Climate deniers cheer.

9.com.au:

Everything that made Bear the dog a terrible pet has made him a bushfire hero.The Australian Koolie has boundless energy, an inquisitive nature, intelligence and a great nose for sniffing out trouble.It was too much for his previous owners, who decided they could no longer keep him after he literally ate their apartment, chewing through furniture and walls out of boredom.

He ended up with the Detection Dogs for Conservation program at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where he has become a trained koala detection dog.He is the only one of his kind trained to track live koalas rather than droppings, known as scat. Decked out in special boots to protect his feet from the scorched ground, Bear has been searching for koala victims of the bushfires that have been devastating Australia’s east coast in recent weeks.

Inkl:

MELBOURNE, Australia—The world’s largest battery is about to get even bigger, with Tesla Inc. (TSLA) set to boost the capacity of its southern Australia lithium-ion operation by 50% to provide additional stability to the power grid. 

Neoen SA (NEOEN.SA), the French company that owns and operates the 100 megawatt-129 megawatt hour lithium-ion installation known as the Tesla Big Battery, said Tuesday the 71 million Australian dollar (US$48 million) project will create Australia’s first grid-scale battery. 

The Hornsdale Power Reserve in Jamestown, north of Adelaide, was built by the Silicon Valley auto maker in less than nine months in 2017 after Chief Executive Elon Musk offered to help the government of South Australia state bolster a vulnerable power network hit by a string of blackouts. Tesla’s system stores power generated by a wind farm built by Neoen. 

Battery storage has become a critical bridge for Australia’s power network as aging coal-fired plants are increasingly shut down. Power generated by wind and solar farms need a backup for intermittent supply, and recent decreases in battery prices have made them an alternative to plants that only run during peak hours. 

South Australia Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the battery’s expanded capacity will reduce volatility in spot electricity prices and protect the state grid from network disruptions. 

In its first year of operation the battery saved consumers more than A$50 million, Neoen said, adding that the expansion—due to be completed in the first half of next year—will increase savings. 

When the additional Tesla battery packs are installed at the site, the operation will provide a large-scale demonstration of the potential for battery storage to provide inertia to a network, stabilizing the grid when electricity supply and demand fluctuate, the French company said. 

The battery technology will trial responding to supply shifts by automatically charging and discharging, imitating existing services in current fossil-fuel power systems. 

The project will receive A$15 million over five years from the state government’s Grid Scale Storage Fund, becoming the first development to receive money from the fund that was set up a year ago. The federal government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed A$8 million in grant funding, while government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corp. will provide debt financing, Neoen said.

Ford Jumps in with EV Mustang

November 18, 2019

New York Times:

Ford Motor’s latest offering seems like an oxymoron twice over: It’s a sport utility vehicle that’s electric … that’s a Mustang.

It’s also Detroit’s biggest bet yet on a mass-market future for battery-powered cars.

The big automakers have been producing hybrid and fully electric vehicles for years. But almost all have been smaller models that found limited demand. Even the manufacturers often referred to them as “compliance cars” — built to help meet environmental regulations while they mainly turned out big internal-combustion vehicles that sold well and made hefty profits.

European luxury-car makers like Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes-Benz have added electrified models — all S.U.V.s. Tesla, which has a fervent following, is on track to sell about 360,000 cars this year and is supposed to add a fourth model, a crossover vehicle, next year. 

But with the Mustang Mach E, unveiled Sunday and coming to showrooms next year, Ford is aiming to make an even bigger splash. It is taking a calculated risk that automakers can find a market for electric vehicles of the size Americans have come to prefer. (Almost half the nation’s auto sales now are S.U.V.s.) And it aims to persuade buyers to pay extra for battery power in an age of cheap gasoline.

“We’ve pushed all our chips to the middle of the table,” the company’s chairman, William C. Ford Jr., said in an interview. “I hope this will show we are now deadly serious about electrification.”

Ford is hoping some of the cachet of the original Mustang will rub off on the new model and boost demand for electric vehicles, which now represent just 2 percent of the market. Tesla has a commanding presence there now, accounting for almost 80 percent of nationwide sales of battery-powered vehicles last year. Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, are expected to make headlines this week when Mr. Musk unveils an electric pickup truck. 

The Mustang, however, has its own fervent following, even now, 55 years after it was introduced. The sports car was unveiled to great fanfare at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, causing a sensation with its sleek design. Its long hood, short trunk and sloping roofline combined to make the car look as if it were rushing forward. (The new S.U.V. will also have a long hood and sloping roofline, but no trunk.) And its affordable price — under $2,400 (about $20,000 today) — resonated as American households began adding second cars to their driveways.

Flat Earth movement apparently has some “influential minds”.
What does that even mean?

