environmental blogs

In the new spirit of this BLOG I am only going to post articles that get my heart pumping and my blood flowing. Without further adieu I present SciencePlus.


What’s New for Renewable Energy

Energy drives social and economic development. In the past, the discovery of oil triggered an unprecedented industrial revolution that had significant impacts on our quality of life. A single litre of oil provides as many calories as two to twenty weeks of human labour, enough energy to fuel our growing industries, heat our homes, and get us from point A to point B quickly.

However, with an alarming scarcity of fossil fuels and growing energy demands on the horizon, especially for emerging economies, the search for sustainable means of production is not only imperative for the preservation of the environment—it is also becoming highly lucrative. That is why renewable energy is receiving more and more attention from governments and businesses. There is talk of a new industrial revolution, one that is all about green energy.

Since the Kyoto Protocol, most countries have increased the proportion of their budget invested in energy with the potential for long-term sustainability. We can already see results; even in 2006, 18.6% of the world’s electricity came from renewable resources. Of that percentage, hydraulic energy (hydroelectric dams, underwater turbines, tidal power plants, etc.) constituted 89%, biomass constituted 5.7%, and wind power, geothermal energy, and solar power constituted 3.5%, 1.7%, and 0.2%, respectively.


This is a huge site. Go there and read. More next week.


I usually post here on Wednesday. Imagine the probability of Earth Day occurring on the same day! So today I offer a more optimistic view of the world then mine. Think: Global Warming.



Rethinking extinction


The idea that we are edging up to a mass extinction is not just wrong – it’s a recipe for panic and paralysis

The way the public hears about conservation issues is nearly always in the mode of ‘[Beloved Animal] Threatened With Extinction’. That makes for electrifying headlines, but it misdirects concern. The loss of whole species is not the leading problem in conservation. The leading problem is the decline in wild animal populations, sometimes to a radical degree, often diminishing the health of whole ecosystems.

Viewing every conservation issue through the lens of extinction threat is simplistic and usually irrelevant. Worse, it introduces an emotional charge that makes the problem seem cosmic and overwhelming rather than local and solvable. It’s as if the entire field of human medicine were treated solely as a matter of death prevention. Every session with a doctor would begin: ‘Well, you’re dying. Let’s see if we can do anything to slow that down a little.’

Medicine is about health. So is conservation. And as with medicine, the trends for conservation in this century are looking bright. We are re-enriching some ecosystems we once depleted and slowing the depletion of others. Before I explain how we are doing that, let me spell out how exaggerated the focus on extinction has become and how it distorts the public perception of conservation.

Many now assume that we are in the midst of a human-caused ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ to rival the one that killed off the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. But we’re not. The five historic mass extinctions eliminated 70 per cent or more of all species in a relatively short time. That is not going on now. ‘If all currently threatened species were to go extinct in a few centuries and that rate continued,’ began a recent Nature magazine introduction to a survey of wildlife losses, ‘the sixth mass extinction could come in a couple of centuries or a few millennia.’


Quick not: He favors Nuclear Power

Go there and read. More next week.


I do not think I have to say much more than damn!


Since 1st Earth Day, U.S. Temps Marching Upward

Published: April 22nd, 2014

Research Report by Climate Central

U.S. Warming Fast Since 1st Earth DaySome States Warming at Twice Global RateClick on a state to see annual temperature increase since 1970

It’s been 44 years since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and since that time, average temperatures have been rising across the U.S. This Climate Central interactive graphic shows a state-by-state analysis of those temperature trends.

Average temperatures across most of the continental U.S. have been rising gradually for more than a century, at a rate of about 0.127°F per decade between 1910-2012. That trend parallels an overall increase in average global temperatures, which is largely the result of human greenhouse gas emissions. While global warming isn’t uniform, and some regions are warming faster than others, since the 1970s, warming across the U.S. has accelerated, previously shown in our report The Heat is On. Since then, every state’s annual average temperature has risen accordingly. On average, temperatures in the contiguous 48 states have been warming at a rate of 0.48°F per decade since 1970, nearly twice the global average.

