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“Reuse”: Making #climate statement at #WomensMarch

January 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

In its opening minutes, the Trump White House website went up.

The White House Effect: Science Denial Propaganda (“Fake News”) from @TeamTrump/@RealDonaldTrump

Should it surprise any that truth was one of the victims in this transfer from President Barack Obama to Team Trump?

As part of that, science — in particular, climate science?

Along with nearly 1,000,000 of my fellow citizens, I spent 21 January 2017 in democratic engagement on the streets of Washington, DC, at the Women’s March.  Along with so many other Americans, hard to count the reasons for dedicating myself ‘to the streets’ for the first day of the Trump Regime and the first full day of #TheResistance to this illegitimate President.

I took the opportunity, along with so many others and even as I wore a pink Planned Parenthood hat, to make my statement (no surprise from me) focus on climate change and climate science.

Thus, to the right is the shirt from yesterday.

  • The back emphasizes the science denial and propaganda (#FakeNews) that

    Climate Science reality: The Greenhouse Effect

    we already see and expect to see from the Trump Administration. They are dominated by Fossil Fools and seek to take the nation backwards toward a more polluting and less economically valuable fossil fuel past.

  • The front points to reality: the climate is changing, humanity is driving this change, and this is creating serious — and ever-mounting-risks.  Climate chaos isn’t interested in the Fake News — alt-right (neo-Nazi) ‘alt-reality’ in social media doesn’t negate science.

Many people commented positively on the shirt through the day — more than a few pictures taken.

And, in response to comments & photo taking, an explanation:

  • Three Rs critical: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • This shirt exemplifies all three:
    • Reduce: this shirt has been around awhile, been worn quite a bit, and (perhaps) contributed to a few fewer shirt purchases.
    • Reuse: been used at more than a few rallies and protests.
    • Recycle: recycling from Administrations, as this shirt has now been used for rallies of four Presidents.
  • As to that last, this shirt is now more than 25 years old and is from Earth Day 1990 — as part of pressure on the George H.W. Bush Administration.

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Petitioning at White House website for Trump Administration Climate Action

January 20th, 2017 · 1 Comment

Within seconds of the hand hitting the Bible, “climate” disappeared from the White House website as @TeamTrump seized control from the Obama Administration.  In its place, a truthiness-laden paean to fossil fuels that simply ignores the accelerating energy revolution sweeping the world.  No mention of plunging LED, solar, wind, and other ‘clean-energy’ prices as their market penetration skyrockets.  No discussion of the >$50 trillion market opportunity in these and other climate-action business opportunities.

There are some holdovers from the Obama Administration on the White House website, including the ability to petition the Administration.

With the above in mind, I have created the following petition:

Boost the American Economy through Climate Action

U.S. trade partners and economic competitors are finding clean energy (solar, wind) and energy efficiency to be strongly boosting their economies and increasing competitiveness while leading to cleaner air and water for their people. China has recently announced plans to invest $350 billion (BILLION) in clean energy while creating 13 million jobs by 2020.

With each passing day, clean energy options are becoming less expensive and increasingly (far) lower cost than traditional, polluting fossil-fuel energy options.

The Trump Administration can fulfill its pledge to protect air/water, create jobs, and boost the economy through serious climate action.

=====

The above petition requires 10,000 signatures by 19 February 2017 to get a White House response.

Will you be one of those signatories?

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→ 1 CommentTags: climate change · Trump Administration

Don Beyer’s journey from car dealership to Climate Hawk

January 19th, 2017 · No Comments

Yesterday, Lowell Feld and I had the chance to speak with Representative Don Beyer for nearly an hour.  This interview covered a range of issues.  We opened it with a discussion of Don Beyer’s ‘journey’ from car dealer to Climate Hawk.

Don Beyer is increasingly seen as a “Climate Hawk”, a policy maker who not only has an understanding of climate change challenges but who is willing/able to discuss climate issues and make this a priority in political life.  When Jim Moran announced his retirement and he thought about whether he wanted to run, as Representative Beyer put it during our interview,

First thing that you need to do when running for office, you need to sit by yourself and decide why you want to run in office. … As I did this, my core thought was that climate change was the deepest and most existential threat to humanity.

When I actually won, my primary responsibility was to be the simplest and the strongest voice for smart climate policy …

Considering that he made his fortune though auto-dealerships (the Beyer Automotive Group), not exactly considered the most climate-friendly of businesses*, our lead-off question was about his journey: How did he reach the point where concerns over climate change were core to his drive to reenter the political arena?

My political activism really started in 1970s, with a huge concern about the 10,000 nuclear weapons aimed at US and 10k aimed at the Soviet Union.

