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Balancing budget key path to #ActOnClimate?

October 3rd, 2017 · Comments Off on Balancing budget key path to #ActOnClimate?

Writ large, there is relatively small overlap between “budget hawks” and “climate hawks”.  Yet, as highlighted in a just released Oil Change International (OCI) report, there is reason for the two to find common ground (beyond a carbon fee/tax). OCI identified $20B in

Subsidies … where the government gives financial incentives to artificially lower the cost of production or consumption of fossil fuels to encourage more drilling or oil, gas, or coal use.

The $20B/year in direct financial subsidies to the fossil fuel industries

is equivalent to the projected 2018 budget cuts from Trump’s proposals to slash 10 public programs and services, including supports for America’s most vulnerable children and families.

Tackling fossil fuel (fossil foolish) subsidies could cover the planned cuts to food stamps, (the GOP just allowed to lapse) Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Amtrak, weatherization programs, and more …

Campaign contributions do pay off …

No kidding folks, that is a lot of money and a lot of good things that could be done/protected with it.

While Exxon Mobil executives are happier with larger bonuses on the back of the taxpayer, a simple expectation: most American voters would be happier without subsidizing fossil fuel profits and continuing these programs that help strengthen American society.

While that $20B is a lot of money, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The report, Dirty Energy Dominance: Dependent on Denial, headlines the $20B in subsidies, the most telling points come on pages 21-22 (though not in OCIs promotional material nor public discussions seen to date). Pages 21-22 cover “additional U.S. support for fossil fuels”. OCI discusses four arenas:

  • Financing for fossil fuel projects overseas: $2.3B/year
  • Military expenditure to due to oil: Uncertain, likely $10Bs & maybe $100Bs/year
  • Externalities: Health impacts (asthma, cancer, deaths); lower production; water pollution; climate impacts: $186B to $686B/year^
  • Consumption subsidies: $14.5B/year

Okay, look at those numbers. OCI’s included consumption subsidies^^ plus that financing essentially doubles the direct financial number (that is real money), put the total in the range of $38B/year.  The military easily would double that.  And, well, if there is any accountability for externalities (fossil fuel profits are privatized (making Rex Tillerson wealthy) and their costs socialized (creating costs for everyone else)), there is an order of magnitude increase.

While OCI’s headline $20.5B figure gets play and seems so large, it is at best a fraction of the actual U.S. subsidizing of the fossil fuel industry.  That larger figure merits more attention and discussion — in other words, American society and citizens are being ‘taxed’ at least about 1-2% of total gross domestic product (GDP) (and serious risk to the future) to subsidize the fossil fuel industry’s fossil foolish endangerment of our common future.

To be clear, Oil Change International has made a real contribution with this serious and well documented report. While there is value in constraining discussion to that direct $20.5B in subsidy for fossil fuel production, the larger (truer) impact merits understanding and discussion.

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Comments Off on Balancing budget key path to #ActOnClimate?Tags: economics · Energy

Energy COOL-ing the Dandelion way

September 29th, 2017 · Comments Off on Energy COOL-ing the Dandelion way

Since diving into the deep end when it comes to energy issues, almost every day sees new fascinating concepts, approaches, and technologies. Fascinating … exciting … even hope inspiring at times. And, as well, as the passion builds, so many of these are truly Energy COOL.

Geothermal heating and cooling has long interested me.

  • Seriously energy efficient — perhaps half the energy demand of a top-notch air cooled HVAC system.
  • Quieter — no external fan unit buzzing away while dining outside.
  • Less space — no external fan means perhaps 40 square feet of land not required.
  • Lower maintenance requirements — again, no external system/unit.
  • Longer lifecycle — again, primarily to no external unit.
  • Operational (and potential lifecycle) savings due to energy and maintenance savings & longer life.

What’s there not to like? Well …

Decades ago, when looking for a home, that brand-new four home development with a share geothermal system truly appealed. Sadly, right by a highway (and thus off the list). Of course, that isn’t the geothermal system’s fault.

