German Candidates Fail to Find Footing in Flood Response – The New York Times

BERLIN — Floods have had a way of reshaping German politics.

“Helmut Schmidt made a name for himself responding to deadly floods in Hamburg in 1962, and went on to become chancellor in the 1970s. Images of Gerhard Schröder wading through muddy water along the Elbe River in 2002 are credited with helping him win another term.

The floods that ravaged Germany last week — more severe than any in centuries — are already doing their work in this election year. But the striking thing they have revealed, political analysts say, is that none of the major candidates has been able to demonstrate the level of leadership in a crisis the public has grown accustomed to under Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
It is my hope that this flooding disaster prompts the German leadership and people to rethink their complete exit from nuclear energy as a short term bridge to a completely sustainable and circular economy. Bill Gates and associates have a new nuclear technology, that can not melt down or explode, and runs on old nuclear waste. There are about 20 new nuclear power designs, all much safer than the technology of 50 years ago. There is a growing number of scientist who think that we can’t make a transition fast enough without some new technology, and these new nuclear power plant designs are worth exploring and probably worth developing. We at least have to test them out.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion” about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

In Fighting Climate Change, What’s an Individual to Do? – The New York Times

“Watching deer forage for whatever bits of food they can find through the cold months of winter, I can understand why some people feel an urge to feed them. Only supplemental feeding isn’t helpful at all to deer. Instead, it’s detrimental to their digestive health, and it pulls them away from safer, more nutritious food sources.

“Supplemental feeding has little or no benefit to the overall health of deer,” said Nick Fortin, Deer Project Leader for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Interestingly, northern deer will lose weight in winter no matter what or how much they are fed, even in captivity.”

Like virtually all animals living in climates where winter is cold and snowy, deer use a variety of adaptations to adjust and survive. In the northern part of the Northeast, they often gather in deer yards, where softwood cover offers shelter from wind and cold as well as decreased snow depth. As deer move to and through their winter shelter, they pack down paths, allowing for easier travel to food and quicker escapes from predators.

In winter, deer reduce their energy expenditures by hunkering down during extended cold stretches; this way they can focus their activity during times when temperatures are warmer. Similar to animals that hibernate, deer store fat – it can constitute up to 20 percent of their body weight, said Fortin – and they can use that fat as a sort of energy savings account.

A deer’s digestive system also goes through changes to cope with less abundant – and different – food sources. Deer are ruminants, which means they have a four-chambered stomach, like cows and sheep. Each chamber contains microorganisms to help with digestion. These microbes become tuned in to a winter diet of twigs and buds, nuts, any fruits and berries that persist, and whatever grasses they can find. A sudden change in diet – say to supplemental corn or rich hay – can wreak havoc on this system. . . . .

. . . .Mr. Greenberg said some things mattered more than others. Using paper straws and LED light bulbs is not a huge way to reduce your carbon footprint. But steering clear of bottled water does help, since it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce the world’s plastic water bottles each year.” . . . .

Hydrogen Is One Answer to Climate Change. Getting It Is the Hard Part. – The New York Times

“SHEFFIELD, England — Rachel Smith has lived through green hydrogen’s bumpy journey from scientists’ dream to an industry that may be on the verge of a commercial breakthrough. An engineer, she started out two decades ago working in a converted barn on early devices for making the clean-burning gas.

Now she is part of a team racing to build giant machines that will use electricity to separate hydrogen from water for major companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Orsted, the Danish offshore wind developer.

“We have gone through those toddler years,” said Ms. Smith, an executive director at ITM Power, which is run out of an expansive new factory in Sheffield, a faded center for steel mills and coal mining. “We are playing in the grown-up world rather than in research labs.”

A consensus is forming among governments, environmentalists and energy companies that deep cuts in carbon emissions will require large amounts of a clean fuel like hydrogen.

Why Jane Goodall Still Has Hope for Us Humans – The New York Times

“Wherever the story of our natural world ultimately lands, Jane Goodall will have earned a proud place in its telling. Goodall, 87, first found fame in the early 1960s for her paradigm-busting work as a primatologist. Studying the chimpanzees of Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, she was the first to observe those entrancing animals eating meat and using tools, thus expanding our understanding of primate capabilities. While that work is likely to remain what the public primarily associates her with, Goodall’s career as an activist is arguably her more important legacy. She has spent 44 years leading conservation efforts through her Jane Goodall Institute and seeding the future with like-minded souls via the Roots & Shoots educational programs for young people, which can be found in more than 60 countries and have nurtured millions of students. “You just plod on and do what you can to make the world a better place,” said Goodall, speaking via Zoom from her childhood home in Bournemouth, England, and whose “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” will be published in October. “That’s all I can do. I can’t do more, I don’t think, than I’m doing.” “

Daniel F. Becker and James Gerstenzang | Trump Gave Automakers What They Wanted. Biden Shouldn’t. – The New York Times

Daniel F. Becker and 

Mr. Becker is the director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity. Mr. Gerstenzang is the campaign’s editorial director.

