New York Times:

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent environmentalists, endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr.for president on Wednesday after extensive private conversations in which Mr. Biden signaled he would make fighting climate change a central cause of his administration.

Mr. Inslee, who mounted a long-shot presidential campaign of his own last year, said in an interview that he had spoken repeatedly to Mr. Biden in recent weeks and came away convinced that the former vice president was preparing to greatly expand his policy proposals for reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy.

Though he and Mr. Biden clashed early in the primary season, Mr. Inslee said he was confident that Mr. Biden was “willing to aim faster and higher” on climate policy than he had indicated at that stage. Mr. Inslee said his aides were consulting with Mr. Biden’s campaign about new components to his environmental agenda.

“I am convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that this will be a major driving force of his administration,” Mr. Inslee said. “I think what you’re going to see is an increased commitment to some shorter-term actions and he’s been very open to that.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Useful and even somewhat uplifting conversation with author David Wallace Wells of New York magazine.

I think I’m pretty safe in predicting there will never be a disaster movie about wind turbines or solar panels.

But nonetheless, the windbaggers will keep telling us about the “dangers”…..

“Smoky Joe” Barton may not have been a household name among Americans, although the Texas legislator was well known as an errand boy for the fossil fuel industry in Washington.
Then he became famous for his abject apology to a BP oil baron, an apology for the American people holding the company accountable for the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil Disaster.

In the video above, I traced Barton’s career from his days flacking for tobacco in the 1990s, to his bullying campaign against scientists in the 2000s.

Barton later fell from grace when the champion of “family values”, while divorcing his second wife, sent a lewd penis pic to a mistress that surfaced online. You really don’t need to see it, but the story is here.

Nice video, informative.

Decades of work still ahead to restore the Gulf.
We don’t need to keep doing this.
Meanwhile..

AP News:

Ten years after an oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and unleashed an environmental nightmare in the Gulf of Mexico, companies are drilling into deeper and deeper waters, where the payoffs can be huge but the risks are greater than ever.

Industry leaders and government officials say they’re determined to prevent a repeat of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. It spilled 134 million gallons of oil that fouled beaches from Louisiana to Florida, killed hundreds of thousands of marine animals and devastated the region’s tourist economy.

Yet safety rules adopted in the spill’s aftermath have been eased as part of President Donald Trump’s drive to boost U.S. oil production. And government data reviewed by The Associated Press shows the number of safety inspection visits has declined in recent years, although officials say checks of electronic records, safety systems and individual oil rig components have increased.

Today companies are increasingly reliant on production from deeper and inherently more dangerous oil reserves, where drill crews can grapple with ultra-high pressures and oil temperatures that can top 350 degrees (177 degrees Celsius).

Despite almost $2 billion in spending by the industry on equipment to respond to an oil well blowout like BP’s, some scientists, former government officials and environmentalists say safety practices appear to be eroding. And there are worries that cleanup tactics have changed little in decades and are likely to prove as ineffective as they were in 2010.

Read the rest of this entry »

Market Watch:

In 2008, the U.S. economy went into its deepest recession since the Great Depression, brought low by reckless financial institutions, deregulation, and lax regulatory enforcement. The recession led to millions losing their homes to foreclosure. 

The federal government could have stepped in and rescued struggling homeowners. That would have kept families in their homes, and preserved the tax base and social fabric of communities. 

Instead, they handed out $700 billion in public money to the very banks responsible for the crisis (not counting more than $3 trillion in zero or very low interest rate loans), allegedly because that was the only way to avert a deeper recession. But the recession worsened, and the “too big to fail” banks became even bigger.

This scenario is replaying itself today, with even higher stakes. We’re facing down not just a pandemic and a global economic meltdown, but an unraveling of our planet’s entire life support systems. 

The pain, in other words, is being felt first and worst by low-wage service workers, who are economically insecure to begin with. When they lose their jobs, they face the prospect of eviction or foreclosure, losing health coverage, energy and water utility shutoffs, and other dire consequences.

