New poll from New York Times/Sienna College.

The headline might be that science is winning.

New York Times:

Seven in 10 voters, including more than half of Republicans, said they wanted to see a new multitrillion-dollar stimulus program that includes government support for citizens and emergency help for state and local governments. There is also widespread public support for a $2 trillion renewable energy and infrastructure package that Mr. Biden has proposed as a form of economic stimulus.

Mr. Biden, if he wins, will find consensus on some of his policy priorities. Two in three voters supported allowing people to buy a health insurance plan through the federal government, a so-called public option, and the same supermajority backed Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion plan to increase the use of renewable energy and build energy-efficient infrastructure.

Biden up overall by 9 nationally, summary of other findings below:

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In 2008-9, Coal was supposedly on the verge of a huge new buildout.
It all went belly up much faster than anyone imagined.

I had lunch with a major utility executive around that time, who was planning a big new coal plant near me. I told him I saw no need to oppose it, mainly because they had missed their window of opportunity, and if they did build it, the market was going to leave it a stranded asset very soon.

A few months later they cancelled. They’re now committed to solar, wind and efficiency.

Bloomberg:

The former vice president’s efforts to walk a tightrope on gas reflect the fossil fuel’s precarious place in the economy. For now, it’s an essential part of American life. Biden has been careful not to make an enemy of the industry, especially in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, home to the largest U.S. shale-gas field. His policies may even, in the short-term, support the gas market.

But in the long run, the fuel may prove economically and environmentally untenable within the power sector, a key market for producers. Biden’s climate plan would only accelerate that outcome, with massive investments in wind, solar and battery storage giving those energy sources a leg up. And his goal of a carbon-neutral grid would severely curb, if not destroy, gas’s share of the pie in favor of cheaper, cleaner renewables.

“Decarbonization isn’t a debate — it’s a fossil-fuel death sentence,” said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners. “It means a resource is going off the grid. That is the inevitable implication.”

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Khmer Rouge rule of Cambodia – Wikipedia:

The Khmer Rouge government arrested, tortured and eventually executed anyone suspected of belonging to several categories of supposed “enemies”:

Anyone with connections to the former government or with foreign governments.

Professionals and intellectuals—in practice this included almost everyone with an education, people who understood a foreign language and even people who required glasses.
———

I remember reading about this kind of thing years ago and failing to understand the motivation. Now after spending many years studying the war on science, I get it.

The common thread is – those educated in science and the pursuit of factual information of any kind, know that there is a common source of truth that is independent from and of greater import and value than the “Great Leader’s” pronouncements.
Therefore, they are a danger to authoritarian states, and to those interests who seek to create such a state.

In the clip above, Joe Scarborough comments that “50 years from now, people will be looking at these clips and asking “what happened to America?”
“What happened was Donald Trump.”

But that’s not correct.
What happened was a 40 year assault on the credibility and authority of science by the fossil fuel industry. Trumpism is the inevitable result.
Time will tell if Democracy can survive it.

Below, 60 Minutes’ interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci broadcast October 19.

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The Institute of Denial

October 18, 2020

When you are a Conservative party sorely lacking in factual support for your programs, you launder bad ideas through a far right wing “Institution” or “Center”.
It’s where you get a significant number of anti-science, climate denial, and now, Covid denial memes.

Hoover Institution Fellow David Epstein, at Hoover.org:

Without a doubt, it is a major challenge to accurately model and predict the course of climate change. Climate systems are highly chaotic, which makes it difficult to figure out the effect of any particular natural or human event on future climate changes. We should therefore proceed with caution before making bold claims that the main, or even sole, driver of climate change is the human generated increase in the carbon dioxide level, which now is approaching 415 parts per million.

Washington Post:

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser.

CNN:

Twitter has removed a tweet from White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Scott Atlas that sought to undermine the importance of face masks because it was in violation of the platform’s Covid-19 Misleading Information Policy, a spokesman for the company confirmed on Sunday. 

Atlas wrote in a tweet posted Saturday, “Masks work? NO” followed by a series of misrepresentations about the science behind the effectiveness of masks in combating the pandemic.

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Most important part of Senator Whitehouse’ exposition before the Judiciary this week starts at about 20 minutes in.
Lots of background details in first 20 minutes about dark funders etc.

But the last 10 minutes goes to understanding the motives and goals of those shadowy groups that have successfully brought the Supreme Court into the service of the 1 percent.

