Recently in Environmental Category

From Cliff Mass:

Smoke is Coming Back to the Pacific Northwest
I am really sorry to be the messenger for ill news, which none of the media has picked up on yet.

But smoke is coming back to the Northwest later tomorrow and will be with us for several days.

California smoke.

Our skies will become hazy, the sun will take on that infernal reddish glow, and visibility will decline.

The only good thing is that most of smoke will stay aloft, but limited amounts will get to the surface in "favored areas."

Much more at the site.  Some of the Napa Valley wine country is on fire.

Bad management and a government that would rather blow money on trains to nowhere than maintain basic infrastructure. Texas has more acres of forest (and hotter weather this summer) but those are carefully managed and they have not had any wildfire problems.

Cripes - thought they learned their lesson 32 years ago with the Yellowstone fires of 1988. From The Mercury News:

California fires: State, feds agree to thin millions of acres of forests
The two dozen major fires burning across Northern California were sparked by more than 12,000 lightning strikes, a freak weather occurrence that turned what had been a relatively mild fire season into a devastating catastrophe.

Yet what’s driving these enormous fires is not sparks, but millions of acres of fuel: bone-dry trees and brush that haven’t burned in many years.

Before the Gold Rush in 1849, large parts of California burned every few decades. Lightning fires burned for months, and native tribes burned the land, clearing out dead vegetation. But for much of the past century, as the state’s population has built homes, towns and parks in rural areas, firefighters have extinguished the flames to save property and lives, allowing forests and other landscapes to become unnaturally dense.

As a result, fires now burn hotter and with more intensity.

“We have put out fires for 100 years. Now we are paying the price,” said Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at UC Berkeley. “It will take a while to make these forests healthy again. But it’s absolutely possible.”

Duhhhh... The policy of putting out all fires was recognized as being counter productive when Yellowstone National Park went up in one big fireball thirty two years ago. It is taking California this long to realize the error of their ways?

California in a little while

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From A. F. Branco:


And stop feeding off the taxpayer trough. From Business Insider:

EPA staffers warn of a huge exodus if Trump wins again. 'We can't do four more years of this.'
Career employees at the Environmental Protection Agency were devastated when Donald Trump became president.Nearly four years later, EPA staff and former officials said Trump has politicized and dismantled the agency beyond recognition. According to them, industry interests now have an "overriding voice" there. "I think many of the long-term employees will be able to exhale and get back to business," a longtime EPA official said of the prospect of a Joe Biden win in November.In an exclusive interview, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said he planned to lead the agency "for at least the next two to three years."Environmentalists and ex-EPA staffers are thinking about ways to revive the agency but say it's going to be a monumental task. "You have to get this agency from a fetal position into Superman," a union official said.

When Donald Trump clinched the presidency in 2016, employees at the Environmental Protection Agency wept. They'd watched as Trump pledged on the campaign trail to slash their agency. Staffers feared their jobs would be cut and that eight years of work drafting environmental policies for the Obama administration would be flushed down the drain. "We had tears when this man won the election," said Gary Morton, a 26-year EPA veteran who retired last year and now leads a union representing about 7,500 agency employees nationwide. "He ran on a platform of killing the Environmental Protection Agency. Three and a half years later, EPA staff and former leaders who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents said Trump and his team have dismantled the agency charged with safeguarding the nation's air, water, and public health even further than they expected. Beyond the administration trashing former President Barack Obama's signature environmental policies, Trump's critics say it has sidelined scientists, sent veteran staffers packing, and blocked meaningful action on climate change.It has all taken a toll on staff, said an EPA employee who spoke with Insider on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the press. Workers inside the agency are looking toward the November presidential election thinking, "Holy s---, we can't do four more years of this," the employee said. Staff said they've held on by hoping that Trump would serve only a single term.They said they've felt left out of the agency's inner circle and distrusted by political appointees. For a while, they were even physically blocked from getting anywhere close to the administrator's office. Another EPA employee said for the career staff at the agency those who aren't political appointees "unquestionably, people are holding on and looking forward and counting the days." If Trump is reelected, staffers said, they're expecting many of their colleagues to leave the agency.

For now, EPA employees are quietly discussing how the agency might be overhauled if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ousts Trump in November - a prospect many of them would embrace, according to a dozen interviews with current and former staffers and former EPA administrators who served under presidents from both parties. If there's a change in administration, "I think many of the long-term employees will be able to exhale and get back to business," a longtime EPA official said.

Heh - the EPA needs to stick to its charter. When it was founded in 1970 (Executive Order from President Richard M. Nixon), it was sorely needed. We had major air, water and soil pollution. We had a river in Ohio that caught fire. We had sewerage being dumped from our cities into our rivers. We had Tetra-ethyl Lead used in our gasoline (it makes engines run a lot better).

BUT. They did their work and they got us cleaned up and got us understanding that it is better to stay clean than to go back to our polluting ways. So... What do they do? They grow and metastasize and creep and become this huge bureaucracy that can never shrink, it can never be downsized and it will never die.

The EPA does fill a need but a greatly reduced one. They should have their funding cut by 80% and they should move their headquarters to Kansas City and get out of the D.C. swamp. Anything else is a waste of our hard-earned money.

Ka-boom - fireworks

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Some interesting measurements from Cliff Mass:

The Jury is In: Personal Fireworks Alone Can Cause Dangerous Air Pollution
This July Fourth we answered an important question: if most U.S. community fireworks displays are cancelled (because of COVID-19) might July 4th air quality be substantially improved?