As part of this, Beyer joined a number of science-driven groups and went to a conference where he “realized that [he] was the only car dealer who was member of Arms Control Association”. Beyer, in my estimation, is probably the only member of his profession who “wrote an essay on why the United States should adopt a no-first use policy” as to nuclear weapons.

His engagement with the arms control world engaged him with science and scientists and, “over the years, little by little,” the organizations, individuals, and journals he engaged with moved more of their discussion, concern, and passion from nuclear weapons to energy and climate.

Energy policy was, for Beyer, part of that voyage. During the Carter Administration and the ‘energy crisis’, Beyer even moved the “the entire showroom outside in February … trying to make the the point that we needed to take the energy crisis seriously.”

Nuclear weapons, however, certainly maintained a serious part of the national discussion during the Reagan years but

by the mid-1990s, everything that I was reading in Scientific American was talking about climate change

And, by early 2000s, Beyer says this was driving his perspective on the national political situation.

In 2004, when I worked for Dean and then Kerry, the number one reason that I wanted a D in the White House was climate change.

And, since then, his concerns have only mounted.

And, he continued to connect the business activity with climate change and energy — at least at times.  Following seeing Inconvenient Truth, for example, Beyer ran a promotion at his dealership where people coming for a test drive got tickets to the film along with a bicycle or a tree planted in their name.

Just like changing lightbulbs in our homes, those bicycles and trees, obviously, haven’t solved our climate crisis. The situation only is worsening.

Everything that I am seeing shows me that we didn’t exaggerate the climate crisis, but it is more serious and urgent that we realized or said decades ago.

And, thus Climate Hawk Beyer’s “primary responsibility [is] to be the simplest and the strongest voice” as to that “more serious and urgent … existential threat” and for policy options to address climate change realities.

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→ No CommentsTags: climate change · climate hawk · House of Representatives

Wyoming Senators seeking to outlaw wind and solar?

January 10th, 2017 · 2 Comments

A just introduced bill to the Wyoming Senate would, if passed, seem to outlaw the use of wind and solar resources to help power the state.  The Electricity Production Standard, introduced by “Senator(s) Hicks and Driskill and Representative(s) Baker, Blackburn, Clem, Edwards, Lindholm, Madden and Miller”, defines the specific energy sources that would be considered “eligible generating resources”:

“Eligible generating resource” means an 7 electricity generating resource either located within 8 Wyoming or delivering electricity into Wyoming from another 9 state that produces electricity from one (1) or more of the 10 following sources or system:

(A) Coal;

(B) Hydroelectric;

(C) Natural gas

(D) Net metering system, as defined by W.S. 19 37-16-101(a)(viii);

(E) Nuclear;

(F) Oil.

Note that two booming electricity sources, that are dropping precipitously in price and growing fast in usage, are essentially absent from this list: solar and wind. In the Great Plains, wind power is the cheapest — by far — new electricity source and a potentially significant revenue generator for farmers ‘farming wind’ and for the state selling power to other states and markets (such as into Chicago) as grid connections and capacity improve.

As to ‘essentially absent’, the Wyoming net metering regulation authorizes systems up to 25 kilowatts — thus the individual home owner and a farmer with a small wind turbine could keep their systems. A 25kw system, however, is essentially irrelevant for utility-scale decisions.

The legislation then puts in a mandate that by 2019,

each electric utility shall procure a minimum of one hundred percent (100%) of its sales of electricity in Wyoming from eligible 19 generating resources.

And, if a utility fails to meet that 100% standard, the penalties would be serious:

If an electric utility is unable to meet the standards specified in W.S. 37-16-302 in any compliance year, the electric utility shall pay an administrative penalty, assessed by the commission, of ten dollars ($10.00) for each megawatt hour of energy credits the electric utility failed to procure. An electric utility may not recover this penalty through its electricity rates.

This $10 per mWh translates into $0.01 per kWh.  More significantly, this is not something ‘recoverable’ through the ratepayers: it would have to be absorbed out of the utility’s profits.  E.g., this is extremely serious ‘motivation’ for a utility to use one of the listed energy sources.

In other words, with that limited net metering exception, this legislation seeks to outlaw Wyoming and Wyoming residents benefitted from the fastest growing, cheapest, and cleanest electricity option.

Update 3: Okay, here is the sort of damage that could result from this myopic fossil-foolish legislation.