Delaware and Wisconsin are tied as the fastest-warming states since 1970, warming at a rate of 0.67°F per decade. Average annual temperatures in the two states are about 3°F warmer than they were 44 years ago. Vermont, New Jersey, and Michigan are warming nearly as fast, and all are warming about twice as fast as the global average. The slowest-warming states are Washington, Georgia, Florida, and Oregon – warming just more than 0.3°F per decade since 1970 — and are on pace with average global temperatures.


Go there and read. More next week.


This is a sad video. But this is the current situation without the fracking. Stuff is gonna be gushing everywhere once they start. Now you know how bad I am with videos, so you may have to follow the links to see it, but I will try. It is worth seeing. It is only 10 minutes long.


Greenpeace Releases Video of Contaminated Water in Southern Illinois

The international environmental watchdog, Greenpeace, a several decades old nonviolent direct action organization, is now shining a light on our southern Illinois fracking issue. On Tuesday, January 28th, Mitch Wenkus, a Greenpeace filmmaker, just released Fracking in The Land of Lincoln. The short 10:53 minute video features a former oil worker, whose water became contaminated by local southern Illinois oil production. Now the man is a whistleblower on malfunctioning oil wells in our southern Illinois region.  The former oil worker is very concerned about the new threat of fracking and the safety of our water supply. While watching the video, you will note that residents around Crossville, IL must buy water because their well water is polluted with toxic chemicals. Crossville currently buys water from Carmi, IL, which is in White County that may soon be fracked.



OK, so I tried and the video did not show up. So please go to Youtube and watch it. It is recorded by Green Peace.


Go there and see more. More next week.


First the Present. I woke up this morning thinking about what to post for this week’s blog and after the first couple of sips of my coffee it dawned on me that we were in the middle of the comment period for the new fracking rules here in Illinois. I also quickly realized that Illinois People’s Action had been putting out these great cut and paste comments  and that they would be a valuable basis for any anti-fracking campaign in other states. I also realized that I could use it to get other fracktivists to come to IDNR’s web site to add their voices to the chorus. But first no matter what, you want your comments to count, and rumor has it that in other states email comments have been lost. Well there is a site that will print a copy of your comment and take it to IDNR so we will not run into that problem here. If you go to the site listed below you will see a place to copy your comment and if you scroll to the end of the page you will see the option for print a copy of my comment. Make sure that is checked and click submit.


Second the Past. I can forgive myself for coming to this party on day 19 because I was busy talking about global warming and the weather for the Philippian disaster and the Washington Illinois disaster. But also because there are roughly 25 days left to comment . For those of you who do comment please note the IDNR will take one comment about one part of the law at a time so when you go to the website listed below please note that you must click on a PART of the bill as a title and then make a relevant comment. Then you click submit. I am starting with day three because I did not save the first two, but I am sure IPA will send me those if i request it. For now I am just putting up as many days worth as I can so hopefully I will get all 45 up for the viewing public before the commenting period is over.


Today (Sunday, 11/17/2013) is Day 3 of IDNR 45 day comment period on hydraulic fracturing.  Will you please send IDNR a comment today?  It will take less than 5 minutes of your time.  We are also working on putting together a website to make this process even easier.  But in the meantime, we ask that you bear with us as we send you an e-mail each day.  If you are opposed to fracking and worried that the weak regulatory bill will not protect Illinois residents and the environment, please take action.

Today’s comment is on IDNR’s inadequate definition of a well site. 

Here’s what to do to make your comment today:


According to IDNR’s definitions, a “Well site” means surface areas, including the surface location of the well, occupied by all equipment or facilities necessary for, or incidental to, high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations, construction, drilling, production, or plugging a well. (Section 1-5 of the Act)

While this definition might be appropriate for a well that drills straight down, as wells once did, it is not appropriate for horizontal hydraulic fracturing wells.   Horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations involve an initial drilling site that then grows to include horizontal legs radiating out from the site. Leaks or ruptures, the well’s proximity to water sources, and/or to real property are not adequately imagined by the well site definition that underpins so much of the IDNR’s approach to these regulations.

The well site definition should be expanded to include the surface area above any and all horizontal or vertical legs of the well. The current narrow definition does not adequately protect the health, safety and well-being of Illinois citizens, nor will it adequately sequester water used for human or animal consumption from accidents that can occur anywhere the drilling occurs.

