Below, bonus – brilliant “Christmas Carol” for Trump send-up.

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“Radio lab” style interview with former Cato Institute climate denial hack Jerry Taylor. Now woke.



Older print interview here, I am reposting.

The Intercept:

Sharon Lerner: What did you think when you first encountered the concept of climate change back in the 1990s?

Jerry Taylor: From 1991 through 2000, I was a pretty good warrior on that front. I was absolutely convinced of the case for skepticism with regard to climate science and of the excessive costs of doing much about it even if it were a problem. I used to write skeptic talking points for a living.

SL: What was your turning point?

JT: It started in the early 2000s. I was one of the climate skeptics who do battle on TV and I was doing a show with Joe Romm. On air, I said that, back in 1988, when climate scientist James Hansen testified in front of the Senate, he predicted we’d see a tremendous amount of warming. I argued it’d been more than a decade and we could now see by looking at the temperature record that he wasn’t accurate. After we got done with the program and were back in green room, getting the makeup taken off, Joe said to me, “Did you even read that testimony you’ve just talked about?” And when I told him it had been a while, he said “I’m daring you to go back and double check this.” He told me that some of Hansen’s projections were spot on. So I went back to my office and I re-read Hanson’s testimony. And Joe was correct. So I then I talked to the climate skeptics who had made this argument to me, and it turns out they had done so with full knowledge they were being misleading.

SL: So that was it? You changed your mind?

JT: It was more gradual. After that, I began to do more of that due diligence, and the more I did, the more I found that variations on this story kept arising again and again. Either the explanations for findings were dodgy, sketchy or misleading or the underlying science didn’t hold up. Eventually, I tried to get out of the science narratives that I had been trafficking in and just fell back on the economics. Because you can very well accept that climate change exists and still find arguments against climate action because the costs of doing something are so great.

SL: And the economic case eventually crumbled, too?

JT: The first blow in that argument was offered by my friend Jonathan Adler, who was at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Jon wrote a very interesting paper in which he argued that even if the skeptic narratives are correct, the old narratives I was telling wasn’t an argument against climate action. Just because the costs and the benefits are more or less going to be a wash, he said, that doesn’t mean that the losers in climate change are just going to have to suck it up so Exxon and Koch Industries can make a good chunk of money.

The final blow against my position, which caused me to crumble, was from a fellow named Bob Litterman, who had been the head of risk management at Goldman Sachs. Bob said, “The climate risks aren’t any different from financial risks I had to deal with at Goldman. We don’t know what’s going to happen in any given year in the market. There’s a distribution of possible outcomes. You have to consider the entire distribution of possible outcomes when you make decisions like this.” After he left my office, I said “there’s nothing but rubble here.”

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0 to 60 in 5 seconds. 500 mile range.
That’s the truck – the roadster is faster, and runs farther.

Solar powered mega charger network – runs on sunlight.

“A hardcore smackdown” to gasoline powered transit.


Tesla has unveiled its first electric articulated lorry, designed to challenge diesel trucks as king of the road.

The long-anticipated Tesla Semi has a range of 500 miles on a single charge.

Tesla says the vehicle – known in the US as a semi-trailer truck – will go into production in 2019.
Chief executive Elon Musk also unexpectedly revealed a new Roadster, which he said would be “the fastest production car ever” made.

The red sports car was driven out of the trailer of the electric lorry during Tesla’s presentation on Thursday.

The Roadster will have a range of close to 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge and will do 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds.


Mr Musk described it as “a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars”.

He said riding in traditional cars would be like driving “a steam engine with a side of quiche”. The new Roadster becomes available in 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

Important concept – Ice sheets are so massive, that they create their own gravitational field, pulling ocean water towards them.
As they melt, that field diminishes, so, for instance, as Greenland’s ice sheet becomes less massive, sea level around Greenland may actually decline – while cities far away will see a greater rise.

NASA explains.

Washington Post:

New York City has plenty to worry about from sea level rise. But according to a new study by NASA researchers, it should worry specifically about two major glacier systems in Greenland’s northeast and northwest — but not so much about other parts of the vast northern ice sheet.

The research draws on a curious and counterintuitive insight that sea level researchers have emphasized in recent years: As ocean levels rise around the globe, they will not do so evenly. Rather, because of the enormous scale of the ice masses that are melting and feeding the oceans, there will be gravitational effects and even subtle effects on the crust and rotation of the Earth. This, in turn, will leave behind a particular “fingerprint” of sea level rise, depending on when and precisely which parts of Greenland or Antarctica collapse.

“It tells you what is the rate of increase of sea level in that city with respect to the rate of change of ice masses everywhere in the world,” Larour said of the new tool his team created.