We now know the answer: air quality was very poor the evening of July 4th and the immediate morning hours, in some locations as bad or worse than previous years. Personal fireworks are clearly the mainstay of the air quality disaster of July 4th.

Curious - not surprised. Also, the numbers this year need to reflect the fact that if people usually did fireworks on the 4th, they went seriously overboard this year so a lot more personal fireworks were lit off than usual. Very large fireworks are sold on tribal lands - we have a lot of these in the Pacific Northwest. The good stuff 😁

Stop the recycling nonsense - from the New York Post:

The smart way for post-coronavirus pandemic NYC to save money: Stop recycling
The financial pressure of the coronavirus pandemic has led Mayor de Blasio to do what he’s never done before: propose reductions in New York City’s sprawling $93 billion budget. A good place to start would be the city’s recycling collection program. That may seem like eco-sacrilege but in extraordinary times nothing should be sacrosanct. For recycling, the numbers don’t add up.

By sending recyclables to safe landfills — and avoiding the cost of separate collection — the city could save nearly $200 million. At a time when COVID-19 puts frontline workers, including the city’s 7,000 uniformed Sanitation workers (New York’s fabled “Strongest”), at risk and may make staffing more difficult, simplifying garbage collection makes sense — and would save taxpayer dollars.

Conceived originally as a way to save money by selling paper, glass and metal instead of paying to bury it in landfills, recycling in New York — and nationwide — has become a money-loser and a drain on the city’s budget. Nor is there even a guarantee that recyclables will not ultimately go to a landfill anyway.

In a forthcoming paper for the Manhattan Institute, I find that the elimination of recycling — by combining what’s now put out in blue bins with general refuse — would save the city approximately $185 million annually. These are funds that could help restore the youth jobs program and, were they directed to parks, help provide a direct environmental benefit for outdoors-starved New Yorkers.

Penn and Teller has an excellent video in their Bullshit series:

This is big - this is leadership

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President Trump hits it out of the ballpark - from FOX News:

Trump signs memorandum diverting more water to California farmers
President Trump on Wednesday signed a memorandum directing more of California’s scarce water supply to farmers and other agriculture interests in the state's Central Valley, a Republican stronghold.

Speaking alongside House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the lawmaker’s hometown of Bakersfield, Trump boasted of how his administration reworked environmental rules to assure more water gets to farmers, while also taking shots at his political rivals – from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to Democratic presidential primary hopeful and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

“For too long water authorities have flushed millions of gallons into the Pacific,” Trump said. “I ordered the administration to update outdated opinions which determined water allocation in this state.”

Trump added that he is going “to put a lot of pressure” on Newsom to enact the changes and if the California governor doesn’t follow through then “you’ll get a new governor.”

Good - the heritage of the protected "delta smelt" is uncertain at best. No sense crippling California's agriculture just to appease the enviros.

Very good decision to make and good that he is putting serious pressure on the state to come to their senses.


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Nice online database - you type in your ZIP code and what you want to recycle (second step is optional)

It will return a list of recyclers in your area. Well done.

Check out Earth911

Yikes - nasty stuff

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From CNN:

A cancer-causing green slime was found oozing onto a highway in a Detroit suburb, officials say
A green liquid was found oozing onto Interstate 696 in the Detroit suburb of Madison Heights Friday, causing authorities to block off portions of the highway and call in federal agencies to investigate.

By Saturday, it was discovered that the mysterious liquid was the chemical hexavalent chromium and was leaking from a local business, Michigan State Police said on Twitter.

Hexavalent chromium is usually produced during industrial processes like plating and is known to cause cancer, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The chemical is harmful to the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes.

Someone call Erin Brockovich.  I hope that company gets more than a slap on the wrist. With the volume of leakage we are looking at, they had to know that something was not right.

More faster please - REE Mines

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Rare Earth Element - from The Epoch Times:

US Rare Earth Element Processors to Help Break China Stranglehold
The developers of the Round Top Mountain rare earth element (pdf) (REE) mine in Texas are building a pilot plant to process the mine’s ore in the United States, according to a press release. The development means that the U.S. can further increase supply-chain security for the provision of REE minerals and critical minerals to strategic industries such as defense and electronics while reducing reliance on supplies from China—which currently supplies over 80 percent of REEs globally.

Rare earth elements are notoriously difficult to process and refine. While the United States and its allies also have considerable REE deposits, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). China’s virtual monopoly on the REE industry has meant that even the ore mined at California’s Mountain Pass mine is currently being shipped to China for processing.

China’s communist regime is not afraid to remind geopolitical rivals of its monopoly, however. During their 2010 standoff over the disputed Senkaku Islands, China cut off exports of REEs to Japan—though the Chinese maintained it was merely introducing export quotas to protect the environment. In May of this year, China threatened to cut off rare earth exports to the United States as part of its trade war tactics against the Trump administration.

Used everywhere - cell phones, medical devices. Everywhere.

Time for the environmentalists to put a sock in it and realize that by denying a well run mine here, they are moving the problem out of their backyard over to another nation where the environmental impact will be a lot greater. Plus human rights. The need for these materials is not going away, time to recognize that and deal with it intelligently.

California - keeps getting better

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From Sacramento, CA station KCRA:

Some high hazard California dams are in poor condition
California is home to nearly 700 high hazard dams. A two-year investigation by the Associated Press found that 1,680 high hazard dams across the U.S. are in poor and unsatisfactory condition. Some are in California.

The article is published as a large infographic but basically, California had been spending very little on dam maintenance until Oroville. Now they are spending more money but no word as to whether this is going to have a positive outcome for dam safety.