But Trump administration and Republican Senate, which have taken huge sums from the fossil fuel industry, are using the possibility of a recession to bail it out. The proposals include a purchase of 30 million barrels of oil (an amount that could go up to 77 million barrels) for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency stockpile of oil held by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Other proposals reportedly being considered include low-interest loans and trade barriers.

This is an outrage.

For starters, the problems of the U.S. oil and gas industry are largely self-inflicted. 

The current oil price slump is occurring at a time of already low prices, for which U.S. overproduction is largely to blame. The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer of both oil and gas, and is expected to account for 70% of the increase in global oil production and 75% of the growth of liquefied natural gas trade over the next 5 years.

And much of this oil and gas production binge has been fueled by debt, based on promises of future profit that haven’t materialized.

So let’s not blame a virus, or Russia, or Saudi Arabia. If U.S. oil and gas producers are in trouble, they are the ones at fault, and it takes nerve on their part to ask the government for a handout. While oil and gas workers facing layoffs deserve assistance, their undeserving bosses do not.

CNBC:

The coronavirus crisis will likely lead to the largest ever decline of global carbon emissions on record, according to research from Goldman Sachs, illuminating the potential for a long-term low carbon recovery.

The Covid-19 outbreak has meant countries around the world have effectively had to shut down, with many governments imposing draconian restrictions on the daily lives of billions of people. To date, confinement measures have been implemented in 187 countries or territories in an effort to try to slow the spread of the pandemic.

A side-effect of these measures, which vary in their application worldwide but broadly include school closures, bans on public gatherings and social distancing, has been a dramatic fall in the level of global carbon emissions.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a research note that they expect energy-related carbon emissions (which account for two-thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions) to fall by at least 5.4% this year alone.

To be sure, that’s roughly five times that of previous crises, with the potential for “much larger” declines depending on the length of disruption to the transportation sector and industrial activity.

“Energy-related emissions have always rebounded post crisis,” analysts at Goldman Sachs said, citing data which showed carbon intensity improvements in the year after every major crisis since the 1970s.

“This time could be different as we have potentially already reached peak energy-related carbon,” they added.

Guardian:

The plunging demand for oil wrought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war has left the fossil fuel industry brokenand in survival mode, according to analysts. It faces the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they say, one that will permanently alter the industry. With some calling the scene a “hellscape”, the least lurid description is “unprecedented”.

A key question is whether this will permanently alter the course of the climate crisis. Many experts think it might well do so, pulling forward the date at which demand for oil and gas peaks, never to recover, and allowing the atmosphere to gradually heal.

The boldest say peak fossil fuel demand may have been dragged into the here and now, and that 2019 will go down in history as the peak year for carbon emissions. But some take an opposing view: the fossil fuel industry will bounce back as it always has, and bargain basement oil prices will slow the much-needed transition to green energy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Detroit News:

The world’s seas are simmering, with record high temperatures spurring worry among forecasters that the global warming effect may generate a chaotic year of extreme weather ahead.

Parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans all hit the record books for warmth last month, according to the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information. The high temperatures could offer clues on the ferocity of the Atlantic hurricane season, the eruption of wildfires from the Amazon region to Australia, and whether the record heat and severe thunderstorms raking the southern U.S. will continue.

In the Gulf of Mexico, where offshore drilling accounts for about 17% of U.S. oil output, water temperatures were 76.3 degrees Fahrenheit (24.6 Celsius), 1.7 degrees above the long-term average, said Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University. If Gulf waters stay warm, it could be the fuel that intensifies any storm that comes that way, Klotzbach said.

“The entire tropical ocean is above average,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a forecaster at the U.S. Climate Prediction Center. “And there is a global warming component to that. It is really amazing when you look at all the tropical oceans and see how warm they are.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Special guest Gavin Schmidt of NASA, and Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech.

Good message for tonight.

I fell in love with Kacey Musgraves doing this song for John Prine.

Read the rest of this entry »