A decade ago, when the air conditioner died and deciding to upgrade from a 20 year old heating system, I brought in a top-notch geothermal installer for advice and an estimate. Sigh, due to the need to bring a drilling crew from a hundred miles away and a pretty difficult yard for drilling, drilling alone would have topped $25,000. Truly a great guy: “Look, you wan the system, I can get it done. But I wouldn’t do it myself and I don’t recommend it because of that extra drilling cost.” So, instead, went with a fossil-fuel system (combo high-end HVAC and a good natural gas system with a controller that shifts which is running based on temperature).  The roughly $25k difference in price would likely have taken more than 30 years to ‘pay back’ in savings (assuming zero-cost of money — e.g., financially, that just wasn’t a smart deal).

While my case was extreme, geothermal’s challenge has been like that of other renewables: high upfront cost with (much) lower operating and life-cycle costs. America, sadly, is very much a 99 cent culture: see that upfront sticker price and discount the longer term. Thus, even though life-cycle analysis would show the benefits, solar and geothermal and energy efficiency (insulation, better lighting, more fuel efficient cars) often fell by the wayside.

With that in mind, the geothermal Energy COOL-ing item that comes out of Google/Alphabet’s ‘Moonshot’ X team and is now its own spin-off firm: Dandelion.  With a combination of new technology, cost-efficient financing, and business model, Dandelion is turning the geothermal equation upside down. Rather than requiring the patient and thoughtful ‘investor’ ready to plunk down for a high upfront cost with their eyes on a decades-long return on that investment, Dandelion targets “Zero Down, Savings Today” in upgrading from old, decrepit heating systems to geothermal.

What’s going on here?

Think back to my drill comment. Traditionally, geothermal systems have relied on large drills that are used for wells and other major systems.  Google/Alphabet X developed a smaller system (think back of pick-up truck rather than large towed system) that costs significant less to buy, move around, and operate.  Knock that $25k, perhaps, down to $5-$10k and all of sudden my contemplation of a geothermal system would have been far more reasonable (and I might have a far less complicated home heating situation).

As to the business model, Dandelion is more or less leveraging what has happened with the solar industry over the past decade: giving homeowners the option of (in essence) leasing the system (not having to pay upfront) leveraging their financing backing.  What Dandelion is offering customers: go with our system, pay nothing upfront, and your bill combination for paying for our system PLUS paying your (relevant) utilities will be lower than your utility costs today. (In the initial market, for an ‘average home’, Dandelion projects nearly $100/month in savings (plus less noise and fewer GHGs) for $0 down.)

Comparing heating costs: financial and environmental (courtesy of Dandelion)

The benefits aren’t only financial, they are also environmental — local (noise pollution) to global (greenhouse gases).

Now, before you go rushing out to call Dandelion, some caveats.

  • They are a start-up, working through the kinks of getting the business going.
    • This means a limited territorial coverage for now: the Hudson Valley in New York.
  • The initial focus is where that ROI is most powerful.
    • Tackling conversion of propane and fuel oil heating systems to electric-based geothermal.

The two, by the way, are a combination. I asked Dandelion ‘why New York’:

We started by looking state by state at homeowners on oil & propane, since these are the homeowner that would save the most money (see two graphs below). New York state has the most homeowners on oil and propane.

Our drill can go through almost anything, so the ground would have been fine anywhere in state, but we chose the Hudson Valley & Capitol Regions because we found a great installation partner, Aztech Geothermal up here. We also were going to do Astor Courts, a mansion owned by Erich Schmidt, Chairman of Google (also where Chelsea Clinton got married), so we were going to have the equipment in Rhinebeck anyway for that.

Okay, really can’t argue with that logic as to ‘why there’.

