Huh. The Darwin Award wannabes who brought you “Coalrolling” have taken things up a notch.

Evolution is true.


This week, Hickory, North Carolina, became the latest flashpoint between the old and the new. A trio of pickup- and SUV-driving local men decided to aggressively block access to the local Tesla Supercharger there. They threatened violence and had to be ordered off the property by an employee of the store the Supercharger location was located at. What would motivate this trio of men?

The world is changing. Some people aren’t cut out for change due to a combination of genetics, unfortunate choice of parents, and place of birth (hint: yeah, not their choice). And they are struggling to make sense of a world which doesn’t value them the way it valued their fathers.

And so, they act out, stupidly.

So, we have far-right, male, white men. Gee, what does that likely make them?

Climate change deniers.

“strong evidence has emerged from multiple peer-reviewed and published studies that if you scratch a white, male, far-right nationalist, you’ll find a denier of climate science as well.”

That the less enlightened on the right consider electric cars to be more of a problem than a solution isn’t a surprise. Pew Research did a good study on this a while ago as part of its assessments of climate change attitudes.

Basically, conservatives are less likely to believe the science of climate change to begin with — although, a majority of US conservatives have come to grudgingly accept its reality if not the severity of the threat. But they also are much less likely to accept any of the solutions for global warming as well.

They don’t like fuel efficiency standards and they don’t like electric cars.

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Mark your calendar.
A startup aircraft builder will debut its 9-passenger regional commuter, called the Alice, at the 53rd Paris Air Show in June 2019


Eviation Aircraft solely focuses on electric air mobility solutions. The global startup uses an old efficient design possible today by placing the propellers behind the electric motor.

The current problem is that the internal combustion engine (ICE) runs hot and needs constant cooling. That’s why most propellers and turbofans are in front of their engines. Electric motors solve that problem, which gives us more aircraft design possibilities with electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) aircraft. (Sound familiar?)

Omer told us that one of the motivations behind Eviation Aircraft was to improve the way we travel. The company started in 2015 and will debut its 9-passenger regional commuter, called the Alice, at the 53rd Paris Air Show in June 2019. Alice will be commercially available in 2021 if all goes as planned.

The company is working on two electric aircraft, with the other being the autonomous electric aircraft Orca. Both use the company’s own thermal management system coupled with a pouch lithium-ion battery pack, as well as Eviation’s autonomous landing platform. The company also makes use of composite body frames.

The 14,000 lb Alice, batteries included, will cruise at 260 knots (300 mph or 481 km/h) and have 650 miles (1046 km or ~435 nm) of range. The aircraft can recharge in under 3 hours. A full-scale prototype will be ready by 2019. The company chose Hartzell Propellers for its propellers.

Omer says flying a business jet averages around $3,000 per hour. An electric airplane slashes that cost by about 90%. Since an electric aircraft is 92 to 95% more efficient than its kerosene counterpart, it also has to take into consideration the same weight when it lands. While this might sound puzzling, modern airliners are designed to take off and land with the same full weight constraints in case of emergency. (If not, I wouldn’t set foot in any.)

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Defending the Wind

December 23, 2018

We are now in the age of rapid deployment of renewable energy.

The cities, states, companies, and countries that move fastest to run their economies on fuel that is abundant and free, will clearly lead the new century.  The cheapest energy available today comes from wind and solar, with some competition from natural gas, – but gas has not been nearly as dominant as experts expected just a few years ago.

It’s a welcome development for those of us who worry about the effects of further burning of fossil fuels.

But there is an organized, well funded and strategized campaign to slow the growth of renewables, directed from Washington DC think tanks, and funded by the coal industry.
I’ve been ramping up my communication efforts locally to push back against a well coordinated paranoia crusade.

What we are seeing across the midwest are social-media organized “flash mobs” showing up at normally-sleepy township planning commissions and shouting down, threatening and intimidating local boards who are not accustomed to organized ugliness.
The scenes are very reminiscent of the anti-Obamacare “Keep the Government out of my Medicare” mobs of 2010, and generally just as poorly informed.

Actual meme from an anti-wind Facebook page

The “Anti” above announced before the show that “6 months ago I didn’t know anything about this, but I’ve been doing research on the internet”.
Which accounts for his certainty that wind turbines “sound like chainsaws”, and a peculiar focus on Canadian wind factoids, an artifact of a large and active windbagger group in Ontario, well represented on Facebook.

I’ve posted before about some of the most ridiculous anti-wind BS. See more below, and at wind101.info.

