Also shows: when the big one comes, a solid 20 percent of people will be filming it instead of running https://t.co/hSpCyL3Ys5
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) July 18, 2022
Also shows: when the big one comes, a solid 20 percent of people will be filming it instead of running https://t.co/hSpCyL3Ys5
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) July 18, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden will use his trip to Massachusetts to announce additional measures on tackling the climate crisis, according to White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre https://t.co/TxATdm5pMl pic.twitter.com/CskM91UNim
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 20, 2022
Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday as she began a series of high-profile appearances in Washington that will include a session with U.S. counterpart Jill Biden. https://t.co/qGDlIUfqt9
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 18, 2022
I learned a lot of things about air conditioning that didn't make it into my recent Foreign Policy piece. I've put them into this Substack post.
These factoids include….https://t.co/bEvsGMEacp
— Faine Greenwood (@faineg) January 27, 2022
Been hanging on to this since January, waiting for the right time. From Greenwood’s excellent Foreign Policy article, “Climate Change Demands More Air Conditioning“:
… [M]uch of the United States and Europe views air conditioning as a luxury, not a necessity.
In this worldview, heating saves lives, while cooling merely keeps people comfortable. Our failure to take extremely hot temperatures seriously is now on a direct collision course with accelerating climate change and ever more frequent deadly heat waves in places that were historically far cooler. And it’s mixed with a preachy, puritanical attitude toward personal decisions that sees air conditioning as an unnecessary luxury that contributes to the disaster, not as a necessity for surviving it…
… At least 600 people die each year in the United States from extreme heat events: That’s more deaths than from storms, floods, and lightning combined, according to climate researcher Kelly Sanders. That figure is probably a major underestimate, because the U.S. medical system still struggles to attribute deaths to heat or track how many such deaths take place. Heat injuries and deaths also cost money. A 2012 case study covering data from 11 U.S. states in found that the costs from heat-related injuries and deaths totaled over $10 billion. These costs are expected to rise as the country heats up…
Many people assume that air conditioning is worse for the environment than heating is. After all, why do we hear about it so much more? The truth is that heating a home uses considerably more energy than cooling one does. A 2020 study found that homes located in the coldest parts of the United States used considerably more energy and largely emitted more greenhouse gases than those in the warmest parts of the country did. A 2013 study concluded that living in colder climates in the United States demands more overall energy than living in warmer climates does: Climate control in Minneapolis uses about three and a half times more energy than it does in Miami…
How can we protect people from heat while protecting the planet? Perhaps the first step is acknowledging that the existence of air conditioning isn’t the problem: It’s that we use it and distribute it so unequally, with gigantic luxury office buildings and fancy condos using far too much of it, while sweltering, old apartment buildings populated by the poor often go without. In this light, we should pass laws that ensure that people who need access to air conditioning are able to access it and are (equally importantly) able to pay for it. These laws will also need to be written in such a way that ensures the cost of air conditioning isn’t simply passed on from landlord to tenant. On the flip side, we should examine regulatory means of discouraging big-time air conditioner users from using excessive amounts of energy to keep their buildings jacket-weather chilly during the height of summer…
(Her Substack post is very good, too!)
I’m no fan of bitcoin miners, but if the stability of your power grid depends on the benevolence of a handful of your customers, that’s not just a policy failure—it’s policy malpractice. https://t.co/y7eJhbTxR3
— Jort-Michel Connard ?? (@torriangray) July 11, 2022
Texas's power grid operator held off from imposing rolling blackouts, using voluntary cutbacks and appeals to conserve energy as scorching triple-digit temperatures hit much of the state https://t.co/Z47ZvrYujP pic.twitter.com/w5YLXMvEfS
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 12, 2022
… At the helm of ERCOT’s operations is Brad Jones, the nonprofit grid manager’s interim CEO who was appointed after his predecessor was ousted amid the fallout of the February 2021 freeze. Jones, who previously oversaw New York’s grid operator for about three years, sat down with the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday to talk about changes made since the freeze, how the grid is faring this summer and his hopes — and concerns — about the future of power in Texas.