“Business model” isn’t just looking to competition (propane/fuel oil) and the financing model.  As explained to me,

Geothermal heating and cooling has always been the most efficient way to heat and cool a home, but the industry has not figure out how to standardize the process and therefore has not figured out how to scale the process yet.

Failure to scale means higher costs per installation — in no small part due to higher soft-costs because of house calls like mine which lead to no sale.

Dandelion says no to about half the people we speak to that want geothermal because we’re currently only offering a system for homes with forced air/duct work. However, by limiting ourselves to homes with forced air, having a concerted marketing effort, having a standardized installation process, and not taking a big cut for our services, we can say yes and install more quickly than any geothermal heat pump company has been able to do to date.

Energy COOL-ing Dandelion geothermal has moved from Alphabet X into the commercial market. Here is a just posted testimonial from Dandelion’s first retail customer.

Dandelion’s First Customers – Becky and Bob from Katie Ullmann on Vimeo.

 

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Comments Off on Energy COOL-ing the Dandelion wayTags: Energy · energy cool · energy efficiency

A minute of changed #climate

September 29th, 2017 · Comments Off on A minute of changed #climate

This graphical representation of our changed climate is tremendous, perhaps even meriting a visualization award …

 

Yet, …

On watching and considering this, I had a dual reaction:

  • Amazing, with lots of information packed …
  • Which audience(s) would appreciate/be able to absorb this?

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Comments Off on A minute of changed #climateTags: climate change · SciComm · science · Science Communication

“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Trump Cabinet member slanders 20,000 civil servants

September 26th, 2017 · Comments Off on “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Trump Cabinet member slanders 20,000 civil servants

In American politics, one of the most powerful and memorable lines from a US Civil Servant must be when the U.S. Army’s chief counsel, Joseph Nye Welch, challenged Senator Joe McCarthy at a hearing (a McCarthyite inquisition).

Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

And, with Welch’s direct challenge to McCarthy, “those watching the proceedings broke into applause”.

This moment in history jumped to mind on learning of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s slandering of some 20,000 Federal employees:

I got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.

Yes, Secretary Zinke said that 30 percent of the 70,000 Federal employees in the Department of Interior are in violation of their Oath: in essence, asserting that they merit prosecution of disloyalty to the nation.

This sort of ’30 percent’ attack is eerily reminiscent of McCarthy’s anonymous ‘lists of commies’ and other attacks that created questions about whole blocks of civil servants, dedicated federal employees, with that slandering typically not directed at individuals (though that occurred too often as well) and without any real basis.

I wonder when and where America’s civil servants will have their chances to emulate Joseph Nye Welch in challenging such slanderous attacks on those who have dedicated their lives to serving the American people.

Zinke made these comments to an oil industry conference. As with EPA Administrator Pruitt, Team Trump is spending its time with those seeking to privatize profit while socializing costs, socializing with those seeking to ravage public lands with minimal attention to those who seek to protect them.

Truly, that ’30 percent’ comment isn’t about loyalty to the Constitution (“to the flag”) but that Zinke fears that some portion of Interior’s  civil servants (hopefully far more than 30 percent) take their Oath seriously and are loyal to the Constitution and American people, not to those occupying the Oval Office and the political appointments around the government.

 

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Comments Off on “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” Trump Cabinet member slanders 20,000 civil servantsTags: Trump Administration

Imagine: Wyoming + Vermont + Alaska + North Dakota + South Dakota w/out power for 3-6 months

September 22nd, 2017 · Comments Off on Imagine: Wyoming + Vermont + Alaska + North Dakota + South Dakota w/out power for 3-6 months

Imagine what America discourse might look like if five states faced a climate catastrophe with a projection for weeks — even months — without electricity.

What would their Senators and Representatives be doing?

Would this be top of the news cycle? Would cable news and newspapers filled with stories

  • showing elderly sitting the dark;
  • discussing the difficulty for the high school football team to train;
  • local businessmen talking about how their stores are struggling;

Consider these five states with 10 Senators and 5 Representatives in the House of Representatives.

