self inflicted wounds

Of course everyone knows i am a headline whore. Yes I am said about the attack on Paris that killed 129 peole and alot of other things happen in Paris. But still humor is something terrorists don’t get so i feel like I am doing my part. And Yes this conference is really important. This is a very pessimistic piece and I do not share its sentiment.

Paris: The End of the Beginning

Will Paris be a success or a failure? It will be both. The real question is whether it opens the way to a new future of justice and ambition.

This essay was first published in the Earth Island Journal

As I write this, the United Nations climate conference is only weeks away. And now, of course, it will take place in an atmosphere of mourning, and crisis, and war. Beyond this change of tone, what difference will the November 13 attacks make on the outcome of the negotiations? It is impossible to say, though it’s not too much to hope for heightened clarity, and seriousness, and resolve. This is a time to attend to the future – on this, at least, we should be able to agree.

The essay below was finished before the attacks. I’ve changed only these opening words, which already said that the stakes were high. This has not changed. Nor has my overall claim, that while the negotiations are not going well, they’re not going badly either, and that in any case they must be judged in realist terms.


There’s a way forward for the negotiations, though you wouldn’t know it from some of the commentary, which can be amazingly glib. My favorite example, a perfect snapshot of post-Copenhagen, pre-Paris despair, is food guru turned climate expert Mark Bittman, writing in The New York Times last year: “The U.N. Summit will be a clubby gathering of world leaders and their representatives who will try to figure out ways to reward polluters for pretending to fix a problem for which they’re responsible in the first place; a fiasco. That’s not hyperbole, either. The summit is a little like a professional wrestling match: There appears to be action but it’s fake, and the winner is predetermined. The loser will be anyone who expects serious government movement dictating industry reductions in emissions.”

In fairness, Bittman was writing about COP 20 in Lima, which took place a long year ago. But it was clear even before Lima that this sort of cynicism was counterproductive. The old stories of developed vs. developing, polluters vs. people, duplicitous vs. heroic — true though they were, were simply not true enough. By Lima, the US and China were working together to strike a deal that would hold on both sides of the North-South divide. By Lima, the “climate equity” debate within the halls was making as much progress as the “climate justice” debate in the streets; which is to say, quite a lot, but not nearly enough. In any case, Lima was anything but a futile exercise. It was a breakthrough meeting in several ways, not least because the 134 country G-77+China bloc of developing countries finally begin to negotiate well, and in so doing set up a possible breakthrough at COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.


Go there and read and read and read. More next week.


Cooking food. In the US that would not be considered either energy efficiency or even news. Yet for humans, cooking is totally necessary. In poor countries, it is a huge issue. This is good news.

India sees clean cooking as climate action that saves lives

Associated Press

GANORA SHEIKH VILLAGE, India (AP) — Kamlesh feeds the flames of a crude clay cookstove with kindling, kerosene and sunbaked discs of cow dung. She breathes in the billowing smoke, as she does for hours every day. Her eyes water and sting. Her throat feels scratchy and sore.

Kamlesh is one of hundreds of millions of Indian housewives who, with the simple act of cooking family meals, fill their homes every day with deadly airborne pollutants. The constant exposure to indoor air pollution kills some 4.3 million people every year across the world — 30 percent of them in India.

The menace of cookstove pollution, which contains high concentrations of tiny particles known as black carbon, does not stop in the home. It compounds many environmental problems as well, from glacial melt to falling crop yields.

India, the world’s third-largest climate polluting nation, has spent decades encouraging cleaner cooking technologies, with limited success. Such a shift would have little impact on India’s emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases, and many of the alternatives pollute as well.


Go there and read. It’s fascinating. More next week.


To answer my own question, because radiation works better then man made fences, at keeping people out. Thus keeping the animals safe. Though I have seen articles about people who do go into the exclusion zone, none of them seem to be hunters.

Chernobyl: Can Wildlife Return After the Blast?

Thirty years after the Chernobyl disaster, the area is surprisingly full of life. Wild boar, moose, wolves, and other wildlife are thriving in the 30km Exclusion Zone surrounding the destroyed reactor. A thick forest has swallowed the site and, with the exception of monitored visits, it is entirely off-limits to humans. It seems incredible that any life can persist in such a heavily-damaged area, but ecological recovery of this kind has occurred before.

From the 1970s until the mid 1990s, the French military conducted a series of underground nuclear explosions at Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific. The blasts created massive pressure waves that instantly wiped out every fish in the surrounding area. Incredibly, fish populations rebounded to previous levels within five years. Even though the explosions destroyed the fish population, their habitats remained largely intact and ready for recolonization. The Mururoa experience suggests that under such circumstances, populations can rebound rapidly.