The research was published in Science Advances, accompanied by an online feature that allows you to choose from among 293 coastal cities and see how certain ice masses could affect them if the ice enters the ocean. The scientists also released a video that captures some of how it works.

The upshot is that New York needs to worry about certain parts of Greenland collapsing, but not so much others. Sydney, however, needs to worry about the loss of particular sectors of Antarctica — the ones farther away from it — and not so much about the ones nearer. And so on.

This is the case because sea level actually decreases near a large ice body that loses mass, because that mass no longer exerts the same gravitational pull on the ocean, which accordingly shifts farther away. This means that from a sea level rise perspective, one of the safest things is to live close to a large ice mass that is melting.

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California has a goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. Looks like they’ll beat that. Common situation.

San Francisco Chronicle:

An annual report issued Monday by California regulators found that the state’s three big, investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. — are collectively on track to reach the 50 percent milestone by 2020, although individual companies could exceed the mark or fall just short of it.

In 2016, 32.9 percent of the electricity PG&E sold to its customers came from renewable sources, according to the report. Edison reached 28.2 percent renewable power in 2016, while SDG&E — the state’s smallest investor-owned utility — hit 43.2 percent.

California first started requiring utilities to increase their use of renewable power in 2002. Brown and his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, ratcheted up the targets over time. Known as the renewable portfolio standard, the requirement has become one of the state’s most important tools for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change.

Brown has touted California’s ability to boost renewable power and lower emissions while growing its economy. Even as President Trump has moved to scale back federal efforts to combat global warming, Brown has been pushing other states and foreign governments to join California.

“We don’t want to do nothing and just sit there and let the climate get worse,” he said Monday by phone from Germany, where he is attending climate talks. “California is all in.”

California’s emissions from electric power generation have declined almost every year since 2008.

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India’s power distributors are balking at traditional 25-year thermal-power purchase contracts, avoiding lengthy entanglements so they can benefit as costs for batteries and renewable energy slide. Now in vogue: agreements that last 10 years or even less.

“In the next five to 10 years battery storage may be coming in a big way,” Deepak Amitabh, chairman of state-owned power-trading company PTC India Ltd., said in an interview at his office in New Delhi. Distributors don’t want to be stuck in pricey agreements for two decades or longer, so it’s better to reach deals for as little as 10 years, he said. Longer-term power contracts have all but disappeared in the past two years except in the clean-energy segment, according to Amitabh.

India invested in its first overseas battery-storage project in a deal announced earlier this month. One goal is to learn better methods of stabilizing the electricity grid back home as Prime Minister Narendra Modi targets almost tripling renewables capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022. Unlike stable thermal electricity, green-power supply fluctuates with time of day and seasonal variations, a problem battery storage would help alleviate.

“Why would buyers of power choose to lock themselves in high-priced long-term contracts when they can be reasonably certain of softer prices in the future, either via direct procurement deals with renewable-power generators or at the power exchange?” said Vandana Gombar, global policy editor at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New Delhi.

Solar and wind have become the cheapest sources of power in the country, with tariffs dropping to among the lowest in the world. Meantime, coal-fired power plants are struggling to find customers and ease a capacity glut.

Carbon Brief:

Around the world, the share of new electricity access supplied by renewables will nearly double to 60%, up from 34% over the past five years (green, blue and yellow columns, below). This pattern is even more extreme in India, where the share of new electricity from renewables will triple to 60%

Coal’s role in providing electricity access “declines dramatically”, the IEA says, providing power to 16% of those who gain access over the next 14 years. This compares to 45% during 2000-2016.

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PhD volcanologist Jesse Phoenix is running against climate denier Steve Knight in California.


I’ve seen the value of stepping up my whole life. Both of my parents were FBI agents for over 20 years. When you have people like that as your role models, loyalty, bravery, and integrity become your way of life.

Until now, my way of serving has been through working to understand our planet and how we can live with it, including the dangerous parts like volcanoes and earthquakes. I give back by helping educate the next generation of scientists: young women and men from all backgrounds who will be the innovators, educators, and conservationists of the future.

I was moved to step out of my work boots and into the race for Congress because people like Donald Trump and Steve Knight are threatening that future by destroying some of the most basic things we all agree are important. Education, scientific research, disaster preparedness, critical infrastructure, national parks, and wildlife are all under assault.

Our economy thrives when we invest in our people and our planet. Trump and Knight both deny the science of climate change, which impacts our economy, health and way of life. Their attacks on immigrant families, women’s rights and health care coverage are offensive and damaging to the most vulnerable people in our society.

Trump and Knight are failing to deal with important issues like cybersecurity, senior care, and disability justice that will only become more important in the years ahead. I’m working to win the job of representing the people I care about and the places I love, because everyone should have a bright today and a brilliant tomorrow.

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