Wyoming 582,658
Vermont 626,630
North Dakota 723,393
Alaska 735,132
South Dakota 844,877
total 3,512,690

If Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Alaska were as dark at night as North Korea and being told that they might not have electricity to put up Christmas lights, would their Senators accept Mitch McConnell focusing on paths to devastate Americans health care rather than funding to mobilize resources to light up their communities back home?

Consider …

Three and a half million American citizens, post Hurricanes Irma and Maria, are in this circumstance.  Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are without power … and projected to be without power for weeks or months to come.

 

As Brad Johnson has highlighted, these American citizens truly are second-class citizens — these 3.5 American citizens don’t have 10 Senators and 5 Representatives able to cause a storm in Washington on their behalf.

 

Assistance is going to the USVI Virgin Islands National Guardand Puerto Rico: military forces, FEMA, charities are working night-and-day to help our endangered fellow citizens.  We should recognize and value these efforts — this is a great example of how a great nation works to secure the ‘common good’ as the government, acting on behalf of citizens, should help those in time of need.  These efforts, while so many involved merit praise for their efforts, simply are not as central in US government leadership and media discussion nor effort as would be the case if these 3.5 million Americans had representation in Congress.

NOTE:  When it comes to Energy, we need to get disaster’s 3Rs (Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction) right.  Rather than small generators seen being airlifted in, solar installers and equipment from around the nation should be flowing into the islands with a massive effort to put in distributed micro-grids with power storage and energy efficient devices. On public buildings (SCHOOLS!), commercial structures, and homes in good shape — get solar on their roofs and lights in the rooms ASAP with power systems that can be integrated into a reestablished grid. And, by acting in an integrated Energy Smart fashion across disaster’s 3Rs we foster a fourth R: resiliency against future catastrophes. (For discussion, see Energy Smart & Secure Communities: Key to smart Harvey/Irma/Maria relief/recovery/reconstruction).

UPDATE:  Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands also do not have a voice in the Electoral College — while they are part of the primaries, they have no voice in the general election.

 

 

Comments Off on Imagine: Wyoming + Vermont + Alaska + North Dakota + South Dakota w/out power for 3-6 monthsTags: Energy

Energy Smart & Secure Communities: Key to smart Harvey/Irma/Maria relief/recovery/reconstruction

September 22nd, 2017 · 2 Comments

When it comes to the post disaster space, where I spent a decent amount of time working with military forces trying to figure out how to be more effective in such situations (whether post natural or man-made disasters), there was a major ‘lesson’ that many came to in the 1980s and 1990s: effectiveness (in saving people, reducing future risks, being efficient in use of resources) requires coordination across organizations and coordination across phases. As to ‘phases’, which aren’t necessarily cleanly differentiated, the Three Rs:

  • Relief: Life saving and getting minimal functions going for preserving life and reducing damage risks.
  • Recovery: Help society move into a functioning stage so that people don’t need to leave and outside assistance can be reduced.
  • Reconstruction: Measures to boost economic and social strength to pre-disaster levels (or, even better, better than pre-disaster).

In terms of using resources efficiently and having the best chances for a better tomorrow, integrating across these phases as much as (reasonably) possible is key.  If one can do something in “relief” that continues into and contributes to “recovery” and is a player (lays foundations) for “reconstruction”, it is like getting a triple whammy.  And, there is a fourth R: Resiliency: if that measure helps contributes to the potential for reducing future risks, a grand slam is in play.

For example, when it comes to shelter, tents are relief and rarely into recovery.  Having a container housing unit, like the US and allied militaries have used in places like Bosnia-i-Herzegovina and Iraq, blends from relief (quickly on site, quick to install) into recovery (housing elements that can stay around awhile). Deploying such ‘container’ units with plans and ways to incorporate into rebuilt infrastructure with (let’s say) high-wind and earthquake resistance takes that ‘shelter’ investment into a triple whammy or grand-slam solution. Now, a container is more expensive than a tent — but that is a lasting investment rather than a (hopefully very) temporary path to the problem.