New Scientist:

NEW technology has long attracted “modern health worries“. Microwave ovens, television and computer screens and even early telephony all caused anxiety in their time. More recently, cellphones and towers, Wi-Fi and smart electricity meters have followed suit.

Another is gathering attention; the very modern malaise known as wind turbine syndrome. I set out to collect the conditions attributed to wind farm exposure. Within hours, I’d found 50 often florid assertions about different illnesses. Today my total sits at 198, with a range redolent of Old Testament plagues.

The list includes “deaths, yes, many deaths”, none of which have ever come to the attention of a coroner, cancers, congenital malformations, and every manner of psychiatric problem. But mostly, it includes common health problems found in all communities, with wind turbines or not. These include greying hair, energy loss, concentration lapses, weight gain and all the problems of ageing. Sleep problems are mentioned most, but insomnia is incredibly common. Animals get a look in. Chickens won’t lay; earthworms vanish; hundreds of cattle and goats die horrible deaths from “stray electricity”.

In a 35-year career in public health, I have never encountered anything quite so apocalyptic. I’ve visited wind farms and compared their gentle swoosh to the noises that all city dwellers live with daily. Quickly, this phenomenon began to tick psychogenic boxes.

There are several reasons to suspect that the unrecognised entity of wind turbine syndrome is psychogenic: a “communicated” disease spread by anti-wind interest groups, sometimes with connections to fossil fuel interests. People can worry themselves sick.

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Why do we build the wall, my children, my children?
Why do we build the wall?

Why do we build the wall?
We build the wall to keep us free
That’s why we build the wall
We build the wall to keep us free

How does the wall keep us free, my children, my children?
How does the wall keep us free? Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Box narrates a video describing recently published research constraining arctic ice loss from multiple sources, and contribution to sea level rise.

Long, but useful, article on the Oil and Gas interests of the long-time House Science and Technology Committee Chair, Lamar Smith.

I’ve profiled Lamar Smith’s long term crusade against science and the climate scientists who have brought bad news for the fossil fuel industry.  A new investigation details his deep involvement in the fossil fuel industry.

E&E News:

PREMONT, Texas — Rep. Lamar Smith’s cattle brand is shaped like the number 2, with a check mark in the top right corner. It’s supposed to be burned in the right hip of an animal.

The Texas Republican registered it in 1977, shortly after his grandmother, Harriet Frances Seeligson Wells, left him rights to a sprawling family ranch near this town of 3,000 people. It features a Dairy Queen, a down-and-out hardware store and dozens of derelict houses.

“My grandson shall have the full power and authority during his lifetime,” she wrote in her last will and testament, “to drill, develop and operate the mineral estate.” The document gave Smith the “power to lease for oil, gas or other minerals” on the 14-square-mile property. That’s about the size of 9,000 football fields.

In four decades, as Smith climbed the political rungs of San Antonio, Austin and Washington, he controlled the ranch and made some money selling crops and cattle. But the soft-spoken Texan never made millions on the range roping livestock, clearing brush or searing that hot number 2 iron into bulls and heifers.

He made much of his money through oil and gas — the industry that gave the Seeligsons, his mother’s family, their fortune and clout.

An E&E News examination found that the retiring congressman raised millions of dollars through his family’s ranch. As fossil fuels were being removed from his Texas lands, Smith was making a name for himself as a sharp skeptic of climate science. He followed a different path from mainstream researchers as chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, whittling away at the consensus among experts that humans are making the Earth warmer.

Smith had control of the property since the 1970s, and he used that authority to strike deals with fossil fuel companies that drilled on the land. Separately, he has held dozens of undisclosed oil and gas royalty accounts spread across the state.

This article is based on an examination of documents filed in four Texas counties in connection with Smith’s property. E&E News also reviewed documents from state and federal agencies and interviewed residents, landowners and local officials during a trip to Jim Wells County, Texas, where Smith’s ranch is located.

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I was in the Philadelphia area last spring to give a series of talks, and local videographers at CanCanProductions caught the show, edited it down to 39 minutes, and included the actual slides and videos that I presented – (actual files, not just pointing the camera at the screen..)

So it looks good. I think it’s not a bad update for those that wonder about where we are in all this.

Eliminate fossil fuels and the next thing you know, kids will be smoking pot in the streets.

Meet my new Green Dealer.

New York Times:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could generate more than $1.7 billion in sales annually and put New York in line with several neighboring states.

