Dude, you live in a desert. Time to get real.


Arizona officials announced Thursday the state will no longer grant certifications for new developments within the Phoenix area, as groundwater rapidly disappears amid years of water overuse and climate change-driven drought.

A new study showed that the groundwater supporting the Phoenix area likely can’t meet additional development demand in the coming century, officials said at a news conference. Gov. Katie Hobbs and the state’s top water officials outlined the results of the study looking at groundwater demand within the Phoenix metro area, which is regulated by a state law that tries to ensure Arizona’s housing developments, businesses and farms are not using more groundwater than is being replaced. 

The study found that around 4% of the area’s demand for groundwater, close to 4.9 million acre-feet, cannot be met over the next 100 years under current conditions – a huge shortage that will have significant implications for housing developments in the coming years in the booming Phoenix metro area, which has led the nation in population growth.

State officials said the announcement wouldn’t impact developments that have already been approved. However, developers that are seeking to build new construction will have to demonstrate they can provide an “assured water supply” for 100 years using water from a source that is not local groundwater.

Under state law, having that assured supply is the key to getting the necessary certificates to build housing developments or large industrial buildings that use water. Many cities in the Phoenix metro area, including Scottsdale and Tempe, already have this assured water supply, but private developers also must demonstrate they can meet it. 

Thursday’s announcement is an example of the law working as intended, according to an analysis by Arizona State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy. Growth in the Phoenix area will likely continue under the new restrictions, the analysis said, but the rate of growth will likely change. 

“It’s going to make it harder for developments to spring up on raw desert in the far-flung parts of town where developers like to develop,” Sarah Porter, the director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, told CNN. “It’s another impediment to that kind of development, like new subdivisions out in Buckeye or Queen Creek.”

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A section of the unfinished Mountain Valley Pipeline near Virginia’s Brush Mountain in July 2020. Photo courtesy of Mountain Valley Watch

To get the biggest package of clean energy incentives in history, President Biden had to agree to support Senator Joe Manchin’s pet project, a fracked-gas pipeline thru West Virginia, that has been bitterly opposed by environmentalists and landowners.
To get this week’s budget agreement, and avoid a catastrophic default on US debts, the pipeline was hard-wired into the agreement.

New York Times:

Environmental activists are enraged by the deal struck between President Biden and Republicans to raise the debt ceiling because it would also expedite construction of a bitterly contested gas pipeline and includes unusual measures to insulate that project from judicial review.

The $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline, intended to carry natural gas about 300 miles from the Marcellus shale fields in West Virginia across nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands before ending in Virginia, is a top priority of Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, but has been fought by environmentalists and many Virginia Democrats for a decade.

A constellation of environmental groups condemned the pipeline’s inclusion in a debt limit deal, with one group, Climate Defiance, planning to protest Tuesday evening at the New York home of Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader.

One of the companies behind the pipeline, NextEra Energy, is a major donor to Mr. Schumer and Mr. Manchin. In the 2022 cycle, NextEra’s employees and political action committees gave $302,600 to Mr. Schumer and $60,350 to Mr. Manchin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mr. Manchin faces a potentially difficult re-election campaign next year, and pushing the pipeline to completion could help him with voters. Gov. Jim Justice, a popular Democrat-turned-Republican, has announced he will seek the Senate seat in West Virginia, a ruby red state that President Trump carried by nearly 40 percentage points in 2020. Retaining that seat is a priority for Democrats.

“We are in a bleak moment,” Climate Defiance wrote on Twitter. “The politicians we trusted with our lives sold us out to fossil fuel CEOs. We have been stabbed in the back. We do not know if we will win but dammit we will not go down without a peaceful uprising like you’ve never seen.”

But White House negotiators, who inserted the pipeline language into the debt limit deal, say Mr. Biden was honoring an agreement that he struck last summer with Mr. Manchin to secure the senator’s tiebreaking vote to pass the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, which includes more than $370 billion for clean energy projects.

White House officials say that the benefits from that law far outweigh any new greenhouse gas emissions produced as a result of the West Virginia pipeline. They also noted that they were able to block Republicans from rolling back many of the climate law’s clean energy provisions as part of the debt limit compromise.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island is one of the Senate’s foremost climate hawks – who will swallow hard and vote in favor of the compromise.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:

Okay, the Mountain Valley Pipeline approval is a blow. I get it. But once we’ve put this MAGA default threat behind us, we’ll need to focus on four things. 

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Simon Donner from University of British Columbia notes:

An El Nino event is very likely, but not all El Ninos are created equal. It is unlikely to be as extreme an event as 2015/2016 or 1997/98. Simple comparison is that the eastern equatorial pacific warming is more constrained at this stage (left) relative to previous big events.

But with an ocean that is already at record high temps, what is the effect of even a weaker El Nino?

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Recent paper has caught my eye that sought to quantify what effect air pollution control, and an atmosphere cleansed of particulates, might have on warming. Will less reflected sunlight be another amplifier of warming?

Not everyone is on board.