In my space, distributed renewable energy is the blaring example of how to integrate across the Three Rs.  As the grid gets knocked down, in places around the world, the diesel generators kick in and disaster relief organizations send in lots of them. That translates into high-cost and high-pollution demand for diesel fuel — which, by the way, undermines the Three Rs through resource demands (transportation of that diesel fuel and, of course, the cost of fuel).  With the revolution in renewables — especially, in this context, solar pv and associated systems (micro-grid controls, storage, energy efficient devices (like LED lights) — the costs of going ‘green’ in the disaster relief, rather than polluting diesel generators, has now gotten advantaged to the clean energy option.  And, unlike the diesel generator, it is quite straightforward to integrate a solar system across the ThreeRs.  And, while doing so, build the solar system in

For US disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needs to update its approaches — clean energy systems need to be a growing part of the ‘fly away’ kit for helping get emergency power to communities blacked-out by disasters (like New York/New Jersey post Sandy and Puerto Rico today, after Maria).  And, the US government requires an integrated approach to this so the ‘fly-away’ solar is done in a way that enables rapid creation of small micro-grids to address relief that facilities recovery and contributes to reconstruction.   And, the installations should proceed down a path so that the next time a climate-enhanced disaster hits the community, the solar keeps the lights on and lowers the costs/challenges of that next disaster’s Three Rs.

Learning from disasters and reducing risks into the future pays off: look at Houston’s hospitals in Hurricane Harvey.  Looking at Puerto Rico’s electricity situation, any honest analysis would conclude (differing, of course, as to specifics and how much and ..) that a rapid deployment of micro-grid solar would flow across the Three Rs and is a smart triple whammy path to help people and the economy.

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Virginia’s troubling near failing clean energy/energy efficiency position

September 21st, 2017 · Comments Off on Virginia’s troubling near failing clean energy/energy efficiency position

Yet another report, yet another sign that Virginia is (far) behind the times when it comes to leveraging the clean-energy revolution to create economic activity and help address climate change.  In this case, “Solar Power Rocks” has gone through and rated the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As to Virginia,

“Solar in Virginia: about as bad as you might think!” The state’s big utility company, Dominion Power, offers an anemic performance payments program, which will help homeowners now but isn’t guaranteed to be there in a few years. All in all, the “D” grade is earned

That 38th spot ranking: a drop of three slots from last year.

https://solarpowerrocks.com/2017-state-solar-power-rankings/

Grading on a curve: Virginia’s Solar D position

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Comments Off on Virginia’s troubling near failing clean energy/energy efficiency positionTags: solar

Powering Minnesota to prosperity through energy leadership

September 20th, 2017 · 2 Comments

A positive vision for the future is too rarely part of America’s political conversation at the moment. Today, Minnesota’s Rebecca Otto put out a serious marker to change that.  Otto’s Minnesota Powered Plan targets leveraging Minnesota’s envious position as a manufacturing state with excellent wind and (yes) solar resources to transform the state into a clean energy powerhouse, with serious economic benefits for all of the state’s citizens and a true leadership position in creating a prosperous, climate-friendly future.

Rebecca Otto knows clean energy … and knows its value for Minnesota

While Otto’s plan merits a read (in no small part for the substantive supporting material), it’s core is that it focuses on achieving desire results through reforming our energy system toward a basic sensible path: a well-regulated market economy that enables private business to flourish while recognizing our social contract.

