Climate Messaging 101

September 23, 2018

donkeybeer

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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

Now that we’ve gotten through Hurricane Florence, Americans should be completely up to speed when it comes to dealing with disasters that have been amplified by anthropogenic climate change, right?

Not so fast.

Judging from the various news stories in the past year—since Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean and the Florida Keys—the United States seems to be stuck in a rut, responding to climate disaster with all five of the chronological stages of grief—simultaneously. These stages are often labeled with the acronym DABDA, meaning denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and memorably summed up in this episode of The Simpsons.

Substitute the word “amnesia” for “anger,” and the parallels are striking.

Denial: The Guardian just ran a story titled “ ‘It’s hyped up’: Climate change skeptics after Hurricane Florence.” According to the author, while scientists say global warming is behind the increase in the number and intensity of severe storms, many who face them don’t think humans are the problem.

Amnesia: “We have an incredible capacity for amnesia and denial in this country,” Julie Rochman, head of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, told Bloomberg  last March. (Yes, that’s right: in March, long before the current hurricanes.) In a telling example, the institute examined building policies in 18 Atlantic and Gulf Coast states and found that despite the increasing severity of natural disasters, many of those states have relaxed their approach to building codes—or have yet to impose any whatsoever. It’s all summed up in the article’s headline: “As Storms Get Stronger, Building Codes Are Getting Weaker.” Read the rest of this entry »

Skip to 4:11 if rushed.

Trump spokesman recently named in court documents “of slipping an abortion pill into his pregnant girlfriend’s smoothie”. (is there anyone that doubts this?)
Climate denier, natch.

Conservative’s pathological hatred of Al Gore is based on the deep seated recognition that George Bush, who was handed the Presidency with a minority vote, (due to a Supreme Court judges his Father had appointed)  was, until recently, the worst President ever.

The only psychological resolution for them is that Al Gore has to be a demon.

It’s irrational, but its all they have.

Continuing the theme of bioremediation.

Be a Coal Miner!

September 22, 2018

Public Service spot from the UK, 1975.
Back when coal mining was glamorous, I guess.

GOP is dusting this off to recruit millennials to , I guess.

nc_solar

Quartz

People of the Carolinas are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Florence, the wettest tropical cyclone on record. Among the news of dozens of deaths, overflowing pig-manure lagoons, and flooded coal-ash fields, there are some bright spots. Solar-power installations were largely able to escape without harm.

Before the storm hit, Duke Energy’s 40 solar-power sites were “de-energized” and set up horizontally to minimize wind damage. Although it’s too soon say what, if any, damage occurred, the signs are good. Soon after the storm passed, all the installations had begun producing power.

Rooftop solar installations fared well too. Only six out of 800 customers of Yes Solar Solutions reported that there was a problem with their system.

That said, modern renewables form only a fraction of the total electricity produced in the Carolinas. Duke Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant was shut ahead of the storm and remains offline. The plant is safe but remains inaccessible because of flooding. Natural gas and coal power plants haven’t suffered any problems, but the flooding coal-ash fields are likely to cause environmental problems.

This is not the first time modern renewables have proven their resiliency in the face of storms. “Looking at Harvey in Houston and the storm in Hawaii… we didn’t see any substantial amount of system loss,” Gary Liardon of PetersenDean Roofing & Solar told Greentech Media. “Obviously, if the roof comes off and the house is compromised… there’s no attachment that’s going to survive.”

Texas’s wind farms either operated through Hurricane Harvey or were back up and running soon after (paywall). Similarly, after Hurricane Maria, people have turned to solar with batteries to prepare for the next storm (which we discussed in a recent episode of the Quartz News show). In many places, rooftop-solar installations are built to handle winds of up to 90 miles per hour (145 km/h).

Though non-hydro renewables didn’t make a large fraction of power in the Carolinas, in Texas they provide as much as 19% of electricity, according to the Energy Information Agency. Resiliency in the face of hurricanes will only make the case stronger for wider renewables deployment.

UPDATE: Inside Climate News:

Duke and Strata Solar, two of North Carolina’s largest owners and operators of solar farms, said they found almost no damage in initial inspections. Both companies temporarily shut down some systems in anticipation of flooding, but there were few reports of damage to solar panels. Read the rest of this entry »