“Forests give us shade, quiet and one of the harder challenges in the fight against climate change. Even as we humans count on forests to soak up a good share of the carbon dioxide we produce, we are threatening their ability to do so. The climate change we are hastening could one day leave us with forests that emit more carbon than they absorb.
“May 9, 2018
“LOS ANGELES — Solar panels have become an increasingly familiar sight on California rooftops as the state moves toward a clean-energy future. For new homes, they are about to become a requirement.
The California Energy Commission is expected to approve changes to the building code on Wednesday to require solar panels on all new homes, putting the state even farther in the forefront in the use of solar power.The mandate, to take effect in 2020, is expected to add $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a house — no small sum in a state where housing affordability is already a major issue.
The construction industry is prepared to live with the requirement, however, as the solar capability may become a selling point: It will help homeowners keep their electricity bills down under a new rate structure that favors renewable sources.”
“Domingo Morales was not initially concerned when he got a text message from his mentor, David S. Buckel, at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, calling out sick.
Twenty-five minutes, later, Mr. Buckel sent him an email: “I apologize for leaving this world early and leaving you with some big challenges to tackle. But I have to at least try to make this planet a better place for having lived on it.”
Mr. Buckel, a nationally known civil rights lawyer and, in his final decade, a master composter directing the sprawling site at the Red Hook Community Farm in Brooklyn, set himself on fire around dawn Saturday in Prospect Park. It was, according to his suicide letter, to make a statement about people protecting the environment.”
David Lindsay: The New York Times, and some of the commentors, are conflicted as to whether this is a major protest by an environmentalist or the act of a sick and depressed person. I fault the NYT for not mentioning his protest for the environment in their first article on the 14th. I sense that this was a major protest, but if I am right, and it is not a story about depression and mental illness, it was sort of bungled. The Vietnamese buddhists who immolated themselves in Vietnam to protest the South Vietnamese Governments abuses and corruption, were organized to happen in front of the world’s media and television cameras. They got a lot of world attention to their protest. This quiet immolation at dawn, was more pure, but less politically successful. The NYT literally didn’t know what to make of it, when they first reported it in the article linked to below.
“I apologize to you for the mess,” he wrote in a suicide note he left in a shopping cart near his body, the Daily News reported.
In an emailed copy of the note the New York Times received, he said: “Pollution ravages our planet, oozing inhabitability via air, soil, water and weather. Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result—my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.”
The Times further reported:
In his note, which was received by the Times at 5:55 a.m., Mr. Buckel discussed the difficulty of improving the world even for those who make vigorous efforts to do so.
Privilege, he said, was derived from the suffering of others.
“Many who drive their own lives to help others often realize that they do not change what causes the need for their help,” Mr. Buckel wrote, adding that donating to organizations was not enough.
Noting that he was privileged with “good health to the final moment,” Mr. Buckel said he wanted his death to lead to increased action. “Honorable purpose in life invites honorable purpose in death,” he wrote.
Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, a lawsuit regarding Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Nebraska. Teena’s tragic story was the subject of the Oscar-winning 1999 film Boys Don’t Cry, starring Hilary Swank.”
“On Oct. 11, 2016, Michael Foster and two companions rose before dawn, left their budget hotel in Grand Forks, N.D., and drove a white rental sedan toward the Canadian border, diligently minding the speed limit. The day was cold and overcast, and Foster, his diminutive frame wrapped in a down jacket, had prepared for a morning outdoors. As the driver, Sam Jessup, followed a succession of laser-straight farm roads through the sugar-beet fields, and a documentary filmmaker, Deia Schlosberg, recorded events from the back seat, Foster sat hunched in the passenger seat, mentally rehearsing his plan.
When Jessup pulled over next to a windbreak of cottonwood trees, Foster felt the seconds stretch and slow. For months, he’d imagined his next actions: He would get out of the car, put on a hard hat and safety vest, retrieve a pair of bolt cutters from the trunk and walk to the fenced enclosure about 100 feet away. He would snip the padlock that secured the gate and approach the blunt length of vertical pipe in the center of the enclosure — the stem of a shut-off valve for the 2,700-mile-long Keystone Pipeline, which carries crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Texas coast. He would cut the chain on the steel wheel attached to the stem, and turn the wheel clockwise until it stopped.
What Foster didn’t expect was that once he’d broken through the chain-link fence, he would be briefly overwhelmed by the magnitude of what he was about to do. He faced away from the biting wind, and allowed himself to cry. He then put a gloved hand on the steel wheel, which was almost three feet across and mounted vertically as if on the helm of a ship, and began to turn it. For long minutes it spun easily, but then both the wheel and the ground below his feet began to shake. Foster had been told to expect this, but still he hesitated. When he resumed turning, he had to throw his body into the task, at times dangling from the wheel to coax it downward. Finally, he could wrestle it no farther, and the shaking stopped. He felt a profound sense of relief. He replaced the lock on the wheel with a new padlock, sat down and, breathing heavily, began to record himself on his phone. “Hey, I’ve never shot video for grandkids that I don’t have yet,” he told the camera, “but I want any grandkids, or grandnephews and nieces or whatever, anybody in any family tree of mine, to know that once upon a time people burned oil, and they put it in these underground pipes, and they burned enough, fast enough, to almost cook you guys out of existence, and we had to stop it — any way we could think of.”