Here are five key takeaways from the Chronicle’s interview with Jones…
2.) Jones is concerned, but hopeful, about getting through the rest of this summer
To keep up with record-breaking demand this summer, ERCOT has called on thermal generators (think natural gas, coal and nuclear) to run as much as possible, including having some humming in the background just in case their power is needed in tight grid conditions…
3.) Conservation alerts no longer mean the grid is in emergency conditions
Jones said ERCOT officials used to wait until the grid was already in emergency conditions — and sometimes close to triggering rolling blackouts — before calling a conservation notice. He said that’s no longer the case, and that the conservation notices are now called to avoid getting close to emergency conditions altogether…
5.) The key to long-term reliability is bringing more responsive generation online
Jones said the grid is in pretty dire need of more generation that can turn on quickly to respond to grid conditions. One option is utility scale batteries, which can store energy from wind and solar farms and discharge that stored power when their output is low. Another is fast-responding gas plants.
Generators, however, have been reluctant to build new generation while the Public Utility Commission studies a new design for ERCOT’s power market. Final blueprints of the market redesign aren’t expected until later this year or perhaps early next year…
— Herbie Ziskend (@HerbieZiskend46) June 30, 2022
… Harris’ appearance will resemble that of former First Lady Michelle Obama, who attended the Essence Festival in 2019 for an intimate conversation moderated by news anchor Gayle King about her New York Times best-selling memoir, “Becoming.” The celebrity conducting the interview with the vice president has not yet been announced.
Sources close to Harris told theGrio that she personally requested to attend the largest annual gathering of Black America with a focus on Black women. The timing of the request is, in part, due to her understanding of this moment of uncertainty on various levels that impact Black women and the community.
Some of those issues of uncertainty have placed Vice order President Harris at the forefront of the administration’s fight. Harris has become the face of the White House’s battle for legal reproductive care after last week’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — which the Biden White House has said is a top priority for the administration.
As a U.S. senator and now vice president, Harris has also led on the issue of Black maternal health and has emphasized the alarming data that shows Black women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy.
The last time Vice President Harris made an appearance at Essence Festival was in 2019 when she was a Democratic presidential candidate. She was one of a number of presidential contenders who understood the magnitude of this audience and worked for a direct connection to the community in exchange for their votes…
Biden will meet tomorrow with governors whose states moved to protect access to abortion after the Supreme Court ruling. He gets home from Europe trip tonight.https://t.co/CV2adrlVt7
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 30, 2022
Pres. Biden says it was a "mistake" to overturn Roe v. Wade.
"The one thing that has been destabilizing [in the U.S.] is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States." pic.twitter.com/L3ifc3rfn2
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2022
It seems like every single day I read another story like this:
If the Great Salt Lake, which has already shrunk by two-thirds, continues to dry up, here’s what’s in store:
The lake’s flies and brine shrimp would die off — scientists warn it could start as soon as this summer — threatening the 10 million migratory birds that stop at the lake annually to feed on the tiny creatures. Ski conditions at the resorts above Salt Lake City, a vital source of revenue, would deteriorate. The lucrative extraction of magnesium and other minerals from the lake could stop.
Most alarming, the air surrounding Salt Lake City would occasionally turn poisonous. The lake bed contains high levels of arsenic and as more of it becomes exposed, wind storms carry that arsenic into the lungs of nearby residents, who make up three-quarters of Utah’s population.
“We have this potential environmental nuclear bomb that’s going to go off if we don’t take some pretty dramatic action,” said Joel Ferry, a Republican state lawmaker and rancher who lives on the north side of the lake.
Look, I’ve just accepted that we are not going to do anything about climate change. We just aren’t. The shit is going to hit the fan and there is nothing any of us can do about it. But we can do some things to mitigate the harm, although I feel quite as certain we won’t do that, either.
First of which is the population growth in desert climates has just got to stop. We have got to stop subsidizing the growth to regions that do not have the resources to support themselves, and we have got to stop accepting it and pretending it is socially responsible. We also have to stop wrecking communities that COULD survive with the resources they have if big ag and nestle weren’t stealing all of them:
Gary Biggs’ family hasn’t had water coming out of their private well for over a decade, after a multi-year drought and overpumping by agriculture and industry.
