Biden’s Got A Shitload Of Work To Do – Saving the environment from the cheeto burrito will be hard

From the XL Pipeline, to “saving” coal, to selling off Public Lands Trump did everything he could to gut environmental regulations and destroy the Environment. Here is some of what it is going to take to undue it, including probably 30 or 40 Executive Orders.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/on-climate-biden-must-do-more-than-undo-trumps-damage/

Climate

On Climate, Biden Must Do More Than Undo Trump’s Damage

The new administration cannot just go back to the future on carbon emissions

On Climate, Biden Must Do More Than Undo Trump's Damage
Credit: Egle Plytnikaite

One word sums up what the Biden administration must do to address climate change: restart.

In 2015 nearly 200 nations committed to the Paris Agreement, which aims to prevent the worst impacts of climate change by limiting global warming by 2100 to less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The U.S. pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Then Donald Trump was elected president. He soon announced that the U.S. would pull out of the accord, and his administration spent four years relentlessly rolling back regulations intended to curb emissions and protect the environment. Dozens of coal-burning power plants, the worst carbon polluters, shut down anyway as market forces expanded the role of cheaper, cleaner natural gas, wind and solar power. And various states, cities and industries cut emissions. Yet even with that progress, Trump’s rollbacks could add the equivalent of 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2035, according to the Rhodium Group, an independent research organization.

Joe Biden must now make up for lost time, and last November he said the U.S. would rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately after he became president. This commitment is important because the U.S. is still the world’s second-largest emitter, behind China, and it can return as a world climate leader. But Biden will also have to ratchet up the original U.S. pledge because warming—and its effects—has only sped up since the Paris Agreement was established. Biden promised to issue an executive order calling for net-zero emissions by 2050, but he will need to set specific interim targets. The World Resources Institute says reducing emissions to 45 to 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 could put the country on track.

Congressional legislation is the most effective way to create the concrete policies needed to achieve those goals because it gives federal agencies clear priorities, is much harder to override with presidential actions, and can better withstand legal challenges that might be brought by industry or special-interest groups. But the divided U.S. Senate will make sweeping laws hard to pass. Biden will have to work through executive orders and will have to charge federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency with issuing new regulations under existing laws such as the Clean Air Act. He will need to “turn every stone possible,” says Narayan Subramanian, an environmental lawyer working with the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at Berkeley Law. The most immediate focuses are transportation, power plants, methane emissions and pesky hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

With coal plants retiring, transportation has surpassed power generation as the country’s largest carbon emitter. The quickest action Biden can take to tackle those emissions is to reinstate California’s waiver to the Clean Air Act, allowing the state to enforce its Advanced Clean Cars regulations. The regulations set fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light-duty trucks that are tougher than federal rules, which means fewer emissions. In the past, automakers have built their nationwide fleets to meet the state’s standards to avoid making two versions of their vehicles, and some states, such as New York, typically follow California’s lead. The Rhodium Group estimates that reinstating the waiver would save about 573 million metric tons of emissions by 2035.

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Go there and sob. (at least he is gone) More next week.

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Why Do Nuclear Power Plants Cost So Much – Because they are freakin BIG

People are always asking why Nuclear Power Plants cost so much. They want to blame regulation, or safety measures. Maybe even because of unnecessary cost over runs. Mainly they do this because “They want to build more NUCLEAR Power Plants”. But the fact of the matter is you can’t build them cheaper and in fact given the costs of the 2 Major Nuclear catastrophes, maybe you need to build them more expensive. The simple fact, is that a new Coal Fired Plant can cost 2 billion dollars and kill the atmosphere while a Uranium Fired Plant could cost 4 billion dollars and kill us.

Anyway here is some discussion of that:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/11/why-are-nuclear-plants-so-expensive-safetys-only-part-of-the-story/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The price is not right —

Why are nuclear plants so expensive? Safety’s only part of the story

A look at the history of nuclear power in the US, and why plant costs have soared.

Should any discussion of nuclear power go on for long enough, it becomes inevitable that someone will rant that the only reason it has become unaffordable is a proliferation of safety regulations. The argument is rarely (if ever) fleshed out—no specific regulation is ever identified as problematic, and there seems to be no consideration given to the fact that we might have learned something at, say, Fukushima that might merit addressing through regulations.

But there’s now a paper out that provides some empirical evidence that safety changes have contributed to the cost of building new nuclear reactors. But the study also makes clear that they’re only one of a number of factors, accounting for only a third of the soaring costs. The study also finds that, contrary to what those in the industry seem to expect, focusing on standardized designs doesn’t really help matters, as costs continued to grow as more of a given reactor design was built.