“As President Biden finalizes his road map to steer America toward a cleaner car fleet and safe climate, he should ignore the auto industry’s push for weak fuel efficiency and emissions rules and strengthen the tough standards imposed by the Obama administration that were shredded by Donald Trump.

Mr. Biden’s first step should be to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to reimpose emissions reductions as quickly as possible for new cars and S.U.V.s and other light trucks to 5 percent a year as called for under the Obama rules.”

Ellen MacArthur on the Circular Economy | Morgan Stanley

Ellen MacArthur, the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe and founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, talks with Chief Sustainability Officer Audrey Choi about designing an economy that keeps materials in use to reduce waste.

How do some of the most influential figures in government and business imagine tackling the world’s major sustainability challenges?

In this series from the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing, Chief Sustainability Officer Audrey Choi sits down with policymakers, CEOs and nonprofit leaders to talk about ideas for systemic change.

Source: Ellen MacArthur on the Circular Economy | Morgan Stanley

Here’s How Biden Aims to Increase Electric Car Sales – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Biden has a two-step strategy to cut tailpipe emissions, the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gases: First, restore the standards to roughly the level set by President Barack Obama. Then, tighten them even further, with an aim of making the electric car the dominant vehicle sold in the United States.

The Biden administration plans this month to propose a tailpipe emissions rule that would largely mimic the Obama standards, which were jettisoned in 2019 by President Donald J. Trump.

At the same time, according to four people familiar with the plan, the administration is starting to write more stringent auto pollution rules that could cut emissions more deeply and force carmakers to increase sales of electric vehicles but could also face political pushback and disrupt the auto industry.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
We need to fast trackk the EVSE rollout of 500,000 stations, since the public and yours truly are waiting for these stations, before buying a 300 mile electric car for $50,000. This begs the question, shouldn’t the Biden Team just roll out the new infrastructure deal asap, and not hold it up for 6 or 12 months to try and get as much of a second giant spending package through reconciliation. We need the infrastructure evse’s asap, and there is no guarantee that waiting will vastly increase the size of the second tranche using reconciliation.

Martin Heinrich | To Fight Climate Change, Replace Fossil Fuels at Home and Work – The New York Times

Mr. Heinrich, Democrat of New Mexico, is a member of the Senate’s energy and natural resources committee.

“Our future depends on our acting now to confront the climate crisis by enacting policies to convert our economy from fossil fuels to clean energy. By making this switch, we will also create millions of new jobs, save American households money on their energy bills and protect lives by improving the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces.

To get there, we need to begin by electrifying large parts of our economy and changing the supply of all that electricity from polluting fuels to clean energy. We must start with our homes and vehicles because, according to research from Rewiring America, a nonprofit organization focused on the widespread electrification of the U.S. economy, 42 percent of all of our energy-related carbon emissions come from the machines we have in our households and our cars. To keep global warming at livable temperatures, we need to replace existing machines that use fossil fuels with clean electric substitutes when they reach the end of life.

Deep decarbonization analyses, such as a recent report by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, conclude that working to electrify our vehicles, homes and businesses is a critical part of achieving economywide net-zero emissions by 2050.

We cannot rely on Energy Star, which certifies energy-efficient products. We need to get to zero emissions as soon as possible, and you can’t “efficiency” your way to zero. Even an efficient natural gas furnace installed today can emit carbon dioxide for 20 years or more.”

Here Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You. – The New York Times

“As the world’s oil and gas giants face increasing pressure to reduce their fossil fuel emissions, small, privately held drilling companies are becoming the country’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, often by buying up the industry’s high-polluting assets.

According to a startling new analysis of the latest emissions data disclosed to the Environmental Protection Agency, five of the industry’s top ten emitters of methane, a particularly potent planet-warming gas, are little-known oil and gas producers, some backed by obscure investment firms, whose environmental footprints are wildly large relative to their production.

In some cases, the companies are buying up high-polluting assets directly from the largest oil and gas corporations, like ConocoPhillips and BP; in other cases, private equity firms acquire risky oil and gas properties, develop them, and sell them quickly for maximum profits.

The largest emitter, Hilcorp Energy, reported almost 50 percent more methane emissions from its operations than the nation’s largest fossil fuel producer, Exxon Mobil, despite pumping far less oil and gas. Four other relatively unknown companies — Terra Energy Partners, Flywheel Energy, Blackbeard Operating and Scout Energy — each reported emitting more of the gas than many industry heavyweights.  . . .”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Thank you Hiroko Tabuchi for this excellent reporting, and for disturbing my morning. This scandal calls for stiffer laws, regulations and penalities, and a warp speed movement by the government to seal all these leaks, and then go after the parties responsible for them for reimbursement, fines, and probably, prison terms. The treats of climate change are existential, and we have to get serious about it. One new law that might make sense, would be to forbid the selling of any oil or gas assets until all of its current leaks are fixed and fully sealed, which would prevent the larger companies from just off loading their dirty sites.

The fines and penalties should be so severe, that these oil and gas opportunists should be hopping to clean up their messes before the government does.