 

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→ 2 CommentsTags: Energy

You are not the only one seeing emergence of dystopian nightmare in America

November 14th, 2016 · 2 Comments

post-apolcalytic-fiction

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→ 2 CommentsTags: 2016 Presidential Election

Putting a smile not just on my face: Paris accords go into effect

November 4th, 2016 · 5 Comments

The Paris Accords are not a magical solution to the world’s ills. As a static document, what was signed will not solve climate change, will not prevent many degrees Celsius of warming.  They do, however, bring to the table every key nation with agreed-on commitments for action and, even more importantly, have a built ‘ratcheting process’ that will enable a race to accelerate progress in the years and decades to come.

Thus, let me join others greeting with celebration its going into effect …
Triumphant Celebration at Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

even while recognizing that there is much, much work to be done …

 

→ 5 CommentsTags: Energy

SWEDISH FISH GOING EXTINCT: Energy Smart @SenJeffMerkley w/fundraising email of year (for #climate champions)

October 31st, 2016 · Comments Off on SWEDISH FISH GOING EXTINCT: Energy Smart @SenJeffMerkley w/fundraising email of year (for #climate champions)

For the past decade, Energy Smart Jeff Merkley has been one of the steadiest and most thoughtful voices on climate change. Not surprising that what might be the best Halloween fundraising email, certainly the most climate-oriented one, came from him as he warns us that “Swedish Fish [are] going extinct …”

From: Senator Jeff Merkley <campaign@jeffmerkley.com>
Date: Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 2:05 PM
Subject: Swedish Fish going extinct

We don’t need the 3 Musketeers to save our planet.

We don’t need 100 Grand  to fight the Koch Brothers cash.
Climate change won’t hit us over the head like an Atomic Fireball. It’s damaging our planet Now and Later.
When glaciers in the Andes are melting and Swedish Fish are going extinct, you don’t need climate Smarties to tell you what’s going on.
Look, Mr. Goodbar, today is a Pay Day and it’s Crunch time for our Climate Champions running tough races around the country.
To paraphrase President Obama:
Don’t Snicker. Vote!
And have a safe and happy Halloween!
Jeff

Comments Off on SWEDISH FISH GOING EXTINCT: Energy Smart @SenJeffMerkley w/fundraising email of year (for #climate champions)Tags: Energy

#BeforeTheFlood: Powerful @LeoDiCaprio #Climate travelogue truly must watch, must absorb

October 31st, 2016 · Comments Off on #BeforeTheFlood: Powerful @LeoDiCaprio #Climate travelogue truly must watch, must absorb

My Energy/Climate Bookshelf is far more than a shelf, it is bookshelves.  Add in the 10,000s of papers, studies, blog posts, and my exposure in this arena is, well, easy the equivalent of a small library.  When I sit down to watch something on energy, on climate, I therefore sit down jaded … is this REALLY worth my time and energy.  I watch shows with the equivalent of a red pen used for grading a paper or colorful editing of a draft report.  Not always the easiest or friendliest of audiences.

As I started watching the just released Before the Flood, I didn’t expect much and thus expectations weren’t hard to exceed … Forget exceeding those low expectations, it really is powerful.  From the powerful images of the raging waters in Greenland to tar sands to interviews with Miami’s mayor and thoughtful (under siege) climate scientist Michael Mann, my attention is captured.

The power of a ‘travel documentary’, putting images, sound, emotion, and substance together — creating a new engagement with and way of thinking about material that (sigh, sadly) I might already have well known ‘intellectually’ but still haven’t fully absorbed.

Highly recommended … take the time to watch the film … Before The Flood is available to watch free on youtube … at least for a limited time.  Watch it and share with others.

Comments Off on #BeforeTheFlood: Powerful @LeoDiCaprio #Climate travelogue truly must watch, must absorbTags: climate change

While enjoying sandals in DC during October or garden salad in January, remaining aware of climate threat

October 19th, 2016 · Comments Off on While enjoying sandals in DC during October or garden salad in January, remaining aware of climate threat

It is mid-October in the Washington, DC, suburbs and like most of the nation — much of the world — we are in a heat wave. Rather than bundling up in sweaters, a more appropriate fashion selection involves shorts and sandals.  It is, to say the least, incredibly pleasant to wander outside in such balmy weather as Halloween decorations start to dominate the neighborhood.  Shadowing enjoyment, however, is the looming reality that this backyard phenomena is a very-close to — literally at — home example of how human-driven climate change is having very real impacts today.  While today is comfortable, the added heat in the system is disrupting flora and fauna cycles and this added heat is far less enjoyable in August than October.

To start the year, we enjoyed a salad directly from the garden

It is 3 January 2016.