More of the same

The analysis, done by a team of researchers at MIT, is remarkably comprehensive. For many nuclear plants, they have detailed construction records, broken out by which building different materials and labor went to, and how much each of them cost. There’s also a detailed record of safety regulations and when they were instituted relative to construction. Finally, they’ve also brought in the patent applications filed by the companies who designed the reactors. The documents describe the motivations for design changes and the problems those changes were intended to solve.

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Go there and read. Sorry I was late. More next week.

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The Cheeto Burrito Seeks To Destroy Tsongass National Forest – Destruction is his legacy

(please note that i use tsongas and tongass interchangeably)

Destroy, Destroy, Destroy. That is what this President does because he has bought the general idea of “Disruption and Replacement” coming from Silicon Valley as a good thing for society. He doesn’t not understand that Disruption with out planning is BAD for society in general and only makes a few men (and women) rich. Or maybe, he actually does understand and just doesn’t care. One makes him evil by nature and the other makes him evil by nurture. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. One thing for sure is that his whole Presidency has been a disaster for the environment and the Earth, and that will be his lasting legacy.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/10/28/tongass-national-forest-alaska-exempt-roadless-rule-usda/6065610002/

USA Today

Feds end road, logging restrictions in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests

Becky Bohrer
The Associated Press
Published 11:00 pm Oct 28, 2020

JUNEAU, Alaska — The federal government announced plans Wednesday to lift restrictions on logging and building roads in the country’s largest national forest, a pristine rainforest in Alaska that provides habitat for wolves, bears and salmon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it has decided to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the so-called roadless rule, which bans road construction and timber harvests with limited exceptions. It applies to nearly one-quarter of all U.S. Forest Service lands.

Conservation groups vowed to fight the decision, describing it as short-sighted and driven by politics.

“The decision to roll back the roadless rule on the Tongass was made in spite of, not in support of, southeast Alaskans and our communities,” said Meredith Trainor, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council. “In making this decision, the Trump administration and the sham rulemaking process they undertook in our region ignored economic realities, environmental imperatives, and worst of all, the will of the people who actually live here.”

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What Could Go Wrong With A Russian Nuke – That’s what Lithuanian thought

After Chernobyl who would trust the Russians to build a Nuclear Power Plant? Nobody that’s who. Except the blind, the feeble, the retarded, the old and Belarus. I need to say no more. This is a very bad idea.

https://news.yahoo.com/belarus-cranks-1st-nuclear-plant-122609420.html

Belarus cranks up 1st nuclear plant; Lithuania is fearful

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Belarus’ first nuclear power plant began operating Tuesday, a project that has spooked its neighbor Lithuania, which immediately cut off importing electricity from Belarus at the news.

The Russian-built Astravyets nuclear power plant, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, has been connected to Belarus’ power grid and has started producing electricity, according to Belarusian electricity operator Belenergo.

Lithuanian authorities long have opposed the plant’s construction, arguing that the project has been plagued by accidents, stolen materials and the mistreatment of workers. In line with the country’s law banning electricity imports from Belarus once the plant starts, Lithuania’s Litgrid power operator cut the inflow of electricity from Belarus upon receiving data that the Astravyets nuclear reactor had started producing energy.

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom, which built the plant, has rejected the Lithuanian complaints, saying the plant’s design conforms to the highest international standards as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. watchdog.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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In The Race To Despoil The Environment, China Wins – They are First, Second and Third

This is an article from 8 years ago. Imagine how much worse it has gotten since then. They have no shame. Who will stop this? Not the Central Government. Not the Provencial Government and not the local for surel. This is what we call in the United States call, a National Sacrifice zone. Remove the people and keep on going. Its disgusting and it’s despicable. Big YUCK for everyone to see.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/aug/07/china-rare-earth-village-pollution

 

Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages

Pollution is poisoning the farms and villages of the region that processes the precious minerals

Health hazard … pipes coming from a rare-earth smelting plant spew into a tailings dam on the outskirts of Baotou in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

From the air it looks like a huge lake, fed by many tributaries, but on the ground it turns out to be a murky expanse of water, in which no fish or algae can survive. The shore is coated with a black crust, so thick you can walk on it. Into this huge, 10 sq km tailings pond nearby factories discharge water loaded with chemicals used to process the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, collectively known as rare earths.

The town of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is the largest Chinese source of these strategic elements, essential to advanced technology, from smartphones to GPS receivers, but also to wind farms and, above all, electric cars. The minerals are mined at Bayan Obo, 120km farther north, then brought to Baotou for processing.

The concentration of rare earths in the ore is very low, so they must be separated and purified, using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths. China accounts for 97% of global output of these precious substances, with two-thirds produced in Baotou.

