The dangers of appointing sentient beings.

Buzzfeed:

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump dismissed the risk man-made climate change poses to society, saying in March, “we have much bigger risks” facing the country.

But the president-elect’s choice to head the US Securities and Exchange Commission, attorney Jay Clayton, has done just the opposite, advising companies to come clean to investors about the risk that severe weather and other consequences of climate change will have on their bottom lines.

Last week, Trump announced he will nominate Clayton to chair the federal agency tasked with enforcing the nation’s securities laws.

“Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time,” Trump said in a statement. “We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers.”

For at least the past six years, Clayton’s law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, has advised businesses to disclose the “impacts of climate change” in documents they file with the SEC, according to a 2010 memo. The law firm listed Clayton as one of handful of attorneys that clients can turn to for advice on climate disclosure.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trailer: “Colony”

January 10, 2017

Eerily resonant for voters with functioning brainstems.

In his own words, from December 2016.

NYTimes:

While Mr. Tillerson’s Exxon has stopped funding several groups that loudly denied climate science, it still funds organizations that pursue a broader agenda of fighting measures to address climate change, including carbon taxes.

Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard historian, said the positions held by the company and Mr. Tillerson still constitute climate denial, but in a “clever and sophisticated” form. “It is, in my view, what makes it more concerning,” she said, “because many people don’t scratch the surface to see what lies beneath.”

Peter C. Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, characterized Exxon’s stance as, “We agree with the I.P.C.C. on climate science — except where it’s inconvenient.” The Senate hearings on Mr. Tillerson, he said, should be a public trial on Exxon’s history of studying climate science while spreading doubt about the underlying science and the company’s actions.

Some hard-line deniers of the overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change have said they, too, were uncomfortable with Mr. Tillerson’s positions on climate change, fearing he may be too soft.

Marc Morano, publisher of the site Climate Depot, said that at first he had reservations, but that he was now confident Mr. Tillerson would act in accord with Mr. Trump’s stated views on climate change.

“A deeper examination of Tillerson,” he said, “reveals a man who is not going to be a friend of the climate-change movement.”

Below, Tillerson answers a climate question in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Above, desperate coal country folk bought Huckster Donald Trump’s promise of a revival of 19th century technology. Now wondering if they were swindled.
And oops, Black Lung benefits tied to Obamacare.

Below, coal Baron Robert Murray agrees that coal jobs won’t come back, but shows perhaps where the coal country delusions come from.  Even the Fox News host here has trouble following the crazy, as Mr Murray makes wildly incorrect claims about energy prices.

See most recent energy prices here.  Note, Murray above refers to price per Kilowatt hour, prices  below are per Megawatt hour, so 20 cents/kwh would be 200 dollars/mwh. Click to expand.

lazard2016-copy

Forbes:

And yet here is Trump, by his promises at least, insisting that coal mining is going to come back with all those glorious jobs. It just isn’t I’m afraid, economics is stronger than politics here. I’ve made this point before, back in May in fact:

The third reason is the killer: economics. Fracking has made natural gas cheaper than coal for power generation. Thus new generations of power plants are going to be gas ones, not coal. And refurbs and life extensions of coal plants aren’t going to happen for the same reason. There’s just not going to be anything like the same market for thermal coal in the future.

We’re not going to use as much coal in the future and the coal that we will use isn’t going to come from the Appalachian mines. Trump simply isn’t going to bring back all those mining jobs. They’re gone, gone forever. Just like those assembly line jobs in electronics. And pining for the lost blue collar jobs isn’t going to help in the slightest. The thing to do now is to work out what other task that same labor can do.

Read the rest of this entry »

Above, best coverage of the most significant development in the 2016 election was from the Comedy Channel.

You wonder how it is that any news about climate is immediately swarmed by vicious clouds of trolls?

Below – dated from April 2015. Obviously relevant.

Guardian:

Just after 9pm each day, a long line of workers files out of 55 Savushkina Street, a modern four-storey office complex with a small sign outside that reads “Business centre”. Having spent 12 hours in the building, the workers are replaced by another large group, who will work through the night.

The nondescript building has been identified as the headquarters of Russia’s “troll army”, where hundreds of paid bloggers work round the clock to flood Russian internet forums, social networks and the comments sections of western publications with remarks praising the president, Vladimir Putin, and raging at the depravity and injustice of the west.

The Guardian spoke to two former employees of the troll enterprise, one of whom was in a department running fake blogs on the social network LiveJournal, and one who was part of a team that spammed municipal chat forums around Russia with pro-Kremlin posts. Both said they were employed unofficially and paid cash-in-hand.

They painted a picture of a work environment that was humourless and draconian, with fines for being a few minutes late or not reaching the required number of posts each day. Trolls worked in rooms of about 20 people, each controlled by three editors, who would check posts and impose fines if they found the words had been cut and pasted, or were ideologically deviant.

The LiveJournal blogger, who spent two months working at the centre until mid-March, said she was paid 45,000 roubles (£520, $790) a month, to run a number of accounts on the site. There was no contract – the only document she signed was a non-disclosure form. She was ordered not to tell her friends about the job, nor to add any of them to the social media accounts she would run under pseudonyms.

“We had to write ‘ordinary posts’, about making cakes or music tracks we liked, but then every now and then throw in a political post about how the Kiev government is fascist, or that sort of thing,” she said.

Scrolling through one of the LiveJournal accounts she ran, the pattern is clear. There are posts about “Europe’s 20 most beautiful castles” and “signs that show you are dating the wrong girl”, interspersed with political posts about Ukraine or suggesting that the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is corrupt.

Read the rest of this entry »

Drag Race: Tesla v Ferrari

January 7, 2017

Any questions?

This video more current than ever.

If you’re paying attention, you saw this a few weeks ago.

NPR:

The Department of Energy is refusing the Trump transition team’s request to name those who have worked on climate change within the department, because of concerns about what the incoming administration will do with the names. President-elect Donald Trump has denied climate change is real.

NPR’s Jennifer Ludden tells our Newscast unit the request of such names was included in a 74-question document distributed to the agency’s workforce. Jennifer says, “The Trump team wants the names of career employees and contractors who have attended U.N. climate talks over the past five years. It also wants emails about those meetings.”

On Tuesday, the department released a statement saying the questionnaire had “unsettled” many in its workforce, that it would “be forthcoming with all [publicly] available information” but it would withhold “any individual names.”

Not the only list Trump wanted.

Ominously.

Reuters:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked two Cabinet departments for the names of government officials working on programs to counter violent extremism, according to a document seen by Reuters and U.S. officials.

The requests to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security involve a set of programs that seek to prevent violence by extremists of any stripe, including recruitment by militant Islamist groups within the United States and abroad.

Reuters could not determine why the Trump team asked for these names. The Trump team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has frequently criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough to battle Islamic militants and for his refusal to use the term “radical Islam” to describe Islamic State and other militant groups.

Some career officials said they feared the incoming administration may be looking to undo the work that the Obama administration has done on countering violent extremism.

Read the rest of this entry »