST | Irvin Dawid

“Families are starting to move into what is being called America’s first solar-powered town,” announces John Dickerson for CBS This Morning on Jan. 16. “Babcock Ranch, about half an hour northeast of Fort Myers, Florida, is supposed to produce more energy than it consumes once it’s finished.”

Developer Syd Kitson is building 20,000 homes for a projected 50,000 people, states Dickerson in the newscast video accompanying the article.

There are more than 300,000 solar panels spread across 440 acres there, producing enough electricity not only for the town, but also the surrounding areas, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez.

One critical energy element lacking in the solar-powered community will be adequate energy storage to allow the city to be truly self-powered:

The town doesn’t run on solar power all the time. At night, when the sun is down, it has to draw from the traditional electrical grid. Kitson says the technology for storing all that surplus energy the solar cells generate during the day is still too costly.

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Go There. I mean literally go there if you can. If not go there and read. More next week.

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Once renewables get a bite of the apple eating it down to the core does not take long. I know that is a really bad metaphor, but right now besides doing my happy dance it is the best I can come up with.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/renewables-conservation-start-pushing-fossil-fuels-off-the-us-grid/?comments=1&post=35009197

US electricity use drops, renewables push fossil fuels out of the mix

2017 saw both coal and natural gas use decline.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney once said that “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” But in the US, increased energy efficiency has helped drive a drop in total electricity use. That, combined with the rise of renewable power, caused the use of both coal and natural gas to decline last year.

The changes, according to the Energy Information Agency, are relatively small. Total electric generation last year was down 1.5 percent compared to the year before, a drop of 105,000 GigaWatt-hours. But both coal and natural gas saw declines that were even larger. Coal use was down by 2.5 percent, a smaller decline than it has seen in many recent years. But the numbers for its future aren’t promising; no new coal plants were opened, and 6.3 Gigawatts of coal capacity were retired in 2017.

Continuing recent trends, 9.3GW of natural gas capacity were brought online, although that was partly offset by the retirement of 4.0GW of older gas plants. Despite the additional capacity, however, natural gas use was also down, dropping by nearly 8 percent.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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