The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium which, if ingested, cause cancers of the pancreas and lungs, and leukaemia. “Before the factories were built, there were just fields here as far as the eye can see. In the place of this radioactive sludge, there were watermelons, aubergines and tomatoes,” says Li Guirong with a sigh.

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Go there and vomit. More next week.

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Recycling Plastic Was Always A Lie – There is only so much plastic furniture and astroturf the world needs

So the shell game for the oil companies was always – who can we get to take this stuff? Meaning solid supposedly recyclable plastics. For awhile anybody would take the “stuff” to burn it and Americans are like – out of sight out of mind. When they got caught at that, then they started exporting for “conversion” to other substances and China bought that one big time. Don’t get me wrong, plastic can be recycled but it is MORE expensive to do so than to throw it away. PLUS you can only recycle it once or twice and then it has to be thrown away anyway. YUP recycling was always a lie. But ain’t capitalism grand.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-the-public-into-believing-plastic-would-be-recycled?utm_source=digg

How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled

 

Laura Leebrick, a manager at Rogue Disposal & Recycling in southern Oregon, is standing on the end of its landfill watching an avalanche of plastic trash pour out of a semitrailer: containers, bags, packaging, strawberry containers, yogurt cups.

None of this plastic will be turned into new plastic things. All of it is buried.

“To me that felt like it was a betrayal of the public trust,” she said. “I had been lying to people … unwittingly.”

Rogue, like most recycling companies, had been sending plastic trash to China, but when China shut its doors two years ago, Leebrick scoured the U.S. for buyers. She could find only someone who wanted white milk jugs. She sends the soda bottles to the state.

But when Leebrick tried to tell people the truth about burying all the other plastic, she says people didn’t want to hear it.

“I remember the first meeting where I actually told a city council that it was costing more to recycle than it was to dispose of the same material as garbage,” she says, “and it was like heresy had been spoken in the room: You’re lying. This is gold. We take the time to clean it, take the labels off, separate it and put it here. It’s gold. This is valuable.”

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Go there and read. Next time you see an empty gallon milk jug. Light it on fire in protest. More next week.

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P.S. Today is recycling day in Riverton and they just took my plastic away. hahahahaa

 

Solar Waste, What Shall We Do – I never dodge a bullet

I say the same thing I have said about recycling all along. Store what you can’t recycle right now and recycle what you can now. The best examples is the large Wind Generator Blades (it used to be common batteries). Throwing stuff in the land fill that has no business there messes everything else up. So storing the Blades from the Wind Generators (turbines whatever) in one place…even if you bury them is critical, so that when you find a way to recycle them (and you will) you can go get them. Throwing common batteries in a land fill ( AAs, AAAs, etc) is essentially admitting you will never get them back. Better to store them in abandoned warehouses or something. Even burying them in a battery land fill so you can get them back is better than just throwing them away.

https://www.wired.com/story/solar-panels-are-starting-to-die-leaving-behind-toxic-trash/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Solar Panels Are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash

Photovoltaic panels are a boon for clean energy but are tricky to recycle. As the oldest ones expire, get ready for a solar e-waste glut.

This story originally appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Solar panels are an increasingly important source of renewable power that will play an essential role in fighting climate change. They are also complex pieces of technology that become big, bulky sheets of electronic waste at the end of their lives—and right now, most of the world doesn’t have a plan for dealing with that.

But we’ll need to develop one soon, because the solar e-waste glut is coming. By 2050, the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. While the latter number is a small fraction of the total e-waste humanity produces each year, standard electronics recycling methods don’t cut it for solar panels. Recovering the most valuable materials from one, including silver and silicon, requires bespoke recycling solutions. And if we fail to develop those solutions along with policies that support their widespread adoption, we already know what will happen.

“If we don’t mandate recycling, many of the modules will go to landfill,” said Arizona State University solar researcher Meng Tao, who recently authored a review paper on recycling silicon solar panels, which comprise 95 percent of the solar market.

Solar panels are composed of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight to electricity. When these panels enter landfills, valuable resources go to waste. And because solar panels contain toxic materials like lead that can leach out as they break down, landfilling also creates new environmental hazards.

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Go there and read. Demand that your municipality pass a law that solar panels do not go in the land fill. More next week.

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Habitat Destruction Squeezes Diseases Out Of Mammals – Then they invade humans and kill us

Seriously, how long can it be before HUMANs realize that by killing the world in general they are killing themselves. Squeezing animals out of their habitats squeezes their viruses out into us. We have no immune defenses against them and we die. I mean it is Earth’s ultimate defense system. I have a hunch we are not gonna be around for long. Wonder which one will get us first, Global Warming or Rejection by the Earth.

https://www.npr.org/2020/06/22/875961137/the-worrisome-link-between-deforestation-and-disease?utm_source=digg

‘Like Poking a Beehive’: The Worrisome Link Between Deforestation And Disease

 

In 2013, an 18-month-old boy got sick after playing near a hollow tree in his backyard in a remote West African village. He developed a fever and started vomiting. His stool turned black. Two days later, he died.