The situation in Chernobyl was similar in that the habitat remained roughly intact and the area had previously supported wildlife. But a big difference between the two is radiation: unlike at Muruoa, the radioactive fallout at Chernobyl was extreme. The latter’s forests are saturated with radiation and if they ever burn, this poison will spread throughout Central Europe. The water and soil are hopelessly contaminated and will remain so for thousands of years.

For years, it was believed that radiation would deter wildlife recolonization, or kill any wildlife that did return to the area. But by the early 1990s, researchers were astounded by the abundance and diversity of wildlife in the exclusion zone, including endangered species like the black stork. It was determined that though explosions and heavy fallout immediately following the accident wiped out resident wildlife, these species soon returned


Go there and read. More next week.


I found myself doing 2 big things today: saucing tomatoes and contemplating what to do with Paw Paws. On the same theme I was considering what to post today when the two lines ran together. Of course when you plant a trees (Paw Paws) you are fighting global warming. Harvesting your own food (Paw Paws and tomatoes) is both buying local and cutting transportation costs at the same time.

So this is the Arbor Day Foundations take.

How Trees Fight Climate Change

Whether you plant trees around your home and property, in your community, or in our national forests, they help fight climate change. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO2 and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen.

See how planting trees helps fight climate change.

Shaded Home At Your Home Planting the right trees around your home saves energy.

Shaded Community In Your Community Greener communities are cooler communities.

Rural Windbreak On your Rural Property See several examples from Arbor Day Farm.

National Forest In Our National Forests Trees absorb carbon dioxide and store carbon.


Go there and read. More next week.


When homosapiens invented fire did we doom ourselves? Because it seems fire will always come into contact with fire and global warming is the result. I think this implies that there is a limit on large animals ability to survive on Earth. I think it means that the Earth is locked into cycles of mass die offs. Finally, I think it means humans better get out of here soon. Yet, I wonder why that is just dawning on me at 60?

Fire in the Hole

Raging in mines from Pennsylvania to China, coal fires threaten towns, poison air and water, and add to global warming

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

From the back kitchen window of his little house on a ridge in east-central Pennsylvania, John Lokitis looks out on a most unusual prospect. Just uphill, at the edge of St.IgnatiusCemetery, the earth is ablaze. Vegetation has been obliterated along a quarter-mile strip; sulfurous steam billows out of hundreds of fissures and holes in the mud. There are pits extending perhaps 20 feet down: in their depths, discarded plastic bottles and tires have melted. Dead trees, their trunks bleached white, lie in tangled heaps, stumps venting smoke through hollow centers. Sometimes fumes seep across the cemetery fence to the grave of Lokitis’ grandfather, George Lokitis.

This hellish landscape constitutes about all that remains of the once-thriving town of Centralia, Pennsylvania. Forty-three years ago, a vast honeycomb of coal mines at the edge of the town caught fire. An underground inferno has been spreading ever since, burning at depths of up to 300 feet, baking surface layers, venting poisonous gases and opening holes large enough to swallow people or cars. The conflagration may burn for another 250 years, along an eight-mile stretch encompassing 3,700 acres, before it runs out of the coal that fuels it.

Remarkably enough, nobody’s doing a thing about it. The federal and state governments gave up trying to extinguish the fire in the 1980s. “Pennsylvania didn’t have enough money in the bank to do the job,” says Steve Jones, a geologist with the state’s Office of Surface Mining. “If you aren’t going to put it out, what can you do? Move the people.”Nearly all 1,100 residents left after they were offered federally funded compensation for their properties. Their abandoned houses were leveled. Today Centralia exists only as an eerie grid of streets, its driveways disappearing into vacant lots. Remains of a picket fence here, a chair spindle there—plus Lokitis and 11 others who refused to leave, the occupants of a dozen scattered structures. Lokitis, 35, lives alone in the house he inherited from “Pop”—his grandfather, a coal miner, as was Pop’s father before him. For fans of the macabre, lured by a sign warning of DANGER from asphyxiation or being swallowed into the ground, Centralia has become a tourist destination. For Lokitis, it is home.

Across the globe, thousands of coal fires are burning.

Go there and read. More next week.


I never thought I would ever see this. Really as a post it has nowhere to fit in. BUT. It is important so I just thought I would cram it in here and live with it. When people surf this blog in future years they can just think of it as a speed bump. Can you believe that there are people who want to flaunt their ignorance?