First a summary:


It’s one of the paradoxes of global warming. Burning coal or gasoline releases the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. But it also lofts pollution particles that reflect sunlight and cool the planet, offsetting a fraction of the warming. Now, however, as pollution-control technologies spread, both the noxious clouds and their silver lining are starting to dissipate.

Using an array of satellite observations, researchers have found that the climatic influence of global air pollution has dropped by up to 30% from 2000 levels. Although this is welcome news for public health—airborne fine particles, or aerosols, are believed to kill several million people per year—it is bad news for global warming. The cleaner air has effectively boosted the total warming from carbon dioxide emitted over the same time by anywhere from 15% to 50%, estimates Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and lead author of the study. And as air pollution continues to be curbed, he says, “There is a lot more of this to come.”

“I believe their conclusions are correct,” says James Hansen, a retired NASA climate scientist who first called attention to the “Faustian bargain” of fossil fuel pollution in 1990. He says it’s impressive scientific detective work because no satellite could directly measure global aerosols over this whole period. “It’s like deducing the properties of unobserved dark matter by looking at its gravitational effects.” Hansen expects a flurry of follow-up work, as researchers seek to quantify the boost to warming.

Some aerosols, such as black carbon, or soot, absorb heat. But reflective sulfate and nitrate particles have a cooling effect. For many years, they formed from polluting gases escaping from car tailpipes, ship flues, and power plant smokestacks. Technologies to scrub or eliminate this pollution have spread slowly from North America and Europe to the developing world. Only in 2010 did air pollution in China begin to decline, for example, and international restrictions on sulfur-heavy ship fuel have come just in the past few years.

The new study, submitted as a preprint to Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics in April and expected for publication in the next few months, grew directly out of last year’s U.N. climate assessment. It included studies showing aerosol declines in North America and Europe but no clear global trends. Quaas and his co-authors thought two NASA satellites, Terra and Aqua, operating since 1999 and 2002, might be able to help.

The satellites tally Earth’s incoming and outgoing radiation, which has enabled several research groups, including Quaas and his colleagues, to track the increase in infrared heat trapped by greenhouse gases. But one instrument on Aqua and Terra has also shown a decline in reflected light. Models suggested a decrease in aerosols is partly responsible, says Venkatachalam Ramaswamy, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. “It’s very hard to find alternate reasons for this,” he says.

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Idiocracy looking more and more like a documentary.


In India, children under 16 returning to school this month at the start of the school year will no longer be taught about evolution, the periodic table of elements or sources of energy.

The news that evolution would be cut from the curriculum for students aged 15–16 was widely reported last month, when thousands of people signed a petition in protest. But official guidance has revealed that a chapter on the periodic table will be cut, too, along with other foundational topics such as sources of energy and environmental sustainability. Younger learners will no longer be taught certain pollution- and climate-related topics, and there are cuts to biology, chemistry, geography, mathematics and physics subjects for older school students.

NCERT announced the cuts last year, saying that they would ease pressures on students studying online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amitabh Joshi, an evolutionary biologist at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in Bengaluru, India, says that science teachers and researchers expected that the content would be reinstated once students returned to classrooms. Instead, the NCERT shocked everyone by printing textbooks for the new academic year with a statement that the changes will remain for the next two academic years, in line with India’s revised education policy approved by government in July 2020.

Joshi says that the curriculum revision process has lacked transparency. But in the case of evolution, “more religious groups in India are beginning to take anti-evolution stances”, he says. Some members of the public also think that evolution lacks relevance outside academic institutions.

Aditya Mukherjee, a historian at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli, says that changes to the curriculum are being driven by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a mass-membership volunteer organization that has close ties to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party. The RSS feels that Hinduism is under threat from India’s other religions and cultures.

“There is a movement away from rational thinking, against the enlightenment and Western ideas” in India, adds Sucheta Mahajan, a historian at Jawaharlal Nehru University who collaborates with Mukherjee on studies of RSS influence on school texts. Evolution conflicts with creation stories, adds Mukherjee. History is the main target, but “science is one of the victims”, she adds.

Scientific American:

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, is running for president of the United States on a record of anti-diversity, pro-censorship, white nationalistmeasures. He has targeted education, LGBTQ rights and access to health care, and should he prevail, his anti-science candidacy stands to harm millions of Americans.

DeSantis has banned books in school libraries, restricted teachers’ classroom discussions about diversity, prohibited high school classes that focus on Black history and people, politicized college curricula, limited spending on diversity programs, ignored greenhouse gas reduction in climate change policy, diminished reproductive rights and outlawed transgender health care.

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What will stop development in the wild – urban Interface (WUI) that is so exposed to wildfires? Will it be state regulations, or simply the insurance market abandoning the riskiest areas.

We don’t do a good job teaching science in this country.

I tremble for my planet when I reflect that physics is real.

June 1 marks the traditional beginning of Hurricane Season in the North Atlantic.
We are heading into an El Nino year, which usually puts a damper on hurricanes in the Atlantic.
But the Atlantic is steamy, record hot – giving hurricanes an extra ration of fuel. Forecasters are nervous.

