Can Beating Climate Change Be This Easy – I certainly hope so

Sorry this is so late but the Christmas Season collided with my volunteering at Dana Thomas House which collided with the death of my dear friend Bob Paddack. Plus my car developed a penchant for flat tires. So I have been breathless. I could have ended on a downer note by posting about dumbass 45’s attempts to repeal regulations put in place after the Deep Water Horizon’s humongous oil spill, but that is insane so without further ado.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/switzerland-giant-new-machine-sucking-carbon-directly-air

In Switzerland, a giant new machine is sucking carbon directly from the air

Originally published by E&E News

The world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air opened yesterday, refueling a debate about whether the technology can truly play a significant role in removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

The Climeworks AG facility near Zurich becomes the first ever to capture CO2 at industrial scale from air and sell it directly to a buyer

Developers say the plant will capture about 900 tons of CO2 annually — or the approximate level released from 200 cars — and pipe the gas to help grow vegetables.

While the amount of CO2 is a small fraction of what firms and climate advocates hope to trap at large fossil fuel plants, Climeworks says its venture is a first step in their goal to capture 1 percent of the world’s global CO2 emissions with similar technology. To do so, there would need to be about 250,000 similar plants, the company says.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climework

 

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Happy New Year everyone. Go there and read. More next week.

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I Have Prostate Cancer – I just had radioactive seed implant surgery

Yes I know it is ironic that a total anti-atomic energy advocate has some shoved up his butt. Yet I am hoping good things will come of. What I can honestly say is sitting here is painful. So no post this week.

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More next week.

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Navajos Should Deal With The Coal Problem – Retrain your workers

I have always said that the solution to coal and natural gas was to retrain those workers for green technologies and move them on. Here is a perfect example of a culture that controls its resources and could do just that. But they don’t get it. Wake up Navajos!

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/utilities-vote-to-close-2250-mw-navajo-plant-largest-coal-generator-in-we/436222/

Utilities vote to close 2,250 MW Navajo plant, largest coal generator in western US

Dive Brief:

  • Four utilities led by plant operator Salt River Project have decided to shutter the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near Page, Ariz., by 2019. The 2,250 MW plant is the largest coal generator in the western United States.
  • Competition from inexpensive natural gas generators means electricity from NGS is already more expensive than wholesale power prices, the utilities said in a release, a trend that’s not expected to reverse in coming years. The decision is the second major coal shuttering announcement in less than a month.
  • The deal announced this week aims to maintain employment at the plant for almost three years, while also preserving revenues for the Navajo and the Hopi tribes. It also allows the Navajo Nation or others to continue operating the plant beyond 2019, though the current group of owners will not be involved.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Unitarian Church Goes Sustainable – Thank god

The Unitarian Church in Springfield Il. has invested in itself and its environment. I must add frustration here, as an accumulator type journalist, because I had the article in my hands. It did a great job of describing what they have done. I could not find so I had to use two sources that do it justice, but not as good as the first article. I am sorry.

http://www.aluuc.org/togetherweshare/wp-content/uploads/ALUUC-Newsletter-March-2017-web.pdf

Page
8
Green Sanctuary News
Notes from the ALUUC Prairie
The Green Sanctuary Committee burned the ALUUC prairie the
first Sunday in February. What a blaze! Flames over 5 feet tall
for
maybe 10 minutes. These burns have to be conducted with care using
equipment and training that have been developed over years of experi-
ence with prairie burning.
So why burn? Before Europeans arrived in the U.S., native people
routinely burned the prairies to stimulate growth of new plants for game
and to make hunting easier. Lightning also set prairies ablaze. Over thou-
sands of years, prairie plants adapted to these fires
sending roots deep
into the earth to protect against both drought and fires. Fires can kill less
adapted plants such as cool season grasses and some shrubby plants that
can take over the prairie. So we burn for the same reason
to rid the area of last year’s growth, stimu-
late new growth and rid the prairie of undesirable plants such as cool season grasses.
A common concern is that burning releases carbon
into the air adding to global warming. True, burning
does release carbon into the air
but this carbon is
“new” carbon that has been circulating in the air in the
last few years
not “old” carbon sequestered millions of
years ago in the coal and oil we now burn. Because of
their deep roots, prairie plants sequester more carbon in
their roots than released in a burn, even in prairies
burned every year. So in balance, prairie plants are a
carbon sink. (Chris Helzer, Nature Conservancy’s Direc-
tor of Science in Nebraska).
-trip-part-3-questions-about-frequent-prairie-burning/

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20160925/16-springfield-sites-part-of-saturdays-illinois-solar-tour

Springfield resident Bob Croteau has been involved in local solar projects since 1989 and played a major role in three of the local sites on the tour.

The Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation held fundraisers and used members from the church who are contractors to purchase and install their solar array. It has been operational since early 2015, features a web-based remote monitoring system, and “faces southeast, toward the morning sun, so solar electricity is running the lights and sound during the morning services,” said Croteau, who spearheaded the effort.

The net metering program offered by CWLP means that “if we are producing power when we don’t need it, it allows the meter to spin backward,” he added.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Wind Power In Illinois Is Strong – I am so proud

Not much more I can say about this report. Well done sirs, Well done!

http://www.paxtonrecord.net/news/business/miscellaneous/2016-07-25/report-wind-energy-means-billions-illinois-economy.html

Report: Wind energy means billions to Illinois’ economy

NORMAL — A new report on the economic impact of wind energy in the state shows Illinois’ 25 existing wind farms have supported 20,173 jobs during construction and will add $6.4 billion to local economies over the 25-year life of the projects.

Released by Illinois State University’s Center for Renewable Energy, the report also shows how wind power creates jobs in the short and long term, provides millions of dollars for farmers and landowners, revenue for counties and municipalities, and supports businesses both in and out of the wind supply chain.

“Wind power does much more than generate clean energy,” said  Kevin Borgia, public policy manager for Wind on the Wires, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. “Wind power is an economic engine for the state, providing jobs, landowner payments, tax dollars and business opportunities.”

The report further details all that the state’s wind farms offer, including $30.4 million in annual property taxes for local communities and $13.86 million in extra income for landowners who lease their land to developers.

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Go there and read the good news. More next week.

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Big Just Got Bigger – The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument just got twice as big

This is a happy fuzzy story, that i normally wouldn’t post. But here is the thing, as fun as it is, I dare you to say the name of the monument. Can you huh huh huh?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/obama-creates-world-s-largest-park-off-hawaii/

The Power of Parks

Hawaii Is Now Home to an Ocean Reserve Twice the Size of Texas

A 583,000-square-mile “no-take” zone: President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii.

Capping a week of 100th anniversary celebrations for the National Park Service, President Barack Obama on Friday turned to the ocean to create the largest protected area anywhere on Earth—a half-million-square-mile arc of remote Pacific waters known for both exceptional marine life and importance to native Hawaiian culture.

The Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, already covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii, Obama’s home state. (Learn about the name and how to pronounce it.)

Obama more than quadrupled Papah?naumoku?kea’s size, to 582,578 square miles, an area larger than all the national parks combined. Using his executive authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act, he extended most of the monument’s boundary—and its prohibition of commercial fishing—out to the 200-mile limit of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).(Read about a monument established this week in the Maine woods.)

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Go there and read in wonderment. More next week.

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Organized Crime And Pollution – These people will traffic in anything

I had originally planned on Posting about Obama’s new environmental goals, but I couldn’t find the article. I had been offered a guest blogger’s article about recycling. However I had been wanting to read this article about how industry was using organized crime to dump toxic crap into the environment, so here it is.

http://mosaicscience.com/story/how-mafia-causing-cancer

 

24 June 2016

 

How the mafia is causing cancer

When doctors in rural Italy began to see a surge in cancer cases, they were baffled. Then they made the link with industrial waste being dumped by local crime syndicates. Ian Birrell learns about the tragic consequences.
A few days before I visited the rather scruffy Hospital of Saint Anna and Saint Sebastian in Caserta, a boy aged 11 arrived complaining of headaches. Doctors feared the worst – and sure enough, the case was rapidly diagnosed as another child with brain cancer. Some of these young patients arrive in agonising pain, others mystified by falling over all the time; they do not know lethal tumours are swelling up inside their heads. Yet more turn up with cancer in their blood, their bones, their bladders. There are so many cases not all can be treated in the hospitals of Campania, a largely rural region of southern Italy.It was too early to provide a prognosis for the boy with the brain cancer, let alone to offer real comfort to his distraught family. Yet in a town where doctors used to rarely come across a child with cancer, never mind brain cancer, they now see these traumatic cases crop up almost every month. Too many young patients are ending up dead, some barely out the womb but with bodies riddled with disease. Then there are all the women getting breast cancer unusually early, the men with lung cancer despite never smoking, the children born with Down’s syndrome despite the comparatively young age of their mothers.