Now, the eight-acre farm in West Goshen, California, which Biggs passed down to his son, Ryan, in the 1970s, is parched and fallow. His son and granddaughter carry in water from sources to drink and shower. They go to town to wash their clothes, Biggs says.
In recent years, the family has gone from relying on water from cisterns provided by government programs, which they say tastes terrible, to hauling water containers to and from neighbors’ homes — neighbors who are willing to share what they have left.
Biggs, 72, still remembers when the family property had a thriving orchard. When he was a teenager, he planted pecan and orange trees, while his father grew alfalfa and raised cows and sheep.
“Now, it’s all dirt,” Biggs, a lifelong California resident, told CNN. “Central California is dying. We’re becoming a wasteland. A hot and dry wasteland.”
One of the things we could do that would help is for people to dump their fetishization of grass, which is the worst fucking thing you can have in your yard. It’s utter shit. It is useless. It’s beyond useless, it’s harmful. It causes people to use pesticides to make a certain way, it requires wasting water on it so you can waste gasoline to cut it and emit co2 gasses. It does nothing for wild life, it does nothing as a carbon sink. When there are rains, it doesn’t retain the water like other plants and vegetation would, and runs off into the gutters and gullies carrying all those pesticides into rivers, streams, and wastewater stations.
Personally, I was planning to rip up my back yard and get rid of all the grass this year, but I just do not have the money to do it and get the perennials and rain gardens in. But I might do my front yard. If everyone did this everywhere, it would make a difference, it really would.
But we won’t do anything anyway so I am not sure why I am mentioning. Maybe I’ll challenge a bunch of you to do it with me. I bet we could collectively gain the knowledge to plant the right things for our respective regions- indigenous plants that would help native species, and do it right. Let’s think on that.
Speaking of native species, this slipped through the fence at my parent’s place, and her momma could not get in to retrieve her:
My parent’s neighbor scooped it up and took it out to momma doe:
They headed off to the woods at the edge of town as soon as they were reunited.
GOP officials and dark money MoTUs are trying to make sure the planet burns:
In West Virginia, the state treasurer has pulled money from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, because the Wall Street firm has flagged climate change as an economic risk.
In Texas, a new law bars the state’s retirement and investment funds from doing business with companies that the state comptroller says are boycotting fossil fuels. Conservative lawmakers in 15 other states are promoting similar legislation.
And officials in Utah and Idaho have assailed a major ratings agency for considering environmental risks and other factors, in addition to the balance sheet, when assessing states’ creditworthiness.
Across the country, Republican lawmakers and their allies have launched a campaign to try to rein in what they see as activist companies trying to reduce the greenhouse gases that are dangerously heating the planet.
They’re having some success too. Black Rock and its CEO, Larry Fink, have been a target for the GOP campaigners, because Fink has been one of the major public voices to argue that climate change hits both social responsibility and long-term financial notes. That evoked this response from West Virginia’s state treasurer:
And in January, Mr. Moore pulled about $20 million out of a fund managed by BlackRock because the firm has encouraged other companies to reduce emissions. BlackRock still manages several billion for West Virginia’s state retirement system. “We’re divesting from BlackRock because they’re divesting from us,” Mr. Moore said in an interview.
The company has scrambled to limit the fallout in states like Texas, stressing that it is following the wishes of its clients and investing broadly.
“We are perhaps the world’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies, and, as a long-term investor in these companies, we want to see these companies succeed and prosper,” BlackRock’s head of external affairs, Dalia Blass, wrote in a letter to Texas regulators in January…
…BlackRock also this month said it would support fewer shareholder proposals calling for climate action because “we do not consider them to be consistent with our clients’ long-term financial interests.”