Scientific Method / Science & Exploration

Echo chamber of outrage: Ars attends a climate skeptics’ summit

A political buffet offering everything but science.

“I accept that the planet has warmed,” said conservative columnist Mark Steyn from the podium. “And I rejoice that it is warm.”

Steyn was one of many speakers at the libertarian Heartland Institute’s 10th “International Conference on Climate Change,” a major event for climate science contrarians. The two-day conference, held in mid-June at the classy Washington Court Hotel just a few blocks from the US Capitol, had all the trappings of an academic conference, but you wouldn’t mistake it for a Geological Society of America meeting. Tables set up outside the hotel’s main ballroom hosted conservative advocacy groups and think tanks like CFACT, the Ayn Rand Institute, and the Heritage Foundation (which attracted visitors with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Ronald Reagan). The audience contained some meteorologists but seemed mostly composed of retired couples with an interest in politics, along with a handful of state legislators.

The goal was to gather speakers—who, organizers frequently reminded the audience, were some of the most famous and well-respected experts in the world—who could arm attendees with the information they needed to take the Good Fight back out to the streets. A small number of the talks presented research into climate science, but most were arguments against climate policy based on economic impacts. In other words, imagine the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal plus a podium.

As for the speakers, they viewed themselves as voices of reason speaking truth to power—all of them trying desperately to keep the Western world from slipping over the precipice to certain economic ruin. And to hear them tell it, Heartland and its allies were winning the battle against the “climate alarmists.” The public remains divided on the issue of climate change, with some recent polling placing it low on the priority list of concerns. Attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through legislation have been stymied. International negotiations have been arduous.


Go there and read. More next week.


The Age of Coal is over. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn’t get that. In fact most of the power plants have already installed the required equipment so what does this ruling even mean?


U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama’s EPA Limits on Air Pollution

Landmark 5-4 decision is major setback for Obama’s efforts to set limits on amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into air, lakes and rivers.

June 29, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down new rules for America’s biggest air polluters on Monday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.

The 5-4 decision was a major setback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could leave the agency more vulnerable to legal challenges from industry and Republican-led states to its new carbon pollution rules.

It was also a blow to years of local efforts to clean up dangerous air pollution.


Go there and read. Be prepared to be sad. More next week.



For an additional punch today…



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.


So see if you can follow me on this. Some people see “space travel” as a way to get off this planet. But why would you want to do that? It is a perfectly good planet. I think it is because everyone knows deep down that the way we are treating this planet may ultimately cause its demise. That is why I am ultimately an environmentalist; because I do not believe we can get off this planet. So we humans better change our ways. Why do I believe there will be no space travel for humans. The radiation levels of outer space are too great, the distances too far, and the physical demands too great. Thus I believe in saving energy and creating green energy because I believe it is the only way for our planet to survive. Yet people dream.

Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria University, Newcastle.  The technique, which has been proven for the first time by researchers at Northumbria, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.

The research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect – a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point. This effect is commonly seen in the way water appears to skitter across the surface of a hot pan, but it also applies to solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice. Blocks of dry ice are able to levitate above hot surfaces protected by a barrier of evaporated gas vapour. Northumbria’s research proposes using the vapour created by this effect to power an engine. This is the first time the Leidenfrost effect has been adapted as a way of harvesting energy.

The technique has exciting implications for working in extreme and alien environments, such as , where it could be used to make long-term exploration and colonisation sustainable by using naturally occurring solid as a resource rather than a waste product. If this could be realized, then future missions to Mars, such as those in the news recently, may not need to be ‘one-way’ after all.


Go there and fulfill your fantasy. More next week.


This is absurd.


$137M Ameren rate increase approved


By Tim Landis
Business Editor
Posted Dec. 11, 2014 @ 9:05 am
Updated at 9:23 AM

State utility regulators have approved a $137 million rate increase for power-grid upgrades on the Ameren Illinois system.

The 17.4 percent increase in electricity distribution rates, announced Wednesday by the Illinois Commerce Commission, take effect Jan. 1. Commissioners also approved a $245 million increase for system upgrades on the Commonwealth Edison system, serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

Ameren serves 1.2 million electric and 806,000 natural-gas customers in central and southern Illinois.

Commission chairman Doug Scott said in a statement the rates were set under the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act, a state law that allowed Ameren and ComEd to recover annual costs for installation of smart grid technology such as high-tech meters, real-time pricing of electricity, more control options for consumers and more accurate energy data.

Scott said commissioners tried to balance the need for network improvements with long-term benefits to ratepayers.


Go there and read. More next week.


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