DC-area lettuce harvested 3 Jan 2016 (c) A Siegel

DC-area lettuce harvested 3 Jan 2016 (c) A Siegel

Here is the lettuce that I just harvested from my garden — wild lettuce from plants we had dined off of last spring and then in the fall — and for which I will be making a salad dressing shortly.

We enjoyed it even as we recognized the weirdness and how this was a truly locavore example of climate change impacts.

Even my youngest recognizes the weirdness — in pulling shorts out of storage for wearing during this odd October heat, the comment:

it’s fun to have it so warm but its weird …

We enjoy life. We are enjoying the ‘nice’ weather even as we recognize the ominous implications behind this ‘nice weather’.

Let us be clear. The climate is warming and humanity is driving this warmth. 2016 is turning out to be hotter than 2015. 2015 was hotter than 2014 … The 2010s are looking to be hotter than the 2000s. The 2000s were hotter than the 1990s. The 1990s were hotter than the 1980s … And, in another critical signal, each decade is seeing more record high temperatures and fewer record low temperatures (when, in a ‘normal’ climate regime, these should roughly average out). Despite Jim Inhofe’s snow-ball packing skills, human-driven climate change is a reality and is a menace for human civilization.

Regretfully, all too many have a hard time seeing past their backyard and beyond the closest temporal events. I remember, awhile ago, the wife of one of my best friends stating during a warm weather period in January: “If this is climate change, give me more because I don’t like the cold.” Hmmm … perhaps that ‘cold’ is part of the climate that fostered the world surrounding her (the animals, plants, agriculture, …) and enabled the civilization she and her children live in. Simply thinking about that comment, the blind opacity to the global linkages and implications of that weather she was celebrating, sends chills down my spine.

Jason Samenow, a Washington Post ‘Capital Weather Gang” editor with “ten 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government”, published something today eerily reminiscent of that woman’s comment. Why in the world are people complaining about this warmth? It’s glorious outside begins.

December is less than six weeks away and the Washington region is basking in four straight days of 80-degree warmth. This weather is simply fantastic and we celebrate it, without apology.

Rather than seeking to tackle the conundrum between the very understandable embrace of ‘great’ weather with the substantive knowledge of climate change science and risks that one should have gained in ‘ten years as a climate change analyst’, Samenow revels in the enjoyment of the warm weather and simply brushes aside, in a dismissive manner, the climate change linkage.

Some of the environmentally-concerned refuse to enjoy this weather worried it is a sign of global warming. But such “Indian summer” weather is a normal aspect of the antic climate. Many Octobers we have such lovely spells of 80-degree warmth. Yes, global warming may be adding a degree or two to our high temperatures, so it’s 84 instead of 82, but this isn’t a reason not to embrace it.

Not very hard for someone to read this as ‘those whiny environmentalists, it is only a degree or two and that is no big deal …’ And, the the “climate” is always “antic”. So what if we warm the globe a bit? Does it really matter?

First, of course it matters. We are already experiencing damages (including in the United States) from rising seas, from worsened storm surges, disrupted weather patterns (just how many 500 or 1000 year storms have you heard about), etc, etc, etc … And, that is with roughly 1 degree Celsius (or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming.

Second, such dismissive writing from ‘expert’ journalists helps to undermine the development of reasoned consensus for action.  Yes, as a long-time DC native, I have always enjoyed Indian summers — all too often too brief — periods of warm interludes in the fall season.  They, however, have trended toward later and hotter through my life — with that later/hotter trend accelerating.  Samenow is a trained meteorologist and experienced ‘climate change analyst’, he owes it to his readers to provide a substantive and meaningful context.

Third, while Samenow writes ‘adding a degree or two to our high temperatures’ in this article, in an article later in the day about record-breaking temperatures in the region he notes:

https://twitter.com/NWSEastern/status/788499001515573249/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Temperatures in the D.C. region Wednesday afternoon hit levels typical of the height of summer — surging to 86 or 87 degrees.

For a second straight day, the temperature at both Dulles International and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall airports set record highs.

Through 3 p.m., Dulles had climbed to 86 degrees, easily besting the record of 83 from 1991 and 1963.

Baltimore had shot up to 87, shattering the record of 82 from 1947 and 1908.

Looking at the regional map associated with that article, near solid red for record high temperatures.

And, this heat is far from isolated to Washington, DC.  Look at those records above.  And, as Samenow writes,

“Several locations in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and in southwest Kansas registered highs around 100 degrees. In some cases, these temperatures were the hottest ever recorded in October and for so late in the season.”

In this second article, Samenow provides absolutely no discussion how these “hottest ever recorded” temperatures might relate to climate change.