Two years and more than 11,000 deaths later, the World Health Organization put out a report saying the Ebola outbreak that likely emanated from that hollow tree may have been caused in part by deforestation led by “foreign mining and timber operations.”

The tree the boy played near was infested with insectivorous bats — bats that may have been pushed into the boy’s village because upward of 80% of their natural habitat had been destroyed.

“When you disturb a forest, it actually upsets, if you want, the balance of nature, the balance between pathogens and people,” says John E. Fa, a professor of biodiversity and human development at Manchester Metropolitan University, who was part of a team of researchers that linked recent forest loss to 25 Ebola outbreaks that have occurred since 1976.

A finding, he says, that showed a strong correlation between recent deforestation and disease outbreaks.

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Go there and Pray.  More next week.

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Michael Sellenberger Is A Lying Fool – He is a huge supporter of Nuclear Power

As one of the commenters on Peak Oil said, “yah and smoking cures cancer”. Or as another said. ” a deniers denier, whose paying him”? His editorial is so wrong in so many ways. Yes, we ARE causing the next big extinction by habitat destruction and this pandemic is a perfect result of that habitat destruction and it’s results. Global warming IS the biggest crisis facing humans. Its true – not the biggest crisis facing the Earth cause after we are gone and all the smoke gets reabsorbed the Earth will be just fine. This guy is raising money by spreading feel good skepticism (and that’s all it is) and making himself famous by telling lies.

https://environmentalprogress.org/who-we-are

On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare

The author in Maranhão, Brazil, 1995

The author in Maranhão, Brazil, 1995

On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years. Climate change is happening. It’s just not the end of the world. It’s not even our most serious environmental problem.

I may seem like a strange person to be saying all of this. I have been a climate activist for 20 years and an environmentalist for 30.

But as an energy expert asked by Congress to provide objective expert testimony, and invited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as Expert Reviewer of its next Assessment Report, I feel an obligation to apologize for how badly we environmentalists have misled the public.

Here are some facts few people know:

  • Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction”

  • The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”

  • Climate change is not making natural disasters worse

  • Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003

  • The amount of land we use for meat — humankind’s biggest use of land — has declined by an area nearly as large as Alaska

  • The build-up of wood fuel and more houses near forests, not climate change, explain why there are more, and more dangerous, fires in Australia and California

  • Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations and have been declining in Britain, Germany, and France since the mid-1970s

  • Netherlands became rich not poor while adapting to life below sea level

  • We produce 25% more food than we need and food surpluses will continue to rise as the world gets hotter

  • Habitat loss and the direct killing of wild animals are bigger threats to species than climate change

  • Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels

  • Preventing future pandemics requires more not less “industrial” agriculture

 

 

 

 

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Pipeline Defeated – Judge James Boasberg sides with Native Americans and the Environment

We have been fighting this 1000 mile long monstrosity for over a decade. First at the EPA hearing level and the Political Level (Obama), then at the protest and blockade level, and now at the Legal level. While Obama was a great guy on the environment and temporarily halted the pipeline, this ruling is a major step at blocking tar sands and fracking products from coming to Illlinois and then ultimately to the Gulf Coast. It is also a major blow against Koch Industry. We have gone past 1.5 Degrees temperature rise with the current level of Green House Gases, so the Lord better give us a couple more victories.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/06/dakota-access-pipeline-environment-oil

Judge suspends Dakota Access pipeline over environmental concerns

  • US district judge sides with Standing Rock Sioux tribe
  • More extensive environmental review is required – judge
Opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline march out of their main camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in February 2017.
Opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline march out of their main camp near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in February 2017. Photograph: Terray Sylvester/Reuters

A federal judge has sided with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to be shut down until a more extensive environmental review is carried out.

US district judge James Boasberg had previously said the pipeline, which has been in operation three years, remained “highly controversial” under federal environmental law, and a more extensive review was necessary after an environmental assessment by the US army corps of engineers.

In a 24-page order on Monday, Boasberg wrote that he was “mindful of the disruption such a shutdown will cause” but said he had concluded that the pipeline must be shut down for an environmental impact statement (EIS).

“Clear precedent favoring vacatur [an order setting aside a previous judgment] during such a remand coupled with the seriousness of the Corps’ deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow for the 13 months that the Corps believes the creation of an EIS will take,” Boasberg wrote.

Boasberg had ordered both parties to submit briefs on whether the pipeline should continue operating during the new environmental review.

 

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Go there and read. Hallelujah. More next week.

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