A useful way of thinking of a hydraulic fracturing well site would be to compare it to an iceberg, where the small amount of ice visible at the water’s surface gives no hint of the size of the area occupied by the iceberg below the water line. The potential surface area that can be detrimentally affected by a hydraulic fracturing operation includes all land within 500, 750, or 1500 feet of a hydraulic fracturing leg (to use the IDNR’s own measurements), regardless of the leg’s horizontal or vertical relationship to the earth.

This definition is critical because setback requirements are based on IDNR’s inadequate definition of a well-site when they should, at a minimum, be based on the distance from any part of the well, including all underground horizontal legs of the well.

To adopt the current definition of well site is to apply an old understanding about what constitutes a well to an approach to drilling that has grown much more complex. The IDNR needs to reflect its understanding of the inherent and possible dangers of hydraulic fracturing by recognizing that the well site for such an operation has much greater breadth than the current definition envisions.

We would love it if you would let us know if you made a comment today!  And please feel free to call us with questions, comments, or to volunteer your time at (309) 827-9627.  Please share this with others you know and encourage them to make comments too.

In solidarity in the struggle for environmental justice,

Your friends at IPA

To remove your name from this email list click here. To unsubscribe from all emails from us click here.

510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
Bloomington, IL 61701
United States


Got there and tell the state to protect your health and safety. More today and for awhile.


The terms he uses are different. Man has always extracted things. A  good case can be made that for much of our species existence we have caused things to go extinct as well. We need to quit both. The human race could survive off our garbage dumps from here to eternity if we just made product loops that left no waste. That is if we treated everything and everybody for their intrinsic value.

That last sentence is a little shaky but that is because we live in a throw away culture.


The End of the Age of Extraction

by Brent Blackwelder

BlackwelderToday’s global economy is causing shortages of natural resources (both renewable and nonrenewable) as we come to the end of what might be called the Age of Extraction. A true cost, steady state economy, on the other hand, would prevent resource problems by maintaining population and resource consumption well within the carrying capacity of the planet.

Energy and mineral shortages, along with depletion of forests and fisheries, are driving the extractors and harvesters to evermore remote places. No longer able to find gushing oilfields, vast stands of virgin timber, or waterways teeming with fish, the extraction companies are racing to the farthest reaches of the planet in search of profits.

The end of the Age of Extraction does not mean that such resources will disappear. In his recent book, The Quest, Daniel Yergin describes oil and gas discoveries that he predicts will turn the Western Hemisphere — from Canada to Brazil — into the next Saudi Arabia. But today’s extraction is pursuing fuels that are either dirty or hard to get. We see more pollution, both from accidents and mundane chronic causes, increasingly pushing civilization beyond the carrying capacity of the earth, wiping out more and more species, and accelerating climate destabilization.

Today’s global economic operating system tolerates and even abets severe pollution damages as industries externalize the costs from their books. Scarcity has made some of the most environmentally devastating energy and mining projects “short-term cost effective.” For example, according to price and revenue figures, it’s cost effective to extract oil from tar sands in Alberta, a process that requires huge energy inputs, grotesquely contaminates land and water, and poisons people, fish, and wildlife.


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


What the planet can expect in the future and humans should be prepared for. A pulse starts some where when it is either cooler or warmer than the rest of the world. This temperature variant then pulses around the world until splat, it strikes a particular area with an unknown effect. Fire here, drought there, and a flood occasionally.


Weather Extremes: Atmospheric Waves And Climate Change

Authored by:

Joseph Romm

By Vladimir Petoukhov and Stefan Rahmstorf, via The Conversation

The northern hemisphere has experienced a spate of extreme weather in recent times. In 2012 there were destructive heat waves in the U.S. and southern Europe, accompanied by floods in China. This followed a heat wave in the U.S. in 2011 and one in Russia in 2010, coinciding with the unprecedented Pakistan flood — and the list doesn’t stop there.

Now we believe we have detected a common physical cause hidden behind all these individual events: Each time one of these extremes struck, a strong wave train had developed in the atmosphere, circling the globe in mid-latitudes. These so-called planetary waves are well-known and a normal part of atmospheric flow. What is not normal is that the usually moving waves ground to a halt and were greatly amplified during the extreme events.