Utility Dive:

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, on Monday pledged to bring New York to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 in a speech laying out his agenda for the first 100 days of 2019.
  • The pledge follows the New York Public Service Commission’s Friday order approving plans to implement the third stage of its Clean Energy Standard (CES), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050, with 50% of the state’s electricity coming from renewables by 2030. And on Thursday, the commission approved the most ambitious energy storage target in the country — 3 GW by 2030 and 1.5 GW by 2025 — as well as a target aimed at doubling utility energy efficiency progress by 2025.
  • Energy storage has become a major focus of the state’s groundwork toward its carbon-free goals, and the state also generates a third of its power from nuclear, noting in its CES fact sheet that “[m]aintaining safely operating upstate nuclear power plants will aid in the fight against climate change.”

Cuomo’s announcement adds to a growing number of state and city initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions, a response, in part, to federal inaction on climate change. As state leaders begin to tackle global warming on their own terms, many credit the groundwork that has already been laid in their state.

Last week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, D, committed his state to 100% clean energy by 2045, saying the goal was only possible “because we have done smart things up until now,” including adopting a renewable portfolio standard, ramping up wind energy and adopting green transportation policies.

In Illinois, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, D, has called for his state to reach 100% renewables generation by 2050. The state generates over half its energy from nuclear power but has been ramping up its solar portfolio as it looks toward a pure renewables goal.

New York, for its part, set its CES goals in August 2016, which “laid the groundwork to create enough renewable energy to meet half of the state’s electricity needs by 2030,” James Denn, public information officer for the New York PSC, told Utility Dive in an email. Along with its recent storage goals, New York recently issued an 800 MW offshore wind solicitation, part of Cuomo’s goal to develop 2,400 MW of offshore wind by 2030.

Inside Climate News:

The United Nations panel of climate science experts mentioned it in a 2013 report, scientists have published more than 200 papers analyzing it, and climate deniers said it was proof that climate change didn’t exist, but in reality the global warming “pause” or “hiatus” never occurred.

That is the conclusion of a pair of studies, published Tuesday in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, based on statistical reassessments of a recent 10-year period that appeared at the time to evince a flattened warming curve.

These are the latest of several assessments to caution that the hiatus theory has no real significance either for climate science or for science-based policy. Even so, they seem unlikely to stamp out the discussion, which has become a deeply embedded meme in some circles.

“In hindsight, with current GMST [Global Mean Surface Temperature] datasets, there is no statistical evidence for a ‘pause,'” concluded one of the two studies, which reassessed temperature monitoring from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The second study, which focused on what appeared to be a difference in observed temperatures and earlier projections from climate models, reached a similar conclusion.

“There was a natural slowdown in the rate of warming during roughly the decade of the 2000s due to a combination of volcanic influences and internal climate variability, but there was no actual ‘hiatus’ or ‘pause’ in warming,” Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University and an author of the climate modeling study, said.

I clobbered Senator Ted Cruz for his parroting of the “pause” talking point.


A Lack of Arctic Data

The notion of a pause in warming from approximately 1998 to 2012, was fueled in part by incomplete data and erroneous projections that have since been corrected, the studies conclude.

It’s long been obvious that if there had been any blip in the trends it was temporary. The years that followed have hit new temperature records.

And new evidence has made clear why some were fooled.

Scientists know, for example, that the Arctic is warming at a faster rate than the planet as a whole, but there weren’t enough temperature observations from the Arctic in the early 2000s to accurately measure the changes that were occurring there. As a result, data sets on global temperature tended to omit the Arctic until recently, when researchers came up with a better way to extrapolate data from the region.

“We simply didn’t have all the information available at the time,” Stephan Lewandowsky, a researcher at the University of Bristol and lead author of the climate modeling report said.

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So, What is a Green New Deal?

December 19, 2018

Whatever it is, people are talking about it.


Earlier this month, Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat, participated in a sit-in at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office organized by a group of young people with the Sunrise Movement. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t high-five protesters because she’s against Pelosi—she says she is backing Pelosi to become the next Speaker of the House—as much as she was there to advocate for what the sit-in was demanding.

Those protestors were demanding something called the Green New Deal—a proposal, backed by Ocasio-Cortez, for Congress to comprehensively tackle climate change and, at the same time, the country’s income inequality, which is the worst it’s been since the years before the Roosevelt administration implemented the original New Deal.

Climate change and income inequality might seem unrelated. But it’s important that any nationwide economy-boosting program boost the right kind of economy—that is, one that doesn’t depend on polluting the air and water. It’s also going to be hard to persuade the average American that climate change is our most urgent nationwide priority if their social media feed is a constant stream of GoFundMe campaigns for their friends’ medical bills, or they have to sit down and breathe into a paper bag every time they think about whether they can retire before dying first.
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