Changing the narrative - polar bears

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Disturbing news from Polar Bear Science:

UVic bows to outside pressure and rescinds my adjunct professor status
As you may have heard, this summer I lost my status as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada (UVic), a position I had held for 15 years. This action followed my expulsion from the roster of the university’s volunteer Speakers Bureau in May 2017. However, until April 2017 the university and the Anthropology department proudly promoted my work, including my critical polar bear commentary, which suggests someone with influence (and perhaps political clout) intervened to silence my scientific criticism.

Journalist Donna LaFramboise has exposed this travesty in the National Post (16 October 2019), which you can read here. I have provided more background below and Donna’s blog post is here.

UPDATE 21 October 2019: See my follow-up post for more background and a critical post from Donna Laframboise on the questions UVic refused to answer. The Washington Times published an article yesterday and GWPF has issued a press release condemning the suppression of academic freedom at UVic and the release of a briefing paper called The Defenestration of Dr. Crockford: Silencing Dissent at the University of Victoria.

Mostly an ill-considered campaign by Greenpeace. Bunch of morons putting ideology before science. The polar bears are doing just fine.

Unintended consequences - clean water

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Looks like cleaning up New York City's harbor has a downside. From the New York Times:

The Critters Doing $114 Million in Damage to Brooklyn’s Piers
No signs, fences or entreaties can keep these vandals away from the sprawling waterfront park at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.

They relentlessly attack the timber pilings that hold up the pristine lawns, basketball and handball courts, soccer and lacrosse fields, and roller skating rink, and threaten the future of an 85-acre park that has become a showcase for New York’s waterfront redevelopment.

They are marine borers — so named because they leave behind wood riddled with holes.

Along with oysters and other marine life, these pests have come roaring back to New York Harbor, threatening almost anything in the water made of wood.

They are the beneficiaries of more than four decades of federally mandated efforts to clean up the industrial pollutants and raw sewage that had turned the harbor into a marine wasteland.

Marine borers are a big problem for wooden boats - you need to use a toxic paint on your bottom and renew it every other year. Big expense. Here is what one of the pilings looks like:


A cross section of a wood pile that has been the victim of marine borers
that feast on wood. CreditCreditGabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Clean water is great - something to be strived for but, as with anything, there are consequences.

Trying to outrun a pyroclastic flow

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Short but intense:

From the YouTube description:

Boat outracing Stromboli volcano eruption (August 28, 2019)
This is wild - boat fleeing from the eruption of the Stromboli volcano in Italy (08/28/19). A giant explosion from an Italian volcano sent locals and tourists running for cover.

It is obvious that they survived (otherwise, no video) but still... Need some new underwear.

Cleaning out the crap

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Great court decision - from Legal Insurrection:

Court declares Obama’s EPA “Waters of the United States Rule” unlawful
Back in 2015, we covered the Obama administration’s far-reaching Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule and the pushback it received at the time.  States’ suits are making their way through the courts, and there is good news to report!

U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood has handed a victory to the state of Georgia and nine other states that sued the federal government (and to the rest of the nation) by declaring that the  WOTUS Rule is unlawful.

Wood stated that the rule, which was intended to provide better protection of the nation’s water, violated the Clean Water Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, and she remanded it back to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers for further work.

She wrote that while the agencies have authority to interpret the phrase “waters of the United States,” that authority isn’t limitless, and therefore their decisions in doing so do not fall under what’s called Chevron deference, a matter of case law in which — for lack of a better phrase — the tie goes to the agency.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that implementation of the rule led to a Wyoming farmer being fined $37,500 a day for constructing a stock pond on his own property.

Good - get these useless feel-good regulations off the books and into the dustbin of history where they belong.


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Good news - opening public lands

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From the Washington Examiner:

'Git-R-Done': Trump opens 1.4 million federal acres to hunters, anglers
President Trump isn’t much of an outdoorsman, aside from golf.

But maybe more than any president since Teddy Roosevelt, he understands the importance of others getting outside to boat, hunt, fish, shoot, and hike and their demands for access to federal lands and waterways.

“He’s basically said, ‘Git-R-Done,'” said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who is spearheading the opening of 1.4 million acres and elimination of 7,500 regulations limiting access.

“The president fundamentally gets that hunters and anglers are the true conservationists in our society. He understands that history and that we need to act in efforts to expand hunting and fishing while at the same time being respectful of private land rights, respectful of state law,” added Bernhardt.

All the early environmentalists were hunters, campers and fishermen who wanted to preserve our range of lands for hunting, camping and fishing. Overdevelopment (open pit mining, clearcut logging, etc.) was a bad thing - raping the earth. From John Muir to Teddy Roosevelt. It is the current crop of so-called environmentalists who have lost touch with nature and want to regulate and control it from a Lobbyist's office on K Street. Gang Green.

From Medical Express:

Two hours a week is key dose of nature for health and wellbeing
Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wellbeing, according to a new large-scale study.

Research led by the University of Exeter, published in Scientific Reports and funded by NIHR, found that people who spend at least 120 minutes in nature a week are significantly more likely to report good health and higher psychological wellbeing than those who don't visit nature at all during an average week. However, no such benefits were found for people who visited natural settings such as town parks, woodlands, country parks and beaches for less than 120 minutes a week.

Makes perfect sense - moving out of Seattle was a great boost to my emotional state and physical health. Living in a city is stressful - I would never move back.

This is from Patrick Moore who co-founded Greenpeace but left them when they went from scientific to political.