The key issues for Republicans in packing the court, as they have in the past 2 decades, is not abortion, gun rights, or gay marriage. That’s just drama for the rubes in the Fox News peanut gallery.

The real issue is that for the ultra-wealthy and powerful: there simply must be no obstacle, no agency, no power, that can limit their ability to do whatever they want to do. Not juries, not voters, not regulatory agencies, – nobody.
It’s a recipe to replace the law of the constitution with the law of the jungle, and it’s working.

Read Nancy Maclean’s Democracy in Chains to understand the big picture.

Trailer: I am Greta

October 16, 2020

The Climate Ad Project

October 16, 2020

Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman on twitter) is behind this effort, to engage a billion activists for a livable climate.

Peter is an incredibly passionate scientist with NASA JPL, and reminds us that he does not speak on behalf of NASA, JPL, or Cal Tech.

New York Times:

If rising seas cause America’s coastal housing market to dive — or, as many economists warnwhen — the beginning might look a little like what’s happening in the tiny town of Bal Harbour, a glittering community on the northernmost tip of Miami Beach.

With single-family homes selling for an average of $3.6 million, Bal Harbour epitomizes high-end Florida waterfront property. But around 2013, something started to change: The annual number of homes sales began to drop — tumbling by half by 2018 — a sign that fewer people wanted to buy.

Prices eventually followed, falling 7.6 percent from 2016 to 2020, according to data from Zillow, the real estate data company.

All across Florida’s low-lying areas, it’s a similar story, according to research published Monday. The authors argue that not only is climate change eroding one of the most vibrant real estate markets in the country, it has quietly been doing so for nearly a decade.

“The downturn started in 2013, and no one noticed,” said Benjamin Keys, the paper’s lead author and a professor of real estate and finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “It means that coastal housing is in more distress than we thought.”

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New York Times:

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are intertwined: Storms and wildfires are worsening while as many as one million species are at risk of extinction.

The solutions are not small or easy, but they exist, scientists say.

A global road map, published Wednesday in Nature, identifies a path to soaking up almost half of the carbon dioxide that has built up since the Industrial Revolution and averting more than 70 percent of the predicted animal and plant extinctions on land. The key? Returning a strategic 30 percent of the world’s farmlands to nature.

It could be done, the researchers found, while preserving an abundant food supply for people and while also staying within the time scale to keep global temperatures from rising past 2 degrees Celsius, the upper target of the Paris Agreement.

“It’s one of the most cost effective ways of combating climate change,” said Bernardo B.N. Strassburg, one of the study’s authors and an environmental scientist with Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the International Institute for Sustainability. “And it’s one of the most important ways of avoiding global extinctions.”

The researchers used a map from the European Space Agency that breaks down the surface of the planet into a grid of parcels classified by ecosystem: forests, wetlands, shrub lands, grasslands and arid regions. Using an algorithm they developed, the scientists evaluated which swaths, if returned to their natural states, would yield the highest returns for mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss at the lowest cost.

It was not enough simply to lay one result on top of the other. “If you really want to optimize for all three things at the same time,” Dr. Strassburg said, “that leads to a different map.”

A similar and complementary tool, The Global Safety Net, was released last month. It identifies the most strategic 50 percent of the planet to protect, filtering for rare species, high biodiversity, large mammal landscapes, intact wilderness and climate stabilization.

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Rocky Mountain Institute:

Buildings are quickly becoming a cornerstone of ambitious climate policy, as policymakers recognize they can’t achieve the necessary science-based emissions reductions without tackling this stubborn sector. This means states and cities across the country won’t meet their climate goals if new buildings in their jurisdiction include fossil fuel systems that lock in carbon emissions over the 50 to 100-year building lifetime.

The cost of such an ambitious transition is often the first consideration. Thus, to help inform these crucial decisions, Rocky Mountain Institute updated and expanded our 2018 analysis, The Economics of Electrifying Buildings. We examined the economics and carbon emissions impacts of electrifying residential space and water heating, now with seven new cities and additional methodology changes. Today, we are releasing the first set of our findings examining newly constructed single-family homes.

In every city we analyzed, a new all-electric, single-family home is less expensive than a new mixed-fuel home that relies on gas for cooking, space heating, and water heating. Net present cost savings over the 15-year period of study are as high as $6,800 in New York City, where the all-electric home also results in 81 percent lower carbon emissions over the mixed-fuel home.

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