John Morales, Chief Meteorologist, NBC 6 South Florida:

“Post-hurricane stress manifested itself and remained just as apparent in Floridians as it did across the landscape with gnarled street signs and empty shopping malls.”

This panorama may sound familiar given recent Florida history, but I’m quoting from Mass Trauma and Emotional Healing Around the World, a book written in 2010, not 2022 or 2023.

It refers to the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which up until 2017’s Hurricane Irma stood as the costliest disaster in the history of Florida. 

Thirty years and one month after Andrew’s bomb-like devastation in southern Miami-Dade County, Hurricane Ian one-upped it in terms of loss of life and property.

Many residents of the areas hit hardest by Ian eight months ago are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, just like South Florida residents have for years after Andrew.

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How Wind Became Woke

May 31, 2023

The Texas Legislature blinked and, and the last minute, blunted, a push to essentially destroy the fantastically successful clean energy industry in the state.

Luke Metzger, Environment Texas:

“In a legislative session that saw an unprecedented effort to hogtie the growth of wind and solar energy, we are thankful that the Legislature ultimately rejected the measures most damaging to clean energy. Renewable energy is reducing pollution, saving consumers money, and playing a critical role in powering the grid.  

“The anti-renewable efforts were premised on a false claim. Lt. Gov Patrick claimed that “renewable energy failed to keep the lights on for millions of Texans” during Winter Storm Uri. Multiple studies and fact-checkers have found such claims are not true. While every energy source struggled under the extreme cold, failure to weatherize gas power plants and the gas supply chain were primarily responsible for the blackouts. Doubling down on gas is not going to make our grid more reliable, but it is going to make electricity more expensive and more polluting. 

“We need, and Texans want, more clean energy, not less. There is strong support for more wind and solar energy, more battery storage, more energy efficiency, and more interconnection with the national grid. Unfortunately, the Legislature ignored these solutions to strengthen our electric grid while protecting consumers and the environment.” 

The aborted effort does illustrate the success that the fossil fuel industry, through its vast network of influence, has had in positioning clean energy as a culture war issue.
Paul Krugman has a take.

Paul Krugman in the New York Times:

Here’s how it works. A significant faction of Americans, which increasingly dominates the Republican Party, hates anything it considers woke — which in this faction’s eyes means both any acknowledgment of social injustice and any suggestion that people should make sacrifices, or even accept mild inconvenience, in the name of the public good. So there’s rage against the idea that racism was and still is an evil for which society should make some amends; there’s also rage against the idea that people should, say, wear masks during a pandemic to protect others, or cut down on activities that harm the environment.

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Vogtle nuclear plant well along toward commercial operation soon, maybe this year. I can only wish them all the luck in the world, because Georgia Power has sunk 32 billion or so into the thing, – that’s done.
And we need the carbon-free power.

The discussion about nuclear energy in the climate context is not binary, “pro” nuclear, or “anti” nuclear.
There are a number of nuclear projects in the pipeline, because there are a lot of people who believe passionately in the technology, and a lot of investment, both private and public, flowing into it.
Nuclear is going to be a part of the global decarbonization, if only because China has decided that it will be.

My stripped down take is, that one way or another, we are going to get to net zero, but critical to understand that there is NO net zero scenario that does not include a LOT of solar, wind, and storage, and probably some other wild cards as well.

Important to recognize that even with all the momentum that “small modular reactors” have, there is no universe in which we see a significant penetration from them in the next 10 years.
So I would tell anyone, if you support nuclear energy to decarbonize – get out and push for more renewables in your area. If you are against nuclear energy as a solution, – get out and support more renewables in your area.

Don’t waste your time at this point being “against” anything – frankly, even fossil fuel projects. The market is going make them all stranded assets eventually, and just that much sooner if we can get more renewables built. The leverage is all on the side of building renewables and letting them compete in the market on price and flexibility.

Department of Energy:

Georgia Power Company, a subsidiary of Southern Company, yesterday announced that Vogtle Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle has reached full generating capacity and could achieve commercial operation by the end of June. Unit 4 is projected to enter service in late 2023 or early 2024.

Plant Vogtle is poised to become the largest clean energy generator in the United States. The reactors will not only provide clean and reliable power to millions of homes and businesses in the Southeast, generating 17,200,000 MWh annually, but will also help to rebuild our nation’s nuclear workforce and future supply chain.

Nuclear energy is essential to achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050. Plant Vogtle is an example of how the DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO) is supporting energy infrastructure projects that promote economic growth and strengthen our energy and national security. 

The DOE loan guarantees to Georgia Power Company have financed the construction of Units 3 and 4 at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. These two 1,100 megawatt Westinghouse AP1000® nuclear reactors represent the first U.S. deployment of this innovative technology in the United States. These are the only commercial nuclear reactors under construction in the United States today; when completed, they will be the first new commercial nuclear reactors constructed in the United States in 30 years.  

For information on how LPO could support your advanced nuclear energy project and to learn about LPO’s process before formally applying, request a no-fee, no-commitment Pre-Application Consultation. During the consultation, LPO will work with you to determine whether the project is eligible for a loan or loan guarantee.