Some fine folks at the ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich did a study on CO2 emissions for electric cars. All of the emissions. From The Brussels Times:

Electric vehicles emit more CO2 than diesel ones, German study shows
When CO2 emissions linked to the production of batteries and the German energy mix - in which coal still plays an important role - are taken into consideration, electric vehicles emit 11% to 28% more than their diesel counterparts, according to the study, presented on Wednesday at the Ifo Institute in Munich.

Mining and processing the lithium, cobalt and manganese used for batteries consume a great deal of energy. A Tesla Model 3 battery, for example, represents between 11 and 15 tonnes of CO2. Given a lifetime of 10 years and an annual travel distance of 15,000 kilometres, this translates into 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometre, scientists Christoph Buchal, Hans-Dieter Karl and Hans-Werner Sinn noted in their study.

The CO2 given off to produce the electricity that powers such vehicles also needs to be factored in, they say.

When all these factors are considered, each Tesla emits 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometre, which is more than a comparable diesel vehicle produced by the German company Mercedes, for example.

Here is the website for the Institute: ifo Institute for Economic Research

Here is the website for the study: ifo Schnelldienst: Electric Vehicles are not a Panacea for Climate Change

And to think of all of our tax dollars that have gone into subsidizing and Tesla in general.

From Seattle station KIRO:

Northwest region is currently in an ‘earthquake drought’
Everyone once in a while it’s good to check in on the health of tectonic plates, and see if we need to add a few more cans of beans to our emergency supplies.

“The tectonic plates are always in motion, but they move really slowly overall. We like to say that they move at about the same rate as your fingernails grow,” Harold Tobin, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network told Seattle’s Morning News.

“So give it a year, see how long your fingernails would get — that’s how far the North American plate has moved out toward the Pacific. The problem is of course that they get stuck at the edges, and where they’re stuck together they build that strain up.”

While most earthquake news is all doom and gloom, local seismic activity is rather tepid of late. There’s nothing immediate to worry about, but there’s nothing to feel better about, either.

“We don’t have any short-term — short-term meaning weeks to months to years — precursors that we’re seeing. The general background rate of earthquakes globally is steady and even,” Tobin said. “In our region, we’re in something informally called the ‘earthquake drought,’ meaning there haven’t been so many earthquakes over the past decade or two.”

More at the site. I have been a prepper for the last 30 years or so - casual at the start and more serious and organised now. Working with emergency amateur radio communications and the search and rescue people have shown to me just how fragile our infrastructure really is. The best definition I have heard is this:

Disaster: an event that outstrips your ability to cope.

That says it in a nutshell. You do not have to do this all at once - next time you go grocery shopping, pick up an extra couple cans of beans or tuna fish. Keep doing this and make sure to rotate through the oldest first and you will be all set in six months. Be sure to include a favorite book or some games to keep yourself occupied.

In the dark - environmentalists

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Cheap energy is what lifted us from a grinding life of poverty with the average lifespan being less than 50 years. It fueled the industrial revolution and formed the basis for the technological revolution. Environmentalists want us to throw that all away for "The Planet". From the Financial Post:

Joe Oliver: The climate alarmists are keeping poor people in the dark — literally
I recently returned from a Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), which put into stark relief the moral imperative of developing fossil fuels, especially for the poorest people in developing countries. By implication, it reinforced the profoundly unethical stand of climate-change alarmists who are working to rid the world of hydrocarbons, irrespective of the harm to economic growth, employment and a decent standard of living for billions of people.

A mere 13 per cent of Papua New Guineans have access to electricity. The government’s goal is to extend electrification to 70 per cent by 2030, an ambitious precondition to substantially raising GDP per capita above its current $2,400.

PNG is far behind in electricity usage among larger Asia-Pacific countries. There is a strong correlation between GDP and energy consumption, which requires affordable power sources. Energy mix varies considerably in the region and has been critical to growth. For example, coal supplies 64 per cent of energy in Australia and 55 per cent in Indonesia, while gas represents 63 per cent in Thailand.

PNG imports heavy fuel oil and diesel for 40 per cent of its energy, but does not access its abundant coal reserves.

Joe gets to the meat of the issue:

Over a billion people lack access to electricity and another billion and a quarter have insecure access. It is impossible to elevate people in dire need to a decent standard of living without very inexpensive electricity. Depriving them of the opportunity to escape grinding poverty would be inexcusable, without an existential justification.

Alarmists claim to have that justification. However, failed predictions about temperature change, disappearing polar bears, ice melting, islands sinking into the sea and extreme weather events have seriously undermined their scare tactics and moral preening. The evidence simply does not substantiate the apocalyptic prophesies. Nobel prize winner and theoretical physicist Richard Feynman commented that “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” He could have added, it doesn’t matter how many people agree with you.

Much more at the site. Environmentalism is a radical religion and radical religions do not tolerate conflicting truths.

The great George Carlin had a wonderful routine about this:

Talk about a useless gesture - from Fast Company:

EU to ban plastic plates, cups, and cutlery by 2021
The European Union is taking the lead in saving the world. The EU parliament has voted to ban single-use plastic cutlery, plastic cotton swabs, straws, and coffee stirrers as part of a sweeping law aimed at fighting the plastic waste that pollutes oceans and beaches. The ban on single-use plastics will go into effect by 2021 in all EU member states (and maybe the U.K., depending on what happens with Brexit).

The countries aren’t stopping there, either: EU member states will also have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and plastic coffee lids. The new legislation also states that by 2025, plastic bottles should be made of 25% recycled content. According to Bloomberg, the new legislation also sets an admirable target of recycling 90% of plastic bottles by 2029–as well as a goal of making them out of 30% recycled material by 2030.