A couple of notes. One: llue states can play this game too, and some are; more should, and likely will. And…
Two: fuck these fucking fuckers. Climate change is real, it’s upon us, and it’s causing harm to non-MoTUs all over the country, very much including those who vote team fascist. Florida has a reasonable chance of enjoying a tropical storm this weekend, seeded by Hurricane Agatha, itself one of the earliest cat. 2 storms on record to strike Mexico. Fire season is about to ramp up, and drought in the southwest has produced stories like this.
Extracting the last few years of profit from bulldozed mountain tops and fracked water tables is more important to those who fund the GOP than anything else. They are literally the enemies of civilization, and this story is one more reminder that we are in fact in the midst of a national and global existential struggle…
…I’ll go all Church Lady on y’all…
Open thread, my fellow jackals.
Image: Raphael, St Michael vanquishing Satan, before 1520.*
*Here’s my problem: I downloaded an image that was 670 x 1107. It showed up on our media page at that size. Imported into the post, it turned itself into its current diminutive size. But it’s still a great painting, and the link takes you to a better reproduction, so I thought it worth posting while I try to get around to asking for professional help…ETA: Watergirl helped out on the above, and I may have learned how to take care of such image matters myself in the future. We’ll see….
Since it’s Earth Day and we are facing an extreme high fire danger day here on the Front Range of the Rockies, with record heat and drought, I’ve been thinking a lot about my decision to kill 3/4 of my front lawn. Thought it was worth updating you on what will be its second summer. All of my low-water/butterfly/hummingbird plants survived the winter, minus one daisy plant.
As they are all perennials, this summer will probably be one of minimal growth, but still lots of showy flowers. Next year I expect it to quickly become a jungle. Which is why I did minimal planting, in pretty groupings.
Last fall and this spring has been the real payoff – minimal work to maintain. I trimmed up a few plants this spring, I let the leaves from fall just compost right into the mulch and I’ve pulled minimal weeds (damn you bindweed). And now that the plants are established, the weekly watering I did last summer will be reduced to an “as needed” basis.
I will update with photos as soon as things pop – usually mid-June here (I’m still waiting for lilacs, everything has been late this year. Although my pussy-willows were full of bees today, so yay!).
But for now, let’s revisit how I killed my lawn and revitalized my soil in ways I could have never anticipated. (The worms! The worms!)
It began innocently enough with laying out an outline of what might be nice and a promise I’d think about it for a while. Two weeks later, phase 1 is complete.
This was the beginning, outlining with bricks to see how I’d lay out the new yard
My goal was to create an excellent soil base to replace what is now pretty much cement hard clay. The previous owners used a chemical lawn service for at least a decade, that left the soil depleted and hard as a rock. Over the past four years, I’ve been amending it with compost, manure and aeration. A record drought this summer proved that none of those measures were enough to reinvigorate the lawn and the soil was still like granite.
I had several choices: use chemicals to kill (just no), or a bobcat to scrape, the grass and bring in a large amount of good soil and replant the grass, or add sod, or xeriscape. I was definitely leaning towards creating an area of low-water native plantings. But the cost of scraping a lawn and bringing in yards and yards of compost/soil was cost-prohibitive.
Then a bit of research led me to the Sheeting Method. Better soil would be achieved by killing the grass and weeds with a sealed layer of cardboard and mulch. Leaving an excellent base for native plants and bushes to replace the grass.
The next step was a hunt for cardboard.
Thanks to neighborhood apps, I was able to relieve multiple neighbors of their cardboard just before recycling day, so it was already flattened. They didn’t have to drive it to the recycling center, and I got several carloads of boxes.
Several things I learned as I went – clear tape is compostable but takes a long time. Removing it was easy, and research told me that any leftover would float to the top of the soil as the cardboard decomposed. So I didn’t sweat the small pieces. Chewy, Amazon and Walmart boxes were my favorite. They didn’t use clear tape or external packing slips.
Also, working with wet cardboard is much easier than dry. Boxes have to be torn into even pieces, so the end flaps don’t leave gaps. Wet cardboard tears easily at the seams and leaves clean edges. Then pieces are layered and overlapped in a way so that no grass or weeds can escape through any seams. I used brown paper – paper bags, packing material – and small pieces of cardboard around existing plantings. In the end, not a blade of grass showed through.