Looking into the physics behind this, we found it is due to a resonance phenomenon. Under special conditions, the atmosphere can start to resonate like a bell. The wind patterns form a regular wave train, with six, seven or eight peaks and troughs going once around the globe (see graph). This is what we propose in a study published this week together with our colleagues of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Planetary waves

Normally, an important part of the global air motion in the mid-latitudes of the Earth takes the form of waves wandering around the planet, oscillating irregularly between the tropical and polar regions. So when they swing northward, these waves suck warm air from the tropics to Europe, Russia, or the US; and when they swing southward, they do the same thing with cold air from the Arctic. This is a well-known feature of our planet’s atmospheric circulation system


Go there and read. More next week.


Yah it was pretty clear to me that they knew an earthquake would toast out the four reactors and the two spent fuel pools. How did I know this?  Not because of the electric generators in the basement. That was stupid, but you just create more damage. It was all the damage and the radioactivity that came immediately after the entire event. That was not caused by a tsunami. It had to be caused by the quake. There was a clear design flaw. The cooling units and the reactors were built on SEPARATE concrete pads which meant they could not SHAKE together and thus they shook in opposition to each other and snapped  the cooling pipes  at that point all of the shoddy construction techniques come back to bite their ass.


TEPCO finally admits catastrophic Fukushima disaster was completely avoidable

Thursday, October 18, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) After repeatedly denying that it could not have done anything more to preventatively curtail the damage sustained at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has finally come forward with an honest admission that its now-stricken facility had preexisting structural and safety problems that the company basically ignored.

TIME.com reports that TEPCO recently issued a statement explaining that prior to the three Fukushima meltdowns resulting from the catastrophic damage, company officials were already well aware of the fact that the facility was in dire need of serious renovations and retrofit. But because of various political, economic, and legal concerns, TEPCO deliberately delayed addressing these important issues, which is now coming back to haunt the company.

“Looking back on the accident, the problem was that preparations were not made in advance,” said a TEPCO investigatory task force, led by the company’s president, Naomi Hirose, in a recent statement. “Could necessary measures have been taken with previous tsunami evaluations? It was possible to take action.”


Go there and weep..I mean read. More later.


There are so many ways to store alternative energy that I can not and will list them here. The fact that the carbon industry claims there is no way to do it shows you how afraid they are of these plans being implemented.


German Plant to Produce Methane Using Surplus Green Energy

Yale Environment 360Published on Date January 28th, 2013 by Yale Environment 360

Audi is building a plant in Germany that will use surplus power produced from renewable sources, such as wind energy generated when demand is low, to produce methane from water and carbon dioxide.

The plant, which will use technology developed by Stuttgart-based SolarFuel, reportedly will produce enough methane to run 1,500 of the new natural-gas vehicles Audi is planning to start selling this year.

To produce the methane, the company will utilize a combination of technologies: electrolysis, in which water is split into its hydrogen and oxygen components, and methanation, in which the hydrogen is combined with carbon from carbon dioxide to produce methane.


Go there and read. More next time.


This is all happening much faster than I thought it would. In another 10 years we are going to be cooked.


An Assessment of Climate Under Global Warming

Posted by Greg Laden on January 14, 2013

A Draft National Climate Assessment has been released by the “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.” You can download it here … warning: it is a PDF file way over 100 megabytes

The report affirms that climate is changing and that this change is primarily caused by human activities, mostly the release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere by burning fuels. The report notes an increase in weather extremes and that these extremes are being recognized by the relevant climate science as linked to these human-induced changes.

Details about the committee, the report, and the process, are as follows:

A 60-person Federal Advisory Committee (The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” or NCADAC) has overseen the development of this draft climate report.

The NCADAC, whose members are available here (and in the report), was established under the Department of Commerce in December 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is a federal advisory committee established as per the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972. The Committee serves to oversee the activities of the National Climate Assessment. Its members are diverse in background, expertise, geography and sector of employment. A formal record of the committee can be found at the NOAA NCADAC website.


Go there and read. More later on.


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