The EU's plastic output is a drop in the bucket compared to China and India - this is pure virtue signalling making the EU bureaucrats look good to the EU proletariat. All about looking good instead of doing good.

Penn and Teller has an excellent video in their Bullshit series:

Bogus statistics passing as news

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Talk about a whopper - from Fortune:

The Average American Uses 3 Rolls of Toilet Paper Each Week—And It's Devastating Forests
A new report on paper use says Americans are flushing away Canadian forests. and the National Resources Defense Council just released a report describing the “tree-to-toilet” pipeline, concluding that “[t]he consequences for Indigenous Peoples, treasured wildlife, and the global climate are devastating.”

The U.S. consumes more toilet paper than any other country, almost three rolls per person each week. And the brands they choose to use aren’t sustainable, with hardwood trees being pulped to create the soft toilet paper consumers want. Following the United States’ annual use of 141 rolls of toilet paper per capita is Germany with 134 rolls and the United Kingdom with 127. Japanese consumers average 91 rolls annually, while the Chinese average just 49.

This is idiotic to anyone who knows anything about paper and paper production. There are specific requirements for paper pulp and you simply do not go willy-nilly cutting down anything you can. The pulp trees are grown on plantations expressly for paper production. It is a farm, just on a longer scale - the crops are harvested after ten years, not every fall.

The three per week is ludicrous too - I keep a roll of paper around to use as tissues as well a roll in the wall holder for it's original use. I go through maybe a roll every two or three weeks. This number does not pass the "sniff" test.

This is not a scientific report, it is a partisan hit piece disguised as one. Hammer home that narrative.

Recycling - highly overrated

Recycling is a giant tax money rat hole that lets people feel good but does not really do anything. The only standout to this is aluminum cans - these can be recycled into new aluminum cheaply and efficiently. Everything else? Plastic? Paper? Glass? Usually a landfill somewhere.

From The Atlantic:

Is This The End of Recycling?
After decades of earnest public-information campaigns, Americans are finally recycling. Airports, malls, schools, and office buildings across the country have bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans and newspapers. In some cities, you can be fined if inspectors discover you haven’t recycled appropriately.

But now, much of that carefully sorted recycling is ending up in the trash.

For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China—tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods like shoes and bags and new plastic products. But last year, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.

Most are choosing the latter. “We are doing our best to be environmentally responsible, but we can’t afford it,” said Judie Milner, the city manager of Franklin, New Hampshire. Since 2010, Franklin has offered curbside recycling and encouraged residents to put paper, metal, and plastics in their green bins. When the program launched, Franklin could break even on recycling by selling for $6 a ton. Now, Milner told me, the transfer station is charging the town $125 a ton to recycle, or $68 per ton to incinerate. One-fifth of Franklin’s residents live below the poverty line, and the city government didn’t want to ask them to pay more to recycle, so all those carefully sorted bottles and cans are being burned. Milner hates knowing that Franklin is releasing toxins into the environment, but there’s not much she can do. “Plastic is just not one of the things we have a market for,” she said.

Penn and Teller did an excellent look at recycling:

Like they said - bullshit.

The joys of not thinking something through to its final conclusion - from The Federalist:

How The Green New Deal Would Exploit Poverty-Stricken People Across The Globe
Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution mentions the words “indigenous peoples” six times, with an emphasis on the “historic oppression” these communities have experienced throughout history.

Ironically, Ocasio-Cortez and co-sponsoring Sen. Ed Markey are apparently oblivious to the plight of indigenous communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Argentina, Bolivia, and China that suffer daily from the mining of cobalt, lithium, nickel, and other metals essential to electric car batteries.

In reality, the Green New Deal would decimate the communities Democrats claim to respect, while creating a dangerous amount of pollution and needless death throughout the globe.

Electric Vehicles Create Environmental Problems
Currently, approximately 5 percent of total car sales in the United States are electric, and Democrats plan on “overhauling transportation systems in the United States” to primarily electric cars and high-speed rails. However, the batteries in electric vehicles (EV) rely on extracting cobalt, lithium, and other metals to ensure this energy source functions safely. According to Financial Times, “metals account for about 25 per cent of the battery cost” and one market analyst states “There will be no EV industry without DRC cobalt.”

Yeah - that bad. Ironically, we have abundent reserves of rare earth minerals in the USA but have not been able to mine them because of environmental activists. The funny thing is that if we did mine these, we would be doing it in a much more environmentally safe manner than any other mine in any other country. The Global environmental impact would be a lot lower.

Great article by James Dellingpole at Breitbart:

Delingpole: Green New Deal Is a Revamped Communist Manifesto
A few years ago at the height of the global warming scare I wrote a book which set out to answer one of the key questions of our time: if climate change isn’t really a problem why do so many people act as though it is?
The answer, I discovered, is that environmentalism is just a fashionable mask for the usual leftist obsessions with state control and wealth redistribution.

That’s why I called the book Watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.

Not everyone who believes in man-made climate change is a full on Commie. Some are merely useful idiots. But whatever reason people may have for supporting the scam – greed, stupidity, virtue-signalling, idiot leftist teachers – the net result is the same: bigger government, higher taxes, more regulation, lower standards of living. Exactly like you’d get under communism, in fact.

So color me completely unshocked by the Green New Deal. It looks like a revamped Communist Manifesto because that’s exactly what it is.

If implemented, the size of government would increase to levels never before seen in a Western economy. The state’s control of everything from wage levels to how businesses are run to your personal freedoms would be total. There’s no mention of gulags or political prisoners or secret police but of course those would inevitably follow because how else would the state have a hope of enforcing measures which freedom loving Americans would naturally resist?