Ten minutes before Foster entered the enclosure, Jessup and another supporter each called the operations center of the pipeline’s owner, the TransCanada Corporation, and described what Foster was about to do. The company called the sheriff. About half an hour after Foster walked away from the valve station, an officer arrived and arrested Foster, Jessup and Schlosberg.What neither the sheriff’s department nor TransCanada knew, however, was that while Foster was closing off the Keystone Pipeline, four other cross-border pipelines — in Washington, Montana and Minnesota — were being shut down, too. Together, the pipelines carry nearly 70 percent of the crude oil imported to the United States from Canada.”
DL: This is a fascinating and complex story. While I care deeply about climate change, and I am impressed that by getting into small boats and blocking oil or coal ships, some polical progress has been made. But attacking the oil pipeline hardware, or turning the valves, doesn’t seem to me to be the most effective way to convince Americans that climate change is a serious problem, and that we need to accelerate our involvement in environmental awareness and political change. That the main character lost his wife and children, suggests that he was a bit self-absorbed in rightous cause, to detriment of his familial relations. In terms of political tactics, there appears to be real difference between an illegal but peaceful protest march, as practiced by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, and tresspassing to sabotoge private property, as practiced by these eco protesters.
“Given the Trump administration’s indifference to climate change, the task of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, has fallen largely to city and state governments. It is thus greatly encouraging that New Jersey, under its new governor, Phil Murphy, a Democrat, will join — more precisely, rejoin — the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of nine Eastern and New England states that has achieved substantial emissions reductions from large power plants since its start in 2009.”
Ta’u, an island in American Samoa, with 100% sustainable energy grid by Tesla.
“Elon Musk Wants to Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Power Grid With SolarPuerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló responded positively to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s offer to help restore the island’s hurricane-wrecked power grid with the company’s batteries and solar panels.”Let’s talk,” the governor tweeted to Musk Thursday evening. “Do you want to show the world the power and scalability of your #TeslaTechnologies? PR could be that flagship project.”Musk tweeted back that he would be “happy to talk.” ”
“Here’s the scientific dirt: Soil can help reduce global warming.
While farm soil grows the world’s food and fiber, scientists are examining ways to use it to sequester carbon and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.“We can substantially reduce atmospheric carbon by using soil. We have the technology now to begin employing good soil practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Johannes Lehmann, Cornell professor of soil and crop sciences, co-author of the Perspectives piece, “Climate-smart Soils,” published in Nature, April 6.Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon and using prudent agricultural management practices that tighten the soil-nitrogen cycle can yield enhanced soil fertility, bolster crop productivity, improve soil biodiversity, and reduce erosion, runoff and water pollution. These practices also buffer crop and pasture systems against the impacts of climate change.
Currently, Earth’s atmosphere holds about 830 petagrams (1 trillion kilograms) of carbon and humans add about 10 petagrams of carbon to the atmosphere every year, because of industrial and agricultural waste, and fossil-fuel burning vehicles, according to Lehmann. Soils, however, hold about 4,800 petagrams of carbon to a depth of 2 meters, which is six times the amount of carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere. The good news is that soils have the potential to hold even more, said the scientists.”
“The one bright spot amid the generally gloomy news about climate change, and the Trump administration’s resistance to doing anything about it, is the determination of a number of state governments to take action on their own.
California, as usual, has commanded the headlines on this score, having just strengthened its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now the nine Northeastern states that form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have done much the same, in a further rebuke to the know-littles and do-nothings like Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who are now calling the shots on climate policy in Washington.
The nine states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, last week agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants an additional 30 percent by 2030, on top of the 40 percent cut they have already achieved since the program began in 2009. R.G.G.I., as the initiative is known, was the nation’s first multistate greenhouse gas initiative. From the beginning (and despite the defection of New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie), it has had the backing of governors from both parties. More important, it has quietly achieved substantial emissions reductions at little cost to the states’ economies or to their consumers.”
“SAN FRANCISCO — A start-up company is trying to turbocharge a type of battery that has been a mainstay for simple devices like flashlights and toys, but until now has been ignored as an energy source for computers and electric cars.Executives at Ionic Materials, in Woburn, Mass., plan to announce on Thursday a design breakthrough that could make solid-state alkaline batteries a viable alternative to lithium-ion and other high-energy storage technologies.”