The three key action points in the plan:

  • Price carbon
    • One of the worst elements of our energy system is all the damaging ‘externalities’ that are not in the economic equation. By pricing carbon, Minnesota Powered would correct that market distortion.
    • Incorporating key externalities into the economic decision making (by businesses, individuals, governments, …) would allow the efficiency of a ‘well-regulated market’ to find the best paths to reduce those costs, those externalities (e.g., pollution & associated costs to human health, productivity, and our future prospects).
  • Cash Dividends to Minnesotans
    • The plan dedicates 75 percent of the associated resources to quarterly dividends (estimated to be in the range of $50 every month, $150 per quarter) to every Minnesotan resident.
    • Such dividends would have significant benefits — not just political (people like cashing checks) but also social (a small path toward addressing economic inequality) and in rewarding those who are more diligent are reducing their fossil-foolish (carbon) footprints.
  • Clean Energy Refundable Tax Credits
    • The remaining resources would provide tax credits for things like efficient water heaters and HVACs, insulating homes, solar panel installations, and electric vehicles.
    • This would enable serious financial savings for those who leverage the tax credit. And, with the advances in financing, many of these projects could be executed with zero dollars down and thus save people money from day one.
    • This is a serious job creation measure along with helping people save money through reducing home energy costs. The campaign analysis is that “This will create tens of thousands of good-paying new private-sector jobs—often paying more than $80,000 per year—in every community across Minnesota.”

Otto — with over a decade as Minnesota’s State Auditor and time in the legislature — has the sort of serious credentials and knowledge of state government that voters should expect from a serious candidate for Governor.  With Minnesota-Powered, Otto shows that she has the sort of vision that voters should want from their political leaders.

While I will be returning for additional looks and commentary on the Minnesota Powered Plan, there is a simple truth: this is the sort of thinking and plan that every state in the Union (and, well, the Federal Government) should be pursuing.  I would hope that it is taken seriously and considered in State Houses across the land.

UPDATEs/NOTEs:

Should have included this in the original write-up but will perhaps do a separate one. Otto’s plan seems to fit directly with the concepts that I/others sought to promote with Energize America 2020 over a decade ago.   And, she seems to be well-positioned to give a 2017/2018 version of this speech concept that I drafted a decade ago: Energizing America: The E2 Solution Path — The energy speech for the next President …

Others’ commentaries

  • Greg Laden’s overview includes a detailed look at the economic benefits from the plan with an emphasis of something that is ‘implicit’ in comments above: this is a ‘revenue neutral’ carbon price.
  • Mary Ellen Hart “Some economic plans are win-wins, or even triple wins, but when was the last time you heard of a win-win-win-win-win-win plan?  … Being an auditor, she doesn’t shy away from taking a good hard look at how climate change – think ever more extreme floods, wildfires, droughts and storms – is costing communities bigtime, draining community budgets meant for boosting business and creating jobs. She’s also saying what few other politicians have the courage to say: “The impact of climate change is hitting far sooner and much closer to home than many of us ever imagined, and we have a moral obligation to protect our children.””

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May we fight on so that a climate warrior may rest in peace …

September 18th, 2017 · 1 Comment

One of privileges of our internet world is the ability to interact with and develop relationships with people all over the globe without ever having the opportunity to meet face to face. (Yes, it was possible in snail mail days but, well, so much harder even as a ‘pen pals’.)

One of the privileges of being engaged in the struggle to enhance understanding of climate science and the urgent necessity to address our climate challenges/seize climate opportunities is the chance to interact with impressive, passionate, knowledgable, thoughtful, incredibly decent people.

The two are the combination of the engaged climate netcitizen: tens, hundreds, thousands of people communicated with and collaborated with without ever having had the opportunity to meet them.

And, reality is that these networks mean that we will have to mourn people who are part of our lives, part of our communities, without ever having ‘met’ them in person.

Today, I learned of the passing of Andy Skuce, a ‘recovering oilman’ who learned/educated himself about climate change and sought to contribute to changing humanity’s path to avert climate catastrophe. As part of that, Skuce was a key player in Skeptical Science, which is an invaluable place for gaining understanding about climate science issues — including, perhaps most notably, climate science denial by the numbers.