Much more at the site including this bon mot:

And, yes, right now it’s true that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey and the rest of the Democrats pushing this insanity have done Trump 2020 the biggest favor imaginable.

So true - they are out of touch and the consequences of this will bear fruit spectacularly in 2020.

Used to work for them - they used to be science based but for the last 30 years, they are just political and narrative driven.

From The Daily Caller:

Greenpeace quietly admitted in November one of its “Rainbow Warrior” boats was “scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh” — a method it spent years campaigning against.

“We have made a mistake, one that we have tried to correct,” Greenpeace International, based in Amsterdam, admitted in mid-November, adding it allowed Rainbow Warrior II “to be scrapped on a beaching yard in Bangladesh, in a way that does not live up to the standards we set ourselves and campaigned with our allies to have adopted across the world.”

However, the embarrassing admission from one of the world’s largest and most prominent environmental groups flew under the radar of major news outlets. Greenpeace quietly put out a press release on its international website, which few noticed.

Seems that they are not doing that well - a bit more:

Indeed, Rainbow Warrior II’s fate is only the latest in a string of embarrassments and scandals to plague Greenpeace in recent years, including admitting in 2014 it had lost millions in donations betting on currency speculation.

That same year, Greenpeace came under fire from the Peruvian government for damaging the ancient Nazca Lines. Activists damaged the world-famous site with giant protest banners advocating for solar energy and calling for countries to fight global warming.

Lots of asbestos and carcinogenic PCBs in the environment now - thanks Greenpeace. Here is Greenpeace's co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore talking about the organization:

The organization I co-founded has become a monster. When I was a member of its central committee in the early days, we campaigned – usually with success – on genuine environmental issues such as atmospheric nuclear tests, whaling and seal-clubbing.

When Greenpeace turned anti-science by campaigning against chlorine (imagine the sheer stupidity of campaigning against one of the elements in the periodic table), I decided that it had lost its purpose and that, having achieved its original objectives, had turned to extremism to try to justify its continued existence.

Now Greenpeace has knowingly made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth. By opposing capitalism, it stands against the one system of economics that has been most successful in regulating and restoring the environment.


Meanwhile, at the White House

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A lot goes on that does not get media coverage because, well, it doesn't fit the narrative.
Consider this Executive Order signed by President Trump last Friday:

EO on Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect people, communities, and watersheds, and to promote healthy and resilient forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands by actively managing them through partnerships with States, tribes, communities, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires. These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires.

Active management of vegetation is needed to treat these dangerous conditions on Federal lands but is often delayed due to challenges associated with regulatory analysis and current consultation requirements. In addition, land designations and policies can reduce emergency responder access to Federal land and restrict management practices that can promote wildfire-resistant landscapes. With the same vigor and commitment that characterizes our efforts to fight wildfires, we must actively manage our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands to improve conditions and reduce wildfire risk.

BAM - problem identified and fixed. More at the site including dealing with invasive species and selling 600 million board feet of timber from DOI-administered lands to help pay for this. It also deals with salvaging remaining timber from fire ravaged land.

Big quake in Alaska

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Reports of Mag7 earthquake - more as the news comes in.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

Large earthquake, aftershocks, strike Southcentral Alaska, damage reported around region
A large earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 struck Alaska near Anchorage early Friday morning, damaging roads and buildings, knocking out power and sending people fleeing from buildings and to safety beneath door jambs.

The epicenter was just north of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center. It violently shook the most populous region of the state as people were settling in to work and school.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

There were several aftershocks, including a sharp jolt felt widely in Anchorage around 10:26 a.m. and another series of aftershocks just before 11 a.m. At least three of them were 5.0.

Sending prayers out to the Alaskan people and critters. Not fun Temperature is down to 26°F - not a good time to be toosed out of your warm house.

Told 'ya - Global Warming Cooling

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From Investor's Business Daily:

Don't Tell Anyone, But We Just Had Two Years Of Record-Breaking Global Cooling
Inconvenient Science: NASA data show that global temperatures dropped sharply over the past two years. Not that you'd know it, since that wasn't deemed news. Does that make NASA a global warming denier?

Writing in Real Clear Markets, Aaron Brown looked at the official NASA global temperature data and noticed something surprising. From February 2016 to February 2018, "global average temperatures dropped by 0.56 degrees Celsius." That, he notes, is the biggest two-year drop in the past century.

"The 2016-2018 Big Chill," he writes, "was composed of two Little Chills, the biggest five month drop ever (February to June 2016) and the fourth biggest (February to June 2017). A similar event from February to June 2018 would bring global average temperatures below the 1980s average."

Isn't this just the sort of man-bites-dog story that the mainstream media always says is newsworthy?

In this case, it didn't warrant any news coverage.

In fact, in the three weeks since Real Clear Markets ran Brown's story, no other news outlet picked up on it. They did, however, find time to report on such things as tourism's impact on climate change, how global warming will generate more hurricanes this year, and threaten fish habitats, and make islands uninhabitable. They wrote about a UN official saying that "our window of time for addressing climate change is closing very quickly."

Reporters even found time to cover a group that says they want to carve President Trump's face into a glacier to prove climate change "is happening."

In other words, the mainstream news covered stories that repeated what climate change advocates have been saying ad nauseam for decades.

Of course the media are not going to cover stories like these - they do not fit the narrative and as everyone knows, you have to protect the narrative. Pesky numbers be damned.

