We already know Mexico is not going to pay for it.




President Donald Trump’s effort to put coal miners back to work stumbled in most coal producing states last year, even as overall employment in the downtrodden sector grew modestly, according to preliminary government data obtained by Reuters.

Trump made reviving the coal industry, and the declining communities that depend upon its jobs, a central tenet in his presidential campaign and has rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations to give the industry a boost.

But the effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with U.S. utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas – moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump.

Unreleased full-year coal employment data from the Mining Health and Safety Administration shows total U.S. coal mining jobs grew by 771 to 54,819 during Trump’s first year in office, led by Central Appalachian states like West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania – where coal companies have opened a handful of new mining areas for shipment overseas.

“You know, West Virginia is doing fantastically well,” Trump told Reuters in an interview this week about the state, which gained 1,345 coal jobs last year, according to the data. “It’s great coal.”

But the industry also lost jobs in other Appalachian states like Ohio, Kentucky, and Maryland; the western Powder River Basin states Montana and Wyoming; as well as in several other states like Indiana, New Mexico, and Texas.


The bright spots in the industry in 2017 came amid a big surge in demand for shipments from overseas, said Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.

“We have seen production rise this past year by more than six percent and exports rise five-fold over the previous year,” he told Reuters.

”Honest people can differ over how much credit the president deserves for this revival and how much credit belongs to market forces,“ he added. ”To those of us closest to the coal industry, there is little question that the administration’s regulatory reset … has made a decisive difference.”

Washington Post:

Trump claims West Virginia is exporting “clean coal” to China. But this is wrong for two reasons. One, in 2015 and 2016, West Virginia exported virtually no coal to China. Two, there is no such thing as “clean coal.” Electricity-generating plants can mitigate some of the effects of burning coal by capturing carbon dioxide and burying it, but that doesn’t make the coal itself cleaner. And more important, the bulk of the exports of coal to China involve metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, not generate electricity.

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RenewEconomy (Australia):

UK-based billionaire Sanjeev Gupta is looking to buy equipment from and use part of the old Holden factory in South Australia to create an electric vehicle production line in what would be a remarkable transformation of Australia’s car industry and economy.

Gupta, whose GFG Alliance last year bought the OneSteel business in Australia with a view to powering the Whyalla and other steelworks with renewable energy and storage, has the backing of the South Australia government, keen to support what it sees as the “inevitable” transition to EVs.

The proposal to buy the disused GM assets would be a partial reprise of the Tesla story in California, which used an old factory in Fremont, once jointly owned by GM and Toyota, to launch its Tesla Model S electric vehicle.

Any EV production plant at GM’s former operations in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide, would likely source steel from Gupta’s newly acquired steel operations, and use renewable energy supplied by its newly merged SIMEC Zen energy business.

Gupta has insisted that supplying the Whyalla steelworks with renewable energy – solar, pumped hydro, battery storage and demand management – is critical to reverse its fortunes of the ageing Whyalla steelworks and make it profitable.

The plan is a direct rebuttal of claims that renewable energy would be the death of manufacturing and energy intensive businesses in Australia. Numerous big energy users are now turning to wind and solar to slash their electricity costs.

Gupta intends to take the same model to his even more energy intensive operations in Victoria and NSW, which he also bought as part of the OneSteel package.

Gupta has teamed up with Zen Energy, now SIMEC Zen, to provide electricity to the South Australia government pending the construction of the new solar tower and storage facility in Port Augusta. SIMEC Zen’s contribution will be renewable once its new solar plants and storage are built.


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Portlandia: What About Men?

January 21, 2018

I’ll think of this from now on, every time I see a bunch of whiny Alt-right man-boys.

Guys, she’s taking all the fire. Let’s Go!

Damn, anyone else have that Flu from Hell?
I’ve been clobbered ever since I got back from the American Geophysical Union meeting, a month ago.
At least functional over last couple weeks, but mental cobwebs and nagging cough are annoying – starting to clear.

Anyhow, it’s 2018, I’ve got a wealth of important new interviews and footage, so let’s get going.

And Then There’s Physics:

There have been a couple of recent papers presenting analyses that claim to have narrowed the likely range for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). One is Dessler et al. (currently a discussion paper under review) which suggests that the 500hPa tropical temperature better describes the planet’s energy balance and infers an ECS of 2.1K to 3.9K. The other is Cox et al. who use variability of temperature about long-term historical warming to constrain the ECS to 2.2K to 3.4K. Both suggest a narrower range than that suggested by the most recent IPCC report (1.5K to 4.5K).

James Annan has a post which suggests that these new papers are interesting but that there may be unaccounted for uncertainties. I largely agree and won’t say any more myself. I was, however, going to mention a few aspects of this that I think are relevant.

I thought how this was framed in the media was somewhat unfortunate. For example, Yes, global warming will be bad. But these scientists say it won’t reach the worst-case scenario.It does indeed seem that these studies are suggesting that the worst case scenarios might be less likely than we had previously thought. However, the public debate seems to be dominated by those who think everything will be fine (Lukewarmers) and those who are mostly in the middle of the mainstream. In fact, there is often quite a lot of pushback against any who present worst case scenarios.

The significance of these new studies to the public climate debate therefore seems to be that they largely rule out the Lukewarmer position. Yet, this is not really how they’ve been presented. One prominent Lukewarmer has even claimed that these studies are a vindication for Lukewarmers. Presenting these studies as having ruled out the worst case scenarios, rather than the best case scenarios, probably hasn’t shifted the public climate debate very much.

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Great piece here discussing the enthusiastic following current reigning Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has among white supremacists, and Neo-Nazis.

Carlson is also famous for spreading climate denial talking points even as planetary warming goes into overdrive.
Completely consistent with my continued hammering on the relationship between racism and climate denial. They always seem to show up with each other.

As the 2010 spot from ABC News shows, below, the association between climate denial and Neo-Nazis goes back at least a decade. Science has never been convenient for Authoritarians, who prefer to follow a “Great Leader” rather than the facts.  Science is the antithesis of Authoritarianism, and hence the hostility that Fox News and its followers have toward scientists.

A clear example occurred in just the last week.
In Mark Steyn, Carlson had a guest who’s a twofer – a non-scientist well known for climate denial, and willing to spout White Supremacist talking points as well.


On Thursday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Fox News’ highest rated program, the host and his guest, right-wing pundit Mark Steyn, were unrepentant in their embrace of anti-Hispanic racism.

Steyn ominously noted to an audience of about 3 million people that the “majority of grade school students in Arizona are Hispanic.” According to Steyn, this means that “Arizona’s future is as an Hispanic society.” This, Steyn says, is very bad.

Fox News Insider:

Author and columnist Mark Steyn believes that doomsday climate change predictions appeal to the left because they’re “cartoon science.”

“It’s cartoon science. That’s why they like it, because it’s simple and it appeals to them,” Steyn said on “Your World” today.

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