I had the privilege of email communications with Andy — thoughtful, decent, insightful, knowledgeable, humble … My latest communication just six days ago as he provided insights on how climate change is impacting agricultural options in Canada, including what is the world’s most expensive olive oil.

On 28 August, Andy made the last post on his blog site Critical Angle discussing his terminal cancer, his life, medical insurance, and his perspectives on climate change.  In his honor, I have posted this after the fold. Exit, Pursued by a Crab is beyond question worth your time to read it and, by doing so, to honor Andy Skuce’s life.

UPDATE:  In addition to Andy’s incredibly moving/thoughtful post after the fold, consider the thoughts of some of his closest colleagues, the Skeptical Science community. From Remembering Andy,

Andy sometimes described himself as a “recovering oilman,” having worked many years in oil and gas exploration. In a 2012 post, Andy wrote about the evolution of his views on climate change. Once Andy grasped the reality and urgency of the problem, he devoted much of his time to educating others about it, including some of his former oil industry colleagues.

Dear Andy Skuce — you will be missed … you will be remembered … you will continue to inspire.

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Documenting Trump Administration Silencing of Climate Science

September 18th, 2017 · 2 Comments

Donald Trump’s and his GOP acolytes anti-science attitudes created a flurry of activity in the interregnum prior to their White House occupation to capture key U.S. government science (especially climate science) information on servers accessible to the world’s researchers (and, well, everyone with internet access) that are outside U.S. government control (good example/discussion). In the past nine months, from time to time, reporting has captured why that made sense (such as this CNN reporting on EPA’s “removal of climate change information from its website“).  The Guardian provided an excellent overview of worst of the first 100 days,

In the more than 100 days since, the administration has largely opted for a chisel and scalpel approach to refashioning its online content, but the end result is much the same – mentions of climate change have been excised, buried or stripped of any importance.

Federal government websites are being combed through to apply new verbiage. The state department’s office of global change, for example, has removed links to the Obama administration’s 2013 climate action report and mention of the latest UN meeting on climate change. Text relating to climate change and greenhouse gases has also been purged.

While political pundits, often too interested in horse race than substance, discuss the failure of major legislation to go through and foolishly suggest that Trump is somehow magically a ‘post partisan’ President after making (yet to be executed) deals with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, there is a horrific grinding reality across the US government: the science denial forces are hard at work to make it harder for quality scientific work to be done and to adopt a ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ path toward climate change: if we don’t study it and don’t have any information out there about it, obviously the problem doesn’t exist and we can say whatever we want about it.

The above-mentioned efforts to guard records of what existed on U.S. government websites as Trump put his hand down on the Bible (to lie) in takingthe Oath of Office provides tools to understand just how Team Trump is devastating the U.S. government’s climate change material.

Dr. Peter Gleick took, over this week, a statistical look at pre-Trump and September 2017 Trumpian-era climate change information on the USGS web site.  This is sobering material.

  • In December 2016, 5,932 climate science items linked there (9 were just pictures). Today there are 416 and 292 are just pictures.
  • In December 2016, 320 of those items were links to climate data. Today, 0 links to data. 5,271 were web links. Now, 0 web links.
  • In December 2016, the USGS “Effects of Climate Change” webpage had 2,825 items. Today … zero.

 

When it comes to Team Trump & climate science, in some ways, this response to Gleick is an excellent summary:

The challenge of that image, however, is a form of passivity: that there is simply ‘ignoring’ going on when the reality of Team Trump’s dystopia are active efforts to undermine climate science, the public’s understanding of climate science, and humanity’s potential to take action effectively to reduce the risks of climate catastrophe.

A note of appreciation for Peter Gleick for worsening my Monday by this effort to quantify one corner of the Trump Administration’s war on science and knowledge.

UPDATE: Peter has added to the window of silencing of climate science.

 

→ 2 CommentsTags: climate change · science denial · Trump · Trump Administration