Looks like Governor Brown of California agreed with President Trump on the problem of poor management of California's forests. From the Santa Cruz Sentinel of August 31st, 2018:

Gov. Jerry Brown proposes easing logging rules to thin forests
Faced with the worst summer fire season in 10 years, Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing broad new changes to California’s logging rules that would allow landowners to cut larger trees and build temporary roads without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state.

The proposal — which has the support of the timber industry but is being opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups — would represent one of the largest changes to the state’s timber harvesting rules in the past 45 years.

The legislative session ends for the year next Friday. On Thursday, the details were still being negotiated by legislative leaders and the governor’s office behind the scenes and had not yet been formally introduced in a bill or put up for a vote.

“They are trying to get to some kind of a deal,” said Rich Gordon, the president of the California Forestry Association, a timber industry group. “They are looking at what can get done politically.”

If he was doing this as recently as last August, why did he hammer President Trump when Trump said the cause was poor forest management? He could have pointed to this legislation and say - I knew and I was trying.  A perfect out. But no, Brown had to play the Global Warming card and say that President Trump didn't know what he was talking about.

The Camp Fire started on November 8th - this news article is from eight days prior.

Just wonderful - California fires

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This little bit of joy from Zero Hedge:

SoCal Fire May Have Ejected "Incredibly Dangerous" Radioactive Particles Into The Atmosphere
The 95,000 acre Woolsey fire which has coated Southern California with an apocalyptic orange glow may have released a toxic stew of radioactive particles and toxic chemicals into the air, after scorching the land on closed-down government weapons testing facility in Simi Hills known to be heavily contaminated from decades of experiments.

Commencing operation in 1947 for Rockwell's Rocketdyne Division, a government contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the Santa Susana Field Lab (SSFL) has a checkered safety record, to put it lightly. In addition to several nuclear accidents - including the worst nuclear meltdown in US history, toxic materials have accumulated on-site from years of dumping, just miles from thousands of residents.

It was the site of several nuclear accidents, including the worst nuclear meltdown in US history when, in 1959, facility operators intentionally vented nuclear material from the site’s “Sodium Reactor Experiment” to prevent it from overheating and exploding. By the time the leaks were closed, the site had released 459 times more radiation than was leaked during the better-known 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island.

The lab property, now owned by airplane manufacturer Boeing, stretches for 2,800 acres in the Simi Hills, and remains contaminated with toxic materials. Thousands of people live within two miles of the site, and roughly half a million live within 10 miles, according to an investigation by NBC 4 Los Angeles. -Quartz  

California officials with the state's Department of Toxic Substances Control said that as of Friday, November 9, an area of the SSFL site which was scorched by the Woolsey fire posed no danger, stating "Our scientists and toxicologists have reviewed information about the fire’s location and do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke." 

Time will tell. Amazed they didn't do a superfund site.

The California fires

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An article from just before - Sacramento Bee, October 3, 2018:

Is PG&E going too far in cutting trees for fire safety? A Sacramento group says yes
Criticized for its role in several catastrophic California wildfires, state utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric is on a mission to clear trees near power lines that could topple and hit lines causing fires.

But is the giant utility going too far? A group of Sacramentans is saying yes.

Some members of the Save the American River Association and the American River Parkway Coalition and others are fighting to stop PG&E from cutting down what they estimate could be 100 cottonwood and oak trees near a major electricity transmission line that runs through the parkway near Discovery Park.

A bit more:

The utility company has been criticized in the last year by residents and state officials after a bevy of wildfires tied to downed power lines swept through the state in October 2017.

Investigative reports in May and June from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection linked PG&E to 16 fires in 2017 that killed 18 people and destroyed thousands of homes and other buildings. The PG&E service area covers much of northern and central California, and includes 18,000 miles of power lines. It will spend up to $70 million this year to clear vegetation near those lines, a spokesman said in an email.

Those clueless environmentalists again - they do not see the big picture, just their personal agenda.

Terrierman's Daily Dose is a daily read for me and today, he reminds us of California's weather history with a quote from John Steinbeck - East of Eden:

Fire, like drought, is a failure of memory and a longage of people.

In East of Eden, Nobel-prize winning author John Steinbeck's (1902-1968) put it well:

I have spoken of the rich years when the rainfall was plentiful. But there were dry years too, and they put a terror on the valley. The water came in a thirty-year cycle. There would be five or six wet and wonderful years when there might be nineteen to twenty-five inches of rain, and the land would shout with grass. Then would come six or seven pretty good years of twelve to sixteen inches of rain. And then the dry years would come, and sometimes there would be only seven or eight inches of rain. The land dried up and the grasses headed out miserably a few inches high and great bare scabby places appeared in the valley. The live oaks got a crusty look and the sagebrush was gray. The land cracked and the springs dried up and the cattle listlessly nibbled dry twigs. Then the farmers and the ranchers would be filled with disgust for the Salinas Valley. The cows would grow thin and sometimes starve to death. People would have to haul water in barrels to their farms just for drinking. Some families would sell out for nearly nothing and move away. And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

The ignition of the Camp Fire was from a malfunction at a PGE electrical tower. The reason the fire escalated so rapidly is because of the huge fire load caused by poor forest managment. We should have learned our lessons from the Yellowstone conflagration thirty years ago but noooooooo...

Curious happenings - San Andreas Fault

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From the Los Angeles Times:

A San Andreas fault mystery: The 'slow-moving disaster' in an area where the Big One is feared
The San Andreas fault begins its dangerous dance through California at the Salton Sea, at a spot that seismologists long have feared could be the epicenter of a massive earthquake.