Samenow, at times, has done serious articles and commentaries on climate change and climate communication. A strong example of this came in the bluntly titled Meteorologists shouldn’t just ‘stick to the weather,’ they should openly discuss climate change

Every meteorologist who is in the business of communicating weather information has an obligation to explain why the weather does what it does, and climate change is playing an ever-increasing role in this story. Ignoring climate change in weather reporting is anti-scientific by omission, and it’s irresponsible.

Despite that strong statement, in that strong article, written amid a record hot DC summer, amid the hottest July in global weather reporting, Samenow’s reporting doesn’t seem to live up to his own standard of ‘responsible communication of weather information’.

Samenow’s perspective on climate reporting seems well framed in his interview with his high school alma mata when asked about the how the meteorologist’s role has changed in the face of climate change:

Because the issue of climate change is so politicized, some weather communicators steer clear of the topic entirely. Others are starting to see climate change manifest itself in daily weather with increasing frequency of warm/hot days, precipitation extremes and other impacts. And so they view it as their responsibility to communicate the science. On the Capital Weather Gang blog, we regularly write about climate change science and do our best to accurately and fairly convey the latest, peer-reviewed scientific findings and the range of credible viewpoints.

Climate change is, for Samenow, to be separate from that ‘daily weather’ reporting and focused on discussions of “climate change science”.  And, we see this all too often within the Capital Weather Gang work: climate change is ignored or casually dismissed all too frequently, even amid significant weather events with clear climate change signals (like today’s heat), with occasional thoughtful and substantive discussions of climate change set aside from direct linkages of ‘weather’.

While weather isn’t climate and climate isn’t weather, news reporting should not divorce the two.

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Ashamnu: we have transgressed on climate change

October 12th, 2016 · Comments Off on Ashamnu: we have transgressed on climate change

Yom Kippur … the Day of Atonement.

After the period of reflection and engagement with others between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, this is a moment to turn to internal considerations and the relationship between the individual and G-d.

As part of the prayers for the Day of Atonement, the Vidui, the Al Cheyt or recital of sins, is perhaps the most important. (Modern Judaism being what it is, there are a myriad of translations and modern variations on the Vidui/Al Chet.)

A key word: Ashamnu or “we have sinned”.

Ashamnu is a recognition of individual and communal failures. The Al Cheyt is a recognition and statement about sins by ourselves (and our community) against others, against oneself, against G-d through action … and inaction.

It is clear:

  • One can do wrong purposefully and explicitly … and one can do wrong inadvertently and indirectly.
  • One can do wrong through action and words … and one can do wrong through inaction and silence.
  • And, one can … one should … one must act to recognize the wrongs that we, all — as individuals and communities, have done, seek to redress them, and work to avoid them into the future.

This Yom Kippur comes amid a divisive and ugly American Presidential campaign.

Amid the very stark difference between the two candidates, perhaps the starkest relates to climate change.

  • Donald Trump, reflecting core GOP value streams, rejects climate science and promotes policy concepts (to the extent that he has actual policy concepts) that would worsen the problem (and, perhaps, be the final nail in the coffin on hopes to avert truly catastrophic climate change).
  • Hillary Clinton, in stark contrast, accepts (climate) science, uses it to guide her policy concepts and views, and has laid out a serious agenda to build and expand on President Barack Obama’s clean energy, energy efficiency, and other climate mitigation/adaptation programs and achievements.

Simply put, Donald Trump intends to act to worsen the climate crisis and Hillary Clinton plans to #ActOnClimate.

In our political sphere, there was once too much ‘climate silence’, a  silence in our political leadership and among too many of us in the of rabid climate science denial and on the damage we are doing to the planetary system, the risks of climate change, and the urgent necessity for meaningful change to change our path toward something that enables sustainable prosperity for humanity.  In October 2016, on this Yom Kippur, on the eve of what might be the most momentous election of U.S. (even global) history, that silence is gone.  It is replace by the stark contrast outlined above.

Yom Kippur — including the viddui — is not typically focused on politics and political action.

It is, however, a time for reflection on our relationships and actions, including setting ourselves on the paths to addressing our failures — in essence, soul-searching to lay out a self-improvement agenda.

Amid this soul-searching, the piercing challenge of climate change, one action set is clear: we must work to push the political system (politicians) to #ActOnClimate.

And, with the stark contrast in our political structure, to make that a reality requires action 8 November:

Vote #Climate.

Vote to put the Democratic Party in charge of Congress.

Vote for Hillary Clinton.

Vote to #ActOnClimate

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Comments Off on Ashamnu: we have transgressed on climate changeTags: 2016 Presidential Election · Energy