Then the fun began. My landscaper planted my new tree and delivered a heap ton of mulch. It was taller than me when it was unloaded. We had some fun with Jurassic Park and Great Dane jokes. The landscaping crew did a beautiful job, ensuring everything was well-covered to avoid any grass or weeds showing up.
Eventually, there will be a few that find their way, because “life finds a way,” but it should be easy to tackle them before they become a problem.
The phase one results are beautiful.
Now I’m playing around with paving stones, rocks and plants for placement. I won’t be able to plant anything new until spring. Don’t want to pierce the weed barrier prematurely.
At least now, the neighbors can stop wondering why I was watering cardboard for a week.
If you’re wondering why I left an area of grass, there are two reasons. The first being, that’s a plum tree, and I was not going to try and pick plums out of mulch every summer when I could just mow them into the lawn with my (electric) mower. Second, I’m still looking at selling my house in the near future, and grass is still desirable as a selling point.
A few months later, about this time last year, I stuck a hand spade into the yard to see how composting was going…what I found shocked me…and my landscaper:
What’s with photo of dirt?
….this spring, once the ground had thawed enough for me to start thinking about transplanting the Burning Bush and the Boxwoods, I scraped away some of the mulch.
And much to my surprise, I found, not decaying cardboard and dying grass, but beautiful soil, filled with super-sized worms by the handful. This was the hope, but I was not expecting it this quickly. Maybe by the end of the summer, but end of winter? read more here
So that’s the update. A week of hard work, a spring of planting a variety of plants, and minimal watering, I have a yard that’s not only pretty, but fairly maintenance-free. I think my total over fall-spring-summer 20/21 is about $2500.
And for the backyard, which I will continue this summer, I’ve been overseeding with red and white clover. Stands up to the dogs, survives on limited water, and fertilizes the grass when mowed.
This is an open thread
In the face of grave threats to democracy around the world, the JFK Library Foundation will honor five individuals with the #ProfileInCourage Award.
— JFK Library (@JFKLibrary) April 21, 2022
Biden comes down from the podium and speaks directly to people at a Portland, Ore. fundraiser, about two feet away from them. “We’re gonna go through a tough period,” he says to this friendly crowd. “This is the United States of America. There’s not a damn thing we can’t do.”
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) April 21, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden marks Earth Day with a trip to lush but fire-prone Washington state and the signing of an executive order to protect old-growth forests https://t.co/5x0BJ8Kff4
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 22, 2022
The Biden administration is restoring federal regulations that require rigorous environmental review of major infrastructure projects such as highways, pipelines and oil wells. The longstanding reviews were scaled back by the Trump administration. https://t.co/1ryaCf4jhG
— The Associated Press (@AP) April 19, 2022
*NEW* Biden Admin is piloting a Rural Partners Network in 25 communities. Teams of federal employees will serve as “community liaisons” in economically distressed rural areas, who will work with designated bureaucracy busters in 16 agencies. https://t.co/wX92VzWIpl @GovExec
— John M. Kamensky (@JMKamensky) April 21, 2022
Biden thanked reporters in Ukraine documenting “brutal and bloody” acts by Russia. “I don't say this often, but I think we should give enormous credit to folks from your agencies on the ground in Ukraine in these spots,” he said. “I've spoken to several of them. So. We owe them.” pic.twitter.com/QqDtyElgqP
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 21, 2022
"Our view on this is that the 'Don't Say Gay' bill – is really crystal clear: it's wrong. That's our view, it is just wrong. We oppose the governor taking action against a company because their opposition to that bill," Biden spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre tells reporters on AF1 https://t.co/ARbdCNND8s
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 21, 2022
The Washington Post has lifted its paywall on all stories past and present until midnight Friday. Read today’s paper. Read the stories you missed. Read the series that is still shaping the congressional investigation into Jan. 6:https://t.co/a8Z5SLjM5V
— Aaron C. Davis (@byaaroncdavis) April 21, 2022