But in recent months, this desolate location where the North American and Pacific plates rub together has become the focus of intense interest for a type of movement that is less the Big One than the Slow One.

A muddy spring mysteriously has begun to move at a faster pace through dry earth — first 60 feet over a few months, and then 60 feet in a single day, according to Imperial County officials.

More at the site. The acceleration of movement is curious and vexatious - it stands to take out a major rail line as well as a major fiber optic cable and a highway.

Coal is King

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Despite all the demonization, coal has its uses and with current technology, it is clean to use. From Forbes:

The U.S. Coal Export Boom To Asia
There are many, many falsehoods out there about coal. The biggest, of course, is that "coal is dead," an organized effort to scare away potential investors of the world's most vital source of electricity. Indeed, the reality is quite different than what some insist that you believe. In fact, coal is still the main source of power in a leading 18 U.S. states, and still supplies almost 30% of American power. " Does that sound like an energy source that is...."dead?"

Globally, coal is even more alive. "Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again." Even a solar magazine admits: "China to add 259 GW of coal capacity, satellite imagery shows." For reference, 259 GW is more than twice the amount of power capacity that mighty Texas has FROM ALL SOURCES.

Now Asia - which accounts for close to 80% of total global coal usage - is increasingly turning to the U.S. to supply coal. We are still the world's third largest coal producer. The U.S. supplies both types, met coal to produce steel and steam coal to produce electricity. "U.S. coal exports increased by 61% in 2017 as exports to Asia more than doubled."

Nuke - specifically LFTR - is the way of the future but we have about 400 years of coal in the ground that we now know about. Here is a great edited video explaining LFTR in five minutes.

Poor Japan

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First the storm and now this - from the Express:

Japan earthquake: Sapporo ROCKED by 6.7 earthquake - landslide traps people in homes
The Magnitude 6.7 quake struck 70 miles south of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The tremor triggered a landslide which covered homes in the rural town of Atsumi trapping residents inside.

People in Sapporo were woken up by strong shaking shortly after 7pm BST (3am Thursday local time) as the earth moved for around 20 seconds.

Japanese TV showed damaged buildings and quoted police as saying some people had been trapped in collapsed structures.

A very bad week for a wonderful nation.

Prayers going out to Japan

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From the London Daily Mail:

Typhoon Jebi smashes Japan: Giant waves and 135mph winds rock the country as train station roof COLLAPSES during the worst storm in 25 years and a MILLION are told to evacuate
A powerful typhoon slammed into western Japan on Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring scores of people as more than a million people were told to evacuate amid the worst storm to hit the country in 25 years.

Typhoon Jebi, reportedly the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan since 1993, headed north across the main island of Honshu toward the Sea of Japan.

Giant waves and winds of up to 135mph lashed the country, inundating the region's main international airport and blowing a tanker into a bridge, disrupting land and air travel and leaving thousands stranded.

The storm hammered the west coast as it made landfall in the latest severe weather to hit the country this summer following rains, landslides, floods and record-breaking heat that killed hundreds of people.

Some horrible photos and videos at the site. 

This is just ridiculous - the USA is not anywhere near the top of the plastic pollution heap. We are number 20 on the list and China is by far the worst offender (hard numbers here and here)


Of course, given the source, it is easy to understand the hyperbole - from Mother Jones:

Flushing Your Contacts Does Terrible Things to Our Land and Oceans
For a lot of people, contact lenses are a daily necessity. Market research shows 45 million Americans, about one in eight, wear contacts, meaning the United States alone consumes somewhere between five and 14 billion lenses annually. And now, new research shows all those contact lenses may end up as micro-plastic pollution in our soil, rivers, and oceans.

An estimated 20 percent of contact-lens wearers, studied as part of a 400-person online survey, flush their lenses down the sink or toilet, as opposed to placing them in the trash as industry experts recommend. That amounts to 20 metric tons of plastic, or 20,000 kilograms (about 44,000 pounds), flushed per year—about the weight of a small airplane. The biggest culprit? Daily-use lenses, which occupy about 40 percent of the market.

These people are crazy - there is no other condition that could account for their behaviour. Right out of DSM:

DSM-IV 301.95 Progressive Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of progressive political and inter-personal thought and action, rooted in discredited leftist (neo-Marxist) beliefs, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by at least five of the following (individual must be at least 18 years of age to qualify for the diagnosis of Progressive Personality Disorder, as many of the criteria are age-appropriate for adolescents). This disorder often coexists with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

      1. Utopian thinking, e.g. a delusional belief that there exist simple, linear, side effect-free solutions to all social problems.
      2. Lack of historical knowledge and perspective, and repression of personal memories dissonant with this belief system. e.g., the national mood post 9-11, including that of PPD patients, is suppressed in order to avoid conflict with subsequent reversal of beliefs as the PPD delusions were reinstated - hence the downplaying of terrorism as a threat and the obsessive concern for the "rghts" of temporarily feared and hated terrorists. (Note to clinician: please differentiate between mere historical ignorance, e.g., a doctorate in history from an elite university, vs. neurotic or psychotic delusions necessary to sustain these beliefs. )
      3. Anthroplastic delusion, e.g. The delusion that behavioral conditioning performed by the government or some other collective will cure all behavioral and social problems, rooted in denial of fixed human nature. Implicit in this delusion is the idea that human beings are infinitely malleable and subject to behavioral manipulation leading to perfect control and predictability. Free will, personal conscience, and objective morality are denied, devalued or denigrated.

More at Tiny Vital - brilliant satire.

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