So why is this happening in an area north of Naples known as the ‘Triangle of Death’? The answer, locals believe, can almost certainly be found in places such as an old quarry three miles away by the historic town of Maddaloni, which I visited with an energetic 57-year-old youth worker named Enzo Tosti. As we drove there, he told me he was having treatment to counter the high levels of dioxins found in his blood five months earlier. “My wife works for the hospital as a radiologist and she is very concerned,” he said. “I thought about leaving for my health and going to live somewhere else, but where would I go? This is my land.”

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

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I AM Really High On Solar Power – I may even get giddy

This article claims that solar power could be as cheap as 4 cents a kilowatt. It speculates that solar power might even reach the 3 cent level. I have doubts about those prices, but it is good news however low it goes.

http://fortune.com/2016/06/13/solar-to-get-crazy-cheap/

Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap

Costs of the clean energy tech will keep falling over the next decade.

Solar will become the cheapest source to produce power in many countries over the next 15 years, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That’s cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Zen And The Art Of Lawn Tractor Maintenance – hummmmmmmmm

Yes I am a Headline Whore. But this is a very real nitty gritty get your hands dirty post. Most of the posts here are about environmental theories, or solar power writ large. But many environmental issues involve a compost pile and turning them, or washing off crud from recyclables. In this case if you have grass, and live in town you have to cut it. That means you have maintenance things to attend to. So here they are.

http://www.familyhandyman.com/automotive/lawn-mower-repair/lawn-tractor-maintenance-tips/view-all

The Family Handyman

Lawn Tractor Maintenance Tips

Professional tips that prevent expensive repairs

Following the lawn tractor maintenance advice in your tractor’s manual is the best way to keep it humming along smoothly. But owner’s manuals usually only tell you basically what to do and when to do it—they seldom include the tips and real-world wisdom gained through experience. So we asked veteran mechanics which steps are the most important and how to make lawn tractor maintenance and tubeless tire repair faster and easier.

You’ll save too. Dealers typically charge more than $200 for routine maintenance that includes an oil change and new spark plugs and filters. But you can do all these things—and more—in just a few hours. A lawn tractor maintenance kit from your dealer (less than $75) might cost a few bucks more than buying parts separately but ensures that you get all the right stuff. And new tubes for a tubeless tire repair cost from $5 – $15.

Clean the mower deck

Remove the belt guards and blow off the debris that wrecks belts and pulleys. Scrape away any debris buildup under the pulleys with a screwdriver.

(thus it starts)

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Go there and read a heck of a lot. More next week.

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The Solar Rip Off – They never tell you up front about your RECs

I know that this is part of the motive and the profit to do solar equipment deals. It would be a better model if they told you about it up front and then split the RECs with the buyer or homeowner.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/01/green-energy-rec-rooftop-solar-panels

The Problem With Rooftop Solar That Nobody Is Talking About

Where does the green energy from your panels really go?

 

A couple of years ago, Steven Weissman, an energy lawyer at the University of California-­Berkeley, started to shop around for solar panels for his house. It seemed like an environmental no-brainer. For zero down, leading residential provider SolarCity would install panels on his roof. The company would own the equipment, and he’d buy the power it produces for less than he had been paying his electric utility. Save money, fight climate change. Sounds like a deal.

But while reading the contract, Weissman discovered the fine print that helps make that deal possible: SolarCity would also retain ownership of his system’s renewable energy credits. It’s the kind of detail your average solar customer wouldn’t notice or maybe care about. But to Weissman, it was an unexpected letdown.

To understand his hang-up, you need a bit of Electricity 101. If you have solar panels on your roof, the electrons they produce flow across the electric grid like water, following a path of least resistance. As they whiz around, electrons are impossible to track and look identical, whether they’re coming from solar panels, a coal plant, or whatever. But there is value in keeping tabs on the renewable ones, so energy wonks came up with renewable energy credits (RECs), a tradable financial instrument that corresponds to a certain amount of energy produced by a certain renewable source like solar or wind.

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I know that solar financing makes eyes glaze.  Go there and read anyway. More next week.

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