Chris Mooney in Washington Post:

Global energy experts released grim findings Monday, saying that not only are planet-warming carbon-dioxide emissions still increasing, but the world’s growing thirst for energy has led to higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before.

Energy demand around the world grew by 2.3 percent over the past year, marking the most rapid increase in a decade, according to the report from the International Energy Agency. To meet that demand, largely fueled by a booming economy, countries turned to an array of sources, including renewables.

But nothing filled the void quite like fossil fuels, which satisfied nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand, according to the agency, which analyzes energy trends on behalf of 30 member countries, including the United States.

In particular, a fleet of relatively young coal plants located in Asia, with decades to go on their lifetimes, led the way toward a record for emissions from coal fired power plants — exceeding 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide “for the first time,” the agency said. In Asia, “average plants are only 12 years old, decades younger than their average economic lifetime of around 40 years,” the agency found.

As a result, greenhouse-gas emissions from the use of energy — by far their largest source — surged in 2018, reaching an record high of 33.1 billion tons. Emissions showed 1.7 percent growth, well above the average since 2010. The growth in global emissions in 2018 alone was “equivalent to the total emissions from international aviation,” the body found.

Read the rest of this entry »


I’ve never been accused (yet) of being a pro-nuclear shill, but we’re going to have to take a clear-eyed view of our nuclear waste problem, whether or not we go forward with the Nuclear industry. Working on a vid around this topic.
Long term, we’re going to have to move the nuclear waste in “temporary” storage casks on the shores, for instance, of the Great Lakes. To do that, lefties and enviros are going to have to get a grip and realize that means moving it, likely on highways, in a safe and regulated manner.

In this case, outrage over a movement of weapons grade plutonium, done in secret.

I don’t see any option for moving weapons grade material, except in secret and under tight security – this has been one of the main concerns that thoughtful folks have about nuclear technology – the corrosive effect of a the needed security apparatus on constitutional protections.

“New” nuclear technology is proposed that does not rely on or produce weapons grade material, but has yet to be proven at scale. More on this soon.

Nevada Independent:

Federal officials have disclosed that they shipped radioactive plutonium to Nevada in spite of the state’s vehement opposition to the idea and concerns that doing so would be a slippery slope to opening the state up to further nuclear waste dumping.

In a federal court filing on Wednesday, National Nuclear Security Administration General Counsel Bruce Diamond stated that the agency sent about half a metric ton of the substance sometime before November 2018, prior to Nevada suing over the proposed move. The transfer was done after a U.S. District Court in South Carolina ordered the material be removed from that state.

Gov. Steve Sisolak accused the government of lying to the state and said he was irate over the move, which was first reported by national defense reporter Dan Leone.

“I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” he said in a statement. “The Department led the State of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along.”

Sisolak said at a press conference in Carson City that the state doesn’t know exactly when the plutonium came, how many states it passed through or what route it took before arriving at its destination. It also doesn’t know whether anyone suffered adverse effects as a result of the shipment.

“To put the health and well-being of millions of people at risk due to the transportation into Nevada, without giving us the opportunity to prepare in case there would’ve been a mishap along the way, I think it was irresponsible and reckless on behalf of the department,” Sisolak said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Huge impediment to carbon free economy is heating and cooling existing and new buildings. Gas and oil have to go. What’s the alternative?

Until recently, heat pumps have been a promising, but prohibitively expensive option.
Technology does its thing.


Millions of US citizens still use oil and natural gas to heat their homes during the winter. Many would like to switch to geothermal, a cleaner and ultimately cheaper system that leverages the natural temperature of the earth. A few feet below the surface, the soil sits at a reliable 50- to 60-degree Fahrenheit all year round. Pipes known as ‘ground loops’ push round a special antifreeze solution that absorbs this constant temperature in winter and disperses unwanted warmth in the summer. A large indoor heat pump uses the mixture to boil a refrigerant fluid; the resulting gas is then compressed to higher temperatures and distributed around the home.
Installing the necessary equipment is expensive, however. Dandelion, a company that started inside Alphabet’s X division, is trying to make geothermal cheaper and easier to install. While not the most eye-catching technology, especially compared to electric cars and sea-cooled data centers, it’s arguably one of the most important for the environment.

A typical geothermal system costs between $10,000 and $40,000 to install, depending on the size of your home, the makeup of the soil in your yard and whether you have ductwork for the heat pump to attach to. Dandelion’s system, meanwhile, will set you back $10,994 to $19,744 after relevant tax credits and incentives. Alternatively, you can pay nothing upfront and spend $79 to $137 per month over 20 years. The latter is unusual and highly attractive because it allows cash-strapped homeowners to install a system and start saving on their utility bills straight away.

Read the rest of this entry »


This 1981 documentary of the birth of the Texas Wind Industry was produced by Michael Osborne, renewable energy thought leader and author. It was directed and edited by John Andrews.