We live in the age of science denial, and we’d better figure out how to cure that disease.

CNN:

(CNN)”I don’t want to be a flat Earther,” David Weiss says, his voice weary as he reflects on his personal awakening. “Would you wake up in the morning and want everyone to think you’re an idiot?”But Weiss is a flat Earther. Ever since he tried and failed to find proof of the Earth’s curve four years ago, he’s believed with an evident passion that our planet is both flat and stationary — and it’s turned his world upside down.”I absolutely freaked out,” Weiss tells CNN in a phone interview. “It literally whips the rug out from underneath you.” Now, Weiss finds it tedious to associate with the majority of people — though he “unfortunately” still has some friends who believe in a round Earth. “I have no problem with anybody that wants to believe we live on a ball. That’s their choice,” he says. “It’s just not something I resonate with.”

Weiss’ preferred community is those who share his life-altering belief. And that community is vast. This week, the businessman attended the third annual Flat Earth International Conference, held at an Embassy Suites hotel in suburban Dallas, Texas. Organizers told CNN that about 600 others went too.Previous conferences have taken place in Raleigh and Denver — while Brazil, Britain and Italy have also held flat-Earth conventions in recent years.The event’s schedule resembled any corporate conference, with some fairly noticeable twists. Speakers gave presentations including “Space is Fake” and “Testing The Moon: A Globe Lie Perspective.” Awards for the year’s best flat Earth-related videos were handed out. And believers reveled in an opportunity to meet several of the movement’s most influential minds.

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Above – Anthrax from melting permafrost.

Below, exotic viruses spreading in newly opened waterways.

Science Daily:

Scientists have linked the decline in Arctic sea ice to the emergence of a deadly virus that could threaten marine mammals in the North Pacific, according to a study from the University of California, Davis.

Phocine distemper virus (PDV), a pathogen responsible for killing thousands of European harbor seals in the North Atlantic in 2002, was identified in northern sea otters in Alaska in 2004, raising questions about when and how the virus reached them.

The 15-year study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, highlights how the radical reshaping of historic sea ice may have opened pathways for contact between Arctic and sub-Arctic seals that was previously impossible. This allowed for the virus’ introduction into the Northern Pacific Ocean.

“The loss of sea ice is leading marine wildlife to seek and forage in new habitats and removing that physical barrier, allowing for new pathways for them to move,” said corresponding author Tracey Goldstein, associate director of the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “As animals move and come in contact with other species, they carry opportunities to introduce and transmit new infectious disease, with potentially devastating impacts.”

Here, Dr. David Barber describes invasive algae moving into newly hospitable arctic environments.

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Big Mac does Big Wind

November 18, 2019

CNBC:

McDonald’s has inked two power purchase agreements which will see the fast food giant buy renewable energy generated by wind and solar projects in Texas.

In an announcement Thursday McDonald’s described the agreements as “long term” and “large scale.” Construction on both projects is set to start over the next few months. 

The firm said that the combined energy generated from its contribution to the projects was expected to come to 380 megawatts (MW). While the energy will not be routed directly to McDonald’s restaurants or offices, it will nevertheless add to the total renewable energy available to the grid. McDonald’s said energy produced by the facilities would equate to more than “2,500 restaurants-worth of electricity.” 

The wind energy portion of the deal will amount to 220 MW and come from Aviator Wind West, which is part of the larger, 525 MW Aviator Wind project in Coke County. Facebook is also purchasing around 200 MW of energy from the Aviator Wind East part of the scheme. McDonald’s did not reveal the name of the solar project. 

“These U.S. wind and solar projects represent a significant step in our work to address climate change, building on years of renewable energy sourcing in many of our European markets,” Francesca DeBiase, who is the chief supply chain and sustainability officer at McDonald’s, said in a statement.

McDonald’s has said it wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions related to its restaurants and offices by 36 percent by 2030, from a 2015 baseline.

It has also committed to a 31% cut in emissions intensity per metric ton of food and packaging across its supply chain by 2030 compared to 2015. The goals have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.

McDonald’s joins a number of major U.S. firms signing renewable energy deals.

Last month Amazon announced three renewable energy projects, including its first in Scotland. The tech giant said the facilities would provide energy to its Amazon Web Services data centers.

And in March, Microsoft signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for the energy produced by a 74-megawatt solar power facility in North Carolina.

Also testing a vegetarian burger, below.

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Description:

Scientists in Minnesota and Kansas are developing a grain called Kernza, which, unlike most of our food crops, is a perennial plant with a whole host of environmental benefits. While it’s still far from hitting the market widely, food producers big and small are starting to get on board. Megan Thompson reports as part of our “Future of Food” series, supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Long way to go – but now that they’re making beer with it, maybe scientists will get serious.
You can support research and get a sample here.