I’m heading to an American Wind Energy Association conference this week, so appropriately, I came upon this archival footage of my friend Michael Osborne’s early efforts in the Texas wind industry.

Earth Family Alpha:

About 40 years ago, I started working on developing a wind farm.  It would be the first in Texas and the second in the United States.

I had a lot of work to do.  I had to find a windy place with a 3 phase power line that could take the power.  And I had to get it connected. The Public Utility Policy Act had been passed and signed by President Carter in 1978 and with that law, Qualifying Facilities or “QF”s were allowed and even encouraged to plug into the grid and get paid for that energy by the utility at a fair rate called “avoided cost”.

It was a revolutionary thing.  Since I had been on the PUC advisory committee that implemented PURPA, I was on pretty solid ground with these newly enacted rights that producers of energy using wind, solar and other qualifying sources now enjoyed.  But the law was new and utilities were not that excited about it.

Southwest Public Service was the utility in the Texas Pandhandle that I negotiated with.  And although quite conservative, they did ultimately offer a contract that represented their version of “avoided cost” which was the basis for the payment under PURPA.

I was 31 when the deal was somewhat complete.  I had  the lease agreement for the land (thanks to my cousin, Carl Kennedy, the county judge), the interconnect agreement with SPS for the production, the turbines had been ordered, and the financing was secured.

We began construction late in 1981 and we videotaped it.  Installation only took a very full week.  We also included interviews with Mr. Mack, the Coca Cola distributor who had two units in the same location, and Father Joe James, who put up 5 more units around his passively designed Catholic Church in Lubbock.

I used this documentary in my plenary speech to the National Solar and Wind Conference in Houston that next spring. The audio quality degraded for the first minute or so.

Since these early days, I  have been involved in the ever growing Wind Industry, securing leases for both wind developers and utilities, sometimes erecting wind monitoring systems to prove the winds, often working the legislature for tax abatements while arguing at the PUC for favorable interconnect rules and transmission line improvements.

During my time at Austin Energy, I helped oversee well over a Gigawatt of Wind Power in 14 years.  (AE now has 1850 MWs). Read the rest of this entry »

If you liked that, bonus below Read the rest of this entry »

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks about the Green New Deal, showing the inner workings of Capitol Hill and her past as a science fair award-winner.

Green New Dealers should look at California – Crooked.Com:

But whereas most American disadvantaged communities are hurting, in California, some are now experiencing renewal. California has already implemented nearly $2 billion in funding from the state’s biggest polluters to support low-income communities at the frontlines of climate change. California’s climate policy has spawned a host of programs that have two things in common: they reduce greenhouse gas pollution and they create jobs where we need them most. These programs include, among many others, affordable and sustainable housing developments, multi-family energy efficiency and renewable energy installations; wetlands and watershed restorations; rural clean mobility projects; and a number of incentive programs, such as the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP), which help low-income Californians replace old, dirty vehicles with zero-emission and hybrid cars.

California’s focus on justice has had the added benefit of shining a light on the fact that the inequities of climate change map all too neatly onto the racial, economic, and historical inequities already woven into the American fabric. Proposals for a Green New Deal understand this inherently. But our effort to thoughtfully address and remedy these inequities has also illuminated the seemingly endless American potential for hope and promise. One CVRP recipient, for example, testified to his family’s experience in Sacramento: By trading an inefficient truck for a used Prius, he and his wife were able to begin putting away their fuel savings in a fund to educate their baby daughter.

Read the rest of this entry »

UNICEF donations here.

Beira, Mozambique (CNN)As many as “300 to 400” bodies line the banks of a road out of the city of Beira in Mozambique, according to an eyewitness account, and flood waters have formed an inland ocean that is visible from outer space.

The harrowing scene, described by Zimbabwean Graham Taylor, suggests that the human toll of Cyclone Idai is likely to far exceed official estimates. It follows reports from aid agencies on the ground detailing how entire villages and towns have been completely flooded in the wake of last Thursday’s high-end Category 2 storm.
Taylor said the bodies were located on a 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) track of highway, where flood waters had created an inland ocean, submerging entire villages around a “densely populated” sugar cane plantation. The area is a mere fraction of the land in the southeast African nation left flooded after two major rivers burst their banks in the days following the storm.
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said that the destruction left by the cyclone is “worse than we imagined” and warned that the humanitarian needs “will tragically only deepen in the coming weeks.”
In a statement, IFRC said that flooding creates ideal conditions for disease outbreaks.
“Already, some cholera cases have been reported in Beira along with an increasing number of malaria infections among people trapped by the flooding,” read the statement.
Flooding is so extreme in Buzi, central Mozambique, that the water can be seen in satellite images from outer space.

Read the rest of this entry »